Innova Market Insights released its “Top 10 Trends for Global Food, Beverage and Nutrition” at the end of 2014. With one-third of the year having gone by, Alsco thought this would be a good time to review the trends and see how you can incorporate them into your restaurant, cafe or bar to keep up with what is in demand these days.

Here are the top 10 trends and our suggestions and ideas on how to make the most of these for your business.

Whilst you busy restaurauteurs go about the business of incorporating these trends, there are some things which are timeless and beyond the trends. From having a crisp table linen or smart, comfortable uniforms for your staff that match your theme, you can always depend on Alsco.

So leave these to us. Just give Alsco a call and we will take care of these for you!

Trend 1 – From Clean to Clear Label

Research has shown that consumers want natural and organic foods with simple food labels. This gave rise to the Clean Label movement.

The problem was that there was no actual standard for a clean label. Clean label has been just a phrase used by food and drink manufacturers to describe products made with no chemical or artificial substances. What was to be considered as a chemical or an artificial substance was not laid out anywhere.

With growing concerns about the definition of natural, the trend now is to move from ‘clean’ to ‘clear’ labelling. The emphasis is on complete and clear disclosure of ingredients so that the consumers can themselves decide on the nature of the ingredients.

How does this impact you?

While this trend is clearly more important for the food and drink manufacturers, even restaurants, bars and cafe’s need to be careful not to misstate ingredients.

Clearly stated ingredients on your menu will not only appease your diners, they will help you avoid any unnecessary action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The ACCC’s free online Advertising and Selling Guide has some useful information with regards to environmental and organic claims or country and place of origin claims.

Trend 2 – Convenience for Foodies

Cooking shows and blogs by foodies have sparked a renewed interest in home cooking. This is the next big trend that is mentioned by Innova.

It goes on to state that these blogs and shows have also driven a demand for a greater choice of fresh foods, ingredients, including ingredients which may not be as ‘pretty’ as some of the other fresh foods, but are less expensive.

How does this mean for you?

Innova states that cooking shows are seen as fashionable, fun and social events. The introduction of such events at your restaurants and outlets could be a great idea to reach out to a wider audience.

Have special events for foodies and bloggers where they could come and try out some of your recipes or create their own versions of them to blog about.

Trend 3 – Marketing to Millennials

The ‘Millennials’ are the younger, tech-savvy generation heavily engaged with the social media. They are typically aged between 15 and 35, constantly looking out for and trying new things and generally less brand loyal than older consumers. According to Innova, they comprise roughly one-third of the global population.

What does this mean for you?

Using social media to connect with customers has become imperative. According to Social, almost all restaurants will be on Facebook within the next couple of years and four in every five will be on Twitter.

This is because consumers are increasingly using social media to enhance their restaurant experience, to choose, review or to opt for discounts, promotions or group-buying schemes. So encourage your customers to check-in on Facebook, leave an honest, good review and keep them coming back with regular promotions.

Trend 4 – Snacks Rise to the Occasion

Formal meal times are continuing to decline in popularity. Quick health foods, traditionally considered as snacks, are replacing traditional meal occasions. More snacks are targeted at specific moments of consumption, according to Innova.

What does this mean for you?

How well does your menu cater to this trend? We hope you have enough items for not just a traditional meal, but also for a quick, healthy, light meal or any for any other occasion during the day.

Have a relook at your menu and make those adjustments so that you offer something on your menu for that fitness enthusiast, the mother looking for the something light and nutritious for her children after their rugby match or the corporate executive looking an energising quick bite in between those meetings.

Trend 5 – Good Fats, Good Carbs

Concerns of obesity have led to a growing emphasis on unsaturated and natural fats and oils and rising interest in omega-3 fatty acid content as well as the return of butter to favour as a natural, tasty alternative to artificial margarines that may be high in trans-fats.

In the same way, naturally-occurring sugar is being favoured at the expense of added sugars and artificial sweeteners.

What does this mean for you?

Avoid saturated fatty acids! These come mostly from animal sources including meat and dairy products like beef fat, lard, butter, cream or cheese.

It may not always be possible to remove them completely from your menu and you’re the ingredients in your dishes and switch totally, but make sure you offer enough natural alternatives containing unsaturated fatty acids that are not only good for the heart but also for your bottom line.

Trend 6 – More In Store for Protein

According to Innova Market Insights, the hunt is on for the next big source of protein. Protein is seen as an important part of the meal and associated with important health benefits, be it growth and muscle development or its possible role in reducing the risk of high blood pressure.

