How Covid-19 accelerated the 2030 Food & Drink trends.
An extraordinary string of events in 2020 has amended and accelerated Mintel’s 2030 Global Food & Drink Trends. Social distancing measures and economic shutdowns created new habits and attitudes. For example, people used their time at home to learn new cooking, baking or coffee-making skills that will be useful beyond the pandemic.
The number of infections, deaths and job losses has heightened concern for human welfare. This will make ethical human claims a focus within the ‘Change, Incorporated’ trend. Interest in buying local and sustainable food will hasten the acceptance of the agricultural and scientific innovations predicted by ‘High-Tech Harvests.’ The ‘Smart Diets’ trend also is more relevant because the outbreak showed the necessity to stay healthy.
Caring for people replaces packaging reduction as the key corporate social responsibility message
The ‘Change, Incorporated’ trend noted the powerful role companies can play to advance social and environmental causes. This is especially true because COVID-19 has caused governments to take on unexpected costs to take care of citizens and reinforce economies. As governments struggle to balance budgets, corporate commitments will now be essential in order to make progress on essential causes.
At the start of 2020, the responsible use of plastic was the paramount corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative for food and drink. Yet COVID-19 caused worries about safety and hygiene that led to a return to food and drink packaged in plastic.
The same concern for safety and health has elevated the welfare of people to be the top priority of CSR messaging. Since the outbreak, shoppers of all income levels want to know how companies are taking care of employees, suppliers, farmers, local community members and the overall human population.
COVID-19 inspires reflection about spending habits
‘Change, Incorporated’ predicted that conspicuous consumption habits would fall out of fashion through 2030. Instead, shoppers would adopt more mindful purchases and behaviors, known as conscious consumption.
COVID-19 inspired people to reassess what is truly important in their lives – and their budgets. More mindful spending forms the foundation of conscious consumption.
Subsequent steps of conscious consumption will be to support ethical and environmentally friendly brands. Yet many sustainable and responsible brands carry premium prices. Additional costs were barriers for some before the pandemic, but COVID-19 shutdowns have caused spikes in unemployment and underemployment.
Price will be a primary concern for many post-COVID-19 shoppers. Food and drink companies and retailers can take efforts to make sustainable and responsible products affordable to conscious consumers of all incomes.
Consumers adopt ‘less but better’ eating patterns during the outbreak
During the outbreak, shortages and price hikes caused some shoppers to swap animal protein for plant-based protein, such as beans and legumes. These changes are steps toward “less but better” diet mantras.
Under the “less but better” philosophy, people consume dairy, meat, poultry and other animal products less often, but trade-up when they consume them. These buyers often choose animal products that are better-tasting, more nutritious or have ethical or environmental claims (or a combination of these factors).
More mindful consumption of animal products is a step toward sustainable, or planet-friendly, diets. The UN FAO defines sustainable diets as having “low environmental impacts that contribute to food and nutrition security and to a healthy life for present and future generations.” More people will follow these diets through 2030.