Your ultimate guide to the trends shaping eating out in 2023
Psst… our 2024 Food and Drink trends are now live! Keep up to date by reading our latest blog: Your ultimate guide to the hot trends on menus in 2024.
In this blog, I’ll reveal the 6 key food and drink trends we’ve identified as the ones to watch over 2023 and beyond…
We know there are many significant challenges facing eating out operators at the moment that are making the market a difficult place to operate. So you may be thinking… are Food and Drink Trends really a priority right now?!
Well, we certainly think so! And, there are several reasons why we really want to help you to stay ahead of the curve with the latest consumer trends this year. To name just a few:
Firstly, despite the cost of living crisis, consumer demand for eating and drinking out still remains strong. In fact, 2 in 3 UK adults say they’d struggle to stop eating and drinking out despite the cost of living crisis. And 7 in 10 consider it the treat they most look forward to1.
Secondly, consumers are constantly faced with more choice as the eating out market continues to evolve, more outlets, brands and operators hit the market, and investment in apps, delivery services and drive-thrus makes eating out so much more accessible. Ultimately, consumers are constantly faced with more choice. Not only does this mean competition is higher, but consumers’ expectations are raised too.
The current cost of living crisis means that consumers are more critical and conscious than ever when deciding how to part with their cash. So it’s crucial that operators truly hit the mark with their menus and give consumers what they really value.
And that’s why we’ve put so much work into coming up with the 2023 Trends and providing useful resources to help our customers implement them.
Plus, our interactive 2023 Trends guide is full of hints and tips on how you could implement the Trends into your offering without having to change up the whole menu. And there are some Trends that lend themselves particularly well to menu efficiencies… ‘Unusual Fusions’, for example, is all about breaking boundaries, mixing things up and having fun with your menu… Who says tortilla wraps can’t be used in a lasagne?! Explore our recipes to discover some creative inspiration…
We worked with CGA by NielsenIQ to design and conduct a bespoke consumer research survey, and commissioned interviews with food influencers and chefs to really get a future perspective on the eating out market. We coupled this with extensive desk research, and even went out to different cities to find out what is really starting to hit the mark with consumers… and more importantly, which trends, flavours and cuisines have got the potential to truly shape the eating out market in 2023.
James Ashurst, Client Director at CGA by NielsenIQ said:
“We’re pleased to work with Bidfood to shape the key findings published in 2023 Trends. This invaluable resource is pivotal to help growth opportunities as the market moves forward through what has been a turbulent period for hospitality.”
1. Flavours Less Travelled
Consumers are again looking off the beaten track to explore less mainstream, slightly more niche flavours and cuisines. The 4 cuisines we’ve picked out have wide appeal amongst consumers, yet a large proportion haven’t tried them yet, and many consider them difficult to find on the high street. So there’s a real opportunity to use these cuisines and flavours to appeal to consumers wanting something a bit different when they go out.
2. Retro Love
This is a trend we’re extremely excited about this year, as it provides scope for a lot of fun and creativity with menus. We’re seeing real demand for nostalgic, retro-inspired food and drink, as it seems that consumers are enjoying taking a trip down memory lane and throwing it back to happy times in their childhood.
Think cakes inspired by custard creams, Jammie Dodgers or Pink Panthers. Childhood favourite comfort food, or retro milkshakes that make an instagrammable moment.
Click the link to find out more about the 2023 retro food trends.
3. Pizza Evolution
You might be surprised to see pizza on the list for 2023, and is it even possible for pizza to become more popular?! Well it looks like it is. Pizza was the UK’s most ordered takeaway dish in 2022 2, and we don’t see its momentum stopping any time soon. The well-loved classic pizza is evolving as new formats and styles gain traction with consumers.
Plus, gluten-free bases, vegan toppings and even pizza with hidden veg, all make pizza more accessible to a wider market.
Click the link to discover more about our 2023 pizza trends.
4. In the Spirit
In the Spirit is all about the alcoholic drinks taking the out of home market by storm. With many consumers looking to moderate their alcohol intake, it becomes even more important that the drinks they do have when they are out, are truly enjoyable and worth spending their money on. Signature cocktails are a real hit with consumers, almost 2 in 5 people saying if they’re opting for a cocktail they’d always choose the ‘signature serve’3.
And in terms of spirits, it’s all about rum and tequila this year!
Find out more about what alcohol is trending on our 2023 alcohol trends page.
5. Conscious Choices
Conscious Choices covers the diverse ways in which consumers are making more considered decisions. These are driven largely by growing macro-trends like a focus on health and sustainability, as well as new lifestyles post-pandemic, and of course the current cost of living crisis. Many people are more conscious of cost, calories, alcohol intake and their impact on the planet – and the food and drink choices they make reflect this.
Read more about how consumers habits have changed this year on our 2023 hospitality industry trends page.
6. Nature’s Gifts
Chefs are becoming more adventurous with vegetable-based dishes and breaking that old belief that a meal isn’t a proper meal without meat. Vegetables and plants are increasingly being used as hero ingredients in dishes, and celebrated for what they truly are. But it’s not all about the vegan market – as we’ve seen that 59% of people feel that vegetarian options in restaurants are limited5.
And with 26% of people eating more dairy products in their diet than they did 12 months ago5, and many people becoming flexitarian, offering meat-free options that include dairy or other non-vegan ingredients are likely to have wide appeal. Check out our Aubergine, Peperonata and Halloumi burger recipe for inspiration…
Check out our 2023 plant based trends page for more information and recipe inspiration.
Those were the 6 food and drink Trends shaping the eating out market in 2023! Will you be embracing these trends on your menu next year? You can explore these trends in more depth and find recipe inspiration on our Trends 2023 webpage here or discover our latest food and drink trends 2024.
And take a deep dive into 2024’s food and drink trends in our blog: Your ultimate guide to the hot trends on menus in 2024.
1 CGA by NielsenIQ Cost of Living UK Consumer Pulse Survey, August 2022
2 Foodhub Research, UK July 2022
3 CGA Mixed Drinks Report 2022, sample size 1,004
4 Bidfood & CGA by NielsenIQ, Trends 2023 bespoke consumer survey
5 Mintel, Burger and Chicken Restaurants, UK 2022