Traditional sources of protein continue to be the mainstay, but some like soy protein are losing popularity since they are regarded as cheap. Proteins from pulses, algae or even insects which have been traditionally consumed in certain countries are becoming popular on menus across the world if they are used brilliantly and marketed well .

What does this mean for you?

Proteins from pulses are easily incorporated into menus in soups, salads, casseroles and meat sources. Apart from being a great source of protein, they are low in fat, full of fibre and have a low glycemic index . Not only do they add extra texture and flavour to your dish, they are great for the heart and for those who may be suffering from diabetes.

So include these alternate sources of protein into your menu to make it healthier and taste better too.

Trend 7 – New Routes for Fruit

A product is perceived to be healthier when it contains a real fruit or vegetable ingredient as opposed to synthetic colours, flavours or juices. This is true for dishes on your menu as well.

According to Innova, more product launches are being tracked with real fruits and vegetables as they can function as colouring and flavouring agents. In this role they meet the increased demand for natural colours and flavours.

What does this mean for you?

A study by Mintel and Leatherhead Food Research revealed that, for the first time in 2011, the value of sales of natural colours has overtaken that of artificial/synthetic colours globally. Whereas, global sales of natural colours amounted to an estimated USD600m, an annual growth rate of over 7% since 2007. In comparison, the global sales of artificial colours were an estimated USD570m at a growth rate of less than 4% annually.

With its geographical diversity and great climate, Australia has an abundance of fruits and vegetables to offer. These can be incorporated into virtually any dish, be it a entrée, main course or dessert. Scope out the freshest fruits and vegetable of the season available in your region and get busy to celebrate them.

Trend 8 – A Fresh Look at Frozen

Foods in the fresh aisles appeal to the consumers as being healthy. So frozen or canned foods, although convenient, have that much more work to do. According to Innova, established frozen foods (vegetables and seafood) are focusing their marketing on the freshness of their content, stressing the superior nutritional content in them.

What does this mean for you?

Have a look at the ingredients on not just your food, but also your marketing strategy. Are you conveying the right messages? Fresh food and its nutritional content are important while deciding what goes into your diner’s plate, but it is also critical to communicate the freshness of these to your potential customers.

Regular (and appropriate!) visual content on Instagram or Twitter, articles on your website or Facebook are some simple ways to achieve this objective. Your customers love to hear that they are eating fresh, healthy food. So make sure they know that they indeed are.

Trend 9 – Private Label Powers On

Private labels are gaining market share in terms of new product launches in Europe, North America and Australasia. According to the Innova, in-store brands are increasingly being accepted by consumers and are considered to be superior quality products.

Private labels are typically either comparable in price to, or just slightly higher than the national economy brands. However, they offer superior packaging with an elevated perception of quality across a range of products.

What does this mean for you?

Have your signature sauces, spice blends or confectionery products? These are the perfect ingredients to having your own private label which not only helps market your restaurant, is a great way to introduce another revenue stream into your restaurant.

Many restaurants also private label of wines. This wine could be either a family-made favourite wine replicated at a local winery or wines from the winery that you enjoy very much. Work with the wineries and their design teams to make a great label that reflects your restaurant.

A private label can be a great addition to your restaurant, to reinforce your brand and a wonderful way to encourage more customers and get their stamp of approval. It can be quite handy for gifting seasons such as Christmas.

Trend 10 – Rich, Chewy and Crunchy

Texture is becoming an important driver for taste perception of food and beverages and focus of many of today’s food innovations, according to Innova.

Brands are creatively combining textures with, for example crispy inclusions, soft centres and extra crunchy toppings. Texture claims are shown more prominently.

What does this mean for you?

Most restaurants are obsessed about the flavour of their food and the visual appeal of their dish. In this, the texture often gets overlooked. The crispiness, chewiness and the creaminess of your dish is just as important to your food acceptability. Spend enough time in getting these elements perfect. Rubbery, slimy food, food that has gone soggy or frozen foods with crystals has no place past the pass.

So make sure that the top 10 food trends identified by Innova have a place in your restaurant, café or deli. At the same time, do not overlook the basics. A clean kitchen, smartly turned out staff, comfortably dressed chefs, crisp linens, squeaky clean washrooms are some trends which stay on year after year.

The Fine Food Australia Expo at the Sydney Olympic Park from September 20-23, 2015 will have over 1,000 national and international exhibitors displaying the latest trends in food and drink. So do visit the Expo for more about the latest trends. Save the date now!

Alsco, the market leader in textiles, is there at all times to help you assist you with the basics, leaving you to focus on what you know best – running a successful restaurant. All you need to do is give us a call on 1300 659 892 and speak to our friendly and helpful staff.


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