With 2021 drawing to a close – it’s time to look ahead to what the next year has in store for virtual kitchen brands!
In a period of massive upheaval, the restaurant industry has seen many trends come and go over the last year. From the rapid rise of food and grocery delivery to “on-demand” services and lockdown experimentation, there was certainly a lot to keep up with.
2022 is set to be another exciting year for the industry, with ghost kitchen brands set to increase their market share even further. Here are our five top trends to keep an eye on…
1. A flexitarian focus
The “flexitarian” market is an important sector to pay attention to in 2022. Customers are increasingly turning to plant-based alternatives both for health and sustainability.
Tesco reported its biggest ever “Veganuary” this year – with sales of vegan products up by a staggering 750%. Waitrose’s 2022 forecasting also notes 70% of customers pay close attention to the carbon footprint of their food.
What does this mean for restaurant franchises? The more choices you offer customers (whether it's for sustainability, health or plant-based options) the better your 2022 performance is likely to be. It’s that simple!
2. Better breakfasts
Food delivery and takeaway services are no longer just a Friday and Saturday night treat. With the rise of home-working in 2020 and 2021, people began ordering out for breakfast and lunch. We’ve already written about the benefits of offering lunch and late-night service, but watch out for those early risers too! This is a key trend that’s likely to continue well into 2022.
3. DIY meal kits
This trend has been slowly growing over the past couple of years – but has recently skyrocketed. With people spending more time at home than ever before, it’s all about having something a little different! Related to the trend for flexible/flexitarian options, offering “meal kits” rather than fully prepped meals is a wonderful way to let customers adapt dishes to their liking.
As a restaurant franchise owner, delivering kits of your best-selling dishes also saves on staff time (as you don’t actually have to cook it!). To capitalise on this trend, make sure any recipe instructions are clear and effectively branded with sustainable packaging used throughout.
4. Japanese flavours
During the pandemic, customers sought new varieties and types of food. With more time on social media, people discovered different techniques and unusual ingredients – none more so than Japanese food! Indeed, Waitrose reported that umami paste sales were up by 17% and sushi sales up by 54% in the last year.
TikTok had a bento box craze and the Tokyo Olympic games only added to this interest. With a reputation as a tasty, healthy alternative, Japanese food and flavours are likely to continue for 2022.
5. Target Zero: Sustainability
It’s certainly not a new trend – but “zero waste” will be even more important for restaurant franchises in 2022. If you’re not already focusing on sustainability, well now’s the time!
We’ve already written about key tips to easily implement sustainability into your food franchise, so do take a look at this. Customers expect all packaging to be fully recyclable, waste management policies to be in place and the championing of local, seasonal ingredients. If you can do all this, you’ll reap the rewards in the year ahead.
Keep up with the latest food delivery trends with the Peckwater Brands blog. From on-demand grocery delivery to new tech for merging delivery platform orders and connecting with online customers – we make sure you’re fully up-to-date on an exciting, rapidly evolving industry.