As a leading food and drink agency, we make it our business to keep up to date with the latest eating out trends. The Lumina Foodservice Strategy Forum is always an informative session, packed with a wealth of data on the out-of-home market, upcoming trends and consumer behaviour.
Q4 looked into current mega trend and menu composition, along with a look to the future with key trends for 2024.
Below are our key takeouts from the day:
- More people are eating out of home, with dinner occasions on the rise, with quality and value being the two most important factors shaping consumer choices.
- Bad weather and rail strikes slowed recovery of the industry post-Covid, with some impact still to come, but with tourism up 112% YOY, the situation is not as bad as it could have been.
- The Autumn Statement is due to help businesses, but the rise in minimum wage is still a threat, especially to independent chains.(More on the Autumn Statement here)
- Innovation through technology is driving growth. With convenience on the rise, technology can help streamline operations.
63% of consumers are very sustainably conscious, 42% of consumers identify as health-conscious and 14% are non-drinkers (up by 1% YOY) all of which has driven menu innovation, from expanding low and no options, to farm-to-fork schemes (a commitment to sourcing local produce).
Importance of Value
- 77% of consumers are value-conscious, up 2% YOY, but 86% believe quality has a price, which has driven the growth in experiential dining, mainly in the 18-34 age group.
- Independent hospitality businesses are losing their share of eating out occasions. Brands like McDonald’s, Dominoes and Greggs have seen an increase of share, attributed to their ability to minimise price increases on consumers.
- There has been a notable rise in dinner occasions driven by value – e.g. getting the OOH experience at-home, with take-home dinner offerings from supermarkets, contributing to a decline in share for pubs and bars.
- Treat is the no. 1 out-of-home mission, with coffee and sandwich shops tapping into this growing demand with affordable, but indulgent offerings.
Convenience Takes Priority
- More consumers are eating out this year, but the average spend sits at £12.35. QSR and retail channels grew in 2023, with their share of eating-out occasions highlighting the importance of affordability and the impact of inflation when making these decisions.
- Cooking fatigue has driven the growth in low-cost dining occasions.
- Research found that 28.6% of consumers bought food when they were out because it was close to them (convenient).
How has Foodservice reacted?
- Chains are now offering rewards programmes for dining out, appealing to customers who are value-led.
- Foodservice has been impacted by politics and conflicts. Sourcing fish has been impacted by the Russian-Ukraine war. Fish-based starters have fallen off menus, and fish and chips has driven the main price-increase in pubs (up by 10.1%)
- Changes in menu composition:
- Operators are increasing prices, up by as much as 8.5% for the same-line dish.
- Tiered customisation appeals to a wide range of consumers and helps those worried about costs. 32% of items on menus are now customisable, up 2% YOY.
- 13% of desserts now include a branded product – a great way for businesses to premiumise their menu offerings. This includes dishes designed to be shared which drives up price-points. The average price for a new-line desert has increased by 31.3%.
- Vegetarian offerings now make up 55% of starter dishes at chain restaurants (up 2%) and Vegan offerings now 24% (up 4%). This not only appeals to flexi-consumers, but those worried about sustainability.
Concepts to Watch
Lumina also took us through the trendsetters of the hospitality world and their innovative business ideas taking the industry by storm.
- FOWL, London – a premium pop-up chicken shop with a zero-waste ethos bringing guest chefs and limited edition dishes.
- Fenix, Manchester – utilising sound and lighting to create an immersive atmosphere, this experiential drinking den has live DJs and theatrical cocktails.
- Love From, Manchester – an alcohol-free bar with disco nights and tasting masterclasses.
- Little Lines Bar, London – within RIXO clothing store, this bar offers ready-to-drink cocktails, challenging the idea guests need to have their drink made in front of them.
The debrief was followed by a wonderful food safari around London Fields and Hackney, which you can read all about here!
Thanks again to Lumina for such a well-thought out and insightful session. We can’t wait to see what 2024 holds. If you are interested in becoming part of the Lumina Food Strategy Forum you can find details here.