The global pandemic has transformed the way we shop, eat, and think about food. My clients are asking me which trends will continue as we re-open with the shadow of a second wave looming over us. Based on my experience, research, and work over the past two decades and specifically, since March 2020, let’s explore my top three pandemic trends that will continue over the next year.
This global crisis has put a greater emphasis on immune health as people look to protect themselves from covid-19. We have seen that the novel coronavirus has led to significant mortality among individuals with vulnerable or compromised immune systems. Vitamins and minerals, along with ingredients like prebiotics, and probiotics are on the radar of consumers more than ever. Hydration continues to be important for immune health. This is excellent news for food companies that view health as an investment and are innovating and/or expanding in the better-for-you sector over the next few years.
With the pandemic’s far reaching implications in the food supply, more than ever sustainability will be top of mind for both businesses and consumers. The complexity of food growing, handling, processing, distributing, retailing, food service, home preparation and disposal, plus all the workers involved at each step, has had a spotlight shone on it due to the pandemic. Covid-19 had raised issues about food self-reliance in Canada. This is providing challenges, but also opportunities for improvements in the adaptability and sustainability of our food system that will continue to evolve.
Ready to Serve and Prepacked Items
The days of the unattended, all-you-can eat buffets are gone for the foreseeable future. Hygiene and food safety will be priorities for both business and consumers. As we continue to re-open, international globetrotting is still far from people’s minds. However, enjoying some domestic travel, day trips and local restaurant experiences are much more desirable for people. Most grocery, hotel and restaurant buffets have either been eliminated or are always now closely attended by a server to monitor personal hygiene behaviour from other guests and to control how the food is served. With this change, including air and train travel, the need for ready to serve, prepackaged items are necessary to eliminate extra contact points to reduce the risk of contamination.
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