The food and beverage industry is an ever-changing business, with new trends emerging every year. It shouldn't come as a surprise as our relationship with food often reveals our lifestyle and even our values.
As we will see in the following sections, a growing concern for the environment and society is radically changing what we can buy in supermarkets or eat in restaurants. New brands offering vegetarian and vegan alternatives are filling the shelves in markets around the world. Chefs are no longer seen as screaming despots in busy kitchens, but are increasingly becoming activists committed to sustainable living and eating.
In addition, the pandemic has accelerated the rise of certain trends. Ghost kitchens and the massive use of AI in the food and beverage industry are proof. The former has often been a life-saving opportunity for restaurant owners during these extraordinary times. The latter helps brands to better serve consumers, including maintaining the highest standards of hygiene.
The Rise of the Ghost Kitchens
Ghost or dark kitchens are a growing phenomenon driven by the pandemic. They used to be in dense, cosmopolitan cities, but now they are proliferating in urban centers everywhere. According to Euromonitor, ghost kitchens could arise$1 trillion global market by 2030.The idea behind it is very simple. Instead of worrying about front-of-house costs, dark kitchens focus on just one thing: preparing food for delivery.
What makes them particularly attractive to new entrepreneurs is the reduced costs, which present a unique opportunity to break into the food and beverage industry. Owners have less to worry about rental costs. Instead, they can focus on marketing and technology, two much-needed aspects of starting a business.
Not only restaurant owners are interested in ghost kitchens. Third-party delivery platforms like Deliveroo UK are also taking advantage of this booming market. The online delivery service for groceries has established itself'kitchen expenses'where your members can prepare food in a fully equipped kitchen while Deliveroo takes care of all the other details. In this way, the delivery platform can increase its profits and offer its customers a unique product. In addition to a service fee, the price for cooking at Editions Kitchens is payableexclusivity, which means Deliveroo partners cannot sell their products through other online platforms in this space.
The demand for vegetarian and vegan food has skyrocketed over the past decade. The market value of meat substitutes is expected to increase worldwide35.5 billion in 2027, up from $11.1 billion in 2019. In this growing niche, a new generation of brands is entering the food and beverage industry.
Beyond Meat, Moku Foods or Tofurky are just some of the new brands that are attracting consumers looking for plant-based foods in their favorite supermarkets. One company in particular was very successful.ivy, the startup from Barcelona that wants to change the food industry by offering vegan alternatives, has been nominated by the for the best startup in SpainList of the best LinkedIn startups 2021and raised 16 million euros in its most recent financing round.
The growing demand for plant-based alternatives is particularly high among the new generation, who are increasingly concerned about their impact on the environment and society in general. This change in consumer behavior was so evident at Germany's universities that the 34 canteens and cafés serveBerlin student bodyThey have started serving a menu that is 68% vegan, 28% vegetarian and only 4% fish or meat based.
A revolution is happening, and it starts with fine dining. The leaders are a new generation of chefs addressing the role the food and beverage industry must play in creating a better world. The best-known name is Rene Redzepi, who placed the New Nordic movement on the global culinary scene with his restaurant Noma. The movement follows principles such as sustainability, locality and respect for nature. But its greatest achievement is that the movement has embraced this concept of haute cuisine restaurants like Noma itself, which has been nominated asthe best restaurant in the world– to supermarkets and classrooms.
How do you highlight it?the guard: "You can walk into a supermarket almost anywhere in Denmark and find ready meals made from traceable organic produce from co-operative kitchens in Copenhagen, named after Claus Meyer, co-founder of Noma." In addition, Redzepi has founded an NGO called MAD – Danish for “food”. Through an academy, symposium, free online resources and public speaking engagements, MAD aims to export the vision and principles of the New Nordic Movement around the world by creating a new generation of change agents in the food industry and hospitality.
Along the same lines there is another world-renowned chef: Massimo Bottura, owner of the three Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana. A few years ago, Bottura envisioned a world without food waste. from this dreamfood for soulsborn. Among the various initiatives they carry out, thePeople, common spaces where people in social and economic situations receive free meals prepared with surplus ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away. Together with its partners around the world, Food for Souls has managed to save more than500 tons of groceriesand serve more than 785,000 meals.
No waste and no plastic
The new mantra in the food and beverage industry is Zero Waste, and Massimo Bottura isn't the only one promoting it. A virtuous circle of suppliers, hospitality and consumers is shaping the food and beverage industry of tomorrow.
The demand for zero waste and zero plastic creates a strong industry in which companies like Pakito Angola can thrive. The Angola-based company helps companies in the tourism and hospitality industry to reduce their use of plastic. As Yara Lopes said in BEBS in aInterview: “When I started Pakito Angola, I was angry at the amount of plastic waste growing along the coast. It was extremely dangerous to the environment and our food source. I wanted to do something about it, in a way that could have an impact today and in the future."
Some restaurants use eco-friendly packaging, others go a step further and take a holistic approach.Zero Waste and Zero Plastics approach. At the Rhodora restaurant and wine bar in Brooklyn, they have banned the use of single-use plastic. In addition, the restaurant only uses products that can be recycled, recycled or composted.
The zero-waste cycle does not end at restaurants. In recent years there has been a proliferation of apps dedicated to fighting food waste. Such is the case with the Too Good To Go app. Founded in Copenhagen in 2015, this pioneering company turned surplus food into profit. Restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and bakeries can use the app to sell food that would otherwise end up in the trash. In return, users can buy leftovers at a cheaper price. Some may wonder whether this important social mission is also profitable for the company. The answer is a strong YES! 2019,too good to goreached almost 38,000 members and more than 18 million users.
AI in the food and beverage industry
AI is drastically changing all industries, including food and beverage. It helps companies to produce, market and deliver their products more safely and efficiently. In addition, it helps companies to reduce their energy and water consumption. This, in turn, can significantly reduce a company's business expenses.
For example,Dominos Pizzabegan its partnership with Dragontail System, using AI to scan each pizza to ensure the highest standards of quality and hygiene for its customers. This is especially important since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when hygiene has become essential for consumers.
McDonald's used AIfor a different scope. The company decided to make a huge transformation and become the Amazon of fast food chains. The famous digital plaques that appear in the drive-thum are now programmed to be smarter than ever. The boards market the food taking into account factors such as the weather and will advertise menu items accordingly. Therefore, on a cold December day, the board could offer a hot chocolate instead of a lemonade.
Into the future of the food and beverage industry
The only way to succeed in the food and beverage industry is to listen carefully to what consumers want. Sustainability, technology and delivery will shape the future of the food and beverage industry for years to come.
New brands are entering markets that were once considered niche, while companies are finding new ways to reinvent themselves. When new opportunities open up, one wonders where the line is for this thriving industry.