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5 Trends Due to COVID-19

11 May 2020 by Food&HotelAsia


As the hands of the clock ticked their final lap from ‘11’ to ‘12’ on 31st December 2019, revelers around the world toasted rivers of champagne in anticipation of fresh new year, promising themselves that not only would 2020 be better – they would be too.

Yet, the world had no idea what was coming. In just a few short months, a pandemic unseen since 1918 would shutter doors, collapse businesses, take lives and change the way we were used to living – possibly forever. COVID-19 gave rise to numerous trends, such as virtual pub quizzes and fitness classes, this article explores 5 that will shape the course for the F&B and hospitality industry in 2020.

Alcohol consumption is expected to rise

In times of trouble, people turn to tipple. Despite the lockdown happening in most cities, consumers are still managing to partake in happy hour, be it through upscale cocktail/bar bite pairings delivered right to your doorstop or cheap deals on cartons of beer or wine. Bars are jumping into the fray by offering virtual pub quizzes and “live” band sessions to keep consumers entertained as the workday winds down. In the United States, market research firm Nielsen reports a staggering 75% increase in spirits sales compared to the same time last year, with wine sales up by 66% and beer by 42%.

Eating at home will be commonplace even post COVID-19

It is a given that the demand for food deliveries and takeaway surges during a time where people are unable to dine out. But unexpectedly, according to a study by Nielsen, consumers in countries such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam have indicated that they will re-prioritise eating at home as opposed to dining out. How this will impact restaurants and other out-of-home businesses is evident – be it adopting delivery-friendly menus or offering easy-to-prep meal kits – but what will be interesting to see post-COVID is how retailers will respond to meet these new emerging levels of demand.

‘Ambient wellness’

Health and wellness has been a major trend in the recent years, with the rise of superfoods, plant-based alternatives and functional ingredients, but COVID-19 will spur it into a new space that insights agency KAM Media’s managing director Katy Moses is terming ‘ambient wellness’, which refers to not just eating healthily but also taking a much greater interest in food and food safety. She reports in increase in interest in the immune health system, which ultimately leads to greater awareness of food functionality.

Automated and contactless sales

Food delivery platforms like GrabFood and Deliveroo launched contactless delivery options across their various markets, allowing consumers to purchase meals without having to step foot inside a store, and have zero human interaction as well. This system has also been adopted by basically any retail business that offers delivery, from supermarkets to cocktail bars – making the entire purchase process incredibly efficient and perfectly suited for the time-starved consumer.

Digitisation of brick-and-mortar F&B stores

From food trucks to upscale restaurants, everyone is scrambling to go digital as consumers are ordered to stay indoors. This trend, which is likely to stay in place post-COVID as it dramatically increases reach, will also create new business with players along the supply chain, such as online ingredient suppliers, cashless payment system vendors and delivery platforms.