Concept arose decades ago and designates the habit of staying at home and performing tasks that, usually, you would do away with.
Formally, cocooning – or encasulation – means wrapping or enclosing yourself in a protective and comforting layer. The term gained projection in recent decades when it came to metaphorically designating the act of staying at home, whether to eat, work or have fun. In short, instead of going to the movies, why not open Netflix?
The habit has received a new push recently – and not only because of the popularization of streaming. The growth in food delivery and the rise in sales and variety of ready and semi-ready dishes have also driven this trend. According to the Brazilian Association of Bars and Restaurants (Abrasel), the delivery market moved R$ 11 billion in 2018 in Brazil, an increase of 10% over 2017. Meals away from home, on the other hand, grew 3.5% in the period, three times less.
According to the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae), 12% of the restaurants and snack bars served by the institution do not even have a physical store, working exclusively through deliveries. A few years ago, a number like this would have been unthinkable.
“The great impulse in the sector can be explained by the new delivery platforms and by the capillarity of operations, which facilitate the logistics of access to the consumer”, points out in a note to Abrasel, referring to, among others, iFood, Uber Eats and Rappi. “Closely linked to technology, the delivery sector needs to be always attentive to what is new in order to optimize processes and improve the experience of those who order food at home or at work.
Another trend, the growth in sales of ready and semi-ready meals, can be attributed to the reinvention that the segment has been going through. Practicality, of course, remains a selling point, but the concern with sophistication and nutritional quality has gained strength.
Recently, for example, Sadia launched a line of frozen food with the signature of English chef Jamie Oliver, famous for promoting a food that combines health and flavor. Supermarket chains such as Natural da Terra and Pão de Açúcar have invested in practical and light meals, and separate individual packaging, such as salads and fish.
According to Euromonitor International, a market research provider, revenues from the sale of ready-to-eat and semi-ready meals in Brazil reached R$ 5 billion in 2018, considering retail sales to the final consumer, and should grow 38% by 2023. Revenue from restaurants, bars, cafes and kiosks – i.e., meals outside the home – is expected to grow 13.5%.
There are also startups, such as LivUp and Beleaf, which focus on the home delivery of healthy frozen food, which can be consumed after a few minutes in the microwave. They have subscription plans for those who don’t have time – or the ability – to prepare their own dinner.
“The food categories chosen by consumers are changing. The changes in the way they buy packaged foods, however, are even broader,” says María Mascaraque of Euromonitor International. “The signing of meal plans, with a focus on healthy foods, is on the rise, stimulating innovation and differentiation in this market.