There's little doubt that the majority of Americans are eating a little differently now than before the coronavirus hit. In fact, 70 percent of consumers reported that they are drinking more alcohol and eating and snacking more frequently now, according to a survey from Influence Central, a company that develops social-media and digital campaigns focused on influencer marketing.
No wonder there's talk circulating about the "COVID-19," as in the 19 pounds many feel they have gained while isolated at home and not able to get to the gym. People tend to eat more to cope with stress or boredom, and right now, people are finding an abundance of both until we can all get back to work, says Stacy DeBroff, social- and digital-media strategist, author, attorney and founder of Influence Central.
Of the 630 people surveyed, 47% were eating more sweets and 24% had decreased their consumption of vegetables. In addition, around 20 percent were eating less fruit and protein.
Not all the news is bad. On the healthier side, 43% said they had upped their consumption of fruit, 42% were eating more vegetables and 30% were eating more protein in the form of meat, poultry or fish.
Interestingly, 39%, with more time in the morning, reported eating a more filling or balanced breakfast — often considered the most important, and possibly most undervalued, meal of the day.
So where do you fall in this survey? I'm somewhere in the middle. My consumption of sweets has most definitely gone up, but I'm able to go to the track and run a few miles every day, so that helps. My fruit intake has gone down, but I'm working to change that with all the delicious summer fruits starting to ripen.
Families that once focused on well-rounded meals may find themselves sneaking snacks from the pantry; while a family that once relied on quick meals on the go may be experimenting with new, home-cooked recipes.
So what will the new "normal" look like? It promises to be interesting, and companies that market products to the American public will have to change direction as consumers decide which habits we'll keep.
But one habit I don't think will change is the fact that so many of us have gotten accustomed to takeout and ordering home delivery from Uber Eats, Door Dash and other such meal-delivery companies.
What are we ordering? Influence Central got some answers that weren't terribly surprising.
* Pizza (79%)
* Fast food (52%)
* American and pub food, such as burgers and wings (45%)
* Mexican (39%)
* Asian (35%)
* Italian other than pizza, such as that two-for-one meal deal from Olive Garden (23%).
From those responses, it's little wonder Americans are gaining COVID-19 pounds. What will be interesting when we get on the other side of this pandemic is how gym memberships will increase, along with weight-loss companies, such as WW, which may well see an uptick in business.
Email Anne Braly at email@example.com.