Meet Lucy Pedrick, our Insights Manager, and learn more about her perspective on our predicted food and drinks trends for 2018.
Like a surf board to a surfer, trends are irresistible to all of us in the food industry, and we love jumping on them to stay ahead of the curve, and show our creative flair.
They’re important because they reflect changes in the choices and decisions consumers are making, influenced by shifting social dynamics and cultural tides, and present opportunities for caterers to get inspired, to get creative and to differentiate their menus.
From smaller ripples to larger waves, we follow them as they build. Some come to nothing and some become important and established currents of change, travelling outside the major urban centres influencing the choices we make wherever and whenever we eat.
The important thing to consider in translating trends into any dish or onto any menu, is that they are relevant to your consumers, reflecting what they want to eat and drink. Exciting as they seem, not every trend will make sense for your offer, so understanding your customer is key. You stand a better chance at achieving this with dishes that tap into more than one trend, and therefore have a broader appeal. You can certainly mix and match food trends as well as presentation ideas which is very much part of the fun and creativity we all love about food.
We’ve identified 9 trends demonstrated in 9 recipes in our Food & Drink Trends 2018 guide. They range from broad trends like Better Me, Day-part Dilemma, Street Eats and Grab and Go to both established as well as up and coming cuisine trends like Americas Discovered, Great Britain, Asian Appetites, Moreish MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) and Modern Europe. It’s easy to see how an ingredient such as beetroot hummus can play to a number of trends, appealing to those who want a healthier option, who are intrigued by the flavours emerging from the Middle East and North Africa, it can work as a savoury snack, in an on-the-go format, and even include British beetroot as the hero ingredient.
So, in summary, my top tips for following food trends in 2018:
- Know your consumer and what will appeal to them.
- Pick trends that make sense for your offer.
- Keep an eye on the horizon when planning your menus to keep them fresh and relevant.
- Not all trends are equal- don’t get side-tracked with niche trends unless you’re targeting a niche sector.
- Feel free to mix and match trends to get dishes that have even broader appeal.
- But don’t forget to nurture your key best sellers.