The CGA Business Leaders 2017 report conducted in January 2017 predicted “Free From” to be the biggest food trend of 2017. And it didn’t disappoint.
The FreeFrom food market has boomed in recent years increasing by 72% in the past 5 years, with Mintel predicting it to be worth a staggering £623 million by 2020. There’s no wonder it topped the food trends list for 2017.
Perhaps interestingly the demand is predominantly fueled by those without an allergy or intolerance with data experts claiming that 9/10 free-from food sales are made by people who do not have a diagnosed allergy or intolerance and perhaps are using free-from as a shortcut to health.
Commercial Director Graeme Loudon said “More than half (65%) of consumers are proactively looking to lead a healthy lifestyle, and retailers are responding by including more free-from, superfoods, vegan and vegetarian dishes on their menus. All four of these items appeared in the top 10 food trends…”
Also making an appearance on the top 12 list was food waste/sustainability. With roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption wasted every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes – whilst 8.4 million UK families are struggling to put food on the table, equivalent to the whole population of London it seems as though the fog is lifting and people are realising that something needs to be done to rectify this imbalance.
The multinational group IKEA responded to this concern by introducing its ‘food is precious’ initiative with the aim to cut food-waste by 50% by the end of 2020. Annually, 650 million guests enjoy IKEA food in almost 400 stores in 48 markets. So far over 20% of the IKEA stores have implemented the solution which translates into 176,000 saved meals.
“It is very encouraging to see the initial results of the Food is Precious initiative! Thanks to engaged co-workers and the measuring solution, we see up to 30% food waste reduction already after a few months. I am following the development closely and hope it can encourage others to start thinking about food as a precious resource,” says Michael La Cour Managing Direction IKEA Food Services AB.
The top drinks trend for 2017 was craft beer closely followed by artisan coffee and micro-distillery spirits. More than 300 brewers opened in 2016 taking growth over the past 5 years to 64%. The trend continued in 2017 with the number of breweries rising above 2000 for the first time since the 1930’s!
One brewery capitalising on not only the rise of craft brewing but also the explosive demand for gluten-free products is Bellfield.
Marie Brown, the Bellfield director said “The business was founded with the aim of hitting the ‘sweet spot’… The founders of Bellfield are either coeliac or have loved ones who are. After being diagnosed coeliac and coming to terms with the realisation that beer was ‘off the menu’ we decided to do something about it and turn a negative into a positive.”
The huge growth in independent craft breweries has led to greater consumer choice and more different beer styles being available in the UK than ever before. This growth correlates directly with an increasing demand from beer drinkers who want better quality, flavour and more choice.
The Waitrose Annual Food and Drink Report has pinned Indian street food, Japanese cuisine and plant proteins as trends to watch for 2018.
With consumers looking toward healthier alternatives Waitrose says that in place of heavy curries we will be searching for lighter Indian street food in the new year as well as hearty sharing dishes from Japan that pack a punch of flavour.
An interesting trend pinpointed by the report was the introduction of a fourth meal. Either before bed as a supper or as a mid-morning brunch so the all-day dining trend would appear to be around for the long haul.
One thing’s for certain the free-from trend is not going anywhere and special diets such as veganism are still on the rise. Make sure you’re adapting your food offerings to fit this changing consumer landscape.
Food Allergy Awareness
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