As we struggle to adapt to the new normal and start living our altered lifestyles, our interaction with the world as a whole and to people outside of our home will keep getting re-oriented for a while until the outbreak can be controlled or eradicated.
Covid-19 has shown us so many new facets about the world we function in. It was a wake-up call for many to make serious changes to their lifestyles, it brought up multiple alternatives to the way we work around things. If it has impacted everything we certainly cannot leave our eating habits out of the picture. The pandemic has struck the restaurant and hospitality industry negatively whereas it has brought about all positive changes in our food habits and food lifestyle.
Giving us the break from ordering in and challenging the dependency on outside food
COVID 19 has dragged our attention straight to our food and given us a lot of food for thought.
We have become more conscious about where our food comes from, hows its made, and its impact on the environment. We are now making different lifestyle choices and opting for sustainable alternatives. Let’s look into the new normal for our food habits during and predicted habits post-pandemic.
1) Brands that support home cooking
There is a whole new segment of products that have finally got their due to credit when it comes to home cooking. New intermediary products are skyrocketing with creativity and the variety they offer to make home cooking easier for us. While many studies have suggested that corona cannot spread through food, the fact that it gets packaged by one entity and delivered by a separate executive, etc, changes the whole perspective of the process. What exactly are these products? Fancy a spaghetti bolognese? Just buy the sauce off the shelves and boil some spaghetti at home. Making curries at home is so much simpler when you have the masala ready to be used in the market. Just boil your meat/veggies add the masala, choose your consistency, and bingo restaurant-style curries right on your table! This category of products is similar to meal kits but has a longer shelf life and can be used multiple times. They also include the frozen food section which has also been big in play ever since the pandemic has been announced.
They are making life so much easier and provide the satisfaction of the food being
cooked right in front of your eyes where you are taking all the safety precautions. This semi-organized sector is in its boom right now and soon attempting to be more and more healthy by the day.
2) Chefs at home :
We have seen so much creativity coming out of this pandemic. Where restaurants are struggling to open and unsure about when they will be able to. The Chef’s at home industry has become bigger and made itself more widely available to us. Restaurants are now providing not only their food but their chefs and the staff for you at home. You can create a complete restaurant experience in your home for your family and friends. Depending on your occasion these chefs at home have various packaging and bring them all prepped to be freshly cooked at your home.
3) Focus on Health and Sanitation
The biggest change that the pandemic has brought across is the focus on health and sanitization. People are an option for healthier alternatives and immunity-boosting products. The cleanliness and hygiene of restaurants and kitchens are being scrutinized and are under constant scrutinization.
The restaurant has to implement stricter hygiene policies unlike before when no one was looking.
As far as diners are concerned, I am sure they will also insist on visiting restaurants where they believe the sanitation levels are up to the mark, says Nikesh Lamba, executive director, Pricol Gourmet Pvt Ltd. In particular, this will impact a host of fly-by-night cloud kitchen players, as most of this hasn’t come under too many regulations so far. The other large challenge for our industry is going to be retaining talent at such times. With no revenue coming in, restaurants are struggling to pay their staff. When things get back to normal, retraining new staff or hiring back people they lose will be a challenge.
Reviving restaurants will come as a dawdling wave. If we look at the reports and expert advice then the common thing that comes out is to hygiene and having healthy options on menus. The biggest concern for us will be to convince the customer to feel safe at outlets, says Dinesh Arora, chief managing director, Eastman Colour Restaurants Pvt Ltd.
Food bloggers rejoice!! With most of our time being spent on social media and the world wide web along with being at home with limited househelp, people are cooking more. Trying to recreate their favorite restaurant or for those just starting to cook for the first time in the lockdown and amateur chefs who are practicing their skills, the world wide web has fed a lot of us in this lockdown. As much as it is an online trend, food blogging has been or real help for not only those watching but also for companies and chefs to promote new dishes, food products, and delivery services. Using influencers for promotions in the food industry has become extremely important and hence we can rest assured that we will get most of our information even if we are not following all the brands online extensively. too much change in too short a period.
6) Meal kits:
-Meal kits have become an interesting new reality, wherein they are providing us
restaurant food at home without the risk of the food being mishandled while cooking and ensuring all the ingredients are fresh. Meal kits provide all the ingredients, recipes, and condiments required to cook a specific dish from the restaurant menu. Delivery kitchens, home chefs, and the packaged food industry are also capitalizing on this trending product and giving us insane amounts of options like never before. The virus that causes COVID-19 can be killed at temperatures similar to that of other known viruses and bacteria found in food. Foods such as meat, poultry, and eggs should always be thoroughly cooked to at least 70°C, said the world health organization, said World Health Organization. Hence cooking at home is always the best option in the pandemic and we are all rooting for these Meal-Kits.
7) Lower-priced gourmet ranges.
The packaged food industry has hit a new boom in a lot of years (at least in India), in an age where people where shifting towards more and more healthy food and eradicating frozen, store-bought food. The pandemic has brought about a universal consciousness towards health and immune-boosting foods. Fortunately, unfortunately, these cant be grown at home or cooked in right away to maximize benefits. We are working towards a healthier tangent in the store-bought food as well. For example, the convenience of frozen pizza is being challenged by the nutrient power of salad mixes and preservative-free items. We are now seeing a large variety of new entries in this category of foods. Brands are working harder to bring to us more variety and gourmet recipes in pre-packed food, wherein convenience, health, and taste are being combined to bring exclusive and gourmet recipes to grocery shops close to us.
The food and restaurant industry has been shaken and is facing too much change in a short period, nevertheless, it has also given the rise to numerous new opportunities. Everyone in their capacity is trying to get their food there and trying to be seen. These are just the predicted trends right after the pandemic, we can expect more of these when time proceeds.