Like many industries, the food and manufacturing sector is one that is impacted by changing social trends. As we enter the new year, here are some of the biggest UK food trends throughout 2019.
Meat-free and “fake” meat
Vegetarianism, veganism and flexitarianism has grown in the UK throughout 2019. The UK’s attitude towards plant-based eating has changed dramatically over the last couple of years and data shows:
- 3.5 million identify as vegan
- 20% of under 35s have tried veganism
- 25% of our evening meals are meat-free
With that in mind, meat-free or meat alternatives have increased as food manufacturers and restaurants attempt to keep up with consumer demand. For example, jackfruit has risen in popularity as a meat-free alternative to pulled pork and Greggs even brought out a vegan sausage roll!
Food waste has been an issue that has gained more traction over the last couple of years. Consumers are less concerned with perfect looking fruit and vegetables and are instead embracing the “wonky” variety in a bid to decrease food waste. Aldi and Morrisons even have dedicated ranges of wonky fruit and vegetables.
Ocado buyer India Moore said: “We’re seeing exciting products made using misshapen fruit and veg that would otherwise go to waste, such as crisps and hummus. Eco-friendly searches on ocado.com leapt 93 per cent last year, and we can see this ‘rescued food’ trend gaining momentum in 2019.”
Recyclable, environmentally friendly packaging is something that is being demanded by consumers thanks to the “Blue Planet” effect which shone a spotlight on the damage plastic is doing to our world.
According to a recent survey by Globalwebindex:
- 42% of consumers said that products that have packaging made from recycled and/or sustainable materials are important in their day-to-day shopping.
- Over half of people surveyed said they’re now making a conscious choice to use less disposable plastic than they were a year ago.
In light of this, many brands have sat up and listened to consumer concerns and have taken steps to reduce non-recyclable packaging.
Carlsberg for example, have begun to glue their cans together rather than using plastic six-pack rings. The glue is strong enough to stand up to handling but can be easily snapped apart when required. This move could cut Carlsberg’s plastic usage by more than 1,200 tonnes each year.
There has also been widespread rejection of plastic straws with many shops, restaurants and businesses banning them including McDonald’s, Waitrose, Wetherspoon, Nando’s and Costa Coffee. Now, the government is bringing in new rules to restrict their availability from April 2020.
It will be exciting to see which new trends emerge within the food and beverage industry in 2020 and how far the sector continue to push the above.