Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


Even in the pre-covid environment, food at the workplace had increasingly started to become more responsible and wholesome. With a fast-paced lifestyle, stress, environment etc. posing challenges, young consumers have reacted and there was a definite movement visible towards health and wellness, especially in food. The occasions in which consumers eat in restaurants are typically a bit more special and the food can tend to be more indulgent. However, in corporate cafeterias, the occasion is more “everyday” and hence, consumers typically look for lighter, healthier, wholesome food. We had also been witnessing a shift from traditional home food towards more functional meals with nutrition and lightness. In addition to that, the right language and values in its presentation and service becomes equally important.

After the pandemic we see a heightened focus on immunity boosting food, as well as focus on safety in preparing and serving the food. The heightened focus on immunity boosting super foods may not be permanent, but we see the shift towards responsible eating, which had already started, getting accelerated and becoming a mainstream with more people changing their habits faster.

Companies are quickly realizing that food is no longer just fuel. For many, it is the new cure, a means of achieving optimum wellness, whether tackling health conditions, promoting better sleep, boosting mood, or helping them look their best. They want cafeterias to ramp up the menu with immunity boosting essentials. Compass India has introduced Meal Plusa nourishing, immunity boosting and wellbeing enhancing food program. It is an elevated immunity fortified food program, encompassing multiple aspects around processing, packaging and further strengthening with seamless supply chain protocols; such as contactless experience, pre-ordered and packaged ‘Grab & Go’ meal solutions, ensuring low touch pick-up or ‘deliver-to-you’ at work meal.

There is an increased focus on personal safety, food safety, hygienic office environment and service staff, and so on. Compass Group’s SafeShpereTM program has been built to support organisations in taking care of the health and wellbeing of their employees, through an adaptable and customisable program of food, safety and hygiene solutions.

The workforce in India today is increasingly made up of people who have either grown up or are deeply accustomed to personal technology. They are our core consumers and are driving a change in the way we operate contract food services to meet their needs. Tech solutions that deliver seamless, enhanced experiences like menu discovery, pre-ordering, payment and post-order support have become an increasingly important part of the food experience at work. Our endeavor to be at the forefront of this change, continually leading innovation and reinventing our service and experience model.

I would like to mention two of our digital innovations under SafeShpereTM that we think will be helpful to align with the growing trends. The first is Café Pass, a mobile based solution that will help decongest the lunch hour rush at the workplace cafeteria that firstly limits how many people can be in a Cafeteria at a time and then allows employees to choose their preferred time to eat, book their café pass even pre-order their meal. It takes away the hassle of manual scheduling and staggered management of breaks, providing an efficient yet flexible way to manage the employee dining needs.

The other one is OnSafe, an app that enables the implementation of social distancing protocols with real-time tracking at the workplace. OnSafe will prevent crowding in the office spaces and allow organisations to redesign spaces in a manner that is safe. While there are apps for contract tracing, OnSafe is designed specifically for the workplace and has features and analytics that are relevant for the workplace.

SafeSphere also encompasses enhanced Safety Standards and Protocols, multi-channel employee hygiene communications, employee Readiness- COVID-19 training modules, overt employee personal protective equipment and enhanced employee health checks. It is an adaptable and customisable program of food, safety and hygiene solution to provide assurance and confidence in the workplace. SafeSphere not only aims to provide a commitment of being on top of the hygiene standards but also to provide visibility and assurance to its clients and consumers. We believe that workplace food services sector is also at the cusp of a rapid transformation and through various innovations they are ready to welcome India’s dynamic workforce in the ‘next normal’.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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