Trend Report: Snacking in a Post COVID-19 World

As our ‘new normal’ begins to take shape in the wake of Coronavirus (COVID-19), many are still left wondering where we go from here and how all of this will affect daily life in the future. We’ve been asking ourselves the same questions and our Innovation Team went to work to answer them. Someday soon Coronavirus will no longer be the only topic on nightly news, and our hospitals won’t be inundated with COVID-19 patients, but the impact of Coronavirus will be visible long after the virus has been eradicated. Read on for some trends you can expect as a result of COVID-19.

Short Term Trends – Here’s what you can expect in the next three months

“Healthy” will be redefined – Six months ago, healthy meant something different to everyone, but it mainly centered on eating & living cleanly. We believe healthy will morph into a focus on overall well-being, including preventative health measures.

 What we think you’ll see:

  1. Adaptogens continuing to grow exponentially. Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that are marketed as helping the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological.
  2. Support local: Where does your food come from? With the restaurant industry hammered by the shutdowns, consumers are looking locally for businesses to support. Well-being as we see it also includes ensuring local communities and business are able to thrive and remain open.
  3. In an effort to safeguard their health, consumers will avoid contact as much as possible, expect to see New retail merchandising options that support minimal contact of product as well as single-serve packaging in the breakroom vs. bulk and self-serve.

Canteen Snack Trends

Craving a new comfort – More time at home and less frequent trips to the grocery store has forced people to get creative with the ingredients they have in their pantries. We think the new comfort food will be adaptations of kitchen staples. Resources are limited, but people are craving something new, and that’s been evident in some of the trending quarantine activities like frothed coffee or homemade bread. Those trends are steeped in something familiar – it’s the coffee we drink every day, but with a twist, it’s the bread we use for our morning toast, but baked from scratch.

What we think you’ll see:

  1. Granolas gaining popularity – chock full of dried fruits, nuts, and grains. Add them to your everyday yogurt, ice-cream dessert, or simply by the handful.
  2. Riffs on popular textures with new ingredients – think popped water lily seeds instead of popcorn, and bean-based cookies & cakes in place of traditional recipes.
  3. Comforting flavors like chamomile and other herbal notes in food items. You may also start to see essential oils being called out on ingredient labels.
  4. Gummies make a comeback – this texture, reminiscent of our childhood, is the next trend in comfort foods! Perhaps because it reminds us of simpler times?

Granola Canteen Snack Box

Medium-term Trends- Here’s what you can expect in the next four to ten months

 A general simplicity in new products – As we all begin to move forward from what has been a mentally and emotionally taxing experience; we will likely desire simple foods that are easy to understand and explain. We expect new products entering the market post Coronavirus will contain fewer ingredients and fewer bold, in-your-face flavors.

What we think you’ll see:

  1. Simple, welcoming flavor profiles: Traditional flavors like salt and pepper will win over polarizing flavors like ghost pepper.
  2. Less focus on complicated and restrictive diets and more focus on overall balance and well-being. This experience has shifted the perspective of most consumers – feeling good is more important than the next big fad diet.

Bread Canteen Trends

Back to Basics – As we all adjust to and get comfortable with our new normal, consumers will re-evaluate their current state of well-being and realign nutrition goals.

 What we think you’ll see:

  1. More focus and education on maintaining healthy weight & exercise goals without as much focus on gyms & group classes. The goal is to find what feels good for you.
  2. Personalized nutrition will become more mainstream, so more consumers understand how to uniquely feed their bodies for optimal health.

Salad Canteen Trends

Long-term trends – Here’s what you can expect a year from now

Establishing a new balance of sustainability and safety – Prior to COVID-19, the foodservice industry was intently focused on sustainability. Consumers cared about how their purchasing behaviors affected the environment. Now, the focus is very much on safety and sanitation – consumers want to know what companies are doing to keep them safe. While many brands hit pause on sustainability for now in favor of safety, we expect that the two will share the spotlight a year from now.  We are hopeful that in the next year, more emphasis and research will be put into finding sustainable and safe solutions in our food supply:

What we think you’ll see:

  1. New innovations in compostable & recyclable packaging, allowing for more companies to utilize sustainable packaging. The shift back to single serve portions will create discussion around safe and eco-friendlier packaging options for food.
  2. Consumers becoming more educated & invested in how their decisions impact the environment and personal safety. Consumers want to understand where their food comes from, what’s in it, and who is in contact with it before it reaches them. They also ask the questions like ‘Does this support my local community? How is this impacting the environment?

Recycle Canteen Trends

Coronavirus has affected the world we live in in ways we could have never predicted, including the way we snack. Focusing more on our personal health, well-being, and safety is the way of the future beyond COVID-19. Keep snacking with us!

For more information on how Canteen is responding to COVID-19, please visit our website.

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