Following another turbulent year, with discussions surrounding Brexit continuing, Britain’s leading purchasing company Beacon looks back at its predictions of 2017 and identifies new trends emerging in 2018.
In 2017, Beacon identified four key issues that the hospitality industry needed to be aware of. Paul Connelly, Managing Director at Beacon, reflects:
“Last year, we identified some issues, some of which we are still waiting to see the effects of. We identified minimum alcohol pricing being introduced, with this starting in Scotland in May. With speculation that this may come into play in England this will continue to be one to watch in 2018, and would have major impacts on our industry. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) also continues to be an interesting talking point amongst businesses; Europe’s data protection rules will undergo their biggest changes in two decades next year, and will come into force on May 25th 2018: again, representing challenges for all businesses, not just in our industries.
“Furthermore, we continue to see opportunities for operators that come with the commercial water market being deregulated. As in 2017 businesses should be aware of, and try and make provisions for, the annual increases in the National Living Wage.”
With this said, Paul Connelly goes on to identify four trends which are likely to play a significant role in shaping the hospitality industry over the next year.
“Made in Britain
The trend for ‘Made in Britain’ is set to heighten amongst operators heading into 2018. Our own research identified this, with ‘Made in Britain’ voted the top food trend amongst UK diners for 2018. This came alongside an increased demand for local produce, with over half of UK diners willing to pay up to 10% more for their food if they knew it was made in Britain, and a quarter of those surveyed willing to pay up to 25% more for British produce.
The trend towards Made in Britain is also being bolstered by economic and environmental factors which are having an impact on the price and availability of international produce, with reports of increased costs from imported wine, turkey and salmon. This trend of British patriotism among diners is also supported by recent data from the UK Office for National Statistics, which found people voted they are happier after Brexit. It will be interesting to see how this develops as Brexit negotiations progress.
“Rise in healthy drink options
Our research also identified a changing drinking landscape, with nearly half of Brits now drinking less when going out than this time last year, with health reasons one of the top influences for this. Furthermore, operators need to be aware of the sugar tax, which will be implemented in April 2018. With all this in mind, operators should consider their healthy, non-alcoholic drinks offerings, as we see these becoming more in-demand.
According to our supplier, Oranka Juice Solutions, 2018 will be an interesting year for soft drinks, with the number of adults becoming teetotal increasing: 27% of young people now saying they do not drink at all. Oranka identify that consumers no longer want the traditional line up of soft drinks, so the challenge to operators in 2018 will be to create an offering that means the teetotal drinker has the same choice and enjoyable experience, in order to stay relevant in the changing market.
A trend that emerged heavily in 2017 and is set to continue into 2018 is that of veganism. Insight from fresh produce supplier Ribble Farm uncovers that this dietary choice has seen a rapid growth of 350% over the past decade and is only set to continue. Bunzl Catering Supplies also identify this, with over 542,000 people opting for a plant-based diet in 2017 – there is a demand for vegan options and operators can capitalise if they provide quality dishes. Vegan food does not need to be bland or lifeless, the recent trend for spiralized vegetables such as courgetti (strands of courgette in place of spaghetti), demonstrates how vegetables can perform when you put them centre-stage.
“Rise in digital in hospitality
From our own research, we have discovered that Brits are heavily steering towards a digital relationship with hospitality, with just one third of guests saying they value human interaction more than technology in hotels. What’s more, 65% of 18 – 24 year olds prefer to order their food via an app rather than in person or over the phone.
We have already seen technology present new challenges and opportunities for hoteliers. For example, through virtual tours guests feel they already know the hotel before even visiting. Some hotels are now even offering guests the ability to see the view from their exact room before they even arrive. We are also seeing traditional aspects of dining in a hotel’s restaurant being replaced by digital services, such as Deliveroo. It will be very interesting to see what comes next in terms of digital and hospitality in 2018, and how the two develop together.”