Inflationary trends have shaken up the out-of-home eating market just as it was recovering from the pandemic. With ‘whim’ expenditures curbed and consumers demanding higher value for money, the challenge posed to foodservice businesses is significant

Despite pressures, hospitality – and the foodservice sector as a whole – has remained resilient.

Bidfresh’s Fresh Trends report finds consumers are rediscovering the thrills of dining out by embracing healthier, more conscious choices, and by uniting a curiosity for global cuisines with British produce.

Authenticity is key

The report, compiled with the expertise of suppliers Campbell Brothers, Direct Seafoods and Oliver Kay, shows growing customer interest in authenticity, with diners expecting dishes to be genuine and faithful to the country of origin or the style of cooking.

Experiencing global cuisines and new dishes is a way for the British consumer to seek foreign culinary experiences without leaving their home, with over 50% of consumers placing Caribbean, Mexican and eastern European cuisines at the top of their list.

While the pandemic has sparked an interest in more diverse culinary options, British diners still look favourably to menus featuring domestic produce.

Farm to fork justifies a premium

Provenance of ingredients leads the charts: over 75% of surveyed consumers prefer British ingredients, finding domestic provenance not just more appealing, but a make or break of their meal out.

In a market where value for money is the top deciding factor, half of respondents stated they were willing to pay more for a dish that uses British ingredients.

It is no surprise that dishes such as Devon Crab Spaghetti have been introduced in popular chains like Prezzo, which despite being Italian in name and cooking style, is riding the wave of domestic sourcing for its premium dishes.

Though origin is a widespread preference across categories, projections for 2024 show the top five by importance are cheese, vegetables, fish, fruit and wine.

Ways to leverage this trend on the hospitality side span across showcasing product provenance and acquiring accreditation, such as MSC or joining local and regional schemes.

Prezzo devon crab spaghetti

Source: Prezzo

Prezzo’s Devon Crab Spaghetti is one of the most expensive items on the menu, priced at £18.99

Fewer treats, more healthy choices

However, if indulgence and treats were leading in 2023, this year’s picture is skewed in favour of healthy choices that are good on ‘mind, mood and body’, as the report finds.

Consumers are ditching gut instinct-led HFSS snacks to embrace gut-friendly options including dishes that feature vegetables, low-fat and low-sugar foods, and ingredients rich in vitamins and minerals.

Last year’s data shows 44% of consumers opted for a dish containing vegetables, resulting in two in three consumers placing high importance on healthy out-of-home dining.

Gut health in particular has dominated the charts and shows no signs of slowing down, fuelled by revolutionary products such as Zoe, as well as charting the alchemical transformation of yoghurt into gut-positive kefir and drinkable macrobiotic options.

Among healthier choices, plant-based is quickly gaining ground, with over half of UK consumers ready to reduce their intake of meat and animal products.


The popularity of Korean cuisine has skyrocketed over the past decade – kimchi is now easily accessible in menus and is a gut health booster food

Delivering value

Despite the multiple challenges faced by both sector professionals and consumers, fresh produce is the centrepiece of the British table, whether in independent restaurants, chains or foodservice delivery.

In fact, the latter is experiencing a positive spell, and is expected to grow just under 3% in 2024 following the post-pandemic boom to reach a value of over £14bn.

The steady performance of foodservice delivery ties in directly with a trend that fits naturally within inflation and reduced customer spend, which is value for money when eating out.

The report shows 60% respondents privilege value for money, which is no longer attributed exclusively to cost, but also to dining experience, ambience, and unique selling points of their chosen business.

It seems hammering the brand’s story is not the top way to get customers through the door any more, but it helps to showcase a strong personality that ties in with all the above values – from authenticity, to commitment to British produce, to healthy options.

Star products

Perhaps as a result of rediscovering British produce, and perhaps for their adaptability, 2023 heroes in meat and fish featured highly flexible choices: British sausages, featherblade steak and chicken thighs dominated meat; haddock, cod and salmon dominated fish.

Bestselling fresh produce saw cucumber, banana and little gem lettuce as top pick per volume sold last year.

The jury is still out on what foods will conquer the British palate in 2024, but the consumer can count on chefs getting more thrifty, exploring trending global cuisines, and overall charting new territories for the plant-based and healthy options dominating the eating out category.