Working in the food, drink and hospitality industry means it’s important to keep up-to-date with the latest trends – be it new ingredients, trends or snapping a photo of a perfectly crafted cocktail (or soya latte for that matter) as soon as it lands in front of you. Noora Rautiainen takes a look into the top trends driving the UK eating out scene.
Today’s discerning consumers are a lot more conscious about what they are eating, where their food comes from and how it has been produced. The importance of overall quality has overtaken the desire to ‘get a better deal’. People naturally expect a quality plate of food, and they are willing to pay premium for it.
- HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Health and wellness has been a key trend taking the UK eating out market by storm over the recent years. As well as this, the UK has also seen a significant rise in veganism, vegetarianism, pescetarianism, low-sugar, refined sugar-free, gluten free, dairy free, etc. – there’s now an alternative to everything. All of confirms that the healthy eating trend is here to stay and restaurants, pubs and cafes are having to adapt rapidly to keep pace with this.
Technology continues to gain prominence for operators and consumers alike and is showing no signs of slowing down. Recent research by our client AlixPartners revealed that free Wi-Fi – although not exactly a new service – still remained the most wanted type of technology in the on-trade for customers, with online ordering coming in close second. Mobile payment systems have also gained momentum both with hand-held devices and direct table ordering – something definitely worth watching out for.
The use of delivery companies such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats has seen significant growth over recent years in response to high consumer demand. People – especially those living in major cities – are constantly on the lookout for easy, fuss-free dining options but are still expecting quality every time and these delivery options allow for exactly this. However, AlixPartners research shows that consumers are still divided on the concept of ghost restaurants, as most would still prefer for their food to be delivered straight from the restaurant rather than through a third party. Watch this space.
- MEAL KITS
Meal kits are currently gaining a lot of traction in the US, with the likes of Hello Fresh and Simply Cook being aggressively promoted in the UK. Linking back to the previous trend of customers wanting stress-free, healthy and good quality options, these brands offer kits with pre-packed ingredients designed and evaluated by nutritionists for customers to cook at home themselves in a matter of minutes. Although proving a slow start in the UK, these kits are beginning to gain popularity with millennials in particular due to time constraints and pressure on disposable income.
So, what’s the one overarching aspect that these trends have in common? They demonstrate that today’s consumer expects – demands – everything to happen as quickly and efficiently as possible, without impacting on quality – but will pay a premium price for it. Operators across the hospitality industry must respond to this or risk being left behind.