It has been a summer like no other in the shadow of COVID-19; festivals were cancelled and many travel plans disrupted, however, we still found ways to celebrate. Whilst Glastonbury's past was nostalgically streamed, food and drink came into its own, taking us on a global flavour adventure.
There's a stripped back feel to the summer, it's been a time to appreciate the simple things in life - from enjoying more eating occasions at home, such as brunch and barbecues, through to appreciating food in its simplest state. Organic and buying local are more important than ever in this back to basics approach. People and the planet are at the heart of consumers' choices as we look to a very different future.
With many holidays abroad put on hold or disrupted, we have increasingly looked to food and drink for those sunny, holiday vibes. Lamb marinated for days in aged feta with garlic and herbs slow cooked over charcoal brings a taste of Greece into homes, and tropical flavours continue to bring a taste of the sun to the everyday. From pink guava iced tea to caramelised pineapple topping ice-cream, sun and sea is evoked with every sip or bite. As well as Italian staycation meal deals, we've also taken our taste buds on a long haul adventure. Wanderlust Creamery in LA has taken us to Mexico with the more unusual paddle cactus ice-cream.
Stripped Back Summer
There's a back to basics approach to food and drink this summer as consumers seek out simple food with short ingredient lists and fewer food miles. Organic and seasonal produce have seen record growth. There's also a big focus on the most ancient methods of cooking and preserving - cooking with fire and freezing food is natural and most often doesn't require artificial ingredients. As frozen food enjoys record growth there is also a big move towards exploring seasonal ingredients. From cocktails made with wild strawberry and wild lime leaf to woodruff lager, the wilder and more in touch with nature the better.
The one constant that we have experienced this summer is change. Restaurants have pivoted to ensure that we still enjoy our favourite foods with take-aways and meal kits. As we get used to more time at home, more of this behaviour could be likely to stay even as cities reopen. Alongside delivery methods undergoing a seismic change, living with COVID-19 has also meant that we have had all had to chance to rethink how we want to shape a very different future. From new and flexible working patterns opening up different opportunities for 'food to go' to brands leading with sustainable messages, the future is change. For example, BrewDog in the UK has recently become the first international beer brand to become carbon negative. We are also seeing a focus on health and wellness with probiotics and immune boosting ingredients coming to the fore. People and planet have been at the heart of many consumer decisions this summer and look to become even more important.
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Access the full Summer 2020 categorywatching report, highlighting the food and drink trends that dominated the season, via the trendhub here.