Future Food Update - November 2020

We hope that you are safe and well.

Foodservice and hospitality continues to face regional lockdowns, tiered restrictions and curfew closing which is impacting all businesses across the sectors. As always, 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. In this month's report we see veganism continue to grow out of home, consumers are seeking seasonal solace and comfort in meat based meals. Consumer appetite for cuisine discovery continues regardless of lockdown(s). As we move through this period of 'Reset' in food and drink it's evident that consumer awareness and the importance of local and seasonal ingredients as well as soil health is continuing to increase. Our hypothesis is that this is due to health and safety concerns around COVID and thus wanting to know where food has come from.

In January 2021 we'll be sharing, 2020 a year in review, focussing on the behavioural observations we've made and how we believe that this will play out in 2021.

Here are 8 key takeout's from the November 2020 panel:

1) Although veganism has seen an upward trend during the pandemic we have been recording an uplift in the number of consumers enjoying all meat based dishes at home, which maybe due to seasonal factors and consumers seeking comfort.

2) This month we have recorded an uplift in the importance of menus showing environmental certifications/accreditations, which maybe a positive outcome of the pandemic in terms of making consumers more aware of their food choices.

3) Awareness and interest levels continue to remain heightened in establishments having shorter seasonally abundant menus or farm/estate branding or using home grown ingredients. This current trend of demanding locally sourced, seasonal and certified produce may be due to health and safety concerns over COVID and thus wanting to know where produce has come from.

4) The popularity of global cuisines continues to rise. Alongside this, interest in the lesser well known cuisines continues to grow. Perhaps #Lockdown2 has made consumers more experimental with increased appetites for culinary discovery.

5) Consumers appear to be fatigued with #Lockdown2, with more now wanting to dine out to the same frequency as pre-pandemic, whether it be their favourite restaurant or street food.

6) Key changes in hospitality continue to sit under the over arching social distancing measures, including table service, hygiene measures, smaller menus and some are now noting more experimental menus.

7) #Lockdown2 appears to have heightened consumers' need for social interaction, most likely due to fatigue with the lockdown situation.

8) Appeal of using all parts of fruit & veg continues on an upward trend. As consumers are markedly more receptive to wastage, it would be beneficial for food service operators to highlight their usage of all parts of fruit & veg on their menus and marketing.

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