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Menu Flavours - UK - February 2015

“The interest in trying new dishes as hobby further signals the importance of unique dishes in driving interest particularly among those who see themselves as ‘foodies’ and underlines the role of dining out as a leisure activity, competing with other experiences.”

– Helena Childe, Senior Foodservice Analyst

This report covers the following issues:

  • Tasting plates offer operators a way to create standout and add interest to pork dishes
  • Standout dishes offer a means for brands to drive buzz and drive up spend per head
  • Cocktail innovation is high on the agenda as operators look to offer something different

Despite momentum in the economy in 2014 and rising consumer confidence, noticeably fewer people are using foodservice outlets at least once a fortnight. As such, menu innovation is needed to re-ignite consumers’ willingness to spend on this category, with a fifth of diners already stating that they eat out for something different to their normal meals.

Whilst the rise of the ‘foodie’ is nothing new, in recent years, the concept has developed from the previous exclusive image of foodies as food critics or snobs to a more inclusive concept that pitches everyday diners as food enthusiasts. Social media has played a key role in this democratisation of the foodie as consumers have used platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to share, and often boast, about their restaurant experiences. ‘Stunt’ food creations such as doughnut burgers and unusual drinks serves looking to create the ‘wow’ factors such as cocktails in miniature bathtubs, top hats and milk bottles are playing into this.

This report looks at food/drink flavour trends on menus in the foodservice market and developments in eating out preferences in the UK specifically. Its aim is to explore the existing trends in menu development and look forward to what is on the horizon.

The issues of flavours on menus can be interpreted in a number of ways and can be investigated from a number of angles, however, due to the diverse nature of this subject not all areas can be explored within the remit of this report. Therefore this report is not intended to be used as a menu-planning guide. This report highlights key trends currently driving the eating out market and their effects on menu development. It also explores some of the major issues affecting the direction of the eating out market in general. This report is primarily based on Mintel’s exclusive primary research of consumer attitudes and Mintel’s observations of the trends in the UK dining out market.


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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • Market factors
              • Flavour trends
                • Healthy eating trends
                  • Vegetable trends
                    • Fish and seafood trends
                      • Drink trends
                        • The consumer
                          • Frequency of eating out
                            • Figure 1: Frequency of eating out, November 2014
                          • Perceptions of ingredients
                            • Figure 2: Consumer perceptions of selected ingredients, November 2014
                          • Willingness to pay more for ethical ingredients
                            • Figure 3: Willingness to pay more for ethical ingredients, November 2014
                          • Willingness to order and pay more for dishes based on selected qualities
                            • Figure 4: Willingness to order and pay more for dishes based on selected qualities, November 2014
                          • Interest in food and drink enticements
                            • Figure 5: Menu enticements, November 2014
                          • Attitudes towards eating out
                            • Figure 6: Attitudes towards eating out, November 2014
                          • What we think
                          • Issues and Insights

                              • Tasting plates offer operators a way to create standout and add interest to pork dishes
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • Standout dishes offer a means for brands to drive buzz and drive up spend per head
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • Cocktail innovation is high on the agenda as operators look to offer something different
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                              • Trend Application

                                                  • Return to the Experts
                                                    • Prove It
                                                      • Brand Intervention
                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                        • Key points
                                                          • Squeezed incomes have continued to affect spending behaviour
                                                            • Consumers’ incomes should rise and stretch further in 2015
                                                              • Figure 7: Consumer spending priorities (after bills), January 2011-January 2015
                                                            • Using ‘fun’ to distract from frugal considerations
                                                            • Flavour Trends

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • From single-focus venues to ingredient champions
                                                                  • Other trends
                                                                    • Smoked meat
                                                                      • Smoky flavours feature across the menu
                                                                        • Flavoured salts and butters
                                                                          • Meat jams and spreads
                                                                            • Bacon jam
                                                                              • Nduja
                                                                              • Healthy Eating Trends

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Healthy dining trends
                                                                                    • Lunch
                                                                                      • Vegetables as carb alternatives
                                                                                        • Vegetable and fruit juices
                                                                                          • Cold pressed and made in-house should boost quality perceptions
                                                                                            • Smaller size can cater to trial
                                                                                              • Coconut as an ingredient
                                                                                                • Cow’s milk alternatives
                                                                                                  • Alternative grains (eg quinoa)
                                                                                                    • US trends suggest potential for wider use of quinoa
                                                                                                      • From protein to paleo diets
                                                                                                        • High-protein labels on the rise particularly in the snacking segment
                                                                                                          • Palaeolithic dining
                                                                                                            • Paleo snacks on the rise
                                                                                                              • Paleo restaurants and food stalls
                                                                                                                • ‘Clean eating’ trends
                                                                                                                • Vegetable Trends

