Trends in the UK food market are ever changing, but why and how? Compost retailer Compost Direct discusses Britain’s blossoming love affair with good food.
The rise in organic
The interest in organic food has been steadily rising in recent years. Now worth a huge £2.09 billion, the market witnessed 7.1% growth in 2016 alone. In fact, organic food and drink now represents a 1.5% share of the total UK market, according to the 2017 Organic Market Report. On a global scale, the UK’s organic market makes up 4% of the $81 billion worldwide organic sales.
The new growing interest in this type of food has been put down to the fact that more people are now aware of organic food and its benefits. Overall, 80% of consumers said they had knowledge of organic food, with 39% buying it on a weekly basis.
The trend could also be down to the newfound fitness culture that is sweeping the nation — fuelled by our usage of social media. As images of toned, healthy bodies litter our news feeds, we’re inspired by self-improvement. Given that organic food is often fresher, containing fewer pesticides and no genetic modifications, it’s the route many people choose as part of living and eating better.
From this trend, it is the foodservice market that have reaped the greatest benefits. Sales of organic food within the UK’s foodservice market rose by 19.1% in 2016 to be worth a staggering £76.6 million.
Pubs, restaurants and other food outlets are recognising the interest in organic foods and adapting their service accordingly. In order to continue to capture sales from increasingly health-conscious customers, outlets must change their menus, driving the growth of organic food. Many well-known restaurants have made the switch to organic, including Jamie’s Italian, McDonalds and Nando’s.
Further down the supply chain, wholesalers must change their offering too in order to meet the needs of food retailers. Between 2015 and 2016, there were almost 25% more licensed organic wholesalers, responding to the growing demand for wholesome food.
There is the new Food For Life Catering Mark that public services are adhering too as well — schools, universities, hospitals and workplaces are serving more organic food as a result.
More people growing their own
Following the economic uncertainty of the 2007 recession, statistics show that more Brits have turned to their own back yards to grow their own produce — perhaps in a battle against rising costs. In 2012, for example, the BBC reported that almost a third of British adults grow their own food. A further 51% said in a survey that they would take to the vegetable patch if food prices were to rise further.
Growing your own vegetables seems to be a great advantage of gardening too. YouGov figures found that 77% of gardeners listed eating produce that they have grown in their own gardens as the main benefit of gardening. What’s more, 44% grow enough fruit and vegetable to share with their friends and family, while over 25% said that growing their own food was now their hobby.
Rise of the recipe box
All of us are searching for time-saving tips — time is money at the end of the day! Our busy lives and dependence on technology has given rise to the recipe box. Pioneered by the likes of Hello Fresh and Gousto, these boxes contain all of the ingredients you need to cook tasty meals, along with instructions on how to do it.
The boxes offer a new level of convenience and it comes with no surprise that they’ve been successful. In 2015, the recipe box industry has achieved some £702 million in worldwide sales. By 2025, predictions estimate that this will grow to £3.8 billion as the market goes from strength-to-strength and more companies emerge.
Recipe boxes are tackling the waste issue in the UK too. Considering that UK households threw away £13 billion of edible food in 2017, recipe boxes — which only provide the ingredients you need for each recipe — seem like a good idea. According to analytics by Cardlytics, spending on recipe boxes grew by 64.6% in the first half of 2016, with the volume of orders increasing by 47.6%.
The supermarkets have recognised the boxes as a threat and have responded with their own versions. Tesco and Waitrose have both launched a recipe kit range within their stores. With Waitrose vowing to make them a permanent part of their range, Tesco is still in the trial stages.
From organic food to allotments and recipe boxes, there’s a range of new trends that have hit the nation. It’s clear that Britain’s attitudes to food are shifting as we strive to eat better as part of our increasingly health-conscious lifestyles.