It’s no secret: the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped food industry trends for the better half of the past 18 months, evolving consumer habits and attitudes across the globe. We see this in the increased demand for comfort and nostalgia. At the core of the pandemic, the classic PB&J was a comforting, convenient and nutritious option for parents looking to provide healthy meals for their children. Along with this human desire for comfort, the pandemic introduced a new wave of health consciousness in the everyday consumer, especially surrounding food and nutrition.
Peanut and peanut butter consumption is already high in Canada – 95% peanuts and 94% peanut butter – but the recent surge in peanut popularity has led to the PB&J revival, which has likely been driven by a powerful plant-based consumption trend. Research shows Canadian consumers are searching for more nutritious plant-based options due to “an increasing awareness about the benefits of a protein-rich diet and plant-based alternatives, rising world demand for protein due to rapid population growth – and growing consumer interest in foods that promote health and well-being.” Overall, peanuts and peanut butter are great plant-based protein options for consumers searching for plant-based foods they can feel good about.
With so many Canadian children engaging in at-home virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with parents working from home, the classic PB&J was a popular option that connected the demands of sustainability, health and convenience. As the state of the pandemic and lockdowns across the globe evolve, food trends amongst consumers will continue to shift. The resurgence of the PB&J is a strong indication that even the humblest of foods can pack a powerful punch.