This blog marks the start of a new decade. Where did all the time go? As we make our way into the roaring twenties of the 21st century, many opportunities are arising as consumer habits change. To help identify them, I have dissected some of the key responses from the 2019 Food Service Management (FSM) Market Report to find out what top leaders have said will be the next big things for contract caterers.
First up, the power of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)…
Having strong CSR practices has always been important but it is more pressing than ever. This is because one of the latest social trends is consumer “eco-anxiety”. It’s rare that a week goes by where you don’t hear something about the environmental crisis, whether that’s from Extinction Rebellion protests or extreme weather seen on the news. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is overwhelmed by what I can do as one person to help the cause. Through offering more sustainable options though, you can give power to those people who want to do their bit. The demand for companies and the government to make it easier and cheaper to do the right thing for the climate will increase and soon it will become a ‘must-do’ not a ‘nice to do’.
So what quick wins are there for you? You can start “hero-ing” vegetables and serving more “clean” vegan dishes whilst meat production is in the spotlight. You can look to reuse food waste in innovative ways to optimise the products you have, e.g. changing kitchen habits to make sure you use every bit of the meat and veg, by implementing a “nose-to-tail” and a “root-to-leaf” cooking method. Another vital thing to consider is that there is always so much confusion for how to recycle, so make it clear and easy with different bins to encourage less food waste and make sure that waste is recycled appropriately.
Helpful tech will continue to make life easier…
We live in a digital age now. Technology assists with understanding consumer data more than we could ever previously dream of and this information can help you provide the best customer experience. By personalising and profiling customers you can tailor to their needs even more specifically and this in return helps you deliver value for money. Providing a personalised experience is almost expected these days and that encourages customers to pay more of a premium. Vita Mojo are a brand that do this really well with their “ultra personalised” offering allowing customers to control all aspects of what they’re buying. Personalisation doesn’t have to be done only through technology though. You can support consumers by using bespoke ingredients they want in meals, by giving them flexibility on flavours (think Krispy Kreme choose your own dozen), by offering different portion sizes or by sharing calorie information on menus. Tech can definitely help with making this easier though!
This links to another new social trend “Helpful Tech” which is around how technology is constantly changing to make our lives easier. Small things like having contactless payment and pre-ordering via phone apps to skip queues makes your consumers lives easier, which in return will encourage them to stay on-site to buy their food and drink. As things like this and self-service points take hold, there will only be more expectation on how technologies can improve consumer experience.
Healthy gut, healthy mind
There is a definite shift towards people wanting a healthier lifestyle nowadays. Linking heavily to sustainability, people are eating less meat and choosing plant-based options more. It’s not just healthier food, consumers are looking to improve all aspects of their health and the work place restaurant can impact this massively. This is because another social trend making its way to prominence at the moment is centred on how consumers are becoming “Wellness Engineers” and looking to implement more wellness aspects into their hectic lifestyles. As a result, functional food and drink is on the rise. Think about having a range that includes products like protein bars for those going to the gym, vitamin drinks to give consumers that sought-after boost in the day, or kombucha drinks for those wanting to improve their gut health.
The wellness trend is being met with more flexible formats in foodservice. For example, we are seeing yoga brunches or lunchtime classes in communal eating spaces and restaurants. Further in the future we expect that personalisation will be at a point where we will all be able to monitor data from our body to tailor dishes to our own nutritional needs. How crazy is that!
For more on our social trends, make sure you check out the Bidfood 2020 Trends report, for all you need to know to freshen up your menu for the New Year and beyond. Have a great 2020 all!