Will physical and mental health become part of the workplace culture?
Felicity: “Over the lockdown period many people have benefited from having time at home, and feedback from clients have been they have enjoyed being able to increase the frequency of their fitness activities. Therefore, it raises the question of going back into the workplace and how this can be maintained and whether employers have a role to play to help sustain this level of wellbeing mentally and physically that people have been able to reach throughout lockdown. It is important to understand that with fitness-based activities such as yoga, meditation etc the associated benefits to health come with consistency of practise”.
Natasha: “Insight from discussions with employers across the food industry, showed that during the start of lockdown the priority was on the health and safety of their employees but now many had started thinking about the recovery phase and how best to implement wellness plans in a fast-changing environment. We can expect to see more partnerships that emerge that champion wellness and key to that is using digital solutions to personalise peoples experience. Also, employees will consider the whole package their employers offer them, from wellness initiatives, to the food that is offered, to childcare in addition to salary and financial incentives”.
This is an area that employers will explore and expand on services they already provide to their employees, as they return to the workplace the importance of maintaining a healthy work: life balance will be key. It is evident that physical activity, good sleep hygiene and positive mental health can help build a more resilient workforce.
Is there an opportunity to educate on healthier eating practices with the increase in home cooking?
David: “People are time sensitive and we must really connect with them in order to educate and the digital world provides us with this interactive platform to do so and reach more people”.
Gelf: “The restrictions during lockdown removed convenience food from many people’s diets, which has resulted in people learning how to cook again this will continue and we expect to see a huge rise in demand for online cookery schools”
Natasha: “It is important to highlight that education alone will not drive behaviour change so we as an industry must look at how we can provide some convenient solutions”.
Many people have rediscovered cooking and baking at home over the lockdown period, and for some this has meant reconnecting with food and learning how to cook again. This is something that could continue post lockdown however time will be the determining factor and the need for quick and easy solutions would be necessary for this behaviour change to be sustainable.
Attitudes to health and wellness have changed during the lockdown period but will these be long-term changes?
David: “People are eating more healthily as they have more time on their hands, when you are time poor you tend to eat poor as you are grabbing something on the run or not having the time to think things through. People are creatures of habit, so we must help them understand how simple changes can have real impact on your health”.
Natasha: “Through consultations with employers and catering providers across the food industry, it is clear holistic health and a real connection with food are here to stay, but affordability will force many to balance their good intentions with what they can afford”.
Gelf: “People will expect a greater work: life balance and employers will need to support them through this”
Felicity: “Access to wellness programmes that are sustainable, using technology to leverage that so you can reach more people and more conveniently will be key”
There will be a greater need for employers to become more flexible and offer a better work: life balance for their workforce, as many will have experienced this throughout the lockdown so will have expectations for some of this to continue. Equally from an employer’s perspective, having a happier, healthier workforce can also benefit the business and it will be key to watch how businesses look to support this. However, affordability will be the determining factor for many and the trade-off between eating healthily and what they can afford, therefore employers could help support with an affordable and nourishing food offer.
Sustainable and healthy diets were a great focus for much of the industry, will this remain important and will it grow in the new world?
Natasha: “Our latest report Appetite to change highlighted there is a big appetite for healthier and sustainable diets amongst consumers. We have three different mindsets, those that are making changes already, those that are considering it and then those that see no reason to change. This will become even more relevant and companies who hero affordable, healthy and sustainable foods and recipes will thrive”.
Gelf: “We have seen it growing year on year, from what started as a vague interest to putting it into your daily lives. Lockdown has given people the time to reflect that the flavour they get from cooking the whole ingredients is much more than what they get from a can or packet. Reducing our meat and dairy is key, so valuing the meat that you eat, and making sure it is from a good welfare system. Attitudes are changing but affordability is key and convincing people its cheaper to cook your own food from scratch with pulses, grains and veg will continue to be a challenge”.
David: “It will continue to be important to educate people on plant-based protein sources so they can make informed choices and understand the value”.
Felicity: “Clients are sometimes worried when they attend my yoga retreats and the plant-based menus they are offered but once they have tried it, they have been impressed, so it is looking at how to take people further on that journey”.
Sustainable, healthy diets will continue to be a focus as we emerge out of lockdown, affordability may in fact help promote the reduction of dairy and meat in diets and instead look to pulses and grains that are inexpensive. However, the challenge will remain on how to continue to take customers on this journey and engage with those who are yet to begin on this journey, and this may involve smaller steps such as meat free days which could seem more attainable for this group.