Appetite for change - Macphie

What we eat, and the way we eat is changing. Veganism is on the rise and food to go has become a lifeline for consumers and producers. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for everyone in their food choices and this is playing out in buying behaviour.

Events like COP26 have catapulted the topic of sustainability on to a much bigger platform, forcing corporations to outline what they’re doing to tackle environmental issues. Consumers are using their pounds as power to drive the change they want to see in the world.

Satisfying this appetite for change is key to attracting and retaining customers in 2022 and beyond.

Grow your menu

300,000 people – and counting – have signed up to Veganuary 2022 – a month-long pledge to “go vegan”. Last year, the campaign was so successful that over 80% stated that while they weren’t vegan before taking part in Veganuary, they maintained a dramatic reduction in their animal product consumption afterwards (Veganuary, 2021).

The movement is being largely driven by young people with 70% of school children stating they’d like to see more vegetarian and vegan options on menus (LACA) and another study showing that 50% of 16 to 24-year-olds no longer eat meat (KBK).

Veganuary asks participants why they’ve signed up with the top reason being animal welfare (46%), followed by health (22%) and environment (21%). But what ever the reasons are for more people adopting a vegan diet, the outcome is the same – increased demand for vegan options.

This movement is showing no signs of slowing so make sure your menus are well-equipped with vegan options to stay on trend in 2022 and beyond.

Eat responsibly

The pandemic has intensified interest in “conscientious consumption” – the consideration of environmental and societal impacts associated with shopping habits. People are portraying their values through their purchasing choices.

A 2020 study showed that 40% of European consumers are influenced by the environmental impact of their food and drink and are actively looking for extra product information like the brand’s story and certifications such as Fairtrade, B Corp and Rainforest Alliance (Foresight Factory, 2020). On-pack messages related to the packaging itself are the number one thing that shoppers are looking for with 63% of shoppers looking for packaging that can be recycled, 51% looking for packaging is made of recycled material and 41% looking for instructions on how to recycle (Kantar, 2021).

The term “Eco Active” refers to shoppers who are highly concerned about the environment and are taking actions to reduce their impact. This group of shoppers feel an intrinsic responsibility to be more sustainable and they currently represent 29% of the Great British population (up to 8% since 2019) which is worth £37bn to the Great British grocery market. If the number of Eco Actives continues to grow at the current rate, 62% of the Great British population will be an Eco Active by 2030 (Kantar, 2021).

Ocado is one of the only supermarkets to currently win over the Eco Active community because they’re making it easier for shoppers to identify responsible brands with its Eco Shop. The highlighted area on its website puts a spotlight on brands using low plastic or recycled packaging, more eco-friendly options and brands that are certified B Corp.

It’s no longer about solely price and quality – it’s much more than this. Where have the raw materials been sourced from? What type of packaging has been used? Are the people who produced this product being treated with dignity and respect? What environmental impact has this product had to get it on to the shop shelf? And what happens to it after the product comes to the end of its useful life?

Thinking about where you’re sourcing your ingredients, and from whom, could help you gain the trust of customers – old and new. Locally sourced produce shows you care about your local community and reducing plastic packaging proves you’re doing your bit for the environment. Look around you. What small changes could you make in your kitchen or bakery that could make a big difference to the world?

More taste, less waste

It’s a given that the mark of truly delicious food is that not a morsel goes to waste. But the mark of a responsible food operator is a waste-free kitchen or bakery behind the scenes.

We’re seeing big brands across the food industry making big commitments to tackle food waste. Greggs launched its first sustainability plan in March 2021, committing to cut food waste and source more sustainably by 2025 while Marks & Spencer has announced the rollout of its refillable programme – Fill Your Own – to a total of 11 stores, encouraging people to take only what they need and reduce the need for single-use plastic packaging.

In spite of a huge rise in awareness of the impact of food production and waste on the ever-growing threat of climate change, the UK is still falling behind in sustainability responsibilities. A new poll has revealed that, although half of people surveyed said that sustainability has become more important to them, one in two Brits bin food as they can’t use fresh produce fast enough.

However, the pandemic and changing restrictions and guidance within hospitality has made it particularly difficult to avoid waste within this setting. The hospitality sector loses £17.6bm a year due to no-shows according to new research, with over a quarter of 18 to 34-year-olds, failing to show for reservations. Since the sector reopened in 2021, 14% of people have not turned up to their reservation, with 12% saying they are more likely to no-show than they were before the pandemic (H2O Publishing, 2021).

Considering food waste and getting clever about product rationalisation for businesses is more important than ever and Macphie is here to help with versatile ranges that can be used across a number of applications.