Food trends and innovations - October 2019

The latest food trends on the front page of a newspaper

Food trends and innovations - October 2019

More than 1,400 restaurants have closed in the last year

According to The Guardian newspaper, 1,400 UK restaurants closed in the year to 31 June 2019, a 25% increase year-on-year, and the highest number since at least 2014. According to the newspaper, this figure underlines the scale of the ‘casual dining crunch’ which has seen high street chains such as Byron, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Jamie’s Italian struggle to stay open (the latter famously collapsed in May 2019). The high number of closures is thought to be the result of a number of factors, including;

  • Tightened consumer spending as a result of concerns around Brexit
  • Rising costs due to the devaluation of Sterling over a prolonged period
  • An over-saturated market as a result of rapid growth in the sector since the 2008 financial crisis


Closures in the period were not limited to chains, and a high number of independent restaurants are reported to face similar challenges and are included in the figure above

Sustainable packaging

The industry is reacting to consumer pressure as a growing number of brands announce the removal of plastic from primary as well as secondary packaging.

37% of all food sold in the EU is wrapped in plastic packaging, making it the most widely used packaging material. (Friends of the Earth, 2018) In the EU, 40% of plastic products are used to provide short-term packaging needs.

With upcoming changes to both UK and EU legislation, combined with growing concerns and awareness among consumers, packaging is one of the busiest areas of focus for food and drink NPD and innovation.

Beverage manufacturer Coca-Cola European Partners recently announced the removal of plastic shrink wrap in favour of cardboard for its multi-packs across Western Europe. This is predicted to save around 4,000 tonnes of single-use plastic a year.

Coca-Cola-bottles-made-from-recylced-marine-plastics

Image: Food Navigator

In similar news, using breakthrough technology, the Coca-Cola Company has successfully included 25% recycled marine plastics in food-grade packaging. The company recently unveiled its first-ever sample bottles made using recovered and recycled marine plastics.

What’s hot in chocolate? Mindful snacking; dark chocolate; functional chocolate; gifting

As today’s consumers, on average, eat less chocolate than they did five years ago, innovation in the category is focused in two areas; portion control and sugar reduction.

With 30% of consumers actively looking to cut down their sugar intake, but 71% of consumers listing taste as the main factor they consider when buying chocolate (Kantar Research Express, 2019), getting the balance between sugar reduction and flavour is a key challenge in chocolate new product development.

A number of chocolate manufacturers are releasing reduced sugar options to mixed consumer reviews, adding more choice and variety on the confectionery aisle. Most notably, Mondelez released a 30% less sugar version of its Dairy Milk block bar.

Meanwhile, a number of smaller-sized chocolate bars have recently launched for those looking for calorie reduction through portion control.

Functional ingredients or products enhanced with fibre or protein are also appearing in NPD line-ups, with Nestlé announcing October launches for Yorkie and KitKat with reduced sugar and added protein and fibre elements (launching into convenience stores in the first instance).

Other trends that have grown ahead of the market are bagged and boxed chocolates and higher cocoa chocolates.

Dairy Milk 30% less fat chocolate bar

Image: Dairy Milk

Meanwhile, a number of smaller-sized chocolate bars have recently launched for those looking for calorie reduction through portion control.

Functional ingredients or products enhanced with fibre or protein are also appearing in NPD line-ups, with Nestlé announcing October launches for Yorkie and KitKat with reduced sugar and added protein and fibre elements (launching into convenience stores in the first instance).

Other trends that have grown ahead of the market are bagged and boxed chocolates and higher cocoa chocolates.

British consumers’ attitudes to British food - study by Lightspeed GMI/Mintel

British Consumers' attitudes to British food

Innovation spotted in the wider news

Protein Ketchup

Image: Ocado

Condiments: Ocado have listed a range of high-protein, plant-based ketchups from In The Buff. Ingredients include vegan isolate protein, edamame beans and banana. Heinz have recently launched their Saucy Sauce product, described as the ‘perfect marriage’ between ketchup and mayonnaise.

Image: The Grocer

AB InBev’s subsidiary, Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland, has announced the launch of Corona in draught format to roll out into pubs and bars in the UK from October 2019. The front tower is plastic-free and features a ‘lime holder’.

Image: Convenience Store online

Nestlé are tapping into the trends for functional foods and healthier snacking with their two new product launches: Raspberry & Hazelnut KitKat Chunky; and Oats, Apple & Cinnamon Yorkie. The bars are higher in protein and fibre and lower in sugar.

Image: The Grocer

Most famous for its pork products, producer of meat products, Tulip, has launched its first plant-based brand as part of a partnership with retailer, the Co-op. The range will initially consist of ‘vegan slices with pepper’ made of soy and pea protein, but the company has already announced that additional SKUs will follow.

Bew City Mac N jack

Image: Ocado

McCain has brought its US frozen food brand, Brew City, to the UK. The range caters for the growing social eating trend and initially consists of nine products including halloumi fries, pickle ‘bar fries’, jalapeño ‘bottle caps’ and onion straws. The range has launched into both retail and foodservice.

Itsu Crispy Seaweed Thins

Image: Pinterest

Asian-inspired food brand, Itsu, has launched its first range of crispy seaweed thins specifically created for children. The range is targeted at parents looking for child-friendly, healthy snacks and will feature two flavour variants: Tomato and Original.

Muller Yoghurts

Image: The Grocer

Müller has added two new products to its luxury Bliss range as it taps into the trend for ‘permissible indulgence’. The two mascarpone-style yogurts are made in Shropshire with British milk and contain a ‘real fruit layer’. The two flavours are Cherry and Peach & Apricot and are launching in retail.

Oatly Ice Cream

Image: Foodbev

Swedish ‘oat dairy’ brand, Oatly, has extended its range in the UK with the launch of a trio of oat-based ice creams – Chocolate Fudge, Hazelnut Swirl and Salted Caramel. The brand grew its sales by 89% to £18m in 2018 and growth is expected to reach £35m by the end of 2019.

Alpro protein soya milk

Image: Ocado

Alpro has seen a string of new product launches with a barista range of plant milks, consisting of a soya, oat and almond option suitable for use in hot drinks launching in September. This was most recently followed by a high-protein (10 grams per 200ml portion) range of soya milks.

Key insights

-3.1% – The rate at which the UK restaurant market is predicted to grow in 2019.

Source: MCA

46% of consumers are more likely to try new brands than five years age.

Source: Nielsen Brandbank study

17% of 25 to 34-year olds eat breakfast on the go every day, compared to just 2% of 45 to 54-year-olds.

Source: Kantar

66% of UK adults snack at least once a day, making the UK the biggest nation of snackers in Europe.

Source: Mintel

76% of 25 to 34-year-olds drink bottled water at least once a week.

Source: Harris Interactive

67% of British consumers claim to recycle ‘all or almost all’ plastic. However, only 38% said they are aware of what can and cannot be collected for recycling.

Source: YouGov via The Grocer

13% of UK consumers drinks tea at least six times a day

Source: HIM survey

63/85 Average number of times Brits go out to eat and drink, respectively, in a year.

Source: Catering Today

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