Hospitality businesses will need to adapt to significant changes in consumer behaviour when planning 2022 menus, says fresh produce specialist Bidfresh. New research shows that expectations of dishes which deliver on concerns such as provenance, innovation, sustainability and health have been strengthened by the pandemic.
For example, more than half of consumers are now actively counting calories or sugar content when they eat out, and a similar number make decisions on where to eat out based whether the venue supports British producers.
Industry specialists CGA were commissioned to carry out a survey* which builds on the recent launch of the A Fresh Approach campaign. This is being rolled out across the three core Bidfresh businesses to encourage operators to use the very best fresh, seasonal and responsibly sourced produce on post-lockdown menus.
The three businesses – fish and seafood specialist Direct Seafoods; catering butcher Campbell Brothers, and fruit and vegetable supplier Oliver Kay Produce – between them supply thousands of hospitality and catering businesses nationwide.
Jane Aukim, marketing manager of Bidfresh, said: “People had more time to think about food during lockdown. Many of them took up cooking from scratch and took more care over the quality and source of the ingredients.
“As hospitality reopens, it’s clear that more consumers are paying the same attention to food when they eat out. When planning their menus for 2022, operators will have to demonstrate that consumers’ concerns are being factored in, and the A Fresh Approach programme has been developed to support that.
“For example Direct Seafoods, recently named the Marine Stewardship Council’s Fresh Fish Food Service Supplier of the Year 2021, offers a diverse range of products that meet consumer expectations of sustainable fish and seafood.”
Key findings of the new survey include:
- 53% of consumers are actively counting calories or checking sugar content;
- 60% prefer venues that offer new and interesting cuisines and dishes;
- 53% are likely to try a new cuisine when they see it on a menu;
- 20% would choose a specific eating out venue over another if it had a focus on sustainability;
- 44% make eating-out decisions based on ethical considerations;
- 56% make decisions on where to eat out based on the venue’s policy of sourcing British products.
Aukim adds: “There’s no contradiction between consumers’ interest in trying new styles of cuisine and their support for British producers. The challenge for chefs and operators is to access recipes that enable them use fresh British produce to make anything from a spicy curry to tapas-style croquetas.
“Through A Fresh Approach, we’re giving hospitality businesses access to resources such as recipes and advice on seasonality and sustainability, that frees them up to focus on creating great dishes and hitting the highest standards of customer service.”
Operators and chefs can access the A Fresh Approach programme at www.bidfresh.co.uk/fresh-approach.html