Top seven food and drink trends for 2014: Waitrose

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Social media Cooking Waitrose

Click to shop: Technology and social media are increasingly influencing shopping patterns, said Waitrose
Click to shop: Technology and social media are increasingly influencing shopping patterns, said Waitrose
The influence of technology and social media on the nation’s diet is the top of seven key food and drink trends, identified by posh retailer Waitrose this year, based on millions of purchases in shops and online.

Food choices are increasingly influenced by technology and social media – from how we shop and what we cook, to how we communicate about food, according to The Waitrose Food & Drink Report 2014.

As an example of the trend Waitrose revealed that its customer enquiries via social media have now overtaken emailed enquiries.

Key trends

Other key trends were:

• Changing breakfast tastes, with honey sales overtaking jam for the first time

• Global explorers, reflecting the rising popularity of global cuisine. Old favourites are making way for less well known meals. So, Waitrose shoppers were now four times as likely to buy a katsu curry kit as a tikka masala.

• Time-poor shoppers: the hectic pace of modern living meant shoppers were changing their buying habits to a pattern of shop little and often. “We shop little and often and in ways that suit us – regularly in convenience shops, grabbing breakfast on the move (sales up 10%) and looking for foodie shortcuts,”​ said the retailer.

• Weekend foodies, as up to 40% of shoppers were determined to make their weekend more of a food event than ever before. Family gatherings and entertaining friends are increasingly viewed as an opportunity to experiment with cooking. TV programmes – such as The Great British Bake Off​ – have also inspired shoppers to try new food ideas.

• White wine drinkers were becoming more adventurous, as they desert the safe-ground of Sauvignon Blanc to try new grapes from different countries, with varieties such as Austrian Grüner Veltliner leading the way.

• Drink of the year was the Italian aperitif Aperol, which had seen sales soar by 800% this year already. Also, sales of coffee liqueur have risen by 15%, as espresso martinis have made their way out of city bars and into home dinner parties.

‘Become a lot thriftier’

Waitrose md Mark Price said shoppers were both more cost-conscious and willing to experiment more than ever before: “We have seen that Britain has become a lot thriftier, probably for the better – shoppers have refused to let go of the shopping habits they adopted during the recession,” ​said Price.

But despite changing buying habits three things remain constant: Britons’ culinary curiosity, their love of good food and their desire to eat healthily.

“We are fast becoming a nation of foodies,” ​said Price. “Increasing numbers of people have moved from seeing eating as functional to seeing it as an experience to be relished and enjoyed. Today, more than ever before, people see food and cooking as a hobby. All these factors feed into how we eat in 2014.”

Waitrose said the results were based on its sales this year and new consumer research, which revealed a comprehensive view of British behaviour.

Meanwhile, read the full report here​.

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