Food trends for 2019

food trends 2019
Part of what makes this industry so exciting is the fact that pretty much the only thing you can rely on is constant change. Each year, each season even, brings new food trends based on global inspirations, health issues, environmental concerns and a host of other influences.

So what will we be seeing more of over the next 12 months? Veggie and vegan of course, healthy gut foods, meaty mushrooms and creative frozen treats for starters. But also, a lot of the trends we’ve seen over the last couple of years are becoming real lifestyle changes, with veganism becoming still more widespread, and carnivores cutting down. And of course, everything will be as Instagrammable as possible…

Plant-based pandemonium

80% of chefs are planning to feature more vegan/raw dishes on their menus in the next few months, and veggies are getting more love all round, and veggie and vegan dishes are becoming distinctly more ‘meaty’, abandoning the notion of ‘rabbit food’ and all-salad diets.

The ‘Pegan’ diet is also gaining momentum, as a mash-up between vegan and paleo (Pinterest searches for ‘pegan diet’ are up 337%). The focus is on veg, with pulses included, and a small amount of meat is seen as a little extra element, rather than the main event.

Which ties into…

More great quality meat

Probably less of a trend and more of a movement, amazing-quality animal products with clear provenance. And while nose-to-tail is nothing new (have you been to St John or Flank?), we’re already seeing a lot more offal-based dishes around, as consumers get more adventurous and savvy about waste.

Superfoods (again)

Every year’s food trends predicts a new food superhero, and the rising stars for now seem to be those that are good for the gut. Kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut keep your microbiome in tip-top condition, and will be popping up on more and more menus.


With Pinterest searches up 64%, mushrooms are a serious contender for the best meat alternatives, with plenty of juiciness and flavour, and packed full of vitamins and minerals. I’m currently chucking some veggie pesto on mine, and grilling with taleggio – yum!

Frozen delights

We’ve seen rolled ice cream and matcha soft serve, and Whole Foods’ food trends analysis predicts that frozen treats will get even more creative, with avocado popsicles, hummous ice cream and more inspiration from desserts from around the world.

(Hold tight for the lowdown on this year’s Gelato Festival which I’ll be very involved with next year, and which highlights what real Italian gelato is. More info soon!)

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How can restaurants use influencer marketing effectively?

influencer marketing
I’m currently sitting in my dark home office with the rain absolutely thundering down outside, indulging in a little escapism by researching and making lists of influencers who would be great to work with on an upcoming restaurant launch. (I love it when work can be described as ‘escapism’!)

It’s a lovely job, to scroll through gorgeous Instagram feeds, and read well-written blog posts, picking who might be a good fit for the brand. It’s going to be big on coffee and have a vibrant healthy food offer, so there are some beautiful feeds that are relevant to those themes.

More natural than advertising, and with more predictable results than PR, the authenticity of influencer marketing can have an incredible effect on your sales, brand awareness, the success of your launch, and the perception of your brand. Influencers’ followers are engaged, niche and trusting. If your venue isn’t making the most of this resource you’re missing a trick, and it’s definitely worth getting your foot in the door. So how do you get going?

There are a few steps to go through before you start seeing your gorgeous dishes appearing across the internet, so tick these tasks off first:

What do you want from the campaign?

As with any marketing initiative, it’s crucial to know what it is you want before you start. More followers? Better engagement? Sales on a particular menu launch? By working out the goal you can make sure communication with your target influencers is accurate and informative, and they will be more likely to deliver the results you want.

Do I pay them?

Possibly. Everyone’s different, and depending on what you want you might be looking at sponsored content. If someone has to attend an event, shoot lots of photos, edit them, do a write-up, schedule their social posts etc, it’s time consuming. If they also have a huge audience, they may well charge for that and it could be £50 or £5000, or if we’re looking at Kardashian territory we’re into the millions.

It’s also very possible to work with influencers for no payment, but they might eat at your venue or come to a wine tasting, or another event on a comp basis, and be happy to post about it in return.


This bit can take time, but it’s really important to know the content of the influencers you’re targeting, to know what they do and don’t post about, and to be able to make an accurate judgement about whether they’d be a good fit.

For example, one in particular might not work well as part of a cocktail launch, but they might be perfect for an in-depth review of your steak offer and ethical meat supplier as part of a wider series of posts on more mindful eating.


Use your research and make sure you’ve read the about/contact pages of your target influencers if they have them, and approach them in the way they prefer. Be personal, explain why you’ve gone to them in particular, and why you think it would be a good fit.


Creating a hashtag is a good way to monitor all your mentions, and don’t forget to check all your metrics before, during and after. If you’re doing influencer marketing for the first time, do it in isolation so you can see the results clearly – e.g. don’t run a social competition in the same week(s).

If you’d like to chat about how to make influencer marketing work for your restaurant, get in touch!

