Summer in the Cronx
 
angelina-kichukova-AjaOjlImLjM-unsplash.jpg

"so Croydon is usually more Stormzy than Shakespeare but this summer we'll be transported to the streets of fair Verona for a production of his most famous play, Romeo and Juliet."


Craft markets, pop-up mini golf, urban beaches and even a spot of Shakespeare, William Murray’s hometown of Croydon has pulled out the stops for summer events this year so we thought we’d share our top five picks to embrace summer CRO-style. 

Saturday 13th July - Yoga on the Roof 

Those weekend vibes will be in full flow at Boxpark this Saturday as the uplifting vinyasa yoga class from YoGlo Yoga comes to the covered rooftop deck. The one-hour class begins at 9.30am so you can start your day on a virtuous note then either continue the clean-living with delicious vegan-friendly treats from the likes of Oatopia or reward yourself with a slap-up brunch at laidback weekend hang-out The Breakfast Club.  Advanced tickets for yoga are £10 (or £13 on the door). Find more details here. 

 

Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st July - Pop-up Crazy Golf 

Yes you could schlep into the city for a round at Swingers, OR you could nip down to Croydon High Street between 11am and 5pm on 20 & 21 July for pop-up crazy golf. Nine holes to putt your best foot forward with friends, the kids or the work crowd. Find more details here. 

 

Saturday 27th July  - Made in Croydon Craft Market  

We love a browse round street markets full of independent sellers, so this one is a must. Find unique homeware, fashion, handmade jewellery and gifts whilst supporting your local artists, designers and craft-workers at the next Made in Croydon Craft Market. Made in Croydon is a local collective of creatives who are brought together to showcase their skills. Definitely worth a sunny Saturday browse between 10am and 5pm. Find more details here. 

 

Thursday 8th August - Shakespeare on the high street: Romeo and Juliet 

So Croydon is usually more Stormzy than Shakespeare but this summer we'll be transported to the streets of fair Verona for a production of his most famous play, Romeo and Juliet. Tickets are free for the open air, high street performance starting at 7pm so embrace your inner culture vulture and spend a balmy summer evening with a pair of star-crossed lovers. Find more details here.  

 

Saturday 24th- Monday 26th August, 10.30am-6pm  - Beach on the street  

Buckets and spades at the ready! We’ll be asking ourselves if we’re in Croydon or Croyde this August as 15 tonnes of pure clean sand are poured across the High Street to create our very own urban beach complete with striped deckchairs and ice-cream stalls. #Beachvibes all round. Find more details here. 

 
Food Tech Tuesday: A passion for plant-based
 
Screenshot 2019-06-24 at 11.07.17.png

"Our appetite for all things plant-based is firmly increasing. But what meat alternatives are hot on the high street? "


Plant-based is booming. This month alone, news broke of Nestlé launching the Awesome Burger in the States, renowned London steak restaurant group M opening their very own, wait for it… vegetarian restaurant, Raw, and Scotland playing host to the UK’s first ‘vegan hotel’

Research from our own social listening tool, Delve, highlighted this year’s Veganuary generated 50,305 mentions on social media. And apparently, more than one-third (34%) of British meat-eaters cut their meat consumption in the six months to July 2018 following a flexitarian approach - up from 28% in 2017[1].

Our appetite for all things plant-based is firmly increasing. 

But what plant-based alternatives are hot on the high street? In this month’s Food Tech Tuesday bog, we take a look at three of the meat-free alternatives that are creating a stir.

Quorn

William Murray client Quorn kicked off 2019 with the launch of *that* Gregg’s vegan sausage roll. Now it’s their KFC Imposter burger that’s getting us excited. Available to begin with from select KFC sites, the burger is getting rave reviews. It’s not hit Croydon or Brighton yet, but we can’t wait to try this one. 

This

New kid on the block This launched into Patty & Bun UK-wide with its Isn’t Bacon Rashers and Isn’t Chicken Goujons at the start of this month. The bacon (in Patty & Bun’s new vegan Pamela burger) was slightly questionable, but the nuggets really, really hit the spot. The UK-based start up is set to launch several products, all high in protein, vitamin B12 and iron, nationwide in Holland & Barrett and through Ocado. Keep your eyes peeled from July. 

Beyond Meat

Hot off the heels of its bleeding burger, Beyond Meat has launched a hot dog which it says tastes just like its pork equivalent. According to bosses, sunflower seeds are the key to replicating the ‘porky’ taste and texture. For the moment, it’s available at London’s Unity Diner. And if it’s the original you love, there’s good news as Byron has launched two new burgers with the patty: The Truffler and the Cali Cheese. 


[1]Mintel, Global New Products Database

 

 
The best of Brighton’s... coffee shops
 
BrightonCoffeeBlog.jpeg

“As a city, Brighton apparently consumes more coffee per head than anywhere else in the UK. So, it’s no surprise there are an abundance of quirky, independent places to try.”


To celebrate our new Brighton home in Platf9rm - a second office for William Murray PR and Marketing - our resident South Coaster Fiona takes a look at the some of the best foodie spots the city has to offer. This week... coffee shops.

As a city, Brighton apparently consumes more coffee per head than anywhere else in the UK. So, it’s no surprise there are an abundance of quirky, independent places to try. Here are a few of our faves not to miss if you’re in town.

Pelicano 

Take a break from shopping in Brighton’s colourful North Laine at Pelicano – a stripped back space where you can enjoy their house roasted Smoky Bird Espresso and some of the most beautiful cakes in the city. Bag the table upstairs by the window and watch the weird and wonderful world of Brighton unfold below you. There’s now a second site in city centre park The Level - perfect for post walk refuelling. 

Top tip: Check out the funky branding on the coffee bags and takeaway cups

Small Batch

Small Batch opened in Hove in 2006 and has since taken the city by storm. There are now seven coffee shops and two carts to choose from, where you’ll find expertly made coffee and some of the friendliest service in town. And the settings are as on point as the coffee. Check out Portslade’s Art and Believe graffiti, or enjoy your flat white in one of two grand old banks: Seven Dials or Norfolk Square.

 Flour Pot

Flour Pot has quickly won the hearts of Brighton and Hove thanks to its winning bread and damn good coffee. There are seven shops across the city, but if you can, take a look at the newest addition on Portland Road where strong coffee and beautiful bakery meet an Insta-worthy interior thanks to a collab with Gunn’s Florist. 

Top tip: Look out for donut Fridays. 😍🍩 

Pharmacie

Tucked away down a cobbled backstreet a few minutes walk from Hove station, Pharmacie is a roaster first, coffee shop second. But pop down on a Saturday and you can enjoy a range of single origin, hand brewed filter coffees and espresso-based drinks from beans roasted on site. 

Top tip: Keep your eyes peeled for veggie/ vegan pop ups. Last weekend A Tribe Called Veg.  

