Top 10 UK food and drink trends that have caught our attention for 2023
What food and drink trends can we expect to see this year? Take a look at these predictions for 2023, from West African cuisine to tinned fish and instant speciality coffee.
Last year's food and drink trends were all about plant-based milk, butter boards, bottled cocktails and, of course, air frying. But what does 2023 have in store? Here are the top predictions for what we'll be cooking, shopping, drinking and eating over the next 12 months.
Top UK food and drink trends for 2023
- Batch cooking
- Non-alcoholic spirits and cocktails
- Vegan cheese
- Instant speciality coffee
- Tinned fish
- West African cuisine
- Epic pie fillings
- Croissant variations
- Innovative ways of reducing food waste
- Cognitive eating
Batch cooking has long been touted as an easy, budget-friendly way to make your money and meals stretch further. But as the cost of living continues to rise, cooking in bulk is becoming more popular.
In our 2022 BBC Good Nation Survey, 23% of readers told us they were already using batch cooking as a way of controlling their food costs, while 28% said that meal planning helps them save money.
Energy-efficient gadgets such as slow cookers and soup makers are ideal for preparing large amounts of food that you can freeze or use for leftovers. For inspiration, see our healthy batch cooking recipes, batch cooking for beginners, and soup maker recipes, plus our guide on how to use a slow cooker.
Non-alcoholic spirits and cocktails
We're drinking alcohol less often in the UK, so it stands to reason that – according to Google Trends data – searches for non-alcoholic drinks are steadily on the rise.
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Whether it's for Dry January or a longer-term choice, "people are drinking on their own terms. They’ll drink what they want, when they want", say Pinterest in its annual trends report, Pinterest Predicts. The social media site reported a 220% year-on-year increase for "fancy non-alcoholic drinks", while searches for "mocktail bar" were up 75% year-on-year.
As well as the health benefits, the shift towards people drinking less could have also been influenced by the larger number of alcohol-free drink options being produced. We've tested the best non-alcoholic spirits and aperitifs, wines and beers to help you find the best out there, and you can discover more inspiration with our top 30 mocktail ideas and other non-alcoholic drinks to make at home.
Of all the plant-based dairy alternatives, vegan cheese gets an especially bad rap – but producers are working to improve it. "Leading the pack is plant-based cheesemonger La Fauxmagerie, whose artisan varieties made using traditional techniques are equally superior to their non-vegan versions," says Waitrose in its 2022-2023 Food & Drink Report.
Truffle Camemvert, Shoreditch Smoked and the Clapton Chive are among La Fauxmagerie's more popular vegan cheeses. Sheese's mature cheddar and Violife's Le Rond Camembert are also highly rated in our round-up of the best vegan cheeses.
Instant speciality coffee
With sales of bean-to-cup machines and cafe-quality beans on the rise in recent years, more of us have been enjoying the benefits of barista-style coffee without having to even leave the house. But olive magazine's coffee expert Celeste Wong predicts that might be about to change.
Once a staple in most British households, instant coffee is expected to have a resurgence this year as some speciality coffee companies are working to improve how it's made. "Processes are better, more advanced and produce a cleaner, purer product," Celeste says. "With more variety, the ultimate convenience and quality, I think more people will be choosing top-quality instant coffee."
This simple storecupboard snack is the latest unlikely social media phenomenon to go viral, with thousands of users sharing videos of themselves eating tinned fish across TikTok and Instagram over recent months.
#Tinnedfish has 25 million views on TikTok, and #TinFishDateNight – a trend where couples enjoy a romantic evening eating tinned fish together – has 22 million views alone. Traffic to our tinned tuna recipes was also up 13% year-on-year from October to December in 2022.
Away from social media, the growing popularity of tinned fish also comes at a time when people are looking to save money on their grocery bills. Storecupboard ingredients like this are much more affordable and easy to incorporate into meals such as tuna pasta bake and sardine storecupboard spaghetti.
West African cuisine
We can expect to see more focus on West African cuisine this year, according to Ben Tish, chef director of Cubitt House Group: "It’s still relatively undiscovered and unexplored in the UK, but the cuisine is incredible, with interesting flavours and unique cooking techniques."
According to Google Trends data, searches for West African recipes have significantly increased over the past 12 months, including Nigerian foods (+250%) and dishes such as egusi (+120%), fufu (+120%), and jollof rice (+70%).
When it comes to eating out in London, Aji Akokomi, founder of West African restaurant Akoko, recommends visiting Zoe's Ghana Kitchen, Chishuru and Papa L's Kitchen. "Supermarkets now have a good selection of essential ingredients used in West African cooking, so more people are trying out recipes at home now, too," he says.
Epic pie fillings
The Pie Room at Holborn Dining Rooms in London has an entire menu dedicated to pies, including a game pie with thyme stuffing and a beef cheek, and celeriac steamed suet pudding. The lobster pie at Mount St restaurant has also become an Instagram sensation.
To bake the perfect pie from home, you'll need a reliable pie dish – see our pick of the best pie dishes. You can also find recipe inspiration top 10 pie recipes and vegetarian pie recipes, plus tips on how to cook with pastry.
In 2013, New York pastry chef Dominique Ansel gave us the cronut – the doughnut-croissant hybrid that took the world by storm. Ten years on there's a new croissant variation on the scene, this time in the form of cubes.
"Cubed croissants are set to take the cronut's crown" this year, reports Waitrose. "These flaky buttery squares were the brainchild of Swedish baking supremo Bedros Kabranian, who came up with the idea a couple of years ago."
Philippe Conticini's spiral stuffed croissant roll also arrived in London at the end of 2022, after going viral across social media in the US. Fillings include pistachio, vanilla caramel and praline.
Chef Cedrig Grolet, who opened at The Berkeley last year, is another croissant master who's become hugely popular on social media – an Instagram reel of him baking pain au chocolat in October 2022 has received more than 2 million likes.
Innovative ways of reducing food waste
Food waste has a huge impact on climate change – more than 900 million tonnes of food is thrown away each year, which contributes up to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
In an effort to combat this, "no or low waste is going to be even bigger in 2023, particularly by using unusual parts of vegetables and meat," says Vivek Singh, executive chef at The Cinnamon Club in London.
Waitrose has already reported that sales of beef shin, ox cheek and lamb neck are rising, which it says has been driven by the cost of living and sustainability. Sales of fish heads have also increased by a remarkable 34% in the past 12 months.
Using gadgets like blenders, dehydrators or juicers is another simple way to use ingredients that may be past their best. For more quick, easy ideas, see our guides on how to use up leftovers and how to reduce food waste, plus our pick of the best leftovers recipes.
In recent years there's been lots of talk about how food affects our gut, but what about our brain? It's been proven that what we eat can affect our memory, concentration and focus, and according to the latest Mintel Food Trends report, "consumer interest in brain health benefits has been growing".
Mintel believes that in 2023, more people "will look for food and drink that influence cognitive capacity, manage stress levels and optimise brain function".
Some examples of 'brain food' include oily fish including salmon, mackerel and trout, broccoli, blueberries, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, and wholegrains. Discover more foods to boost your brainpower in our guide.
The Mintel report also predicts that fruit and vegetables will start being promoted as sources of increased energy and mood boosts. "For example, legumes like pinto beans are sources of magnesium, a mineral that has been linked with reducing stress and fatigue." That said, it adds that "research is needed before emerging cognitive ingredients can go mainstream".
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