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How to brief a food photographer

food photography, aubergine
Content is king, we hear it all the time! And for food and restaurant marketers, a huge part of our content is beautiful, mouth-watering food photos to get your audience chomping at the bit to come and try it. With such drool-worthy food photos at every turn, it really does pay to get your menu or products shot regularly, and by an expert. So nail your photography brief and you’re halfway there!

It feels like briefing a photographer should be pretty easy – like so easy that why bother doing a blog post about it? But actually there are a few things to think about to make sure you get the best results, and to start building a great relationship with your photographer.

Chatting to Food Envy Photography’s Tom Waller (and from my own experience!) food photography can be even more of a minefield than usual, and requires very specific planning and briefing. ‘I’ve been doing food photography for years, and have worked with lots of clients who aren’t quite sure exactly what they want from the photos, which can make it it difficult to deliver the exact results they’re looking for. It sounds obvious, but by really thinking about why you’re doing a shoot, as well as all the detail of the logistical aspects, it makes it much easier for everyone on the day and much more likely that we’ll get great results!’

Things to think about

Tom has a checklist he sends to clients before every job, to make sure everyone’s on the same page, and to iron out any potential issues before they arise – a really useful guide to bear in mind if you’re getting some shiny new pics done.

1. What’s your budget?

2. What’s the concept/style of shoot? (You should add any images or a mood board of brands/companies that are in the style you’d like to emulate)

3. Who is cooking (and/or supplying the food)

4. Who is styling the food?

5. Where is the shoot?

6. Who is propping the food? (And also supplying the surfaces, backgrounds, plates, knives, forks, raw ingredients for lifestyle shots etc)

7. How many shots/dishes/products/recipes are to be photographed?

8. How where do you want to use the images?

9. Which file format do you require?

10. When do you require the final images?

By nailing just these simple aspects beforehand, or at least having a good idea of each point, you can seriously up your chances of getting some amazing photos, and are much more likely to do the brand justice!

Have a look at Tom’s gorgeous photos and videos here.

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5 reasons to get a social media manager

social media for restaurants

We all know that an active and engaged social media presence is a must for pretty much any business these days. The question is, should you pay someone to manage your social media platforms? It’s great if you have a GM who’s good at taking photos at the pass, or someone in the office who can snap your new packaging, but there are quite a few benefits to having someone who’s dedicated to the task, particularly when things are busy and there aren’t enough hours in the day.

To scratch the surface a little:


A pro will create a strategic plan that ties into your other marketing activity. Rather than posting sporadically or randomly, they’ll have the time to make sure your images, menus, profile information and links are always up to date, and that you’re making the most of seasonal and local hooks – things so easily missed if you’re doing 1000 things at once, but could cost you opportunities/customers if they’re wrong. The businesses that get good results on social are the ones who have a solid content strategy and dedicated people to put it in place.


They’ll know the quirks of each platform, for example whether or not to use hashtags on Facebook (no) or how to direct people to a link on Instagram (bio), and how often to post on each (varies). They’ll know how to best use your assets for each channel, and get the best results.


If you’re looking to invest some of your budget into social campaigns then even more reason to get someone to help – I’ve seen clients waste their budget through targeting the wrong location, or not having the right call to action. The former is a total waste of time, the latter not necessarily a disaster, but if you’re putting hard-earned cash into it, make it work hard! You need to be researching, planning, creating beautiful content, scheduling it and following it up


Doing a good job on social media is time consuming! (Despite what a lot of people think…) The actual posting is the tip of the iceberg, you need to be researching, planning, creating beautiful content, scheduling it and following it up – replying to comments and engaging with followers. This is how you grow your following, and become known as a brand that has conversations with its followers, as opposed to just broadcasting.


If you’re using a marketing channel you should be monitoring its effectiveness, whether you pay for sponsored posts or not. If you do it, measure it. Analytics within platforms are extensive, and it’s not always obvious what to look for. Measuring the right variables and monitoring progress allows for tweaks and adjustments based on what’s performing well, and means you get the most you can out of each platform.

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PR for small businesses

PR for small business
Recently I was asked (or I may have invited myself..) to help out with the Economy of Hours Weekender, by leading a couple of workshops for entrepreneurs on how to do PR for small businesses.
Economy of Hours is an awesome concept that allows small businesses to buy and sell their time and skills, swapping and helping others out for help in return. It’s a great idea, and allows those in the early stages of business to get the resources they need without the outlay of freelancers/agencies.
When you’re CEO, marketing manager, sales, finance, new business and every other role there is, it can be really hard to do your PR yourself, and agency costs are generally out of reach. While it can definitely feel like a minefield, there are lots of small steps you can take to get in front of press and reach the audience you need.
While it can definitely feel like a minefield, there are lots of small steps you can take I shared some hard-learned lessons (e.g. don’t make the ‘did you receive my press release’ call), some templates (for press releases and content calendars) and answered loads of good questions.
I hope it was all helpful for the attendees, and it was great for me to meet so many interesting people. Definitely check Echo out if you’re looking to swap some skills, they do some great things and the team is lovely!
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