Trends include a move towards flexible menus, a rise in the popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine and healthy eating.
DESSERT cafés, all day brunch, bespoke dishes cooked to order and a growth in the use of third-party food delivery firms are amongst the key eating-out trends for the year ahead, predicts foodservice consultancy Horizons.
Consumers’ want to eat ‘what they want – when they want it’ and this trend will erode the traditional daily eating pattern of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food service operators’ would be wise to respond with flexible menus throughout the day.
Horizons’ Ones to Watch research noted the explosion of ‘dessert cafés’ for example some solely offering ice creams, gelatos, waffles, crêpes and sundaes.
Healthy eating is high on the agenda for UK diners. They want to see the use of natural sweeteners such as apple, dates and coconut.
Vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian dishes are now almost fully mainstream and the use of super-food ingredients such as kale, green lentils and edamame beans is set to continue into 2017.
Middle Eastern cuisine is likely to be a key influence on menus next year with dishes from Turkey and Lebanon gaining in popularity. Chefs are likely to include ingredients such as tabbouleh, falafel, halloumi and pulses in their dishes.
But – be warned – consumer confidence is likely to slow next year due to economic uncertainty ahead of Britain’s exit from Europe. Horizons is expecting consumers to reduce their discretionary spend next year and seek even better value for money from operators.
“While we will continue to see a number of innovative ideas and concepts coming to market the sector cannot escape the looming impact of Britain’s withdrawal from Europe, which, will put pressure on the price of food and equipment, energy and labour,” said Horizons’ managing director Peter Backman.
“A potential hike in menu prices will in part be offset by an increase in overseas’ visitors to the UK and the fact more Brits will holiday at home due to the volatile pound.
“However, shaky consumer confidence will see diners seeking out deals, vouchers and money-off promotions.”
The hospitality industry will need to adapt and become less reliant on inexpensive labour, reducing waste and improving productivity, the research said.