 
Fiona Hamilton
Brand power: the food ads that made us think
 
Screenshot 2019-05-31 at 12.28.26.png

Twelve years since M&S’ infamous ‘This is not just food’ campaign was taken off the air, it’s making a comeback this Spring/Summer - but with a twist. For many, the campaign’s much mimicked phrase “This is not just food, this is M&S food” became a household joke. Thanks to the campaign, M&S food signified indulgence, quality and comfort.  

This got us thinking, what makes a great advert? Does it make you sit up and think? Humour you? Get you to take action? 

The team weighed in on memorable ads of past and present. Ads that inspire, humour and intrigue us (or that just make us really damn hungry!). 

 

KFC - FCK  

91752737-8aee-4f95-b123-18c1716d8574_large.jpg

“For me it’s got to be KFC’s FCK campaign. Hot off the heels of running out of chicken, they placed a cheeky, full place apology ad in The Metro. Sometimes it pays to be bold, admit you’re wrong, and say sorry. Crisis management at its best.” 

Fiona Hamilton – associate director 

 
guys+were+flattered.jpg

KFC - ‘Guys, we’re flattered’ 

“This campaign takes aim at all the other little chicken shops that try to be like KFC. Very simple but quite cheeky and very clever.” 

Lois Spall – senior account manager 

 

Australian Bananas and Aussie Mandarins fruit adverts 

Screenshot 2019-05-31 at 12.17.40.png

“When I was growing up in 90s Australia there were some classic ads played during after school TV shows to encourage kids to eat fruit. The most popular – and enduring, if my renditions around the William Murray fruit bowl are anything to go by – are the banana and mandarin adverts. They clearly worked, I still eat mountains of both!” 

Anna Berry – account manager 

 

Carlsberg’s - “Probably NOT the best beer in the world” rebrand and NPD  

s3-news-tmp-77017-untitled_design_76_3--2x1--940.png

“I was quite impressed with the new Carlsberg advert – probably not the best beer in the world. Recognising that they’ve gone after profits rather than quality so they held their hands up and used it as an angle to promote their new quality product.” 

Emma Hawley – account director

"It’s refreshingly honest and great brand perception. I personally don’t drink Carlsberg because I don’t think it stands up to the taste of my preferred Heineken or Peroni (which is more expensive) however as Carlsberg have read consumers’ minds and acknowledged this, it makes me want to try the new drink in order to see if they have changed.” 

Charlie von Wedl – new business development exec 

 

KFC – Try one before you turn vegan 

Burger2-800x1024.png

“A cheeky little ad. I love the way it takes a trend and uses it to stimulate customer loyalty. Nice one KFC!” 

Anita Murray – CEO 

 

Cadbury - Gorilla  

83724_8270850066764cba97a66abcd221d583.jpg

“The Cadbury’s Gorilla ad is without a doubt one of my favourite ads of all time. Simply put, it was just a commercial that had a large gorilla sitting at a set drums who goes on to play along to Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight” but really it was just so much more than that. I loved it as it really broke the mould and moved away from the traditional advertising approach that can often feel overwhelming with its messaging.  

“This ad is simplistic yet so powerful – which explains why it went viral. It captures your attention immediately and evokes feeling whilst being entertaining. How can you not watch it over and over?” 

Victoria Joseph - account manager 

 

Lurpak - Be wonderful and wise  

public-drum_creative_review-157143-main_images-L1--2x1--940.jpg

“Lurpak adverts always catch my attention. For such a simple product, home cooking is brought to life with Lurpak’s signature style - vivid colours, short and sharp frames and crisp sound effects. I really like the ‘Be wonderful and wise’ TV ad – it encourages anyone to get creative in the kitchen and you simply can’t look away!”   

Rosie Carr – content strategist  

It’s safe to say that KFC’s bold, brave and cheeky ads were a big hit at WM HQ. Kudos to its ad team, as well as Carlsberg and Lurpak. Big, bold and brave really does pay off.  

 
Rosie Carr
Food Tech Tuesday: text generation ordering
 
matcha.PNG

"In another world first, food and drink start up Matcha Works has launched a food SMS ordering system which it says is set to disrupt the consumer packaged goods landscape."


Welcome to Food Tech Tuesday - a round-up of our favourite food tech stories. From next gen food & drink to the latest tech that’s tackling food waste or driving the industry forward.

This month…

Moo-ve over out of date milk

Out of date milk may soon be a thing of the past thanks to Aussie company Naturo who has developed a technology that will keep it fresh for up to 60 days. Yes, you heard that right.

In a world first, the team at Naturo has figured out how to keep cows’ milk fresh, and, they claim, improve its nutrition compared to regular milk. The innovation has won the backing of The Queensland Government too, who has given $250,000 in funding.

According to its founders: “It’s a healthier product, it lasts a long time and it tastes great.” Watch this space.

Seaweed pods cut waste at London Marathon

Three cheers for London Marathon and Skipping Rocks Lab who saved using an estimated 215,000 plastic bottles at this years’ event by switching some of the plastic to Ooho seaweed pods.

Their clever team of chemists, designers, scientists and entrepreneurs have designed the pouches to biodegrade in 4-6 weeks, roughly the same time as a piece of fruit.

The company also make biodegradable sachets for sauces, salad dressings and condiments. We’re sold.

Moving Mountains launched veggie hot dog

Moving Mountains – founders of the bleeding burger – is set to launch its latest innovation this week, a hot dog which it says tastes just like its pork equivalent.

According to bosses, sunflower seeds are the key to replicating pork’s ‘porky’ taste and texture.

Get your hands on it first in London’s Unity Diner from Thursday, before it lands in supermarkets later this year.

Text generation ordering

In another world first, food and drink start up Matcha Works has launched a food SMS ordering system which it says is set to disrupt the consumer packaged goods landscape.

The premise is simple. Customers who pre-register on their website can order Matcha products via text message delivering an on-demand service.

The team will also be showcasing its text to order vending machine at London Food Tech Week later this month.

 
Fiona Hamilton
Food Meets Finance: food trends and the opportunities for ambitious businesses 
 
assorted foods.jpg

"With ‘no or low’ alcohol brands such as Seedlip proving that spirits don’t need a hefty alcohol content, and new offerings popping up such as Heineken’s 0.0% beer, mindful drinking is definitely on the public’s and industry’s agenda. "


Earlier this month, the team had the pleasure of attending Food Meets Finance, an Informed Funding event focused on the opportunities for ambitious food, drink and hospitality businesses.    

After a day of finance consultancy sessions, we sat down for the ‘Profiting from Trends in Food, Drink and Hospitality’ panel to hear about the current trends in the space. The panel consisted of Laura Willoughby MBE, co-founder of mindful drinking movement Club Soda; Mark Francis, coach and mentor at The Uspire Group; Patrick Ryan, equity fundraising manager at Crowdcube; and our very own CEO, Anita Murray. 

