The coronavirus pandemic changed many aspects of our lives drastically, and food is no exception. Many parts of the world are transiting into the post pandemic era but a lot of countries, including India, are hit hard by the second mutant of this notorious virus. Consequently, there are lockdowns and strict social distancing measures in place. Food industry which was expecting a revival in 2021, is sadly back to square one. People in this business are discovering new ideas for survival. We have brought to you, trends in the food business, which may persist in 2021.
The world witnessed a major paradigm shift in the food industry in the year 2020, which was evident due to the drastic shift in the dining preferences, because of the pandemic, that has spread across the globe. With partial and full lockdowns imposed in several parts of the country, many restaurants and food chains shifted towards takeaways and home delivery services, in order to help their businesses, survive. The year was also significant in teaching us the importance of home-cooked food and healthy meals, like never before.
The trend of home-curated dining and takeaways is likely to continue this year too. Although, analyzing any trend in 2021 is largely speculative, because the changes that have occurred lately are very dynamic in nature. We have still tried to bring forth, the kind of trends that could possibly be governing the food industry, this year.
1. Improved Food Choices
It goes without saying that in the year 2020, we learnt how vital it is to be aware of the nutritional value, of what we eat. People are moving towards developing healthier habits and food preferences, in order to improve their immunity. Hence, the food industry is also ready to go with the flow with this shift. Most food joints have already included some off beat, but healthier, meals like – corn salad, fruits, upma sandwiches, khichdi and fresh juices, in their menu. There is a rise in the number of shared kitchens, where hygiene is playing a key role. In beverages, the customers are giving preference to low calorie and alcohol-free drinks. According to reports, it is believed that in 2021, 45% adults would prefer eating healthy food, as compared to junk food. Most people demand homemade beverages instead of fizzy soft drinks, these days; and restaurants are happy to serve them the same.
According to reports, it is believed that in 2021, 45% adults would prefer eating healthy food, as compared to junk food.
2. Rise of Home Chefs
This year, an exponential growth is expected (and observed) in the number of home chefs; as people are still uncomfortable to venture out for dining, due to this pandemic. Although, most of the people are working from home, yet they can’t get home-cooked food, all the time. They are bound to depend on external eateries, since many of them are not working in their hometown, and so, living in PG or rented accommodations. This makes a perfect setting for home chefs to grow their businesses. Many home chefs, during the lockdown in 2020, started small, by receiving orders from their kin and friends. But in 2021, they emerged as full bloomed business people. Many platforms such as FoodCloud, The Yummy Idea and Foody Buddy etc., which register home chefs for business partnership, saw the number of home chefs registering themselves on their platform, and the overall footfall increased four-folds.
Many home chefs, during the lockdown in 2020, started small, by receiving orders from their kin and friends. But in 2021, they emerged as full bloomed business people.
3. Growth of Takeaways & Ghost Kitchens
During the lockdown, most people spent a great deal of time in their kitchens, trying new recipes every day, either for consumption or for their Instagram and Facebook posts. However, there were also people who, were unable to cook even a single meal for themselves. Takeaways and tiffin services came for rescue, during such testing times, more than ever. As per the government’s guidelines during the lockdown last year, fine dining restaurants were not allowed to function and only home deliveries were permitted; the situation is more or less same in 2021. In this scenario, many food joints, including new start-ups, may initiate a takeaway system, to sustain. Furthermore, the concept of ghost kitchen or cloud kitchen is gaining quite the trend, in 2021. These are professional kitchens, where food is cooked only for delivery. A recent study revealed, that the share of ghost or cloud kitchen in the food business will possibly rise from 13 percent to 30 percent.
A recent study revealed, that the share of ghost or cloud kitchen in the food business will possibly rise from 13 percent to 30 percent.
4. Data & Technology Driven Food Businesses
Believe it or not, the pandemic is driving more and more people towards a higher use of technology, in their everyday lives. People are more willing now to adapt contactless and digital modes of payments, to maintain hygiene. This has compelled even small eating joints, to offer mobile valet payment options, to their customers. Moreover, restaurants are also inclined towards keeping their customer data. Most of them wish to implement digital menu this year, as it will contribute positively in providing contactless information and feedback. ‘Drive-in and takeaway’ services by famous food chains are sure to see surge this year. Food delivery-based app business will continue to grow rapidly, in the absence of the dining out facilities.
‘Drive-in and takeaway’ services by famous food chains are sure to see surge this year.
5. Switch to Alternate Source of Proteins
Many studies showed that the coronavirus pandemic breakout, in mainland China in December 2019, happened due to the consumption of bat meat or pangolin meat. Since then, people across the globe became fearful about animal-borne diseases, and other health risk associated with consuming non-vegetarian meals. This led to a plunge in the demand of non-vegetarian food. People, now, are more inclined towards opting for plant-based dishes. Vegetarian food services are hence hoping to see an influx in their business, in 2021
People, now, are more inclined towards opting for plant-based dishes. Vegetarian food services are hence hoping to see an influx in their business, in 2021.