Covid-19 changed a lot of things about the classic Kiwi lifestyle. We couldn't head out to the beach for a surf, have our extended family around for a meal, or catch up with a friend for coffee.

But it turns out it also changed the way we shop for our food, what we are shopping for, and how we are consuming it.

Whether it was lining up outside supermarkets for hours for the essentials, ordering our coffee online, or cooking at home instead of eating out, we all had to adapt during lockdown.

And as it turns out, some of those changes have been for the better, with a few becoming the new norm according to those in the food industry.


Here are five food trends we think are here to stay.

Touching our food less

Covid-19 made us more aware of how many hands our food passes through before it reaches our tables.

During lockdown, many took to washing their packaged and unpackaged groceries, and while these habits may have eased, consumers are now more aware of where our food is coming from.

Grocery delivery company Service Foods Home national manager Pinal Balar says customers are realising how many hands are across their food before it gets to them.

"Customers want food that's been touched less, that's fresh and straight from the farm or grower, and customers are also willing to pay more to get better quality produce," he says.

Trends also show Kiwis are becoming more conscious of how our food is packaged, or what we can make ourselves rather than buying - remember when we all found out we could bake bread after all?

Kiwis have become more conscious of where their food is coming from. Photo / Getty Images
Kiwis have become more conscious of where their food is coming from. Photo / Getty Images

Meat-free meals

More and more meat-free options are becoming available in New Zealand - and tasty morsels came in useful when the meat aisles were regularly emptied during level 4 panic buying.

Balar says there's been an increase in consumers turning to plant-based meals for at least three nights a week.


"Our customers are more educated on how to make nutritious, filling vegetarian meals – we're selling more and more vegetables like lentils, people aren't as cautious as they have been in the past to incorporate these vegetables into their daily diets," he said.

Even fast-food chains like McDonald's and Burger King are starting to include plant-based and free-range options in their menus, with the demand for processed food on a downward trend.

The Herald reported last year that the mock meat industry was "booming", with projections that it could be worth $212 billion by the end of the decade.

NZ Vegetarian Society's trademark manager Philip McKibbin said alternative meats are pushing consumers toward plant-based diets.

Supporting local

Supporting local became a catchcry as businesses slowly reopened in level 3 of lockdown, calling for Kiwis to help get them back on their feet.

From fruit and veggie shops to local cafes, we're getting better at buying local when it comes to food.

When we were in lockdown, it wasn't possible to travel for our food. Instead of heading across the city we had to order it closer to home or make it in our own kitchens.


We got to know our locals a lot better - whether it was cafes that opened in level 3 for contactless pickup or our local restaurants doing meal deliveries. Many local cafes have found benefit in allowing customers to still order coffee online for pick-up, from Auckland's Willow Cafe in Albany to the Coffee Culture and Columbus cafe chains.

Several cafes are still doing contactless orders. Photo / Getty Images
Several cafes are still doing contactless orders. Photo / Getty Images

Cooking for one

Single-person households are becoming more and more common in New Zealand. A lot of us spent lockdown alone or with only one or two other people.

Cooking for one isn't as easy as cooking in bulk, but more people will have to adapt to the times as one-person households are on the rise. Census data released by Stats NZ reveals it's the second most common type of household in New Zealand.

Lockdown also made us conscious of the quantities of food we were buying and eating, meaning we got used to making do with what we already had in the cupboard instead of popping out to buy just one or two ingredients.

Food delivery

Grocery and meal delivery has become more popular since Covid-19. In April, Countdown's general manager for digital Sally Copeland told the Herald online customer registration was ten times higher than normal during lockdown, with visits to Countdown's website increasing 300 per cent.

Due to the demand, Countdown opened two online-only stores during lockdown.


Service Foods also launched a grocery delivery service, Service Foods Home.

Meal delivery has also become more popular, as restaurants launched their own home delivery services to keep their restaurants running during lockdown. Some chefs even made their own meal kits so you could recreate your gourmet favourites at home.

Whether we're getting groceries or finished meals delivered, we're getting used to cooking and eating at home. The Harvard Business Review writes that drive-throughs will likely become the norm, not just for fast food but for grocery stores and sit-down restaurants.