The COVID-19 pandemic had a dual impact on the food and beverage industry across the world. On one hand, during the beginning of the pandemic, most restaurants, eateries, and cafes had to shut down completely. Now, due to prevailing social distancing rules, many have opened their doors to much smaller groups of diners. (Much to consumers’ relief!)
On the other hand, online food deliveries have increased considerably. In addition to that, the packaged food and drink sector saw a spike in demand for products with long shelf-lives as consumers rushed to stock their pantries.
Platforms that offered food delivery, meal subscriptions, and online grocery shopping saw a 48% spike in online sales. In the first half of the year, online grocery shopping made up 12.4% of all grocery shopping sales in China, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
The dining experience will never be the same
Compared to the retail and travel sectors, the food and beverage industry has been slow to adopt new and innovative technology to improve how their customers dine. However, the adoption of AI tools has accelerated in the past several years with the help of online food delivery and meal subscription apps.
2019 was an exceptionally good year for the food tech industry, with several food and grocery delivery startups in South Asia, South America, and the U.S. receiving a whopping $16.9 billion in funding. Some other significant innovations include biotechnological agriculture, hyper-personalized diets, organic and sustainable supply chains, unmanned and automated supermarkets as well as restaurants, and cloud kitchens.
Sudden shifts in consumer trends during the pandemic only helped to highlight how AI can be used to create relevant food experiences for customers. Especially safe, healthier, and sustainable experiences.
Download the Restaurant 2.0: Digital Food Experiences Playbook to discover what’s in store for the food industry. And how new-age online food platforms are making better dining experiences for their customers.