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Meatless Farm encourages operators to innovate to drive returning custom

Over a third of consumers have said that they will be eating and drinking in a smaller number of ‘trusted’ places as sites continue to reopen.

The research, commissioned by Meatless Farm and carried out by OnePoll, shows that operators need to ensure their offering is not only delivering value but also attracting customer footfall and driving loyalty.

The change in consumer habits is being led by 35-44 year olds, with 46% saying they’re more conscious about where they will now eat out and how many outlets they will visit.

The research also indicates a regional impact with London and Yorkshire and the Humber being the lowest for consumer confidence when it comes to eating out again; almost half of consumers in each region agree they’ll be visiting fewer restaurants now.

Consumers need to be encouraged to try new places and one of the most effective ways to do this is for an outlet to review its menu offering, ensuring it appeals to a post-lockdown customer and boosting confidence with clear adherence of re-opening procedures.

The pandemic has accelerated various consumer behaviours driven by a re-focusing on sustainability and health. One of these being the demand for plant-based food which shows no sign of slowing down; research from Meatless Farm also indicates that 37% of consumers believe there should be a strong plant-based menu offering now in eateries.

Jade Dodds, Foodservice and QSR Director at Meatless Farm, said, “Operators have a lot on their plates with ensuring safety is top of the agenda. Now’s the time for consumers to show their support but for operators it’s also the time to keep innovating, There are challenging months ahead but, as always, offer and experience will help get the sector back in the driving seat.”

Meatless Farm recently launched a foodservice campaign ‘We Will Meatless Again’, which includes a new digital hub for chefs and operators, offering valuable advice and commentary from chefs, experts and EHOs throughout the reopening phase. This can be found at www.meatlessfarm.com/food-service