Having been working with clients in the hospitality sector for 18 years, hospitality marketing communications is my agency’s, Big Cat’s, bread and butter. The diversity of the sector keeps it so exciting and the ever-changing food trends, changes in health and nutrition and new products and concepts mean that restauranteurs and those working in hospitality need to make sure they are one step ahead and keeping their finger on the pulse for what’s emerging and attracting customers.
Here’s a list of six food and drink trends to look out for this Spring!
More plant-based meat-free options
Everyone is aware of the growing trend in plant-based diets (it may be worth noting now that ‘plant-based’ is the key dining buzz phrase rather than ‘vegetarian’ and ‘vegan’) and it is safe to say that this is not just a fad; it’s here to stay. Sales of meat-free and vegan items increased by 14% to £352.1m year-on-year to August 2018, whilst just under 300,000 people signed up to Veganuary 2019 (up from 168,542 in 2018). 52% of British shoppers (rising to a huge 68% of 18-24 year olds) say that they either follow or are interested in following a plant-based diet, whether this be vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian. Even a quarter of meat eaters plan to reduce their meat consumption across the next 12 months, probably aided by the introduction of impossibly meaty faux meats, such as the aptly named Impossible Burger.
With the increasing popularity and the obvious demand for food which fits into these diets, it’s becoming increasingly important for restaurants to have a separate plant-based menu that offers a wide variety of options, rather than just a measly cheese and onion pie squeezed onto the bottom as an afterthought. For our client Ember Inns, we incorporated a lot of messaging regarding Veganuary on social media, which received a large amount of engagement. We are even starting to see some brands offer a completely meat-free menu once a week.
Street food, of course, is another trend which is still continuing to flourish with Indian and Mexican options leading the way in terms of favourite cuisine, particularly with 15-34 year olds. However, there is a new street food favourite on the horizon; Israeli cuisine. Specialties from Lebanon, Syria and Turkey are particularly gaining momentum among hip forward-thinking restaurants. With a huge current awareness of health and wellness (‘healthification’), and a generation of foodies in search of exotic and regional foods, consumers want healthy but flavoursome fast food. Restaurants are starting to reimagine classic dishes, replacing ingredients with vegetable-based alternatives or a healthy spin.