The European Coffee Symposium speak to Julian Weresch, Brand Manager at Sodexo, on how Covid-19 has changed — and will continue to change — consumer behaviour.

What main shift have you noticed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when it comes to customer behaviour?

Consumers are looking to limit the number of visits and therefore there is potential to have higher average transactions across fewer visits.  There is also a need for value — most guests are planning for Covid-19 to effect their financial position even if they have not yet experienced any changes to their income yet.

Do you think there are trends that Covid-19 has accelerated/decelerated, and if so, what are these?

The need for digital and the need for quick service (due to guests wanting to spend less time in our locations or alternatively have the product/service brought to them) have both accelerated.

I also think it has accelerated the type of services we provide especially in the food-to-go category. I think that as more businesses come back to life this will continue to progress and require further innovation to be in line with demand. 

Have there been any surprise spikes in demand in terms of products? 

Mainly Grab & Go items, such as sandwiches, hot snacks, hot and cold drinks. The demand for vended or self-serve products is also increasing.

What – if any – changes do you think are here to stay?

I think the need for hygienic environments will be here for the long term. Be it screens at point-of-purchase, hand cleaning and sanitising stations — limiting contact across the guest journey will remain important.