As the country begins to re-open after months of lock down, innovators in the food industry are wondering what is next.
What have we learned?
Have consumer patterns changed for good, or is this just a temporary aberration?
And how will this experience affect the demand for food, both in retail and in foodservice?
Has that balance changed forever?
The marketing research company, Symrise, recently aired a webcast where they offered some trends that they believe will be around for a while. Paying attention to these trends offers opportunities for innovation to the food industry.
Trend 1: Permissible Indulgence
People want to treat themselves without breaking the bank. Increased demand for premium ice cream, gourmet treats and homemade signature cocktails fit into this category.
Trends 2, 3 and 4: Relax to the Max, Lost in Meditation and Feel Good Food
Consumers are stressed and facing more mental health issues and so there is a desire to consume foods that promote relaxation and comfort. Functional foods fit into this category along with foods that boost immunity and hydration. And of course consumption of our favorite comfort foods have seen increased sales, whether "healthy" or not.
Trend 5: Center of the Store is Back
There has been a huge revival in shelf-stable brands as consumers want to shop less frequently and to eat foods from their childhoods. Cereal and meal-based brands can't get on the shelves fast enough.
Trends 6 and 7: Scratch Cooking and Cook Like a Chef
With the kids home, cooking has become a favorite pastime of families to fill up the hours together. And as going out to restaurants happily may not happen for a while, many people are upping their cooking skills by learning from on-line chefs, baking bread, and trying new foods out of necessity.
Trend 8: Remote Work, Life Balance
What’s for lunch?
Will people working from home create a whole new category of foods? And if offices never open again to full capacity, what does this mean for the balance between retail and food-service? Just this week Twitter announced employees can work from home forever.
And what does it mean if schools open with changed schedules and all of a sudden they are home too? Is there an opportunity here for a new brand category? “Lunch at Home” meals? Or even "Lunch at Work" if those office canteens don't reopen.
Trend 9: Connect with Intent
Will virtual game nights and happy hours continue, especially with people who are geographically distanced? New events can spark opportunities for new foods and beverages. Zoom snacks or bottled signature cocktail mixers? This trend may also impact the retail/food-service balance. Can food companies quickly adapt?
Trend 10: Convenient and Sustainable Delivery
Obviously on-line ordering and pick-up and deliveries have skyrocketed as the restaurants have been closed. Will this trend continue as people discover that taking out family sized portions from restaurants other than pizza and Chinese are actually quite satisfying? Will more up-scale restaurants continue promoting these options even after we feel safe to go out again?
Is this the new normal?
Most of the country has gone through a disruption of routine. And many of these routines have changed how and where we procure, prepare and eat our food. As it takes several weeks to create new habits, it will be interesting if we turn challenge into opportunity for the future or if we quickly clamor back to what was.
If your company is revving up the R&D teams to take advantage of this disruption to create new brands or even new categories, Sugaright offers liquid sugar options that will fit your needs. Contact us to learn more.