Published: 02nd January 2021
The future of Dining: Will the food industry recover from the setback it faced in 2020?
Until the pandemic ends, 2021 won’t see buffet dining in social gatherings, office cafeteria, formal events such as seminars and conferences, at least until a vaccine is developed
As per a FICCI report, India's Food Services market (organised and unorganised) is expected to reach INR 5,52,000 crore by 2022. No doubt, the industry is persistently revamping and innovating itself in line with the constantly changing consumer preference and shifting dynamics amidst COVID.
The pandemic has created chaos on the global economy. Companies not only adopted innovative business practices but were forced to pivot to new business models and adhere to social distancing guidelines. In this regard, let’s take a peek into what 2021 holds for Corporate Food Industry.
Innovations and Technology
The pandemic has turned lunch dabbas to ‘boxed meals’ to curtail the panic amongst the customers. Rather, there is an increased demand for customised food that can be delivered directly to the customer's house. Hence, this sudden spike in demand could become an integral part of the eating experience in the years to come. Leveraging new-age technologies such as Blockchain and AI, brands are enhancing transparency and efficiency throughout the supply chain, thereby improving food safety measures.
Sarthak Gahlaut | Pic: FeedingBillions
In an attempt to strengthen safety and hygiene measures for kitchen staff, installations of hand sanitisers, oximeters and thermometers can continue to be a priority. When it comes to cooking, regular hand-washing and using gloves to avoid cross-contamination will continue to be made mandatory. Further, AI-integrated smart cameras can be installed to detect food wastage and maintain safety norms in a commercial kitchen.
Buffets continue to be downsized
Until the pandemic ends, 2021 won’t see buffet dining in social gatherings, office cafeteria, formal events such as seminars and conferences, at least until a vaccine is developed. People are still avoiding big gatherings and parties, thus, food menus are becoming compact with limited food options to avoid wastage.
Educational and healthcare industry to go hit
Besides serving in offices and events, corporate catering has been playing a crucial role in offering healthy meals to the healthcare sector including hospitals. Focus is given to providing high-quality food, essential for faster recovery of patients. Also, ensuring a hygienic and germ-free ambience in the kitchen is a must.
Educational institutes such as colleges and schools are gearing up for when they reopen and welcome the students. Healthy and nutritious meal options with the right kind of nutrients are important in their growing age. Cyclic menus, inclusive of seasonable fruits and vegetables as well as multi-cuisine options with proportionate nutrients, can be developed to sort the issues of monotonous food and attract students to eat from canteens rather than binging on junk food.
It is no secret that the corporate catering industry will change at a breakneck speed in 2021. From farm to fork, COVID has led this industry to rethink in all aspects.
Sarthak Gahlaut is the Founder of FeedingBillions