As you can imagine, Brexit is an inevitable subject cropping up both for the finance and food, drink and hospitality industries, especially when it comes to supply.  

For finance, Patrick Ryan described a dip in the investment market as a result of Brexit, questioning whether we will experience a recession in the coming years. However, this could present new business opportunities such as export and increased manufacturing. Building upon this point, Anita Murray agreed there is opportunity for British suppliers, foreseeing a growing support for local British products in light of Brexit.  

So what are the other hot topics for food and drink businesses in 2019? 

Mindful drinking 

With ‘no or low’ alcohol brands such as Seedlip proving that spirits don’t need a hefty alcohol content, and new offerings popping up such as Heineken’s 0.0% beer, mindful drinking is definitely on the public’s and industry’s agenda. 

Both Patrick Ryan and Laura Willoughby agreed that the mindful drinking movement isn’t going anywhere. Innovation in consumer goods continues to drive forward, alongside impactful research and development based on consumer insight.  

To this point, Willoughby explained her background in the Mindful Drinking Movement, having launched Club Soda (likened to a ‘club’ similar to Weight Watchers!) after recognising the need to take a break from alcohol.  

Referencing a stagnation in alcohol sales over the past few years, she mentioned how Club Soda organised the Mindful Drinking Festival, which is a popular event amongst the organisation’s 30,000 members.  

The rise of meat-free  

Anita Murray drew our attention to continued growth in the meat-free sector, and how more consumers are adopting meat-free or reduced meat diets. With ingenious products and innovations popping up from the likes of Oumph and Quorn, the meat free market is showing no sign of slowing down.  

In recent years, dairy alternatives have cropped up in our supermarkets, and in cafes and restaurants too. Innovations in this space keep on coming, with oats, soya and coconut widely used alternatives, as well as newcomers such as hemp milk.  

Health and wellness 

In many aspects, health and wellness is a significant trend not only in the food industry but increasingly within modern culture. From #selflove, veganism, keto or meditation (the list goes on), people are prioritising physical and mental wellbeing and incorporating different and new healthy practices into their lifestyles.  

Laura Willoughby mentioned the growing trend of health and wellness amongst hospitality employees. With long hours, demanding physical work and intense environments, the wellbeing of hospitality professionals should be a growing priority for employers and the industry. Laura mentioned that Club Soda is looking at how it can develop its tools to help people stay healthy whatever the industry they work in.  

Widespread sustainability 

Consumers and the industry are becoming more planet-conscious than ever. Sustainability is now defining ad campaigns, business practice, government policy, product development, and even down to how consumers recycle and small, everyday life choices. Anita Murray noted a real, growing appetite for ethical consumerism, and how more businesses are rightfully putting sustainable practices on the agenda. For instance, supermarkets are joining the fight against plastic, with Morrison’s banning plastic bags, and Lidl banning black plastics.  

 
Rosie Carr
All in Good Taste #4: Brands on the Brexit bandwagon
 
AIGT_Logo_gold-stars.gif

Welcome to your latest All in Good Taste, the monthly round up of PR gold stars and faux pas.  

Whether we like it or not, Brexit is the word on everyone’s lips. 29 March AKA “Brexit day” has been and gone and we’re still none the wiser. Brands have jumped on the bandwagon, with a mixture of creative and downright distasteful campaigns – from food stockpiling loans to Brexit boxes.   

Talking of Brexit, have you heard what our new social listening tool, Delve Insights, found about consumer Brexit concerns

Elsewhere, McDonald’s snubs coffee snobs in its latest ingenious ad promoting its back to basics campaign.  


 

Peachy’s rotten ad pulled

In an ill-fated campaign to entice customers amid Brexit uncertainty, short term loan company Peachy.co.uk encouraged consumers to take out loans so they could stockpile for potential food shortages. Unsurprisingly, the ad was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), rightly deemed “irresponsible” and leaving a bad taste in our mouths.  

 
 

BrexitBox.jpg

Nothing compares to EU

Worried how you’ll get your hands on truffle oil or Nduja spread post-Brexit? Not to fear, DIFORTI’s ‘Brexit Box’ is here. With the future of food imports under serious question, the Italian delicatessen has packaged up a box of tasty essentials in case continental products become harder to find.  

After all, DIFORTI warns that the price of olives has hit a seven-year high, and an impending cheese shortage looms. The gouda news just keeps on coming! (sorry)  

Ingenious marketing method or a distasteful deal? We honestly can’t decide. One thing’s for sure – we're hungry. Someone pass the bread and olives? 


Wecouldad.jpg

A cheap shot?

In the latest ad promoting its back to basics coffee approach, McDonald’s mugs off pretentious coffee drinkers in a series of hilarious scenarios. 

Expect hipster coffee scientists, pretentious coffee connoisseurs and an interpretative dance. Yep, prepare for a roasting.   

While some may call it a cheap shot, they’ve hit the habits right on their head and successfully snubbed the coffee snobs in the 60 second ad.  

MCDsAd.gif
 
 
 
The power to turn insight into action
 

“Social media listening  is an endless source of real time customer insight. You can listen and track data from digital conversations to find new opportunities, create actionable insights and share targeted, relevant content to influence your audience.


I’m going to start this blog with a question. We have all dreamt of having a superpower bestowed upon them. Or is that just me? But if you could have any superpower, what would it be?  

I understand that not all superpowers are created equal. But, consider this. 

What if you could listen to millions of conversations your customers are having, at the touch of a button? What if you could accurately predict the type of content and offers that will influence their decision to buy or stay loyal to your brand? 

Well that day could be closer than you think. Say hello to Delve Insights - our intelligent social listening insight tool.  

In a first for foodservice. Delve Insights gives you the competitive edge. We’ve developed this clever tool to help you understand what your audience has to say about you, your competitors, and your market in general.  

Use Delve Insights to create bespoke research for you and your clients and receive unique insights to gain market advantage. Collect and act upon the data that’s most important to you.  

When you can make informed decisions with real insights, why would you leave it up to guesswork?  

To give you an idea of the power of Delve Insights, we tapped into the online conversations taking place around Brexit and food.  

Brexit_Graphic.jpg

Listening is powerful. Insight is priceless.  

Get in touch with our expert team to learn how we can help you gain a competitive edge.    To understand more on what’s being said about you and your competitors, get in touch with our specialist team.

 
Greggs’ vegan sausage roll most talked about during Veganuary
 

With 50,305 mentions, it was a widely debated topic with the majority (75%) of consumers conscious of health benefits”


In light of booming success in the vegan market (such as Greggs’ recent £1bn milestone thanks to its vegan sausage roll), our research has tapped into ‘Veganuary’ – a month-long veganism challenge during January which saw a record 250,000 sign ups this year.(1)   

Using our social listening tool, Delve Insights, our team kept track of what people were saying online about the much-anticipated month. After weeks of indulgence over the Christmas period, Veganuary was a welcome change for many, who considered it as a personal challenge for 2019.  

