This year could be all about values

Ethical and sustainability concerns likely to fuel demand in the on-trade

Sustainable produce is likely to prove popular with many consumers in 2020, say suppliers

SUSTAINABLE, plant-based and ethically-sourced products are likely to be some of the most in-demand in licensed premises during 2020, according to wholesalers.

Suppliers said the growing trend towards healthier living as well as ethical and environmental concerns are expected to have an impact on which products their trade customers are ordering.

Niall Deveney of Dunns Food and Drinks said: “Ours is a fast-paced industry so we expect new trends to emerge and others to evolve or continue to grow such as vegan and gluten-free.

“Sustainability looks set to continue to be a big theme and we envisage this growing.”

This was supported by Stephen Oswald, chief executive of food wholesaler Bidfresh, who said for many consumers dining out “is increasingly as much about value as it is about cost; not just value for money, but the values that an operator brings to the menu”.

“These ‘sustainarian’ customers increasingly want to be sure that the food they eat has been produced sustainably and ethically, and they also curate their own food choices very carefully,” said Oswald.

“So, while some consumers fully embrace the plant-based trend, others are looking for that ‘seagan’ combination of seafood and plant-based dishes, which is an area where we’re seeing a great deal of menu innovation from customers, and have also been building our own online recipe bank.”

Sustainability looks set to continue to be a big theme and we envisage this growing.

Improving sustainability can make sense from a financial perspective too, said Oswald.

He pointed out that by using as much food as possible – including steps such as using crispy fried fish skin as bar snacks and fruit and vegetable peelings to make smoothies – operators can reduce their food waste.

This month, in particular, could see a spike in vegan and vegetarian products, according to Jessica Smith of Continental Wine and Food.

She said: “In January 2019 1.3 million people gave up animal products, that’s 4.7% of the total UK population and more than 500 businesses took part. 26% of Brits say that trends like Veganuary are affecting their shopping habits, which led the market worth to be £572 million in 2019.

“This is predicted to grow further in 2020 as consumers are becoming more concerned about their lifestyle and investing more thought in to being healthier.”

Keeping up to date on the current food and drink trends is one of the reasons it pays to have a strong relationship with your wholesaler, said Deveney at Dunns.

“A good relationship with a wholesaler can help an operator build and enhance their business,” he said.

“Getting the most out of it is about understanding how both parties can work together and maintain communication.

“Wholesalers can play a key role in providing pubs and bars with new products – we are the route-to-market for Scotland’s food and drinks industry so this can help venues keep up to date with what’s going on in the market.”