Press Trust of india

Consumers’ focus shifts to packaged, high-value food items

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New Delhi: The second phase of the coronavirus lockdown saw a considerable shift in buying patterns of consumers from basic necessities to high-value items like snacks, processed food, packaged meat and frozen desserts, retailers said.

Retailers such as Future Group, Metro and Lots Wholesale said they witnessed a spike in demand for packaged food products like biscuits and noodles, resulting in an increase in the average purchase value per customer.

People also sought critical non-food products such as kitchen appliances, electrical goods, stationery and storage containers at Metro.

“Yes, the second phase witnessed a growing demand for processed food, packaged meat and frozen desserts. People are working from home. Hence, snack items, biscuits and hot beverages are also in demand amongst customers,” Metro Cash & Carry India MD and CEO Arvind Mediratta told PTI.

As the restrictions started easing, customers saw they could get easy access to their daily essentials and so panic buying stopped, he added.

“Initially, customers were unsure of what the trickle down effect of the lockdown would be. Consumers started becoming vigilant and began hoarding essential commodities. There was a sense of panic.

“But gradually, everyone was made aware that all essential products will continue to be available and people will not face a shortage. Currently, there is less panic buying and more need based buying,” he said.

As most people are working from home, Metro is witnessing enquiries from customers for IT products such as computers, mouse, keyboard, chargers and other accessories.

Future Group President Food & FMCG Kamaldeep Singh said in the first phase people were buying basic necessary items such as atta, pulses and sugar, but in the second phase they focussed more on food items like biscuits, noodles and pasta.

“The definition of basic necessity has changed in couple of weeks from basic foods to snacking and munching items,” he said.

According to Singh, people are not willing to travel long distances, hence footfall of large format stores is down but sales of convenience stores like EasyDay have picked up considerably.

Though people are not hoarding goods, they have cravings for snacks and other items as they are staying at home, he said.

“In the second stage, people are buying products which can be cooked at home like pasta, noodles etc. Sales of frozen non-veg and home snacking and processed food have gone up to a large extent, such as French fries, baked items and ready-to-cook meals,” he said.

As restaurants are closed, people are cooking many dishes at home, Singh said, adding “the trend in the second phase has shifted from pure basic essentials to instant food and snacking items.”

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