For an event entitled Alcohol Trends and Innovations the day’s conference included a surprising amount of content around the drive for low and no alcohol. Doubtless driven by those pesky Millennials and Gen Z lot who don’t seem to value the good old fashioned binge drinking culture my generation and those before worked so hard to establish (only joking). Equally the omnipresent march of the health and wellness trend, will have had a fair amount to do with it, as consumers look to reduce calories, drink less and generally consume more wholesome food and drink. That’s not to say volume drinking is dead, Jägermeister themselves don’t condone or promote the ‘Jägerbomb’, but there is no denying this consumer-led ritual is alive and well in UK bars and clubs. However, despite the UK having a drinking population of 30 million (the large majority of whom, 96%, drink within the recommended limits, with only around 4% straying into the realms of ‘a problem’ – I’ll refrain from naming any beans) there is an overall trend for consumers to drink less, but better, with an increased focus on the quality, provenance and brand story. Drink still plays an important part in our social culture, both out of home in bars and restaurants (on trade) and when purchased in retail to drink at home (off trade).
As a leading food and drink agency, specialising in foodservice, retail and convenience, we make it our business to stay on top of the latest trends. Pulling key tangible insights from market information and trends data is crucial to the work we do with our clients and therefore attending events such as the MCA debrief comes high on our agenda.
Research has indicated that, as a nation, we throw away a third of the food we produce. Aside from the harmful methane it creates when it ends up in landfill, and the huge amounts of resources used to create it (such as water and fuel for transport) being wasted, the real choker for me is the 8.4 million people in the UK who are struggling to afford to eat. This is equivalent to the entire population of London. 270,000 tonnes of the food that goes to waste each year is still edible. That’s enough for 650 million meals.