.Introduction: Our Wellness Series
Consumers are increasingly pursuing products and experiences that encourage wellbeing and healthy habits, with today’s “wellness” referring to holistic, healthy lifestyles reflected as physical, mental, social, and spiritual wellbeing. Wellbeing has become a pivotal aspect of peoples’ lives and has subsequently affected various industries. Acknowledging the broad meaning of wellness and its ties to consumer lifestyles – Here we analyse 3 core sectors: Finance, Hospitality and Food & Beverage to explore how brands are catering to this ever-growing consumer expectation. This third part will explore wellness through the lens of food and beverage encompassing dining experiences, leading dietary and consumer trends.
Whilst the restaurant industry along with many other sectors have taken a major hit amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, we believe wellness will only increase in importance following this crisis. People are experiencing a fearful phase on the wellbeing front, from health to financial concerns; brands have an opportunity to support the sense of wellbeing, calm and transparency which we think will be most welcomed by consumers.
The Global Wellness Institute valued the global wellness economy at $4.5 trillion in 2018, with ‘healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss’ worth $702 billion
“A wellness mindset is starting to permeate the global consumer consciousness, affecting people’s daily decision-making — whether food purchases, a focus on mental wellness and reducing stress, incorporating movement into daily life, environmental consciousness, or their yearning for connection and happiness. Wellness, for more people, is evolving from rarely to daily, from episodic to essential, from a luxury to a dominant lifestyle value. And that profound shift is driving powerful growth.” said Katherine Johnson, GWI Senior Researcher (12th annual Global Wellness Summit, 2018).
To understand how the ever-growing wellness trend affects the F&B sector, we examined macro trends and evolving consumer lifestyles. Across generations, wellbeing is having an important effect on how we eat and drink. Wellbeing and wellness have directly influenced the F&B market, mainly driven through consumer habits. Younger generations are drinking a lot less alcohol, and wellbeing is having a fast-growing impact on technology. The rise of the health-conscious consumer will show how wellness will continue to influence the food and drink industry.
Conscious Consumption & Mindful Eating
Following the environmental challenges surrounding palm oil, overuse of plastics, and slow progress to address climate change, consumers tend to be more conscious and cautious of their food supply.
Origin, source and seasonality of foods, as well as packaging and the brand’s values, now really matter. Food and drink companies that integrate or embody wellness are growing faster than other categories. There is a growing sense of urgency from consumers with elevating expectations; due to pure frustration from the lack of action shown across global issues.
“Conscious consumption habits will inspire more people to consider the environmental and ethical impacts of their diets.
Consumers will further prioritise plants in their diets, now with the planet’s health in mind as much as their own. Consumption of animal products will be occasional and focus on ethically raised dairy and animal protein.” – Global Food & Drink Trends 2030, Mintel (2020)
As Mintel expresses, there is a link between consumption demand and ethical purchasing based due to environmental concerns, and it is growing. This support of conscious consumption is the notion of ‘mindful eating’.
As consumers seek more transparency and nutritious foods to support health needs, mindful EatingEating will only continue to dominate as customers want to embrace the holistic – good for the body, the mind and the environment. “Although the ideal mindful-eating food choices are similar to the Mediterranean diet—centred on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils—the technique can be applied to a cheeseburger and fries. By truly paying attention to the food you eat, you may indulge in these types of foods less often. In essence, Mindful Eating means being fully attentive to your food—as you buy, prepare, serve, and consume it.” Harvard Health Publishing
“MINDFUL EATING MEANS BEING FULLY ATTENTIVE TO YOUR FOOD-
AS YOU BUY, PREPARE, SERVE, AND CONSUME IT.” Harvard Health
Slow food is an excellent example of a company that showcases what Mindful Eating encompasses – as a global organization they believe that “Through our food choices we can collectively influence how food is cultivated, produced and distributed, and change the world as a result.”
‘Hemsley + Hemsley’ a concept launched in 2010 introducing ‘The Art of Eating Well’ offers “a bespoke service aimed at helping people with their digestion and relationship with food and teaching the importance of gut health.” Starting with a website with recipes, event catering and finally their successful cookbooks – consumer interest has led them to contribute to various publications and have a debut TV series on BBC ‘Eating Well with Hemsley + Hemsley’. Now a lifestyle brand, the company also has a café in Selfridges.
Another example of wellness leaders influencing the food and beverage market is Rhiannon Lambert a celebrity nutritionist, who since her bestselling book “Re-Nourish: A Simple Way To Eat Well” has opened a clinic in London assisting with weight management, sports nutrition and eating disorders while also engaging incorporate wellness events.
