5 ways the food & drink market looks set to change post lockdown

As the focus turns to the exit strategy from the coronavirus lockdown, hospitality businesses up and down the country will be busy planning their re-openings, ensuring that their premises are safe and that their marketing activity is ready. Meanwhile, for the grocery industry, easing lockdown measures could see an increase in footfall and frequency but potentially a fall in basket size if shoppers venture out a little more often. While post-lockdown behaviour remains a relative unknown, there is likely to be strong agreement that it won’t be a sprint back to normality.

So, what will this ‘adjusted normality’ look like? How will consumer and shopper behaviour differ post lockdown, through the inevitable recessionary impact and into market recovery? Here we share five stats from our UK Recovery Report 2020, which launched this week, providing a deeper understanding of what the UK food and drink industry should expect…

1. The UK eating out market is set to decline 60-70% in the full year to December 2020

With most restaurants, bars and cafés shuttered, aside from those outlets able to offer takeaway or delivery, the hospitality industry has been hit hard. Demand for delivery has also not been as high as was initially expected due to consumers remaining cautious with their spending - 63% say they are actively trying to save money.

2. 43% of consumers are looking to work from home more often

The number of people working from home has increased from just 5% pre-lockdown to 60% during the quarantine. Much of the UK workforce has had to adapt quickly to working in a new environment and in some cases balance childcare into the mix too. However, as lockdown continues, are those working from home settling into a comfortable routine, or are they missing the interaction with their colleagues?

One-fifth definitely plan to work from home more often in the future; 22% say they might work from home more and 5% were already working from home. This shift in favour of home working could have a significant impact on outlets in travel hubs which rely on commuters, but may benefit more local, residential stores that could see an increase in footfall at lunchtime.

3. 64% of consumers are worried about visiting eating out venues

Whereas grocery shopping is a necessity, eating and drinking out falls within discretionary spend that can easily be foregone. With consumer confidence at almost a record low and social distancing measures set to be in place for the foreseeable future, we can expect the return to eating out to be slow. The onus is on operators to reassure consumers that it is safe to visit restaurants, pubs and cafés in order to combat this ‘fear of going out’ (FOGO).

4. 45% of consumers feel confident about their financial position over the next 6 months

With consumers looking to save and limit discretionary spend, there is a positive outlook for personal finances. Nearly half (45%) of consumers are confident about their financial position over the next 6 months, compared with 21% who aren’t feeling confident. The grocery retail and foodservice delivered sectors are in a good position to capitalise on this confidence, but those foodservice operators who react quickly could also get their fair share of the pot.

5. 29% are shopping online for food and drink more than they did before lockdown began

Nearly a third of UK consumers are using online grocery services more now than they were before lockdown began. Retailers have had to adapt incredibly quickly to meet a surge in demand. However, this hard work will not go to waste once lockdown eases. One-fifth of consumers that have used online grocery more in lockdown  plan to continue to do so once the restrictions ease. This rises to over one-third for 25-34 year olds.


UK Recovery Report 2020

Understand the true impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the UK food and drink industry. Develop a post-pandemic strategy using robust forecasts and scenarios based on the attitudes and behaviours of UK shoppers and consumers.