We went to Lunch! 2016, the show all about, well… lunch – to see what products or bits of knowledge might be useful to you.

1 Chickpea crisps could be what your healthier customer wants to snack on

Lunch was rife with healthy snacking options, including these. Imagine a Wotsit worthy only of Waitrose customers. About 90 calories a bag and actually very tasty.

Their ‘chief snacktivist’ Oliver Horner said: “We have spoken to a few pub companies about stocking Hippeas, plus they pair really well with a beer.”

 

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2 You need to adapt to compete at lunch time

Cyril Levanant, executive director foodservice UK, NPD Group, spoke about keeping on top of the ever changing lunch market.

He predicted that outlets not using instant payment options in two years time like Apple Pay or contactless will be missing out.

He also said pubs need to adapt, and be able to serve a decent cup of coffee as well as a pint of beer. It’s about being reactive to trends, focusing on your ‘hero product’ on the menu, and adding new food options regularly. 

 

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3 Fresh soup doesn’t have to be hard

The Real Soup Co provides fresh soups to different outlets, and it believes customers want a soup which is authentic, not from a powder or can.

David Colwell, business development manager at The Real Soup Co, said: “I would say people are looking for more premium products these days, and they’re willing to pay more for it.”

 

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4 How to do the right thing, not the easy thing

Kirsty Saddler, brand director at LEON explained if your business has a principle, it’s best to stick to it and do the right thing rather than the easy thing.

Leon prides itself on working with carefully picked suppliers and making healthy food easy. Sometimes this costs them more but it pays off in the long run. 

She said: “It’s the importance of recognising brand and what brand is based on. By being committed to our mission and what we are has led us to new partnerships.”

 

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5 Perfect pizza bases and flatbreads – solved

These come frozen, ready to pop in the oven on pizza oven with your chosen toppings. They look authentic, as each flatbread is stretched by hand and looks different. We definitely made a dent in this pile... 

They are made by Pan'Artisan. 

 

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6 Customers are drinking less alcohol – so offer them a soft drink to be proud of

The show was chocca-bloc with various health drinks and soft drink alternatives to the big brands. A few favourites:

Karma Kola, which produces a range of ethically friendly fizzy drinks with the tagline drink no evil. Note the fantastic packaging, which looks much like a craft beer bottle.

 

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Just Bee honey water, which is a brand set up by a family of bee keepers. They create subtly tasting water with honey from their own hives in Lancashire. They are looking into the possibility of offering bottles to appeal more to the pub trade, but at the moment can be purchased in cartons.

 

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Virtue – the natural energy drink with no sugar, calories, or sweeteners, but the same amount of natural caffeine as a cup of coffee.

 

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7  It’s worth looking into tech solutions to reduce queue times

Lolly is a software house offering electronic point of sale systems tills. With a range of products you can give your staff more flexibility to move around taking orders and reducing queue times – another trend of the show.

 

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8 People actually love marmite popcorn

This gourmet popcorn is another bar snack alternative for the foodies. Joe & Stephs have partnered with Brewdog to create a special flavor to pair with their beer.

The most popular flavour though? Probably Madras or Marmite apparently! 

 

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