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The Pandemic Has Changed Mexicans’ Eating Habits

By Alessa Flores | Thu, 09/03/2020 - 13:52

The Mexican diet has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and mostly due to confinement. According to Greenpeace, the change in people's lifestyles is expected to encourage cooking at home and a weekly diet plan that will not only help people to manage their food expenditure but also to eat healthier and to have a smaller environmental impact. Changes are not permanent, however, since it will be up to each person to define what habits will be adopted in the long term.

A collaborative group from the Spanish Society for Community Nutrition (SENC) explains that at the beginning of the pandemic, people began to hoard food and other household products such as toilet paper. EY explained that, at the same time, Mexicans started to move toward online shopping methods, home delivery and digital payments, a trend that has strongly boosted e-commerce in Mexico.

Changes in product demand have favored food and beverage consumption, medicines, personal health, hygiene and cleaning products, while consumption of furniture, auto parts, clothing and accessories, as well as outdoor entertainment equipment, has decreased, explains EY in its report “Consumer Habits Will Not Be the Same After COVID-19.” However, once the pandemic is over or under control, people are expected to shift their consumption, buying less food and household products and spending more on vacations, leisure activities, restaurants and fashion items, says EY. 

Numbers point out that the sale of eggs, cheese and oil saw an average increase of 33 percent during confinement periods derived from the pandemic, explains Nielsen Mexico. Adrián Ávalos, an analyst from Kantar México explained to El Heraldo that "during times of confinement, people who are in home-office schemes and/or have seen their income affected, have encouraged and maintained the habit of cooking their own food.”  

Another COVID-19 winner has been coffee. Although consumption of this beverage by Mexicans at specialized stores or cafeterias has increased over the past 10 years, COVID-19 has encouraged the purchase of soluble coffee due to its practicality and price, a Forbes Mexico article explains. According to a Forbes’ interview with Fernando Cesar, Café Bebidas' Business Executive Officer at Nestlé Mexico, Mexicans consume nearly 35,000 million cups of coffee a year, of which more than 70 per capita correspond to home consumption. 

There are shifts that are expected to transcend Mexican consumer behaviors. The first change is the use of technology tools to purchase products and/or services. EY explains that in 2019, e-commerce in Mexico reached a 22 percent growth compared to 2018. In 2020, growth is expected to more than double in certain categories as a result of the pandemic.

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Alessa Flores Alessa Flores Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst