< Back to news 06 February, 2019

Ones to watch: Identifying what will influence operators in 2019

Following a year of uncertainty, with discussions over Brexit, plastic waste and plant-based diets taking centre stage, Beacon, Britain’s leading purchasing company looks back at its predictions for 2018 and identifies trends emerging and growing in 2019.

Keith Hinchcliffe, Managing Director at Beacon, reflects:

“As we began 2018, we identified the key issues and trends that we believed the hospitality industry needed to be aware of. As 2018 drew to a close, we started to see that some of these predictions had proved incredibly popular.

“We predicted that consumers would look to lead healthier lifestyles following the introduction of the sugar tax in April and changing consumer appetites. We found this to be true, with an increase in people choosing a teetotal lifestyle[i], and incorporating healthy dining choices such as plant-based meals.

“The Made In Britain trend we identified remained popular, with our research revealing that over half of UK consumers are willing to pay up to 10% more for their food if they know it is made in Britain. As well as actively seeking produce from our shores, consumers increasingly experimented with vegan, vegetarian and free-from lifestyles, all of which saw growth through 2018, predominantly driven by millennials[ii].

“However, from our predictions, Brexit still remains the biggest uncertainty and could have the largest impact on the hospitality sector, alongside many other industries, throughout 2019.”

Keith goes on to identify four trends that Beacon believes are likely to play a significant role in shaping the hospitality industry over the next year.

ones to watch

Plastic and environmentally conscious practice
“Following the astonishing reception of Blue Planet II in 2017, consumers have created a tidal wave against plastic pollution, particularly single-use items such as straws. There has been a sharp increase in demand for alternatives, and much of the hospitality industry has adapted accordingly after being highlighted as one of the most influential in the war against plastic. Operators including our suppliers Bunzl Catering Supplies and Alliance have both introduced alternatives, including paper straws, recyclable cups and compostable containers.

“With the tide turning on the acceptance of single-use plastic items, we predict that 2019 will see even more operators and outlets adopt environmentally friendly practices. With increased demand, we may also see costs start to come down on some of these items as competition to supply potentially grows, making it easier for smaller business to adapt without damaging cost implications. We could also see the hospitality industry broaden its plastic alternative supplies from catering to other areas of business, including consumables and even interiors. Beacon’s supplier, Cavalier Carpets, is working closely with operators to highlight the durability and sustainability of wool carpets, which biodegrade naturally in just months, leaving no harmful particles behind[iii]. We predict that 2019 will see more environmentally friendly practices and products such as this adopted across the industry.”


Healthy Living
“We predicted there would be an increase in healthier lifestyles in 2018, but the plant-based and teetotal movements surpassed all expectations, with a record-breaking ‘vegan-uary’ kicking off the year and many more consumers incorporating elements of this healthier lifestyle as 2018 continued[iv]. Consumers have gained a broader awareness of the effect their diets have on their bodies and well-being, and are adapting accordingly. Operators have capitalised on this by introducing a broader range of premium alcohol-free, low sugar beverages to their offering, which we believe will see further growth this year. Our supplier, Ribble Farm highlights that incorporating the root to fruit trend, which is not only healthy but reduces waste and costs, has been a key consideration for operators.

“We predict this trend is set to continue on its upward trajectory throughout 2019, with the general public becoming not only more health-conscious and making changes to their behaviour, but also increasingly environmentally responsible where food waste is concerned.”


“The final Brexit deal, or no deal, is likely to be a significant influence on the year ahead and is setting 2019 up to be a year of undeniable change. The uncertainty could be a key factor in why we are seeing a significant rise in demand for in season, local produce. Operators will be keen to explore home-grown options as they prepare for potential import issues, port delays and price pressures, should we leave the EU at the end of March.

“Beacon believes that this focus on provenance will build on the Made in Britain trend we predicted in 2018, as consumers and operators alike look for reliable alternatives and support the country’s infrastructure by shopping local. Our supplier insight supports this with Direct Seafoods anticipating that locally sourced fish will surge in popularity due to the potential effects Brexit will have on importation and cost. We could see this spreading across more food and drink items as we move through the year.”

Back to basics
“With such an uncertain year ahead, it seems consumers are going back to their roots as they search for new ways to switch off from the ever-evolving and fast-paced digital world. Consumers are moving away from the toil of modern life and their interior spaces are mirroring this, with Beacon’s supplier Lockhart Catering identifying that earthen tones including subtle blues, deep greys and warm browns, alongside natural textures like wood will be popular in 2019. These themes will bring the natural word inside, and with it a sense of calm. Beacon’s supplier Dulux, identified its Colour of the Year for 2019 as Spiced Honey™, a warm amber tone that can be used alongside a variety of colour palettes to create soothing, calming or cosy spaces. It captures the essence of honey and its soothing qualities, as well as the collaborative effort of a bee colony in producing it, something that Dulux highlights we will need to embrace in the year to come[v].

“Further to this, another of our suppliers, Alliance, has also shared its belief that the rustic look will extend to more than just room décor and into food presentation and equipment. It envisages wooden serving boards will transform dining experiences to create a stylish, but rustic and natural aesthetic in outlets such as trendy pubs and bars, bringing people back to nature and grounding them in potentially turbulent times.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring and which trends will come out on top.”