Latest menuwatching report - Cafe & Bakery

Our latest menuwatching report is out covering ingredients and cuisines to food concepts, seasonality and cooking methods we've been tracking of late across Cafés and Bakeries.

menuwatching is dedicated 'Out of Home' Trend Foresight – the future trend horizon through the lens of the out of home channels – from café, street and QSR to fast casual and fine dining. While by our definition, Cafés and Bakeries are casual spaces that generally cater or brunch, lunch or that much-awaited catch up over cake and tea.

Like many other businesses cafés and bakeries suffered during the lockdowns of 2020, the café sector recorded a drop of -40% YOY in sales (source: Project Cafe, 2021) and since the world has reopened, with so many of us getting used to that barista experience at home, adapting to a different future has been crucial.

We've pulled out three key takeouts from the extensive report to give you a bit of insight into what you can expect to read as a Trendhub subscriber.

1. Flexible – With flexible working here for the long term enjoying that coffee as part of the morning commute or elevenses isn't happening quite as often for many diners. Instead cafés adapt into sociable, flexible spaces hosting events (with a brunch or two thrown in) and many are also obtaining licenses and converting to bars by the evening. Whether it's selling retail products or collaborating with local breweries, the ethos behind the new fits with the café. For example, 26 Grains in London, UK focuses on organic and grains with bakery items such as rye, tahini and chocolate cookies. Biodynamic, natural wines and local beers are added to menus, which are in keeping with the ethos, and also that bit more exclusive.

2. Comfort 2.0 – 'Dutchcore' takes over social media which is all about cosiness – think warm colours, flattering lighting and lots of greenery. Cafés and Bakeries also go big on comfort with both décor and menus. Victoria sponges, toasties and scones all trend, however, we're also having fun with the familiar. Cherry Bakewell cookie dough jars offer a playful twist, and one of the most simple dishes, sardines on toast is elevated using the best ingredients – charred Mediterranean sardines with a traditional Sugo Italian tomato sauce on house sourdough.

3. Expertise – More time at home has meant that many of us have taken the opportunity to perfect our barista skills and also maybe to try our hand at baking. When we go out, we therefore want to be wowed. Exploring world coffees and trying adventurous versions of what we love is appealing. Think preserved lemon hummus or a Pina Colada croissant baked with vanilla cheese, pineapple curd and candied lime for brunch. Coffees continue to move over to the dark and cold side with indulgent flavours such as toasted marshmallow cold brew stout. Bakes which take time and skill to master such as French Patisserie also look set to become more important.


Trendhub subscribers can read the full report here. Those not yet registered but keen to find out more can get in touch using the details below.