"What's for dinner" (or tea, or supper) is a question asked over 20 million times every single day in the UK. As a nation, we're obsessed with thinking ahead to the evening to plan our main meal. But what about looking ahead even further - beyond the evening, beyond the month, beyond the year?
The food experts at Deliveroo have been doing just that, using trends, insights and data to predict what's going to take off in the restaurant world in 2020. From gazing to drama, see below for the trends taking the food scene.
This month, Deliveroo reported that vegan orders had increased by 330 per cent increase over the past two years. Largely promoted into mainstream consciousness by charity Veganuary, the plant-based food movement has taken the world by storm this year, with hundreds of thousands of people around the world pledging to live a plant-based life for the whole month of January 2019.
The number of sellers catering for vegans on the Deliveroo platform has grown by 168 per cent in the past year alone, and the food delivery company isn't expecting this growth to slow down in 2020, meaning consumers will have more vegan options than ever before. The customers' favourite vegan restaurant in the UK, as voted by the public in Deliveroo's Restaurant Awards in October 2019, is currently Oowee Vegan, in Bristol.
Vegan isn't exactly new, but the growing trend is Vegan-ish. Deliveroo data shows that a large group of customers are more frequently opting-in for a part-time vegan diet, with around half of their food consumption being meat and the other half is plant-based - it's all about BALANCE. The most popular days of the week to eat vegan in the UK are Mondays and Wednesdays.
GRAZING: Gone or the days of three meals per day, according to Deliveroo's order spikes, customers are breaking the mould more than ever before - eating at up to six different meal times. Customers are also ordering mid-sized portions and snacks to keep fueled throughout the day.
When you look at the data: in the winter months, snacking increases by 74%. Wednesday is the day where Brits snack the most, followed by Thursdays; on Monday Brits are most likely to keep to the traditional three meals a day.
One of the oldest and most primitive methods of cooking, and it's making a huge come back. The 'char' flavour has been trending for the past few months, with its smokiness and woody depth heightening the natural taste of the ingredients it coats.
Over the past few months, there has been growing popularity for dishes cooked on fire - driven by the surge of trendy London restaurants use open fires in their cooking. And it's not just the top barbeque spots you'd expect to see on the list, European, Middle Eastern and North African restaurants are also developing their menus on flames.
STREET FOOD FOR EVERYONE: Street food is consumed by 2.5 billion people each day worldwide, and in a selection of cities around the UK we are lucky enough to have an area housing an array of independent partners each offering their own authentic dishes to customers.
Food and retail parks are popping up in cities around the country, providing locals with street food options from a selection of cuisines in an atmospheric and humble setting.
Deliveroo has seen a 45% rise in orders of street food in the past six months, with Indian, Thai and Greek options being the most popular. In November 2018, Saturday was the day of street food when it came to food delivery, but now Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes are also peak.
THE NEW SALAD: Trend spotters at Deliveroo is serious about salad. It's getting bigger. With the greatest respect shared with the cobbs, greens and sides that grace our daily menus, we are looking at a new wave of salads which are so much more than leaves.
Jess Tatham, chef with a flair for unique, beautiful salads, notes that the top five ingredients we can expect to see in our salads next year are:
- Ferments - such as lacto fermented sauces and miso - to add depth of flavour.
- Unusual grains such as teff, freekeh to replace the ubiquitous quinoa.
- Unusual nut butters in dressings and dips, like sunflower seed.
- Underused produce like swede - which tastes amazing shaved raw, and seaweeds such as dulse.
- Dehydrated vegetables that add texture.
According to Deliveroo data, customers ordering on Deliveroo this month are 3X more likely to order a salad than this time last year - and with double the types of salad available on the platform, there really is something for everyone. A number of restaurants, such as East London's Greenhouse, are starting to innovate with their packaging to add THEATRICS to their customers eating experience.
INSTAGRAMMABLE, AGAIN: For a couple of years #foodporn has been making the public shudder and the novelty of 'gramming our grub wore off, but with 2018 and 2019 providing us with a refreshing digital detox - we're back and we're ready to post pictures of our food.
The dishes people are more likely to snap and share are:
Last month, Brits voted London-based Pleesecakes as the winner of the "Most Instagrammable Dish" at the Deliveroo Restaurant Awards 2019.
NO OR LOW ALCOHOL:
No longer reserved for designated drivers, consumers are becoming more strict in a healthy body = healthy mind way of living. For many years, we've dabbled with diets in a bid to be more healthy and lose a few pounds, but the rise in low or no alcohol drinks is largely down to our headspace, rather than weight loss.
Deliveroo reports a 240% increase in orders of alcohol-free beers over the past 12 months, with London, Bristol and Edinburgh being the cities with the most low or no drinkers. It's not just beers and wines either - Seedlip is a great zero alcohol spirit producer that gives you all that taste without the buzz.
FRESH PASTA: Fresh pasta restaurants are opening up all over the place. Flash back ten years, we were dining on boil-in-the-bag pasta sauces (no complaints back then, sure) but recently restaurants have been upping their game and taking the UK pasta scene to a new level.
There's a huge consumer demand for restaurant-cooked pasta, both dining in and through food delivery. Searches for fresh pasta on Deliveroo have increased by 68% in the past 3 months, and the company sees that number steadily rising throughout 2020.
With chefs playing around with interesting pastas and matching each shape to the right sauce, this area of Italian cuisine has become much more sophisticated. It's also win, win; for restaurants, it means high margins - and for customers it means our favourite bowl of carbs just got better.
2020 will bring more twists and surprises in the art of cooking next year. Theatrical elements have been steadily on the rise over the past few years, in an attempt to add that memorable WOW factor to every bite we have. Gen Z, in particular, are all about experiences. They would rather spend £100 on an exciting evening at a show-stopping restaurant than buy an expensive item of clothing.
So how do you create that experience? Deliveroo research shows that 88% of Brits find elements such as ambience and service just as important as the food when it comes to having a good experience in a restaurant. And when it comes to sharing that good experience, 71% of Brits said they would only share their restaurant experience on social media if they like the surroundings. Meaning now more than ever, restaurants will be providing unique touches and a visual experience for diners.
In food delivery, it is of course much more difficult to provide customers with an "experience" - but not impossible. From unusual ingredients to digital experiences, consumers can expect to see some more theatre with their delivered dishes in 2020.
BALANCING TO BE SUSTAINABLE. 2020 is the year of balance. A lot of trends outlined by Deliveroo's food experts fall into this bucket, and it's no surprise. Consumers are breaking habits, experimenting with new lifestyles and trying new food options in an attempt to live more happily, more responsibly and more sustainably.
Sustainability means many things to consumers, it's a buzz word that's been headlining since the start of 2019. For consumers in 2020, being sustainable requires balance. A balance of diet, replacing some meat dishes with plant-based food. A balance of health; consumers aren't avoiding burgers and pizzas, but they are enjoying more salads or plant based alternatives, such as impossible burgers. A balance of finance; spending money more wisely so there is no need to binge on pay day and then purge for the rest of the month.
Deliveroo is an award-winning delivery service founded in 2013 by William Shu and Greg Orlowski. Deliveroo works with over 80,000 best-loved restaurants and takeaways, as well as 60,000 riders to provide the best food delivery experience in the world. Deliveroo is headquartered in London, with over 2,500 employees in offices around the globe.
Deliveroo operates in over 500 towns and cities across 13 markets, including Australia, Belgium, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and the United Kingdom.