Consumer: Leveraging Consumer Behavior Changes During and After COVID-19

Past Event

Wednesday August 12, 2020

COVID-19 has affected how we all think, feel, and operate. It may have forever altered our behaviors and attitudes towards food, from dining in new ways and places to increased interest in food prices and justice. Come learn from our panel of experts who study and work with consumers every day as they share best practices for engaging with consumers to build a more sustainable, less wasteful food system.


Joel Gamoran

Award Winning Sustainable Chef,

Andrea Bertels

Vice President, Global Responsibility & Sustainability, Neilson

Brian Roe

Professor, Ohio State University

Key Takeaways


We’ve experienced a lot of change since the pandemic started — changes in personal behaviors, changes in consumption patterns, and more — and, according to our panelists, we aren’t done with change. Brian informed us that “there’s going to be a lot of turbulence in people’s purchasing patterns” and that transitional periods are where more waste occurs. Our panelists encouraged us to lean in to change and to use that to inspire action. Andrea said, “there’s a natural inclination to say ‘we’ll get there someday,’” but that moments like this are forcing rapid change and we should be engaging consumers in making those changes and meeting them where they are. 


"We have this blink-of-an-eye beautiful moment where people don’t want this information, they need this information” Joel said, speaking of consumer education content, and the need to take advantage of it. Research by Ohio State University shows 40% of people have more time to be doing things that interest them, including cooking, during the pandemic. Andrea and Brian both shared data that over half of Americans (54-58%) are cooking more at home than they were before the crisis, and Joel has seen this increase in attention in his own following, which has increased by 500% since the pandemic started. All the panelists emphasized taking advantage of this moment to educate consumers on how to use and avoid wasting their food. 

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