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Revealed: What We Really Think Of Food Trends

2018 saw a rise in popularity for a number of foods. From vegan friendly dishes to unicorn themed everything, in the past year we have witnessed an abundance of food related fads. But which trends are here to stay and which ones are set to go in the bin, literally? 

Predictions for 2019 food trends have already been forecast by the experts, but what do consumers think of these proposed popular eats? We ask a number of foodies as well as professionals from the catering industry to cast their eye over what’s set to be big over the next twelve months. 

Going Meat Free

Vegan food surged in popularity in 2018 and is set to be even bigger in 2019, with many deciding to jump on the trend in the New Year and take part in Veganuary. Vegan diets are now becoming easier to follow, with more and more restaurants and eateries now adding vegan options to their menus as well as supermarkets offering much more in terms of meat free convenience foods. Bakery chain Greggs caused quite a stir by releasing a vegan sausage roll, which was met with mixed reactions. But are we ready to go full vegan or is veganuary just another bandwagon that most will eventually fall off? A struggling butcher has recently cited the rise in veganism as the reason for their decline in customers. So should the vegan trend continue into 2019 or should we slow down on the meat-free life? 

One vegan consumer said “I’m glad that there is a lot more choice on offer, especially the plant based convenience foods offered in supermarkets. It also makes it easier when eating out as a lot more restaurants have vegan options on the menu”. 

One non-vegan consumer that we spoke to said “Seeing more vegan options in stores has made me consider eating less meat, but I don’t think I would ever give up meat all together”. 

Fishers Catering Supplies, explains “as we continue to see the rise in popularity of vegan diets, we will be expecting more food establishments to update their menus over the next year to cater towards the growing number of meat free customers. Many eateries are also becoming more aware of keeping their equipment separate, making sure that the utensils used to prepare non-vegan dishes is kept away from the equipment used on the vegan meals.”

Wonky Fruit and Veg

Food waste was a big news story in 2018, as it was reported that a number of supermarkets and restaurants are throwing away tonnes of produce, the reason being that the food was misshapen and deemed unappealing to customers. But stores such as Morrisons and Lidl are now selling these disregarded foods by relabelling them as ‘wonky’ fruit and veg and selling them at a cheaper cost to the more aesthetically pleasing produce. But should stores be singling out their ugly foods or should this produce be included in their regular ranges? Can customers tell the difference and do they really care if their produce is wonky or not? 

One consumer said “I would rather supermarkets combined the wonky produce with their normal produce and charge just one standard price” whilst another shopper we spoke to said “I think stores should give their misshapen foods to the homeless, then it isn’t going to waste”

Dairy Alternatives

The past few years have seen many consumers swap their cow’s milk for other alternatives. Nut milks including almond, cashew and hazelnut have been particularly popular amongst those looking for substitutes to cow’s milk with the trend set to continue in 2019. 2018 also saw a rise in popularity in oat milk and coconut milk, with more cafes and coffee shops setting the trend by offering items such as coconut lattes and almond flat whites. Milk free butters and spreads are also becoming more prevalent, with things like almond butter and avocado spread now on offer in supermarkets. But can these alternatives live up to regular cow’s milk and butter? Or do these new options provide more flavour for dishes?

We spoke to a consumer who is lactose intolerant, who stated “I’m glad that there are more milk alternatives on offer in supermarkets. As I’m lactose intolerant, I struggle to digest regular milk so having more option means I can still enjoy dairy products.”

Fishers Catering Supplies explain that “we expect this increase in dairy alternatives to become a lot more widespread amongst food establishments in 2019. Similar to the vegan trend, we should start to see more eateries separating the crockery they use for cow’s milk and non-cow’s milk.”

CBD 

In 2018, CBD oil became a popular purchase, especially amongst vapers. But 2019 is expected to be the year that CBD starts to trickle its way into our food and drink. Cannabidiol infused coffee, chocolate, cocktails and even hemp protein powders are already being offered up, but over the next twelve months we are expected to see more and more CBD infused food and beverages on the shelves of our local supermarkets. 

We asked consumers if they would consider purchasing Cannabidiol products, with one consumer stating “I’ve heard about the benefits of CBD oil, so I’d be tempted to try CBD foods if they were on offer in the supermarket”, whilst another shopper explained “I don’t think I will try it and I don’t think supermarkets should be selling CBD products at all”. 

High Fat Diets

The rise in popularity of healthy fats are also set to influence food choices in 2019. Items such as avocados, eggs, salmon, nuts, yoghurt and olive oil are packed full of fats with health benefiting properties that are often found in Keto and Paleo diets, which have also seen a surge in popularity in recent months. These high fat foods are expected to become much more prevalent over the next year, as more and more health conscious consumers take up high fat, low carb diets. 

We asked a number of consumers about the rise in popularity of high fat foods, with one shopper stating “I thought high fat foods were bad for your health and that eating low fat was better for dieting”. 

Gin

2018 was most definitely the year that Gin became the preferred drink of choice. Many publicans and bar owners now have menus dedicated solely to the beverage, offering a vast number of different varieties. We have also seen speciality Gin bars popping up everywhere and a number of new distilleries and Gin producers coming into the market too. New flavours have also helped increase its following, with Pink Gin, Parma Violet and Rhubarb and Ginger varieties being offered by supermarkets, bars and pubs up and down the country.  But Gin isn’t just a tipple to be enjoyed with a splash of tonic. The drink is now becoming more apparent in our food too. Stores are now selling items such as Gin flavoured chocolate, crisps, ice cream and cake in a bid to help satisfy our ever growing love of the spirit. 

One consumer said ‘I love a gin and tonic, but I don’t think I would enjoy gin flavoured sweets or crisps”, whilst another shopper explained “I’ve tried gin flavoured popcorn which I enjoyed, but it was a little expensive. I’d love to try more gin and tonic foods, as long as they were cheap enough”. 

Food Presentation

In recent years, we have seen food establishments putting more efforts into their food presentation as their customer’s love of posting food pictures to social media increases. But we also saw a few eateries going a little too far with their serving skills, with cooked breakfasts being presented on shovels to deconstructed cottage pies served in jars, consumers have started to mock these ‘quirky’ presentation techniques. But 2019 is expected to be the year of simplistic presenting, with food establishments going back to basics and opting for classic plates and crockery as their serveware. 

One consumer we spoke to said, “I like crockery that is easy to use. If I was served a cooked breakfast on a shovel I would probably send it back and ask for a plate.” Whilst another person we spoke to explained that “when I go to a restaurant, I'm more bothered about the quality of the food rather than what it’s served on. Bring back plates!”. 

Restaurant managers have realised that customers want serveware that is easy to use rather than quirky. Establishments that want to serve their dishes on something a little different are doing so but are still keeping in mind their ease of use. Crockery doesn’t have to be boring. Simple plates with the right design can still have a positive effect on branding and still look good on Instagram!