The latest food trend to hit the UK is the focus on organic produce and healthy eating. But how has this trend come about and is it affecting the way that we shop? We have teamed up with Compost Direct, advocates of growing your own produce and retailers of ericaceous compost, to find out more.
Budding gardeners growing their own
Following the economic downturn in 2007, many homeowners searched for ways to reduce their expenditure. One of the solutions was to begin to grow their own produce. In 2012, for example, the BBC reported that almost a third of British adults grow their own food. A further 51% said in a survey that they would take to the vegetable patch if food prices were to rise further.
YouGov also investigated the trend through their own report. They found that 77% of gardeners listed eating produce that they have grown in their own gardens as the main benefit of gardening. What’s more, 44% grow enough fruit and vegetable to share with their friends and family, while over 25% said that growing their own food was now their hobby.
Organic is on the rise
Increasingly, more consumers are opting for the organic option when choosing what to eat. Now worth a huge £2.09 billion, the market witnessed 7.1% growth in 2016 alone. In fact, organic food and drink now represents a 1.5% share of the total UK market, according to the 2017 Organic Market Report. On a global scale, the UK’s organic market makes up 4% of the $81 billion worldwide organic sales.
When trying to explain the newfound love for fresh produce, many have suggested that it’s the rising awareness of organic and the benefits that it can bring. Overall, 80% of consumers said they had knowledge of organic food, with 39% buying it on a weekly basis.
As we use more social media too, we are exposed to others who are keeping in shape and eating healthily – encouraging us to do the same. Given that organic food is often fresher, containing fewer pesticides and no genetic modifications, it’s the route many people choose as part of living and eating better.
When it comes to who is benefitting from this new trend, foodservice markets have experienced the strongest growth. Sales of organic food within the UK’s foodservice market rose by 19.1% in 2016 to be worth a staggering £76.6 million.
To keep up to date with the latest trends, restaurants, pubs and cafes are adapting their menus accordingly. Many well-known restaurants have made the switch to organic, including Jamie’s Italian, McDonalds and Nando’s.
Wholesalers must adapt to the change in consumer behaviour too – so they can provide retailers with the most relevant produce. Between 2015 and 2016, there were almost 25% more licensed organic wholesalers, responding to the growing demand for wholesome food.
Public services have been asked to provide more organic produce under the Food For Life Catering Mark as well – the trend is certainly taking hold and there are no signs of it slowing down.
Rise of recipe boxes
Alongside the increasing use of e-commerce, recipe boxes have emerged. Pioneered by the likes of Hello Fresh and Gousto, these boxes contain all of the ingredients you need to cook tasty meals, along with instructions on how to do it.
The boxes bring convenience and time-saving to the home and it’s with no surprise that they have been successful. In 2015, the recipe box industry has achieved some £702 million in worldwide sales. By 2025, predictions estimate that this will grow to £3.8 billion as the market goes from strength-to-strength and more companies emerge.
They also prevent wastage, which is a recognised issue in the UK – households in the UK threw away £13 billion of edible food in 2017. According to analytics by Cardlytics, spending on recipe boxes grew by 64.6% in the first half of 2016, with the volume of orders increasing by 47.6%.
Supermarkets have recognised the new threat and have begun to fight back. Tesco and Waitrose have both launched a recipe kit range within their stores. Waitrose has vowed to make them a permanent part of their range, though Tesco is still in the trial stages.
From growing your own to purchasing fresh recipe boxes, the recent trends appear to point towards a healthier future for the UK.