Food and Dining Trends

The last few years have been quite something! A worldwide pandemic, the UK’s exit from the EU, and a rocky economy have all resulted in huge changes within the hospitality sector. Unfortunately, we’re not in the clear just yet. With costs rising for everything from energy to rent and ingredients to wages, many businesses are feeling the financial strain and combined with staffing shortages it’s proving a challenging time for many.

However, much like we saw during the dark days of the pandemic, the hospitality industry is one of great adaptability and we’re seeing food businesses everywhere evolve and improve to help them thrive within the current constraints of the economy. Thankfully the first half of 2023 has shown the UK’s dining scene to be as stimulating and diverse as it has ever been, so we thought we’d highlight a few key 2023 food trends for the rest of the year.


More immersive dining experiences: 

With the economy taking its toll on people’s wallets, it naturally leads to dining out a little less often. With that in mind, when consumers do decide to treat themselves, they’ll desire a bigger and more memorable experience and one that’s fit for social media sharing. Expect theatrical environments, live music, technology, or fancy lighting experiences combined with tableside fun to be on their Wishlist.



Diversification of spaces

As cafes, restaurants and bars look for ways to ease the financial pressure, many will look to make their spaces work better for them. No longer just about food, we’ll see them become community hubs. Expect to see businesses offering their spaces to others for events and workshops as well as opening at alternative times for supper clubs and pop-ups.  


Nostalgic vibes

There’s nothing more comforting than nostalgia. Having already seen an increase in the purchase of small-ticket comfort food such as sweets and cakes, restaurants will steer their menus towards wholesome, retro foods with a modern twist. This back-to-basic style of cooking ties in perfectly with humble ingredients becoming increasingly popular as a solution for cutting production costs.



Sustainability Rules

Sustainably sourced foods and products have been in the headlines for some time and continue to be a hot topic for consumers. A study by research and technology company Glow revealed that one in four consumers in the UK have changed their food purchases, now opting for sustainable brands, suggesting consumer awareness surrounding sustainability is greater than ever.

And it’s not just sustainable food that matters, consumers are looking for sustainable packaging solutions too and will opt to pay more to ensure their eco-conscious preferences are met. Advertising your sustainability promotes your like-minded ethics and encourages customer retention. Make sure your customers are aware that your It’s a Wrap branded greaseproof is certified as both home and commercially compostable and is made using FSC-approved materials!



Smart tech solutions: 

Technology such as QR menus, cloud kitchens and delivery apps are in line with shifting consumer preferences. The digitally savvy Gen Z's and millennial's preference for mobile ordering and automated kiosks have seen tech systems become commonplace in everyday dining experiences and with ongoing staff shortages and a need to cut costs, even high-end venues are turning to tech for inspiration. From smart tables that allow you to order food, pay your bill and even control the music through your phone, to AI-powered chatbots that answer your questions and make recommendations, the use of smart tech solutions is becoming increasingly popular in the restaurant industry.

Why not include a QR code menu link on your branded greaseproof paper table mats or use a QR code to upsell dessert on a main meal presentation? If you’re unsure how best to include a QR code in your designs, just speak to our design team who’ll be happy to assist.



Zero waste for the win

Along with sustainability, minimizing waste is one of the biggest trends for 2023. Savvy chefs will be busy creating menus designed to use every scrap of food and turning to techniques such as fermenting, preserving and composting to work towards zero waste. Have your compostable greaseproof to hand as 2023’s waste-conscious customers will be taking home any food they can’t finish. Restaurants can expect to see a continued shift towards biodegradable packaging, locally sourced produce, and composting programmes.