Carlsberg UK, Budweiser Budvar UK, World Beers, Global Brands, Morgenrot, Britvic, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Fever-Tree, Fentimans, Monin UK, Brita Vivreau, and Perrier & S.Pellegrino, are among the big name drinks brands preparing to exhibit at Casual Dining show, later this month.
The multi-award winning event for the UK’s casual dining operators, including restaurants, pubs and bars, returns to the Business Design Centre, in London, on 22-23 February.
Flexible, convenient, and affordable, casual dining is one of the fastest growing parts of the UK’s eating out market. To accommodate rising demand for a high quality, yet good value, dining experience (nearly half of British consumers say they now eat out once a week), the number of food-led licensed premises has increased over the past five years by an average of more than 1,000 a year.
Differentiation is key
With more operators competing for consumer spend and loyalty, the importance of a “market-leading drinks offer” shouldn’t be underestimated. According to findings by CGA Strategy, drink range is dictating footfall – even in food led operations. Graeme Loudon, CGA’s commercial director, will be at the show sharing insights into consumer attitudes towards drinking within the casual dining arena and highlighting some of the key trends and opportunities for operators to exploit (at 1.15pm in the Keynote Theatre, on 23 February).
“With food and drinks occasions now merging within the mind of the consumer, outlets need to ensure that they are able to stock a market leading drinks offer in order to entice the consumer and differentiate from competition,” says Loudon.
“52% of consumers say that alcohol is an important choice driver for where to eat. Despite this importance, data from CGA’s Business Leaders survey suggests that only 13% of food operators rank their drinks offering as market leading,” he says.
Operators looking to close this ‘gap’ will find a host of new innovations at the show. Among the key drinks trends to watch, says Loudon, are craft, artisan and premium products.
King of craft & artisanal spirits
Growing consumer awareness in sustainability, provenance, authenticity, craftsmanship, and local sourcing, has been a big driving force behind the recent rise in craft beer and artisanal spirit producers entering the UK market. With their variety of styles, quality ingredients, innovative flavours, alternative blends, and distinctive branding, craft and speciality drinks can offer operators great scope for menu customisation.
For 2017, the show’s Craft Beer & Cider Pavilion and Artisan Spirits Lounge will feature some of the country’s leading, and newest, microbreweries and distilleries.
Craft Beer & Cider Pavilion exhibitors include Fierce Beer, Thistly Cross Cider, Wobblegate Juice & Cider, Westside Drinks (brands include Sierra Nevada, Chimay, Cornish Orchards, Veltins, and Fuller’s), Celtic Marches Beverages, Saxby’s Cider, The Cotswold Cider Co, Brewery Meteor, Freedom Brewery, and Glebe Farm Foods (Side-R cider).
While Staibano, Wild Drinks, East London Liquor Company, Longflint Bottled Cocktails, Masons Yorkshire Gin, 10 Degrees C, Spirits by Design, Whittaker’s Gin, Southwestern Distillery, Tails Cocktails, and Pinkster Gin will be making their debut in the show’s expanded Artisan Spirits Lounge, joining returning exhibitors Sipsmith London and Harry Brompton’s London Ice.
The winner of this year’s King of Craft competition will also be announced at the show. The award – voted for by Casual Dining visitors – is open to all Craft Beer & Cider Pavilion exhibitors.
People’s eating and drinking habits are evolving rapidly. Traditional mealtimes have been extended, or skipped entirely, to meet the needs and schedules of today’s consumer. They want to eat what they want, when they want. And operators offering all-day menus need a versatile, and balanced range of drinks to match.
Thanks to an increase in day time food-led occasions, soft drinks – particularly premium adult offerings – are an increasingly lucrative category for on-trade operators. Choice Drinks, Turner Hardy & Co, Britvic, Fever-Tree, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Franklin and Sons, Fentimans, Cawston Press, Dalston Cola Co, SFD, kff, Prir, Frobishers Juices, Pip Organic, Jax Coco, Karma Cola Co, Double Dutch Drinks, Belvoir Fruit Farms, Luscombe Drinks, Monin UK, The Refinery, Fresh Organic Products (AQUA Carpatica), Radnor Hills Mineral Water, and Perrier & S.Pellegrino, are among the exhibitors showcasing their latest NPD – including fruit juices, cordials, pressés, syrups, mixers, tonics, and still, sparkling and flavoured waters – at the show.
While specialist teas and coffee – another big daytime revenue stream – can be sourced from returning exhibitors like Nestlé Professional, Lincoln & York, Stokes Tea and Coffee, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, Tudor Tea & Coffee, Brew Tea Company, Birchall Tea, DiSotto Foods (Caffè Camardo), Kerry Foods (DaVinci Gourmet), and JJ Foodservice.
“Casual dining now sums up a main motivator for people to visit the on-trade – it’s great to see so many brands wanting to be a part of it,” says Kate Duncan, category manager – soft drinks at Mitchells & Butlers.
Biggest ever show
Thanks to a 20% increase in exhibiting space and a confirmed Keynote line-up that includes some of the biggest names in the business – including Casual Dining Group, TGI Friday’s, Hard Rock Café, Mitchells & Butlers, Marston’s, Bill’s, Wahaca, Côte Restaurants, Living Ventures, Hippo Inns, and Young’s – it’s on track for its best edition yet.
Over 4,500 attendees are expected for 2017, including key buyers and decision makers from many of the country’s leading casual dining pub groups and restaurant chains, hotels, contract caterers, and independent operators. Among them are representatives from JD Wetherspoon, Revolution Bars Group, Enterprise Inns, Punch Taverns, Whitbread, The Azzurri Group, The Restaurant Group, Nando’s, Pizza Express, Carluccio’s, Jamie’s Italian, GBK, Compass, Brakes, Bourne Leisure, and Hilton.
“Attending Casual Dining is a fantastic way to keep up with emerging trends and explore new product innovations and ideas that could shape the industry’s future. I’m really looking forward to it,” says Andrew Gallagher, group marketing director at Côte Restaurants.
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Casual Dining will return to the Business Design Centre, in Islington, London, on 22-23 February 2017. For more information and to register for a free trade ticket click here, and use priority code CD30.