On Energy Drinks and Scruffy Hairstyles

Current sales figures show that ready-made meals and energy drinks are in great demand in the retail sector. Today’s shelf warmers, on the other hand: Hair spray, deodorant and perfume. Are home office, homeschooling and lockdowns opening the door to the dishevelled life? Yes and no, says columnist Maria.

Obviously: if it’s our own WC we’re using all day long, then at least the old loo should smell good. No surprise, then, that current retail data shows a double-digit increase in turnover for toilet cleaners and fresheners. Much less significant, in contrast, is a perfect look for my hairstyle while I’m stirring a pot of lunch with one hand and trying to dial into a virtual meeting with the other while my daughter is screaming because the apple juice has spilled all over her schoolwork. To be entirely honest, it’s rather a good thing that the laptop camera isn’t quite as sharp as reality when the morning has once again only left enough time to pull your hair into a bun.

And this isn’t just my experience. In February 2021, sales of hairstyling products fell by more than 25% compared with the previous year. Of course, a quick braid needs less hair spray than a blowout for the office. But let’s be honest: who really washes their hair quite as often as before the pandemic? No fibbing! And while we’re on the topic, it’s good for our skin and hair to be left to themselves from time to time.
A matter of taste

Fewer events, less beer …

Sales of deodorant and perfumes have also fallen drastically during the pandemic. Does this have to be a bad thing? After all, don’t we all want to be loved even when we don’t smell rosy? All fun aside: the numbers are very serious for the consumer goods sector. In the end, entire product ranges – and thus the manufacturers and suppliers as well, not to mention jobs – depend on these floundering articles. What has very much surprised me in this stressful situation are the sinking beer sales in Germany. The Federal Statistical Office, however, views not private consumption but rather the closing of bars and restaurants and the cancellation of large events as the chief cause.

And on the point of boarded-up restaurants and closed canteens: as I’ve written elsewhere – baking banana bread or cooking for yourself definitely do have a certain charm of their own. But we’ve just about grown tired of it all by now. Because if we’re honest, cooking at home can never replace the flair of a nice restaurant. And on the topic of childcare and uncomfortable truths: in order to be able to cook fresh and balanced meals, you first have to have the time. This explains why ready-to-eat meals have become especially popular recently. In Germany, nearly 50,300 tonnes more ready-made meals were produced in 2020 than in the previous year (a rise of 4.9%). We are apparently sparing a thought for our health, though: vegetable-based items showed the highest rate of growth.

… by why less sport and more sport drinks?

Consumers, by the way, are reaching disproportionately for energy drinks these days, with sales in the sport/energy drinks category spiking by up to 46%. In the vast majority of cases, this can hardly be traced back to more sport. Instead, is it something of a last resort for activating supposed energy reserves while juggling work and childcare?

I was recently given a contact grill for my birthday (perhaps because I’ve served my family frozen vegetable dishes a bit too often lately). It’s fantastic. Open up, put in steak, close. Beeps when the meat has reached the desired degree of doneness. The vegetables go in the oven just before, and afterwards everything goes into the dishwasher. Finished. Exactly to my taste – literally. All the same, I’m miles away from the level of a restaurant chef, and unfortunately just as far from my favourite bar... A reason why I’ll make a very particular point of celebrating the reopening of the dining sector – and purely out of principle, never mind what all the data says, with a new perfume and freshly styled hair.

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