Consumers in Asia changing their diets in the wake of COVID-19


Consumers are concerned about the threat of the COVID-19 virus and the impact that it will have on health. This is true irrespective of whether experts say the pandemic has peaked in the region or not, with many consumers believing it will continue to impact day-to-day lives for at least a year. Consumers are looking to improve their diets as they become more conscious about their immunity and their vulnerability to disease, as well as the wide-ranging health implications of COVID-19. This is resulting in consumers adopting a back-to-basics approach when it comes to nutrition.


The impact of the COVID-19 virus has varied across Asia-Pacific, with some countries being hit worse than others. However, irrespective of whether the virus has peaked in the region or not, a total of 80% of consumers in Asia-Pacific say that they are concerned about COVID-19, whilst 45% believe that it will continue to have an impact on day-to-day lives for at least another 12 months. Part of this worry about COVID-19 is driven by uncertainty, with only 40% of consumers saying that they feel informed about the virus. This means that consumers are conscious about issues such as if there will be a second wave of the virus, and how soon a vaccine will be found. When asked what consumers were concerned about relating to COVID-19, a total of 87% said they were worried about their health and well-being.

COVID-19 is resulting in consumers re-evaluating their health and assessing their vulnerability to disease and illness. This is true even of consumers who previously deemed themselves to be in good health. Of those consumers who said they were concerned about their health and well-being, the two main concerns that consumers have are, developing health problems as a result of catching the virus at 82%, and the impact that it will have on their mental well-being at 27%. This shows that consumers in the region recognise that the impact of COVID-19 is wide ranging. As such, it is not surprising that 55% of consumers said that they are now more concerned about their immunity, and 74% said that they plan to start eating and drinking healthier as a result of COVID-19.

Whilst consumers will be more concerned about their health as a result of COVID-19, it also must be remembered that consumers will also be concerned about the financial impact of any recession triggered by the pandemic. This is also something that will result in adopting a back-to-basics approach when it comes to health and nutrition. Indeed, FMCG Gurus asked consumers who indicated they plan to eat and drink healthier, what steps they will take. The research found that the top three answers were increase intake of fruits at 56%, reduce sugar intake at 43%, and increase protein intake at 41%.

This is something that will drive demand for everyday food and drink products that are seen as affordable and high in good ingredients and low in bad ingredients, as consumers look to change their diets in 2020 and beyond.

This article is written by Will Cowling, Marketing Manager for FMCG Gurus.