Do our eating habits differ during lockdown? Episode 3: Germany.
Our previous lockdown diaries focused on how the eating habits of both the French and British have changed during lockdown. Overall, in France and the UK, the changes to eating habits were very similar; out of necessity or fun, new people visited recipe website. Which kinds of recipes were being searched? They were either more basic than usual or recipes derived to offer pleasure in eating. Today, we take a look at Germany1, have they changed their eating habits and how?
We focused on 4 German recipes websites. During lockdown, they all have seen a significant increase in visitors: gutekueche.de (+73% increase in number of visits), backenmachtgluecklich.de (+47,1%), essen-und-trinken.de (+25,6%), kochbar.de (11,0%).
But the increase in number of visitors is far more limited.
On average, during lockdown only 2% additional incidence rate on these recipes websites have been observed in Germany, and by the way with strong differences in genders; the lockdown does not seem to have tempted men into the kitchen! Overall, audience remains almost the same.
Another observation and in total contradiction to what we saw in France and the UK, the duration of the visits on these websites became significantly shorter during the lockdown. There has been a decrease from 9,67 mn on average before the lockdown, to 6,54 mn during lockdown.
To try to understand which changes in eating habits these figures cover, we searched the content2 of the pages of these recipes websites to access to the name of the recipe, and the time needed to do it.
Legend: scraped information correspond to the highlighted areas
First, unlike in France and the UK (where it went down), the average time to whip up the recipes (preparation time + cooking time) went up in Germany: from 50,85 mn before lockdown to 66,03 mn during lockdown. 6% of the recipes visited need more than 2 hours to be made before lockdown, versus 9,5% during lockdown.
Two types (overrepresented during lockdown) of recipes explain this difference. First traditional recipes, which require marinade and/or slow cooking. Also, ingredients usually bought ready to use are now homemade (or at least considered to be homemade): for instance yoghurt, honey (!), sourdough (!).
Besides this, let’s compare the recipes before and during lockdown.
In both cases we find some staples of German cuisine (cream, sauce, soup) and different types of cakes. Two main differences can also be highlighted: bread is over represented (typical of dishes which are not necessarily sophisticated, i.e. which do not require complicated preparation processes, see above duration of the visit, but which takes time to be made); and overall dishes that use basic ingredients (compared to before lockdown, less meat, no different types of meat, no “Easter lamb”, asparagus are far less represented…).
Hence, during lockdown, unlike what has happened in France and in the UK, it seems as though the first impact of lockdown has not attracted newbies to cuisine. In Germany, it is almost the same people who are cooking but they have more time to dedicate to recipes for which they usually don’t have time. They are also using more simple ingredients (by choice or due to supply shortages). Bread is like the synthesis of these two aspects, and of course is a way, even symbol of self-sustenance.
Should we conclude that this short delve into German cuisine during lockdown goes beyond Germany and beyond the topic of food, as it highlights some trends of the current period: slowness, back to basics, and the rise of survivalism?
1 Since 2016, a part of our German panel have accepted to share their navigation/app usage data with us. They all have installed a software/an app which monitors their online activities. To avoid seasonal effects, we compared the data collected at the exact same period 23rd of March to the 26th of April in 2019 and in 2020. Both samples were national representative (gender, age). In 2019 in the given time frame n=1805, in 2020 n=1583
2 859 recipes scraped in total.