The coronavirus pandemic saw the food service industry in Germany, France, and the UK lose £69 billion ($95 billion) in revenues over 2020, according to a report by a food consulting firm.
Coverpoint’s trends analysis states that through its discussions, research and work “it was evident that the food service industry, the supply, consumer and the marketplace, had all changed significantly”.
The report states that many previous trends had been accelerated, while others had fallen by the wayside. The consultancy says the biggest trends in 2021 would revolve around three main areas: consumer, supply and marketplace.
With consumers, there would be more focus in areas such as wellbeing because people will be more focused on healthier lifestyles, connections as the self-isolating during the pandemic will lead to an increase in live event attendance and shifting values as there will be a greater desire for authenticity, sustainability and social impact of purchases, states the report.
In the area of supply, the report suggests that new customer types such as tech-savvy “born-again seniors” who have a renewed focus on their health will make new demands for products and concepts which the industry will have to develop. There will be portfolio changes and demand for new types of restaurant concepts that extend into delivery, pop-ups, street food and food retail. There will be a reconsideration of resizing as many outlets will close which could create lower rents that create more opportunities.
In the marketplace, landlords and occupiers will need to create more reasons to visit their physical spaces and this could look like more experiential entertainment. More food services will move online and those that do not will use technology to create a better service. In terms of design, food services will have to adjust to take things like contactless services and sanitisation into account in their spaces.
Tracey Fairclough, managing director and senior consultant at TAF Catering Consultancy, welcomed the comprehensive report. She told Facilitate that the pandemic was “a game changer” for the profession and there was bound to be more focus on employee wellbeing. “For instance, food services in companies are talking more to FM and HR to help support the wellbeing of workers,” she said.
She added: “During the pandemic, various catering companies pivoted to make good use of ingredients and food to help charities and children.” Fairclough believes socially minded behaviour like this will continue and she also said that workplaces now had an opportunity to provide a more tailored “healthy and immune-boosting” food offer to workers that will be more in demand in the future.