MUNICH — Bakers will see “superfast acceleration” in food purchasing behavior driven by the coronavirus (COVID-19) such as e-commerce, working at home and continued food safety concerns, noted Cyrille Filott, global strategist, consumer foods, Rabobank, during a virtual presentation at iba.CONNECTING EXPERTS.
Speaking on “Bakery in the post-COVID-19 world,” Mr. Filott said bakers need to up their presence on e-commerce platforms and better harness data that tracks changing consumer shopping habits, which will be much less impulse-driven than in the past.
In a reversal of 2019 trends, packaged baked foods will remain popular as short-term food safety concerns outweigh consumers’ continued interest in sustainability, he said. This trend will impact how supermarket in-store bakeries and other fresh outlets merchandise their products.
Mr. Filott shared new results from a Rabobank survey that outlined European consumers’ attitudes toward working at home. He pointed out that many of those surveyed expect to work more at home, possibly around an average of two days a week for mainly office workers. That said, more than half of all surveyed still indicated they “never” expect to work at home.
In Europe, Mr. Filott said, working at home has had significant impact for bakers who supply foodservice accounts. A reduction in commuting means potentially less grab-and-go purchases at transportation hubs, such as popular train stations and motorway stops that many Europeans visit on the way to work.
Likewise, company commissaries and restaurants near offices saw their luncheon business decline significantly as eating at home and shopping for food in their local communities skyrocketed during the pandemic.
“For artisan bakers, it might be a positive,” Mr. Filott said. “For industrial bakers, they might have to rethink who they’re supplying.”
Moreover, Mr. Filott observed that convenience at home is replacing convenience on-the-go.
“We do believe that the convenience trend in itself will not be going away, but to a different location,” he said.
The virtual iba.CONNECTING EXPERTS runs March 15-17.