"Due to the lack of physical communication, we are now using Teams, Skype etcetera on a large scale. It works. Although... how do you explain the smell of delicious fresh bread? The smoothness of leather? The tenderness of a steak? I can't feel or smell it through the screen, and so many are like me. It's like trying to explain to a blind person the difference between red and blue."

"Online shopping, especially for non-food, has become quite normal. But where is the added value of the expert seller? The fact that, as a customer, you can't ask, taste or feel anything in the digital shop is now being increased. We do lose a lot of information here. The guidance and explanation of the seller is gone."

"Many physical shops have died - Miss Etam, V&D, Durham, Kaufhof - and the weak get the final blow in the corona crisis. In 3 years' time, 60% of the shops will be empty. Is this bad? No. The dinosaurs also died once. And when a thick tree falls down in a forest, there is room for a lot of little ones. They suddenly get light and air. Shops and upper floors that were empty for years are now increasingly being filled with living/working/startups. The result: a livelier inner city is once again being created, even after 6 pm."

"How will this process take shape in the food sector? Food is pre-eminently dependent on direct contact. What happens when we no longer have trade fairs for two years; where I can smell wine, taste the taste of a new insect burger, experience its mouth feel?"

"In recent years, we have developed many visitor corridors and inspiration centres for new construction plans. They now work perfectly. You can show who you are in a small committee, without coming into direct contact with the production. I expect that this process in particular will gain momentum in the coming period."

"After all, the same applies to the food sector: 'If you don't play outside, you'll never get new friends'."


Herman Bessels is architect BNA at Bessels architekten & ingenieurs BV

Source: Vakblad Voedingsindustrie 2020