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Food Technology in a Post-Covid World

a cashier wearing a face shield and mask rings up a customer's food order

Food Services in COVID-19: The Age of Transformation


Few industries have been as hard hit recently as Food Services & Food Retail. The sudden onset of the pandemic sparked a need to adapt transformative technologies and embrace new business models quickly, rethinking the entire process of how food is prepared and shared.

We surveyed 150 technology decision makers and found an industry changing in real time. Here's some of what we learned....

4.5 out of 5 - the average rating of business impact from changes in customer shopping behavior

The challenge: Shifts in consumer behavior

COVID-19 has changed the way customers shop and eat, with health and safety concerns increasing demand for online ordering, pick-up and delivery options. This has had a major impact on food providers, and created a new urgency to adopt cutting-edge technologies in food purchasing, preparation, and handoff.

Top strategic priorities for tech adoption

Using the pull-down menu, see why decision makers are turning to transformative technologies — and how their priorities have changed over the past year.


January 2020

August 2020

80% of food service and food retail businesses are likely to invest in in-house last-mile delivery

The process: redefine the priorities

How will food providers respond to shifting consumer behaviors? Over the next 24 months, they'll be experimenting with their business models – for example, deconstructing the general-purpose store into single-purpose facilities, such as self-service and drive-thru only stores, dedicated fulfillment centers, and ghost kitchens. In addition, they'll be looking at managing home deliveries themselves to recoup profits.

71% of survey respondents rated digital transformation as very important to business agility

The focus: emphasis on agility

To pivot to new or augmented business models, agility is a must. In fact, 100% of survey respondents agreed it's the key factor driving business success since the pandemic began. Agility depends on a number of factors, including rapid decision and learning cycles. But the most important enabler is digital transformation – rethinking every aspect of your business through the lens of what digital technology allows.

2 times as many food providers see themselves as tech-forward now, compared to before the pandemic

The emergence of key needs

Food providers know that investing in new technologies can give them a strategic advantage, especially during the pandemic. Right now, their top strategic priority is integrating physical, digital and mobile experiences to provide consumers with a safe and convenient way to enjoy their food. This includes point-of-sale-devices, self-ordering kiosks and drive-thru communication systems all connected to the back of the restaurant. Also key is high-end commercial food appliances to help find solutions for daily challenges and deliver a seamless experience of the highest quality.

Quote from VP of Marketing for a grocery store: This pandemic has really shown that businesses need to have agility to survive and win. Without agility, there will be a lot of resistance to change, leading to a wider scope of failures.

Get more key insights from our survey

Ready to dig further into the state of the industry and the growing role of transformative technologies? See all the results from our research by downloading our full report.


Discover key findings from our report, distilled into handy infographics for both quick-service restaurant (QSR) and grocery segments.
1 in 7 QSRs see themselves as tech-forward early adopters
1 in 3 grocers see themselves as tech-forward, early adopters

Explore The Sonic Solution

Panasonic's high speed, high volume ovens and steamers are easy to install, easy to stack, easy to customize and easy to clean. With a newly accelerated grab-and-go dining experience, The Sonic Solution by Panasonic allows you the agility to keep up with a rapidly changing landscape while still offering your clientele delicious, wholesome food.

Learn more about our technology solutions for Food Services & Food Retail

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We’re making food service faster and more personal with point-of-sale-devices, self-ordering kiosks and drive-thru communication systems all connected to the back of the restaurant - as well as our line of commercial microwaves, steamers and rice cookers – so customers can really have it their way.
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Our Hussmann division proudly serves the food retail industry with expertise in merchandising, energy efficiency and sustainability, food quality and integrity, refrigeration, design and engineering, service and installation, and retail performance.
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HBR food industry pulse survey

Back in early 2020, before the coronavirus outbreak hit North America, we conducted a Food Services & Food Retail study in partnership with Harvard Business Review. It's a fascinating snapshot of industry priorities and attitudes about transformative technologies at a time before unforeseen events would create a new urgency to evolve.

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Food Services & Food Retail eBook

Where is the industry headed? Who's making the best use of today's technology? how are Panasonic and Hussmann moving business forward? Get the answers in our five-minute eBook.