This is a year that has even turned clichés on their heads as people plan for business as unusual and navigate the road in the bumps. Our children are not the only ones distance learning as we have three R’s of our own: reflection, realization and reckoning. On the BuzzBin, we have shared ideas to reimagine our food systems and discussed how brands are responding to a racial reckoning. With your feet in the air and your head on the ground, let the books hit us as we throw windows out them.
We have already missed a lot in 2020 and as we shift from post-Covid thinking to a living with Covid reality, the actualization of what we have yet to miss begins to sink in. Highschool seniors missed out on graduation. Now as college Freshman they will be missing that first semester experience away from home. Students will miss fall sports, Homecoming and winter stage productions. What a year to be 18. Many adults will be reevaluating the activities where we spend our time. I was watching a baseball game this weekend and reminded of how long they last. Was all that time spent in the past worth it? The familiarity was comforting, but I couldn’t help but think what else I could be doing with that time. Was it still a passion or simply a passive behavior that had become part of my routine?
County fairs, traveling carnivals, harvest festivals and more late summer and fall traditions will be missed dearly by the people that put them on, but what about the casual visitor? Will they care? Will they return to these things as autumnal activities? What changes can we expect this year, and how can you rethink your approach to unearth new opportunities? Looking ahead to food moments in the second half of the year expect things you’ll miss, and some that you may be glad are cancelled for 2020.
Lunch Routines—Remote workers and remote students will continue to have more midday meals at home. Restaurants servicing downtown business centers must adapt to slowed foot traffic. After months of lunch at home, how many are experiencing fatigue? Restaurants and retailers can help address this with weekly lunch plans removing one more daily decision. Restaurants can get prepaid delivery orders for the week or retailers can get creative with “bundles” that meet specific dietary needs from keto to vegan.
Tailgating—Sports are back, but the fans are still at home. If a football season happens, an urge to create familiarity will follow. We may not miss the traffic and bathroom lines but will long for backyard hangouts and driveway block parties. Retailers and restaurants can capitalize with kits providing food and extras to connect with the local fandom. With baseball viewed from the sofa rather than the bleachers, a ballpark menu with favorites like Italian sausage can drive predictably timed delivery sales.
Halloween—Candy sightings have already begun. No surprise the industry wants to get ahead of sales knowing that the first 2 to 8 bags of trick or treat candy purchased are eaten before October 31. Right? It isn’t just me? The idea of door-to-door harassing by ghosts and goblins this year feels far-fetched. I’m sure some people will dress up for the “gram”, but many more will have their own bowl of candy by the door…or bed. While I hope we are all wearing masks, I suspect many will embrace the freedom of not having to Google “easy Halloween costumes” to get into that party.
Thanksgiving—We may see a record number of pardons this November. Of course, I’m referring to turkeys. The bird just to clarify. There is a reason most people only cook one turkey a year. With fewer family gatherings I anticipate people looking to other proteins to crown their table. Expect a lot of competition to take down the king this November. Still talking about turkeys.
December Holidays—I hope flour mills are ramping up for a busy season. While we may not have the bake sales and potlucks this year, expect home bakers to dust the counters and fire up the ovens. Childhood favorites and #GBBO inspirations will be bursting our cookie jars. Family gatherings and holiday parties will be missed, but I feel one thing that won’t is mall Santas.
As you reflect on what you will be missing for the balance of 2020, realize the opportunities to meet adapting consumer needs and you might be part of the reckoning as we all evaluate what is important. You just might find that spot where the road meets the rubber.