Keeping menus fresh and updated is key when it comes to standing out from the crowd and getting ahead of the competition. Therefore, it is crucial for operators to regularly take the latest trends and consumer behaviour into consideration. Beacon, Britain’s leading purchasing company has worked with its suppliers to identify the latest trends in the foodservice sector.
Alice Bexon, purchasing manager at Beacon, commented: “In order to meet consumer needs and get ahead of the competition, it is vital for operators to take note of the latest trends. Covering everything from hot and cold beverages to meat and vegetarian options, we’ve worked closely with our leading suppliers to offer ten of the latest trends of 2018, which aren’t going anywhere, for establishments to take advantage of.”
Made in Britain
Beacon’s research into food and drink trends crowned Made in Britain the top trend of 2018. Over half of UK consumers are willing to pay up to 10% more for their food if they knew it was made in Britain, so to capitalise on this make sure home-grown produce is on the menu.
While meats such as burgers, steaks, chicken and hot dogs continue to remain popular, insight from Beacon’s supplier Fairfax Meadow shows that there has been a rise in the appearance of more unusual meats, including ox heart, ox cheek, bavette, kidneys and liver, on the grill this year.
Healthy hot beverages
As the health and well-being trends boom, consumers have become increasingly selective about their dietary choices, with many opting for healthier hot beverages. Research conducted by Beacon’s supplier Tetley Tea found that 18% of consumers will choose a green tea, 17% will choose a speciality black tea and 15% would opt for herbal tea. Consumers also turn to drinks that serve a purpose, such as increased energy or relaxation, as well as products that provide nutritional, physical and emotional benefits, so be sure to offer a wide variety of hot drinks.
Iced drinks are becoming increasingly popular within the coffee sector, with 40% of consumers having purchased one in the last 12 months, and 30% saying that an iced blended coffee is their favourite option, according to our supplier Matthew Algie. Cold brew is one of the most popular coffee trends in 2018, specifically nitro cold brew – a cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas and forced through a draft system. This results in a rich, velvety, creamy head that is extremely popular amongst consumers.
Premium soft drinks
Following the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, commonly known as the sugar tax, combined with the decline in alcohol consumption, there has been a rise in demand for a varied soft drinks offering. Furthermore, insight from Heineken UK highlights that customers are more concerned with purchasing an experience, as opposed to a product. This can be achieved by focusing on innovative glassware, as well as simple fresh garnishes and great quality ingredients, to help create the perfect serve.
Avocado’s a firm favourite
Whether used as guacamole, in salad or even in baking, avocados remain a firm favourite with clean eaters, and sales of the green superstar haven’t eased since the craze kicked off over a decade ago, according to Classic Fresh Foods. Combined with Brakes predicting that avocado oil will take the lead from coconut oil, it looks like its popularity and uses will continue to grow. By incorporating avocado options into menus and highlighting the health benefits, such as high fibre and potassium content, operators will be able to appeal to consumers and meet soaring market demand, encouraging sales.
Alternative breakfast milks
Traditionally known as the most important meal of the day, breakfast is an important offering to get right in order to satisfy customers. With this said, Beacon’s supplier Pensworth Dairy found that many consumers are opting for lighter skimmed or semi-skimmed varieties, so be sure to consider a variety of milks. This ranges from lighter skimmed options, to soya-based product replacements such as almond milk and soya.
Afternoon tea trends
A traditional British treat, the afternoon tea experience has evolved in recent years, with bookings increasing by 54% over the past two years, according to OpenTable’s research. The Best Western Clifton Hotel, Folkestone, has seen a major boost in its afternoon tea profits, increasing bookings by 900%, with the use of a stunt cake artist. Extravagant food artistry can range from chocolate teapots to icing flower arrangements, giving consumers a real conversation starter and an inspiring image for social media, key for many consumers nowadays.
Vegetarian and vegan options
Insight from Ribble Farm shows that customers are looking for more variety in vegetarian options, including the use of vegetables as a meat substitute. Food items such as layered aubergines, courgette spaghetti and cauliflower steaks are all popular among vegetarians, as well as health-conscious consumers who are reducing their meat intake, so be sure to include some of these different meat alternatives in menus.
The rise of flexi-eating
According to research from Alliance National, the hectic lifestyles of busy professionals has contributed to the decline in three main mealtimes, meaning that consumers are mixing it up when it comes to out-of-home dining; whether its opting for frequent, smaller plates, snacking in between meals, or seeking exciting and memorable experiences.
By Alice Bexon, purchasing manager at hospitality purchasing company, Beacon