McDonald’s and M&S were quick off the mark to announce new vegan-friendly products in January, with vegan Happy Meals and the Plant Kitchen ranges appearing on shelves across the country. But it was Greggs that won the battle of the brands for NPDs with its vegan friendly sausage roll, owning 67% of product mentions.  

When it came to brand share of voice, plant-based meat alternatives Oumph and Quorn were the top two most talked about brands over Veganuary, proving the nation’s willingness to adopt plant-based proteins in place of meat. This was also true for individual ingredients, with tofu (44%) and jackfruit (34%) popular choices.  

So, why did people take part? With 50,305 mentions, it was a widely debated topic with the majority (75%) of consumers conscious of health benefits and 16% talking about environmental impact. What’s more, the social listening tool saw a spike in Veganuary conversations around on Monday afternoons and Saturday mornings – times of the week where health is more likely to be front of mind.  

Overall, Veganuary was generally well-received online, with more than two-thirds (64%) considering the month-long lifestyle challenge a positive change. Cities known for their cosmopolitan culture - London, Manchester, Brighton and Bristol - were most vocal and positive on Twitter.   

To understand more on what’s being said about you and your competitors, get in touch with our specialist team.

See below for an infographic of our findings:   

WM_Branded_Veganuary.jpg


 
All in Good Taste #3: Face palm Feb
 
AIGT_Logo_gold-stars.gif

Welcome to your latest All in Good Taste, the monthly round up of PR gold stars and faux pas.  

Last month, PR was briefly redefined as ‘Piers’s Reactions’, but this month has been about ‘Leeds generation’ as Pizza Hut just about clings on to a bandwagon by serving up ‘Spygate’ Championship banter by the slice.  

Elsewhere, Iceland’s palm oil palaver raises eyebrows over its planet friendly pledge, and M&S’s Valentine’s Day ‘Love Sausage’ leaves a sniggering nation seriously considering vegetarianism. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom in the ad world. In their latest effort to tackle childhood obesity, ITV and Veg Power’s latest ad humorously villainises veg so kids ‘defeat’ their five a day


 

Banter by the slice

Joining the ‘Spygate’ debate about Leeds United’s snoop on Derby City’s training session, Pizza Hut took to Twitter to serve up Championship banter by the slice. It could have gone really badly but it managed to salvage it with some quick wit and half decent comebacks.

Screenshot 2019-02-15 at 15.34.04.png
Screenshot 2019-02-15 at 15.41.40.png
DxR7q8SWkAQSucp.jpg-large.jpg
 
 

Iceland.jpg

Face palm moments

Since promising to remove palm oil from all own-brand products by the end of 2018, Iceland was found to still be selling products containing the stuff. Apparently just a technical hitch, they clearly have their work cut out, with the news hitting just weeks after the company’s infamous orangutan Christmas ad was banned.

“Many own-brand products on Iceland’s website appear with a “no palm oil” logo, while others – many of which do not mention palm oil in the ingredients – do not have the logo attached, leading to scepticism among some consumers, while others praised the brand for making an effort.”

- Independent


Wurst.jpg

Wurst dates

Can you think of anything more romantic than ‘saying it with a sausage’? Well, apparently M&S can’t. In an offputting attempt to jump on the Valentine’s Day bandwagon, the retail giant’s ‘Love Sausage’ caused an innuendo fuelled Twitter storm of the wurst kind.

Screenshot 2019-02-15 at 15.51.32.png
 
 

Villainous veg

What to do when your kids won’t eat their five a day? Make veggies evil, of course. Veg Power and ITV have taken an unconventional approach in their latest ‘Eat Them to Defeat Them’ campaign ad, where sinister sprouts and creepy cauliflower descend upon an army of fearless kids. 

ezgif.com-optimize-5.gif
Eatthemtodefeatthem.jpg
 
All in Good TasteRosie Carr
Download our latest insight report
 

“The key is to understand and contextualise your data, using it to make informed decisions.”


Big data, data science or data mining. Whatever you call it, one thing is clear, data has become an increasingly valuable asset for hospitality businesses to capitalise on. And in creative ways too.  

BUT the key is to understand and contextualise your data, using it to make informed decisions.    

To move the conversation on and create this insight, we teamed up with data analytics provider Zizo to host a hospitality industry roundtable, ‘Big Data: The Gamechanger’ at The Foodservice Show 2019.

Matt Napleton, sales and marketing director, Zizo on the event: “It’s clear that despite some initial reticence about data and its value to the hospitality business, the volume and variety of data created by the industry means there is clear value to be had.

 “The roundtable brought together a wide spectrum of organisations from the industry, with data creators engaging with data consumers to understand how we can pull data together to create new opportunities. As we have seen in other sectors (such as retail, logistics and  finance in particular) the ability to pull together diverse data sets into something that delivers value will be key for future growth, of both wallet share and consumer voice. Even if you feel you are not ready to use data yet – you would be best to start thinking about new ways to use it – before somebody else does!”

Industry experts within the hotel, drinks, foodservice, purchasing, food waste and software development sectors joined us to debate some of the challenges associated with retrieving, understanding and acting upon data. 

Anita Murray, William Murray CEO, said: “Over the last few years, data science or ‘big data’, has become widely valued and utilised in the technology, finance and retail industries. However, in the hospitality sector, I think we’ve only scratched the surface in knowing exactly what gathering and understanding our data can do for our businesses. By gaining valuable insight, hospitality businesses of any size are better equipped to make informed decisions, using data to improve efficiency, build customer loyalty, predict behaviours and increase profits.”

Drawing upon these discussions, this report considers the most valuable types of data and whether the hospitality industry is ready to evolve with it. 

 Click here to download our latest insight report

Spread_1.jpg


 
Changes to the hospitality industry – past, present and future
 
0M8A1478.jpg

"it seems that Brexit isn’t necessarily the issue as most companies have a plan in place for either direction. The problem is the state of limbo we are currently in, which causes uncertainty."


I recently attended The Foodservice Show at the NEC in Birmingham and we already have an early contender for show of the year. It had the bustling nature you would want at any show, matched with the glorious smells being produced by demonstrations across the floor.

Between tasting sample after sample, I had the pleasure of listening to an interview with Jan Matthews who spoke about her career, her time at with Olympic Committee and the hospitality industry as a whole.   

