13 Ways the Pandemic Has Changed How We Eat in 2020

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A Lot on Our Plates

It's been quite a year. Around this time in 2019, there were lots of predictions about how we'd eat in 2020 — some of the trends that we were supposed to see were babka, a rise in flexitarianism, and less added sugar in processed food. Then COVID-19 hit and 2020 became something different entirely. So, how did we actually eat this past year? Read on for more on how the pandemic shaped our relationship with food.

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canned kidney beans

More Beans

Many of us have turned to the humble, protein-filled bean as nourishment. The New York Times reported in March a huge boom in bean sales. It makes sense, right? They're filling, nutritious, and even the fancy ones aren't all that expensive. 

Related: 30 Creative Rice and Bean Dishes From Around the World

Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza

Comfort Food

In a recent poll reported by PR Newswire, two out of three people surveyed said they were eating more comfort food. This includes an increase in the consumption of pizza (55%), hamburgers (48%), ice cream (46%), and more.

Related: 20 Comfort Food Recipes That Freeze Well

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Fewer Veggies

Along the same lines, Forbes found Google Trends data suggesting that we're not just eating more comfort food, we're eating less of the good stuff. Searches for terms like "salads" and "veggies" were lower in 2020 than at the same time in 2019.

Related: 30 Vegetable Recipes for People Who Hate Vegetables

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More Drive-Through

Thanks to social distancing guidelines, many Americans are choosing to drive through or pick up their food. Restaurants like Shake Shack have responded by redesigning their customer experience to include more drive-through lanes and space for curbside pickup.

Related: The Best Value Meal Deals at 28 Chains Across the Country

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Shifting Loyalties

The same McKinsey study also found that many consumers had shopped at new retailers and tried new brands during the pandemic. Thirty-four percent of consumers increased their purchases of private label products. While the effects could take some time to be seen more clearly, this suggests potential shifts in the retail landscape — will our favorite grocery stores even exist in a decade?

Related: 17 Ways Grocery Stores Have Changed Over the Past 50 Years

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National Margarita Day

Alcohol to Go

One revolutionary change this year was the decision that some states made to allow customers to order to-go alcohol from restaurants. These states include New York, Colorado, California, Vermont, Nebraska, and more. Could this be here to stay? 

Related: 20 Weird and Crazy Alcohol Laws Around the World

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