Consumers are radically rethinking their approach to food & drink as shifts to plant-based diets and greater focus on sustainability and transparency accelerate post pandemic.
Recent research from Oxford University found that daily meat consumption in the UK has declined by 17% over the last 10 years and 58% of European Gen Z say the pandemic has made them more aware of eating healthily.
This trend is only set to continue in the coming years, particularly among younger consumers.
In the UK, 35% of Gen Z and 32% of Millennials currently follow a vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian diet, while 60% of the US national population agree they are shifting to more plant-based eating habits.
This is also reflected in changing drinking patterns with the continued emergence of the NoLo category.
18% of British shoppers said they plan to try more low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks, rising to a third among 18-24-year-olds.
As discussed in previous editions, environmentally and socially conscious attitudes have been advanced by the pandemic with 55% of global consumers saying they buy from companies that are supportive of protecting the environment, or they chose products with traceable and transparent origin.
Cucumber with melon and smoked daikon – courtesy of Eleven Madison Park
While the luxury hospitality sector and the fine dining category declined by 15-17% in 2020, venues quickly adapted by developing new concepts and revenue streams, making the most of previously niche touchpoints – including ‘finish at home’ tasting menus, luxury meal kits, Michelin-star deliveries and cocktails for curbside pick-ups.
High-end restaurants are also reinventing their proposition to tap into changing consumer priorities and increasingly widespread eating habits.
This year saw leading chefs and industry figures open plant-based ventures: Eleven Madison Park relaunched as a vegan restaurant in May, with a waiting list of 15,000, while Alain Ducasse opened a 95% plant-based and eco-friendly restaurant, Sapid, in Paris in September – to name only a couple.
It comes as no surprise then, that 81 vegetarian or vegan restaurants were awarded a Michelin Star in 2021 and the Michelin Guide introduced a Green Star to award restaurants at the forefront of sustainability, including zero-waste restaurant Silo, London.
Retailers and hotels are also reinventing their drinks offering for guests looking for more 0% or low-alcohol tipples. IHG Hotels & Resorts are trialling premium and health-boosting non-alcoholic drinks at its restaurants and bars, while a host of new retailers like Boisson in NYC, Soft Spirits in Los Angeles and Null Prozent in Berlin focus their offer exclusively on the ever-growing range of premium non-alcoholic drinks.
The latest hospitality and F&B design concepts are tempting consumers back by tapping into their desire for authenticity, transparency, and memorable experiences.
Soho House has opened its newest location in Austin, Texas, with a design concept based on Texas modernism, Spanish influences, and local craftsmanship.
Fendi’s recent pop-up café in the Miami Design District applied its most iconic brand asset, its FF logo, to everything from the interior concept to breakfast items for a bold and distinctive brand experience.
PAGA, a micro-roastery and café in Bangkok, wants to encourage guests to encounter the full journey from roasting ‘to cup’. The space is inspired by the mountain where the coffee comes from with the top floor reserved for the precious beans and workshops. Designed to facilitate interaction with the baristas as well as other guests, the interiors play into consumers’ heightened appreciation for transparency, craftsmanship and community following the pandemic.
For consumers looking to upgrade their F&B at home, brands and designers are reinventing staples with a focus on luxury and sustainability.
One example is Jordanian family-run olive oil producer Onsuri, bringing its high-end products to the off-trade/D2C channel with a curated set of fine olive oil varieties and a subscription refill system. The striking bottle reimagines the aesthetics of luxury F&B packaging, reinforcing a sense of modernity and progress.