Future Food Update - January 2020 - January 2021

The foodservice and hospitality sector in the UK is still closed due to #Lockdown3, except for takeaway and delivery, but during this period we've continued to update our research so we can understand consumer behaviour before, during and after the pandemic through the lens of locality, cuisines, wastage and sustainability.

Here are six key takeouts from the January 2021 panel:

  1. Year-on-year we have recorded an 11% (from restaurants) and 10% (in-home) increase in the proportion of flexitarians enjoying a half plant-based/half meat based diet, which is inline with media coverage stating that Veganuary has grown year-on-year for the past 4 years. Not only has there been a year-on-year growth, but compared to December we recorded a growth in Flexitarians enjoying this 50/50 diet, which most likely is due to the publicity of Veganuary and New Year traditions of healthy eating and new starts.
  2. The year 2020 saw some significant shifts, and year-on-year the importance of locally sourced produce and menus with plant based dishes increased, which most likely is due to increased awareness through media coverage injecting concerns over COVID and highlighting the benefits of plant-based for a healthier diet.
  3. Year-on-year interest around the broad theme of 'local place, local people' has grown, incorporating increased awareness and interest in micro local/seasonal ingredients, shorter seasonally abundant menus, venues with farm estate branding on menus, venues with chef/farmers, home grown ingredients, sourcing from local chefs, the use of heirloom/heritage seeds and breeds and urban farms.
  4. Year-on-year the appeal of all types of waste sustainability has grown, specifically for healthy soil, which has seen a rapid growth since September, and has a year-on-year increase of 10%, which most likely is driven by increased media coverage around the topic.
  5. Human beings are social by nature and as such the desire to go to restaurants, pubs, cafes etc, has grown during #lockdown3. In addition to this, our nurturing nature means we want to support local businesses. Although this is the case we will be influenced by levels of hygiene standards, value for money and social distancing measures.
  6. During 2020, although British was the main cuisine eaten, consumers had an experimenting palette looking to try new cuisines, including the lesser well-known, such as Middle Eastern, Modern Korean, Filipino and Central Asia/Stans which saw year-on-year increases.

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