2020 took us all on a roller-coaster ride, and the food world too experienced its share of dips and highs. With the pandemic settling in and spreading like wildfire, the food and beverage industry had to make amends and how!
While a huge percentage of restaurants shut down owing to financial crunch, we saw a rise in the number of cloud kitchens and home chefs working it day and night for survival and growth. The new world brings with it challenges of dining out, but necessity being the mother of all innovations, digital menus, biscuit chai cups, socially distanced service and new standard operating procedures took the limelight.
The food blogging industry witnessed a boom like no other. There was a parallel shift from restaurant reviews and street food to vlogs on recipes and upliftment of regional cuisine. Dishes and cuisines that were once considered extravagant and complicated were broken down and recreated at homes. From Dalgona coffee to banana bread and pancake cereals to homemade shawarma, food trends were picked up and left off within a matter of weeks. Nonetheless, cooking came to be considered as an essential life skill and each one of us picked up a skill or two.
YouTube food vlogs under various categories, sprouted. If bulk cooking, iconic restaurant series and cooking basics were segments that were untouched before the pandemic, they aren’t anymore. Festivals were confined to the four walls of our homes with virtual celebrations making the world a smaller place to live in. Custom-made festive meal boxes were curated by hotels and restaurants alike, adding joy to the merrymaking.
Food delivery platforms catered to not just the food enthusiasts but also the needy. The giants in the industry expanded their services and picked up grocery delivery helping the public procure essential commodities during the lockdown. The confinement spotlighted the significance of the growing agro-tech industry as well.
While the adversity made most of us adapt to the new normal, a few iconic and beloved restaurants, cafes and street food joints had to bid adieu, leaving an irreversible dent in the industry. Even though the demand for alcohol stood at an all-time high, the shutting down and a slower rate of reopening of bars has left the beverage sector bleeding.
In an economy wrecked by the pandemic, the hospitality industry continues to face substantially lower demand. COVID-19 has dramatically changed the working of the world, but with resilience and hope, we march against the challenging tide.