In a round-up of big market trends, Speakman revealed data suggesting that healthy eating movements like vegan, vegetarian and free-from will extend beyond January to the rest of 2019. CGA’s BrandTrack survey indicates that two thirds (65%) of consumers now try to lead healthy lifestyles—and with one in 11 (9%) consumers now vegetarian or vegan, and nearly a third (29%) trying to reduce meat consumption, there is a clear opportunity to grow sales.
Sustainability and ethics are also near the top of consumers’ agendas, Speakman said in her show session. Half think it is important that the eating and drinking out brands they use source environmentally friendly ingredients (49%) and packaging (48%), and even more (72%) think it is important that they treat their workers fairly. Three quarters (77%) of leaders from the sector say that sustainability is now a key priority to their organisation.
CGA data meanwhile highlights consumers’ rising use of technology when they eat and drink out of home. The recent GO Technology report from CGA and Zonal found that more than a quarter (28%) have now used apps to order and pay for food, with speed and convenience among the top benefits. Social media is another crucial platform, with two thirds (64%) of consumers using it to read or write reviews of their experiences.
CGA’s recent Business Confidence Survey has signs of optimism, with 38% of leaders saying they had traded ahead of expectations over the last six months, and 39% in line with them—but uncertainty over Brexit and fears of market saturation are both dampening confidence as 2019 opens.
The Professional Kitchen Show took place on Tuesday and Wednesday (22 and 23 January) at the NEC in Birmingham.