The recent pandemic has made consumers reassess what is important – 48% of consumers think sustainability is more important (Kantar 2021) and 85% of UK consumers have adopted at least one lifestyle change (Deloitte, April 2021).  There is a greater interest in local culinary culture & sustainability, and people are looking for ‘experiences’.  Current food inflation and the squeeze on household disposable income has also increased interest in cost-saving meal ideas, often nostalgic recipes from previous ‘hard times’.

Including wild and / or sustainably foraged foods in your food offer, your retail offer or experience-based enterprise also makes good sense given key food trends and consumer needs.  The post-pandemic consumer cares more about our planet and many are highly engaged in ‘sustainability’.  This is one of five key groups of trends that have dominated the food sector in the last 18 months.  The second – plant-based – is no longer just for vegetarians, it is here to stay and a staggering 54% of Gen Z are actively trying to reduce meat consumption (Euromonitor 2020).  There is also increased interest in ‘functional wellness’ – foods that do something positive for you and your body.  The pandemic kick-started a growth in interest in ‘food for immunity’ and many products now feature immunity statements on their packaging.  A fourth, less tangible trend is ‘life well-lived’ which combines a few sub-trends – life slower, self indulgence & self care.  This may be about guilt-free consumption & having a positive impact on the planet but it is also about provenance and an appreciation of the environment around us.

To address this interest Ceri Ritchie, Head of Food & Enterprise at SAC Consulting (part of SRUC) has curated five online free events for businesses as part of Foraging Fortnight 2022 which SRUC delivers in partnership NatureScot.  Foraging Fortnight runs from 3 to 18 September and event details plus online booking details can be found here: Foraging Fortnight Business Events.  These business-facing events will help you explore the opportunities for your business whether that is product development, a tourism experience, a new dish on your menu, or a new way of merchandising edible plants in your garden centre – . there’s an event for you!