What pairs well with a pandemic? A Covid-19 lens on Winethropy in America
Ideas, facts and figures during quarantine when you are stuck at home.
Covid-19 Global Pandemic has produced economic, social and behavioral disruption on a scale both deeper and broader than the 1918 Flu Pandemic or the 2008 Great Recession. As we continue to endure the effects of the pandemic uncertainty, impacts on consumer behavior and spending patterns are beginning to reveal themselves. The good news? Many of these emerging trends bode well for the WINEthropist movement.
Ideas during quarantine
The Joy of At Home Cooking
According to Harvard Business Review (Yoon, 2020) 54% of Americans say they are cooking more than they were pre-Covid and 35% say they are enjoying it more as well. In a New York Times survey, 75% of respondents said they have become more confident in the kitchen and 51% say they will continue to cook more after the crisis ends (Taparia, 2020).
Quarantine and social distancing have made space in our lives for cooking euphoria. Group celebrations, bustling happy hours and long commutes were replaced with homemade meals, video happy hours, and family baking championships. Kitchens have become both entertainment venues and chemistry labs. Our renewed love affair with food includes not only preparation techniques but also ingredients, nutrition, and flavor combinations to include, you guessed it, wine.
Tonight’s forecast: 99% Chance of Wine or Cooking with wine
If you are a fan of French cooking and folklore, you will be familiar with the phrase, “the better the wine, the better the dish.” In many homes, wine has become as synonymous with the cooking process as it is accompanying the meal. In his 1974 book, Beard on Food, Chef James Beard penned pages of famous culinary prose on topics as diverse as chicken anatomy and sandwich manifesto. Yet some of the most memorable involve the pleasures of cooking with wine (Beard, 2019).
The pandemic environment has had an effect on consumer behavior in all facets of the economy and the wine industry is no different. According to Joseph Micallef, Forbes Contributor, the impact of COVID-19 on U.S. alcoholic beverage sales has been different from the experiences in past recessions. Alcoholic beverage sales have spiked significantly, but the impact has been uneven. Some producers have seen their sales soar, while others have seen them decimated (Micallef, 2020). However, mail order wine sales have seen triple digit increases in both the US and abroad.
With the inability to wander the aisles of their local wine shop or visit a winery for local expertise, consumers are returning to trusted brands. According to Cathy Huyghe, Forbes Contributor, consumers are spending less time exploring the joys of new wines, preferring to stock up in a linear fashion with trusted favorites and well-known brands (Huyghe, 2020).
What is wine good for?
Wine, by nature, is a beverage with its own overarching personality. Sips of red over intellectual dinner conversations or heartfelt vulnerable revelations. Light and bright whites and roses to accompany sundresses and linen pants that compose the summer memories we dream of all year. Wine can be the solo companion to a cozy blanket and great book or the lubricant for boisterous laughter among friends.
Understanding the complex connection we have with wine has inspired winemakers to embark on some radical innovations to keep people connected during these trying times. Virtual wine tastings, collaborations between vineyards and top chefs, and new online options for wine certifications are just a few of the Covid driven revolutions available to wine lovers in quarantine. Additionally it is a natural way to relaxing.
The best savings accounts - buy less, choose well
Despite our affections, wine is not necessarily the frugal choice in times of economic hardship. Consumers all over the world are adjusting their spending habits out of real or perceived fears over job security. Reuters Writer, Mark John's finding states that, the US household savings has reached a two-decade high of 33% of income with Europe close behind at 19% (John, 2020). Households are looking for the best savings accounts and how they can save money now. Along with this newfound frugality, consumers are becoming more particular and more sentimental on their purchases.
In the report Covid-19 will permanently change consumer behavior, consumer research experts Oliver Wright and Emma Blackburn (2020) highlight significant changes in consumer behavior brought on by the pandemic. Specifically, a rise in conscious consumption and local or community supporting businesses. Since 2000, humanitarian spending in times of crisis has risen globally from $4B to more than $28B, yet the actual percentage of pure philanthropic giving has reduced based on overall need.
In contrast, social enterprises of all definitions have risen sharply in the last decade. In the UK alone they now make up 3% of GDP and 5% of overall employment (Summerfield, 2020). Many economists and psychologists hypothesize the win/win effect of receiving a tangible item or service coupled with the endorphins associated with philanthropic giving are the key to this magical elixir of consumer desire.
So what pairs well with a pandemic when you are stuck home?
According to a consumer pandemic study by The Cambridge Group, 44% of Americans fall into archetypes that are highly worried and are taking more extreme measures to socially distance (Yoon, 2020). Even as communities begin to open, the homebody or stuck at home lifestyle is expected to continue at greater rates than pre-covid. A Forbes survey of CFOs noted a plan to shift an additional 20% of their employees to remote work in order to gain savings from fixed costs (e.g., 10 year real estate leases) to more variable costs (e.g., employee compensation) (Minaya, 2020).
As we continue to transform our homes into our offices, vacation spots, classrooms and retreats, let’s continue to connect through wine. The Humanity Wine Company offers not only delicious wines from around the world, but provides life altering training and support to the youth of Argentina.
Stay safe, stay home and join our movement to change the lives of thousands through wine. For more information on Humanity Wine Company and our philanthropy Humanity Del Sol, please visit www.humanitywineco.com & www.humanitydelsol.org