Catering supplier Bidfood collated findings from across the foodservice industry in a brochure analysing food and drink trends for the year ahead, reports Thomas Lawrence
Bidfood’s UK presence and product range has given the firm comprehensive oversight of the nation’s foodservice landscape. Their new ‘Food and Drink Trends 2018’ guide combines research from across the industry with Bidfood’s own cutting-edge insights.
One of the report’s most prominent features is the variety of national cuisines represented. Some old favourites are still going strong – fresh, locally produced foods from the Mediterranean and Asian specialities like Japanese ramen and Korean barbecue remain as popular as ever.
Others, however, are witnessing an unprecedented surge. The report highlights growing Latin American influence on street food, as well as increasing enthusiasm for hitherto overlooked cuisines hailing from the Middle East and North Africa.
In addition to what people are eating, Bidfood’s research offers some insights on how dining patterns are evolving. Consumers are bursting out of conventional mealtime boundaries in the quest for heightened mealtime flexibility. Vendors are filling the gaps by offering more convenient, high-quality snacking options and all-day menus for time-pressed diners. ‘Grab and go’ eating is another significant area of growth along these lines, with consumers seeking greater accessibility in the food they eat without having to compromise on quality.
According to Bidfood, other trends to look out for include the rise in nutritious eating as consumers seek to blend their busy lifestyles with a more health-conscious approach to food and exercise, as well as menus across the country increasingly aiming to provide innovative twists on old British classics to balance consumer nostalgia with their appetite for adventure.
With consumers more aware than ever before of the many cuisines the world has to offer, their tastes are becoming more diverse. “Consumers today are being introduced to a variety of flavour and food combinations,” says Lucy Pedrick, insights manager at Bidfood. “As a result, they are becoming even more experimental and adventurous when dining out or cooking at home.” This has been crucial in the new trends identified in what people are eating.
Many of these trends overlap. Bidfood’s research points to the rise of fusion cuisine like sushi burritos combining Asian flavours and South American convenience, and common threads between ostensibly disparate national cuisines like enthusiasm for fresh seafood in both Scandinavian and Mediterranean cooking.
“We’re already seeing brands rise to the challenge and offer on-trend bold concepts and products to delight customers,” says Pedrick. Staying on top of these trends and integrating them where appropriate will be crucial for firms looking to keep ahead of the competition. For consultants, this makes Bidfood’s research essential reading.
An online version of Bidfood’s Food and Drink Trends 2018’ guide can be found here.