Future Foodie Focus

Shifting trends in F&B and changing passenger tastes and expectations were the subject of a fascinating session that included panellists Vane Airport Media Founder Cristina Alcivar, Menu Matters President Maeve Webster and Kathy Casey Food Studios Owner Kathy Casey.

Cristina Alcivar, Maeve Webster and Kathy Casey helmed a fascinating session on future trends in F&B

Alcivar: “The time has come to break bread with wellness”

Alcivar challenged the travel F&B industry to focus more on wellness and offer a greater variety of healthy options.

Just as importantly, airports and concessionaires need to do a better job of communicating the healthy options available, she said. “The time has come to break bread with wellness, it is an opportunity for growth and a selling point – and consumers want it.”

In a compelling presentation, Webster highlighted recent trends in wellness including: a shift towards holistic health (not simply about being healthy or losing weight any more); veganism, vegetarianism and flexitarianism; functional foods that have tangible, identifiable benefits; and sustainability.

Webster noted that the focus should now shift to Generation Z in terms of innovations and strategy. The influence of millennials is passing and it is the new generation that will drive change in the next ten years. Immersive experiences – beyond just the appeal of food – will be vital.

“Food was a key part of the Millennial identity, but Generation Z is not Millennials 2.0," she said.

"They are looking for broader experiences beyond food, and this is where the importance of immersion comes in.

Maeve Webster: “Food was a key part of the Millennial identity, but Generation Z is not Millennials 2.0”

F&B companies must figure out how to appeal to a consumer desire for broader wellness solutions

Other trends include seasonality, or changing out areas depending on the season, and bringing the locale into the dining environment. “This is happening in chains too; companies are trying to create a stronger brand identity and story.”

Other factors discussed were luxury offers as a growth area and the potential future impact of lab-based food and DNA-based diets. “Generation Z is ok with lab-based foods as they believe they will be environmentally-friendly. DNA-based diets will take personalisation to the extreme, and we will need to know how to approach this as one day it will be more the norm than not.”

But one of the most important trends is wellness. “It is a huge factor, but at the same time some consumers will never care about it. Wellness is though important for a majority share of consumers, both in the USA and internationally. It is not just about losing weight, it is holistic.” F&B companies must figure out how to appeal to a consumer desire for broader wellness solutions, she said.

Tied in with this is the concept of functional foods: what a consumer eats must be doing something for them beyond just filling them up. “This is a great opportunity for airports, as products can reduce stress or provide energy,” she noted.

Kathy Casey discussed a big opportunity in reimagining fast food, by elevating the customer experience for travellers on a budget. “People like build it yourself opportunities or to create their own items,” she said.

In terms of healthy options, she commented: “Today it is plant-based, and concepts keep growing, so what is the menu appeal? A few options or items at least is needed, and this alone can make a big impact.”

Casey says beauty and wellness are having a huge influence on F&B

Beauty and wellness are also having a huge influence on F&B today, she said, encouraging delegates to look at what is on the shelves in these categories and to bring it into F&B.

Casey also noted the value of ‘destination layovers’ – with a ‘craveable connection’ – where F&B is so good travellers plan their trips to have layovers at airports with specific restaurants.

Finally, the bar represents a huge opportunity and area with plenty of room for expansion, she said. People are looking to reduce alcohol consumption though so a major growth area will be non-alcoholic beverages. They must be “exciting and delicious” and then people will pay for them, according to Casey.

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July 2019

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