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Food & Drink trends for 2014

December 16th, 2013

1: The Real Deal

2014 will see the rise in ‘real'. One example is the growing interest in butchery, not only as a trade but as a way of getting more for your money. More and more people will continue to show support for their local butcher by purchasing meat and dairy regularly from their local store. Craft and artisan beer makers are also set for a strong year.

2: Health & Happiness 

Tackling obesity and other health and nutrition issues are forecast to be imperative to the food & drink industry over the next year, and have been for a long time. 44.6% believe tackling obesity and other health/nutrition issues will be very important, 36.5% say it will be important and just 2.7% deem it unimportant. One thing seems to be increasingly clear - the nutrition trend in general is moving away from overtly functional food & drink. So popular in previous years, overtly functional foods are now viewed with scepticism by many. People are growing wise to the simple fact that healthy, natural food & drink and plenty of exercise are the secrets to staying happy and healthy.

3: Waste Avoidance

Waste Avoidance will be imperative in 2014, from reducing the amount of food we throw out that has gone past its sell-by date, to minimising packaging waste and increasing the recycling we produce from our homes.

4: Celeb Influences

Celebrity chefs and cookery programmes continue to hold significant influence over the latest must-have product, the popular restaurant of the moment and what we're cooking at home. The success of the Great British Bake Off demonstrates that celebrity influences remain important. 

5: Farm to Table Food

Closely related to the Real Deal trend, farm to table food means different things to different people. It can relate to the growing interest in farm shops and farmers markets. Or, it could be part of the surging trend of promoting a real farmer (, naming the farm and providing a more solid identity for the origin of a product. Understanding more about the origin of a product - particularly direct from a farm - will increase in significance in 2014. Most importantly, this trend relates to provenance and traceability

6: Fresh & Flavourful

Getting back to basics, making food more enjoyable, flavourful, fresh tasting and delicious, will be a focus for NPD in foodservice and retail during 2014. Consumers are becoming connoisseurs of more than just wine: they are learning about the intricate differences in flavours of herbs and spices, cheeses, beers and much more. Foodies are proud of their ability to be able to decipher the ingredients in a particular mouthful of exquisite food.

7: Mutton Dressed As Lamb

‘New ways of serving tried and tested favourites' is pinpointed as a major foodservice trend in 2014.  Millennials (born 1980-2000) will continue to show a preference for choosing a selection of small plates to share (tapas style) when dining out versus the more traditional three courses. This is having an impact on how traditional recipes and meals are being presented to this hugely influential demographic. On the flipside, family-size portions and large sharing plates of traditional dishes such as lasagne, chilli con carne and traditional roast dinners also feature on more and more menus.

8: Glorious Gluten-Free

Even if you're not celiac more and more people are choosing to cut down on gluten-rich foods opening up the market beyond a niche health demographic. In a recent survey, more than 25% of Americans claimed they were trying to cut down on gluten or avoid it completely.

9: Community Spirit

Community spirit will to be a hugely influential trend for 2014 in terms of allotments, pop-up restaurants, street food, local food markets and stalls, food clubs, wine and beer tasting clubs, even ‘tweet-ups'. Community Sprit brings the fun and social side back into dining. 

10: A Different Kind of Ethnic

From posh hot dogs to ‘Real Spanish', smoky flavours (almonds to salmon, chicken to vanilla), fruit and herb combinations such as strawberry and basil desserts, to ethnic and exotic fruits such as Jack Fruit and Açai. There are so many kinds of ‘ethnic' food & drink out there now that a different kind of ethnic food market is emerging. People are travelling more, experiencing so many different cultures, and the growth of the Internet is only serving to push this further - Skype meetings are being conducted around the world - providing a window into life in another ‘world'. Discovering ethnic, unusual or unheard of food & drink is an exciting challenge and one that is getting tougher.

(Food & Drink Towers)

Casual dining:

In 2014 the fastest growing foodservice markets are expected to be Fast Casual (spend of £5-10) and Casual (spend of £10-20) and pubs. (Horizons).

The casual dining market has seen 10.9% real growth since 2008. Consumers expect more and better from the sector and are prepared to try new experiences.  The use of vouchers is down 15% year on year (Horizons)    

The fastest growing areas for branded restaurant chains are:

  • Chinese
  • Mediterranean
  • Caribbean
  • Mexican
  • Thai


Circuit Bars within the M25 have seen like-for-like sales increase with food at the heart of growth. Circuit Bars are now more than just late-night operators, particularly in London.  They are stealing share from Branded Restaurants thanks to increasingly sophisticated food offers and improved operational standards. (CGA Strategy)

The high street is still the preferred location for people to eat out. 43% of consumers prefer to eat in a high street restaurant and 36% would like more choice in their area. (Deloitte)


While the average number of meals per person eaten out each month has declined, breakfast is on the up:

  • The number of breakfasts eaten out of home was 7% higher in the third quarter of 2013 than it was a year earlier.
  • In the same period, average breakfast spend increased to £4.81 from £4.46
  • The highest growth was seen in pub restaurants, with 14% growth in average spend to £6.06.
  • JD Wetherspoon comes out top in terms of recommendations and revisits for breakfast.

(Allegra Eating Out Panel)


In the public sector, the introduction of free school meals for infant school child will be supported by investment in new catering facilities creating spin-off opportunities in breakfast clubs etc. (Horizons)    


Current food labelling laws for the foodservice industry will change from December 2014, meaning all operators – and suppliers - will need to provide information on 14 allergens for food and drink items.


Food waste

Food waste cost the UK’s hospitality and food service sector more than £2.5 billion annually, and is forecast to rise beyond £3 billion by 2016. 75% of all food waste is avoidable and could have been eaten. Food waste generally arises from three main areas:, 21% due to spoilage, 45% from food preparation and 34% from consumer plates. (WRAP)


Wine and spirits prices will continue to increase relative to those of beer and cider, based on treasury forecasts released by the Office for Budgetary Responsibility. These forecast the following increases in alcohol sales from 2012/13 to 2017/18:

  • Wine: +19%
  • Spirits: +1%
  • Beer & cider: -15%

The decrease in forecast Treasury revenues from beer and cider is partially based  on the removal of the Duty Escalator from beer, while wine and spirits will continue to see duty increase ahead of inflation.   (Wilson Drinks Report)

Craft Beer is now stocked in nearly 25% of on trade outlets. Craft Beer sales are now worth £225m. The category now equates to 1.9% of total beer volumes with sales increasing 84% for draught and 40% for packaged, compared to last year. (CGA Strategy)

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