Our Trusted Comfort Foods
Mr Kipling’s tarts or butter-melting crumpets. Bored or got the munchies. What do you reach out for? During these challenging times, many kitchen cupboards have been filled with yummy treats.
In fact, research has found that many of us have returned to trusted brands and foods that have transported us back to our younger years as a form of escapism during such uncertainty. Forget sushi and barista cappuccinos, we‘re talking Hovis and Cadburys, Oxo cubes and Bisto. And with them, the attached memories of the well versed and emotive commercials: the Hovis’ bike advert struggling up that steep hill, the “Ah Bisto” moment of pouring gravy or love it hate it Marmite.
Several brands have, over time, proven to be the survivors of the fittest such as Colman’s Mustard and Guinness. They endured the Spanish flu of 1918, and the Great Depression. Our heritage brands, such as Heinz are our go-to for staple foods such as baked beans and tomato soup. Others include Mr Kipling’s “exceedingly good” french fancies and battenberg cakes, Ambrosia rice pudding and Ryvita crispbreads, for the calorie conscious. They all gravitate to shopping baskets.
But with increasing time at home and movement outside restricted, online shopping has for many become the norm. Presented with so many choices and options from unknown brands, it may be convenient but not so familiar. Faced with an inventory of foods, a directory of provisions in all shapes and sizes, offers popping up and sell-by dates to check those well-known, longstanding and trusted brands that represent traditional values are often the ones chosen after hours of scanning the screen.
Without cafes jam-packed with bread, cakes and pies, there is now more baking in homes, championed by the many bake-off television programmes. Armed with flour, tins and rolling pins, baking and cooking have become popular and regular activities for all family members. We are honing our crafting skills to produce new culinary creations, often devoured in seconds.
Coronavirus has alerted us to the importance of our physical health and our food intake to strengthen immunity against disease. The home-cooking revival has led us to health-conscious choices. A time to reconnect to fresher, more nutritious ingredients, to experiment and to question personal diets and weight.
According to The Grocer, 97% of shoppers are planning when to shop, 89% say they are thinking more about what to shop for while 61% are using a list when they shop. Shopping is taking longer, with queueing to get into the store becoming a new norm.
Being in full control of ingredients and preparing ‘fresh’ meals provides the opportunity to ensure families are getting the best possible nutrition, as well as occupying the greater time that many of us have now.Food is not only a huge comfort during a crisis, but some believe sending personalised food parcels is a way to stay connected. According to British Corner Shop, a company which mails food to homesick ex-pats as well as within the UK, has found that Warburtons crumpets and Heinz baked beans are the most popular foods sold between February 1 and April 20, 2020.Britons living in Australia miss Yorkshire Teabags, as they’re the second-most requested item down under. Brits in America long for McVities Jaffa Cakes and Walker’s prawn cocktail crisps while in Italy, Branston Pickle and McVities Ginger Nuts are among the top 10 most purchased items”.
“Mindful shopping” has become a trend and is changing our everyday behaviour as we place greater importance on what we add to our baskets. And for many there is more focus on ingredients for health and wellbeing but not to the exclusion of those treats from our trusted and favourite brands.