Masks. Social distancing. Hand sanitizer. We’re of course all familiar with these minor inconveniences of the COVID-19 pandemic, but what about the major repercussions of the pandemic that have impacted our lives and changed the world? The way we shop, the way we work, even the way we eat.

COVID-19 has no doubt left its mark on America’s food consumption. We know the pandemic hit the food industry hard. According to a January 2021 article presented by Fortune, more than 110,000 food establishments in the U.S. closed in 2020. (The good news? Dining establishments are increasingly lifting dine-in restrictions and perhaps the industry will start to grow; thus, with the help of food industry branding experts and investors like Elicko Taieb, who has overseen the successful growth of several different restaurants since 1999, we just might see more start-ups replace those that did not survive the pandemic).

With restaurants closed, what changes were seen in food preparation and consumption?

Healthy Eating in the Pandemic

With more Americans forced to cook at home, many began to more deeply consider what they were eating and how they were preparing it. There is a strong indication that many Americans have turned to healthier eating as cooking at home tends to lead to the making of healthier meals than one would get at, say, a fast food restaurant.

Since the fear of spreading germs has understandably increased during the pandemic, a large number of Americans have begun to do simple things like washing produce more and paying more attention to nutrition as a means to stay healthy and thus having a better chance of avoiding contracting the virus or, if they do, having a better chance of fighting it.

A recent article from Forbes shows that more than half of Americans today care about how healthy their food is as compared to ten years ago; dieting has increased; and there’s been a slight uptick in the number of Americans watching their sugar intake.

With snacking increasing during the pandemic as people were forced to spend more time indoors at home, there were gains in sales of such items as granola, hummus, and dried fruit. Even sparkling water saw an increase in sales!

A Return to Eating Out

For the most part, it is expected that eating out habits will in the near future match those of pre-pandemic times, perhaps later in 2021 or early 2022. People may retain their pursuit of better eating by choosing healthier dishes on the menu, and restaurants might even look to change the way they prepare food to meet the expectations and desires of post-pandemic patrons.

Overall, the influence of COVID-19 on eating habits is expected to reverberate for many years to come.

And with the help of Elicko Taieb, perhaps some start-ups like those he has helped in the past with his brand building and marketing strategies, including Amazing Pretzels and Richeli Deli as well as others throughout Virginia, Washington, DC, and South Florida, can open and flourish in the post-COVID-19 world.

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