Future Food Update

Much has changed in the world of out of home food over the last 3 months, since we launched Future Food at HRC back in early March. The COVID-19 pandemic is posing a staggering health and humanitarian challenge in all areas of life. But one sector that has been devastated is the foodservice and out of home sector. Sadly, we've seen many great brands and leaders of the industry close their doors forever, some expected, some definitely not. We've seen operators change their business models overnight turning their hand to delivery, semi prepared meal kits, selling basic provisions, shifting into a 100% delivery model and of course cooking for frontline workers.

During this time we've continued to speak to our panel about how their relationship with food and drink has evolved as a result of COVID-19.

What Future Food set out to achieve is to demonstrate the relationship between future trend predictions and customer acceptance, readiness, and importantly how that manifests over time. Now that the out of home sector readies itself to open its door to consumers once again, we thought that now would be a good time to share some of the findings of this study through the lens of sustainability, cuisines and eating out of home more broadly.

Here are a few of the key takeout's:

  • In May, we saw fewer consumers ordering vegan & vegetarian meals from a takeaway/delivery channel, compared to earlier in the year when they were able to eat out at restaurants
  • We've observed a decline in the use of 'packaging-free' and 'reusable packaging' in April and May, which could be due to concerns around contamination (linked to COVID-19)
  • Diners are increasingly mindful about seasonality, local sourcing, sustainability when eating out but this becomes far less important when ordering from takeaways or restaurant deliveries
  • When the hospitality sector re-opens, with social distancing rules in place, diners expect to see better levels of cleanliness and hygiene, but they are concerned that there will be a price increase and loss of atmosphere
  • British classic food remains most prominent but as we move through lockdown and the prospect of eating out again becomes a reality so does the interest in global and modern cuisines grows
  • Food establishments with shorter seasonally abundant menus are generating awareness and interest
  • Diners are aware of and interested in food establishments using micro local, micro seasonal ingredients and sourcing from local chefs
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