Healthier eating trend helping operators manage costs

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Research reveals: customisation of dishes was also picked out as a popular tool operators are using (image: Getty/zoranm)
Research reveals: customisation of dishes was also picked out as a popular tool operators are using (image: Getty/zoranm)

Related tags Food Lumina Intelligence Finance

Operators are capitalising on healthier eating and sustainability food trends in a bid to help mitigate rising costs, a report has found.

The research showed since spring/summer last year, restaurant and pub and bar same-line dish inflation has risen by 7.9% and 7.2% respectively with inflationary pressures forcing price rises.

Lumina Intelligence’s Menu & Food Trends Report 2022 ​revealed a focus on sustainability and health consciousness were highlighted as some of the mega trends.

These aligned with cost-management​ in menus alongside focusing on lighter and more meat-free dishes allowing operators to handle price rises more effectively.

This is due to the measures helping to facilitate smaller portions and utilising cheaper ingredients, which is resulting in reducing food waste and strengthening margins.

Customisation tool

Furthermore, Lumina’s Menu Tracker ​suggested the total proportion of dishes containing meat has dropped by three percentage points from 2019 to 2022.

Vegan diets when eating out have risen by 11% quarter on quarter, which links with research that found 66% of consumers stating they were very sustainably conscious.

Moreover, healthier eating is also trending and the average calorie count of a dish has decreased by 2.4% from May to October last year, also contributing to managing the impact of compulsory calorie labelling on consumers and encouraging eating out.

According to Lumina, another popular tool for operators and consumers is customisation, which facilitates catering for dietary preferences.

There has been a rise of 20 percentage points in the share of dishes that are customisable from 2019 to 2022.

Future trends

While variations of dishes can pose operational challenges for businesses, this is being reflected in the prices with customisable meals in pubs and bars being more than a quarter (28%) more expensive than the average dish and they continue to allow premiumisation.

The insight business predicted menu management, sustainability practices and digitalisation will be a key part of the eating out market’s recovery, which is predicted to add up to £101bn in 2025, after inflation stability and recovery in consumer spending power.

Currently, investment in sustainability is being prioritised by more than three quarters (80%) of eating out businesses.

It is set to be focused around more efficient practices and waste  management while innovations in creating sustainable alternatives to staple ingredients are likely to continue to 2023, helping to shield operators from cost changes and capitalising on the previously mentioned flexitarian trends.

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