Image Source: Hemsley + Hemsley
On a similar wavelength is Dr Hazel Wallace ‘the food medic’, an NHS doctor specialising in nutrition who has had two bestselling books focusing on approachable, healthy recipes and an understanding of nutritional benefits. Many other similar progressive influencers and wellness leaders have emerged, leading to a massive impact on what consumers decide to eat and drink; inevitably, the industry has had to react and adapt to these new cravings.
From Vegan to Flexitarian
Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet can reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73%; to the National Academy of Sciences suggesting that a global reduction in meat consumption between 2016 and 2050 could save up to eight million lives per year and $31 trillion in reduced costs from health care and climate change.
“DATA REVEALS VEGANS AND VEGETARIANS WILL MAKE UP A QUARTER OF THE POPULATION, AND FLEXITARIANS HALF, BY 2025.” Vegan Society
It is no wonder that we are seeing plant produce overtake meat as the primary meal component – driven by scientific research, animal and environmental supporters, wellness influencers, progressive chefs, and more conscious consumers.
Moreover, Fiona Dyer, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData says: ‘The shift toward plant-based foods is being driven by millennials, who are most likely to consider the food source, animal welfare issues, and environmental impacts when making their purchasing decisions.’
According to the Vegan Society, vegans in Britain have quadrupled to 600,000 since 2014. Data reveals vegans and vegetarians will make up a quarter of the population, and flexitarians half, by 2025.
While Global Data already reported in 2017 that a full 70% of the world population was either reducing meat consumption or having no meat altogether.
As meat- and dairy-free diets go viral backed by health influencers, celebrities, star chefs and disruptor brands filling the aisles, these new eating habits are banking on the Internet to spread the word.
Veganuary, a vegan website that provides tips on how to live well without sacrificing taste. Healthy-diets and enhanced nutrition companies like Grateful Grazer, Well+Good, alive and Clean Eating and Plant-Powered Dietician are blogs that feature advice and promote gluten-free recipes, paleo diets, egg-free, ketogenic, nut-free, carb and sugar-free, anti-inflammatory diet, gut-health and other growing topics on the upsurge mainly due to health concerns.
Image Source: Oatly
Consumers don’t want to sacrifice taste or ‘all the good stuff they use to eat’ – we’ve seen a continual increase in what we describe as the ‘Filthy Veganomics’ trend.
Vegan food has notably improved in quality and has had positive growth the past few years. In 2018 at the National Fried Chicken Festival in LA, food company Atlas Munroe took home “the best” prize for its Cajun Fried Chicken and Waffles, despite being entirely meatless and being the only vegan plant-based eatery at the festival.Their “chicken” is made entirely from wheat protein and covered in a batter flavoured by a signature blend of spices. Another example is the brand self-described ‘filthy as f*ck’ vegan Food, Biff’s Jack Shack. Committed to providing junk food that is 100% meat and dairy-free, their offering uses jackfruit. This tropical fruit has become popular amongst vegan foodies for its ability to be manipulated into burgers and other ‘meat-like’ foods.
Image Source: Biff’s Jack Shack
Not surprisingly, many food chains and brands are rising to meet new dietary demands, including Wagamama with their vegan menu, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, and Zizzi all offering vegan pizzas, and Guinness changed its traditional brewing process to a vegan one. The Scottish bakery Greggs known for its sausage rolls also launched a vegan version, for which the sales exceeded their expectations by over 70%.
Image Source: Wagamama
Even the big international fast-food brands – notoriously considered as unhealthy, have also adapted to consumers’ evolving diets. Burger King launched its first plant-based Rebel Whopper burger, tailored to flexitarians’ cooked on the same grill as its beef patties. “The fast-food chain says the Rebel Whopper aimed at those who want to cut meat consumption.” McDonald’s launched their Veggie Dippers meal which includes vegan nuggets and KFC partnered with Quorn to create their vegan burger, QUORN™ fillet, coated in their famous 11 Herbs and Spices.
With vegan eateries challenging what it means to indulge in guilt-free junk food, popular food chains have also needed to adapt, as these new challenger restaurant concepts elevate consumer expectations.
“WITH VEGAN EATERIES CHALLENGING WHAT IT MEANS TO INDULGE IN GUILT-FREE JUNK FOOD, POPULAR FOOD CHAINS HAVE ALSO NEEDED TO ADAPT, AS THESE NEW CHALLENGER RESTAURANT CONCEPTS ELEVATE CONSUMER EXPECTATIONS.”
Image Source: KFC Vegan Menu
Supermarkets are changing the aisles stock to satisfy consumers’ new dietary preferences and growing vegan lifestyles. Plant-based disruptor brands are leading the way and in demand. Meat-free companies Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods along with all the various dairy-free alternative brands like Oatly, Kite Hill and Califia Farms are reaping benefits from the rise of flexitarians.
