My wrap up of Lunch! the definitive tradeshow for Food & Drink brands.
Better-for-you is driving innovation
We’re no way off the peak of this trend, in fact I would say BFY is no trend, it’s the future of food. Almost all the innovation I saw was either better for your health (lower sugar, functional ingredients, gut health) or better for the environment (plant-based, plastic free).
HFSS, yes yes yes
I was at the Lunch! Show to launch a brand I’m working with, Simply Roasted, unsurprisingly the fact that our crisps are HFSS compliant was catching a lot of attention from the trade. Other brands were leading with this messaging too, but there were several that weren’t- I would get on this bandwagon right now if you can, if your product is HFSS compliant or could be made so fairly easily you need to be shouting it from the rooftops.
Plant-based meat has come of age
The shiniest and most exciting stands at The Casual Dining show (under the same roof this year) were the plant-based meats, Meatless farm, Biffs Burgers, This!, The Vegetarian Butcher, Moving Mountains and Future Farm to name a few. The jackfruit wings at Biff's burgers, the cocktail sausages at This! and the burgers at Future Farm were my personal faves, but wow has this category come a long way, definitely no longer just for vegetarians expect to see a growing range of plant-based options on menus and in supermarkets in 2022.
… but plant-based dairy is a way behind
Aside from The Simple Root and some oat milks including MOMA, there were barely any plant-based dairy alts. Lots of room here for credible dairy alternatives, especially cheese, plant-based meat has demonstrated the enormous opportunity and consumer willingness to switch if the taste is right.
And speaking of tasty, another plant-based category that’s really come a long way- I tried some genuinely unrecognisable plant-based chocolate (unrecognisable as being vegan I mean, and this is a compliment from a diehard chocolate fan). Rhythm 108 was probably my favourite but so much deliciousness from other brands Love Raw (who make kinder bueno style bars, insane), HiP and Fellow Creatures, all of these brands taste good enough to go fully mainstream, watch this space.
Lots of super strong branding in this category too, love the Fellow Creatures curvy lady on front of pack.
If you aren’t low in sugar or have some sort of functional ingredient don’t bother launching a soft drink basically. Lots of super exciting emerging brands here including Punchy Drinks, (beautiful cans!) FUL (climate active drinks!) and nootropic brand Brite (lovely design, such clean lines!)
Expect to see a lot more gut health brands emerge
in the next year, watch out for prebiotics as well as the probiotics you've already heard about. I really liked the simple, punchy branding of Gut Instinct
And that's a wrap from me. Did you visit Lunch! this year, what have I missed, what were your favourite brands? I would love to hear from you.