Download complete guide - How to control & reduce food costs
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Trends and Challenges [Infographic]

2023 Food Industry Report

Our 2023 food industry report identifies key trends, and challenges businesses expect to experience throughout the coming year. The results summarise a survey Kafoodle conducted that had 127 respondents.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Click to download infographic

What's the biggest challenge the food industry will face in 2023?

The first question on our survey looked to identify the food industry's biggest challenge in 2023. The survey presented respondents with five options.

  1. Hiring and training staff
  2. Rising food costs
  3. Utility bills 
  4. Attracting new customers
  5. Other (Please specify) 

The results were clear. With 45% of the votes, rising food costs are, by far, expected to be the biggest challenge facing food businesses in 2023. Ranked second, with a quarter of the votes, was hiring and training staff. Utility bills, which severely rose in the UK during 2022, received 15% of the votes. Attracting new customers is of little concern, with only 8% choosing it as 2023's biggest food industry challenge. Only 7% selected other, with 'lack of time' and 'costing ingredient use' specified.

Minimising the effects of rising supply change costs is challenging. Increased food costs are usually a result of external factors such as reduced supply, unusual weather conditions, agricultural disease and economic and political unrest. 

Below are some resources to help businesses control and reduce food costs.

Food cost calculator

How to control & reduce costs - Complete Guide

How to calculate food costs

Controlling food costs starts in the inventory

What technology are food businesses investing in during 2023?

The second survey question, which was multiple choice, asked what technology their food businesses would invest in during 2023, and the results were very close. The five options were:

  1. Self-order & payment
  2. Allergy & Nutrition
  3. Inventory & waste
  4. CRM & marketing
  5. Other (Please specify)

As rising food costs are expected to be the biggest challenge in 2023, it's no surprise that inventory & waste software was the most popular response, with 36% of respondents choosing it. Tied in second place, with 29% was allergy & nutrition and CRM & marketing software. Self-order and payments received votes from 22% of our survey participants. This question received the most significant number of other votes, with 13% of responses. Other responses included:

  • Cashless tills
  • Carbon emission tracking
  • Stock control system
  • Kitchen equipment

What changes in consumer behaviour are likely to continue in 2023?

The third survey question, which was multiple choice, asked what changes in consumer behaviour during 2022 were likely to continue throughout 2023. The eight options were:

  1. QR code menu use
  2. Meat-free requests
  3. Increased allergies and intolerances
  4. Increased spend
  5. Decreased spend
  6. Increased takeaway
  7. Decreased takeaway
  8. Other (Please specify) 

According to our survey results, decreased spending is the food industry's most likely consumer behaviour change to continue in 2023, selected by 54% of respondents. The second and third most selected options were very close, with increased allergies and intolerances receiving 36% of the participant's votes and meat-free requests 33%.

The increased takeaway, increased spending and QR code menu use options all received equal votes, each with 15%. Decreased takeaways and other, with no response specified, also received identical responses for the lowest scores of 3% each.    

What percentage of the food industry provides specific free-from recipes?

The fourth survey question asked if the business the respondent worked for had specific free-from recipes on the menu. The three options were:

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. On request

Over half the survey participants selected yes. According to our results, 64% of businesses provide specific free-from recipes on their menu. No received 31% of responses, and on-request accounted for only 5%. 

How businesses in the food industry are becoming more sustainable

The fifth survey question, which was multiple choice, asked what efforts businesses were making to become more sustainable. The seven options were:

  1. Zero plastic
  2. Carbon footprint labelling
  3. Recyclable packaging
  4. Food waste reduction
  5. Food donation
  6. None reported 
  7. Other (Please specify)

Food waste reduction is the most popular method of becoming more sustainable, with 49%, just under half of our survey participants, selecting it. Recyclable packaging is the second most popular method, with 31% votes. Food donations received votes from 26%, and none reported chosen by 20% of respondents. Zero plastic policies are used by 17% of our respondent's businesses. Only 6% stated their businesses were using carbon footprint labelling, and 3% selected other, specifying the use of sustainability trusts. 

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