Bleak Outlook for Foodservice as a Third of Global Consumers Say Given the Choice They Will Work from Home Post-pandemic, Says GlobalData

LONDON, July 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Lockdown has created a work-from-home-revolution and with almost a third (*31%) of global consumers confirming that they do not plan to return to the office post-pandemic, we are set for a new revolution in consumer behavior, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Some sectors of the global foodservice industry have felt the impact of this change more than most with recent announcements by sandwich chain Pret A Manger of UK store closures and job cuts, and Burger King’s warning that 10% of its restaurants may close, confirming the hammer blow that the loss of workers and commuters has been to businesses located in town and city centers.

Lia Neophytou, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “This significant shift in consumer attitude towards returning to the office will be partly contributing to GlobalData’s forecast of a -24% value decline in the global restaurant industry in 2020, equivalent to a revenue loss of $580m**, as the products and services home based workers are now engaging with and buying has dramatically changed.”

Pret and other restaurant chains are already looking at different channels to bring their product range and menus to more people. In the retail channel, food brands could target more home food consumption occasions with affordable meal kit solutions, or by providing recipe inspiration online to promote branded products.

Neophytou adds: “The willingness of those global consumers who have stated they will work from home in future to prepare and cook more meal solutions at home is apparent, with *79% stating they will do so, compared with the global average of *63%. Price-consciousness and risk-aversion is driving the increase in home meal preparation for consumers who may exercise caution and avoid food cooked outside of the home even post-pandemic.”

GlobalData’s survey also confirmed that the desire to buy more items online rather than visiting a store is also felt more strongly by global consumers who plan to work from home in future with *66% agreeing with this sentiment compared with the global average of *46%.

PepsiCo recognized this opportunity early on by launching two new direct-to-consumer channels, pantryshop.com, and snacks.com. The former offers ‘pantry kits’ tailored to snacking, hydration and the workout occasion, while the latter offers ‘snack packs’ in categories such as snacking and hydration.

Neophytou concludes: “As firms begin to realize the benefits and for some companies the necessity of supporting a home-office culture, foodservice and FMCG brands must increase their efforts to reach out and engage with consumers at home as they seek to maintain customer loyalty and the sustainability of their business model.”

*Data is based on GlobalData’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Recovery Tracker Consumer Survey – Week 2 (July 1) – Global

**Data is from GlobalData’s COVID-19 Impact Market Model for Foodservice – Global

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