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Spending on ethical food and drink soared to more than £14bn in 2020, according to the Co-op’s Ethical Consumerism Report, up from just £5bn in 2010. Ethical food shopping trends reflect the changing diets of the British consumer, the report said. Sales in the vegetarian and plant-based alternatives category increased by 34% to reach a value of £1.5bn. Other categories were also boosted: Fairtrade sales grew by 14% and organically certified food rose by 13%. Free range egg sales reached almost £1.5bn in 2020, though sales of sustainable fish fell from £899m to £818m. All this means promoting your ethical credentials – and, importantly, the ethical products you stock – could have a big impact on your bottom line.
Provenance and authenticity are always on-trend for fine food retailers, but thankfully, this is something that more and more consumers are becoming interested in too. In part, it’s down to the rise of sustainable eating. With shoppers more interested in where their food and drink come from, buying products with a great heritage story is the obvious next step. With customers seeking out products with provenance, don’t skimp on storytelling. Products like cheese and meat’s origins are already in the spotlight, so make it very clear where your products come from, whether it’s artisan British cheese or charcuterie prepared traditionally in France.
Ever since Squid Game hit our screens, Brits have been more interested than ever in authentic Korean cuisine. Trends like dalgona, or sugar candy, and kimchi, have become well known, but one product is expected to become the star of the show this year: gochujang paste, also known as ‘Korean ketchup’. If retailers are new to Korean cooking, Jyoti Patel, founder of FeastBox and Red Rickshaw, has a few ideas about how it can be used: “Personally, I like to use this delicious paste to spice up everything from classic Korean recipes and stir-fries to anything else that needs a quick burst of heat and sweetness – it’s really versatile with so much cooking potential. Made from fresh and high-quality ingredients, delivering a rich flavour and distinctive aroma to dishes, gochujang paste is predicted to take the UK by storm this year.”