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Posh crumpets are a thing, says Waitrose … and so is celery juice | Business

The humble crumpet has benefited from a “posh” makeover inspired by top chefs, sales of celery juice have soared after becoming an instagram favourite and consumers are now mad for tahini, according to a report on this year’s food and drinks trends.

The findings in the annual – and seventh consecutive – food and drink report from Waitrose come as what we choose to eat assumes an increasingly important focus in the climate crisis debate, as consumers deliberately cut their meat consumption.

It also shows that as the plant-based food revolution continues to sweep the UK, sales of vegan ready meals have leapfrogged their vegetarian equivalents.

The Waitrose report is based on its supermarket and online sales this year, and a poll of 2,000 adults who shop across a range of retailers.

It shows that sales of crumpets, once a humble teatime treat, have risen 30% this year, as chefs such as Yotam Ottolenghi and Marcus Wareing have inspired shoppers with posh crumpets laden with lobster and cockle butter.

Organic celery has also enjoyed a sales boost of 30%, thanks to juicing recipes from influencers which have made it an Instagram sensation.

Celery juice is apparently now a thing

Yummy? Celery juice is also apparently now a thing Photograph: Valentyn Volkov/Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo

Skewered food is at the sharp end of fashion, as a result of street food trends and hipster kebab restaurants. Four out of five of the bestselling barbecue meat lines at Waitrose this year have been kebabs, while sales of metal skewers are up 9%.

With Middle Eastern cookery also becoming more popular, searches for tahini – a paste made from ground sesame seeds and popular in Middle Eastern cooking – on Waitrose.com rose by 700%.

Echoing this trend, sales of mixed pouches of grains such as chick peas, bulgar wheat, rice and quinoa for accompanying dishes are up by 36%.

A fifth of British consumers report eating more spicy food, with 26% of people replacing salt on the table with chilli sauce or flakes – and even sprinkling chilli on ice-cream.

One of the more unlikely new foods has been seaweed – including kelp, algae and nori – and another is the sea vegetable samphire, all of which add a distinctive savoury umami flavour to dishes. Searches for “aonori seaweed” are up 127% on waitrose.com.

So-called “seaganism” – a vegan diet which includes sustainable seafood – has also become popular, as has “seacuterie” – a fish-based version of charcuterie using seafood which orginated in Australia.

With a third of Britons now eating less meat and fish than they did two years ago, Waitrose said vegan ready-meals now account for 55% of sales of its ready-prepared meat and fish-free range, with vegetarian options making up less than half at 45%.

Nearly one in three shoppers said they plan to reduce their consumption of meat and fish even more over the next two years, but when they do choose to put meat on their plates more than a quarter admit they want better quality products.

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Tor Harris, Waitrose head of corporate social responsibility, said: “We’re seeing a more considered approach to meat. Because some people are eating less of it, when they do eat it they want to really enjoy it.

In the drinks aisle, the rise of craft beer means that sales of canned beer and lager now outstrip those in bottles. Ready-to-drink canned cocktails and wine in cans are also growing fast.

Shoppers are also keen to drink pink, opting for blush gin , rosé wine, rosé vermouth and Cocchi Rosa, an Italian aromatised wine.

Nearly one in 10 shoppers say they now take refillable containers to the supermarket for loose produce or deli items.

This article was amended on 6 November 2019 because an earlier version referred to the sea vegetable samphire as a seaweed. This has been corrected.

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