Frozen food ranks fifth in Marks & Spencer’s “Top Ten Foodie Trends” for 2020, as compiled by April Preston, the London, England-headquartered retail group’s director of food product development. Her rankings and insightful commentary are presented below, fifth things first:
- The Freezer is Your Friend
Frozen food is no longer a stigma, more and more people using their freezer as an extension of their fridges and pantries – to minimize food waste, lock in freshness and reap the benefits throughout the week of batch cooking for their families. Our trends team took a recent trip to the West Coast of the US and saw how differently the American supermarkets approach the frozen section with everything from frozen chopped garlic cubes to entire meal kit ranges available in their freezers. The new M&S Food store in Hempstead Valley showcases the biggest freezer space in the business (75% bigger than standard stores) and stocks over 291 lines. New products include convenient ingredients such as chopped onions and herbs and bulk 1kg formats as well as some amazing frozen seafood.
- Plant-based Eating
With 1 in 4 M&S customers choosing a more flexitarian diet, this is a super exciting trend that’s showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. We’re expecting to see an even bigger leap forward in new products suitable for vegans, with a diversification in plant proteins and experimentation in flavors. Following on from the successful launch of our Plant Kitchen range earlier this year, we’ve turned the heat up and challenged ourselves, focusing particularly on turning well-loved products into plant-based versions and celebrating vegetables in all their forms. Look out for over a hundred vegan-friendly dishes launching in January, no least including the first No Chicken Kiev…!
- Gut Health
New research from Tim Spector and Dr. Megan Rossi at Kings College London suggests that we should be eating 30 different types of plants every week for optimal gut health. We understand how difficult it can be for busy people to prioritize gut health, and we’re launching some exciting new Eat Well Digestive Health products with delicious yogurts and drinks that actively help your gut health with specially selected ingredients.
- Fusion Foods 2.0
Japanese home cooking will be all the rage when the Olympics arrive in the middle of next year. We’re excited to be launching a first to market new range of noodle bowls with authentic Japanese noodles and the most amazing Itsu broths that will be available exclusively at M&S.
- Breakfast is Back!
We’ve always known that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, with science strongly supporting starting the day with a good meal that “breaks” your “fast.” More people are eating on the move – we know that 1 in 5 of 25-34 year olds eat breakfast on the go everyday, and over 50% will do at least once a week. Look out for our new and improved Bircher launching in January, as well as some amazing plant-based smoothies, a 5 Berry Smoothie Bowl and Granola.
- Mood Foods
Foods positioned to improve your energy, sleep or brain functioning will be big in 2020. Nootropics, Anti-inflammatories and Aruyvedic are all trends that you’ll be hearing a lot of. Fermented products are also relevant here, such as kefir, kombucha and kimchi – with emerging research suggesting links between improved gut health and effects on our mood. Look out for our delicious new High Protein Kefir Yoghurts.
- Celebrating our Veggies
No longer playing second fiddle to meat, vegetables are destined to become the heroes themselves. You don’t have to be strictly vegan or vegetarian to partake, either with the rise of veggie-centric recipes and showstoppers that even carnivores can enjoy. Look out for our amazing new range of veggie pots in January – full on flavor and with some as crammed in with 3 of your 5-a-day!
- Hyper-seasonal Produce
Along with it tasting more delicious, eating what’s in season often means a fresher more nutritious product with a lower environmental impact. But forget four seasons, people now understand more about early-, peak- and late- seasonal produce.
- Low- and No-Alcohol
The low- and no-alcohol craze is set explode even further in 2020. We have doubled our range of low and no products over the past year and M&S low alcohol wines as a category is currently up 89% YOY volume growth. Whether it’s no-alc versions of your favorite bar cocktails or more sophisticated soft drinks using seasonal fruits and botanicals there’s never been more choice for an alcohol-free night out.
- Continuing to Act on Plastic
It would be flippant to refer to sustainability and plastic as a trend – but on a list of what is going to matter in 2020 it has to be on the agenda. The need to tackle these issues is not new, and like our customers, we really care about the environment and our priority over the last couple of years has been to reduce and remove plastic from our packaging – from unwrapping fruit and vegetables to redesigning our crisp and popcorn packs. We’re already 1,000 tons of plastic lighter and we’ll go faster and further in 2020 to remove another 1,000 tons.
An area we know is key for our customers is recyclability, so where it’s not possible to switch our packaging, we’re focused on making it widely recyclable (or reusable). But we’re not stopping at product packaging, we know the same goes for single-use items like cards and wrapping paper. In 2019 we completely removed glitter – a difficult to recycle micro-plastic – from all our Christmas cards, wrapping paper, gift bags and crackers and we’ve pledged to go glitter-free across our year-round cards and gift wrapping ranges by the end of 2020 to support our customers to recycle more.