Foodservice provider Bidfood has updated its food and drinks trends for 2021 in line with the shift in consumer behaviour as the UK begins to emerge from the devastation of the pandemic.
Consumer behaviour has changed significantly over the last 18 months as people have had to adjust to living alongside Covid-19. This has also seen shifts in the food and drink landscape with customers driving different trends at different stages of the pandemic.
Bidfood has provided an update to its annual food and drink trends highlighting the top three trends operators should focus on as they welcome guests back into their venues. The hottest trends are: 'Wellness my way', careful consumption and global cuisines.
As well as food and drink trends, Bidfood highlighted that cleanliness and safety were still paramount as customers safely begin to return to a "new normal" way of life. Meanwhile, other macro trends included a focus on quality ingredients, supporting local and seeking out "something a bit different" to excite after months of lockdown.
Catherine Hinchcliff, head of corporate marketing and insights at Bidfood, said it was important to provide an update to its annual trends report because operators need to have an understanding of the changing consumer choices which have evolved rapidly in recent months.
"When all of that excitement about reopening calms down a bit, we want to help operators and customers adapt their menus in the right direction and build their business in the medium term, rather than wait for trends which typically come out at the end of the year," she said.
She noted that the wellness trend has gained particular traction in recent months as consumers try to stay fit and healthy, with 68% of consumers saying the pandemic has made them more concerned about their health and wellbeing.
Hinchcliff added: "We see customers cutting back on calories and drinking less alcohol, but also looking for immunity-boosting ingredients like probiotics because there has been a change in understanding over the last few years about the link between gut health and immunity."
Bidfood also reported that younger consumers are voting with their feet when it comes to sustainability and avoiding establishments that don't offer recyclable packaging. Around 45% of 16- to 34-year-olds avoid ordering from restaurants/takeaways that use packaging that cannot easily be recycled (compared to 35% of all UK adults).
The other strong trend was global cuisines as customers are using food as a source of adventure or experimentation at a time when they are less likely to be able to go on holiday abroad. According to the trends report, 52% of UK consumers want to be more experimental with their food choices than they were before pre-pandemic.
The report also predicts that Korean, regional Chinese, Middle Eastern and Caribbean dishes are likely to be more widespread on menus later this year.