Speaking on the BigHospitality podcast, Jonathan Dixon, vice president for foodservice at Arla Foods, says that the Coronavirus has made people even more aware of where the food they eat comes from and how it is produced.
“Despite the mayhem [of last year] sustainability is still really important for consumers and it’s all around building trust; trusting supply chains and trusting restaurants,” he says.
“Consumer demand for sustainable ingredients it up 52% year on year – we know sustainability is still important for consumers. With restaurants, it’s about clarity on where their food comes from, quality and sourcing strategies.”
Dixon says that recent developments, such as the awarding of green stars by Michelin for restaurants that champion sustainable practices, will make sustainability even more of a hot topic in the coming years.
“It’s a really positive step forward to make sure that food is not only of a high quality but actually is produced, grown and served in a sustainable way. I can only see that gathering pace and momentum as we move through this year and into the next.”
“We’ve seen over numerous years whether it’s the horsemeat scandal or Coronavirus that transparency and understanding where your food comes from has never been more important. Demand for clear labelling, and also on menus, sustainable and local sourcing as well as the emergence of organic – all these things play a role in what consumers want.”
Consumers will also look to eating healthier this year, Dixon predicts, with the Coronavirus pandemic placing the need for health top of many people’s agendas.
“People have had the opportunity to re-evaluate themselves and what they eat and how they eat it and the wellness trends continues to grow, whether that’s physical, mental or nutritional health. After a tough year we are all looking at how we ensure that wellness is right at the top of the agenda whether that be in the workplace or what we are putting inside our bodies.”
He also says that the pandemic has brought many restaurants and suppliers closer together and that one result of the pandemic will be the industry forming even tighter relationships.
“In a way the pandemic has brought people together and I think that’s the same for the supply chain. We’ve had a mentality of being in it together and that will continue.”