Vegetable products, prepared meals… How the Covid has changed our eating habits

After four years of absence due to Covid, the International Food Exhibition (SIAL) returns to Paris, from October 15 to 19. 126 countries will be represented at the Villepinte exhibition center in what is one of the most important agri-food meetings in the world. And in four years, consumer eating habits have changed a lot, between pandemic and inflation.

Manufacturers must therefore deal with these very rapid changes. “It changed a lot of things, this episode of the Covid“, recognizes Xavier Terlet, expert in food innovation. One of the main changes according to him: “Today, food can also be a source of protection for the body.”

“We calculated: the number of products with a promise of immunity is constantly increasing.”

Xavier Terlet, food innovation expert

at franceinfo

If we look at the numbers, the number of product launches of this type “has been multiplied by eight” between the year before the Covid and the year after the start of the pandemic. Consumers are therefore looking for immunity, health. And this is what many yogurts, drinks full of vitamins, nutrients or natural superfoods.An eloquent example is the cocoa bean shell, developed by the French start-up Kokojoo.

Another observation: the French still want to cook, but they no longer have the time to do it as much as during confinement. So you have to develop tricks. “We always want to do it ourselves, but quickly. We are seeing a certain number of products arrive which precisely help to make it yourself, especially products for vegetarians, for vegans“, remarks Xavier Terlet. He mentions in particular the example of “carbonara sauces“vegetarians”with legumes, which can replace meat and provide protein.

After the phenomenon of organic, gluten-free, place to plant all over the place. Breton seaweed, chicory, carob, spelled, hemp… This year, a quarter of the innovations are substitutes for meat, fish or dairy products. But beware of the fashion effect: half of the new products disappear from the shelves after one year on average. The high price is often the cause. “It is certain that product categories that become too expensive in relation to purchasing power will sufferβ€œ, analyzes Nicolas Trenteseaux, the director of SIAL.

According to him, “economic arbitration, in the end, is necessarily thereβ€œHe also sees that the organic category has already started to suffer.”A simple organic label no longer works. Today, we must try to be present in all areas: packaging, animal protection, local production, fair remuneration for producers, etc.“, he explains. But the pleasure and the gluttony continue to walk on the shelves. One example among others for the SIAL experts, who test everything: the memory of a kouign-amann, full of butter like it should, but in cookie form.

New eating habits – Sophie Auvigne’s report

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