Food trends in review

As the New Year draws closer we take a quick look at popular trends of 2017 and identify what we have to look out for in 2018. Our industry is fast paced and it’s important to take note on what is about to sweep through our Cafes and restaurants in the next 12 months.

2017 has seen the rise in ‘Snacking Culture’ especially among younger diners. Diners may visit a restaurant during traditional meal times however depending on what is ordered it could be easily perceived as a snack rather than a meal. It’s been reported that 72% of UK consumers snack at least once per day and 40% snack twice a day or more. This snacking trend has captured the NPD at large brands such as Unilever Ice Cream. The snack attack range was launched at the start of the year which includes the snack size impulse ice creams at an 80p price mark which brought attention away from traditional sweet snacks and onto ice cream.

The nations snacking culture has been supported by a huge rise in consumers eating on the go and out of the home. A busy work life means we have developed a term called ‘al desko’ dining where we are fuelling and balancing life via snacks rather than scheduled mealtimes. New on the go launches from 2017 include delicious and healthy quinoa and sprouted bars from Perkier, packed full of wholefoods and nutrients. Energy drinks have also been revamped for the better this year with two companies striving to achieve natural energy drinks. POW Energy Water uses natural sweetness and energy from using only fruit and plant sources. Purdey’s have also launched a multivitamin energy drink this year, in both bottle and can variations, with a blend of fruit, minerals and vitamins to boost your day the healthy way.  With an ever growing interest for natural ways to fuel consumers, the launch of energy drinks will be something to look for in 2018.

Scheduled breakfasts, lunch and dinner also seem to be a thing of the past. There is growing evidence that we are starting to squeeze a fourth meal into our day[i]. This works to adapt our eating routine around our busy lives. Naturally differing for each individual this could be cheese on toast before bed after an early dinner or a protein packed salad mid-afternoon ready for your gym session after work. Whether it’s an indulgent treat or a healthy snack we expect to see more of this in the future.  

The demand for high protein food continues to sore and with more of us following a ‘meat free Monday’ flexitarian style diet so it’s no surprise there is excitement around new plant based vegan alternatives. Whether its grains, seeds, soy or pulses everyone is looking for clever ways to add a new protein punch to their diet. New launches this year have been dairy free cheese alternatives from Bute Island made with Coconut oil and Soya. Also suitable for vegans and those following a meat free diet is VBites, with a range of meat substitutes they supply a wide range including bacon alternatives.

Going into 2018 we are met with demands to supply products to improve health whether that is through cutting sugar or special dietary requirements to lead onto a healthier lifestyle. Gluten free, once a dietary requirement now sees interest from those wanting following a lifestyle with a reported 36% boost in sales. Manufactures are now creating very competitive recipes which taste great and knock conventional products off the menu. For example our largest cake supplier, The Hand Made Cake Company has developed a range of Gluten Free cakes which taste just as delicious as their conventional varieties. A development which now means Cafes favour having the Gluten free cakes leaving it no longer necessary for two options.

The health evolution doesn’t stop there; to fight the obesity crisis the government has challenged food manufacturers to cut sugar in food by 20% by 2020. This creates a knock on effect whereby premium soft drink manufactures are changing their recipes to include less sugar ahead of the Government initiative. This could shift consumers towards the sugar free or healthier drink options due to price increases on traditional soft drinks and media pressure to consume less sugar. On from this, Supermarkets have begun to offer free fruit in stores for children. Through cutting sugar and encouraging younger generations to live a healthier lifestyle we are changing the perception of what is defined as eating healthy as we approach a new year of innovative food and drink trends.

As we look ahead into 2018 we should see healthier options and more impulse on the go products be introduced into the market. 2017 has seen a shift in the desire to have a healthier lifestyle through food and drink and how free from has become a lifestyle choice for the health benefits not just because of a medical condition. The popularity of Veganism is continuing to rise and there is a lot of product innovation in the pipeline for the New Year to help our customers keep up with these trends. For all the latest product launches at Hunt’s check out our monthly promotions brochure online or follow us on Twitter @Hunts_



[i] Source: Waitrose food and drink report 2017-2018