A recent Euromonitor report states that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumer buying behavior drastically. As a result, food and beverage is the only sector projected to see robust growth this year.

Retail analysts show that while global spending will fall by 4.3% this year, the food and beverage industry will grow at just above 2%. Though that is less than the growth figure in 2019, considering the unstable times we are, it is good news. Analysts have stated that there will be a 3.7% decline in total disposable income and spending due to the global recession caused by the pandemic.

Euromonitor also predicts that consumer choices may change permanently. Its predictions are based on lifestyle trends that came out of the pandemic. Economic depression, stress, anxiety, uncertainty about the future, and less money on hand all lead to a shift in buying patterns.

At the start of the stay-at-home orders and widespread quarantines, we saw consumers stockpiling food and beverages. As the pandemic spread, hygiene, physical health, and mental well-being became top priorities on every mind. Since food and beverage has a direct correlation with all these and can meet most of these personal needs, the industry has grown considerably during this time.

Even within the industry, there has been a shift in growth. Organic food and fresh produce, both related to healthy living, have soared in sales. Canned foods, which recently saw declining sales, saw an increase in segment sales during the coronavirus pandemic.

With many restaurants closed for in-person dining and offering only takeout and delivery, home cooking has taken on a whole new meaning for people, a trend that experts say will continue. Then there is the latent fear of the virus that hasn’t abated, and some states are witnessing spikes after the lifting lockdowns. Compared to these risks, home cooking will always be safer, healthier, and cheaper.

Healthy, high-quality products that offer good value will drive market growth. Clean and sustainable products will find more fans, so companies must keep innovating to ensure that they meet the new consumer demands.

The food automation market is witnessing disruption, too. Food processing industries have kept operating as essential businesses, which has generated demand for the automation market. Demand for pharmaceuticals; food and beverages; and sanitation and cleaning supplies during this pandemic has helped avert a steep decline in sales as happened in the last major recession. The massive demand for products in these categories has necessitated a faster adoption of food automation technologies.

Post-quarantine behavior will continue to generate orders in these sectors. Analysts state that the majority of industries, including food and beverage industries, are looking to adopt robots and automated processes as a huge part of the future.