Changing Tastes – Pairing Food And Drink


Following a comprehensive survey into consumer food and drink habits, the results revealed that consumers are tending to veer from traditional pairing recommendations. For example, the majority of diners would opt for a glass of red wine with their pork belly and the uptake of soft drinks was much larger than anticipated.

As expected, food and drink pairings do differ based on both age and gender. Age was the most influential factor on whether diners chose soft drinks, with 29% of 18-25 year olds picking this option at some point in the survey. This figure decreased with age to only 16%. However, the popularity of soft drinks becomes popular again with those aged 66 and over, with nearly 45% choosing this most often.

Somewhat more traditionally, men were found to be significantly more likely to pair ales with food and women more likely to select white wine. 12% of men selected ale at some point in the survey, compared to just 3% of women. Women selected white wine 27% of the time, in comparison to 20% of men.

Steven Pike, Managing Director, HospitalityGEM commented: “The results highlight the importance of front of house team’s interaction with guests. Training can indicate what drinks the operator would recommend with a meal, but interaction can indicate where staff can add something additional to what the guest is already looking for. This also provides the front of house staff with an opportunity to upsell.”

“It also draws our attention to the importance of a quality and varied soft drink offering. With alcohol losing popularity amongst millennials and Gen Z, an attractive soft drink offering paired with the passion of team members, could mean the difference between a good and great guest experience.”

Full list of pairings:

  • Pork Belly with red wine
  • Sunday Roast Beef with red wine
  • Steak & Chips with red wine
  • Vegetarian risotto with white wine
  • Fish & Chips with a soft drink
  • Tomato based pasta dish with red wine
  • Steak & Ale Pie with red wine
  • Ham, Egg & Chips with a soft drink
  • Chicken Caesar Salad with white wine
  • Mussels Marinara with white wine