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Well, I have my first published article in a magazine. I wrote this that discusses all things health related and the trends that are coming up in the food industry that cafe owners should be aware of.
Trend time. – Health and allergy friendly trends for café owners. By Belindabel
Have you thought that catering to niche markets would not be profitable and raise your standing in the community? Think again. The health and organic factor is a growing trend in the food industry and is quickly becoming main stream.
In recent times, Australians have become more health conscience and there is a growing awareness of health food alternatives. With organic stores popping up and supermarket isles filling with “gluten free”, “fat free” and “organic” products, the trend for health and wellbeing is showing no signs of slowing down, in fact the demand for health and dietary conscience food is growing.
The changing dynamic of consumer lifestyles is now demanding better quality, locally produced, ethically run and dietary friendly foods. To make up for poor health brought on by busy lifestyles, insufficient exercise and fast food, consumers are looking for foods that can care for them as well as taste great. The successful entry of ethical and health conscience food can be seen in places such as McDonalds who support rainforest alliance coffee and now offer healthier options on their menu.
Special Dietary Needs
For those with allergies or with special dietary needs, it is a constant struggle to find food outlets that stock products that they can eat and enjoy. By catering to general dietary needs, your business grows in reputation and gains loyalty as allergy sufferers will be sure to bring their friends to where they know they can all enjoy a meal. Those with special diets quickly become regulars at places where they feel safe and catered for.
Dairy Free, nut free, wheat free and vegan are all dietary needs that have seen awareness rise in recent years. While of course a small percentage of your customer base will need special dietary care, with correct signage and staff knowledge, your business can become a one stop shop to cater for most every customer demographic. What café owner could ask for more?
One of many trends in healthy eating is gluten free. It is estimated that 1 in 100 Australian’s has coeliac disease (Pronounced Seel-ee-ak) which is a medical condition where suffers have a permanent intestinal intolerance to gluten which is found in such grains as wheat and rye (Please visit the coeliac society website for more information about celiac disease http://www.coeliacsociety.com.au/).
With more people discovering that they have coeliac disease, supermarkets and food service outlets are finding a new and strong market to sell specialized items to. The serge in Gluten Free foods is apparent with The Fine Foods Expo in Sydney this September featuring a section dedicated to Gluten Free food items. This shows just how big the Gluten free market has become.
As contamination is an issue to those with coeliac disease, food service outlets that take the gluten free plunge earn great respect and a wider customer base than generally imagined. Because it is difficult and time consuming for people with special dietary needs to find products that suit them, those with allergies will admire and find loyalty with stores that cater to them. Allergy suffers are fiercely loyal.
Offering Gluten Free pizza on your menu is an easy way to make a good proportion of profit and gain subsequent loyalty. Cafes that make pizza often find that their clientele rises when Gluten Free pizzas are added as an option. A small number may be sold each week for an extra charge, but the profit is made when those with allergies bring their large group of friends with them to eat. This is often a significantly overlooked opportunity to gain clientele. Don’t forget, if you please an allergy sufferer once, they will return again and again.
Another health based opportunity comes from offering unique products with innovative ingredients. You will find that it will drive more than interest and hunger amongst your customers. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing so give your customers something interesting to talk about with their friends.
Many ancient grains and seeds are now being rediscovered and their health benefits are astounding. Ancient wheat alternative grains such as spelt and kamut are picking up a market that are looking for something different and nutritious. Also having a resurgence, not just for the fact that they taste delicious, are bread’s containing sourdough culture. The process of creating a loaf of sourdough is long and arduous; people love to hear a good story about the products they are consuming.
A good time to provide unique food is at breakfast time. As society gets busier, breakfast is becoming a popular time of day to hold meetings. Chatty young mums find it very fashionable to meet for breakfast or brunch so by catering to this crowd in the mornings, they are more likely to return at different times in the day. Ask yourself if your company is catering to the rise in breakfast popularity not only with amazing coffee, but with a unique range of specialty toast and some healthy gourmet yoghurt options.
Other dietary trends revolve around functional ingredients that serve distinct well being purposes such as Cranberries which are filled with antioxidants that prevent aging and promote happiness, Oats which help to lower cholesterol, sprouted grains which are low GI and are used in a unique style of bread made without flour. By promoting items with distinctive characteristics, you will see your sales rise and interest spike.
Organic and the environment
Environmental awareness is all part of the healthy living trend. Organically grown and produced products are flying off shelves even though they are priced higher. Research has shown that most people are willing to pay extra for higher quality food from environmentally sustainable sources. From organic chocolate to organic bread, it is being embraced and appreciated.
No longer geeky, the market for organic produce is steaming strongly though the economic downturn. Organic is hippy chic and is now not limited to the beans grown in your grandma’s back yard, organic food is up market and reeks of modern status. Being “organic” and “green” is the hip vocabulary of this decade. By putting the lingo into practice and creating a store concept, your business will flourish. Ethically orientated cafes are becoming the latest hot spot for fashion and world savvy consumers. Creating a culture and a story for you business helps customers to pass on your message which in turn creates interest and more clientele. Ask yourself, does my imaging match my café’s feel, story, service and the type of menu I offer?
The future is looking very bright for health and organically derived products as awareness is continuously growing. Australia’s health conscience foodies are very knowledgeable about products and the companies that meet their needs. As the message spreads, the variety of products and quality of food preparation they can enjoy is rapidly increasing. The choices of distinctive products are endless and by caring for causes and embracing unique local produce, your business will gain substantial credibility that will set you apart from your rivals.
How ever you look at it, by creating a story for your café with a unique selection of food that meets these healthy trends, your café will definitely gain new clientele and a place in the hearts, and mouths of many.