Lockdown, supply chain disruption and the global public health crisis have impacted food and drink markets at home and abroad and changed consumer behaviour.
In recent weeks, more than 50 north east food and drink businesses have participated in market and consumer insight webinars delivered by Opportunity North East (ONE), to inform their reset thinking. They have drawn on the latest data and research and looked at UK retail trends and the experience of international markets that are already moving beyond lockdown.
Here are some of the top trends defining the new realities for food and drink businesses.
E-commerce – demand to shop online has boomed during the pandemic, with a 33% increase in purchasing share forecast for 2020 versus 2019. Supermarket home delivery dramatically increased with some retailers seeing sales rising by 250% in the weeks following lockdown. Businesses of all sizes are expanding their direct-to-consumer online capabilities as consumers rely more on home delivery to get the products they want.
Eating at home – even with lockdown restrictions easing, consumers are still likely to be eating more at home for the foreseeable future according to consumer panels. They will be seeking bulk and value-focused food and beverage consumption experiences to enjoy time at home while watching their budgets.
Food safety and sustainability - consumers will continue to opt for food products with packaging that ensures additional security along with reducing waste and spoilage. At the same time, sustainability and eco-friendly features will hold equal importance. Companies have started to focus on improving food and drink packaging and incorporating these features.
Healthy eating – consumers' concerns about their health and wellbeing will continue to drive the growth of products with perceived health benefits and strong provenance and sustainability credentials. New players are entering the market and investing in research and development and improved technologies to develop foods of the future, including plant-based proteins that mimic meat.
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