As the UK begins to wake from a long and drawn out lockdown, we return not as we were before the pandemic started. It’s not all bad news out there and many of us have gotten into some great food habits during lockdown, including getting round to organising a weekly veg box delivery. “There has been an upsurge in local box schemes, producers supplying their local market and direct sales to houses” states Dr Phil Morley, a technical officer of the British Tomato Growers’ Association, when talking to the BBC.
We think everyone deserves a socially-distanced round of applause for establishing more ethical and healthy habits – but there have been a few drawbacks with some not-so-great habits too.
Here’s 5 ways in which people have changed their food habits during lockdown in the UK:
We’ve fallen in love with cooking again.
The Independent reported in April, that 1 in 5 of us were cooking from scratch for every meal, with 33% saying that mealtimes have become more of an occasion during lockdown – in fact, 89 per cent vow to continue making food from scratch once the lockdown restrictions are lifted (according to a survey carried out by Tesco).
We’re cutting down on our meat consumption.
The Vegan Society unearthed that 1 in 5 Brits have cut down on meat consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 15% of us saying that we’ve reduced our dairy and egg intake over the lockdown period. When hitting the supermarkets, instead of heading to the meat aisle – 36% of us have been trying out pulses such as lentils and chickpeas and 38% have been trying meat alternatives such as vegan burgers.
We love being food smart, but hate making food waste.
The charity Wrap discovered that almost half of us are checking our cupboards more often before shopping, one in three of us have been cooking more creatively – with 30% of us starting to save leftovers. Unsurprisingly, all these great new habits have helped in cutting our food waste by a third.
We’ve been buying ingredients locally.
The people at Better Food highlight that eating locally is more nutritious, more in season, more community-benefitting and more environmentally-caring – what’s there not to love! That’s why we were delighted to discover the Food Standards Agency showing that 35% people in the UK had increasingly been shopping locally during the pandemic.
Is it snack-time yet?
In the time it’s taken the author to write to this point in the article, he’s ashamed to report that he’s eaten “a handful of roasted peanuts and maybe just a little bit of Toblerone” – but he’s not the only one! New research by the Oral Health Foundation have revealed that 38% of British adults have been snacking more during the lockdown.
But are these habits here to stay?
The big question on our minds is whether people will be able to maintain their new-found positive food habits once lockdown is eased. Jessica from ING thinks maybe not, “Once we enter a post-coronavirus environment, some of these elements will be difficult to maintain. The time saved not commuting may disappear, for example”.
Maintaining new positive food habits after lockdown won’t be easy once we’re back to a working life that starts to resemble our old pre-pandemic routine. However with a little willpower and conscious effort – we can all reinforce and adapt our new ethical and healthy habits for the long term. Good luck!