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Vegetable trends
                                                                                                                      • Kale and cauliflower
                                                                                                                        • Kale
                                                                                                                          • Cauliflower
                                                                                                                            • Beetroot
                                                                                                                              • US influences
                                                                                                                                • Corn on the cob
                                                                                                                                  • Pickled and fermented vegetables
                                                                                                                                    • Pickled vegetables gain from the BBQ trend
                                                                                                                                      • Ethnic cuisines boost fermented vegetables
                                                                                                                                        • In-house pickling can offer a USP
                                                                                                                                          • Sour drinks
                                                                                                                                          • Fish and Seafood Trends

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Fish
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 8: Consumer perceptions of fish, November 2014
                                                                                                                                              • Ethnic pairings can show fish as exciting
                                                                                                                                                • Interest in ethnic flavours may help raise the profile of seafood further
                                                                                                                                                  • A modern take on seafood
                                                                                                                                                    • Lobster
                                                                                                                                                      • Lobster specialists
                                                                                                                                                        • Lobster subs
                                                                                                                                                          • Crab
                                                                                                                                                          • Drinks Trends

                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                              • Long-term decline in out-of-home drinking is pushing operators to create more dynamic beverage ranges
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 9: Menu enticements related to cocktails, November 2014
                                                                                                                                                                • Play Ethic extends to drinks
                                                                                                                                                                  • Drinks presentation trends continue unabated
                                                                                                                                                                    • Sense of the Intense
                                                                                                                                                                      • Wild cocktails/hedgerow cocktails have fresh appeal
                                                                                                                                                                        • Freshness and in-house infusing should lend longevity to hedgerow cocktails
                                                                                                                                                                          • Shandy cocktails benefiting from the growth in craft ales and sodas
                                                                                                                                                                            • Mix-your-own cocktail – Big-ticket options
                                                                                                                                                                              • Classics with ever more dramatic twists
                                                                                                                                                                                • Pre-made cocktails look to shake off their inferior image
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Aged cocktails and vintage spirits
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Craft and canned beer
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Craft beer can play to a venue’s themes
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Handcrafted sodas
                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – Frequency of Eating Out

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Nearly a third of diners eat out once a week or more
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 10: Frequency of eating out, November 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 11: Frequency of eating out, November 2013 and November 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                              • The role of small plates on flexible dining menus
                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Perceptions of Ingredients

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Perceptions of ingredients
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 12: Consumer perceptions of selected ingredients, November 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Chicken enjoys strong links to value for money
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Demonstrating the versatility of pork
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Using tasting dishes to introduce less familiar ingredients and cooking techniques
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Beef still has to work to prove its added value
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Game is seen as indulgent, special and sophisticated
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Could duck tap into premiumised fast food trends too?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 13: Consumer perceptions of ingredients, November 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Willingness to Pay More for Dishes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ethical ingredients
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 14: Willingness to pay more for ethical ingredients, November 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Local sourcing can be used to build brand trust as well as increase the appeal of individual dishes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Has globalisation killed off the notion of seasonal ingredients?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Organic labels resonate with younger consumers, whilst local products appeal to over-55s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Creating standout dishes to drive buzz and/or drive up spend per head
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Willingness to order and pay more for dishes based on selected qualities, November 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Younger consumers are particularly drawn to menu innovation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Media-worthy dishes appeal to more than half of diners
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • ‘Stunt’ food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • In-home NPD is increasingly novel too
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • US examples
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Secret menus/‘hack the menu’ items
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Interest in Food and Drink Menu Enticements

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • World cuisine opportunities
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 16: Menu enticements, November 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Bunny chow
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Asian steamed bread buns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Arepas
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Next steps for Americana Mania
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Pulled pork/chicken is now an established mainstream food trend
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • There is an increasing focus on American regional styles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Chicken & waffles can help to create standout
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Aligning chicken & waffle with other ‘brinner’ dishes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • There’s more to American side dishes than just mac ‘n cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Mac ‘n cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cornbread
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Canadian Poutine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Consumer – Attitudes towards Eating Out

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Menu innovation and social media developments have helped to cultivate everyday ‘foodies’
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 17: Attitudes towards eating out, November 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Blurring the lines between everyday and special-occasion dining
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • ‘Safe adventure’ is a key driver for younger diners
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Looking to customisation for ‘safe adventure’
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Older diners hold true to more traditional dining constructs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Localism is a key selling point for older diners

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Itsu
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Pret A Manger

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Menu Flavours - UK - February 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)