8 new foodservice demands of Irish consumers

Demand of Irish food and foodservice is an essential part of ensuring the viability of Irish agriculture, with Bord Bia making efforts to examine what consumers are looking for in today’s society, compared to previously.

Such morphing trends cause opportunities – such as the increasing importance of ‘clean and green’ sustainability – and disruption, similar to the waves being caused by third-party delivery of food with the aid of improving technology.

As part of its 2018 Irish Foodservice Market Insights Report, Bord Bia outlined eight new demands of the Irish consumer to reflect a changing market.

These are as follows:
  1. Convenience;
  2. On-the-go dining;
  3. Experiences and ‘entertainment’;
  4. Third-party delivery;
  5. Click and collect;
  6. Sustainability demand;
  7. Environment and social conscience;
  8. ‘All things to all customers’.

Convenience

Convenience is key with consumers looking to source food “anytime, anywhere”.

A continued emphasis on convenient options such as takeaway and delivery will drive growth and spread to other segments that traditionally don’t cater for this, including full service restaurants, pubs and even hotels.

On-the-go dining

Three meals per day is no longer “the norm” as day-stages blur and traditional ways of dining are disappearing, Bord Bia noted in its report.

On-the-go dining will continue to grow and snacking and late-night occasions will grow in importance as consumers look to source food at any time, the document contends.

Experiences

When eating out, consumers now seek more experiences – meaning that restaurants and foodservice are increasingly seen as “entertainment”, the insights paper notes.

Occasions will increasingly be divided into those that are convenience driven and those in which consumer demand is “something unique”.

Third-party delivery

Bord Bia has described third party delivery as possibly the biggest disruptor as technology provides app-enabled ordering.

This is increasingly growing into segments that haven’t traditionally delivered such as full-service restaurants and even pubs.

Delivery-only kitchens are starting to appear in other countries and will likely be an area of focus for delivery companies in Ireland.

Click and collect

The growing on-demand foodservice culture is driving the popularity of cashless, click and collect and third-party delivery options.

As more tech-enabled solutions enter the market, much of the ‘front of house’ experience between consumers and the operator could ultimately become automated.

Sustainability

The changing palate of the Irish consumer has seen the rise in demand for ‘fresh and locally sourced’, not only to meet the needs of ‘health and wellness’ but also for sustainable business practices.

Plant-based diets are no longer fringe and, while the percentage of consumers that are vegan or vegetarian remains small, consumers are increasingly looking for alternative options, the rapporteurs note.

Conscience

Operating with a conscience is now an expectation – and this includes reducing food waste and reducing packaging.

While the focus has been on the coffee cup, the issue is likely to spread to plastics and broader packaging, according to predictions.

Consumers demand “something” to be done but are often poorly informed on the broader infrastructure needed to recycle or compost foodservice waste, the report says.

‘All things to all consumers’

Irish consumers are becoming younger, and older and being ‘all things to all consumers’ is increasingly challenging for foodservice operators.

This means such businesses require tech-enabled solutions to appeal to younger consumers, while older consumers tend to be more traditional in their usage of restaurants.