There is no doubt that the food industry is changing forever. Who knows if it will yield all good results, but something is clear - we will have more options to get the food we want, when we want it.
2020 started off on a very high note in regards to health and wellness initiatives. Demand for sustainable, organic ingredients, and plant-based meals was in high demand. The amount of local products and the drive towards values based, digital, and thriving startups did not last long however. The Covid-19 stay-at-home orders have changed the way consumers shop and eat. Since fresh foods are hard to come by and most restaurants are not allowing indoor dining, people are buying unprecedented amounts of packaged foods, putting a halt to some of those trying to eat healthier and cleaner.
As people continue to lose their jobs and file for unemployment, they are becoming much more frugal with their incomes. This means not paying for the wholesome, clean ingredients that were popular before the pandemic hit.
So What Now?
Studies have shown that 53% of people will wait at least three months before returning to restaurants and 38% of people will wait at least five months or until further regulations and health advancements before returning to restaurants. As more people are seeing trends like cooking meals from scratch and looking for healthier options, some might wonder how much of this will actually last.
Products such as immune support tablets or supplements to better sleep and stress management will become more popular as people continue to stay at home and have limited opportunities to get out and enjoy society.
Some Trends to Look For
Here is a list of trends that have seemed to take off during this time of stay-at-home orders and Covid-19 precautions.
Not only has online shopping taken off on sites like Amazon and other online shopping services, online grocery orders have also skyrocketed. Contactless delivery and avoiding exposure in a grocery store is attractive to those following quarantine orders.
The new normal for resturants and grocery stores post-Covid
For restaurants, takeout is the new normal. Chefs are trying to figure out how to make their meals look to-go ready rather than restaurant-dining ready. More practical ways of serving takeout food are also on the horizon. Disposable menus and cutlery will soon need to be introduced.
Grocery stores will need to figure out how to reconfigure their stores in order to have wider aisles and more space in between shoppers. More stores will need to adopt contactless payment. Amazon Go is a good example of this. Although there aren’t too many locations, it is a good step forward. Say goodbye to open buffets and the hot section in grocery stores.
Will food become more sustainable?
Sustainability in food means producing, packaging, transporting, and selling food in ways that are better for the environment and human life. To comply with this, companies have started investing in ways to produce food without relying on the death of animals. This would mean being able to eat food that tastes like and looks like meat without killing animals, leading to better treatment of animals and, subsequently, the environment.
Since it has become more difficult to trust your food, with the growing concern of food safety, the emergence of sustainable foods will be essential to helping save our environment and food economy.
Researchers are also finding that if companies such as food production companies can integrate AI into their supply and demand loop, it will be a bit easier to recover. Even if something is made in the US, the company might rely on foreign exports for parts or other aspects of their business. How can society create a circular economy in their own country so people feel safe and as if they can rely on where they get their products being safe, and clean.
The only way out of this global health crisis is to work together. Find ways to work and find ways to a better solution that saves lives as well as lets people have some of their freedoms back.
Which Trends are Actually Here to Stay
Many of these trends won’t last after we have a vaccine and the mess of Covid is cleaned up. Here are a few trends that researchers think are going to stick around for the long haul.
Buying local and supporting small businesses
This pandemic has shattered revenue and forced many small businesses to close forever. It is extremely difficult for someone to start a business let alone keep it up and running. Buying local, whether that’s local foods or other items, will not go away. This past year has shown how important it is to support those in our near communities.
Online grocery shopping
Who has the time to stand in line to get into a grocery store when most often people are trying to make it a quick in-and-out experience? Online ordering is a great way to avoid the lines and the raids of people trying to stock up for the “apocalypse”. There are now more options than ever for ordering groceries online. From discounted health foods, subscription services, and regular grocery stores getting in on the trend, there are countless ways to get food delivered right to your doorstep.
The safety of takeout meals and restaurants came into question when the Covid-19 lockdowns were enforced. Many people began cooking all their meals from home in order to minimize human contact. There is no doubt that people will be itching to get back to their favorite restaurants, but if the pandemic has shown anything, it’s the value of a home cooked, nutritious meal eaten with family.
Rethinking the foods we eat
Covid-19 has given us more time. More time to think and more time to realize what we are putting into our bodies. Along with the many health benefits that whole, plant-based foods provide, they are also nicer to the environment and help preserve our world as we know it.
People have taken more time to focus on what they put on their skin. More and more research tells us that our faces are our biggest glands and whatever we put on them, immediately sinks into our skin. Focusing on the ingredients that are soaking in when you wear makeup all day or simply regular facial and skin products has become more popular. Being able to find those products that give a “natural glow” will not be going away.