In 2017, the growth of meat-free diets is the primary reason for sales growth at UK-based food group, Quorn Foods. Today, Perdue sells nuggets made of chicken blended with cauliflower, chickpeas and plant proteins, Tyson’s launched a ‘Raised & Rooted’ range of beef burgers combined with pea protein and Misfit Foods sells sausages with equal amounts of chicken and vegetables.
Image Source: Misfit Foods
Progressive consumers, health influencers and disruptor brands have all encouraged the integration of wellness in the food and beverage market – leading to the growth and development of ‘functional foods’. Similar to superfoods but made to be more accessible, Functional foods deliver additional or enhanced benefits over and above their primary nutritional value and attract consumers looking into ways to improve their health on a biological level further.
Fitness brands have also had an enormous impact and paved the way for the functional foods trend. For example, Core Collective, a boutique gym-café chain in central London, takes a holistic approach to eat clean.
Their menu, centred around satisfying pre and post-workout needs, focuses on restoring glycogen levels and retaining optimal muscle mass to make sure your body receives antioxidant-packed nutrition with the benefits of your gym session.
Similarly, Triyoga, a chain of London yoga studios, has various menus centred around body-wellbeing from vegetarian, vegan, raw-food to gluten-free. Each studio hosts a different health-café. Nectar in Camden focuses on plant-rich dishes and nutrient-rich smoothies. CPress in Shoreditch offers special menus to create made-to-order porridge and salad bowls; and their most popular, innovative cold-pressed juices to recharge post-yoga sessions.
“PROGRESSIVE CONSUMERS, HEALTH INFLUENCERS AND DISRUPTOR BRANDS HAVE ALL ENCOURAGED THE INTEGRATION OF WELLNESS IN THE FOOD AND BEVERAGE MARKET – LEADING TO THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF ‘FUNCTIONAL FOODS’. ”
Image Source: Triyoga, The Retreat Cafe Soho
More and more wellness-fitness destinations are supporting their offering by integrating food and drink concepts.
Likewise, fast casuals are also incorporating functional food offerings. Leading chain LEON consistently creates new attractive, fast food for diverse diets from gluten-free, vegan to ‘good for your gut’. Or more recently, Chipotle’s pre-set “lifestyle bowls”, built around menus like keto, paleo, high-protein and vegan. Meal kit companies are also getting on board; from Purple Carrot specialising in 100% plant-based meal choices, to Mindful Chef dividing its meal options across Keto, Paleo, Balanced Living and Plant-Powered diets.
Consequently, food and beverage manufacturers are now also reformulating their products with functional ingredients, focusing on nutrient-rich produce, ways to boost real foods with protein, minerals, vitamins, probiotics, fibre and other supplements.
Tyson Foods, Inc. launched Pact, a new brand “created to help people harness the natural benefits of food”. The brand plans to debut with Pact Snack Bites, a line of functional refrigerated protein snacks made with fruits, nuts and functional ingredients such as kombucha, matcha, turmeric, probiotic cultures, prebiotic fibre and collagen protein.
“MORE AND MORE WELLNESS-FITNESS DESTINATIONS ARE SUPPORTING THEIR OFFERING BY INTEGRATING FOOD AND DRINK CONCEPTS. LIKEWISE, FAST CASUALS ARE ALSO INCORPORATING FUNCTIONAL FOOD OFFERINGS.”
Image Source: Tyson Foods, Pact
In the beverage industry, Coca-Cola Co. is debuting Gomega, a brand of “superfusion” beverages with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.We’re also seeing hot beverage brands upping their game with Twinings’ ‘Superblend’ range, with Boost, Vitality, Detox and Sleep tea-combinations; similarly, Lipton offers what they refer as their Herbal Supplement series across ‘Soothe your Tummy’, ‘Stress Therapy’ and ‘Bedtime Bliss’ as well as the likes of ‘Terrific Turmeric’ and ‘Miracle Moringa’.
The term “functional food” might not seemingly be in day-to-day vocabulary. Still, the concept of food and drink as medicine or fuel has flooded into the mainstream, with the proliferation of superfoods, juice cleanses, protein shakes, supplements and pre/post workout diets.
Mindful Drinking: The Sober-Curious Consumer
An awareness of wellness across body and mind has transformed our cultural relationship with drinking alcohol. Over the past ten years, our perception and consumption of alcohol have altered, mainly led by millennials and Gen Z, who are also the consumers that have been prominent leaders of the wellness movement overall.
