What pandemic food trends will stick?


What pandemic food trends will stick?

The coronavirus has been a time of major disruption throughout the food system and experts during the Chicago Fed’s recent Annual Ag Conference analyzed what trends might stay post-pandemic.

Panelist Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, food industry reporter for the Chicago Tribune, says she’s excited to see what persists after life resumes.

“Those empty shelves scared a lot of people and they needed to find other ways to find their food.”

She says ready to eat meal kits, buying directly from local farmers, and grocery store redesigns for curbside and direct delivery service are likely to continue.

“This was happening before the pandemic, it was going in this direction, but this kind of forced it and people realized, ‘This is great, why would I leave my house to go to the grocery store?’ It accelerated adoption and that’s unlikely to go back.”

After almost a year of consumers reading more into their food, she expects cleaner, simpler, less processed, nutrient-dense food consumption to grow.  Elejalde-Ruiz also predicts controlled environment growing systems like vertical farms to become more common to shorten food supply chains to metro areas.