Like many aspects of our lives, the Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on our mid-day meals. These lifestyle changes affect how consumers think about their lunchtime choices, and many have decided to switch over to their own home-cooking for meals.
According to the International Food Information Council, some are snacking more, some are adopting healthier lifestyles, and many people are now working and cooking from home rather than dining out.
The packed lunch isn’t just for elementary school students anymore. 60% of consumers reported preparing meals at home. However, what started out as a necessity during quarantine, has turned into enjoyment. According to a study done by Acosta, “33% of shoppers plan to eat out for lunch less often or not at all”. Packed lunches are appealing because they can be healthy, sustainable, and take less time from the workday. In order to bring “Packed Lunchers” back to dining rooms, restaurants need to appeal to consumers’ new lunchtime priorities.
1. A Health Minded Demographic
According to the IFIC survey, people are changing their diets frequently. Plant-based choices on the rise and foods that promote immune health are also in demand. People are conscious of their surroundings, and of cleanliness now. Not only will potential guests be looking at food reviews, but of the reviews on the physical space and the cleaning procedures. Touchless bistros have the ability to offer both healthy foods and a healthy environment, two necessary factors in bringing. Focusing on overall health and food options within your restaurant will appeal to those who have maintained their wellness mindset.
2. Earth First
Sustainability is not just a trend anymore; it’s a lifestyle and mindset that many guests are committing to. They reflect this in their everyday decisions, including lunchtime! 39% of consumers say sustainability impacted their decisions in 2020. And “more than 40% said it is important that a food manufacturer “has a commitment” to sustainability”. Implementing sustainability into your business is becoming easier. In this article by Figure 8 Team, you can learn about how reducing and reusing materials can reduce your footprint. One example is by switching to reusable food containers like NYC-based DeliverZero. DeliverZero provides reusable containers to 150+ restaurants, which are delivered to guests, who then return the containers to the delivery driver on their next order.
3. Ease and Speed
The appeal of cooking at home comes from not having to look for where to eat, and knowing that they have control over their own experience. This control also includes knowing how much time to carve out of their day for lunchtime. Grabbing a packed lunch made the night before or that morning makes things simple and easy. They then just quickly eat lunch at their desk and get back to work. The packed lunch is reliable and fast, which is key for working individuals. Sometimes people do take a long lunch, but usually, they only have a short lunch break. The key is to cut down on unnecessary time spent in the restaurant. Working to modify restaurants for a frictionless order + pay experience is key in coaxing Packed Lunchers away from their kitchens and into your dining room.