UK upmarket grocer Waitrose & Partners released its Food and Drink Report 2019-20 in November which reveals the year’s hottest food and drink trends that include: “Posh crumpets, tahini, celery juice, skewers and pink drinks; One in eight Brits now does an online grocery shop at least once a week with 61 percent doing at least some grocery shopping online,” Waitrose says.

“We’re a nation of crisp lovers, with the average crisp eater crunching through 178 packets a year; As a nation we’re returning to kindness, compassion and a sense of what matters – decluttering our homes and lives, being mindful of our spending and cooking and caring for others.”

Other major trends are strong sales of Ancient Grains and whole grains such as amaranth, quinoa, and bulgur wheat, along vegan-ready meals.

Released on November 6, the seventh annual report is based on comprehensive new OnePoll consumer research of 2,000 people across Britain - not just Waitrose & Partners shoppers. Supported by focus group research, alongside insight from its food and shopping experts, and millions of purchases in shops and on Waitrose.com.

Managing director Rob Collins says: “Our findings this year point to a move away from materialism, and towards a rise in compassion and simplicity in British lifestyles. It seems that, as the world beyond our front doors becomes increasingly complicated, people are doubling down on the things that really matter. Households are decluttering to focus on the values – and people – that mean the most to them.”

Online & physical shop mergers - Waitrose’s findings

*Mindful spending is on the up, with 50 percent of us now buying fewer than one hot drink out per week, as we become more conscious of little bleeps on the contactless pad. Nearly half of us are buying fewer lunches out and 36 percent say we’re considering more carefully in general whether we need to buy something before spending the money. Instead, we’re looking for ‘controlled discovery’ – exploring new tastes and cuisines without a big financial commitment. 

Online and physical shopping are closer than ever, with a third of us (and half of under-35s) ‘dual shopping’ - looking up prices, recipes or product information while in a supermarket. Half of visits to Waitrose.com are via a mobile device, up 9 percent on last year. (The Great Online Shopping Survey).

It’s cool to be kind; 17 percent of us say we cook for others more now than we did five years ago – whether baking for a charity event or fete, making food to help friends or family, or taking cake to work for colleagues.

This is the year that celery juice became a social media star, that posh crumpets graced the tables in top restaurants, and that searches for ‘tahini’ on Waitrose.com rose by 700 percent. Other food trends for the year include noodles, grains, seaweed, eco cleaning products and everything on a skewer. For grains, sales of amaranth are up 20 percent while mixed pouches of quinoa, bulgur wheat, rice and chickpeas were up 36 percent. (Going up – what was in favour in 2019).

We’re a nation of crisp lovers, and our favourite flavour - for all except people in the South East, West Midlands and Wales - is cheese and onion. A third of us admit to eating crisps in the theatre or cinema. (Crisp map of the UK).

Two thirds of people have cleared out or decluttered in recent months. Drivers for this include a desire to scale back packaging, with 9 percent of us now taking our own refillable containers to the supermarket for loose produce or deli items. (Cutting Clutter).

Brits are moving towards a simpler existence and focusing on the fundamentals, and 38 percent say we’ve become less materialistic over the last decade. More than 60 percent of us now say sharing memorable experiences with loved ones is the most important thing, with 47 percent creating more time for hobbies and 30 percent growing some of our own food. (The Simple Life).

The rise of craft beers means that it’s now cool to drink out of a can. Brits are also making DIY flavoured spirits, exploring new and unusual grape varieties such as Furmint, and trying out refillable beer and wine bottles. (What we’re drinking).

Brits are spicing things up, with a fifth eating more spicy food than five years, and 26 percent of people replacing putting salt on the table with chilli sauce or flakes.  (Hot Hot Hot).

Views of the farming pages on Waitrose.com are also up by 37 percent – pointing to a continued and long-term rise in interest in animal welfare. Other food fashions to look out for in 2020 include ‘Seacuterie’ and Middle Eastern cooking at home. (Future Trends).