Thought Leadership

Consumer trends in the year no-one saw coming

Austen Donnellan, New Business Director at Bray Leino introduces the agency’s 2020 Food & Drink Report exploring some key reactions to lockdown with the wider long-term context.

Austen Donnellan, Bray Leino

New Business Director


When we published last year’s Food & Drink Report, nothing could have prepared us for the seismic lifestyle shifts which would impact on consumer behaviour in 2020. By the spring, as we were preparing to survey 1,000 Brits, the UK was heading into lockdown, providing an opportunity for us to understand shoppers’ minds at this time of unimaginable change.

As a result, the 2020 Food & Drink Report reveals some key reactions to lockdown within the bigger picture of long-term trends in consumer attitudes and behaviour. And with so much uncertainty around how COVID-19 will continue to affect our lifestyles over the coming years, these insights offer clues around how consumers might respond to future scenarios.

The events of recent months have forced many of us to re-evaluate and implement more thoughtful behaviours. And this plays into a key theme of the 2020 Food & Drink Report: the continuing, and indeed growing, trend for conscious consumerism, particularly around environmental issues. For example, over the past few years we’ve identified increasing avoidance of single use plastic packaging, and a significant rise in interest in ‘locally sourced’. In light of these trends, the recent surge in demand for veg boxes and other such food deliveries seems likely to stick.

We also see a rise in teetotalism and decline in drinking volume amongst young adults. Combined with the various COVID restrictions, this is likely to have long-term implications for what socialising in Britain looks like.

While we don’t know how COVID-19 will continue to affect society, as marketers we can begin to understand how immediate impacts fit into the wider context of consumer trends, applying the learnings to develop robust, calculated strategies.

Visit Bray Leino's profile to download and read the full report.

Guest Author

Austen Donnellan, Bray Leino

New Business Director,


Austen leads Bray Leino’s business development operation, identifying, targeting and partnering with new B2B and B2C clients across sectors such as food and drink, healthcare and technology. With over two decades’ experience developing through the line consumer campaigns for high profile clients, Austen’s specialist knowledge spans TV led advertising campaigns, retailer activations, digital and social media campaigns, communications planning, branded content, direct marketing, evaluation tools, R&D and investment planning.

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