We take a look at some of the key trends that are likely to impact on the fish and chips sector in 2017
Not a new trend, but certainly one that is expected to grow is delivery as consumers increasingly want to be able to order every type of food wherever they are and whenever they want it. With Just Eat having launched its first robot delivery, the method of getting food to customers is varied, however, speed of delivery and excellent product quality are vital.
Spice is nice
The demand for spice is continuing to grow with research by potato specialist Aviko indicating that 56% of people want more spicy options on menus when eating out-of-home. What’s more, almost half (44%) are willing to pay a premium for a side dish that offers a kick. So start thinking about a hotter sauce, spicy wedges and seasonings with heat.
According to research by Mintel, around half (53%) of UK carbonated soft drink users claim they would either cut back on or stop drinking sugary carbonated soft drinks if the price were to increase by 24p a litre as a result of the sugar tax. So now could be the time to consider expanding your choice of reduced/no sugar options.
Despite an increased focus on healthy eating, consumers still crave indulgences from time-to-time, whether it’s a freakshakes piled high with cake, brownies and doughnuts, or a plate of chunky chips laden down with cheese, meat and sauces. Get your thinking caps on and come up with something creative, regardless of the calories.
According to research by Mintel, consumers are embracing new payment methods such as contactless cards, smartphones and wearables in record numbers — 29% say it is more convenient to pay for things using a smartphone than other payment methods. In 2017, we will see mobile payment schemes gain greater traction while cash-free foodservice outlets that have been kitted out with pre-ordering facilities and self-service kiosks will become more common.
More restaurants and takeaways are expected to address the sheer amount of food and drink that is wasted this year. This could be a great time to team up with a food waste recycling service to divert food waste from landfill, thereby reducing your carbon footprint and improving your green credentials.
Consumer spend on sustainable seafood increased by 27% between 2015/16, and that is expected to continue to grow as consumers become more passionate about supporting seafood sustainability. Newly certified fisheries, a better range of certified species and an improved network of certified suppliers are all helping to provide a fantastic range and availability of traceable, MSC certified sustainable fish and seafood to the fish and chip industry.
Deliver an increasingly high experience
The foodservice industry is facing a storm of cost increases from the National Living Wage (NLW), inflation, weaker sterling and growing business rents. There is already an impact on prices and they are expected to grow further in 2017. At the same time, consumer confidence will remain fragile so consumers will remain cautious about how they spend their money. Quality will be more important than ever, says NPD Group and operators will need to focus on maintaining the quality of their food and drink offerings and retain menu diversity while delivering an ever better customer experience. With the eating out market offering a dizzying array of choice, engaging with customers will be key to driving loyalty and repeat visits.
Catering for ‘healthy choices’ and ethical consumers
While consumers do not always opt for the ‘healthy choice’, NPD Group believes they are increasingly on the lookout for such menu options. Outlets need to understand these customers’ needs - whether it’s low fat, gluten free or vegetarian - and meet that demand while maintaining their core menu appeal.
Although generally marketed as a smaller, less calorific portion, lite bites are mainly purchased because of price. With uncertainty still looming over Brexit and the cost of food and drink expected to increase during 2017, lite bites could really come into their own as they appeal to the growing numbers of customers seeking value for money while offering shop owners a bigger profit margin than on standard fish and chips.
Is vinegar the next superfood?
According to a new study by Chinese researchers, both grain vinegars and fruit vinegars which are fermented by traditional methods possess a variety of physiological functions, which can help fight infections, bacteria and cancer as well aid weight loss and regulate metabolic rates and blood glucose levels. Get chucking it on those chips, we say!