June 30, 2020

COVID-19’s Wake-Up Call: Food System Realities Reimagined Series Part 4

In this 5-week series, “COVID-19’s Wake-Up Call: Food System Realities Reimagined,” experts from across the AVENIR GLOBAL network and global food system are exploring five new “food system realities” brought on by COVID-19, paired with reimagined possibilities and thought starters to help bring these possibilities to life.

Reality: Limited Choices are Forcing Rapid Adaptation

Business and consumers alike are facing unprecedented constraints. We have all been forced to become more resourceful in our home cooking and more efficient in grocery shopping due to COVID-19. Restaurants and foodservice operators have had to streamline operations and offerings to survive. Suppliers and food brands are figuring out how to apply a new model to their entire business.

Examples of how these constraints emerged during COVID-19 include:

While retail food and beverage is expected to have positive growth in 2020, overarching consumer demand will likely be sluggish to pick up as people worry about their job security and spending power. Service will become more important than ever, but we know restaurants, hospitality and many in the food industry are struggling with reduced staff and rapidly evolving operating procedures with little advance notice, which creates a tension point.

Reimagined: Constraints will drive creativity

Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. Historically, times of crisis have produced some of the greatest food innovations. We’re already seeing experimentation take place in kitchens across the country and extend to food and beverage companies as well. One aspect of this creativity is reframing aspects of our food system. One example: food cultures developed processing methods mostly out of desperation and need to preserve food. During this crisis, artisan, farm-to-table restaurants are becoming middle-men between consumers and farmers and redefining what food processing means in an imaginative and positive way.

Possible Paths Forward: How your organization can turn limitations into creative opportunities

There are a few approaches to find the creative solutions that lie in constraints. As consumers look to stretch food dollars, balance nutrition and reduce food waste, consider how your organization can:

We can help your organization bring these possible paths to life. Padilla and FoodMinds have dedicated experts in brand purpose, content development and omnichannel marketing. We are in this together to build for the future – reach out to discuss how we can help your company adapt and thrive at [email protected].

In the next post in this series, we’ll explore our final reality and reimagined possibility #5, exploring food values that are facing new trade-offs.

Katie Myers is a vice president and co-leads the Food and Beverage practice at Padilla. She is based in New York City.

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