TUCO Intelligence – first for 2020

By Matthew White, chair of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) and director of catering, hotel and conferencing at the University of Reading

As industry thought-leaders, we are excited to introduce our first TUCO Intelligence food and drinks report for 2020. Released every quarter, the report rounds up the latest market data with a particular focus on Brexit and supply chain updates as well as what’s trending in our industry.

Having now exited the EU, we are still in a period of uncertainty and confidence in many sectors is being hit as we enter the transition phase. Take beef as an example, with the UK being the largest beef importer in the EU, major suppliers remain uncertain on how they can access the market going forward.

UK pricing of pigs is also starting to rise in line with the EU and world markets. It is expected that sharp increases will be coming through shortly due to the production to demand imbalance. This is according to the latest Birtwistles Market report.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Although there was uncertainty in 2019, the market value of milk in the UK was the most stable it’s been for a decade, says AHDB Dairy. Fish prices, particularly sea bass and bream, have also stabilised, finds M&J Seafood, following the recent issues with increased costs from Greece and Turkey. And with the monsoons across India now clearing, availability for tuna and swordfish are set to improve over the coming months.

Elsewhere, as trends continue to shape our sector, expect to see more colourful veg around as it is set to make a comeback after proving hugely popular last year. This is according to the Covent Garden Market Report 2020.

EHL Ingredients has also put forward its top trend predictions for 2020, one of which is ‘making meat-free more accessible’, with plant-based meat replacements now cropping up in supermarkets and on restaurant menus.

Alcohol – or, should I say, non-alcoholic – drinking trends continue to be a hot topic as a surge in alcohol-free alternatives continues, finds Prestige Purchasing. The alcohol-free spirit market, which is just five years old, is now estimated to be worth a staggering £5bn.

Veganuary announced it broke all previous records in 2020, with an impressive 400,000 people signing up to take part. It found almost 40% of consumers are now identifying themselves as either flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan.


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