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Tue 10th Dec 2019 - NPD Group reveals five eating-out trends for 2020
NPD Group reveals five eating-out trends for 2020: Insights firm The NPD Group has revealed five trends that could shape Britain’s £57bn out-of-home (OOH) foodservice industry in 2020.

Sustainable foodservice delivery is better
Delivery is one of the fastest-growing order channels in Britain’s OOH market, with visits up 11% during the year ending October 2019. NPD forecasts food and drinks purchased through the delivery channel will represent 10% of Britain’s entire foodservice market by 2022 but, while delivery offers speed and convenience, it has potential to fall foul of consumer concerns around sustainability. NPD data shows customer dissatisfaction with the quality of delivered, ready-prepared food and drink is 15% higher than for the rest of the industry. The need for packaging that retains heat and freshness to improve quality is paramount. However, consumers also expect less single-use packaging so delivery firms need to strike a better balance, perhaps by reducing the size of delivery catchments and using more recyclable packaging. They will also need to moderate their carbon footprint through greater use of low-carbon and zero-carbon means of delivery. Winners in the foodservice delivery channel will be those that work hard to limit adverse environmental impacts by using more renewable, compostable or recyclable packaging or cutting packaging altogether.

Success means breaking boundaries
There used to be a clear distinction between restaurants, pubs, bars, coffee shops and fast food and consumers knew if they were visiting a retail, leisure or foodservice outlet – those boundaries have blurred. Loungers is an example of a multi-faceted operation that is a restaurant, pub and a cafe, while Planet Organic offers a mix of foodservice and retail. Laine Pub Company provides a range of leisure activities with the aim to modernise the traditional pub experience and attract a new generation of consumers who want “more than a pint”. Independent foodservice brands are also moving directly into retail, including YO!’s roll-out in Tesco, Wasabi and Bento opening in M&S, and Sushi Gourmet in Sainsbury’s. Winners must be prepared to break boundaries to stay ahead of consumer needs and trends. With rising consumer expectations for ultra convenience and engaging experiences, smart foodservice operators understand defying conventions can be a route to success.

There’s more to life than meat
Consumers are finding it easier to flex their diet. NPD Group data shows in the past three months to October 2019, almost 3% of British eating out visits were influenced by whether a venue offered vegetarian or vegan options. During a year, 3% represents more than 300 million OOH visits, with that figure likely to grow rapidly. Consumers demand vegetarian and vegan options in different contexts. These options are 41% more important than average at breakfast, for example, and 55% more important than average among 16 to 24-year-olds. Average spend by consumers seeking vegetarian and vegan options is almost 4% higher than average. In addition, consumers who order ahead and collect their food or drink are almost three times more likely to pick vegetarian and vegan options. Winners will understand the value of meat alternatives and consumers of all kinds enjoy non-meat meals. The successful operator will serve food that makes everybody happy, which means providing a range of great meat choices complemented by appetising vegetarian and vegan options. Meat-like plant protein will take off and has a major role to play in market growth.

Children’s menus are growing up
Visits that include food or drink ordered from a children’s menu or part of a children’s meal deal represent a fast-growing part of the eating out market. NPD data shows such visits now represent 4% of total OOH visits and are growing almost ten times faster than total market growth. Foodservice operators are looking to cater for younger palates through a fresh approach to children’s menus. Many operators – such as Leon, Pho, Giraffe and Wagamama – have introduced innovative dishes for youngsters with more adventurous tastes. Winners will be those suppliers and operators able to offer classic children’s meals with a contemporary twist while experimenting with new menu items and ingredients. Family visits represent almost 30% of all eating out spend so offering children’s meals that surprise and delight children and parents alike will be a key route to trading success.

Food halls to storm ahead
The food hall format is growing rapidly and tapping into the trend for informal, unstructured eating. Whether food halls focus on lunch or dinner, the average spend per head can be as little as £10. Street food operator Kerb recently opened its Seven Dials Market in London, while other food halls include Arcade Food Theatre in London’s Centrepoint, Baltic Market in Liverpool and Mackie Mayor in Manchester. Winners will provide atmosphere, variety, excitement and value for money. Food halls offer lower rents, guaranteed footfall, and more choice for consumers, creating a lower-risk environment where well-executed concepts can thrive in a fun and informal atmosphere.

Dominic Allport, insights director at The NPD Group, said: “What we see in these five trends is how creative the British foodservice industry can be and how well it understands and adapts to consumer expectations.”

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