Lockdown sharpens consumers’ focus on social impacts

Consumers will have a renewed emphasis on brands’ contributions to local communities and environmental change when they return to eating and drinking out after lockdown.

CGA’s latest Consumer Countdown to Reopening Series research shows people are now much more likely than they were before the pandemic to take social and eco considerations into account when making choices in the out of home market. Two thirds think it is important that the venues they visit treat workers fairly, while nearly half think it is important that venues source environmentally friendly ingredients (46%) and packaging. All numbers have increased by several percentage points since a similar survey before the pandemic hit in February 2020.


After so long staying close to home, there has also been a sharp rise in consumers wanting brands they interact with to invest in their local communities. Two in five (41%) now say this is important—an increase of 10 percentage points in just a year.


COVID-19’s impacts have sharpened people’s focus on social and environmental concerns, and it will have important consequences for all brands as we emerge from lockdown,” says CGA’s consumer research executive Florence Brun.

“The ‘trust local’ movement is gaining momentum across the world, and in the British hospitality sector it means consumers want to see genuine engagement with their communities, and sustained action on reducing environmental impacts. Now is a good time for all businesses to think about ways to give something back to the cities, towns and villages they serve.”

CGA’s Business Leaders’ Survey has shown how hospitality has a big role to play in bringing communities together after lockdown—as well as in creating jobs and boosting the economy. Leaders have anticipated the wave of support for communities, and three quarters (73%) think consumers’ desire to stay local and support local businesses will positively impact their performance in 2021.


CGA’s Consumer Countdown to Reopening research has many more insights into the groundswell of support for local venues, as well as the potential commercial benefits of good engagement. More than a quarter (28%) of consumers say they will visit venues close to their home more frequently than they did before the pandemic—a much higher figure than those planning to make more trips to venues in city and town centres (20%) and close to their work (17%). The large majority (81%) of consumers define ‘local’ as being within a 20 minute journey of their home.


CGA’s four-part Consumer Countdown to Reopening series draws on new consumer research to reveal important changes in consumers’ attitudes and behaviour during lockdown. To learn how it can support all businesses’ reopening strategies, please contact charlie.mitchell@cga.co.uk.



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