Top food trends for 2018

Great British Chefs White Paper: health and diet

by Great British Chefs 4 October 2018

Healthy eating, free-from diets, exercise and veganism have never been more popular, but why the sudden shift? We surveyed the general public to find out how attitudes to health differ between foodies and non-foodies and what this means for businesses.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

In the summer of 2018 we asked 3,000 members of the general public to answer a list of forty-two questions. The aim? To learn more about everything from dietary choices and leisure activities to what ingredients they buy and how many ready meals they eat every week. The results painted an accurate picture of how the average British person views, buys, cooks and consumes food, and we were able to divide the population into three segments: the national average, ‘Weekend Foodies’ and ‘Committed Foodies’. This White Paper looks at how these three segments of the population regard healthy eating, exercise, vegetarianism and veganism.

Less than 1% of people identify as strict vegans and only 4% are strict vegetarians, which is a very small percentage of the population. But what’s really interesting are those that identify as part-time vegans and vegetarians. On top of that, 24% of Brits say they often eat vegan dishes (rising to 42% amongst Committed Foodies) while 49% say they often eat vegetarian dishes. These numbers show that vegetarian and vegan products are being sought after by people who also eat meat and dairy – not just those following a strict diet.

Eating less meat and following a ‘plant-based’ (meat- and dairy-free) diet have also become more popular in the UK in as little as the past six months. In July 2018, more people were actively trying to eat less meat and follow a plant-based diet than in January. For Foodies, this increase is even more apparent.

These statistics mark a clear increase in the number of people making conscious steps towards changing their diet in the name of health, with Foodies particularly interested in altering the way they eat. This is reflected in how the three segments of the population exercise as well.

So what does this mean for brands and businesses looking to tap into this large (and constantly growing) health-conscious, plant-based, meat-reductive part of the population? It’s clear that people who already have a high interest in food in general (Committed Foodies and Weekend Foodies) are more predisposed to eating vegetarian and vegan food, so it makes sense to target them rather than the overall population. This means creating and marketing vegan or vegetarian products to the more ambitious, skilled and passionate home cook through recipe and dish ideas. Committed Foodies will already have a more varied store cupboard and fridge than the average person, and that includes healthy ingredients such as quinoa, kale and brown rice. They’re also much more open to stocking up on exotic or unusual ingredients such as tahini, miso and kimchi. Brands can capitalise on this by creating healthy, vegetarian or vegan content that showcases their product in a more ambitious or high-end way in the kitchen.

To take a look at the full results of our research and see the evidence why Committed Foodies and Weekend Foodies are leading the charge in the UK’s changing attitudes to health and diet, download our full report via the form above.