Challenges facing the industry

It’s widely accepted that the biggest challenge facing the hospitality industry right now is Brexit, in terms of the challenges facing labour and food shortages. However, it seems that Brexit isn’t necessarily the problem as most companies have plans in place for either direction. The issue is the state of limbo the country is in because of it. Will it? Won’t it? With the current state of affairs it’s particularly hard for the industry to prepare effectively.

Matthews mentioned that the skill gap is widening with the industry not looking as “sexy” as it did in the past. Sure, many young people fall into hospitality who thrive and pursue a career from it, but not many actively choose it. Matthews went on to say that celebrity chefs have improved the perception of working in the kitchen by making it look appealing, but front of house is suffering. The way to improve this is to offer genuine career paths to incentivise and improve learning, an example Matthews used was that after ten shifts the employee could be given more responsibility. 

Legislation is another challenge faced by the hospitality industry. Allergens came out of nowhere following the Pret backlash Pret, with most businesses quickly having to adapt and re-evaluate their allergen policies. This caused a full on industry change and led to a change of strategy for most venues.

The Future of Hospitality

And there is no doubt that recycling is going to become more and more important as we try to achieve a carbon neutral footprint. Matthews mentioned that during her time on the Olympic committee she was responsible for the catering and waste management at the London 2012 Olympic Games. They had a zero to landfill policy, which taught her that in order to achieve an efficient waste management system, you need to have a perfect streaming service otherwise it ends up in landfill. Matthews also stated that another hurdle is that charities do not have the infrastructure to collect spare food. So, whilst they would want the waste food to go to charities, they needed to make sure they had covered the logistical side.

Talking to exhibitors and listening to speakers at the show there is level of optimism, no matter what happens on the 29 March. The future looks bright for hospitality.

 

 
Charlie Von Wedl
Q&A: Anita Murray on sailing, singing and Springboard’s best charity panto yet
 
 
Asset 1@300x-100.jpg

"Performing definitely draws people closer together, as we’re working towards the same goal."


Later this month, our CEO Anita Murray is swapping her laptop for a panto script in the hospitality industry pantomime, Dick Whittington. Oh yes she is!  

On 29 January – 1 February, Anita will join familiar faces from the likes of The Ritz, The Caterer, Marriott, Handpicked Hotels and Searcy’s in the all-singing all-dancing West End extravaganza, raising funds for hospitality industry charity Springboard.  

We catch up with Anita on how rehearsals are going, taking to the seas with Springboard, and why Dick Whittington will be the charity’s best show yet.  

Tell us a little about your involvement with Springboard.

Springboard has been one of the main hospitality industry charities I’ve connected with since I joined William Murray ten years ago. 

I’ve been involved in a number of initiatives and activities, as I really believe in what Springboard is doing, giving disadvantaged youngsters a leg up in what is a fantastic industry. After all, the industry needs new waves of people coming in to make it even better.  

I’m involved in Springboard’s fundraising committee, which looks at all the ways to raise funds through different events and activities. I’ve also been lucky to take part in sailing regattas with the charity. It’s a magical experience of racing with a team, and the camaraderie you get dealing with rope burns when winging your way across the water! Last year the Springboard boat came second, which we were pretty chuffed with! This experience and the panto have been real personal highlights for me - truly creative and inclusive ways of bringing the industry together to fundraise.  

Springboard has always been incredibly inclusive, promoting team work and collaboration that ultimately break down barriers. One minute you're being introduced to someone from The Ritz and the next minute you’re hugging them because you’ve been involved in a great panto performance, or you’re commiserating with them while struggling with them on a boat. All of this makes for developing better relationships in the industry.

What part are you playing in Dick Whittington? 

I'm one of four singers. We're performing some great numbers and I get to fulfil my lifetime ambition of being in Abba! The question is...am I the blonde or the redhead? 

How are rehearsals going? 

As we’re now at the stage to rehearse the whole performance together, it's amazing to see how all individual rehearsals and scenes are meshing together to form one show.  

Rehearsing the opening number has been particularly uplifting. Having a cast of 50 people dancing together means we all leave rehearsals on a high with massive grins on our faces! Without a doubt it will be the best Springboard panto yet. There’s funny parts, amazing songs and witty dialogue that’s very hospitality focused of course! 

Have you formed new friendships with your panto castmates? 

I’m getting very close to my Abba comrades ‘Benny’, ‘Bjorn’ and ‘Agnetha’ - we're having an amazing laugh together. Performing definitely draws people closer together, as we’re working towards the same goal.  

Why do you think the panto will be a hit this year? 

We've harnessed momentum from the first and second years and come into the third show so energised. Everything’s bigger and better – the performances are more professional than before, and the dancing numbers are more ambitious. From the get-go, everyone’s been so focused on making it special for the audience.  

What would you say to anyone who hasn’t bought their ticket yet? 

What other chance will you get to see your industry peers perform in the West End?! And it’s all for a fantastic cause. Buy a ticket – you'll be doing good and feeling good!   

Break a leg Anita!  

A limited number of seats are still available, click here to secure yours now.

 
Rosie Carr
Bisto gives competitors a roasting as UK’s most talked about gravy
 
Gravy[1].jpg

Bisto was the consumers’ go-to gravy brand for the festive period, with 66.5% share of voice, followed by Oxo (24.3%), Maggi (7.5%), Knorr (1.2%) and Kallo (0.6%). 


th-2.jpg

Using social data from the 2018 Christmas period, we kept track of what people said about gravy and the foods they associate with it and the go-to gravy brands for that perfect roast or winter warmer. After all, what would Christmas be without gravy?

Managing director Dave Greenwood said: “We have developed a new social listening tool, Delve. This means we can keep our ears close to the ground on what consumers are talking about online, as there’s a great deal we and our clients can learn from these conversations and attitudes.

“During Christmas 2018, over 2,000 unique UK authors spoke about gravy. It’s clear the traditional, iconic Christmas dinner is still just as important to consumers, and it has been interesting to understand their preferences for the biggest meal of the year.”

When it came to perfect flavour combinations, UK consumers had their eyes on the festive prize – turkey. It was by far the most popular meat mentioned alongside gravy, (68.6%), followed by beef (14.6%), chicken (11.8%), lamb (3.3%) and duck (1.6%). 

Further proving the nation’s obsession with the traditional Christmas Day roast, the most popular keywords used alongside gravy were ‘Christmas’, ‘dinner’, ‘roast’, ‘xmas’, ‘turkey’, ‘stuffing’ and ‘potatoes’. Consumers also enjoyed posting about their Christmas dinners, with the biggest spike in traffic on 25 December between 4-6pm.

th-1.jpeg

In true 2018 fashion, the topic of veganism was front of mind for many. In posts discussing special dietary requirements, 56.4% mentioned veganism, followed by vegetarianism (29.9%) and gluten free (13.7%). 

Through Delve we can understand social trends and influence at play and use this unique insight to map out a client’s marketing strategy based on real time information. 

