Corona will have a (lasting) effect on the way we buy, cook, eat and experience food. Now and in the future. For food companies important to understand and anticipate this change. In this blog we envision 5 directions for future food concepts. To understand how we came to these concepts, please read our earlier blog about the Corona effect in food.
#1 Post-Corona health concepts
The Corona crisis is above all a health crisis. And since healthy eating has been an important food trend for many years, it will get an extra dimension by the virus. Especially, those health aspects that have a direct connection with Corona.
Immune system & gut health
We have learned that a well-functioning immune system is crucial. Food and drink that help to strengthen our natural defense will be in the spotlight the coming years. Whether this is scientific based or has its origins in the more alternative nutrition and medicine, we leave it aside. Already we see many lists on social media with immunity boosting foods such as ginger, yoghurt, blueberries and herbs like echinacea. Plant pioneer Lisette Kreischer even started the herbal hotline to give advice on the healing and immunity boosting powers of plants. The upcoming health trend of gut health also offers interesting perspectives on how to boost immune health via the microbe population in our intestines.
Corona also makes it painfully clear that a healthy weight is important. The obese are disproportionately affected by the virus. We wrote earlier that ‘new calorie counting’ is a trend for 2020, but now it will be reinforced by Corona.
Another emerging theme that can be boosted by Corona is Nootropic foods. Nootropics are substances that affect our brains and can contribute to more mental health. In and after this uncertain time, people feel more anxious and depressed. Therefore we will need more balance and rest in our heads. How food can contribute to this health topic is an interesting theme that will be explored in the coming years and we expect that different nootropic concepts will come to market.
#2 Value-for-money concepts
The epidemic has major economic consequences. Worldwide decline is foreseen, and millions of jobs will be lost. This will undoubtedly lead to less purchasing power and consumers will therefore spend their money more consciously. A logical idea is that future concepts should be about low prices and budget concepts. But we prefer to call it value-for-money concepts where you also have the possibility to increase the value.
Consumers find it all but pleasant to feel poor and cheap. And because food has a relatively low purchase value compared to bicycles, furniture and fashion, it can be a way to still experience some luxury. (This is also called the lipstick effect. One does not buy a Chanel dress of thousands of euros but can buy a Chanel lipstick). Affordable and accessible luxury are food concepts that do well in an economic recession. There is also a potential for smartly focussed ‘single-benefit’ concepts like budget friendly vegan. Size and quantity will matter too. There will be chances for both bulk concepts and petit concepts. The ‘Petit’ theme is especially interesting for relatively expensive food products where you only need a little bit of it per cooking occasion, such as parmesan cheese and maple syrup. By offering a smaller quantity, the purchase price can be lowered.
#3 Online x local concepts
Before Corona, food was lagging behind other sectors when it came to e-commerce. The virus has sky-rocketed penetration of online food shopping and restaurant delivery. And we believe this development is here to stay. Actually, this topic is too big to cover in 1 paragraph. So please read our previous blog on digital innovation if you are interested.
In this article we like to focus on the combination with local food. Corona made us realize that local food supplies are essential in crisis times, and we started to re-value our local self-sufficiency and local food entrepreneurs. Because of the impracticalities of long on-line waiting times at big retailers and the wish to support local food companies, people started to look for other options to collect their provisions. Local concepts have thrived these days and will in future, when they play the game well. For example, the Verstaxi in Zeist had weeks with an enormous sales growth. The Verstaxi offers a one-stop shop of all fresh specialty suppliers a normal shopping street would have. Offering superb fresh quality, convenience and a seamless online shopping experience will give this local & digital concept survival power far beyond quarantine time.
#4 Clean XL concepts
Food hygiene had become a precondition in recent years. Now it has our primary focus again. As a brand, it’s important to take good care of hygiene and cleanness. Both in foodservice and in retail, physical and emotional.
In restaurants, carefully thought-out procedures for employees and guests will become important to gain confidence that it is safe and clean. The so popular shared dining, finger food and buffet concepts will have to be transformed into more individual concepts such as your own ‘tasting plate’ or a ‘breakfast picnic bag’. Going out for real dining will become a luxury, and there will emerge more low service, contactless restaurant concepts like the ‘Oven aan, kom eraan‘ concept, started in Den Bosch. These kind of concepts will also fit the wallet of the post-Corona consumer better as described described at #1.
For food producers it is important to think about smart clean packaging and dosing systems in the coming years. For example, how can you remove your piece of cheese from the packaging and scrape it off without all your colleagues at the joint lunch table having grabbed the cheese 15 times?
Clean brand identity
In addition to practical solutions, a clean identity and appearance will become more important. We predict a lot of white, fresh pastels, less is more, cleanness and coolness in packaging design and in the choice of crockery and disposables.
#5 Crafting@home concepts
During the quarantine we spent more time at home, entertained ourselves and learned new things. Also, in the area of preparing food and drinks. We baked our own cakes and bread, set up vegetable gardens, tried new dishes and maybe bought an online kit to make your own yoghurt or kombucha. After the quarantine, the available time will probably shrink again, but where we enjoyed it, we will be happy to keep doing it.
Lidewij Edelkoort predicts since long ‘the time of the amateur’ in which we experience the joy of making and creating again. And actually, that is also the secret behind the successful ‘fresh box’ which enables people to cook a fresh and healthy meal when having little head space or cooking skills. And it is also what has made the concept ‘de makkelijke moestuin’ so successful. This is a complete concept of containers, soil, seeds, tools and an instruction app in which you, as an amateur, are taken by the hand to farm step-by-step a great harvest of your own vegetable garden. So here too, a nice concept angle is hidden in enabling the consumer to become a ‘successful food craftsman or woman’.
Many more future food concepts
These are 5 first directions for future concepts we could think about. Please realize there are many more and different turns to take. It is also interesting to mix Corona effects with generic food trends and foresee how this might create opportunities for your business.
Feel free to Contact us and to brainstorm where your category/market specific opportunities lie. We would love to think along with you in these difficult times and create a great food future together.
Image credits: Unsplash, Lisette Kreischer, Verstaxi, Beverage Partner International, Siggi’s, Odysea, Cressanet, Oven aan kom eraan, De Makkelijke moestuin.