The outbreak of COVID-19 has placed the whole world at a standstill. Epidemiologists, biologists, doctors and other healthcare workers are working tirelessly towards a cure for the coronavirus. However, we cannot predict the exact date and time as to when we will be free from this global pandemic, but what we can do is make some predictions about what the world of food technology will look like when it is all over.
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
~ Aristotle, philosopher, Logician and Scientist
The current pandemic is all about change, in fact a very rapid one! There has been a massive shift in food consumption and eating habits, especially with the new concerns like hygiene, social distancing and healthcare safety that have now come to light and will affect the current and future food tech companies.
Let’s look at the aftermath and innovations that are going to occur in food technology and F&B.
Predictions for food tech and F&B after COVID-19
1. The era of food delivery
This is the era of online food and grocery delivery and the demand of supply is increasing as we speak! The online food supply chain is multifaceted. It generally involves producers, consumers, processing and storage units, marketing and transportation, etc. Numerous new merchants have now enrolled with established grocery delivery platforms.
This is good for the consumers because it provides a greater variety, more competition within vendors, faster and cost efficient deliveries. As a result, people who did not understand food and technology together and were cynical about this entire process in the past, have now downloaded grocery delivery apps during this crisis. Downloads of grocery delivery apps increased exponentially in the United States in the first half of March.
Due to the pandemic, various establishments have been forced out of business. So, I do expect a rise in the cloud kitchen model since various food entrepreneurs are now focusing entirely on the delivery model. But at the crux of it, the impact of COVID-19 on the grocery business will be minimal.
2. Inclination towards a vegan culture
The vegan culture is on-vogue these days! According to a report by the UN, more than 75% of emerging infectious diseases originate in animals. Due to the corona virus crisis people have shifted towards vegetarian food or as they like to call it- ‘a plant-based diet’.
People are now more mindful than ever about what they are eating and how it is going to impact their health. As a matter of fact, countries around the world will ban the trade and consumption of wild animals which will also drive the future of the food tech industry.
3. Mass adoption of contactless payments
On 3rd March, the World Health Organization asked people all over the world to go for cashless payments amidst the crisis. Moving forward the world experienced the new wave of innovation in the food industry that is, contactless payments in order to shun the transmission of the virus. Even at its current state, integration of contactless payment has become a definite way to increase user retention in payment apps.
Various ecommerce platforms and delivery apps have disabled the option of cash on delivery (COD). You can currently pay using credit or debit cards, UPI, net banking, e-wallets or even cryptocurrencies.
Not only this, the same day when WHO issued their advisory, 38% of credit card consumers were evaluating the contactless feature. Such times demand an increased awareness about the functionality and benefits of contactless payments that will finally result in food tech innovation.
4. Shift towards home dining
Social distancing has now forced us to spend more time at our homes. For a while at least, people will prefer a homemade sandwich over a subway. There is no denying that home cooked food is safer and healthier. However, people who have been eating out since the day they graduated will have a hard time adapting to this change.
Technology has penetrated into every possible life aspect. Hardly a day goes by without a new app or technology coming to light with the promise of greater service, comfort, connection and convenience. Food tech companies like Equal Parts have drastically helped consumers during these tough times. Technology and food have come up with initiatives like text-a-chef that is a cooking coach, helping consumers revamp their kitchen, robot food startups so that no humans touch your food, also providing consumers with easy lunch ideas and tips through artificial intelligence.
5. Going local
Since the international borders are shut, food supply chains have been impacted which has a huge effect on the future of food tech. As a result, F&B businesses are compelled to evaluate their dependency on far-away producers and replace them with the local ones.
People want to consume food closer to its source says Yelp’s coronavirus impact report. The recognition of community supported agriculture increased dramatically by 430%, farms by 149%, butchers by 139%, and fruit and vegetable stores by 123%. After reading the numbers above it is safe to say that going local is the future food tech!
6. Food safety rules to get more severe
There will be an inevitable strictness when it comes to food safety standards and regulations because of the zoonotic origin of the current pandemic. This severity will be seen in every aspect of F&B and will have an impact on the future of food technology.
People are more concerned than ever about how the food is produced, how hygienic are the conditions and who is touching the food. Maximum companies in the food technology sector have started working on these minute details and concerns of their consumers to make the entire process efficient and convenient as per the WHO guidelines.
7. Cashierless Stores
Technology in the food industry is planning to minimize human interactions and using a combination of sensors, cameras and technology. This idea was introduced two years ago but then the hype died down after initial tests were executed by several companies which included big names like Amazon.
The same idea has again come to life to make the future food tech industry safer than ever. People need supermarkets and stores to function during such times without putting their staff and consumers at risk. Amazon recently announced the ‘just walk out’ stores, redefining the role of AI in the retail domain. I am expecting other major F&B and food technology companies to join the league.
8. The F&B world to be digitalized
We have all seen numerous F&B businesses and promising food technology ideas fail because of technical sluggishness. Now that countless number of small businesses are joining hands with delivery platforms, digitalization will be unstoppable! Their inventory systems will be digitized, implementation of cashless payments and automating manual tasks will be an inevitable process during this crisis.
The ending stroke
This constant innovation and growth is opening gates to various new food tech companies and I am particularly very excited for the opportunities enabled by this new digitalized world. It is undeniable that COVID-19 would give birth to transformations in the food app development companies.
If you are a consumer reading this, get ready for some finger licking, healthy, reliable, safe and hygienic food coming your way. If you are a food professional, or an entrepreneur in the F&B industry, I hope this prophecy gave you new ideas that you could explore.
If you are in search of a food delivery app development company say no more! I have the best food delivery app developers who can help you build the right foundation. If you want to know how to be on your toes while this revolution happens and make the most of it, get in touch with the best restaurant app development company. So, what are you waiting for?