The importance of trust and how it fuels consumer behaviour changes
The changing trends in consumer behaviour might mean that establishing trust with customers is more important than ever. As restrictions relax, consumers will have less trust and are looking for reassurance.
- 57% of consumers will be scrutinising what they eat from venues more carefully than before3
- 63% of consumers say it’s now important for them to know how fresh a venue’s produce is 3
- 46% of consumers say transparency [of ingredients] has increased in importance 3
In the early stages of recovery in particular, considering the key points below and the overall communications strategy will help operators reassure their customers:
- Ensuring the healthy, hygienic and safe provision of products (especially those more susceptible to contamination) are brought to the forefront
- Being transparent about ingredients
- Highlighting quality and reasons to believe in the brand
- Regularly communicating health and hygiene procedures
In addition, ethical engagement also continues to be a key focus for younger consumers in particular, and as normality gradually returns, brand attributes like environmental sensitivity and community spirit will continue to be a key focus.
Increased localism shaping consumer behaviour
Consumer behaviour changes are also manifesting in the desire to support local businesses which has increased during lockdown, as well as the depth of connection with the community. Fear is influencing purchase decisions and consumers are looking to seek out locally produced goods based on the familiarity and belief that they are ‘safer.’ 2
- 45% of consumers say local ingredients have become more important to them 3
- 61% of consumers say they’re more interested to know where the food used by the venue they visit is coming from than previously 3
With the trend towards localism set to continue, operators could look to take advantage by clearly communicating their brand story, calling out any local heritage messaging and working with suppliers on joint provenance activations.
The rise of functional foods and accelerated plant-based lifestyles
Changing trends in consumer behaviour have also seen people paying more attention to what they eat. There has been a surging demand for organic and sustainable foods as COVID-19 raises awareness of the relationship between nutrition and health. Consumers are looking to food as a tool for their physical and mental wellbeing and are more aware of their health and how to defend it.
- 92% of consumers are taking steps to protect their health as a result of COVID-19 1
Food decisions linked to ‘protecting overall health’ have become more of a priority, with over a third of people exercising more and food choices shifting.1
- Nearly a quarter of consumers are buying more healthy foods to protect their health 1
Before the coronavirus pandemic, plant-based lifestyles were an attractive choice for people looking to consume more nutrients from plant-based foods and offer a positive contribution to the environment, and mindsets are now shifting even further in favour of this way of living.
- The growth of plant-based lifestyles is predicted to accelerate 2
While a mix of healthy and more indulgent dishes will still be required, to appeal to the health-conscious consumer, operators should consider the choices on the menu including the number of plant-based dishes on offer.
Redesigned menus adapted to changing customer behaviour
The changing trends in consumer behaviour post Covid-19 mean restaurants will have to adapt in different ways. Rethinking the menu may be a necessity based on social distancing restrictions as reduced capacity, table spacing, and kitchen operations are impacted by change.
Service will need to be changed to minimise contact and all moments of interaction will have to be considered, from arrival and seating through to payment and departure.
Based on changing consumer demands, the menus pre-lockdown may also be a thing of the past, with consumers now having different need states. More ‘transport friendly’ menu items may need to be considered, in addition to new tech to minimise contact as much as possible.
Next, discover how to attract customers, whether you’re aiming for new ones or want to get your regulars back.
- CGA BrandTrack April 2020 – Covid-19
- WGSN Coronavirus Food & Drink Change Accelerators, April 2020
- CGA Consumer Analysis, April 2020