The effects of COVID-19 have caused an acceleration in foodservice trends which are set to continue long after the pandemic has been brought under control, according to a new report by Coverpoint Foodservice Consulting.
The report points to some of the new and innovative ways in which operators have reached their customer base, and examines how the challenges of the pandemic have offered the opportunity to refocus portfolios and search out new revenue streams – many of which will continue to be relevant in a post-COVID world.
The report, released this week, is the fifth annual foodservice trends book from specialist consultancy Coverpoint, and analyses the industry from three perspectives, the customer, supply and the marketplace.
The Director Team at Coverpoint said: “Many of the foodservice trends we have seen in the last few years have accelerated in response to the challenges of the pandemic. Pivot, agility and innovation are all buzz words to facing down the COVID-19 threat and many of these new ideas are here to stay.”
They said an increased customer focus on wellness along with a shift in values and need for connection had been reinforced during 2020, while both the physical and online marketplaces had continued to develop alongside the operator and customer needs for experience and function.
They said: “Customers have realised the enjoyment of space and privacy resulting from the COVID restrictions on the foodservice industry and have felt hygienically safer in many of the environments. Simple and obvious things like contactless payment and restaurant outdoor space taking over from busy roads have increased during the pandemic but seem to make sense for the future too.
“The world is now filled with ASMR sizzling chicken websites and carbon footprint labelled menus, not to mention plans for Las Vegas’s first non-smoking, non-gambling hotel dedicated to wellbeing. Drive-throughs, whilst not new, are on the increase and ‘dark kitchens’ are seeing big investment.”
The Team said the report showed many reasons to be optimistic about the future and demonstrated a resilience and ability to change that had been ever-present in the industry.
They added: “It’s been a pretty appalling 2020 in terms of the global foodservice industry and many have questioned whether it will ever fully recover. However, a look at foodservice through the centuries would indicate that it will bounce back, return, recover and - most importantly - rejuvenate. From the effects of the French Revolution to Prohibition in the US, the industry has shown how it can rise again, but often with distinct changes.”
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