Drinking habits have undergone a seismic change, with the number of adults who say that ‘they drink alcohol’ being at its lowest level since surveys began in 2005, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS, 2017). Dry January in the UK started in 2013 with 4,000 people. It’s come a long way since then, with over 100,000 signing up to Alcohol Change UK Dry January app, and 4 million taking part in 2020.
For many cutting down on alcohol is linked to increased attention on health and fitness. However, it has also been about people reviewing their relationship with alcohol, in other words ‘mindful drinking’ – to understand, analyse and acknowledge potential bad habits like binge drinking or ‘overdoing-it’. Millie Gooch, the founder of Sober Girl Society, believes the sober-curious trend is linked to millennials’ desire to be more conscious in all areas of life and says “We are now putting alcohol (and hangovers) under the microscope and beginning to ask ourselves whether they are serving us or not.”
The Drinks Retailing News 2019 Mindful Drinking Guide, reports that last year saw a growth of £22.4 million ($29.1 million) in the no and low alcohol category in the UK.
“AN AWARENESS OF WELLNESS ACROSS BODY AND MIND HAS TRANSFORMED OUR CULTURAL RELATIONSHIP WITH DRINKING ALCOHOL. ”
It’s fair to say that long gone are the days when customers that don’t drink alcohol can be satisfied by a lime soda or soft drink. The restaurant and bar industry has progressively realised that its low and non-alcoholic offering can be a game-changer.
In Brooklyn, New York, ‘Getaway’ bar expresses that ultimately, their offering is alcohol-free. Opened in April of 2019, it has led the way for a growing movement of night spots that aim to serve people who are avoiding alcohol but still wish to socialise and enjoy spaces that have traditionally been dominated by drinking.
Likewise, in London, there is a Redemption Bar, which has expanded to 3 locations. It not only offers alcohol-free drinks; it is also accompanied by a menu that includes vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free options.
Image Source: Redemption Bar Cocktail Book
“2019 MINDFUL DRINKING GUIDE, REPORTS THAT LAST YEAR SAW A GROWTH OF £22.4 MILLION ($29.1 MILLION) IN THE NO AND LOW ALCOHOL CATEGORY IN THE UK.” The Drinks Retailing News
Well-known nightspots and clubs are also adapting, with Annabel’s restaurant offering “Espresso Medatini,” which contains half the calories and sugar of a regular espresso martini, as well as nootropics and CBD, and made without alcohol.
Albie, the bar and restaurant at the Hoxton in Southwark, has an entire page dedicated to alcohol-free cocktails, listing them before the alcoholic versions on the menu. Even the award-winning bar The Connaught has embraced it, introducing a non-alcoholic option across every division of their sophisticated cocktail menu.
Restaurateurs are taking the movement just as seriously. Champagne bar Searcys, launched a sommelier training focusing on non-alcoholic pairings to match with lunch and dinner menus with the same level of expertise to non-alcoholic beverages.
Image Source: Annabel’s Espresso Medatini
Even culturally ‘boozy environments’ like après-ski have been shifting to respond to the mindful drinking movement — with Bramble Ski launching Après Ski chalets across the Alps in collaboration with gin-alternative Seedlip.
Off the back of innovative substitutes to alcohol, we see a surge in the post-workout offering, focusing on indulging in guilt-free drinks. Some call it the rise of ‘fitness cocktails’, drinks that qualify as non-alcoholic as well as soft-drink alternatives that specifically offer health benefits.
Kin Euphorics which describes itself as a “New category of nightlife beverage… All bliss, no booze.” – aimed at targeting the non-alcoholic social lifestyle and comparable, Three Spirits, which refers itself as alcohol-free but not pleasure-free, are both made with plants and active-feel good ingredients.
Image Source: Nogroni by Seedlip
The infiltration of wellness across the food and beverage sector has meant that consumers are hyper-conscious of their choices and purchases – from health to sustainability.
There is a lot of context as we’ve seen across this analysis, suggesting that wellness in this industry is not just a fad… It is solidified by a younger generation leading the way, prioritising wellbeing in their day to day.
Health has never been so strongly associated to what and how we eat and drink. Physical and mental health features now play a crucial role, in the way people decide to engage and consume food and drink. It has translated into less alcohol consumption, more plant-focused diets, supplements and functional foods as well as guilt-free consumptions.
Wellness concerns in food and beverage experiences and consumption will continue, they will even become more acute to individual nutritional needs. It is vital to note the future opportunity between functional foods and the realm of personalisation. Consumers are relating functionality on the basis of their individual needs, and this is where technology will increasingly play a crucial role in consumers’ day-to-day food and beverage choices.