The last decade witnessed a major shift in the food and beverage industry in terms of consumer demand for healthy food. Unlike earlier generations, who are most likely to be never found in the gym, this generation takes health and lifestyle to be their priority. People track down their daily steps and activity through their gadgets, and take deep notes on what they are eating. The recent shift towards healthy food trends made us curious enough to research on what the increase in consumer demand is and how restaurateurs are catering to the trend.
According to a new FICCI-PWC report, ‘The changing landscape of the retail food service industry’ identifies ‘health and wellness’ as one of the factors driving the Indian food services industry, which totaled Rs 3,37,500 crore in 2017. The food services business is expected to grow to Rs 5,52,000 crore by 2022.
“People have realized the importance of a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Healthy nutritional diets have been linked with emotional, physical, and cognitive health; their lack can lead to poor health and various lifestyle-related diseases.” according to a senior analyst at Technavio for research on life science research tools.
Restaurateurs and chefs of the Indian F&B industry are trying to adapt to the shifting trend by either introducing newer and healthier cuisines, or by innovating the already existing menu. Introducing plant-based dishes, using lesser oil and spices for the same dish, and trying to maintain the health quotient in all of their dishes has now become the primary goal for a restaurant.
Let’s dig deeper into examples of the restaurant industry picking up on healthy food trends.
Innovate Your Menu To Cater To The Healthy Food Trends
The growing trend has brought in the organic players quite strongly. Many restaurants have started to incorporate organic food, vegan dishes and many healthier dishes into their menu. Along with adding new dishes, changing the food presentation aesthetically is also something the restaurants are focusing on.
Ex Masterchef finalist Sadaf Hussain, who has previously worked at both Soho Bistro Cafe and Cafe Lota, shares how he promotes healthy food trends by innovating his menu and emphasizing on using the same ingredient for several dishes. “All my life, I have been trying to pick up practices that encourage a healthy lifestyle. Lately, I’ve been working on a book that majorly focuses on the traditional practices that involve slow cooking, the benefits of eating on time and other trends on menu engineering around healthy ingredients that restaurateurs can take inspiration from”, adds Hussain.
Furthermore, it is important that we see instances of how the shifting trend has impacted the F&B industry.
Impact Of The Shifting Trend On Different F&B Sectors
Healthy food trends are not only restricted to the restaurant space. Cloud kitchens and food delivery businesses like FreshMenu and Grow Fit are also emerging to cater to the demand for healthy food. The shift is so vividly seen in the restaurant industry that most of the restaurant’s menus have organic flavors, low-carb high protein diet menus, happily replacing the old butter rajma or biryani.
The changing trend has lead to the demand for various nutrition bars, different flavors of yogurt and so on, which has a direct impact on the packaged food sector.
“It is expected that over the next few years, many more will follow this trend. Heritage millets and old-world recipes are being appreciated and are making their way back into kitchens. Whether it is the rise of lifestyle diseases or our love for everything traditional, millets such as Jowar and Bajra are increasingly being used in cakes, cookies, muffins, and crackers extensively. Home chefs, another growing trend, are likely to drive this as they run small kitchens where the recipe for success is a mix of experimentation and quality control,” the report states.
The Impact On The Restaurant Industry
With an increasing disposable income of millennials and their thriving concern to gain an active lifestyle, the restaurant industry has been majorly impacted. Millennials are ready to pay the extra bucks for their healthy food, and that has helped to shape the restaurant’s menus to a marginal level.
It has been statistically observed that the global sales for healthy food products are in fact increased to an estimate of $1 trillion by 2017. Even the homes sales and cloud kitchens are expected to see a rise in their sales with the inclining menu towards healthy food.
Restaurants in the cities have started to run their promotional campaigns around healthy food trends, leading to a rapid incline in their sales. Many brands have also started calling out to influencers and presenting their food aesthetically to ensure that the customers generate content on social media.
“In just a short span of time, these companies have already evolved to cater to seemingly every single conceivable health food need and fad, ” the FICCI-PWC report tells.
There are many restaurants that have turned their entire menu towards the growing healthy food trends. Including dishes like ‘English breakfast’, ‘Organic Green Tea’, ‘Quinoa Upma’, ‘Whole Wheat Pancakes’, and so on helps to make the menu look very aesthetic as well as meet the increasing demands of customers.
The traditional restaurants, especially from the Northern part of India, who are famous for the richness of flavors in their dishes, are also trying to cut down on their oil, spices and other fattening ingredients.
NutrioBox in Karkardooma, Delhi offers an entire menu just for a healthy breakfast, attracting a lot of customers during morning time, when the sales were not as high. The restaurant uses one spoon of oil instead of ten and respects the flavors of each of their dishes.
Tips and Tricks To Keep Up With The Changing Trends At Your Restaurant
Let’s look at some of the tips we would like to give you to evolve your restaurant according to the changing trends of the F&B space.
i) Influencer Marketing
The increasing power of social media has made a lot of restaurants work on their social media profiles to increase their restaurant sales. The employment of user-generated content, through influencer marketing, has a direct impact on restaurant sales. Since influencers around the globe are focussing on promoting a healthy lifestyle, these restaurants use such promotional campaigns to promote their own brand.
Plum By Bent Chair, a restaurant in Gurgaon, focused on its marketing through a couple of influencers promoting a healthy lifestyle. Their marketing campaign focused on innovating their dishes around a single nutritional element. With their big launch party and consistent marketing on Instagram, the restaurant has come out to be more successful than its competitors around in absolutely no time.
ii) Menu Engineering
Along with adding healthy and nutritious dishes to your restaurant menu, it is more important that you engineer your menu in an attractive way. You need to resonate with the vibe of your customers through the name of your dishes to boost your restaurant’s names. Most restaurants pick up the plant-based dishes as well as organic foods to enhance your restaurant.
The incorporation of restaurant management software can help you achieve the right menu and reduce your food costs. Since the software helps you standardize all your recipes and raw material costs, it becomes quite easy for the restaurant owner to update their recipes centrally. Not just that, the incorporation of a good restaurant POS helps you design an aesthetic menu as well.
An inside tip from the chefs that we could connect to, is that more and more chefs try to innovate their menu using the same ingredient. For instance, Hussain mentions that he can use every part of the banana tree and make a brilliant dish out of it. Even the bark of the tree could be used to make a brilliant dish.
iii) Aesthetic Food Presentation
One of the most important ways to cater to the healthy food trends is by making both your restaurant space as well as your dishes look aesthetic. There are many ways you can achieve the same. Add a good amount of lighting to your place, some more greens to your dishes and a lot of themes to your dishes.
iv) Healthy Food Marketing Campaigns
Having a couple of contests related to healthy food and a better lifestyle could actually help enhance your restaurant brand to a marginal level.
One of the restaurants in Noida called Pappa Roti made fast food like waffles look healthy. The brand created an entirely healthy food menu including stellar dishes like ‘Whole Wheat Waffles’, “Whole Wheat Pancakes and so on, that instantly gained a lot of popularity among millennials. They ran a campaign promoting their menu on Instagram and other social media platforms to enhance their restaurant sales.
All in all, since healthy food trends are still largely an urban thing, the restaurant industry is trying to bring their best to make the people aware of the changing trends. It is hardly a matter of some time that the health and wellness industry spreads to the smaller cities and almost everywhere around the restaurant industry.