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How we identify food and drink trends

Insights | 11 February 2020 | Lucy Pedrick

If we’re going to find out what’s hot in food and drink we need to try it, right?

As a foodservice partner it is essential that we know what’s happening in food and drink, now and in the future. What better way to do that than to eat and drink our way around the UK!

There’s been some delicious foods from Bubblewrap ice-creams, avocado – all ways – and gut-hearty bitters and kimchee.  But it’s not all good… I’ve stomached some pretty unpalatable foods from vegan cheese, matcha latte made with rice milk and Korean red bean donuts.

This year we started working on the 2020 food and drink trends in March.  Typically, we’ve always compiled and executed the entire trends compendium within the team.  However, more recently we’ve partnered with thefoodpeople to establish the foundation of the trends.  Working with thefoodpeople helps us spot the latest foods, flavours and formats that consumers love allowing our offer to be for the customer of the future. thefoodpeople are constantly watching the menus, shelves and conversations around food and beverages across the world; scouring restaurants, cafes, pubs, coffee shops and street food markets, as well as analysing menus, chef profiles, reviews, blogs, influencers and social media helps us see what consumers, brands and trend setters are saying.

Attending shows, events and conferences allows us to meet suppliers, try new products and educate ourselves on new ingredients, reading up on foodservice, government and specialist reports, press and media consolidates our knowledge and visiting outlets, exploring new openings and trying new and emerging foods and drinks helps bring the insights alive. Adding all the above to our trends foundation, we’re able to build up a pretty accurate picture of what will be a trend rather than a fad; something that will be around for a while, embedding with consumers, and changing shape through chef invention.

In early Summer, we run through a selection of suggestions that could be trends, sub-trends or non-contenders… our meeting room walls are covered in images of possible trends. Each trend is supported by where it has come from, what’s driving it and what others are doing that’s worth looking at. The work is designed to inspire new product ideas, twists on current offers and create a strong platform for the future.

We spend an entire day, debating the future of each one, deciding whether, like X Factor, it’s through to the next round. From here, we agree a suitable trend label. So what next? The formulation of our content, collateral and our artwork! Every year we endeavour to enhance our Trends toolkit so that everyone, internally and externally, has access to the information they need to bring the trends to life on menus.

Last year, we launched a Talking Food with Bidfood podcast series, and this year we’ve extended our ready-made food tour designs to cover key cities outside of London. There really is no better way to embrace the trends than wondering city streets, dipping into interesting outlets to try their version of the latest on-trend offering… and through our alignment of the trends with our product range, we’re always working with customers to help them do this.

You can find more about our food & drink trends for 2020 here and you can also take a quiz to find out which trend you are!

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