Posted by Louise Miles on
I am currently at #fooddrinkexpo where I can tell you that the summer sun has made it inside the NEC and everyone is in a great mood
It seems that what I have been saying recently about this year being a good one for the speciality food sector is confirmed by everyone here I am talking to. Great news. I was asked today to give an impromptu short talk about trends in food retail for the coming year. Having quickly gauged opinion from my sales team I came up with the following four areas that we think are at the top of the list at present. Do bear these in mind when you are at the show this week choosing new products:
1. Home cooking and baking. Generally people are doing a lot more of this than they were 2-3 years ago. Despite my experience of the last week when I have twice been in packed restaurants people are eating out less and eating in more. Rising price of alcohol in pubs has indubitably been a factor in this. In cooking any products that make it easier for the amateur cook to make a good meal are doing well. In baking programmes like the Great British Bake-Off have increased cake making - so any products associated with this are doing really well.
2. Indulgence. Products to treat ourselves have done phenomenally well. Little treats, chocolates, snacks - those little extras to make food more interesting - all these are selling through well, as forecast by me before the downturn started! It is known from previous recessions that customers cut down on buying large items and spend more on small price point lines during hard economic times - food fits the bill perfectly!
3. Special Diet-related products, especially gluten-free. This category (and I include wheat-free) is growing exponentially. More and more people are on wheat or gluten-free diets, either by choice or necessity. It is the choosers that I believe will continue to shape the way this market grows in the future, and what directions it takes. Watch this space.
4. Foods that take us back in time! Just like the products with the "Keep Calm and Carry on" poster depicted which is now becoming a bit of a cliché, but retro food is a big thing at present. Just think of the number of retro-sweet brands that have started up over the last year or so. Any food and drink that takes customers back to a bygone era in any shape or form seems to be doing well! Strange but true, but there is a wholeness and a certainty about these products that give comfort in destabilising times!
Anyway, better get back to the stand (no E154), customers queuing to see us!