Want to know more about how Delve can give you unique insights into your brand, competitors or customers? Or how we can help you understand more about a category and what’s really being said about it? Then pull up a chair.

 
Big Data: The Gamechanger
 
One Week to go .jpg

“If you’re able to understand and act upon business data, your decisions are smarter, operations more profitable and customer experience is more personalised.”


With less than week to go until BigData: The Gamechanger roundtable at The Foodservice Show on Tuesday 22 January, we thought we’d share just some of the questions we’ll address during the session.

  • What does big data actually mean?

  • How can big data help businesses evolve and become more efficient?

  • And how can we use it to personalise the customer experience? 

Matt Napleton from Zizo software, who works with Marks & Spencer, the BBC and Experian is co-hosting the event with us to share his expertise and insight. 

All attendees will be offered a review of how to leverage the commercial benefits from their data and a competitor social media audit. 

This exclusive roundtable is a fantastic opportunity to connect with CEOs, buyers, chefs, and food, drink & hospitality business leaders. We’ll also be publishing a report, which will be shared with everyone who attends. 

 We’re excited to have representatives from:

AttendeeLogos.jpg

Keep an eye here on our blog. Shortly after the event we’ll be releasing an exclusive report shining a light on the key talking points of the day. But, for now, visit the Eventbrite page to secure your place.

You can find us in the Concourse Suite 23, Hall 9 at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on 22 January between 13.30 and 14.30.


 
All in good taste #2: Tears for Piers
 
AIGT_Logo_gold-stars.gif

Welcome to your latest All in Good Taste, the monthly round up of PR gold stars and faux pas. Gregg’s refused to rollover this month, briefly subbing out baking for roasting with a series of witty twitter retorts around the launch of its vegan sausage roll.

Elsewhere, Doritos’ development of a female-friendly chip unsurprisingly landed on the shoulder of feminists nationwide, and Cadbury’s adopted a golden (plated) egg style competition with a poor prize pot. Here’s this month’s mostly-meaty marketing moments and mishaps:


Screen-Shot-2019-01-02-at-10.52.06-1.png

Tears for Piers

Demonstrating ROI in modern PR is a doddle if you can coax a public reaction from UK media marmite Piers Morgan, generating huge amounts of opportunities to see and audience engagement. So, when Gregg’s launched its vegan sausage roll (had you heard?), all-out war broke out between the two most vocal groups on Twitter, behind One Direction’s legion of pre-teens; vegans, and the Morganite daytime talk show enthusiasts.

Fortunately, Greggs came prepared. Instead of misused memes, and empty pre-approved apologies, the Greggs’ team rightly embraced a bit of personality, and flew out with the witty retorts, building more authentic engagement than any ad-campaign would have. You go Greggs’, you’re on a roll.

And at the centre of this sausage-ish roll are our good friends and long standing client Quorn – so we couldn’t not take the chance to mention some of the great work we’ve delivered for them over the years.

Screenshot 2019-01-15 at 15.48.22.png
 
Screenshot 2019-01-15 at 15.48.14.png
 

Chip off the old block

From BIC to Brewdog, you’d think the lesson in sexist marketing, tongue-in-cheek or not, would have been well learned by now. Doritos, it’s nacho place to tell the world how ladies like to crunch their crisps, even less so to make a misjudged marketing gimmick of it. But, as is the way of the free market – if it’s not your bag, you don’t buy it. And while they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity – we’re not expecting to see #boycottdoritos appearing on packets any time soon. 

 
 
 

Golden ticket, or bad egg?

Before an ill-fated recipe change, Cadbury’s had the crème-of-the-crop in the filled chocolate egg space. But without despairing at the £6m in lost revenue – they’ve come up with a cunning, ingenious marketing move to get back in the good books – an egg hunt. Hidden among the millions of eggs on the market, lie a handful of white chocolate eggs worth £50-£10,000 in prizes to the lucky few finders.

ButThe Handbook’s Phil Clarke has done the maths, and he wasn’t eggsactly eggstatic (sorry); the verdict is that the Willy Wonka impression is lacking enough Willy Wonga to have any impact, after all if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly. In summary, if you’re burying fabled white eggs, maybe dig a little deeper

47C2592700000578-5236715-image-a-17_1515099443561.jpg
 
 
2018 food trends: what really happened
 
Image.jpg

"Confused as we were? The ‘Cronut’ combination achieved global fame, but ‘Crossushi’ is another matter entirely. You’ve guessed it. Fish meets pastry."


 

When each new year begins, our screens and inboxes are filled with crystal ball predictions on the hottest new trends in food and drink.  

The cronut? (croissant/doughnut hybrid). That happened. Sugar loaded Freakshakes? We were bouncing off the walls. Mushroom lattes? We’re not so sure... 

They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so with this in mind we’ve dug out six foodie trends that were predicted to cook up a storm in 2018. Did they stick, or die out as fast as you can say “Dry January”? 

Culinary crowd pleasers…

MINDFUL EATING AND TRACEABILITY

Many 2018 predictions surrounded our increased awareness about the foods we’re eating, where they come from and ethical and environmental concerns.  

Research group Mintel predicted food traceability to be a hot topic and concern for consumers, regardless of their social background or income.  Whether this is due to a growing mindset of ethical responsibility, or recent scandals such as the horsemeat fiasco, knowing where our food (in particular, our meat) comes from has become increasingly front of mind. In a 2018 poll of 2,000 Brits conducted by The Grocer and Harris Interactive, 65% of meat shoppers say traceability is important to them.  

The power of plants  

In an Eater London survey with some of the UK’s most influential voices in food, plant-based dining was a hot topic for 2018. Suze Olbrich (freelance food writer and Eater London contributor) and Laurel Ives (former food editor of The Sunday Times’ The Dish) predicted a continued surge in plant based products and menus in 2018.  

According to Mordor Intelligence, the global plant protein market is currently worth £4.6bn, and expected to deliver annual growth of 7% between 2018 and 2023.  

This surge in plant-based products has definitely been the case for Waitrose. Take milk alternatives.  25% of the supermarket’s milk range is made up of non-dairy options. According to the Waitrose Food and Drink Report 2018/19, sales of almond milk were up by 26%, coconut milk by 60% and oat milk by a whopping 116%. Find out more about the boom of plant based dairy alternatives in this article.  

With the plant based food trend recently becoming mainstream, it’s even being advised as a savvy business concept for 2019. 

‘Dirty vegan food’ 

Vegan food was definitely not new in 2018, but it continued to transform and be celebrated in many different ways. In Eater London’s survey (above), food writer Victoria Stewart predicted a surge of ‘dirty vegan food’ in 2018. She wasn’t wrong.  

Talking of London’s obsession with vegan food, Laurel Ives wrote for Eater London “Meanwhile, the other major new strand of veganism is a thriving, so-called “dirty” food scene which is shattering an old-fashioned and once arcane image, as well as repudiating the assertion that vegan food, by necessity, has to be “healthy.” There are now fast food offerings like kebabs, fried “chicken,” and doughnuts, which appear designed to appeal to a wider — and younger — generation.” 

Last year, the Great British Bake Off even taught us that vegan doesn’t mean boring or necessarily healthy, with challenges featuring vegan pastry and pavlova.  

What’s more, the popular American comfort food chain, Dirty Bones, known for its ribs and burgers, thrived with a ‘Dirty Vegan’ menu. ‘Dirty Vegan’ pop ups in Shoreditch, London, proved incredibly popular, serving vegan mac and cheese, waffles and even ‘hot wings’, with sessions selling out within an hour in March 2018. 

foodie flops... 

Funghi fad


In late 2017, Whole Foods made a number of predictions on the food products lining our shelves. Among the strangest was a fascination with all things funghi. Don’t get me wrong, mushroom soup on a cold winter’s day? Champion. Mushroom SOAP? Not so much. The health focussed brand also hedged their bets on bottled drinks, coffees, chocolate and smoothies with mushroom inclusions. It looks like this one hasn’t hit mainstream in the UK, with (thankfully) no mushroom flavoured high street coffees or Dairy Milk in sight.   

Breakfast pizzas 

As much as we wished for it, predictions for the Italian masterpiece to feature on the breakfast menu flopped like a soggy slice of pepperoni. Eurostar predicted we’d be eating small, nutritious ‘grab and go’ pizza portions for breakfast, a concept popular in Italy’s Roma region for fuelling energy for the day ahead. We’re sad to report no sighting as yet. Maybe this year? 

‘Crossushi’ 

Confused as we were? The ‘Cronut’ combination achieved global fame, but ‘Crossushi’ is another matter entirely. You’ve guessed it. Fish meets pastry.  

Perhaps it’s a Marmite thing, you’ll either love it or hate it? Either way, we’re in no real rush to find out. 

Despite being put up for debate by the likes of the Evening Standard and Mashable as 2018’s biggest food trend, the ‘Crossushi’ combo of the croissant and sushi doesn’t appear to have made its way to the UK yet. We can’t speak for everyone though - with restaurants in LA, San Francisco and Seoul, serving up the fish/pastry combo.

 
Rosie Carr
All in good taste #1: Fowl Language
 
AIGT_Logo_gold-stars.gif

While the timing of any ill-fated PR stunt-turned-disaster can be way off, ours is spot on. Enter All in Good Taste, our new monthly round up of PR gold stars and faux pas, which is landing just in time for a retrospective round-up of the year’s best and worst foodie FCK ups and how they were handled. Is all publicity good publicity? It would make our job a lot easier, but we’ll leave it to you to decide.


kfc.jpg

KFC pulling legs 

With a disasterclass in crisis recovery, an ill-advised change in supply chain left the colonel’s crew short of chicken, and having to shut stores. Keeping abreast of the public’s reaction, they published a series of ads in The Sun & The Metro under a clever FCK motif, apologising for the lack of chicken.

The puns came thicker and faster than the chain’s gravy side – ‘The chicken crossed the road, just not too our restaurants’ – but are the chicken quips enough to placate a nation of hungry customers, or is this one to chuck in the family sized FCK-it bucket.

crisistweet.jpg
 

Brewing up a storm

‘Craft’ beer brewing bastion, Brewdog, made the headlines most months this year. But the standout was a stab at a stand over the gender paygap; with an overtly sexist rebrand of their Punk IPA – Pink IPA – which would be cheaper for female identifying drinkers. Cynical headline-grab making light (beer) of a serious issue, or heartfelt attempt at effecting change? 

dfc7df55-d3ed-46cb-9367-c9390920b481.jpg
twitter-brewdog-2-650x840.jpg

Don’t be an idiom

PETA, the group that divides opinion with its radicalisation of anti-animal cruelty messages, in an attempt to stop people ‘trivialising animal cruelty’ with every day sayings, managed to trivialise the struggle of victims of homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and for that matter – most other ism’s. While we’re sure carnivores and vegans alike are about to stand side-by-side in dropping ‘bringing home the bacon’ for ‘bringing home the bagels’, I’m not sure they’ll be making 2019’s Oxford Dictionary.

BagelBacon.gif
 

If all else fails, quit

Not all comments will sit well, Will Sitwell, and while the inbox of any journalist would be enough to drive most of us to murder – we’d proceed with caution when verbalising it, or in this case emailing. The social-media bandwagon takes no prisoners, and in no time at all Will’s reply to a PR pitch suggesting ‘a series on killing vegans, one by one’ went viral, the only actual casualty being a career.

DqtMK5DVYAAhyot.jpg
Tweet_Sit.jpeg
 

Frozen festive feels

Finally, a festive feel-good as Iceland managed to make a monkey out of mainstream media. When the ode to the palm oil was found to be too political to broadcast, the budget supermarket managed to save a few quid on ad-slots by posting the full advert, and reason for not broadcasting, on its own channels. Queue the viral uproar, and more impact then the TV spots could ever have made.

temp_Greenpeace Shampoo.jpg
iceland.jpeg
 
 
The brands championing sustainability
 
sylvie-tittel-743127-unsplash.1.jpg

"Shops, retailers and cafe chains are rolling out a host of eco-friendly packaging, using weird and wonderful alternatives to plastic."


With Christmas on the way, indulging by eating out more and stocking up with all the festive favourites at home becomes the norm throughout December in the lead up to the big day.  

We’ll no doubt be making our way through tubs of Celebrations, slurping festive hot drink concoctions and testing out this year’s Christmas menus.  

But let’s think about this for a second. UK shoppers are set to spend £21.6bn on groceries this Christmas, and no doubt indulging at restaurants and bars too. That’s a lot of plastic. 

The good news is that both consumers and the hospitality industry have woken up to the reality of careless consumerism, becoming more cautious and smarter about what they are using. In its recent report, Waitrose has revealed that 88% of people have changed how they use plastics since watching the eye-opening final episode of Blue Planet II. While our efforts to reduce consumption of materials have picked up, we could be doing more to achieve a sustainable planet for 2019 and beyond. 

Shops, retailers and cafe chains are rolling out a host of eco-friendly packaging, using weird and wonderful alternatives to plastic. So if you agree that small changes create a big impact, why not get behind these eco initiatives popping up across the UK?  

Here are just a few brands and innovations joining the fight for a greener planet.  

Walkers launches crisp packet recycling scheme 

Partnering with recycling company TerraCycle, Walkers has launched the UK’s first crisp packet recycling scheme to address the public’s environmental concerns of plastic waste. The UK’s largest crisp brand is rolling this scheme out via established recycling points across the UK. There’s even a dedicated courier service free of charge for those who can’t get to recycling centres. There’s no excuse now! 

