Foodservice operators have seen their fair share of trends come and go. Remember the low carb or fat trends? These now seem like a distant memory as consumers have realized moderation is central to a happy life. While it can be difficult to discern between inclinations and true trends global consumers will integrate into their lifestyle, several have been discussed and watched that deserve more than just a passing glance and are having a genuine effect on the foodservice world.
The recent release of Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2016 by Daphne Kasriel–Alexander, Consumer Trends Consultant and Euromonitor, explores broad consumer trends and how they could affect a variety of industries. Of the 10 global trends, four will be particularly impactful for the foodservice industry.
Greener Foods The term and trend of “green foods” has continued to develop over the last three to five years and its definition depends on consumer and regionality. Consumers weigh aspects of the “green movement” differently, depending on what is most important to them. It can range from healthy or “better for you”, locally grown or GMO, hormone, pesticide-free or any combination of these. No matter the definition, it is more often defining how and where consumers eat and what they are willing to pay. As we see chains like Panera Bread®, focusing on where their food comes from and how it is raised is rising consumer’s expectations when it comes to what they consume.
Young Urban Creatives or “Yuccies” are under 35, typically single, with nontraditional jobs and above average incomes garnered from their creative employment. They are not just bucking the system when it comes to work, but also when it comes to their dining out habits. For 43% of every millennial, food dollar is spent in restaurants, desire for adventure and socialization makes dining out the perfect blend of new adventures and socialization. In addition, because they discretionary income, they eat out more often than other millennials.
Be Well Decompress, less stress, more mindful, being present - these are all central areas of focus for a vast number of global consumers. Living more with less is part of this overall trend because in a hyper connected world, consumers are seeking ways to find their authentic self. Anything, including food and beverages that positively influence their mental well-being are more likely to become part of their overall routine. Superfoods, whole grains, essential oils and more are showing up in food and beverage options globally. Add chai seeds to any dish for a variety of health benefits involving a shot of antioxidants, which have been found to have anti-aging benefits including mental health. This trend shows no sign of slowing as consumers continue to look for “whole” food and beverages that aids both their mental and physical well-being.
Foundation Personal and community connection offer restaurants an opportunity to not only connect with a cause but is also a draw for consumers. Social responsibility is taking on new meaning as technology has created a truly connected global community. This makes taking care of each other more imperative as we are able to see the impact of our actions immediately thanks to smartphones and social media platforms. Restaurants and foodservice outlets who look for ways to give back have an advantage in the minds of consumers as well as their wallets, by giving them the opportunity to dine and make a difference either locally, regionally or globally.
These trends have shown a longevity across a variety of consumer segments beyond just the food industry and we expect them to continue to evolve and grow over the next several years making them crucial for foodservice operators to take advantage today for a fit operational future.