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All Change, please

In the fourth of a series of articles, David Preston CEO of Realise discusses how our lifestyles have changed during Covid-19.

Normally, change is something that takes place over months, or years. Psychologists often state that for a person to change a habit – think smoking, weight-loss, language learning, the new state has to be embraced for at least 28 days. Few of us hold out that long.

Suddenly we are given at least twice that period. Research from the Food Foundation showed that compared with gradual changes in eating behaviour as consumers respond to the climate, nature and obesity crises, we are now seeing radical lifestyle changes at the drop of a hat.

For all the negative impacts of Covid-19, consumers are valuing cleaner air, clearer waters, the abundance of wildlife.

How we value food is changing. Three million people have tried a veg box scheme or are buying direct-from-farm both to get what we need and to support the local community.

Much has been written about the ‘new normal.’ However, it is interesting to see that less than one in ten want everything to go back to how it was before the pandemic. The majority, 85%, want to see some of the personal or social changes they have experienced continue afterwards.

The survey also revealed ‘significant changes to our relationship with food, family and the environment’.

For example, social bonds are stronger, with 40% feeling a stronger sense of local community and 39% more in touch with friends and family.

A total of 42% say the outbreak has changed how they value food as an essential, and one in ten have shared something like food or shopping with a neighbour for the first time. Additionally, more than 19 million of us say they are cooking more from scratch and 17 million are throwing away less food.

Although 27% of us are getting more exercise, 36% say they are getting less exercise than before. More positively, 51% say they have noticed cleaner air, and 27% more wildlife since the outbreak began.

Those of us old enough to remember other seismic global changes, think 9/11, or the 2008 crash, may retain a degree of cynicism, reflecting on how easily the world when back to ‘old ways'.

However, Covid-19 has had a much more visible and personal impact on all of us, so it may well be that the change will last.

Jane Pittaway of Signum summed up the feelings of many people when she wrote ‘Covid-19 seems to be Mother Nature’s way of putting us on the naughty step.’

Vegetable boxes are just one of the options that companies provide their employees: check out our website to find out more.

But it’s a scheme with infinite flexibility, that gives the employee more choice over their life. It seems we will all have some major choices to make in ‘the new normal’, let’s help people make the right ones.