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  • Kate Ruffing

Impact of COVID-19 and Social Injustice on the Food & Beverage Industry


I remember feeling an overwhelming feeling of hope and newness when the ball dropped in Time Square on New Year's Eve as we ushered a new year and decade into existence. On January 1, 2020, this year would have been predicted to be much like so many others but time would soon prove that wrong.


This year has been the "Great Disruption" for so many reasons. Some things, like Social Injustice, have been building for years and finally found a boiling point in our collective society. Other things, like the COVID-19 pandemic, were long predicted but never really expected. The ways we consume food, beverage, marketing and media has been forever altered as a result. While we like to talk about how someday we will return to "normal", I think it is quite apparent that this will be a "new normal".


Already, we are seeing brands and design transforming to meet this new reality. There has been an embracing of under-represented groups in advertising and outreach and images of Native Americans on packaging and as sport team mascots have become taboo. As we have found ourselves isolating at home, along with working from home and schooling from home, our values around "family", "comfort" and "community" are shifting. And I won't even breach into how the political ethos has left us raw and divided in so many ways.


It is clear, we will be on a new pathway for years to come and an entire generation of consumers will be impacted by these events (is it too soon to call the "Generation C").


I had a chance to sit on a panel with some fellow big thinkers and discuss the insights and trends related to the events of 2020 on brands and packaging design. It was a great discussion and I learned a lot from the panelists and audience members.


In summary, none of us has the crystal ball to be able to completely predict where we are headed or what the long-term impact will be but there is enough to know that for brands, new and old, to survive there needs to be an evolution especially with the shift to D2C from B2C.


Watch the full broadcast of BevNet's Office Hours below:

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