Whatever their age, UK consumers are recognising the importance of making healthier lifestyle choices both at home and when eating out. However, they are increasingly concerned not only with their physical health as well as their mental health and mood.
1. Last year, we saw that consumers had become increasingly aware of and concerned with the calorie content of menu options. But what we’re seeing now is a move away from solely focusing on calorie content, and a growing interest in the wide-ranging nutritional properties of food and drink.
In fact, our consumer research shows that other factors are more important than calorie content when it comes to making healthier choices on menus.
2. Secondly, it’s evident that consumers are taking a much more holistic approach to health and wellbeing, focusing on optimising the health of their mind, mood and bodies.
What’s becoming more important, in the eyes of consumers, is the nutritional content of food and drink.
In fact, 59% of UK consumers would like to see more nutritional information written on menus**. And 67% of UK consumers believe that getting a good amount of your daily nutritional needs per portion makes a healthier food product good value*.
Consider upsell opportunities by focusing on the most in-demand macronutrients
To truly capitalise on this trend, consider offering add-ons or premiumised menu options with added protein, lower sugar alternatives or five a day choices. You could even pair healthier drinks (which are lower in sugar or have nutritional benefits) with menu options to complement consumers’ favourite dish – and get their vitamins in too!
Keep it simple and feature plant-based choices
Protein is currently a growing focus area for consumers, and plant-based options such as beans, lentils and chickpeas are choices that have widespread appeal. Our bespoke research shows 31% of UK consumers say high protein products made with plant-based protein are more appealing than animal protein! And we’ve seen how important vegetable content is to consumers, with 44% opting for a veg-packed dish when looking for a healthy option.
Help educate consumers to make more informed choices
Consumers are interested in healthier dishes and drinks, so emphasise on your menu the range of healthier ingredients that the dish contains. However, legislation about health claims is complex, so if you are considering making any specific health claims, make sure you consult a dietition or nutritionist first.
In today’s world of constant connectivity, hectic lifestyles and busy routines, it’s no wonder consumers are increasingly seeking quick wins through food and drink. As well as the body, we’re seeing increasing interest in food and drink that may contribute to our mind and mood.
However, research in this area is evolving, and it is difficult for manufacturers or caters to make claims such as ‘boosts energy, supports better sleep, hormonal health, promotes mental focus or reduces stress.
UK consumers are looking to optimise their mind and mood in several diverse ways…
Focus on the general principles of a healthy diet:
• Offering healthy, balanced meals with lots of variety
• Eating regularly (meals should include carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain) to regulate blood sugar levels
• Offering a variety of proteins (including plant-based protein)
• Supporting gut health with fibre-rich foods
• Using ingredients that contain Omega-3 fatty acids – for example oily fish as well as plant-based sources.
Appeal to the senses through food and drink
71% of UK consumers think that the aroma of food and drink can help boost your mood*. So consider how aromatic dishes like roasted coffee beans, or freshly baked breads fan influence the mood of your customers. We also ‘eat with our eyes’ so bear in mind how vibrant and colourful dishes can brighten their day.
Taking a holistic approach to health and wellbeing means achieving the right balance. Indulgence is an important trend in the out of home sector and many food and drink items are perceived to boost our mood. Most of these effects are thought to be due to learned associations of food with pleasure and reward.
However, nutrients may also play a role, for example, eating regular meals with some carbohydrates can help with blood sugar regulation, which may affect energy, mood and brain function. Dishes containing wholegrain carbohydrates will support this concept.
Research has suggested that smaller portions of sweet treats could appeal to those conscious of their calorie, fat and/or sugar intake. 3 in 4 consumers that eat cakes would prefer to eat a small amount of an indulgent cake than eat more of a healthier version*. This marries up with recommendations to consume foods that are higher in fat, sugar, salt etc. less often and in smaller amounts, giving you an opportunity to help customers make healthier choices.
Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in making healthier food and drink choices when out of home. Not only are they looking for dishes, products and ingredients that will help support their health, for example, gut health or achieving/maintaining a health body weight, but they are also thinking about how food and drink can help support their energy levels, mind and mood. As a result, we’re expecting to see a higher demand for all sorts of healthier, balanced dishes including those which contain adequate protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals – the list goes on!
Consumers have become increasingly aware of the calorie content of food and drink in recent years – particularly since calorie labelling legislation came into place in the UK. However, what we’re seeing now is a growing interest in specific ingredients and nutrients, as customers are looking to support their health and wellbeing through their food and drink choices.
Bidfood’s bespoke consumer research, conducted in conjunction with CGA, has shown us that two out of three UK adults believe that it’s important that the food they eat out of home is healthy. And what’s more, almost six in ten consumers (57%) prefer food and drink brands that encourage a healthy lifestyle over brands that don’t. Operators can benefit from this by creating a reputation as a venue that is mindful of customers’ health and wellbeing. One of the ways in which they can do this is to offer a balanced menu, featuring a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, fish and plant-based proteins – the list goes on!
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for good health and can help us feel our best. This year, consumers are looking for food and drink that support different aspects of health and wellbeing. For example, eating a wide variety of foods rich in nutrients, such as fruits and vegetables, offers a variety of vitamins and minerals that may help support energy levels, brain function and mood. Furthermore, there is increasing research into the links between our gut and our brain, and whilst we don’t have all of the answers yet, we know that looking after our gut-friendly bacteria by eating a variety of foods that contain fibre, such as wholegrains, nuts and seeds, is important for health and wellbeing.
Consumers are interested in food and drink that support their health and wellbeing this year, with 44% of consumers opting for a dish containing vegetables if they’re looking for a healthier option on a menu. Focusing on a variety of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts seeds, etc. is an easy yet impactful way to increase the nutrient content of menu options, with different colours and textures adding visual appeal. Operators could also think about swapping some animal-based ingredients such as red and processed meat for plant-based alternatives as a potential way to decrease elements such as saturated fat, and increase the fibre content of dishes.
Customers are increasingly looking for healthier menu options when eating out, therefore, it’s likely we will see a rise in outlets that are mindful of customers health and wellbeing. Over the last few years we’ve seen that the quick service sector has gone from strength to strength, having benefitted from several factors such as takeaway and delivery models throughout the pandemic, technology advances making quick service increasingly accessible and convenient. The cost of living crisis is also driving a rise in lower-ticket out of home occasions. Our bespoke consumer research has shown that almost six in ten UK consumers prefer brands that support healthy lifestyles, so fast food brands will benefit from featuring healthier options on menus in 2024.
A healthy, balanced diet is important for health and wellbeing and as consumers become more aware of this, we are seeing a rise in more mindful choices when eating out. There are several ways in which the food we eat may affect our mood. Eating regular meals with some carbohydrate can help with blood sugar regulation, which may affect energy, mood and brain function. Dishes containing wholegrain carbohydrates will support this concept. There is also growing interest in the links between our gut-friendly bacteria and our brain, and although more research is needed, we know that eating a variety of fibre-rich foods, such as wholegrains, nuts and seeds is important for health and wellbeing. As well as the potential effects of nutrients, some of the perceived mood-enhancing effects of food are thought to be due to learned associations of food with pleasure and reward.
^Bidfood & CGA by NIQ Food and Drink Trends 2024 bespoke survey, sample: 2,003 UK adults
^^CGA by Nielsen IQ Food Insights 2023 Report, sample: 2,000 UK adults
*Mintel Atittudes towards Healthy Eating, UK, 2023
**Mintel, Attitudes towards Sports Nutrition, UK, 2023
***Mintel, Cake, Cake Bars and Sweet Baked Goods, UK, 2022
****Mintel, Attitudes towards Healthy Eating, UK, 2022
*****Mintel, Attitudes towards Food Packaging, UK, 2023