How has it changed your relationship to food? Affected your ways of working? Impacted what you want to change? 

Hubbub has been working since 2014 to support and help create healthy, connected and resilient communities across the UK, and these are the communities that coped best during the crisis.  

We found that the British public don’t want to go back to their old way of living. 

Now, as Britain considers how to rebuild, we’ve undertaken extensive public polling with Censuswide from April through to May to understand the public mood, hear people’s concerns and capture their vision for the country post-COVID. 

We found that after months of shopping locally, buying less, cooking more, cycling and walking, and blending family, home and work life in new ways, the British public tell us that they don’t want to go back to their old ways of living. A number of key themes emerged:  

       The way we live  the way we eat the way we travel

the way we use space  the way we dress and shop

People don't want to go back to old routines

The unexpected shock of COVID-19 forced people to change routines. For many this has been a period of reflection, a chance to rethink what was important in their lives. Most don’t want to go back to how things were. Only 12% of people want life to return to ‘exactly as it was before lockdown’. 

People have connected with their neighbourhoods more 

Appreciation of NHS staff and essential workers has soared and people have sought to build closer connections with their immediate communities and neighbours. It’s clear they want to see these changes retained as the lockdown is eased. 


Our relationship with food has changed

We have seen stark evidence of households struggling to put enough food on the table. Research suggests that 4.9 million people in the UK including 1.7 million children are now food insecure, up from 2 million before we entered lockdown. 

There are also indications that many people have become more careful, curious and discerning in their food choices through the COVID-19 crisis.


Travel habits changed drastically

People valued there being less traffic on the road and felt safer cycling as a result and would like this to continue. 

People have connected with nature

People have valued the improvement of air quality and the reduction of noise levels and have appreciated using more green spaces to connect with nature and help their wellbeing.

People's shopping habits and needs have changed

The lockdown intensified the shift to online purchasing, but people also started to use local shops and specialist delivery services as they became reluctant to travel too far from home. Increasingly people are questioning companies seeking to sell them things that they don’t need and instead want durable products that are made to last.  

The polling revealed a clear desire for long-term change, but this can only be realised if it is made easy for people to retain the benefits which means changes in government policy and the way that companies operate.  

Supporting local businesses  

UK spending

The polling revealed a clear desire for long-term change, but this can only be realised if it is made easy for people to retain the benefits which means changes in government policy and the way that companies operate. 

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read full polling report here

*Public Polling was with Censuswide from April through to May. Each poll was with a cross-representation of 2000-3,000 people. Our findings have been reinforced  by further insight from BritainThinks, the Food Foundation and WRAP.