Allergens, Brexit, food trends and sustainability are predicted to have the greatest impact on foodservice businesses in the coming year, according to Bidfood.
At its annual food festival – an exhibition showcasing the best of its own-brand and branded products and support services – the foodservice provider brought together key players from the industry to debate the most pressing issues and discuss practical solutions for the future.
Key insights from the event were:
Whilst the conversation around allergens bubbled away across 2018, the Pret tragedy sparked a consumer call for greater clarity on allergen labelling.
With changing government legislation likely to be announced in July this year, the impact on the industry is set to be huge. Bidfood has called for a standardised approach to dealing with allergen information, stressing the need for wholesalers, retailers and other industries to work together to establish a best practice approach.
In addition to continued growth in the free-from market, director of technical services at Bidfood, Angela O’Donovan, predicted increased focus on the use of probiotics and microbiotics, which are thought to play a role in allergy management and prevention.
Key industry players from Bidfood, WSH and KP Snacks explored what Brexit could mean for foodservice and hospitality in a panel debate.
There was resounding agreement amongst the panel that business agility is of paramount importance in the approach to the 29 March.
Despite looking in-depth at some of the challenges of Brexit, the panel emphasised that it shouldn’t be all doom and gloom, and that Brexit may also present some opportunities, from growth in UK food and drink export, to post-Brexit innovation.
The political environment, concerns around sustainability, food provenance and global food influences are set to fuel the major food trends of 2019. Bidfood’s insights team explored what this will look like across all sectors of the industry and gave practical suggestions for adopting new products and flavours onto menus.
Advice included looking to foods like ‘trash fish’ and lesser-known cuts of meat for inspiration, using vibrant, experimental flavours found in Afro-Caribbean food and making vegetables the stars of our plates.
WRAP’s Pete Rayner outlined sustainability topics which will drive strategic workstreams at Bidfood over the coming year. Food waste reduction, plastic packaging strategy and a drive towards more sustainable business modelling set to form the basis of these.
As part of the conversation around food waste, WRAP introduced the concept of ‘Compleating’, the process of eating the entire vegetable/food product. The charity emphasised its desire to work together with partners like Bidfood to change social norms which have built around food consumption.
Tim Adams, director of marketing and corporate sales at Bidfood, said it was vital for the firm to stay ahead of the curve.
“Helping our customers remain future-proofed and robust in the midst of social, economic and political uncertainty is front of mind for us at Bidfood. We’re continually looking ahead and analysing what’s set to influence the supply chain, menu development, consumer expectations and loyalty. This is then fed into our whole offering, from food and beverage and non-food, to consultancy and menu development.”