Top trends revealed in the Waitrose Food & Drink Report

The fourth annual Waitrose report is based on millions of purchases in shops and online, with new consumer research and insight from Waitrose buyers and experts and findings include botanical cocktails and vegetable yogurt.

Waitrose says food trends for 2017 are the new sushi,  Polynesian food Hawaiian poke – a raw fish salad marinated with lime, soy and sesame, and often served with rice.

The report adds that gourmet meal kits with premeasured, prepped ingredients and a recipe, and even simpler self-assembly ‘ready-meals’, are having a moment right now.

Lighter eating is another trend with a swap of heavy cream sauces, for example, for vegetable purées. Vegetable yogurt In the US infuses the flavours of carrot, beetroot, sweet potato and tomato into yogurt for an accompaniment to food. 

Café Royal paired up with Givenchy this summer to create 10 fragrance-led botanical cocktails. Customers pick your favourite scent from those kept behind the bar and then drink the corresponding cocktail.

Food trends set in 2016, include one in five Britons posting a picture of their food on social media or sent it to a friend in the last month.

More than two per cent of people have shared a picture in the last day, and 44 per cent make more effort with our cooking if we think a photo of it may be posted. Spiralisers were the top selling gadget in Waitrose this summer, and Instagram-friendly dishes such as charred food, picanha, bao buns and churros all make it into this year's barometer.

Britons now see healthy eating and looking after ourselves as 'just a part of who we are'.

There was a time when healthy eating involved calorie counting, effort and sacrifice. But now nearly three quarters (71 per cent) say it's just a part of who we are, a part of everyday life.

Some 60 per cent say the food we choose to eat is naturally lighter and fresher than five years ago, for example swapping potatoes for aubergines in cooking (up 18 per cent this year), or choosing mini treats instead of full-size options, such as mini hot cross buns at Easter (up 165 per cent).

Products including seeds and grains, coconut flour, cactus water and seaweed - and a 'veggan' diet (vegan but with eggs) are all top food trends of the year.

Conscious consumption is now a part of everyday life; 80 per cent actively consider how and where our food is sourced, and 30 per cent say we think more about the environment and society than five years ago.

Some 46 per cent throw away less food than we did, and a third of us are using our freezers more. Nearly half say shopping more frequently for smaller baskets of food has helped manage waste at home.

Sales of class two ('wonky') vegetables, organic beauty products and food storage containers are all on the rise

Four in 10 see eating out as less of a treat than we used to. Cheaper and healthier casual dining when we're out means that we're increasingly choosing to stay in when we want to treat ourselves.

When we do stay in we're making it an event. In the last year, 40 per cent of us have either been to or hosted a Come Dine With Me-style revolving dinner party, or a dinner party where everyone brings a dish, or a themed evening based around a holiday destination or cooking style.

Olive wood serving boards and posh cutlery sets are up by 60 per cent and 40 per cent, as people entertain more at home.

Recent research found that plastic bag usage has plummeted since the Government introduced a 5p charge for bags in England in October 2015, bringing it in line with the rest of the UK. But our survey discovered that one in five Britons still forgets to bring their own bags with them most times they shop.

Waitrose managing director Rob Collins said: "As a nation we're expressing ourselves through food as never before. From healthy eating, to the explosion of food photography on social media, to our desire to entertain others through cooking - food is today's hottest social currency; through it, we tell others about ourselves.'

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