Press releases

Express yourself! New report reveals how food is now central to who we are

Wednesday 2 November 2016

 
Top trends of the year revealed in the Waitrose Food & Drink Report

The four key trends in the report all outline different ways in which people are increasingly seeing food as a part of our identity, taking pride in what and how we eat. Says Waitrose Managing Director Rob Collins: 'As a nation we're expressing ourselves through food as never before. From healthy eating, to the explosion of food photography on social media, to our desire to entertain others through cooking - food is today's hottest social currency; through it, we tell others about ourselves.'

The fourth annual report, published on 2 November, is based on millions of purchases in shops and online, with comprehensive new consumer research and insight from Waitrose buyers and experts.

Findings include:

Social media has fundamentally changed our relationship with food (page 4)

  • One in five Britons has posted a picture of their food on social media or sent it to a friend, in the last month
  • Over 2% of us have shared a picture in the last day, and 44% of us make more effort with our cooking if we think a photo of it may be posted. Spiralisers were the top selling gadget in Waitrose this summer, and Instagram-friendly dishes such as charred food, picanha, bao buns and churros all make it into this year's barometer (page 2)
     

Britons now see healthy eating and looking after ourselves as 'just a part of who we are' (page 3)

  • There was a time when healthy eating involved calorie counting, effort and sacrifice. But now nearly three quarters (71%) say it's just a part of who we are, a part of everyday life
  • 60% of us say the food we choose to eat is naturally lighter and fresher than five years ago, for example. swapping potatoes for aubergines in cooking (up 18% this year), or choosing mini treats instead of full-size options, such as mini hot cross buns at Easter (up 165%)
  • Products including seeds and grains, coconut flour, cactus water and seaweed - and a 'veggan' diet (vegan but with eggs) are all top food trends of the year (barometer, page 2)
     

'Doing the right thing' has become second nature (page 8)

  • Conscious consumption is now a part of everyday life; 80% of us actively consider how and where our food is sourced, and 30% say we think more about the environment and society than five years ago
  • 46% of us throw away less food than we did, and a third of us are using our freezers more. Nearly half say shopping more frequently for smaller baskets of food has helped manage our waste at home
  • Sales of class 2 ('wonky') vegetables, organic beauty products and food storage containers are all on the rise

The lines between eating out and eating in are blurring (page 10)

  • Four in 10 of us see eating out as less of a treat than we used to. Cheaper and healthier casual dining when we're out means that we're increasingly choosing to stay in when we want to treat ourselves
  • When we do stay in we're making it an event. In the last year, 40% of us have either been to or hosted a Come Dine With Me-style revolving dinner party, or a dinner party where everyone brings a dish, or a themed evening based around a holiday destination or cooking style
  • Demand for Waitrose Entertaining food ordering service is up 14% this year. And olive wood serving boards and posh cutlery sets are up by 60% and 40%, as people entertain more at home
     

Also in the report…

  • How Britain Shops – which regions are the most likely to use a shopping list, shop online, buy organic or shop every day of the week? Waitrose has assessed the shopping habits of the nation in 2016 (page 5)
  • The Lunchtime Lowdown – an in-depth look at the nation's lunchtime habits. For example almost 60% of office workers now eat at their desks, and teachers are d workers from London are most likely to choose salad, while people from the Midlands prefer sushi (page 6)
  • The great plastic bag survey - One year on from the carrier bag charge, 42% of people now claim to rarely forget to take a bag shopping with them, and a further 21% of people say they never forget (page 9)
  • Technology through the decades – some of the ways technology has changed the way we shop over the last 40 years (page 10)
  • How has shopping changed in the past 20 years – a look back at how we shopped in 1996 versus today (page 11)
  • Every home a multiplex – multiscreening has become a way of life, with the average Briton using three electronic devices during an evening, whether streaming shows or shopping online (page 11)
  • What we’ll be eating and drinking in 2017 (page 11)
  • Our favourite drinks – the top drinks trends of 2016 (page 12).

Notes to editors

The Waitrose Food & Drink Report is released on Wednesday 2 November. Illustrations from the report are available to use free of charge – please ask us for high resolution versions. Waitrose interviewees are available.

Research for the Report has been carried out throughout 2016. Based on millions of purchases in shops and online, along with comprehensive new consumer research and insight from Waitrose food and retail experts, the report uncovers Britain's top shopping, eating and drinking habits for 2016.


Enquiries

For further information please contact:

Waitrose Communications team,
Telephone: 01344 825 080