Dieting Trends

I’m part of market research study, for which I scan the barcode of every item I buy and email back copies of every till receipt. It’s a bit of a faff but they pay for my time. At £8-10 per month in vouchers, it won’t fund an early retirement or Caribbean cruise, but I have used the accumulated funds to purchase Bible commentaries over the years, some of which are rather dear. I’ve been participating for about 16 years now, so the long-term trends and patterns that I have displayed may prove useful to the researchers. Occasionally, the organisation shares some of its general findings, a selection of which is below, covering the lockdown period thus far:

Burger and sausage sales soar after spring sunshine

Traditional barbecue meat sales have surged during lockdown as Brits take advantage of the persistent dry weather and eat more for enjoyment purposes. 17 million more barbeques had been held.

Bacon Breakfast

Consumers turning to more exciting options for breakfast and lunch.

Good for Butchers and Online Suppliers

This continued strong run for processed meats sits alongside the impressive growth of sales in butchers (300,00 additional shoppers) and online retailers – with the latter attracting 5 million meat, fish and poultry shoppers in the latest four weeks reflecting the fact many are buying locally or seeking online deliveries.

More Hot Dinners

As well as dining outside, our lockdown behaviours continue to evolve – with hot meals growing at almost double the speed of cold meals at lunch time. Steak dinner occasions have nearly doubled during lockdown, so the signs are there that consumers are bringing their out-of-home consumption behaviour into the home.

(Andy Crossan, Strategic Insight Director, Kantar.)

My own scanning of barcodes will have contributed to some of the above trends. For the first time ever, I cooked steak, I’m spending more money on food, I’m having cooked breakfasts and I’m making a point of buying fresh or freshly prepared vegetables.

More importantly, what changes have been made to my spiritual diet, over the same period? Those prepared to submit to Zoom may have received a relatively similar diet of spiritual exercise (meeting as we do twice for worship, once for prayer and another for Bible Study), but I suspect Zoom worship is the equivalent of Smash rather than proper mashed potatoes; a supermarket’s economy-brand microwave meal compared to a proper roast. It keeps us going, it’s quick and convenient, but not a wise long-term substitute.

When I reduced my hours at work, I always thought I’d cook more. I have visions of chopping asparagus, marinating chicken, popping a ‘splash’ of red wine into some exotic French sauce. That hasn’t quite been the case during this lockdown. Likewise, I assumed I’d read a new Christian book each day, brush up on the old Greek, wear out the spine of all my commentaries. Again, this hasn’t really happened.

Those who gained additional time in the past few months may be asked by the Lord what they did with it. Was it buried in the ground, or invested to bring forth increase? If, like me, you look back and think you might have done more, the milk is already spilt and there's no point crying. The rest of our earthly lives, however, lay spread out ahead of us; let's use the time well. Let's feast on the riches of God's word rather than nibble on crumbs or become bloated on stodge. 

I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able. 1 Cor. 3:2

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Ps 90:12

Image by silviarita from Pixabay