Six Food and Drink Trends for 2023

3 January, 2023
Sian Collins, MenuIQ

The eating-out market is set to be a challenging landscape to navigate in 2023 due to the cost of living crisis, ongoing supply issues and labour shortages, but the demand for enticing menus and offers still remains strong...

Whether it’s through the love of food, a desire to socialise or even just convenience, eating out is an integral part of many of our lives:

  • 45% of consumers consider eating out a “fundamental activity”
  • 64% said despite the cost of living crisis, they would find it difficult to stop eating and drinking out
  • 7 in 10 people say eating and drinking out is still “the treat they most look forward to”.

Below are six food and drink trends for 2023:

1. Conscious Choices

Consumers are making more mindful decisions around where and how often to eat or drink out, and what to order when they do. The cost of living crisis has undoubtedly driven this trend, but the ever-growing focus on improving personal health and protecting the planet have also driven consumer consciousness. Below are four ways that consumers’ choices around food and drink are changing:

  • Cost Matters - Consumers have become more price-led than they were last year with 72% now considering price a priority when choosing where to eat. Deals and promotions, subscriptions, and in particular emphasising value for money, are all things we expect to see more of as operators aim to appeal to cost-conscious consumers.
  • Sustainable Choices - Consumers are looking for options that they perceive to be better for the environment; 61% of fish eaters consider it important that the fish or seafood they eat out is sustainable, and more importantly 51% would pay more to know this. Sustainability symbols on menus are an important driver of choice.
  • Calorie Labelling - The calorie labelling legislation has sparked divided opinions; 41% see it as a positive step to improving the nation’s health and 22% think it has negative implications. Either way, consumers are beginning to change their food choices as a result and many consumers now expect calorie information on menus to allow them to make more informed choices.
  • Mindful Drinking - The alcohol moderation trend continues, driven largely by a focus on health. And so much choice in the out of home market, thanks to new brands and innovation, means consumers can easily go out and enjoy themselves without having to drink.

How can technology help operators stay ahead of this cost/health-conscious food trend?

MenuIQ provides operators with advanced technology to meet these consumer demands; features such as the GP calculator and 'what-if' analysis provide the tools required to accurately manage menu costs while exploring ways to maximise GPs / allergen, dietary and calorie data is captured direct from the source (suppliers) and the corresponding symbols are automatically applied to menus and dishes.

To find out more, visit the MenuIQ website or contact the MenuIQ experts: / +44 (0)1934 646100.

2. Protecting the Planet

As consumers become more focused on sustainability and protecting the planet, the appeal for local and seasonal produce increases, as well as a demand for ethical and sustainable supply chains.

Chefs need to be more adventurous with vegetable-based dishes and recipes, with less consumers now believing that a meal is not a 'proper meal' without meat. Instead, they're choosing mock versions of meat and fish products, and vegetables and plants are taking a starring role on the plate.

3. Retro and Nostalgia

Well-loved old time classics and re-vamped childhood favourites are becoming a real hit with consumers. Sweet treats, cocktails, milkshakes and meals that provide a sense of nostalgia have a wide appeal. And given that consumers are going through turbulent times and facing change, demand for nostalgic and comforting food and drink is something we expect to see grow.

Retailers have reported an increase in consumer demand for retro food and desserts, and we’re also seeing excitement about these in the eating out market. Bakeries and dessert shops are creating cakes around old confectionery, milkshakes and cocktails featuring childhood favourite flavours or sweets, and restaurants serving good old hearty grub that takes you right back to your school days.

Chefs can get really creative when tapping into nostalgia, and give well-loved classics an elevation so that they resonate with the modern consumer, but also bring up those familiar memories. Plus, a fun retro cocktail or dessert is often very instagrammable!

4. Emerging Cuisines

Global cuisines and flavours have very high appeal amongst consumers, as they can make the eating experience that bit more exciting and adventurous. In 2022, for example, 3 in 4 UK adults said that world cuisine products make a midweek meal feel like more of a treat. However, with so much choice popping up in the out-of-home market, consumers expect new, exciting options and often seek something a bit different.

5. Alcohol and Spirits

Consumers are eating and drinking out less often, largely due to the cost of living crisis, and many are moderating their alcohol intake. All of this means that when consumers do have a drink out of home, they want something of good quality that they will truly enjoy; and something that feels worth spending their money on...

Tequila and Rum - The demand for both tequila and rum is predicted to continue to rise, with both being enjoyed as standalone drinks, with mixers, and also as main ingredients in cocktails, they have both grown in share of cocktail serves too. Other spirits like vodka, gin and non-cream liqueurs have declined in share of cocktail serves.

Cocktails - As demand continues to grow, it seems that consumers want something a little less mainstream when drinking out, as demand for unusual flavours and ingredients is on the rise. Flavoured martinis have become more popular for example, meanwhile the traditional pornstar martini has declined in share of serve. Signature cocktails are a great way to offer consumers something bespoke and unique when they are out. Particularly if they look good or they are presented in an exciting way.

6. Pizza Popularity

Pizza was the UK’s most ordered takeaway dish in 2022 and lately, we’ve seen the nation’s love for pizza grow even further, and we suspect it’ll continue doing so in 2023. The UK is embracing more American styles like Detroit and New York style pizzas, with new outlets specialising in these.

The simple concept of a pizza allows for lots of creativity… there are new formats (Panuozzo pizza wraps for example) and unusual toppings (such as blueberries?!). Pizza crusts have become a food trend in their own right in recent years – and as the sustainability movement grows, we expect to see more creativity with these to minimise food waste, make the most of each meal and elevate the pizza experience.


Final Word

With consumers having increasing amounts of choice on what, and where, they can eat and drink out of home, it’s more important than ever to stay ahead of the game by understanding the key trends that are influencing consumer choices.

Source: Bidfood.

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