As a leading food and drink marketing agency covering both away from home and convenience channels (as well as consumer) we look forward to the quarterly Lumina Intelligence briefings to help ensure we keep up to date with the latest trends in the eating out market. Here are my top 10 take outs from yesterday’s Food Strategy Forum debrief…

1  – Drinks and social occasions are driving out of home visits with beer and coffee occasions on the rise as the World Cup continues and temperatures drop.
2 – As the cost-of-living crisis hits, value is the biggest consumer driver, with 78% considering themselves very value conscious (up 6ppt) with dinner hit hardest, down 3.7ppt as consumers favour lower ticket occasions.
3 – Consumers are increasingly experience-led when it comes to eating out, as 62% of consumers looking to spend money on experiences rather than ‘things’ (up 3ppt) – hence the rise of competitive socialising!
4 – Customisation is key – helping to streamline menus, drive up-sell and give customers what they want, with 46% of items on menus customisable.
5 – The lipstick effect is kicking-in with chips topping the treat charts, whilst also helping to drive margin for operators with a 6.1% ppt price increase. Not to mention fun festive coffees & seasonal hot chocolates and even some good old retro puds – jam roly-poly anyone?
6 – Although there is menu price inflation (as you would expect) operators are managing to engineer menus to keep them under the current rate of inflation and avoid scaring off consumers by keeping mains reasonable, whilst upping the costs of sides, new dishes, and customisation.
7 – Sharing dishes account for 15% of starters and are on the rise as they offer a ‘guilt sharing’, cost effective starter option for consumers. The good news is there is head room to up prices on these menu items too.
8 – Pizzas and burgers top the mains charts. Flavours such as chilli, turmeric and piri piri are seeing long term growth on menus along with descriptors including pickled, house, spicy and smoky.
9 – Operators are looking to retail lines in grocery mults as an ‘omnichannel’ solution to drive margin, as consumers eat out less, following in the footsteps of Pizza Express, Nando’s and Itsu. The good news – research shows they don’t cannibalise the out of home occasion, but instead offer another touchpoint to reach consumers. With 28% buying in retail after visiting OOH, 40% visiting OOH after buying in retail and 24% buying having never been to the operator OOH!
10 – Finally, if you’re looking for a festive foodie treat this Christmas head to Mercato Mayfair – you won’t be disappointed! (My tip, try the Bao Buns).

As ever the full report offers an in depth look at the eating out market, so if the above piques your interest, do get in touch with Lumina Intelligence to find out how you can join their next Food Strategy Forum debrief in 2023. Equally, if you could do with some help to leverage these trends through your marketing activities please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at jellybean here.