Unlocking Culinary Trends: 5 Non-Equipment Kitchen Shifts Influencing Consumer Choices

  • Jan. 5, 2024
Unlocking Culinary Trends: 5 Non-Equipment Kitchen Shifts Influencing Consumer Choices

Foodservice suppliers navigate trends beyond equipment, delving into menu engineering strategies. Explore higher-priced dishes, diversified menus, value-centric approaches, changing lifestyles, and business priorities shaping 2024.

Operators in the foodservice industry face evolving challenges beyond equipment considerations. Lumina Intelligence's latest report delves into key trends shaping consumer choices and influencing decision-making among mainstream chain and pub operators.

1. Elevated Dining Costs: Persistent inflation in 2023 prompted an 8.5% and 6.7% increase in same-line dish prices for chain restaurants and pubs, respectively. To encourage higher spending, operators are introducing premium and sharing options without compromising entry-level prices, maintaining a balance of perceived value.

2. Menu Variety Expansion: Reflecting mega-trends, menus diversify to accommodate healthier, sustainable, and experience-driven options. An increase in meat-free main dishes (8ppts in the past year), featuring vegetables like garlic, pickle, and mushroom, aligns with consumer preferences. The rise of 'spiced' and 'pickled' in menu descriptions underscores evolving tastes.

3. Value-Centric Mega-Trend: In 2023, both customers and businesses prioritized value scrutiny. Amid financial challenges, consumers embraced frugality, leading to trends favoring cheaper meat cuts, veg-centric cuisines, and zero-waste concepts. Product trends like tinned meat, fish, and pea protein gain traction.

4. Shifting Lifestyles: Changing lifestyles, including increased home working, impact dining habits. Party dining experiences gain popularity with a focus on atmospheric venues and social media-worthy elements. The decline of late-night sectors leads to the emergence of late-night entertainment in premium restaurants, featuring luxurious interiors and immersive experiences.

5. Business Priorities for 2024: Anticipated stabilization of the economy prompts businesses to prioritize social corporate responsibility and operational streamlining. Sustainability, workforce diversity, and digitalization top the list of initiatives, with a forecasted £102.4 billion worth in the eating-out market by 2026. Digitalization and AI play central roles in operational efficiency and enhancing customer satisfaction.