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A note from Esther McVey: I'm shopping local - are you? 

According to a new study by Elephants Can't Jump, a UK-based marketing and advertising agency, not only has what, when and why we eat changed in the last 2-months, but, so too, has our attitude towards food. In recent months, the study suggests, that food and drink has found a new level of significance for many of us. For many, food has become a regular solution for boredom, causing some of us to eat a bit more, and less healthily. For others, setting daily meal-times has helped create an all-important routine, establishing a new and valuable structure to the day as many wrestle with working from home, home schooling and dealing with the current uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

The study also found that food and drink has become an alleviator of stress. Yes, it appears you’re not alone if you’re treating yourself with an extra snack or two each week, or, even the occasional ‘treat’. In the absence of other types of entertainment, there has been a rise, no pun intended, in baking. According to the study, parents struggling with home schooling, and working from home, are also using snacks and meals to bargain with, and entertain, their kids.

The study found that preparing and planning each meal, has not only become something to look forward to but a form of entertainment, bringing families, and those living with others, closer together.


Has your attitude towards food and drink changed?


Thankfully, the unnecessary panic buying at supermarkets has stopped and been replaced by an even greater level of appreciation for our country's food producers and supermarket workers.


Temporary closures of cafes, pubs and restaurants has meant we're eating at home more, and, I know, from the conversations I have, albeit virtually with friends, family, colleagues and constituents, many of us are also preparing more of the food we eat ourselves.


The benefits of a healthy, nutritional diet are well documented as are the growing popularity of flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan diets. Long before the words Coronavirus, COVID-19 and pandemic were muttered, our attitude towards food was changing. The current circumstances are only accelerating these changes.

Albeit in a land thousands of miles away, it was food, and where it came from, that appears to have been the root cause of COVID-19. What and why we eat appears to have changed as a result of this pandemic. Will it last? I don’t know. But I do hope that when this ends, and it will, we continue to appreciate and respect the country’s food producers and supermarket workers, support our local communities by shopping local and being more aware of how our food was produced and where it came from.


Of course, I’m looking forward to a pint in the local, a bite to eat at my favourite restaurant and cuppa in the local café. Until then, I’m embracing this change in attitude towards food at home, shopping local, thinking about where my groceries have come from and enjoying the entertainment that comes with trying to rustle up something different to eat each night!

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