The food industry is now operating very differently than how it used to a few months ago. The pandemic has caused massive shifts in supply chains, imposed new hazard controls, and have turned the consumer preferences upside down.
Food Manufacturers, Retailers, Restaurateurs, and others have adapted to these changes by stepping up in terms of innovation and security. Since it looks like this ‘new reality’ will stick around even post-pandemic, businesses have to start thinking of introducing new techniques that will work for long-term.
Let’s discuss the primary trends that will define the food industry as a whole post-COVID-19?
The new habits are here to stay
COVID-19 has brought some revolutionary changes to our daily lives, and since we have adopted and adjusted to these new changes, these won’t just vanish overnight. We might continue to rely on grocery retailers to bring essentials at our doorstep since we want minimum disruption in our lifestyle and maintain a high regard for safety regulations.
There is hyper-awareness of safety and hygiene among the consumers, and therefore, the entire food industry will continue to follow the safety practices. Disinfecting and sanitizing the common touchpoints regularly will remain the norm. Even the mandatory guidelines like wearing face masks and PPE, regular temperature checks, and frequent sanitizing will also boost the adoption of technology, which will transform the way the food industry interacts with the consumers.
Technology being a Facilitator
Every crisis sparks innovation, and the food industry has definitely proved this. Technology is the biggest help to us enabling interactions that would probably otherwise seem impossible. We have evolved with the aid of technology with processes like contactless dining, ordering, payments and pick up and this change is not going anywhere. This pandemic has also accelerated innovation and made it mainstream, such as virtual tipping, mobile order and payment, which is adopted by a lot of restaurants and fast-food giants.
The use of virtual tech won’t just end here, many food and beverage companies are going to leverage, innovate, and incorporate technology into their new product or service launches. The food industry has witnessed new AI-based technologies, enabling food businesses to prevent the risk in the workforce in a better and seamless way. These technological solutions will be crucial even post-pandemic.
New Era for Food Safety
With the pandemic, a new era of food safety has emerged. It has made the world rethink the various established safety-related concepts. Therefore, this outbreak has led to changed behaviours and new rules such as formalizing and giving a structure to even the small food enterprises, provisions for direct sales from farmers, leveraging technology to ensure safety, and also investing in more robust food infrastructure. These changes in maintaining high hygiene standards can also affect the street food culture, especially in countries like India where it’s quite popular.
Food Sustainability at the Forefront
This is a year of reckoning for food systems around the globe. The pandemic has exposed the flaws and loopholes in the global food supply chain because it’s highly centralized and operates on a just-in-time basis. Hence, we witnessed panic food runs, urgent supply shortages, and also large amounts of food waste as many businesses were shut down overnight.
As we as an industry are rethinking the fundamental principles of the food industry such as safety and supply, there is also a need for transparency and visibility into product sourcing and manufacturing. Consumers across the globe will now prioritize food which is healthy and locally sourced. As we move forward, diverse food companies are likely to tap into the trend, of plant-based, nutritious, local, and even healthy DIY meals and products.
New Dining Trend
The restaurant and hotel industry have been the direct victims of the pandemic, but at the same time the industry has been resilient and quickie adapted to the new realities. Many food businesses have introduced service extensions such as deliveries and takeaways. These new services have gained popularity and are likely to stick around. Restaurants are diversifying their services and including new ways of dine-in to create a safe customer experience.
It’s obvious that the future of the entire food industry will be significantly recognized and pronounced by COVID-19. The pandemic’s prolonged nature will further solidify the newly embraced habits. Safety and hygiene can never be ignored now. With the disruption caused to the food industry due to COVID-19, the food safety plans are evolved now. Having a strong food management systems such as Hygiene Quotient shows your customers and your staff that following best practices lead to safer products for consumers. Hygiene Quotient is an app-based service to help build a safer space by monitoring your site’s daily safety and hygiene compliance through technology and innovation.
Also, certification like Safe Place to Dine identifies and recognizes the efforts of the restaurants in keeping their customers safe. With a set of expert-curated safety standards, restaurants and their food delivery services are audited based on their level of compliance and then awarded with a ‘Safe Place to Dine’ certification, which is recognized nationwide.