Inter-Covid Roadmap : Food & Drink

category - covid-19
sector - food & drink
type - trends
New disruptors will push food and drink out of the home and into video games, TikTok and exclusive chef communities. Our free Inter-Covid Roadmap report explores in detail the opportunities that now lie ahead for the sector

Read an excerpt from the report below or click here to download the full report featuring all six sectors.

As pantry bulk buying fades into history and Home Eatertainment services rapidly become the norm, consumers are now looking for food experiences with more curiosity, reviving vibrant restaurant settings and immersive formats.

With one in six US restaurants closing permanently in 2020, according to the National Restaurant Association, there is a renewed focus on supporting the industry at large. Although Blackhawk Network reported a 29% surge in online restaurant gift cards, delivery services remain a key part of hospitality’s revival plan, and consumers are seeking a sense of occasion from food brands in the home. But physical drinking and dining experiences are already in full swing in some parts of the world. In China, nine in 10 drinkers have returned to bars and 64% are confident enough to visit large-capacity venues (source: CGA).

At the same time, the uncertainty of the past year is driving a push away from fad diets and towards comfort – and even nostalgic – eating. Some 53% of consumers have been buying nostalgic childhood snacks in recent months, according to Mondelez.

As explored in our Total Tastes macrotrend, this indulgent approach shows how Covid-19 has inspired a new era of the food-as-medicine movement. In the US alone, the percentage of consumers who want functional benefits from their food and drinks rose from 37% in September 2019 to 51% in May 2020 (source: Tastewise).

‘This really is the start of the next phase in functional foods, with
the current pandemic accelerating demand for products that support our mental health needs in testing times,’ says Andrew Wardlaw, chief ideas officer at MMR Research Worldwide.

The full report is now available to download for free below. Members of our trends intelligence platform, LS:N Global, get full access to all of our trend reports 3 months before anyone else. Click here to find out more.


Published by:

9 August 2021

Author: Holly Friend, Rachel Wilson and Gursharan Panesar

Image: Jisum Kim has designed a portable cooking kit that is tailored to an individual’s health needs


Left: Zero takeaway packaging by PriestmanGoode. Right: Far From Home by Studio Morfar and Ferment magazine, London.

Food & Drink Opportunities

Food delivery: With a booming market for food delivery, platforms are finding new ways to engage customers with TikTok collaborations that combine food with entertainment. Chobani recently launched a new limited-edition yoghurt product that is only available through the social media platform, while Postmates also teamed up with the social media app for a creator-led menu that features viral food trends.

Restaurants: Having connected with customers through social media during lockdowns, chefs are on track to become the influencers of tomorrow. With The Guardian dubbing restaurant merchandise ‘the new band tee’, and platforms such as DEMI connecting food enthusiasts directly with chefs, the cultural impact of top chefs will soar in 2021.

Campaigns and marketing: Unable to ignore the societal problems the pandemic has caused, food and drink brands are taking a civic approach to their campaigns. Alcohol-free beer Freestar is offering advice to young job-seekers via a hotline, while Burger King gifted its marketing channels to independent restaurants.

Digital experienceVirtual Happy Hours are growing up, and the virtual food experience is now linking up with the gaming sector. In Malaysia, Tiger Beer's month-long food fiesta allowed virtual guests to create avatars, interact with influencers and play games in order to win foodie prizes.

‘The current pandemic [is] accelerating demand for products that support our mental health needs’
Andrew Wardlaw, chief ideas officer at MMR Research Worldwide

Lab Notes

: With the rise of delivery platforms, eating and drinking experiences are increasingly crossing over with social media, entertainment and even gaming. To stand out from the pack, food brands should seek media collaborations that offer fun and immersive at-home dining
: As consumers become better acquainted with their neighbourhoods, the desire to support local restaurants has also accelerated. Expect the chef-diner dynamic to become increasingly poignant, as merchandise and cooking clubs replace meal kits as ways to support local businesses
: Brands should use their marketing channels for social good. Food campaigns are no longer about whetting the appetite but about showing integrity at a time when thousands of restaurants have struggled to survive
: The image of health is also changing. Consider how your brand can elevate everyday food and drink choices into a tenet of a more meaningful lifestyle

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Inter-Covid Roadmap report now


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