This year, to launch its Christmas range and help operators tap into consumer demands, Bidfood, one of the UK’s leading foodservice operators, conducted a deep-dive into what consumers truly want from Christmas this year. 
It has been an incredibly tough 18 months for us all, and with the pandemic cancelling Christmas last year, it’s unsurprising that 41% of consumers are seeing Christmas 2021 to be more important than ever for people to get together and celebrate with loved ones.
Looking into the festive season
The research highlights that the run up to Christmas is going to be extremely key for operators to focus on this year when it comes to out-of-home dining, with almost half of consumers (47%) saying they plan to dine out at least once per week.
These social get-togethers will be vital for operators to focus their attention on to drive revenue. This includes appealing to larger groups by offering suitable seating arrangements, set menus, group discounts, or individual sharing-style tapas options – to making the experience desirable to tempt in customers, with a festive environment to truly capture the spirit of Christmas.
Why not explore ways to make Christmas really come to life at your site this year? In fact, Over 40% of consumers say it’s the decorations that really make Christmas come alive for them, with over 30% saying that sitting by a roaring fire really gets them in the festive mood and captures the essence of the season.
The majority of consumers will be looking for meals under £25 during the run up to Christmas, so this will be essential for operators to bear in mind when planning food and drink menus. Delving deeper into menu planning shows that traditional roast dinners and classic favourites will be popular this year, but offering unique starters and desserts could give consumers their Christmas dinner the ‘twist’ they’re looking for, as 27% are looking forward to trying dishes they wouldn’t cook at home. Great examples of this would be a Premium Selection dark & stormy sticky rum & ginger pudding, or a festive starter platter from Bidfood, which could include a selection of dishes with a festive spin – from crunchy fried sprouts with dips, to cranberry and brie wontons, and even mini goose fat potatoes.
Focusing in on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve
This year the majority of consumers (64%) will be looking forward to a humble Christmas Day in the comfort of their family homes. This shouldn’t stop operators from making the most of the continued rise in demand for great takeaway/delivery options, and even premium meal kits that have proved so popular since the pandemic began. It will however, be key to bear in mind that 43% of consumers say the price and quality is the most important part to them and so ensuring your food travels well will be imperative.
Bidfood offers a great selection of sustainable and affordable Vegware packaging for exactly this on-the-go offering. From box containers, to dressing pots and more – helping operators serve their food in the best way possible.
Talking about Christmas, Laura Mason, Senior Campaigns and Activation Manager at Bidfood, said: “The past 18 months have brought about constant change and the need to be agile and adaptable. Knowing that consumer habits will have naturally evolved over this period, we felt it was the right time to conduct a piece of research to delve deeper into how consumers are feeling and what they really want this Christmas, to help our customers appeal to their ever changing demands.
“There’s no doubt that people want to celebrate and enjoy time with as many loved ones as possible this year – therefore operators will need to look at ways to appeal to these groups and make their celebrations special within a safe environment. We have taken the research and created some quick, digestible top tips which we hope will help.”
Top tips to tap into
- Look into ways to appeal to larger groups
- Atmosphere is key to bringing Christmas to life, which can be done without breaking the bank!
- Focus on tradition for the mains, but switch things up with starters and desserts
- Keep price, quality and hygiene top of mind
Christmas day and New Year’s Eve
- Focus on tempting takeaways and delivery options
- Make meal kits magnificent
 All insights are from the recent consumer Christmas research conducted by Bidfood UK