As a leading food and drink agency, we are always keen to keep up and deliver the latest foodservice trends & insights that play a key part in planning and strategizing for our clients in hospitality. Lumina’s latest Food Strategy Forum looked at food-to-go, delivery and the restaurant market with current statistics and predictions until 2025 extracted from their latest reports.
This was the second in-person conference since Covid, and there was much to catch up on so here are our top take-outs from the day.
UK Out of Home State of the Nation
The Out of Home Market has picked up by 3.4% following the coronavirus lockdowns, however with rising inflation and cost of living, consumers are likely to restrict their spend.
Lunch occasions are dominating with the largest share growth this year. We are no longer just looking at dinner being the primary time of day for eating out, and businesses should focus on different day-parts to ensure that they are marketing to a range of consumers. The Six Nations was the key driver to pub visits in February and operators can capitalise on seasonal events and occasions – such as Easter – in order to drive more consumers.
Although consumer confidence is at a 13-month low, more consumers are eating out as it has become more habitual. Visitor frequency has increased by 7% in February this year, with average spend increasing by 1%. This is a positive sign for the market going into the rest of the year.
It is important to know that consumers have three key focuses – proximity, familiarity, and value for money. Consumers are motivated more so now than ever to shop locally – and this includes in the Out of Home market. Partner this with a familiarity feel and good value for money, and you are onto a winner.
Food to go in 2022: Market and Consumer Trends
As mentioned, consumer confidence is at a low and this causes consumers to tighten their purse strings, however, the food-to-go market is looking at a 32% growth rate this year which will allow us to go back to pre-pandemic market value and the FTG market is set to value at £23 billion in 2025. Both loyalty schemes and NPD will be key to driving consumer spend.
Meal deal prices are likely to be one of the first price increases in the FTG sector, however, habitual spending of consumers and the low-ticket nature of meal deals is likely to keep them as an attractive FTG option. It is key to note that convenience is losing growth to delivery. All is not lost, as consumers are more likely to treat themselves when they go into the office.
Dietary requirements (increase in flexi, veggie, vegan and dairy-free) increased over a 12-week period compared to last year. Almost half of new products in the first quarter of 2022 have been salads, sandwiches, and wraps. There has also been a huge increase in rice bowls and soups. Premium products are currently leading food-to-go new product developments. 4/10 of new products are vegan, as this is the most popular and 1/5 are low-calorie or gluten-free. However, FTG occasions are still dominated by indulgent products with the top three being chips, burgers, and pastry.
Another key trend for new products this year are beverages. Beverages currently count for 20% of all NPD, with half of these being hot drinks and sparkling waters. Beverage NPD is premium led with almost 60% coming out at £4+ at launch. Health-conscious trends also lead beverage NPD with 50% having No Added Sugar and 24% are either vegan, high protein or gluten-free.
Since Covid, many operators have stuck to a smaller menu to reduce waste, however, customisation of these menus provide choice for consumers so that they do not feel as limited. Over 40% of main menu dishes are now advertised as customisable. Longer term menu efficiencies can mitigate cost and availability challenges, with operators sticking to the small, customisable menus.
UK Foodservice Delivery
Over 1/3 of operators believe that demand for home delivery is one of the most important long-term consumer trends that are currently impacting the foodservice industry, falling just behind the use of internet and apps.
After the increase of foodservice delivery during Covid-19, the market value is likely to exceed the 2019 value and reach £13.3 billion, with this increasing to £14.6 billion by 2025. It is expected that traditional fast food will see the largest share growth.
Delivery services such as Uber Eats are expanding and diversifying their offerings into non-food products whilst the likes of Deliveroo are focusing on grocery and dark kitchens. Over 1/3 of delivery occasions are via Just Eat as they have more individual brand restaurants where consumers are looking to eat more locally. The top 5 delivery brands (Domino’s, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Papa Johns and KFC), still dominate as they maintain 30% share of the food delivery market.
We are now seeing more and more restaurants stepping into the delivery market, with an 18% rise in casual dining brands and 2/3 of bakeries, cafes and sandwich shops now offering delivery. Working from home has provided an opportunity for lunch delivery that was not available prior to Coronavirus.
Some key delivery concepts to watch for are premium meal kits, courier entrances in restaurants (helping to protect the instore experience), and food waste reduction. Over 72% of consumers are actively cutting down on food waste and 46% are buying more locally sourced food. Also, a keynote is that 1 in 4 consumers will choose a restaurant or pub because they have strong sustainability initiatives.
Restaurant Market Recovery
67% of consumers said that eating out at restaurants is the activity they missed most during the pandemic (only 2% behind meeting others and above holidays!). Over the last 2 years, restaurant penetration reached a peak of 11% when lockdown was eased, and currently sits at 9%.
However, restaurant operators will be facing a raft of challenges this year:
- End of reduced VAT of 12.5% on 31st March
- Rent moratorium expected to end April 2022
- National Minimum wage increasing 6.6% from April 2022
- Alcohol duty review following call for evidence in Autumn 2020
- Business rates review 2023
- Food, fuel and utility price increases and fluctuations
Even through these challenges, the restaurant market is expected to recover to 94% of the 2019 value in 2022 and set to value at £23 billion in 2025. Outlet closures are forecast to slow and polarise by 2025.
When ordering and paying at restaurants, age group is a strong indicator of service preferences. Younger consumers prefer ordering with an app or QR code but as a whole, 32% of consumers prefer having contact with staff – which is good news for servers.
Regardless, many operators are now using tech to fight food waste and manage cost. A brilliant example of this is where IKEA and Winnow have partnered to bring AI into IKEA kitchens to fight food waste – which has already shown a 50% decrease in food waste.
Thank you to Lumina for providing such informative presentations. To find out more about Lumina and becoming a Foodservice Strategy Forum member visit www.lumina-intelligence.com/. If you’re a brand looking to target the foodservice or hospitality sector, we’d love to help you, so feel free to give us a shout here.