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Published April 20th 2020

The Pandemic Recipe Book: Baking on the Rise During Lockdown

Covid-19 has inspired us to eat more and bake more. Here, we'll take a look at the recipes and treats that are trending on social during lockdown

Our eating habits have been drastically altered due to the pandemic.

From a health perspective, the change in our diets could have a lasting effect, but that’s something to worry about further down the line.

Eating more?

To find out how people’s eating habits have changed, we ran a Qriously survey. We polled 7,115 adults from China, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, and the US via their smartphones and tablets.

When looking at food consumption, here’s what we found.

In all countries we surveyed, more respondents said they’d upped their food intake than lowered it (although the difference between lowering and upping food intake in China may not be statistically significant).

We can also see that countries like Italy and Spain, that have been hit very hard by the outbreak, seem to be eating more.

On the other hand, every country still saw a decent amount of people saying they were eating less. If this is because of shortages or lack of access to supplies, this is obviously a huge concern.

There is so much at play, so it’s hard to make any firm conclusions as to the exact reasons why we’re eating more than we normally would. But it’s clear that our food and food-related spending habits are being strongly affected by Covid-19, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.

What are we eating?

In the chart below, we can see how English-language baking conversations climbed as people went into lockdown. It’s a pretty smooth rise compared to other topics we’ve studied (e.g. learning a language mentions had a far steeper climb).

This slow rise makes a lot of sense. Whereas learning a new language just needs a free app, baking means ingredients, equipment, and research. With stockpiling and panic buying making flour and yeast hard to get, would-be bakers face an extra hurdle to get started.

That’s not to mention that baking takes practice, too. People might be waiting to perfect their loaves and sponges before sharing on social.

We also looked at what people were baking. Bread, in general, topped the list by far with 450k mentions. But we wanted to look at more specific items to get a feel for the trends.

Cookies are way out in front. Relatively simple to bake and incredibly tasty, we’re not exactly shocked. But there are two interesting entries we didn’t expect: Banana bread and sourdough aren’t exactly the staples the rest of the list represents.

The reason they’ve made it in is that they’ve become self-isolation fads. Thousands of people have latched onto them both under quarantine.

Sourdough in particular has lent itself to the free time some now have. Making it involves a sourdough starter, which takes five days of attention to create before you even start baking. If you’re working from home, that becomes a much easier task to keep on top of.

Of course, you might be lucky and find a starter on the street.

This analysis originally appeared in our daily Covid-19 data bulletin. Get the latest insights straight to your inbox for free – sign up here.

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