Find out more at https://www.walkers.co.uk/recycle  

GOING PLASTIC FREE AT Bulk Market

Stocking more than 300 items in the pop-up shop in Hackney, Bulk Market is London’s first plastic free shop. Huge glass kilner style jars and dispensers allow customers to measure out products such as whole grains, nuts, herbs and spices, pasta, fruit and veg and bakery. Therefore, the need for plastic is eliminated.  

https://www.bulkmarket.uk/  

Pret’s plastic pledge 

To reduce the amount of cups used, Pret gives a 50p discount for customers who bring their own reusable cup.  

The café chain also partnered with start-up Chilly’s to create branded reusable bottles suitable for both hot and cold drinks. Once purchased, they can be filled up with free water at many Pret locations across the UK.  

Earlier this year, it also promised to launch a new line of cutlery in 2019 that can be composted once used, in a move to limit plastic waste.  

View Pret’s global plastic pledge here: https://www.pret.co.uk/en-gb/sustainability  

costa’s contactless cups

Pret isn’t the only one championing the reusable cup. With contactless payments immensely popular, Costa has tapped into the trend with its ‘Clever Cup’ which allows you to make payments at both the coffee chain and other retailers. What’s more, a 25p drinks discount is given to anyone with the cup, saving single use cups and encouraging customers to be more sustainable.

Carlsberg ditch the plastic ring 

Danish beer brand Carlsberg is phasing in a new ‘snap pack’, which it says will reduce the amount of plastic used in plastic ring multi-packs by 76%. Despite being used widely in manufacturing across the industry for 50 years, Carlsberg is moving towards recyclable glue to package up multiple cans. If you’ve seen the impact of traditional plastic rings on marine life, you’ll know this will make a huge difference to reducing ocean pollution and marine life welfare.   

Vegware plant based packaging 

Vegware is developing entire ranges of compostable packaging made from plants, offering anything from cups, to salad boxes, sushi trays, bin liners and cutlery. Its products have proved particularly useful for contract caterers and foodservice companies for a range of different foods, and to considerably reduce plastic waste.  

Elior uses Vegware across its business, in stadiums, universities, hospitals, care facilities and more.

 “We use Vegware packaging because it has been produced using lower carbon plant based material and it also has the ability to be composted commercially. Our customers are really behind us using sustainable packaging due to increased awareness of environmental issues, and they also like the design of our sustainable packaging, which is a bonus! As a result of using Vegware we’ve been able to save 39 tonnes of virgin materials and 135 tonnes of carbon – that’s equal to 156 flights from London to New York. As a large business working across many sectors it’s really important for us to be using sustainable products in all of our sites.”

Charlotte Wright, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Elior UK

Further information can be found at https://www.vegware.com/  

Seaweed sachets from Just Eat 

In March this year, JustEat announced new measures to reduce the impact of takeaways on UK plastic waste levels. Partnering with sustainable packaging start-up Skipping Rocks Lab, it introduced a trial of compostable sauce sachets made from seaweed. The company works with 29,000 partners in the UK, and is currently assessing the feasibility of offering the sustainable sachets more broadly across the JustEat network.   

It’s safe to say that companies within the foodservice and hospitality industry in particular are recognising their role in combatting plastic waste, reducing their footprint and satisfying environmentally minded customers. We’ll be staying tuned to more weird and wonderful creations to come.

 
The pictures changing plates
 
blur-blurred-background-breakfast-693267.jpg

"Most businesses are embracing our obsession with amateur food photography. Put simply, it’s free publicity. "


From fine dining to street food, most of us are guilty of a cheeky food snap. Just Google food photography and you’ll be lost in pancake stacks, sushi and pasta for hours.  

Apps such as Instagram have had immense impact on how we share food photography and manipulate it. Anyone, no matter how skilled, can capture their own food art in just a few clicks. Bringing food to life on screen has never been easier, with Instagram filters achieving the perfect ‘colour pop’ many strive for.  

Whether you enjoy in-situ food photography or think phones have no place at the dining table, one thing is for certain. It's a driving force for innovation and creativity in the food and drink industry. 

how has this changed our food, plates and restaurant experiences?

Most businesses are embracing our obsession with amateur food photography. Put simply, it’s free publicity. So, both high end chefs and fast food chains have cooked up ways to be increasingly visual, engaging and memorable.  

Think colourful combinations, creative food styling and scientific Blumenthal-esque surprises.

redcoffee.jpg

food styling and crockery

Simon Hulstone, chef proprietor, at the Michelin starred Elephant Restaurant in Torquay said: “I think the use of social media has increased the presentation and styles of chefs’ food immensely. Crockery has become a major focus and getting the right crockery to frame a dish is almost as important as what’s on the plate, ultimately though it’s the quality of the photography and camera that decides how good a dish looks on social media, so chefs have really worked out how to promote their skills by taking a semi professional picture.” 

 
 

flavour experimentation

Andrew Klimecki, VP design at Steelite International said: “There have been some interesting trends in food fairly recently where traditionally ‘beige’ food types have been given the black treatment: bagels, burgers, hot-dog buns, macarons, croissants – even ice cream. This is being driven by the need for novelty in the hospitality industry to engage and fuel the Instagram generation.”

fast food finds

Fast food joints across the globe are cooking up increasingly creative food, such as Poptata, drizzling bright pink garlic mayo over delicious parmesan fries.  

For Taco Bell’s chefs and food scientists, Instagram is also always front of mind. When the team develop new menus, how products look on Instagram is a key consideration. It takes just a few Instagram complaints (notably, that the cheese isn’t as stringy as portrayed in adverts!) for the social media team to intervene with food preparation reminders. They even track of the most-Instagrammed menu items, and last year relied solely on diners’ Instagram snaps to advertise and build trust in a niche new product, the Naked Chicken Chalupa, setting up launch parties with bright lights and props to encourage photo opportunities and all-important recommendations.   

setting the scene

Ambience is also key. Upserve Restaurant Insider' s report #FoodPorn Instagram Marketing for your Restaurant encourages restaurants to consider lighting, installations, and branding opportunities to make their décor more appealing and memorable for Instagram. Many upscale London restaurants wow diners with immersive interior design, such as Clos Maggiore’s spectacular garden room and Sketch’s opulent and colourful furniture, walls and curtains. Unsurprisingly, they are often recommended as the most Instagrammable foodie spots to visit.  

Clos Maggiore

Sure, foodie photos are nothing new, but the Instagram revolution has undoubtedly given hospitality businesses another tool to boost their operations. Whether this is most useful for promoting new products, interacting with existing diners or getting food in front of new customers, businesses that fully embrace this creative culture of sharing will surely give consumers something to remember.