What is driving this trend?
Growing Digital Connectivity
Technology is heightening the expectation for smooth brand experiences - from customer service to delivery and accessibility.
Epidemics and Diseases
COVID-19 restrictions disrupted everything from the daily commute to shopping habits. It also forced companies to offer new ways of accessing products and services without venturing in-store.
Changing Life Stages & Household Structures
The mass shift to remote working is disrupting routines and turning homes into multi-use spaces.
The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a rethink of people’s hectic lifestyles and eating habits. Lockdowns and remote working gave them more control over their dietary routines – in 2020, 54% of people globally said they relied on snacks for nourishment. Though many will want to get out again, it’s created a desire to focus on activities they love and outsource those they don’t. People don't want to compromise on convenience. After all, academic research shows that spending money on time-saving purchases – such as hiring a cleaner or buying meal kits – can make people happier than buying material goods.
Due to the closure of many stores – and hygiene concerns when people did venture into brick-and-mortar spaces – we’ve seen a wave of tech innovations being pushed into the mainstream, whether that's automated checkouts, automated shopping experiences, or faster-than-ever delivery services. Looking forward, people will want to incorporate more streamlined shopping strategies into their lives. For example, 90% of French consumers and 82% of Germans say they will continue to buy their groceries online even after the pandemic has passed.
People are looking for ways to reinforce the lines between work and play
The pandemic has forced the home to take on new roles. No longer is it just a place to relax – it’s also an office, gym, classroom and restaurant. As people adjust to working remotely, the lines between their domestic and professional lives are becoming increasingly blurred. Against this backdrop, food and drinks are becoming tools for people to reaffirm these boundaries.
of Britons working from home say that cooking provides a welcome interlude between ‘home time’ and ‘work time’
Before the pandemic, sandwich brand Potbelly had launched a new positioning that promoted it as ‘the place to go for a lunch break’ – especially as 75% of its orders were for dining in. But once lockdowns hit the US, it was able to keep its 500 outlets open for delivery and takeout by pivoting its messaging to highlight the benefits of taking a lunch break, even when at home.Read more on Adweek
People want more from convenient on-the-go options
In 2020, sales of food-to-go fell as lockdowns eliminated the need for many people to pick up a meal while commuting, running errands or during lunch. As restrictions ease, the market for such products will begin to pick up again. But given that many people experienced more freedom in what they ate at home – rather than relying on quick-fix packaged sandwiches – it’s likely that they’ll seek more varied options. They want convenience without compromising on what’s important to them, such as health, hygiene or taste.
of Britons said healthy options is an important factor when buying food to go in Q2 of 2020, up from 65% in Q1
Boasting the tagline ‘Nutrition for the new generation’, German start-up YFood is on a mission to make nutrition more convenient and accessible for everyone – no matter how busy they are. It offers drinks that are designed to keep people full for five hours and which prioritise health, containing 26 vitamins and minerals. The brand has grown in popularity during the pandemic, with revenues increasing by more than 300% in the year up to April 2020.Visit uk.yfood.eu/
People are expecting higher-end food experiences at home
Takeaways have become staples of the homebody economy. As restaurants and bars were forced to close during the pandemic, leading some to pivot to at-home options, people’s expectations rose. From hiring personal chefs to buying meal kits or ordering from high-end eateries, people will want to continue enjoying restaurant-quality meals and drinks in the comfort of their homes.
The global online on-demand food delivery services market is set to grow by
between 2020 and 2024
Launched in 2020 by Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, Ducasse chez Moi brings high-end gastronomy to the homes of French foodies, delivering them haute cuisine while ensuring that his suppliers retain business. It’s far from your average takeaway, offering dishes such as pâté en croûte au foie gras and blanquettes de veau à l'ancienne.Visit Ducasse-chezMoi.com
People are looking for speedier, more efficient delivery
Store closures and national lockdowns forced people to pivot to e-commerce. Globally, more than half of people say they are shopping online more frequently than before the pandemic. Amid this heightened demand, brands were forced to adapt and offer better delivery services across the board. It means that people are now expecting faster, more efficient deliveries than ever before.
of people globally say that fast and reliable delivery is one of the most important factors when shopping online
Founded in May 2020, Gorillas is an on-demand 24/7 grocery delivery start-up that has taken Berlin by storm. With the slogan ‘Faster than you’ and a low delivery fee of just €1.80, it promises to send goods to people’s doors within just ten minutes.Read more on techcrunch.com
People are looking for more streamlined shopping experiences
People are looking for shopping experiences that feel more natural than the traditional click-to-buy method. Whether that’s voice shopping or text-based ordering, they’re warming up to ways that cut down the time and effort spent buying everyday items. It’s estimated that the revenue generated by voice shopping – which can feel more natural than using a laptop or tablet – will rise from $2 billion at the end of 2020 to $40 billion by 2022.
Globally, the average share of customer interactions that are digital spiked to
in July 2020, up from 36% in December 2019
In 2021, restaurant management software company HungerRush launched an artificial intelligence-driven text-to-order product called HungerRush TextAI. It allows consumers to place orders via SMS, then uses natural language processing to interpret them. The company says that TextAI works better than phone calls or other employee-assisted formats by virtually eliminating order errors.Read more on The Spoon
To help you shift insight into action, we have developed a toolkit of 7 resources. You can use them all for a full planning session, but you can mix and match these based on which you feel are most relevant to the opportunities you are addressing for your business and your brand(s).
Toolkit Cheat Sheets
These cheat sheets used in conjunction with the toolkit provide useful stimulus for workshops or any kind of trends team work. While you can download and use yourselves, please contact the Thinking House for more material and support.