Food is a major issue during lockdown: what products are easy to find, and those which one wants but can’t get hold of. No, or little access to our favourite take away – now that most of the fast food establishments are closed. We have to feed ourselves and that means home cooking! For some it’s very unusual, for others it’s a cloud with a silver lining, cooking is a hobby they enjoy and it matches perfectly to the limitations imposed by lockdown!
For both reasons, as mentioned in our previous diaries (see #stayhome diary #4), the lift in the food and recipes website categories increased significantly since the lockdown. Below, are some figures that compare the usages of food websites during the current period to the usages of those same websites last year1.
We scraped the content of the web pages visited by our tracked panellists from the 3 main French food websites2 in order to see the recipes, the preparation and cooking time, the level of cooking expertise and the cost (highlighted on the picture below).
And we compared this information to that collected before lockdown. It is consistent with the navigation data and the assumption above: the post lockdown cuisine is a more simple cuisine than before. Cooked by less experienced and less accomplished “chefs” – using the term “chef” here is used loosely! The cuisine is cheaper, as described below…
… and the post lockdown recipes requires less time (10% less in average / 5 minutes less).
But how are they eating differently, in relation to how they would have before this global pandemic? We compared the recipes visited before and after lockdown. The wordcloud below displays the words over represented in the recipes visited after lockdown.
Well it is pretty clear! After lockdown people are looking (far more than usual) for recipes which are quick & easy to make. We can isolate two types of recipe styles.
Daily cuisine, based on basic ingredients (eggs, chicken, rice…) and a large new trend of novice bakers, trying out their hand at sourdoughs and loaves, as well as sweets and treats: cakes (apple pie, chocolate, coconut) and of course, the French staple: – brioche!
To summarise, the lockdown de facto has forced or attracted new people to cook, who before were not into gastronomy. Two types of people actually: those who found cooking by necessity and those who want to experience the joy of becoming their very own homegrown pastry chef!
1 Since 2016, a percentage of our French panel has accepted to share their navigation/app usage data with us. They all have installed a software/an app which monitors their online activities. Here we compared the measures obtained after lockdown (from the 16th of March to the 20th of April) with those collected last year in 2019 over the exact same timeframe. Both samples were national representative (gender, age). In 2019 in the given time frame n=1913, in 2020 n=1836
2 We collected information from the content of the pages visited by our panel members on three major French food websites: Marmiton.org, cuisineaz.com, cuisineactuelle.fr 8051 recipes scraped from the 15th of January to the 20th of April, 4223 before lockdown and 3828 after.