Hot food and drink trends for summer 2018

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Healthy dessert: 'better-for-you' ice cream is a trend that it set to shine this summer according to Mintel
Healthy dessert: 'better-for-you' ice cream is a trend that it set to shine this summer according to Mintel
This summer, operators need to keep their fingers on the pulse with the latest trends including meat-free barbecue, healthy ice cream, snacks and beer pairing, and bold flavoured sparkling water.

Mintel has predicted what will be hot this summer with its global experts in its 2018 Summer Food & Drink Trends​ report.

Vegan barbecue

Mintel said while the barbecue selection becomes more diverse, with the addition of fish and cheese recently, vegan barbecue might not have been a consideration for meat eaters, until now.

There has been a rise in speciality vegan products such as black bean chipotle, catering to changes in consumer tastes.

A clear trend has emerged for consumers in the UK to cut, limit or reduce how much meat and poultry they are eating.

Stats from Mintel showed more than a quarter (28%) of UK adults have done this over the six months to March 2017.

In the US, there is a similar pattern with 33% of consumers planning to buy more plant-based food products in the next year.

Mintel global food analyst Melanie Zanoza Bartelme said: “Vegan options are on the rise, with several UK retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco and, just recently, Waitrose launching extensive vegan lines in their stores.

“Flavour-bursting new varieties of vegan alternatives made from innovative ingredients like Indian jackfruit that, due to its texture and flavour, is becoming an increasingly popular meat substitute, will be the star of the vegan barbecue this summer.”

Ice cream

Mintel stated that ‘better-for-you’ ice cream, characterised by low sugar and high protein has now arrived in the UK.

Having outsold ice cream giants like Unilever and Nestlé Dreyers to become the best-selling ice cream in the US over a four-week period in July 2017, Halo Top launched in the UK earlier this year.

Among UK ice cream eaters, almost one third (32%) say ‘low sugar’ would encourage them to have more ice cream.

Mintel food and drink associate director Alex Beckett said: “Ice cream brands that claim to offer health benefits have historically been hard to find in Europe.

“As consumers look to balance their diets with an occasional treat and a boost to their mood, more ice cream brands will emerge, which aim to combine indulgence and health.”


New research from Mintel indicated that snacks, which are designed to accompany beer, are poised to do especially well this summer.

The combination of alcohol and salty snacks is nothing new yet just under half (46%) of UK beer drinkers would like to see more information about matching food with beer.

Similarly, many consumers are looking for “bold and interesting” flavours with 50% of Brazilian snackers agreeing that “unusual/exotic flavours” of salty snacks are appealing while more than a third (36%) of US consumers said they would buy more crisps if there were new flavours to try.

Global food and drink analyst Ayisha Koyenikan said: “When it comes to snacking, this summer will see strong flavours and textures that are specifically designed to go with alcohol that, no doubt, will be popular during the World Cup and barbecues alike.

“Snacks that have strong textures and flavours hold up particularly well with beer and other alcohol and will win in popularity this summer.”

Soft drinks

Mintel claimed that amid Government regulations such as the sugar tax, consumers are getting tired of old favourites like soda, cola and lemonade.

Bold-flavoured sparkling waters are a recent trend, bringing naturalness and flavour to the soft drinks market and presents an alternative to sugar and artificial ingredients.

They seem to be a natural alternative for a large number of consumers. More than half (53%) of UK consumers agree that sparkling flavoured water is a good alternative to fizzy drinks.

Mintel food and drink associate director Jenny Zegler said: “The desire for unsweetened beverage options, along with consumer demand for more exotic flavours and unusual ingredients, is driving a trend towards more and more creative sparkling waters.

“Recently innovation in this space has reached new heights. This summer, expect to see less lemonade and more truly original mineral waters with natural flavours far beyond lemon or cucumber.”

On the subject of trends, purchasing company Beacon has shined a spotlight on home-grown wine, following its research that named ‘Made in Britain’ the top trend among diners for 2018.

Beacon MD Paul Connelly said: “Provenance has become a major trend not only in the hospitality industry but among the general public.

“There is a cultural shift to understand where our food and drink has come from, as well as a desire for organic and local produce.

“We saw evidence of this when Made in Britain was voted the top dining trend for 2018, and it seems English wine is leading the way.”

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