With around 40 percent of the Kiwi workforce working from home full-time or in a hybrid home/office scenario, the New Zealand way of eating and shopping during the workday is changing dramatically reports United Fresh NZ.
New consumer research* has shown that New Zealanders are visiting stores less often, snacking more, driving less, and sharing more meals with other household members. As a result, retailers and growers from New Zealand’s $6 billion horticulture industry are noticing that the changing way people work is increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables being eaten.
The additional time at home allows for home-cooked meals more regularly rather than relying on pre-packaged snacks and ready meals. The result means serving food with a much higher nutritional content packed with fresh ingredients such as seasonal vegetables.
A new study* reveals that encouraging people to eat less meat and more fruit and vegetables in our post-pandemic world could prevent up to 26 million deaths worldwide annually by 2060.
In addition to our increased appetite for fresh produce, the way that New Zealanders carry out their shopping has also fundamentally changed. Retailers are finding many WFH shoppers are using internet ordering for their weekly shop as they’re not out and about in the car as much. They’re also home to receive deliveries of perishable goods like fruit from their local supermarket or a delivery box service. Online shopping also means that there are fewer impulse purchases. All this is changing the retail environment considerably as stores need to consider variables like staffing levels across the two different service environments.
Health and wellbeing have been firmly in the spotlight since COVID-19. Looking after your body and mind by making good food choices is a great way to take control of the health of your whole whānau, and we’re seeing many more Kiwis embracing the 5+ A Day advice.
Businesses looking to attract workers back to the office must consider the health advantages their employees have become accustomed to at home. Workplaces can do a lot to keep their staff healthy by offering snacks with high nutritional value, such as fresh fruit or cut vegetables. Providing adequate space for employees to reheat prepared food is also essential, particularly as inflation is hitting our food budgets.
And while most of those WFH have picked up healthy new eating habits, there are still health risks to be aware of compared to the traditional office environment.
Increased snacking is often a feature of the WFH day, as is a feeling of isolation from the ‘team’. However, keeping up with a diet high in vitamins and minerals such as those found in fresh seasonal produce is beneficial for managing weight and mental health.
With more of us prioritising a healthy work/life balance, working from home, and the financial pressures of inflation, the ‘WFH diet’ looks to be a feature of the Kiwi lifestyle in years to come. If the trend continues, this should spell a significant increase in health and wellbeing for whānau throughout Aotearoa.