As many parts of the world are starting to ease back on lockdown regulations, the “wide swings” in eating and shopping habits adopted by consumers to tackle the stay-at-home period have begun to ‘normalise’, according to Poorvi Patodia, founder and CEO of Biena Snacks.
“I think what we’ve clearly seen both in the data and what we’ve experienced ourselves with our brand … is that there was this peak in buying in March, then all the social distancing measures started to be implemented … and that started having an impact on how many trips people were making to the store and what they were buying and how they were buying,” said Patodia.
Consumers made fewer trips to the store, and more time spent together, which meant that collective consumption increased and there was a drop in specialised shopping.
Patodia believes consumers could continue to follow these habits, noting it now “feels like people have entered a new phase of eating and buying food.”
The importance of being flexible
For the past several months, brands have had to quickly adapt in order to cope with sudden increases in demand and challenges like those put onto the supply chain.
Some of these strategies – like focusing more on social media and the obvious rise in ecommerce – will remain on the fast track going forward.
“We are seeing that the ecommerce part of our business is certainly more than doubling and in certain cases, more than tripling,” said Patodia.
“Where we had a certain amount of focus there before, we have really doubled down on our efforts to have a stronger presence with various ecommerce retailers and really position ourselves well for a future where consumers, perhaps because of the pandemic, tried out buying their … snacks online and they found it to be really convenient.”
While the outbreak of the virus may have changed the way a brand needs to remain relevant, Patodia said it has not changed the evolving ‘snackification’ trend, which is more prevalent than ever.
“It has been amazing to be a snack brand watching these trends and being part of the trend over the past five or so years, which is that people truly are no longer eating three times a day.
“People are now grazing throughout the day and that, frankly, is one of the key drivers of our growth … as consumers are no longer seeing snacks as this throwaway filler in between meals but they’re actually looking to snacks as a way to get some sustenance and nutrition into their bodies.”
She believes that while trends like plant-based proteins and a bigger focus on gut health will continue to grow, consumers will be searching out “foods that are really simple and going back to their roots of what food is and where it comes from.”
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Poorvi Patodia launched Biena, a plant-based snack brand, in 2012 with a line of protein-rich Roasted Chickpea Snacks, a current category leader. Last year, the producer took the chickpea to the next level and launched Biena Chickpea Puffs. From its roots in a single store outside Boston, Biena Snacks are today available online and in 15,000 retail locations across the US.