Hospitality businesses will need to adapt to significant changes in consumer behaviour when planning 2022 menus, taking into account concerns such as provenance, innovation, sustainability and health that have been strengthened by the pandemic.
That's according to fresh food specialist Bidfresh, which commissioned CGA to carry out a survey that builds on the recent launch of the supplier's A Fresh Approach campaign. This is being rolled out across the three core Bidfresh businesses to encourage operators to use the best fresh, seasonal and responsibly sourced produce on post-lockdown menus.
The three businesses - Direct Seafoods, catering butcher Campbell Brothers, and fruit and vegetable supplier Oliver Kay Produce - between them supply thousands of hospitality and catering businesses nationwide.
Counting calories and backing British
The research found that more than half of consumers are now actively counting calories or sugar content when they eat out, and a similar number make decisions on where to eat out based whether the venue supports British producers.
Other highlights of the survey include:
- 53 per cent of consumers are actively counting calories or checking sugar content;
- 60 per cent prefer venues that offer new and interesting cuisines and dishes;
- 53 per cent are likely to try a new cuisine when they see it on a menu;
- 20 per cent would choose a specific eating out venue over another if it had a focus on sustainability;
- 44 per cent make eating-out decisions based on ethical considerations;
- 56 per cent make decisions on where to eat out based on the venue's policy of sourcing British products.
Jane Aukim, marketing manager of Bidfresh, said: 'People had more time to think about food during lockdown. Many of them took up cooking from scratch and took more care over the quality and source of the ingredients.
'As hospitality reopens, it's clear that more consumers are paying the same attention to food when they eat out. When planning their menus for 2022, operators will have to demonstrate that consumers' concerns are being factored in, and the A Fresh Approach programme has been developed to support that.
'There's no contradiction between consumers' interest in trying new styles of cuisine and their support for British producers. The challenge for chefs and operators is to access recipes that enable them use fresh British produce to make anything from a spicy curry to tapas-style croquetas.'