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EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS | Staff Reporter, UK
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IGD, Peter Backman map out four post-lockdown scenarios for foodservice in new report

Each scenario addresses the possible path of the virus and performance of the economy.

IGD has teamed up with foodservice consultant Peter Backman for a report that maps out four potential scenarios after the lockdown and what it entails for businesses moving forward.

The most positive hypothetical paths, according to their Eating In Vs Dining Out report, are a Great Reset, explained as a scenario that sees food and drink consumption largely shift to home, with eating out returning to levels experienced in 2019 in two years’ time; a Decade of Drift, where companies may accelerate cost-cutting and efficiency programmes to demonstrate value to consumers whilst many consumers unable to afford eating out despite high demand.

The less positive outcomes are the Technical Isolation path, where the virus sees businesses and consumers turn to technology and digital services, which reshapes the retail offer and online being seen as the safest way to shop; and the Globalisation Reversed scenario, which will put pressure on supply chains and businesses to find operational efficiency, making deliveries and takeaway services are almost the only option due to increased costs and complexity.

“COVID-19 has been, and will continue to be, a great accelerator for the shifts between in and out of home consumption that have been emerging over the past 15 years. Current consumer behaviour is a catalyst for change, which is happening far faster than anything I predicted, just six months ago. As we move forward, every part of the supply chain will have to be able to adapt rapidly to this changing landscape,” Backman said.

“Consumer demand will drive and shape the eating in and dining out markets more than ever before, so suppliers, foodservice operators and retailers will need to react, adjust and innovate to allow for evolving scenarios. The food industry has always been fast-paced; it’s about to get faster.”

“COVID-19 has resulted in the boundaries between in-home and out-of-home consumption breaking down further and faster than any of us could have imagined. The future is unpredictable; we don’t know what path the virus will take or how lockdown measures will affect markets in the medium to longer term,” IGD head of shopper insight Rhian Thomas added.

“In this highly uncertain environment, foodservice companies must balance customer focus with practical operational issues and working collaboratively with partners will help achieve this. Much thought must be given to the best time to re-open and foodservice companies must be prepared to re-write their business plans with a start-up mentality.”

Thomas also stressed the importance for suppliers to keep the lines of communication open with customers.

“Think about re-purposing assets like equipment, stock and vehicles to develop new solutions for customers and the wider community,” she noted.

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