In the face of an escalating cost of living crisis, UK households are seeking solace in the arms of traditional comfort foods. Bangers and mash, shepherd's pie, macaroni cheese, battered fish, and Yorkshire pudding are all experiencing a resurgence according to Waitrose's annual food and drink report. In the face of food inflation, consumers are opting for better value by purchasing store brand items, choosing larger pack sizes, and making the most of promotions.
Comfort Food Revival
The executive director of Waitrose, James Bailey, noted a significant shift not just in how people shop, but also in how they cook and eat. There seems to be a trend towards simplifying meal choices and choosing familiar, comforting foods. The report further indicated a sharp increase in the sale of potato side dishes and a staggering 34% rise in the sales of Waitrose Essential Pork Sausages compared to the previous year.
International Flavours Still in Play
Despite the surge in popularity of traditional English dishes, the love for international cuisines has not waned. Italian flavours lead the pack, closely followed by Chinese and Indian. As such, the culinary landscape remains diverse, even as comfort foods rise in prominence.
Social Media: The New Culinary Influencer
The report also acknowledged the strong influence of social media platforms, such as TikTok, on dietary trends. A prime example is the sudden surge in sales of frozen peas, following the promotion of smashed peas on toast as an affordable and tasty alternative to the ever-popular avocado on toast.