COVID-19 has been really interesting for Chipotle because Chipotle went through some troubles in the past with food safety. And over the last few years, food safety has been elevated at Chipotle from a diligent practice to an absolute science. Recently, we’ve added things like contactless delivery, more involved wellness checks, and tamper-evident packaging, which gave us the chance to talk about our safety precautions to consumers in a relevant way, that was well received, as seen in the Ipsos survey. We came out as one of the top-ranked restaurants.
Chief Marketing Officer, Chipotle
If we get the Restaurant Act passed or something like it and we get some financial aid for restaurants, we will still play it one day at a time. We will at least not have to throw in the towel before we get a better sense of what life’s going to be like once everything settles.
Chef, restaurateur, author and TV host
Food sovereignty becomes a much more significant issue, not just in the U.S., but also across the world. That’s making sure that every country in different jurisdictions and places has the ability to produce their own food and aren’t going to suffer a major interruption based on one key plant going down or one processing facility being shuttered due to an outbreak. That was not anywhere near as top of mind for the food industry or for global governments six months ago.
Food Service and Supply Chain Manager at the Good Food Institute
In the early stages of the pandemic and I’ll use my personal example, Chef’s Warehouse was a distributor that sold solely to high-end restaurants. And so, their business had been shut down, effectively. They had all this inventory, so they needed to come up with a new channel of distribution. They opened who they were selling to, so now, I can go [there] and buy at much better prices than I can get in a supermarket, or at least equally as good as the supermarket, and certainly much better than a restaurant. I can get it delivered to my house. There are channels of distribution that are being created by companies where I’m getting a better product delivered to my house than I could have probably through Amazon, or through some other delivery channel. So, there is some benefit to the consumer in this.
Howard W. Penney
Managing Director, Hedgeye Risk Management
I don’t think consumers are looking for manufacturers to return to the days of products made with numerous preservatives, additives and sodium to maintain flavor, freshness and shelf stability. Consumers will expect manufacturers to deliver on benefits like health and wellness and sustainability but delivered in a modern, safe way so that foods can be hygienic and fresh in their home for prolonged periods of time. That’s where we see that frozen food manufacturers will be in a good position to deliver products for future stock-up occasions, especially if we see lockdowns return. I expect shoppers will continue to seek fresh goods, but supplement with a lot more shelf-stable or frozen items. And I do think that sort of pattern may continue into the fall and winter again.
Vice President, Innovation, Ipsos
Brands will need to carefully address fluctuating demand from grocery stores and e-commerce to ensure the availability of the right products and packs. Consumer’s overreaction could lead to stockpiling, so brands must anticipate new outbreaks and even think about implications for key holiday celebrations. The pandemic has been a wake-up call for the critical vulnerabilities of our overall food system, whether supply chain, meat manufacturing, or providing nutritional options for all. COVID-19 health impacts and costs have been greater for vulnerable populations (overweight, underlying chronic conditions, elderly) who typically have less access to nutritious foods. The “ankle-biter” brands will continue to address these gaps, but traditional brands should double-down also through greater creativity and a focused strategy.
Associate Partner, Ipsos Strategy3
Out-of-stocks were a significant issue across the board in many categories. If my favorite brand isn’t available and my child only eats macaroni and cheese, and what’s on the shelf is a competitor brand or generic, I am going to try it. What’s going to be very important for brands to pay attention to is that every opportunity they’re not on the shelves is an opportunity lost, because if the competitor or if the generic is just as good, then that becomes a repertoire change. Either they’ve lost one sale or could potentially lose a share of wallet later. There’s a reality here about economics and likely recession. So, there is a financial value proposition that needs to be attended to, because generics will likely see an uptick with further financial pressures that families will experience in the coming months.
President and Chief Client Officer, Ipsos
Want more visions of the future of food?