What is the Rustic and Rural trend all about?
This trend is all about the growing appeal of a stripped back experience in the out of home sector where operators unearth an authentic, rustic charm through both décor and the food and drink itself.
2 things you need to know about the Rustic and Rural trend:
Unlocking rustic and rural charm through food and drink is all about…
Authentic and artisan are key elements
Operators are demonstrating rustic and rural charm through food and drink in several ways. Consumers’ favourites are being given a rustic twist with the use of authentic cooking styles and ingredients. Hand-made pasta, clay oven-baked pizzas, and artisan sourdough lunch items are just a few examples of increasingly popular menu items trending in the out of home market.
We’re also seeing more interest in less mainstream global cuisines as consumers seek adventure through international flavours and dishes. If global dishes are part of your menu, consider highlighting any traditional cooking styles or formats and design features to bring to life the authentic and rustic appeal of that cuisine. The popularity of retro and vintage themes remains also strong, especially for British and American cuisines – see our Retro Love trend.
Stripping back to basics
The Rustic and Rural trend does not have to be all about premium offers and presentation.
Chefs are focusing on flavour, simplicity and familiarity rather than elaborate dishes and presentation. Think hearty traditional meals and well-loved comfort foods.
The use of natural and unrefined ingredients is also on the rise. Celebrating food in its most natural form not only appeals to health-conscious consumers but also those wanting to make better choices for the planet. As a result, we’re seeing more menus include farm to fork stories on their menus and would-be-wasted ingredients featured in their dishes.
5 ways to leverage the Rustic and Rural trend:
Things to consider
This trend is all about simplicity and stripping it back to basics with food and drink. So it’s important to consider quality, and fresh ingredients that are naturally flavoursome. Think fresh garden herbs, heritage tomatoes, and dishes that look freshly baked, straight from the oven.
How to present the food
Simple, less polished presentation of a dish, and more traditional or rustic crockery and tableware can also enhance that’ farm to table’ effect.
Consumers’ are looking for affordable luxuries and treats this year. Bakeries, dessert and coffee shops are benefitting from this trend by offering hand-crafted pastries and cakes which are always a hit with consumers – are there any rustic recipes you can include on your dessert or snack menu?
Emphasise the provenance
As the locally-sourced food trend continues to grow, consider emphasising any provenance in your dishes so that your customers are aware of them. And, given that many consumers are eager to support local economies, you could even include some stories on the menu about where the ingredients have come from and how they’ve been grown.
Give your venue a cosy and rustic charm
Venues with a rustic or rural feel are set to have the most widespread appeal… with 44% of UK consumers finding these appealing*. Venues with a cosy, rustic charm can create a sense of comfort, familiarity and a unique experience through original décor and rural touches. For example, plants, authentic and traditional furniture, vintage candles, natural materials.
The appeal of this trend typically grows with age, with over half of those aged 55 and over finding rustic and rural venues appealing*.
The clean flavours of ChalkStream®️ trout raised in the fast-flowing, pure chalk stream waters of the Rivers Test and Itchen in Hampshire, are complemented with a light and refreshing salad, in this delicious and attractive dish.
An indulgent starter creatively made with the would-be-wasted bits of cheese, double-baked into a decadent soufflé.
A warm and comforting twist on a traditional British favourite that uses of would-be wasted banana skins in a novel way.
- Sustainable solutions for this trend
Sustainable solutions for this trend
Use would-be-wasted ingredients in creative ways to tackle food waste and costs! For example, wonky fruit and veg, or off-cuts. See our recipes which use banana skin (link to sticky toffee pudding recipe), would be wasted bits of cheese from your cheeseboard (link to cheeseboard twice baked soufflé recipe) and herbs.
Plant-based dishes are an obvious go-to for this trend, celebrating the heritage and provenance of our British produce as the ‘hero’ of the dish.
Consider using less typical cuts of meat and the sustainability of your producers to lean into this farm to fork trend.
Will farm to table be a popular trend in 2024?
Farm to table, in the context of eating out, relates to the ingredients used on menus coming directly from the farm in which they were produced, or carrying a description which describes the provenance of those ingredients, specific to a particular farm.
As consumers become more environmentally-conscious over time, we expect to see a growing demand for more farm-to-table stories on menus, and concepts built around this. Not only does it very often reduce the road-miles and carbon footprint of menu choices, it also helps support local farmers and communities – something that we’ve seen consumers focusing heavily on, particularly post-pandemic.
Is farm to fork important for consumers?
As consumers continue to make more mindful decisions when eating out of home – in terms of which venues they visit, and what they choose from menus when they do – we expect to see more interest in farm-to-fork concepts and stories on menus.
Consumers are eager to support local farmers and communities, as well as make more environmentally-friendly menu choices. And they often perceive locally-sourced food to be fresher and higher quality too. Wherever possible, it is therefore in the interest of eating out venues to highlight ingredients that have been sourced directly from local, regional or British farmers and producers on menus, making it clear to consumers where they have come from.
Is locally sourced food growing in popularity?
One in four UK adults consider the regional provenance of ingredients essential when they are making a menu choice in the out of home market*.
Examples include: Aberdeen Angus beef, Whitby scampi or Stilton cheese.
It is important to emphasise any regional products and ingredients on menus as this could provide an opportunity to upsell and increase the appeal of your menu in general. Aside from locally-produced ingredients, however, British ingredients have just as much, if not more, appeal. In fact, research Bidfood conducted in collaboration with CGA showed that half of UK adults would be willing to pay more for a dish which included ingredients with British provenance.
What restaurant styles will be trending in 2024?
Consumers are looking for a range of different experiences and environments when eating out of home this year, however, venues and also dishes with a rustic or rural feel are set to be particularly popular. This is especially appealing to older consumers, as interest in these venues grows with age.
A similar pattern is seen with venues that have a vintage feel. More playful and stimulating environments such as those with fantasy or exotic themes tend to be more popular amongst younger consumers than older age groups.
Will consumers consider dish authenticity in 2024?
62% of consumers consider the authenticity of a dish important to them when making a menu choice in the out of home market*. And 45% think that it is easy to determine whether a dish on a menu has been prepared authentically*. But what do consumers associate with authenticity, and how do they determine it?
When it comes to international dishes, the flavours are the most important factor – with 6 in 10 people focusing on flavour. Ingredients used, cooking styles and presentation are all also important factors. So, making ingredients and cooking styles visible, for example in menu descriptions, will be likely to help operators make their menu choices more appealing this year.
Should you include popular seasonal food on your menu?
Including seasonal produce on menus can boost perceptions of freshness and quality, and this is particularly important at a time whereby consumers are scrutinising value in the out of home market. And of course, seasonal ingredients are an important consideration as consumers become more environmentally-conscious and look for menu options that are better for the planet. Moreover, seasonal flavours and ingredients are a great way to change up your menu slightly, and keep things new and exciting. For example, using seasonal fruits in popular desserts, or having a salad or dish of the month on your menu with seasonal veg as a hero ingredient.
Discover all of our food trends in 2024
- Mind, Mood and Body - Health food trends 2024
- British Fusion - Fusion food trends 2024
- Let's Play - Playful and popular food contrasts 2024
- Rustic and Rural - British food trend 2024
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