Increase in home deliveries
If you ask swiggy and Zomato, how did 2020 go for them and their business, then they would say, fairly well. This was due to a huge increase in the online orders during the pandemic that all food aggregators remained active in the business. Food delivery businesses were the least hit services during the pandemic, of course after medical services! Due to restrictions of going out, people found comfort eating their favorite ordered food at home after the few initial months of strict lockdown. There was a surge in online orders during special occasions and festivals as well.
Increase in takeaways
Due to the pandemic eating out at restaurants came to a standstill. With increased emphasis on eating safely and maintaining social distance, food takeaway trends will continue to be preferred instead of dining at restaurants. This does mean that there would be less visible traffic at restaurants and also small seating spaces. People would prefer to take away their favorite food from the restaurants then have it there sitting between several other people.
Increase in pop-up kitchens or cloud kitchens
Pandemic caused normal restaurants to shut but still there was a clientele that wanted to be able to receive good quality and sometimes authentic cuisines based food. This was an opportunity for all those home cooks who knew their respective cuisines and were already preparing them for their relatives on special demand. This led to a surge in the amount of Pop up or cloud kitchens that started serving quality, healthy delicacies, prepared in safe environments.
Prioritization of hygiene and sanitation
The danger of the virus forced all of us around the world to take extra care and precaution. Restaurant market and food culture in India lacked heavily in terms of cooking in clean kitchens. We know this because of several reports published by the media regarding hygiene standards in India. The Covid pandemic would serve as the perfect trigger that was required for this much needed change. So, from now there would be double check on food and safety standards.
The decline in consumption of animal protein
The pandemic started because of the coronavirus which was found in the china’s wet market. It spread through an animal’s meat which was meant for consumption. The danger of the virus being found in animal products caused people to stop it’s consumption. This is the main reason for people turning towards more conscious options and vegetarian choices during the pandemic. In future as well, this will continue to remain a growing trend.
Online grocery shopping
Initially when the lockdown began, everyone focused on stocking more and more groceries in their homes. They knew that buying groceries from local shops by going out of their homes would become a luxury. So when they ran out of stocks or when there was a sudden urge to snack on. When the lockdown was lifted, more and more people started to order the groceries online. This came across as a rising trend and will continue in future where everyone would prefer groceries delivered to their step.
Switching to vegetarian diet and vegan options
A shift in the choices of meat eaters was observed as they switched to more sustainable options. The spread of covid has been a major cause of shift in choices for everyone. A large number of Indians specially turned to vegetarian options. More and more people who consumed animal protein made a choice to eat vegetarian food instead in the pandemic. It was recommended by WHO to eat nourishing food. This would mean people have been including more fruits, whole nuts and vegetables into their diets.
Focus on health and sustainability
Our earth and the environment are in danger due to the harm caused by us on our planet. Our habits and choices have been depleting the planet in more than one way. This pandemic has given all of us a reality check. From now there is an increased focus on choices that are healthy and sustainable. We are responsible for the well-being of the plants and animals on this planet so we should make preferences which are friendly to them. Choosing eco-friendly packaging options, more sustainable cutlery to eat food, etc. is something that restaurants can adopt.
New kinds of the packaged food market
With an increased number of people preferring to eat at home, they demand more variety and quality. Packaged or ready to eat premixes are a huge trend since they are easy to prepare at home as well. These kinds of products are in demand as this offers the customer at home food that is similar to at the restaurant.
The decline in street food consumption
With an increased focus on hygiene and cleanliness, there would definitely be a drop in the amount of street food consumption. India is known for its street food and Indians love the street food. Now with the probability of eating at streets diminishing, opportunities for people at home to serve their street food delicacies has increased. This has led to an increase in home chefs. In future we can expect small establishments running from home serving their favourite street food.There are even platforms like Homefoodi and Authenticook that connect new budding home chefs.
Family-sized meals for delivery, single meals while eating out
During the pandemic people ordered meals that were family sized and this helped restaurants in saving costs. As ordering the same meal in family size required less packaging than ordering separate single serving meals. This is something that should continue even after the pandemic.
Increase in usage of technology
Food and beverage industry lacked in it’s usage and integration with technology. The pandemic has been successful in bringing about this change in a more rapid manner. Now, there is an usage of IoT, Cloud computing, and Artificial intelligence by restaurants. Systems with Artificial Intelligence integrations have AI run programs that seamlessly integrate with a restaurant’s menu, point of sales solution and inventory control system. As of now, McD is still using a system like this. Restaurants are also accepting the cloud integrations in POS systems.
Increase in people choosing trustworthy brands
If there was a need to put your brand in front of the market, then it is now more than ever before. With the lockdown, consumption of social meda channels increased tremendously. Brands and restaurants already present on Social Media benefited by their visibility which led to increased orders. Being present on Social Media also helped them build trust in front of their online customers. Some brands even took to sharing lockdown recipes, safety tips and other COVID relevant content online with their followers
The decline in catering services
Catering services were hugely popullar in India during times of festivities and special occasions. Now with the lockdown and the pandemic, the festivals were being celebrated at home very qaintly. The special occasions also became private affairs. All of this has made no contact necessary and thus catering services have not been in trend during the pandemic. Although there will be a demand for outsourced services but less than before.
Contactless service at restaurants
With extra importance given to social distancing, It might be normal to continue maintaining a distance from each other even after the pandemic. This will increase the number of takeaway meals, people eating through drive-throughs, and eating at individual diners where contact with the servers and other customers is zero. This also means that the service staff will have to follow safety measures and wear gloves at all times.