Market insight: Stay on target!

Kraft Heinz’s latest  research has identified emerging flavours, experiential dining and plant-forward trends as key being key opportunities for operators...

Recent findings have indicated that emerging flavours, experiential dining and veg-first plant-based eating are the key areas of opportunity for foodservice establishments, as revealed by Bull’s-Eye, Kraft Heinz’s premium barbecue brand.

Bull’s-Eye's insights are a result of extensive social listening research, tracking and analysing more than 7,000 conversations related to dining out and barbecue. This then provides a deep understanding of consumer preferences and trends, valuable for operators looking to maximise on dine out occasions.

While the popularity of more established cuisines such as British (22.1%), Chinese (18.2%) and Thai (12.5%) continue to dominate online conversation, it’s the emerging flavours that provide a glimpse into what consumers are looking for next. Nigerian, Filipino, Caribbean, Korean and Sri Lankan cuisines made up 15.3% of the conversation.

These budding cuisines have the intrigue of the consumer but are challenging to access. While one in four people in the UK have eaten African food in the past few months, almost half of people (47%) have not tried it but are interested in doing so.

Moreover, 45% of consumers eating out of home are eager to try Sri Lankan and 58% say that it is difficult to find. Understanding what diners would like to see on menus and their enthusiasm to experiment with new dishes will help operators satisfy diners and stay ahead of curve.

Barbecue remains a firm favourite with consumers, with 7.7% of discussions centring on this. Discussions around this highlighted smoky (78.2%), seared (6.4%) and charred (5.7%) as the most popular flavour profiles. Once synonymous with the summer period, the popularity of barbecue flavours demonstrates its appeal can extend all year round.

While meat options dominated the social listening share of voice (82%), a quarter of Brits now believe that eating meat every day is no longer acceptable. As a result, veggie-based options are still in demand. Interestingly, Bull’s-Eye’s research discovered that people are looking for more vegetable-based options rather than meat-alternatives, with tofu (46.8%) and mushrooms (43.7%) coming out on top for diners.

Experiential dining is still a rising trend, with 45% of conversations being focused on this. Some 31.2% also look for authenticity when eating out. Diners, now identified as ‘experientialists’, are seeking innovation, new culinary experiences and authenticity. This trend is expected to continue to flourish, presenting a golden opportunity for operators to explore creative menu options and experiences.

Artemis Argyrides, foodservice marketing lead, Northern Europe for Kraft Heinz, said: “Customers are looking for new experiences when they are eating out. They want to be surprised.

“New, innovative cooking methods, such as adding smoke for drama, are being used across restaurants to excite diners. Curious diners want culinary adventures and have come to expect more from dining out experiences.”

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