Poll: Lockdown won’t dull Pinoy appetite for eating out – INQUIRER.net

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MANILA, Philippines — While Asians may be changing dining habits as they rediscover the joy of eating at home because of community lockdowns amid the new coronavirus pandemic, the Filipinos’ preference for dining out seems to remain largely unchanged, according to a study.

The study also indicates that Philippine restaurants that lost their customers could expect them back once quarantine restrictions are lifted.

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With many restaurants still closed and others operating only for takeout and delivery, Asia is seeing big changes in the way people eat—changes that could remain permanent, even after the pandemic is resolved, says the recent report “COVID-19: Where are consumers heading?” by US information, data and measurement company Nielsen.

In an ongoing study that’s part of a broader global research on market sentiment, e-commerce systems, travel behavior and the pandemic’s impact on different product categories, Nielsen says that the majority of consumers in the Chinese mainland (86 percent), Hong Kong (77 percent), Malaysia (62 percent), Vietnam (62 percent) and South Korea (62 percent) say they will eat at home more postpandemic.

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Online survey

The online survey was conducted between March 6 and March 17 in 11 Asian markets: Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

“As consumer lifestyles have become more densely urbanized, busier and more connected, the rise of food delivery and on-the-go consumption has dramatically changed traditional food consumption and eating experiences,” the report said.

“But as the coronavirus situation has evolved, where and how consumers are eating has changed, with more choosing to purchase goods to eat at home.”

The report noted, however, that the shift from dining out to food delivery and takeaway depends on a country’s traditional consumption habits, as well as the different quarantine and lockdown measures they have in place.

While the same trend has been seen in Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore when it comes to consumers’ at-home eating habits, in Japan, the majority of respondents (55 percent) said such habits aren’t likely to change that much; and only 11 percent said they would have their food delivered more often postpandemic.

Filipino consumers

And here in the Philippines, figures show that consumers are among the least likely to change their eating habits when the COVID-19 crisis is over.

Only 39 percent of Filipinos said they would eat more at home, slightly higher than the 37 percent who said that they would have their meals at home like before the pandemic, the study said. Sixteen percent would go for takeout more often and 13 percent said they would have their food delivered a little more often.

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Even with such nuances in different markets’ consumption habits, Vaughan Ryan, managing director of Nielsen Southeast Asia, says data suggest a more permanent transformation is coming to the region.

“Consumer thinking and actions have been reoriented, and this will have long-term consequences. For many, old habits like eating out may forever be replaced by new habits, more apt to new, altered environments. Not only will consumers reassess where they’re eating, but they will also be far more cognizant of what they’re eating,” Ryan said.

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Read more about the study here: Asian consumers are rethinking what they eat post COVID-19)


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