Three trends in foodservice 2020

The need for sustainability in delivery and a push for contemporary kids offerings feature in a new report from The NPD Group.

16 December 2019
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Foodservice has experienced healthy and sustained growth across multiple channels this year, from delivery to the travel hub market. Street food has seriously taken off while there’s been a notable spike in interest in out-of-home (OOH) bakery.

According to Simon Stenning, founder and strategic advisor for, the UK foodservice market is predicted to be worth £160bn by 2030, hitting the £100bn mark by 2026 and growing by £16bn overall during the next 10-11 years.

With continued growth forecasted, global information company The NPD Group has outlined their main areas for improvement across foodservice in 2020, with contemporary takes on kids’ meals and sustainability in food delivery included in the report.

Delivering sustainability

It’s no secret that the foodservice delivery is rocketing along. The market is set to be worth £8.4bn for the year, up 18% year-on-year, with consumers consuming 849m delivered meals this year alone.

The NPD Group have forecasted that food and beverages purchased through the delivery channel will represent 10% of Britain’s entire foodservice market by 2022 but have warned that consumers’ growing environmental concerns could grow to be something of an obstacle next year.

The issues of food waste, packaging and carbon emissions have all come under the spotlight over the last few months with supermarkets baring the brunt of much of the recent criticism.

In foodservice, we’ve seen high-profile restaurant openings focused on zero food waste while the consumption of red meat – beef in particular – has been forecasted to move from mainstream to luxury (and even taboo), with the beef industry responsible for 6% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions in 2018.

Reducing delivery’s carbon footprint and innovations in packaging, say The NPD Group, should be of particular focus in 2020, with there being “the need for packaging that retains heat and freshness, as a way of improving overall quality.”

“They [successful delivery operators] will either use more renewable, compostable or recyclable packaging materials, or reduce packaging overall – or ideally manage both,” says The NPD Group.

“An increased emphasis on making deliveries in the greenest way possible will help spur continued growth in foodservice delivery visits during 2020 and beyond.”

Curious kids

Visits that included food or drink ordered from a kids’ menu represented 4% of total OOH visits in the year ending October 2019, the report says, with these visits growing almost ten times faster than the total market.

Options for children have increased in variety recently, with parents’ growing demand for more nutritional offerings coupled with the more adventurous kid two drivers. The plant-based boom has also had its effect, with one in 10 children aged eight to 13 now identifying as a vegetarian or vegan, while 44% are trying to eat less meat and dairy, according to a recent survey from Linda McCartney.

We have seen notable growth in the kids’ food retail arena over the past year, with The NPD Group saying that those suppliers and operators who offer contemporary takes on classic children’s meals while also experimenting with new ingredients, could come up trumps next year.

“Family visits represent almost 30% of all eating out spend so offering kids’ meals that will surprise and delight children and parents alike will be a key route to trading success.”

Food hall 2.0

Food halls are perhaps the most talked about facet of foodservice from the last few months with multiple new street food arenas opening before Christmas.

And, with consumer interest drawn towards communal dining, traditional restaurants will have to be wary. 

“There being a market for food halls will certainly push the restaurants to do better and focus,” Freak Scene’s Scott Hallsworth tells Food Spark.

“If you can get good food at a great price, you’ve got to watch your back as a restaurant operator. It pushes the standard, I think.”

Food halls, explain The NPD Group, will continue to grow in 2020, with operators seeking different ways to expand their businesses due to a variety of business pressures and rising costs.

“Food halls offer lower rents and guaranteed footfall for operators, as well as more choice for consumers, creating a lower-risk environment where well-executed concepts can thrive in a fun and informal atmosphere.”

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