The environment and wellbeing of individuals and their families is reshaping the way Britons do their grocery shopping as well as cook and eat, according to the latest food trends report from Waitrose.
The retailer’s sixth annual Food & Drink Report shows that consumers are being increasingly mindful of how they shop for food and eat, indicated by the rise of vegetarianism and increasing support to tackle plastic waste.
Waitrose said its latest report is based on comprehensive new OnePoll consumer research of people across UK, and provides insight from millions of purchases in Waitrose shops and online, and from the retailer’s food and shopping experts.
One of the biggest trends Waitrose found was how a third of the UK’s population now have meat-free or meat-reduced diets.
This includes 13 per cent of Britons who now identify as vegan or vegetarian, and a further 21 per cent as “flexitarian”.
Attitudes are also changing, with the report indicating that consumers were taking an increasingly pragmatic approach with many dipping in and out – half of all those who say they are vegan or vegetarian eat meat at weekends, occasionally or on special occasions.
Meanwhile, the report found that 88 per cent of people who saw that episode of BBC’s Blue Planet II regarding the effect of plastics on oceans have changed their behaviour since.
The report said 60 per cent of consumers now choose a refillable water bottle and coffee cup, and Waitrose saw an 800 per cent increase in questions about plastics from customers.
“Being mindful of how we live and eat has become a priority in today’s world,” Waitrose managing director Rob Collins said.
“As we become increasingly mindful of our own health, the wellbeing of our family and that of the planet, we’re reshaping how we shop, cook and eat.
“Welcome to the era of the mindful consumer.”
Another trend that the report highlights is how consumers eat ligher mid-week meals but when it comes to the Sunday roast, it still tops the menu.
Among the food trends that Waitrose predicts in 2019 includes the rise in Instagram-friendly, next-generation ice cream parlours, as well as West African food becoming the “next big thing”.