These are not usually words to describe food and drink trends, but as the world beyond our front doors becomes increasingly complicated, this latest report by Waitrose points to how trends in food and drink can capture the values of a nation.

The latest trend report by @waitrose shows how food and drink trends can capture the values of a nation #kbb #consumerinsight #foodtrends Click To Tweet

The Waitrose & Partners report is the result of extensive research by the supermarket chain into the top food and drink trends of 2019. This included consumer research on a wide range of topics with 2,000 people of all ages (not exclusively Waitrose & Partners shoppers), along with focus groups, insights from their suppliers and backed up with their sales data.

The food and drink trends they highlighted are these:-

Trend One: The Simple Life
Britons are moving towards a simpler existence. The Waitrose research found that families are refocusing on the fundamentals – cooking uncomplicated meals, growing their own, taking up a traditional hobby and turning their backs on materialism

Their research found that 30% of us grow our own food, 20% of us are cooking simpler meals, 47% of us are trying to make more time for hobbies, 38% of us have become less materialistic over the past decade, whilst just 4% of us rate owning more things as personally important

Trend Two: Mindful Spending
Contactless payment has made it all too easy for us to buy without thinking. But people are starting to pay more attention to their purchases and to keep more of an eye on their finances.

Half the people in the research say they’re prioritising what they buy more now than they were five years ago, with only 5% saying they were more focused on their budget back then.

Daily outlays soon add up, so families are making small savings across the board. 49% are buying fewer lunches out, takeaways and snacks, and 46% are going to the pub less. In total, 36% of us say we are buying fewer non essentials and considering more carefully whether we need something before buying it.

However people are still embracing what the experts call ‘controlled discovery’. When they do spend, they want the results to be special – for instance, taking the time to make a proper cup of tea, or to enjoy a really great piece of chocolate cake. We still love to indulge, but we think more carefully about when we do it.

Trend Three: A Passion for Compassion
The Waitrose research found that ‘It’s cool to be kind again‘. Altruism, or small acts of generosity towards others, seems to be increasing, especially amongst young people

There’s a definite move towards kindness – to yourself, others and the planet. As a society, we’re becoming increasingly aware of how these three things are linked and are striving for compassion. People are more conscious about avoiding choices that would negatively affect something or someone else.’

Tor Harris, Waitrose & Partners head of corporate social responsibility.

The research revealed a marked rise in the number of people cooking for loved ones, friends or colleagues. And we have discovered our passion for compassion via baking for a charity event or fête, making food to help friends or family, or taking cake to work for colleagues.

17% of us cook for others more often today than we did five years ago, with many of these home chefs (around a third) aged under 35, so it seems ‘kindness cooking’ is here to stay.

As well as offering home-baked presents, people are also giving the gift of cookery itself. Sales of gift certificates for the Waitrose Cookery School courses have risen by over a quarter, reflecting people’s desire to give an experience or a lasting skill rather than simply buying an object.

Trend Four: Cutting Clutter
We are decluttering our homes as we discard unnecessary distractions and simplify our lives.

43% of people have cleared out wardrobes recently. Meanwhile, a third of us have tidied our kitchen cabinets or fridges and freezers. Almost a quarter have sorted out bookshelves and nearly a fifth have gone through CDs and DVDs.

However 34% say they haven’t cleared out or decluttered their homes at all in recent months.

75% say they strive to maintain an organised kitchen. The reasons are practical – it’s easier to find things – and psychological; an uncluttered kitchen equals an uncluttered mind.

With streamlined cupboards and coordinated canisters now featuring heavily on Instagram, it’s no surprise that sales of food-storage tubs are up 21% this year, and larger pantry-style containers are up 6%.

The research shows that 9% of us now take our own receptacles to the supermarket for loose produce or deli items. Indeed, the Unpacked trial, where Waitrose & Partners has been selling unpackaged goods, is being extended after an overwhelmingly positive customer response.

Related Trend Updates: