As experts in food and drink trend foresight, we're very clear on our role – shifting the future of food and drink by harnessing the power of trends – and to that end, the team are tirelessly piecing together the new future trends horizon in a world turned on its head. This means, we're updating the trends framework for 2020-21, as well as providing a more detailed, predictive look at how our fundamental relationships with food and drink are likely to change as we emerge from the pandemic. These will be published over the coming days.
The global public health crisis we are currently experiencing is forcing change at an unprecedented rate. The food industry is full of creative minds who are inventive, innovative and resilient. So, while the situation may currently feel devastating for many businesses, there should also be optimism – this unique period could also bring about significant positive change and innovation as a response to our 'new normal'.
Whilst much will change, the trajectory or direction of that change is impossible to tell. Indeed, many trends – for instance, a focus and new appreciation on local produce and seasonality, a reduction of carbon footprints – that were in their infancy pre-pandemic may well be accelerated and forced upon the industry.
The 2020-21 global driver of 'Securing the Future' couldn't be more relevant than it is today.
Whatever happens, we'll be here to share that future and those crucial foresights with you as soon as we see them.
Here are some of our initial observations
Nostalgia and Comfort
It will take us back in time, to an era where family meals were planned and cooked from scratch at home, creating a new flavour of nostalgia, with flour, butter, eggs, chocolate and maybe gin (!) being the new basket essentials. Sharing cooking skills in the family, or indeed using technology and comfortingly familiar TV chefs to equip ourselves with the needed knowledge and skills, learning how to make a simple cake or loaf of bread could be a game changer for some.
The skill of household waste will also come under the spotlight – potato peelings in the bin, no! bake them into crisps. For ease of management tinned food and the freezer is going to become our new best friend, it had in the past few years started to shrug off its cloak of poor quality food, but now these are cherished commodities as the time between our food deliveries becomes longer.
Keeping spirits up is just as important during these confusing days, with food and drink playing a huge part of this, what is an occasion without food? Celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and Easter is good for the soul, but with modern technology it can go much further, be great fun and keep us connected to our friend and family networks. Yes, we are talking virtual dinner parties, cup of tea and a cake, pints and snacks in the pub complete with pub quiz.
Me Mt My Best
Many consumers during this time will also be looking for healthy foods and nutritional supplements, to help boost their health or at least take comfort that they are doing something positive to help themselves. Online gym sessions, yoga and PE lessons (Joe Wicks' 9am) with the children will become part of the new timetable for the day, helping us to take control of some aspect of our daily life.
As the days grow lighter and the sun warmer many will be getting into the garden. Even if you don't have a garden just a window box full of herbs can turn simple pasta into a fresh herby delight. The Royal Horticultural Society has seen a spike in visits to its online advice pages on how to grow vegetables, fruit and edible plants, and what better way to boost your mood than to get outside and dig!
This crisis will push the use of technology along by years, forcing those that had no interest in online deliveries and communication to learn quickly and use it. Having to talk to your GP or have your hospital appointment online will suddenly expose many to the benefits of tech and start using it socially. It will also create the need for more sharing and team platforms, as virtual communication becomes the norm, and working from home a reality for many of us going into the future.
Dark or ghost kitchens which were gaining traction before this crisis in urban areas will see the usage boom, along with even greater dominance of the aggregator as the population learns to become ever more friction free.
In the last week much re-purposing has been going on, not only engineering companies switching to make vital medical equipment, but also the hard hit foodservice sector who have moved heaven and earth to turn their businesses into grocery stores and delivery services. This has meant many of those supplying the foodservice are now supplying the public, democratising the food supply chains, maybe forever?
One thing is for sure, the way we perceive food will be very different. Gone are the days of taking food for granted, for a while at least, food and medicines will be our most valuable commodities.
We at thefoodpeople want to reiterate both our support and well-wishes to all of you throughout the food and drinks industry; we sympathise wholeheartedly with those of you facing extraordinarily difficult times. Amid the turmoil, it's been truly heartening to see the industry pull together – for each other and for society as a whole – and appreciate enormously the invaluable work you are doing in keeping food and drink supply chains moving.