Future Food Update - October 2020

The foodservice and hospitality sector continues to face regional lockdowns and curfew closing which is impacting all businesses across the sector. Regardless, we've continued to update our research which charts consumers readiness for change and innovation through the lens of sustainability, cuisines and eating out of home more broadly. In this month's report it's clear to see the attitudinal impact to trying new foods when a financial incentive (Eat Out to Help Out) is in play. As we move through this period of 'Reset' in food and drink it's evident that consumer awareness and the importance of sustainability, wastage, seasonal ingredients and soil health is continuing to increase.

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

  1. Apart from the fallback in September, the appeal of wastage sustainability has increased throughout the tracking period, with the use of healthy soil being of heightened interest in October.
  2. Noticeably improved hygiene has been cited by consumers when visiting venues, along with smaller menus, however a number are reporting poorer levels of customer service.

  3. As the pandemic continues, wanting to catch up with friends and have some sort of normality have been key influences for visiting pubs, bars, cafes or restaurants during October.

  4. Since August we have seen a gradual increase in the importance of package free produce which may be due to fears of rising COVID cases.

  5. As the temperatures fall, consumers appear to turn to comfort foods and are enjoying more meat based meals at home and when eating out.

  6. The comfort of British food continues to lead the way, but interest in seeking global and new emerging cuisines has been gradually increasing, with some cuisines back to pre-pandemic levels.

  7. Sustainability continues to rise in importance, specifically so for sourcing sustainably and for the use of seasonal ingredients.

  8. There has been a sharp jump in the proportion of consumers aware of and interested in shorter seasonal abundant menus, which may be due to the increased number of COVID cases reported and consumers therefore wanting to know where produce has come from.

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