In the way most posts start at the moment, we have to acknowledge the circumstances we find ourselves in. But, for some businesses, the pandemic has opened up the opportunity to pivot a business or to react to what is a very rapidly changing market and series of events. 

One sector is FMCG, or fast-moving consumer goods, predominantly most items you would find in the supermarket. We have all seen the trends in people flocking to stockpile toilet roll and then tinned food and flour, but what is really happening beyond the headlines?

With things moving so rapidly, we wanted to look into the trends worldwide and show brands where they could be focussing and adapting strategies. We have opted to use search data from Google’s keyword planner looking at the lockdown recipes the world really has been searching for, is it really just banana bread? Or have people used this opportunity to really experiment and how does this differ between countries?


Inputting the seed term ‘recipe’ into keyword planner exported all searches up until April 2019. The data shows the percentage of changes and the numerical change in terms of searches from April 2019 to March 2020. 

The rationale behind this is that year-on-year comparisons remove any seasonality, so we can be pretty sure that any change is due to COVID-19 and not due to it being a month where banana bread is usually baked every day…

In the analysis of the 47 countries across the world that have had some form of lockdown over the past few weeks, and all search terms related to recipes, we set about finding the recipes most in-demand during the pandemic. 

The findings can be found below and SHOCKINGLY it isn’t all about banana bread, it seems each country has its own fads. However, it’s safe to say all of the results could be considered as some form of comfort food – something we all need right now!

Using the percentage change in searches April 2019 v March 2020, it seems the pandemic forced the UK to bake bread, with a bog-standard loaf seemingly the antidote to the stress. While Lithuania opted for the perfect cinnamon roll, Kenya perfected its focaccia making skills.

To view the full data set, click here.

If you are keen to try any of the recipes yourself, we have included a link to 20 of our favourite lockdown nation’s recipes below:

The research reveals exactly what people want to see during this lockdown and this seems like it could be a huge win for FMCG brands if they are quick and able to adapt and react to the sudden changes in demand from consumers. 

Of course, it isn’t as simple as that, but marketing and communications should be quick to adapt, as is the nature with digital marketing and this insight could be key to making the most out of a bad situation.

Can you use any of the data above to adapt your marketing or content strategy right now? 

Petar Jovetic

SEO Director

Petar is the SEO Director at Impression and specialises in content, technical SEO and digital strategy. He's guaranteed to be the only guitar-wielding, digital marketing-talking, Montenegrin you know.

Petar has specialist knowledge in SEO, Technical SEO and On Site Content.

2 thoughts on “Lockdown Cooking Searches: Feeding Your Marketing Strategy

  1. kelly Jenkins says:

    Hi there Petar,

    This is a really insightful article thank you for caring this.

    I am Kelly Jenkins, I am a contemporary artist based in Hampshire, UK. I am currently creating work inspired by and using data transforming it into bubble diagrams and translating these into embroidery that is stitched into painted canvas. (you can see examples of my abstract embroidered data paintings on my instagram account @kellyjenkinsartist )
    I have a virtual artist residency post for the month of July and I am using this time to explore and understand data in relation to Covid 19. Not death related stats but more focused on peoples hobbies, activities and trending searches for snippets of happiness, normality and escapism. The residency series of work is titled “Comfort In Chaos” and I aim to calculate scaled circles using the data that will then be stitch into abstract landscapes that represent ‘internet landscapes’. (I hope this is all making some sort of sense!).
    I am using google trends and The Office For National Statistics as my main bases for sourcing data, but when I found your awesome and insightful article – it was perfect!
    I am writing to you to request your permission to use some of the data that you shared on this Impressions article for the ‘top food recipes searched for during lockdown’. It would be awesome if you are happy for me to use and translate your recipe data into art. But if not no worries at all but I thought it only right that I seek your permission.

    Warm wishes
    kelly Jenkins

    1. Petar Jovetic says:

      Hi Kelly,

      Thank you for reaching out and requesting permission to use the data. I’m loving the idea of the residency, “Comfort in Chaos”, and we’d be happy for you to go ahead and repurpose this data into that work. I’d only request that you credit the source if it gets cited around the web but otherwise, feel free to use 🙂

      Be sure to get back in touch once the piece is created, I’d be keen to take a look!