Several major players in the food to go sector have had their say on what will be the main trends to look out for at this year’s lunch! which takes place at ExCel London from 19-20 September.
Guest speakers, including Martin Clover from Tortilla and Hannah McKay from Caffé Nero were asked by lunch! organiser Diversified Communications UK asked what key trends and developments they thought would shape food-to-go in the years to come.
While their responses were varied, healthier menu options, more vegan/plant-based NPD, and the importance of being more sustainable (across all aspects of operations) were the most frequently cited ‘key trends to watch’.
McKay, head of food & beverages UK & Ireland at Caffè Nero, named ‘health, vegan and sustainability’ as key trends, while Maurice Abboudi, executive director at Japanese restaurant and takeaway chain K10, said ‘healthy eating and sustainability’.
Adnan Karim, UK managing director of Wayne’s Coffee, said ‘delivery to consumers and catering for vegetarian/vegan diets’.
And, for Crussh’s brand director Helen Harrison it was ‘sustainably packaged food, more functional foods like gut-friendly and protein-based products, and CBD’.
Hot food-to-go, delivery, food tech, new locations and partnerships are just some of the other key drivers identified.
Clover, said: “I think vegan/plant-based is still where things are at, but more from a flexitarian perspective of people looking to take days off meat or just generally reduce their meat consumption.”
Hannah Squirrell, customer director at Greggs said: “Healthier choices and being able to balance the Government/PHE targets, without compromising on great taste, quality and value.
“Changing dietary needs is also key and the growing trends around vegan/flexitarian/food intolerance etc. Strong offerings will evolve their digital proposition and launch new ways for customers to engage with them.
Meanwhile, Katherine Prowse, insights manager at MCA Insights, said: “I think there will be further tech-led innovation to emphasise brand’s convenience credentials. We have already seen Costa’s pre-ordering trial succeed and be rolled out, and I think we will see more of this and in newer ways.
“Another key trend will continue to be healthier and more sustainable food and drink products, brands that can communicate their sustainability credentials seamlessly, and be seen to be innovating in this area will be well placed to grow.
“In the next 3-5 years, I expect coffee shops to carry on with the challenge of fully establishing themselves as key food-to-go players.
“We are already seeing improved and expanded food offers at the leading brands and I expect coffee shops to develop this further and to engage in trends around hot food, bowl food and healthier plant-based meal solutions. A focus on the breakfast day-part will help operators tap into a growing area of the market.”