COVID-19 Acceleration of Stress-based CPG Consumption

Pandemic acceleration is occurring at the intersection between primitive nutrient cues AND premium cues of restraint.

Did you know that about 30% of American adults have already gained more than 5lbs of weight since the pandemic began? That’s what I just found out in a brief survey in August before my latest COVID-19 webinar. Have you seen this weight gain, ahem, in person? We gain around 1-2 lbs as adults as a pure crude average. It’s a slow and steady creep, and stress-related eating is a significant contributor to that excess 200 calories a day.

Stress-related consumption of consumer brands is a long-term megatrend that continues to drive constant growth in food categories like salty snacks. In many other sectors where sensory overwhelm puts a temporary lid on stress and anxiety, we do not fully control. It is often unconscious, like reaching for that bag of tortilla chips at the end of the day. This megatrend is related to our increasing alienation as U.S. citizens who lack meaningful gatekeepers to consumption. Hell, my wife didn’t even feel able to prevent me from buying a convertible this week. It’s not a Porsche, don’t worry.

If you can de-sugar foods AND retain the sensory overwhelm of fat or salt…then, you may have a decisive, counter-intuitive winner on your hands. Even just offering a better-tasting premium offering for impulsive consumption

If you think that low carb, everything is already out there, a) you’re mistaken and b) you are confusing processed, imitation low-sugar with all-natural indulgent offerings made with premium flavor profiles and source ingredients. Baked goods beyond bread remain wide open. Try and find a decent tasting packaged cupcake that isn’t a chemistry experiment, and you’ll see what I mean.

Dr. James Richardson

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