Delivery and veganism will continue to grow in 2019, according to The NPD Group.
The information company has identified five key trends that will shape the UK’s out-of-home foodservice industry.
Delivery aggregators will thrive, driven by technology, the rise in in-home entertainment subscription services and a desire to save money.
Consumer spend on restaurant food delivery could grow by 10% in 2019 to reach £5bn.
In 2019, consumers will have more complex requirements and foodservice brands will be partnering with in-hone entertainment providers.
Consumers want to know more about the contents and source of the food they consume and the impacts on their health and the environment.
There is increased concern over the environmental impact of raw materials such as palm oil and operators have started to offer more information about ingredients, including allergies and nutrition.
Consumers will ask more questions about the food they are buying and single-use plastics and winning operators will be able to provide the answers.
Veganism and vegetarianism
The number of vegans and vegetarians has grown as the debate about consumption of meat and dairy continues.
The number of people who say they are flexitarian has grown, with out-of-home flexitarian visits increasing at twice the rate of overall market growth over the last three years.
Operators are warned not to see veganism and vegetarianism as a short-term fad, with successful operators offering a balanced menu with choice for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters.
The rise of delivery is driving the trend of virtual restaurants, run from ‘dark kitchens’ by aggregators to create delivery-only brands.
They can be run from an industrial estate and under-used conventional restaurant premises, with a core appeal of trading quickly and being flexible and relatively cheap to run compared to a full-on restaurant.
Winners will be aggregators and operators who are best able to grow virtual brands into meaningful propositions in the eyes of consumers.
The wealth of customer data available will provide opportunities to marry virtual restaurants with local preferences.
There’s a backlash on crowded menus as operators try too hard to innovate, while consumers don’t want to spend time searching for food and drinks.
Operators will do well to do what they do best, gaining a reputation for a specific cuisine or experience. A slimmer menu will also mean less complexity, a leaner supply chain, lower food costs and less food waste.
“While Britain’s foodservice industry is grappling with all sorts of cost pressures, it is showing that it can recognise and address a host of new trends,” says The NPD Group insights director Dominic Allport. “Britain’s delivery market will see a new phase in 2019. As consumers eat more meals at home, they’ll have more complex requirements, and this will strengthen the role of delivery aggregators.
“Consumers are also more aware than ever of key sustainability issues and are asking where products come from and how a foodservice outlet is helping the wider environment. Veganism and vegetarianism are not just passing fads and are working their way onto menus. We’ll see the growth of delivery-only virtual restaurants. Finally, a slimmed-down menu will also bring rewards.”