When the lock down came into place it meant big changes for many people. Empty supermarket shelves or more recently big queues to get in and suddenly some people found themselves not working or working from home and having more time on their hands for cooking.
Wholesalers had to adapt quickly as the food service industry disappeared practically overnight, they found themselves doing home deliveries and supplying recipe box companies.
The Mindful Chef is one of those recipe box companies who saw a massive increase in demand.
"We have seen a significant increase in sales since the Covid-19 outbreak, including a +452% spike in new recipe box customers and a +387% spike in our frozen meal sales (based on sales week on week)," said Giles Humphries, Co-Founder and CMO at Mindful Chef. "We also reported a significant increase in customer basket size as the nation began to stockpile at the start of lock-down, with some customers spending over £500 in one order, equating to over 80 frozen meals."
The customer base during the pandemic has remained much the same, a mix of couples, singles and families.
The Mindful Chef's menus are designed to hero seasonal ingredients - for example, they have had some delicious asparagus recipes on the menu this month.
"We’re working hard with our community of suppliers to ensure we can continue supply as demand increases, we have also been stocking up on our frozen meals and smoothies. Given the recent closure of restaurants, cafes and pubs, our suppliers have had decreased demand in these areas which is offset by the increased demand from Mindful Chef."
"Some of our award-winning suppliers have struggled to provide the volume of ingredients we require. Much like us, they're working hard to meet the increased demand, however, in the interim, occasionally we have sent customers an alternative ingredient (such as substituting haddock for hake, corn on the cob instead of sweetcorn, or cashew cream for coconut yoghurt.) When this does occur, our Chef (Louisa) advises on the substitutions and re-writes the recipe method for the customers," explains Giles.
Mindful Chef is proud to be a certified B Corp, which means they believe you can grow a business and have a positive impact on people and the planet at the same time.
"Much of the packaging in our boxes are recyclable and outside of Covid 19 we also run a very effective returns program that enables us to re-use elements of the wool-cool bags and ice packs. Our mission is to make all of our packaging 100% recyclable and use home-compostable materials where possible."
The pandemic has clearly had a big impact on customer buying behaviour when it comes to groceries. Online sales booming and the recipe box market is continuing to grow. Initial indicators would suggest that the pandemic is shaping the behaviour of customers in the future concludes Abby.