Although consumers have developed a new affinity for cooking thanks to sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic and restaurant closures, many are eager to partake in a culinary experience outside the home. Restaurant dining is not just about the meal: It’s about the atmosphere, social company, and other non-food-related factors.

Although figures from Numerator’s Grocery Vulnerability Index may paint a grim picture for some segments like meat and herbs and spices, seven out of 10 consumers report that they plan to keep cooking at home even as restaurants reopen. This would help offset some of the decline in purchasing due to restaurant reopenings. Thanks to COVID-19, consumers have gotten more confident with their culinary skills, experimented with new cuisines or cooking styles, and learned that at-home cooking can save money and boost health.

Other recent research from Numerator also holds positive news for meat. According to its Buyer Habit Index, beef and frozen meat buyers were more likely than the average category to have formed a repeat purchasing habit during the pandemic, giving some stickiness to the segment in a post-COVID-19 world. In fact, meat sales jumped more than 19% in 2020, according to data shared by the Food Industry Association (FMI) and the Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research & Education, with beef having the greatest share of sales.

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