• Circana CREST service analysis reveals how menus need to cater to the more health-driven, organic and no/low alcohol consumer 
  • A more inclusive food approach needed to drive restaurant bookings as big eating out occasions like Valentine’s Day draw near

BRACKNELL, UK – 6 January 2024 – Circana, the leading advisor on consumer complexity, today launched its latest results from its CREST service analysis, revealing a shift in out-of-home dining preferences. The research indicates that European consumers are continuing to eat healthily at home (44%) but just six percent continue to practice this when eating out – for example, in restaurants. The indications are, however, that this is set to change in 2024. 

Circana data reveals a shift in trends, with 44% of Europeans reducing sugary soft drink consumption and 43% cutting back on spirits when dining out. Looking at the year ahead, a further 41% are considering further reductions in alcohol intake, reflecting a growing trend toward mindful drinking. Furthermore, more than half (53%) of Europeans are looking into reducing their sweets and dessert consumption (across all genders). 

Jochen Pinsker, the Senior Vice President of European Foodservice at Circana who has tracked foodservice and consumer behaviour trends for more than 20 years, commented: “There is a larger trend underway here, reflecting a collective shift away from sugar consumption, driven by increased consumer awareness of potential side effects. 

“Restaurants need to embrace this move by providing a better range of healthy, low-sugar options. Really, it’s about inclusivity – catering to vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free, and plant-based diets – to ensure that everyone has a great experience while dining out. 

“And while the overall percentage of healthy eating options may not drive immediate volume, it will provide wider appeal and bring people in.”

Supporting Insights:

  • Moderation Movement: While just seven percent of European consumers planned to take part in ‘Dry January,’ a further seven percent expressed a desire to lower their alcohol consumption, emphasising a broader shift towards moderation. 
  • Veganuary Impact: This relatively new trend appealed to six percent of Europeans and remains most popular (nine percent) amongst 18-34 year olds, showcasing a shift towards plant-based choices in future generations. It was most popular in the UK (eight percent) and least in France (five percent).  
  • No/Low Alcohol Products: The survey highlights a generational trend, with 21% of young adults opting for no/low alcohol products, compared to 13% of 35 to 54-year-olds and 12% of those aged 55 and above.

Pinsker advised that: “There are only small differences by country when it comes to the reduction of alcohol intake. However, men (17%) seem to have higher ambitions here than women (13%). This mirrored the desire to change the food intake in January as well.” 

  • Organic Aspirations: A significant 56% of European consumers express a desire to see more organic food on menus, with Spain leading at 63%, Italy close behind with 60% and the UK at 50%.

Pinsker added: “It’s really interesting to note the demand for more organic produce – especially given we observed a slowdown in the second half of 2023 in the speed of the growth of plant-based products in restaurants. A growing number of consumers now consider themselves ‘flexitarian’ and 21% of the BIG 5 population (GB, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) are reducing their meal protein consumption, rising to 32% in Germany. Furthermore, it is important to note that our data indicated an additional 18% of consumers still want to try plant-based meat replacements.”

In conclusion, Pinsker said: “Our research shows that 64% of Europeans agree that embracing a health-conscious diet can be both flavourful and inventive. Consumers no longer need to sacrifice taste and experience; with a wider array of options, eating out can be a part of their journey toward well-being. Restaurants gearing up for occasions such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day should take note and include a good array of healthy options to broaden appeal and drive bookings.” 

Notes to editors:
CREST panel data captures consumer information collected from Circana’s online consumer panel in five European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain) about commercially prepared meals, snacks and beverages, and provides a detailed understanding about where consumers are eating, what they eat and how much they are spending. The data was collected in January 2024 as part of the latest sentiment survey. 

Circana Contact:

Jochen Pinsker
Email:   Jochen.pinsker@circana.com

Media Contact:

Nikki Alvey 
Email:   Nikki@eurekacomms.co.uk  
Phone: +44 (0)1420564346 or +44 (0)7973 354 706