Future trends in the food industry

It is no exaggeration to say that the last 6 months have been the most unusual we have experienced. Underlined with uncertainty and fear that has invaded our home and professional lives, we have all done our best to adapt to the new circumstances and work towards a future we were not expecting.

Some sectors of the food industry have had an incredibly tough time – for instance the number of vacancies in catering advertised in July was down 61% compared to 2019, reflecting the fall out from closed venues, reduced capacity and cancelled events. Some sectors however, have managed to thrive – adaptable players in food manufacture have been responsive in light of supply issues during the early stages of lockdown, choosing new products, production methods or packaging to meet the needs of a rapidly changing market.

So, how can we be more prepared for the next 12 months in the food industry? We look at three key predicted trends, and consider their potential impact.

Reversing the obesity crisis

We have already seen the early signs of an upcoming government initiative to change the course of the obesity crisis. Research published by Diabetes UK has demonstrated the link between lockdown and increased rates of obesity in children, and an evidence review by Public Health England strongly suggest that outcomes of Covid-19 are worsened in obese adults.

It remains to be seen what role the food industry will play in battling the obesity crisis, but now is a great time for businesses to plan for the future and consider ways they can demonstrate their commitment to the health and well being of their customers. These may include:

  • reformulating products to lower fat, sugar and salt levels
  • increasing plant based ranges
  • training staff in good nutrition to enable good menu planning
  • publishing nutritional values on menus and / or websites to encourage healthy choices
  • creating healthy eating promotions and recipes

Strengthening the Supply chain

Initial stages of lockdown exposed some weaknesses in the food supply chain – however, manufacturers and food retailers worked tirelessly and effectively to get products back into stores and homes. Despite this being an unprecedented situation, that early period forced food businesses to reassess the suitability of supply processes.

A number of trends have begun to emerge from this work, and we will continue to see changes throughout the next 12 months, emphasised by the potential supply issues caused by Brexit. The trends have included:

  • a greater emphasis on local, seasonal produce – with the additional benefit of decreased environmental impact
  • a more considered and collaborative use of resources in food production – for instance sharing plant facilities or warehousing space, or multi purposing production lines
  • increased scrutiny on safe production processes, including good health and well being of industry workers in light of covid spikes centred around production facilities.

Now more than ever, good practice at all stages within the food chain will place business in the best position to take advantage of new market opportunities, maximising their potential to survive and grow.

Rising success of the small food business

The economic situation is undoubtedly tough for all food businesses, especially those without a corporate safety net to keep the cash flow going. However, lockdown has demonstrated how agile and adaptable small businesses have been and continue to be as the rules and landscape shift on a weekly business

Some great examples of small business agility have been:

  • Pubs and restaurants adjusting their eat in offering to takeaways or meal box options
  • Food retailers taking their sales out into their community, using church halls, delivery services, or even repurposed ice cream vans to get supplies to vulnerable people
  • Businesses recognising and solving community problems – including the micro brewery who provided a reciprocal collection service for food bank items donated by customers of their delivery service.
  • Artisan producers joining forces to create ‘lockdown luxury’ boxes – sharing storage, packing and delivery resources to reduce cost and environmental impact and increase customer base

Small businesses can suffer from higher proportional overheads, without the economies of scale enjoyed by larger companies. However, they often have the benefit of entrepreneurial spirit, an adaptable and loyal staff body and the agility to change direction quickly and make change happen. In these adverse times, these skills will continue to be invaluable and as circumstances develop, the rise of small businesses is very welcome .

FSA launch Allergy Alert service

The Food Standards Agency has launched a great new service, useful to both food businesses and customers. Their #AllergyAlert tool enables you to choose specific notifiable allergens, and receive an email or text alert when a product is recalled or poses an allergy risk.

We suggest that all food businesses sign up to this service to keep themselves aware of any products containing undeclared allergens and do their best to keep their food safe for customers.

Free – Food allergy sticker template – Egg

The third of a series of Free allergy warning stickers to help you to track the most dangerous of the 14 allergens we all need to track in our dishes and raw ingredients. Our third template “Contains Egg” just needs printing onto an A4 sticker sheet and then your staff and you will know exactly where these ingredients end up.

This downloadable document and its content remains the property of The Safer Food Group and any adaptation or changes are prohibited, you have the right to take copies and use this resource for your business or individual needs but in no way are permitted to adapt it as your own or to sell on this item for a profit. This document should be used alongside correct food preparation and hygiene procedure and does not negate your legal responsibilities with regard allergen communications and disclosure. The Safer Food Group take no responsibility for the misuse of this document or bad working practices undertaken by any business or individual using our free resources.

Copyright The Safer Food Group 2020

Free – Food allergy sticker template – Gluten

The second of a series of Free allergy warning stickers to help you to track the most dangerous of the 14 allergens we all need to track in our dishes and raw ingredients. Our second template “Contains Gluten” just needs printing onto an A4 sticker sheet and then your staff and you will know exactly where these ingredients end up.

This downloadable document and its content remains the property of The Safer Food Group and any adaptation or changes are prohibited, you have the right to take copies and use this resource for your business or individual needs but in no way are permitted to adapt it as your own or to sell on this item for a profit. This document should be used alongside correct food preparation and hygiene procedure and does not negate your legal responsibilities with regard allergen communications and disclosure. The Safer Food Group take no responsibility for the misuse of this document or bad working practices undertaken by any business or individual using our free resources.

Copyright The Safer Food Group 2020

Free – Food allergy sticker template – Peanuts

The first of a series of Free allergy warning stickers to help you to track the most dangerous of the 14 allergens we all need to track in our dishes and raw ingredients. Our first template “Contains Peanuts” just needs printing onto an A4 sticker sheet and then your staff and you will know exactly where these ingredients end up.

This downloadable document and its content remains the property of The Safer Food Group and any adaptation or changes are prohibited, you have the right to take copies and use this resource for your business or individual needs but in no way are permitted to adapt it as your own or to sell on this item for a profit. This document should be used alongside correct food preparation and hygiene procedure and does not negate your legal responsibilities with regard allergen communications and disclosure. The Safer Food Group take no responsibility for the misuse of this document or bad working practices undertaken by any business or individual using our free resources.

Copyright The Safer Food Group 2020

Free – Food allergens poster

As always we want to make your life easier when it comes to educating and training your staff so here is another great free resource for you to print and put up to help staff to understand and think about the 14 food allergens.

This downloadable document and its content remains the property of The Safer Food Group and any adaptation or changes are prohibited, you have the right to take copies and use this resource for your business or individual needs but in no way are permitted to adapt it as your own or to sell on this item for a profit. This document should be used alongside correct food preparation and hygiene procedure and does not negate your legal responsibilities with regard allergen communications and disclosure. The Safer Food Group take no responsibility for the misuse of this document or bad working practices undertaken by any business or individual using our free resources.

Copyright The Safer Food Group 2020