What we eat v How we eat

12.02.18

2018 is the year to rethink how we grow sales and customer base

There was a time when the biggest challenge to face the food service and food manufacturing industries was simply staying one step ahead of people’s changing tastes.

Would it be the year for Mexican dishes, Pacific Rim influences or maybe smoky North American foods?

How things have changed!

Yes, a shrinking world still means we’re discovering more flavours we want to enjoy on our own doorsteps too. And the food industry still needs to focus on where our tastebuds will travel next.

But In 2018, all the trend indicators are pointing to our social, recreational and working habits having an even bigger impact. Now it’s all about how, where and when we will be eating, with what we eat adapting to fit the bill. And for the pizza and pasta business, it’s never been more important to tune in to our changing routines.

So what are the factors to watch out for in the year to come?

First, it will come as no surprise that food-to-go will continue its meteoric growth, responding to falling unemployment, our busier lifestyles and a general acceptance that eating outside the home is becoming the new norm. Within five years, the FTG sector is expected to be worth getting on for £25bn, with FTG retailers eclipsing the sales of quick-service restaurants.

Vegetarian and flexitarian trends are here to stay too. We’re more interested than ever in healthier diets and more balanced meal choices. Provenance also remains an important factor, with artisan producers capitalising on local sourcing and a more ‘wholesome’ product image. All of which explains why the number of veggie items on menus has grown by 7%, with every indication this upward trend will continue.

And then there’s the blurring of the day parts…perhaps the most difficult shift in thinking to adapt to, but a vital one to understand.

Three square meals a day is a thing of the past. Take breakfast…suddenly we’re in love with the potential for enjoying the first meal of the day, so why restrict it to morning when you could indulge at any time of day?

Then there’s brunch. And there’s trunch. And there’s street food from dawn till dusk. Never mind what the clock says, all day – and night – is now a good time to eat!

How to respond?

Well, first the good news. The popularity of pizza and pasta will continue to grow in 2018. Italian food now accounts for over a third of the outlet share and remains the favourite branded restaurant cuisine, with pizza and pasta still the top two food items at both lunch and dinner.

And therein lies the first opportunity. Pizza for breakfast is here. Not necessarily just a sit down affair, but a chance to grab a slice of the action from the FTG sector too.

Then there are the opportunities presented by the growing demand for comfort food. ‘Millennials’ seem to hunger for nostalgia, so pizza and pasta are perfectly positioned to feed their appetite for family favourites and classics.

Quality ingredients are on the menu too, along with a higher nutritional delivery…both offering potential for encouraging a trade-up to higher priced options for a generation that likes to ‘check the labels’ for upmarket, more flavourful ingredients.

And let’s not forget the ‘new for new’s sake’. Chocolate pizza is already with us. Marshmallow and cream toppings are hot on its heels! Today, it seems very little can surprise in a food world where nothing is off limits. All it takes is a little imagination…and a lot of time spent with one eye on what’s just around the corner.

Sources: IGD, Food People & MCA

Extracts from this article first appeared in Pizza & Pasta Magazine, November 2017 

Ornua Ingredients UK produces a quarterly Food Trends Update. For your free subscription, email richard.thorpe@ornua.com