Updated: Aug 28
One of the sectors that has seen the most change in the past few weeks due to COVID-19 is the food sector.
Here’s some ways COVID-19 has impacted the food sector and how different players have had to adapt.
Supermarkets have been in the news almost daily for the past month - from people buying 10 dozen toilet paper packs, to a Woolies employee being stabbed by an angry customer. The supermarkets have not been able to cope with the demand with Coles & Woolies being forced to temporarily stop online orders. In a hope to stop some of the panic, Coles, Woolies, Aldi & IGA took out a joint press ad to ensure Australians that they are working together to ensure demand is met and asking for people to treat their staff with respect.
In some parts of the US and Europe, restaurants have already been advised to close their dining rooms to reduce chance for infection. Fast food chains like McDonald’s, Starbucks and Chik-Fil-A have avoided closure by moving to ’to go’ models where they only offer takeaway, drive thru and delivery.
With more and more restrictions happening daily in Australia, we are surely not far behind and a lot of fast food restaurants are already taking action with KFC closing dine in options and moving to drive thru, takeaway and delivery only.
Moving away from fast casual & quick service restaurants, bars, cafes and higher-end restaurants have also started adapting their offering. And Broadsheet is keeping a live list full of options if you’re getting sick of your stock piled tuna and pasta! These are some of the ways they are coping with COVID-19 and the potential lockdown of dine ins:
- Moving to a takeaway only model, closing dine in options and even asking people to call in advance to order and pay to minimise contact
- Offering a lower price alternative of their normal food 'to go’Signing up with Deliver & Uber Eats for the first time to provide delivery
- Others want to take the restaurant experience home, like Tipico in Windsor, who are selling their pasta sauce, and premium ingredients so people can make their own delicious meals
- One cafe in NSW is even offering hampers full of premium and essential ingredients that they can deliver to your house or to your car
Since supermarket shelves are empty people have started turning to delivery services. Uber Eats mentions and engagements have jumped 770% since last week. And if more restrictions are put on restaurants, delivery might be the only way some restaurants will be able to continue to operate. Delivery services have been quite proactive to ensure their staff and customers are protected to the virus encouraging contactless delivery.
Meal kit companies such as Hello Fresh, Dinnerly and Marley Spoon have seen huge increase in demand as supermarkets haven’t been able to meet demand. In America Blue Apron, another meal kit service company, has seen it’s stock surge more than 70%.
If you find yourself with a pantry full of non-perishables, more time and no idea what to cook, maybe it's time for an online cooking lesson! Online chef personalities have started using their socials to post videos of recipes to cook whilst in quarantine. Chef Antoni Porowski from Queer Eye started an IG TV series called Quar Eye making dishes such as the Keep Calm-ette and the Zoodles with meat SOS.