You may have read our latest Insider and wonder why I’m on the 2nd page instead of somewhere in the middle…..well Graham has gone on a well-deserved holiday, so I hope I can do as good a job as he has done for the past 10+ years!
Following on from my News & Views last month I would like to discuss further the subject of trends as it appears to be impacting a lot of social media feeds lately.
Just recently in ‘FoodBusinessNews’, a report has analysed the ‘Whole Foods’ trends in 2020. The predictions include products that embrace ‘Regenerative Agriculture’. This means that production practices create environmental benefits. For example, alternative flours are predicted to trend such as ‘cauliflower pizza crusts’. West Indian Cuisine is also set to become more popular and for our marketplace, the ‘fresh snack’ is due to accelerate. This will present challenges for operators, with possible regard to refrigerated storage and vehicles, but if this is a growing trend, it is something for us to reflect upon. Sugar may also go under more review with the availability of alternative sweeteners such as honey, monk fruit, pomegranate, coconut, and dates. If you have seen our NIVO Blog on 14th February, I made myself a birthday cake to share with the team using honey and yoghurt instead of sugar and butter…….it was delicious and only 175 calories a slice instead of over 400 (typically).
Another trend that may affect Vending is the ‘Zero-proof drinks’ that are emerging. These are alternatives to alcohol (I know! Really?), that are created to mimic the flavours of cocktails by infusing flavours and using herbs and spices. From Spirits (0%) to Tea, Coffee, Ginger Beer, and Ale, so ‘watch this space’. Our NIVO Approved Suppliers have some great alternatives, just ring me or one of the team OR even better follow our social feeds and look on our website.
Sustainability may not be correctly categorised as a ‘trend’ as today it is more of a requirement but be gentle with me! The food system plays a crucial role in climate change and as more knowledge is shared, we are seeing more ‘free from’ consumers. Others who are concerned and chose to change their eating habits to try and assist the planet also select these items. Veganism is on the increase. For example, Millennials especially will follow an ‘un-diet’. What is that? This is a diet that helps you lose weight without starving yourself. I can’t explain it, but it is something to look out for. My daughter has decided to be Vegan with a caveat that food waste comes first. I think that this is a good trend because with the reduction in food packaging, I predict, will come an increase in food waste – a demonstration of the law of unintended consequences. Food waste represents roughly one-third of the food produced in the world or 1.3 billion tonnes! It is also reported that there has been an 80% uplift in customers ordering vegetarian options at McDonald’s which, Thomas O’Neill, head of food marketing at McDonald’s UK and Ireland stated, “It is time for the dippable option for our vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian customers.” So more vegetarian/vegan options may be a good idea to consider. ‘Oat Milk’ is another trend as plant-based products are on the rise. On writing, it was reported in the news that The Vegan Society has released guidelines for employers looking to support vegan employees in the workplace.
They recommend different shelves in the fridges for vegans and supplying plant-based milk if they supply animal milk to ensure equality.
So, to Social Media, you know that this plays an important role in shaping consumers’ eating behaviours. A new study from Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences, Birmingham found that people in the study ate an extra 5th portion of fruit and vegetable for every portion they thought their social media peers ate. Facebook users similarly ate an extra portion of unhealthy snack foods and drinks for every 3 portions they believed their online ‘friends’ did. Granted it was found that this was a subconscious decision, but it has great potential for Vending Operators and the NIVO Approved Suppliers alike. This is the 1st study of its kind, so I will be looking out for future ones to see if the results are the same.
As always, we have many options through our NIVO Approved Supply Members, so go on to our website for their details and follow our social media feeds. Who knows we might influence you to try new things?