More pop-up restaurants, ageing customers and insects on the menu? What 2020 could hold in store

British and Irish consultants predict an ageing but increasingly discerning population will have a positive impact on restaurant spend in the next seven years. Michael Jones looks at the findings of a new FCSI report

FCSI UK & Ireland and Allegra Strategies’ new report Taste of the Future 2020 launched on Tuesday 14 October, forecasting the key issues and consumer trends that will affect the foodservice and hospitality industry by 2020.

According to the report, more than two thirds of foodservice experts from FCSI UK & Ireland and members of the Food Strategy Forum polled believe the ageing population in Britain will have a positive impact on the eating out market. This increase in demand will need to be met, yet the majority of those consultants surveyed are also predicting a severe skills shortage in the industry caused by an absence of younger workers.

The survey of more than 100 UK foodservice consultants and senior executives revealed that the frequency of eating out will be significantly higher by 2020. Consumer quality expectations will rise and new areas of demand and growth are expected to open up as niche cuisines and unique dining experiences become more popular.

The report also revealed that healthy eating will lead the long-term consumer trends impacting the foodservice industry in the UK, with 46% of executives indicating this would be the most important factor at play. Knowledgeable and demanding consumers (45%), price consciousness (44%), value consciousness (36%) and a growing food culture (35%) completed the top five consumer trends.

Legacy of value

Elsewhere, the report demonstrated that consumer expectations are on the rise, with nine out of ten respondents stating that product quality will be more important to consumers when eating out in 2020 than it is today. Quality of service will also be important.

The legacy of the recession looks set to continue into 2020 with 65% of respondents saying consumers will be even more value-conscious than they are today.

There will be also be a significant step change in popular food choices, with healthy eating, South East Asian, British, premium chicken and global fusion categories rising in popularity to replace today’s top five choices (Italian, burgers, Indian, Chinese and fried chicken).

Otherwise, 69% indicated that British-sourced food will increasingly determine where consumers eat out of home, with 60% saying consumers will demand more locally sourced menu choices.

So, what will we be eating in 2020? According to the report more new world cuisines will fill menus along with alternative sources of protein such as seaweed. Somewhat surprisingly, the report revealed that high-protein food sources such as locusts, ants and other insects are predicted to play a bigger part in our diets as we move away from red meat. There will be also a wider prevalence of genetically modified and chemically prepared food according to the findings in the report

Finally, outlets that deliver unique concepts will win in 2020 with new fast food (59%), street food (55%) and pop-up restaurants (51%) being identified as the fastest growing businesses to watch.

Chairman of FCSI UK & Ireland, Niccola Boyd-Stevenson, said: “What our report has highlighted is that our foodservice market presents significant opportunities for operators and suppliers alike. Over the next seven years we will see a reshaping of the market with the frequency of eating out becoming significantly higher, new areas of demand including greater emphasis on healthier eating and new, global cuisines. Our ageing population will also have a dramatic influence on the industry.

“However, it’s not all plain sailing. Operators and suppliers will face substantial challenges with greater market consolidation and higher food prices putting even more pressure on operating costs. Skill shortages will become even more of an issue for our industry.”

Simon Stenning, foodservice strategy director at Allegra Strategies, said: “This report has given us, as an industry, a unique look at what the future holds and will help operators, manufacturers and executives across the board prepare for some challenging but rewarding times ahead. To succeed in 2020, operators will have to offer something special, with experiences that excite and deliver first-class product quality and service.”

110 foodservice consultants and executives were surveyed by Allegra Strategies on key economic and foodservice market changes, consumer trends in 2020, cuisine changes and attitudes towards healthier eating and sustainability. In-depth online interviews took place to investigate the key trends over the next seven years in more detail.


Download a copy of FCSI and Allegra Strategies’ Taste of the Future 2020




Michael Jones

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