There are encouraging signs that people will have more money to spend in the next 12 months, and with CGA research showing nearly half of consumers still eat out at least once a week, there will be some great opportunities to grow sales and share. However, it will be vital to understand how the preferences of guests are evolving, and to pinpoint the evolutions that will open up new potential.
From health to provenance to innovation, the 2024 Food and Drink Trends report from Bidfood delivers the essential insights into the big developments that businesses need to know. Here are just five.
1 Mind, mood and body
COVID intensified people’s interest in their health—both physical and mental. Two in three adults now think it’s important that the food they eat out of home is healthy, and nearly half are interested in eating more foods that are beneficial for their wellbeing. But this means much more than low calories, and incorporates food that boosts energy, improves mood and eases digestion. Focusing on plant-based dishes and popular macronutrients can help venues capitalise on this interest.
2 Flavours less travelled
Many consumers crave new and authentic food experiences that feed their sense of adventure. More than half of adults told Bidfood and CGA’s research that they would be willing to pay more for a dish they perceive as more authentic, and Caribbean, Mexican and eastern European are three cuisines to watch closely in 2024.
3 Rustic and rural
Consumers’ interest in health and provenance is heightening demand for seasonal, farm-to-fork and provenance-led menus. There’s increasing appetite for stripped-back, rustic-style venues like farm cafes and retro bistros, and nearly half of adults say they appreciate the heritage of dishes. A focus on freshness, simple presentation and cosy interiors can all help operators take advantage of this trend.
4 Let’s play
When consumers feel the pinch on spending, they want fun and memorable experiences. Playful, exotic and Instagrammable dishes will come to the fore in 2024—especially those with unusual flavour contrasts and that have a wow factor in presentation. The appetite for novel combinations applies to cocktails and other drinks too.
5 British fusion
Interest in twists on traditional menus is likely to deepen demand for British fusion food—something that more than two thirds of consumers find appealing. Incorporating international elements to British classics, like Indian-inspired pies or Chinese roast dinners, will help menus stand out from the crowd in 2024.
The exclusive report from Bidfood and CGA also emphasises the importance of choice and convenience in consumers’ habits, as well as the ongoing need for value for money.
James Ashurst, client director at CGA by NIQ, said: “We’re pleased to be supporting Bidfood on this research and to be delivering the actionable insights that all businesses in the Out of Home channel need to thrive in 2024. Despite all the challenges of recent years, the market remains dynamic and full of potential for businesses with the right propositions and strategies. We can expect another ultra-competitive year in 2024, so getting a precise and up-to-date understanding of the big food and drink trends and responding accordingly will be more important than ever.”
The 2024 Food and Drink Trends report provides deeper insights into these and many more developments in the out-of-home food and drink sector, and is available to download here.
The report is based on bespoke consumer research and interviews with food influencers and chefs that provide a 360-degree of the eating-out market. To learn more about this and CGA by NIQ’s other research capabilities, email James Ashurst at firstname.lastname@example.org.