Study | UK

Pandemic changes everyday life permanently

The pandemic is changing our everyday rituals, says a study by British supermarket chain Waitrose.
imago images / Westend61
The pandemic is changing our everyday rituals, says a study by British supermarket chain Waitrose.

Is cooking the new commute? At the very least, it interrupts home office work. That's one finding of the Waitrose Food and Drink Report 2021, published by British retail group Waitrose & Partners. This year it brings to light the long-term impact of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Working from home in particular will permanently change our daily rituals in the long term, the report's creators are convinced. It surveyed 2,000 consumers across the UK in a wide-ranging new OnePoll survey. Insights from Waitrose food, drink and retail experts were also consulted, as well as millions of sales data from Waitrose stores and online throughout the year.

Key findings

  • 74% of people in home offices, say cooking separates work time from personal time
  • Over 50% now plan their meals better and want to maintain this
  • 25% of respondents bought groceries online for the first time in 2020
  • 1 in 10 now only buy groceries every two weeks
  • 60 % want to change their shopping habits permanently
  • over 50% place more importance on food quality than before the pandemic
  • 3/4 of respondents want more food businesses in the UK to maintain their support of local producers

Social change possible

But it's not just the food and grocery sector that the report looks at. It also found that a slim majority are convinced the pandemic has taken some of the hustle and bustle out of everyday life, easing the pressure to go out, for example. And car ownership may also be declining, the report suggests, with nearly 30 percent of car owners having reduced the number of cars in their households or still planning to do so. In the 25-34 age group, the figure is as high as 43 percent. On the other hand, people have moved closer together as a family. Almost half of the people have taken part in regular family get-togethers, and 72 percent of them would like to continue doing so. And the sense of community extends beyond one's own family, according to the study: two-thirds of those who volunteered during the lockdown would like to continue doing so in the future.