5 key food and drink trends for 2024

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

New flavours: consumers want adventure, playfulness, comfort and value from the eating out market in 2024 (Credit: Getty/	SolStock)
New flavours: consumers want adventure, playfulness, comfort and value from the eating out market in 2024 (Credit: Getty/ SolStock)

Related tags Food Menus Bidfood

Consumers will be looking for adventurous flavours, healthy and hearty recipes and playful experiences from the on-trade in 2024, according to Bidfood’s 2024 Food & Drink Trends report.

According to the report, the five key areas that will capture spend over the next 12-months were adventurous flavours, British fusion, rustic and rural, playful dishes as well as physical and mental health boosting food.

The data, collated by Bidfood and CGA, also showed the main drivers behind next year’s predicted trends were value, authentic experiences, health and sustainability.

Bidfood head of corporate marketing and insight Catherine Hinchcliff said: “Trends are very important to factor into menus because at the end of the day those menus have got to deliver gross profit and repeat purchase, which is quite tricky when consumers are looking for something new, getting them back through the doors is challenging.

“Value is the main driver at the moment and eating out is increasingly viewed as a treat or for a special occasion, so the stakes are high and operators need to get the offering right.”

According to the report, based on a survey of 1,033 UK adults, 77% of consumers and operators alike see value for money as imperative to decision-making when choosing where to eat and drink out, with discretionary spending impacted by inflation.

In addition, almost half (42%) of those surveyed said they would pay more attention to venues offering deals in the future.

Menus can also play a role in attracting consumers looking for value and adventure, with 30% of respondents also paying more attention to ingredients lists.

Health benefits 

Health-conscious choices are also set to be increasingly important to consumers over the next 12 months, according to the report, with two in three adults believing it is important to eat healthy food when dining out of home.

Moreover, more than half (57%) expressed a preference for food and drink brands that encouraged healthy lifestyle choices compared with those that did not.

Elsewhere in the report, making ethical and sustainable choices was highlighted as being high on consumers agenda’s, with three in four finding dishes that have ingredients with provenance more appealing.

Some 29% and 21% of consumers said they would look at the regional provenance of ingredients and flavour descriptions respectively over the coming months, while 76% found dishes with UK provenance more appealing as they look for rustic and rural offerings.

Focusing on farm to table stories and dishes with heritage vegetables, like British classics and green salads, was one way Bidfood advised the sector could tap into this trend.

The most desired health benefits sought by consumers included low fat and sugar (36%), high protein (33%), low calorie (28%), mood and energy boosting (32%) and featuring vegetables (44%).

Bidfood trends 2024
(Pictured: whipped beetroot and butter bean hummus topped with rainbow salad / Credit: Bidfood)

In addition, 23% of those surveyed said they would look at the calorie content of dishes while 24% would look at the ethical and sustainable information.

Being rich in vitamins and minerals (34%) as well as fortified or enriched dishes (19%) were also popular among those surveyed.

"We’re excited to see the trends and flavours surfacing are around adventure and trying something new, as well as comfort, authenticity and provenance."

“It’s a competitive market at the moment, so having menus that really hit the mark is very important for operators’ success.

“When we look forward to next year, the eating out market is expected to see some growth, but when you factor in inflation, it’s going to be modest growth.

“Inflation rates are expected to drop, and we are seeing that, but interest rates are still high so that is going to put some pressure on consumers. It’s no surprise consumer confidence is quite fragile at the moment”, Hinchcliff continued.

The report added operators could appeal to consumers senses when looking to offer health-conscious experiences, with 71% of feeling the aroma of food and drink itself could help boost their mood while vibrant and colour dishes allowed them to “eat with their eyes”.

Flavour-wise, consumers will be looking for authentic Mexican, Caribbean and Eastern European dishes, according to the report, with playful and interactive elements.

British fusion was also popular in the survey, with 68% of participants finding the concept appealing.

The other top British fusions in the report included Chinese (49%), Indian (48%), Italian (48%), American (37%) and Spanish (31%). Korean, Moroccan, Thai and Lebanese were also cited as being popular.

Creative and fun

Hinchcliff explained these trends will also allow chefs and bartenders to explore their creativity through experimenting with different flavours.

She said: “We’re excited to see the trends and flavours surfacing are around adventure and trying something new, as well as comfort, authenticity and provenance.

“All of which will allow chefs to be creative and have fun when planning their menus for 2024.”

Looking to drinks, 57% of consumers were more likely to pay more for a better-quality cocktail while 43% of 18 to 34-year-olds said they take a picture to post on social media almost every time they have a cocktail.

The report added operators could take signature cocktails to “another level” by focusing on creative, theatrical or themed serves to capture spend and social engagement.

Hinchcliff added: “Eating out experiences need to work harder, that's why experiences with some kind of fun, and engagement and buzz about them, particularly with cost pressures on the consumer, [are important], they want more bang for their buck.”

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