Future Food Update - December 2020

We hope that you are safe and well.

With the foodservice and hospitality sector in the UK still closed, except for takeaway and delivery, the pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the wider industry and all those working within it. As in previous months, we've continued to update our research which charts consumer readiness for change and innovation through the lens of sustainability, cuisines and eating out of home more broadly. See below the top 5 takeout's from our December Panel.

During w/c 1st February we'll be sharing, 2020 a year in review, focussing on the top 10 behavioural observations from 2020 with accompanying foresight for 2021.

Here are 5 key takeout's from the December 2020 panel:

1. Over the past year flexitarians seem to have been swayed by the 'unknown' of #lockdown1 and the tradition of Christmas. Their behaviour has moved around, but these two periods have recorded the biggest shifts in behaviour. During lockdown there was a lot of concern and panic in the world so consumers seemed to look for comfort in food. And, at Christmas, flexitarians seem to be swayed by the Christmas traditions of eating turkey.

  • That said being vegan is still a very popular trend and so far in 2021, during Veganuary, we have seen a number of new retail products launched and news of suppliers, such as The Meatless Farm Co now supplying to food services such as Itsu. And, although behaviour of flexitarians has varied, that of those who are 100% vegan or vegetarian remained relatively stable.

2. The usage of different types of packaging has varied over the past 12 months, specifically for recyclable packaging and package free. For these two we recorded heightened usage during lockdowns and regional restrictions, indicating these spikes are most likely driven by concerns over COVID, such as the virus remaining on packaging.

3. Levels of awareness and interest in locality and seasonality has grown. There appears to be a broad theme of consumers wanting a connection with their 'local place and 'local people'.

  • This probably is driven by concerns related to COVID and consumers wanting to be good citizens and supporting their local community.

4. Since September we have recorded an upward trend in appeal of wastage sustainability, specifically for healthy soil, where we have seen an increase of 10% throughout the year.

  • Appeal of bio-digest/composting and bio- diverse species & varieties are both also now tracking higher than at the start of the year.
  • Increase of appeal among consumers is most likely driven by concerns over COVID and Brexit.

5. As human beings we are social by nature and during December when a number of regional restrictions were in place a key driver for consumers wanting to go out again was the desire to see their friends and family to socialise. However, COVID measures were still very important to them to encourage them to go. They also want to support their local businesses.

To find out more about Future Food this exciting collaboration between thefoodpeople and Good Sense Research click here!

Stay safe and keep well.