New research from Food Standards Scotland (FSS), using data provided by market research company Kantar, shows how the nation’s shopping and eating habits have changed following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Four reports were developed providing an overview of what was bought from shops and supermarkets and out of home businesses between 2019 and 2021.

According to FSS, a big change has been the increase in online grocery shopping which saw a huge surge in popularity. Online grocery shopping increased in value to £951 million in 2021, representing an increase of 109.4%, compared to 2019. This illustrates changes to shopping behaviour, as a result of the pandemic. However, the increase in purchasing food and drink online remains sustained. 

The impact of the pandemic has also affected the out of home sector, with the overall value of this market in 2021 22% lower than in 2019. Despite this however, the takeaway and delivery market grew considerably over this time, rising to a value of £1.5 billion – an 88% increase between 2019 and 2021. The ability to order deliveries using food technology such as restaurant web and third party apps such as Just Eat or Deliveroo played a key role in this growth, with an increase of nearly 25 million trips using these methods compared to 2019.

Overall we continued to buy more groceries into the home in 2021 when compared with pre-pandemic, equating to 140 extra calories being bought every day, for everyone in Scotland.

Many “discretionary food” categories, such as confectionery, sweet biscuits and sugary drinks continue to be  top contributors to the calories, fat and sugar purchased from shops and supermarkets in Scotland, and these types of categories are also purchased frequently on promotion.