2021 Wrapped Up - thefoodpeople

Yet another year has flown by and after a 12-month period in 2020 where nearly all of the conversation was dictated by the pandemic, in 2021 we look back on an exciting year for thefoodpeople team - one where we're all now learning to live alongside COVID-19 with a renewed focus on our purpose for doing what we do.

We've restructured our working week with our growing team's wellbeing in mind; we've welcomed a whole host of new brands on board as clients; the output of the TFP Foundation has helped our charity partner Chefs in Schools almost double the impact that they are having in changing both food provision and education in schools; and we're looking ahead to 2022 with fervour to keep building on the impactful work that the entire team has been doing since 2004.

To recap the year, we've summarised all that we've been up to over the past 12 months in 2021 Wrapped Up.

Foreword - Charles Banks, Director and Co-Founder of thefoodpeople: "We're almost two years into the pandemic now and it's fair to say that many of the changes we see around us are no longer temporary. COVID-19 has re-shaped the way the average consumer sees and experiences the world of food and drink - how and where they eat and shop, together with the hierarchy that forces such as health and sustainability have on food and drink choices.

"The secondary impacts for industry have been monumental, particularly across supply chains, labour and skills, and shifting channel demands. Thinking about the future, we see the key forces of influence as being consumers increasingly taking accountability for their carbon footprint; an increasingly proactive approach towards health and wellbeing - shifts to eating for heart health and brain health, immunity, gut health, sleep and weight management. Additionally, we have the counterculture that is food democracy, one that promotes acceptance of new technologies, fair representation, new ways and concepts, and a challenge to the cultural dominance of the West by the adventure and excitement offered by looking East. Lastly, it's about a blissful escape, an earned indulgence, a sensory experience that takes us away from the troubles of today with now-stalgia for people, times and places, a blissful immersion in heightened sensory experiences.

"The year 2022 will be another of accelerated change, but observing and reporting how consumers shift and satisfy their needs of food and drink is what drives us at thefoodpeople and it is what unites us all as a team."

The tfp team in 2021

We were delighted to welcome two new team members to our trendhub content team this year, with Holly Passmore and Iona Mackenzie. Holly joined our 'trendhub Essential' team, bringing her experience of the wine and foodservice world, along with an extensive knowledge of world cuisines to our reporting. Iona joined the 'trendhub Enterprise' team, enriching it with her great eye for visual content, a GenZ perspective on food & drink (and not forgetting her voice overs too!).

As part of our commitment to supporting our team's wellbeing and to build a more sustainable life-work balance, from April 2021 we've been trialing a 4-day working week. Moving into 2022 we're delighted to confirm that following the success of the trial, where we've seen increases in motivation, productivity and of course the important life work balance, we've decided to make this permanent.

Clients and Services

It's been fantastic to welcome over 40 new businesses and brands to thefoodpeople community of change champions, who like us want to shift the future of food and drink by harnessing the power of trends. A few these include Pukka Pies, Subway, Kerry Foods, Plenish Drinks, ISS, Spar, IHG Hotels, Ocado, Meatless Farm, Center Parcs, Bord Boa, The Epic Dairy, Belvoir Farm, Metcash, Little Moons, Ecotone and Fronterra.

We continue to review, adapt and innovate with the services and information we offer to our community too. Cuisines are by no means static, they are dynamic and continually evolve in how they manifest across food and drink. Indeed, cuisine exists beyond just geographical locations and includes food genres such as plant-based and eco. As such, we've this year launched our new cuisinewatching content stream for Trendhub subscribers, one dedicated to exploring the manifestation of 50+ defined cuisines in key global markets.

For those in food, product innovation and culinary development, cuisinewatching is designed to dive into the detail of cuisine manifestation behind the TFP cuisine trends framework. Since launch we've had a great response from users with many brands adding this new service to strengthen the culinary trend information they have on tap. This year we've covered deep-dive cuisine reporting including Vietnamese, plant-based, regional Chinese, Thai, casual Korean, Italian, Mexican, ingredient led Australian and Middle Eastern to name a few.

Another Successful Summit

In 2020 we pivoted our Trend Summit to being virtual for the first time in order to ensure that we could still deliver a day of insightful and inspiring discussion from across the industry without the limitations of social distancing. This created the opportunity to open up the event to a more global audience and in 2021 we welcomed over 2500 registered attendees in exploring the food and beverage trends for 2022/23.

We delivered a day packed with thought-provoking and inspirational key notes, presentations and discussions covering everything from the top 10 trends for 2022/23, social and cultural trends, veganism, lab-grown foods to fermentation, elemental cooking and regenerative agriculture. So far the content interactions have exceeded 8,000 views! You can catch up on all of the discussions and key notes from the day here.

TFP Foundation Flourishes

We launched the TFP Foundation back in November 2020 with the intent to utilise food as a force for good by supporting better food, health and education for our children and young people. Our pledge is to commit to a minimum of 1% of revenue as well as our e-book sales to our charity partners.

Since the Foundation's launch we've supported the fantastic work of Chefs in Schools and The Food Foundation with donations of over £38,000 and 1.9% of revenue - find out more here.

Chefs in Schools has, despite the challenges COVID-19 has posed, managed to almost double the impact that they are having in step changing the food provision and food education in schools. Their 'school by school' programme, with the support of the TFP Foundation, is now supporting 54 schools across the UK, up from 28 in 2020 and now reaching almost 21,000 pupils in the UK, with many more schools lined up to join in 2022 - find out more about Chefs In Schools here.

We were delighted to support the fight to alleviate child food poverty by partnering with Marcus Rashford and The Food Foundation to produce a film, launched this summer, to raise awareness, take up and put pressure on government to extend funding beyond this Christmas for The Holiday Activity and Food Program which runs in the holidays for all children who receive free school meals. And what a result we all had with the chancellor announcing in the last budget to allocate £200m annually to continue the Holiday Activity and Food Program, a key initiative to support and end child food poverty.

In addition to our commitment of 1% of revenue, this year we launched our much anticipated 15 Years in Trends e-book, with £24 from the purchase of each book purchase going straight to the TFP Foundation. The book, with over 100 copies now sold, explores what happened during this time, how food and drink has evolved, as well as the bigger themes and what we can take from the past into the future. We summarised the key takeouts and learnings, the influences for the future and using our unique trend archives, map the fine detail of the food and drink timeline from 2006 to 2020 - the products, services, restaurants, chefs, flavours, ingredients, colours, global events, the diets, the tech, the politics, the awards and much much more!

In early 2022, we'll be publishing the 2021 edition, making it 16 Years in Trends, including details of what we've seen over the last 12 months.

Industry-Wide Change

One of the main takeouts from the past year is that 2021 is the year that both industry and consumers really woke up to the impact that our food system is having on climate and the level of change required to limit global temperature rise highlighted by IPCC, National Food Strategy and COP26. In 2021 we saw a change in how we see the construct of 'home' - we've cooked and consumed more food at home with gatherings at home increasing, social platforms such as TikTok inspiring at home food hacks as well as the continued growth in online shopping and delivered food and drink either to ready to eat, ready to prepare or to cook from scratch.

Lastly, 2021 was the year that plant-based became truly mainstream due to its relevance to societies' bigger issues and generational priorities. It's now fully embraced by retailers, brands and operators to provide consumers a zero compromise choice whether you're a vegan or simply a conscious meat reducer.

We look forward to continuing this journey with you in 2022 and keep an eye out for our Top 10 Trends of 2022/23 which we'll be launching across our channels early in the new year.