This past year has been unlike no other. And consumers’ lifestyles have dramatically changed. New attitudes, expectations and priorities are influencing what, where and how people want to eat and drink.
Social trends 2021
The New Normal
Due to the ongoing threat of the pandemic, cleanliness and safety have never been more important and they’re overtaking price on consumers’ agendas when eating out3. It’ll take some time to truly build back confidence. Operators have innovated to create seamless, safe and contact-free experiences. They’ve invested in digital ordering systems, drive-through expansions, restaurant meal kits and app-based loyalty schemes.
And consumers are certainly adapting to the ‘new normal’. 57% of UK adults would like to see more contactless drive-throughs; and a third (34%) would like to see more restaurant-branded vending machines. Plus, around half (48%) of UK adults would be happy to collect takeaway food/drink from temperature-controlled lockers2.
So, as restrictions ease and consumer confidence grows, we expect to see more of these friction-free ways of delivering foodservice.
The pandemic has turned many into budding chefs and bakers. High standards and a heightened focus on sustainability and wellbeing mean that 6 in 10 people now say that, when eating out, the quality of food is more important than it was before the pandemic began1. Plus, consumers want a special experience when they go out. The proportion of people who look for venues that ‘do things differently’ has grown this year3.
The pandemic encouraged a strong community spirit, and consumers care more about whether brands invest in their local community; and source eco-friendly packaging and ingredients4. Over two thirds think it’s important that the brands they choose treat workers fairly4. And 75% of consumers really want to support their local restaurants, pubs and eating out venues because they’ve had such a difficult time1. And we expect the appeal for local produce and ingredients to continue growing. 26% are buying more local produce now than they were a year ago4. And 23% consider it more important that the food they eat out is British, compared to last year4.
1Bidfood bespoke consumer survey (with CGA) April 2021
2Mintel Attitudes towards home delivery and takeaway, UK, February 2021
3CGA Consumer Countdown to Reopening Part 4
4CGA Consumer Countdown to Reopening Series Part 2