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Food and food patterns after the COVID-19 crisis

A crisis changes our food pattern. When looking at empty shelves in supermarkets, the Dutch will live on pasta with sauce from a jar, pancakes and canned soup in the coming weeks. But later, when everything turns back to “normal”, what do we eat?

After the first days of crisis, we see a number of patterns emerging in the food system. The first studies on consumer behaviour in China show changes in dietary patterns. The consumption of meat has significantly decreased, whereas the consumption of fruits and vegetables increased. In the Netherlands we see these trends as well. We expect this will continue to contribute to a sustainable, healthy and fair food system even after this crisis. This crisis will change our food system in three specific ways, it will re-connect, re-design and re-value the way we produce and consume our food.

Re-connect: a stronger relationship between producer and consumer.
More than ever, we see how important it is to provide consumers with correct information. Consumers are feeling the consequences of the complex food system we have built and its weaknesses. However, we also see a renewed appreciation for producers and retailers, who are the engine of our daily food supply.

Re-design: new connections are emerging in supply chains. 
The hospitality and catering sector are closed down while retailers are not able to keep up with the growing demand for products. We see partners in different supply chains looking for new collaborations. Restaurant owners switch to home delivery services and supply companies look for new sales opportunities through retail. Sales channels are shifting: more than ever, people are dependent on home delivery services. After the crisis, delivery services will not lose these new customers.

Re-value: a new appreciation of fresh and local food. 
On the one hand this is due to a kind of collective jubilation, because we have faced the crisis together. On the other hand, it is for practical reasons like the fact that our pantries are still full of pasta, rice, sauces and soups, pancake mix and of course toilet paper for months to come. Farmer protests followed shortly by the COVID-19 outbreak, creates a new consumer awareness for the value of fresh and local food.

We understand that, at the moment, all entrepreneurs in the food system are working as hard as possible to deal with this crisis. Nevertheless, we would like to invite you for a discussion about the continuation of the transition towards sustainable and healthy food, at a fair price. We hope to speak soon, when the Netherlands is free of COVID-19 again.

Want to know more?

For more information please contact Casper Zulim de Swarte