Veg­ging out

Hospitality News Middle East - - IN THIS ISSUE - food-gallery.com

Nu­tri­ent-packed, healthy fruit and veg­etable juices are prov­ing to be the liq­uid lunch for a new gen­er­a­tion. Ge­bran

N. Bek­hazi, manag­ing part­ner of The Food Stu­dio, weeds through the trends and picks out the win­ning ideas

There are an es­ti­mated one bil­lion ve­g­ans and veg­e­tar­i­ans world­wide and this com­mu­nity is grow­ing fast, as con­sumers, es­pe­cially the younger gen­er­a­tion, act on con­cerns about the im­pact of what they eat on both their health and the en­vi­ron­ment. The big play­ers in the bev­er­age in­dus­try, such as Coca Cola, Pepsi and Star­bucks, have all ven­tured into the healthy fresh juic­ing in­dus­try. Their cur­rent main mar­ket of North Amer­ica will open the door for Euro­pean­based con­cepts that can be­come dom­i­nant brands in Western Europe, while fa­cil­i­tat­ing a pos­si­ble move into other parts of the re­gion.

Tak­ing a closer look at the mar­ket, we have no­ticed the fol­low­ing gen­eral, nonex­haus­tive trends, which are even­tu­ally ex­pected to spill over into the Le­vant and the GCC:

• Pret A Manger made its Veg­gie Pret popup, ex­per­i­men­tal con­cept in Lon­don per­ma­nent and opened a sec­ond branch in Apr 2017. More Veg­gie Prets are soon to be launched in Hong Kong. In a sep­a­rate move, Pret A Manger has in­stalled a bright green, veg­gie fridge through­out most of its stores in Lon­don. Re­search un­der­taken by the chain found that 52 per­cent of Veg­gie Pret cus­tomers typ­i­cally eat meat, but are try­ing to cut back on con­sump­tion in order to be health­ier.

• Freshii was set to ex­pand in the UK in 2017. This Cana­dian health-ori­ented, but not ex­clu­sively ve­gan con­cept, op­er­ated 244 res­tau­rants in North Amer­ica, South Amer­ica, Europe and the UAE as of Septem­ber, 2016. From these, 11 are in Euro­pean mar­kets in­clud­ing Aus­tria, Ire­land, Swe­den and the Nether­lands. Dur­ing Freshii’s de­but on the Toronto Stock Ex­change ear­lier this year, the CEO an­nounced an ag­gres­sive ex­pan­sion plan, which will see it tar­get the set­ting up of 840 venues world­wide by the end of 2019. Freshii’s pri­mary fo­cus is food, rather than juices and smooth­ies, while cold-pressed method­ol­ogy is not some­thing it pro­motes.

• In 2016, the owner of the or­ganic food restau­rant Le Pain Quo­ti­dien opened an or­ganic, veg­etable-based, fast-mov­ing, ca­sual restau­rant in NYC, ti­tled Le Botaniste. Plans are in the pipe­line for the food and wine bar, which serves its dishes by the bowl, to ex­pand in the EU.

• Against this back­drop, green has be­come the dom­i­nant color of food, with ‘juice­te­rias’ on the rise, ac­cord­ing to Baum and White­man, Global F&B con­sul­tants.

• Mod­ern liv­ing is busy and the pace of life is only get­ting faster, with the re­sult that peo­ple don’t al­ways have time to sit and eat whole­some meals. As a re­sult, nu­tri­ent­packed, healthy whole­some fruit and veg­etable juices, of­ten mar­keted as new ver­sions of the ‘liq­uid lunch’, are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar.

• In North Amer­ica, Pep­sico jumped ahead of the curve, when it in­vested in the Naked Juice brand, while ri­val Coca Cola en­tered the cold-pressed territory in 2015 by buy­ing a mi­nor­ity stake in the or­ganic juice-maker, Suja Life, which had a USD 42 mil­lion turnover in 2016. Mean­while, Star­bucks rolled out its maiden line of cold-pressed juices in March 2016, un­der the Evo­lu­tion Fresh brand.

• Herb cul­ti­va­tors are cer­tainly a trend to watch. A ris­ing num­ber of ho­tels and res­tau­rants, es­pe­cially prop­er­ties in the Mid­dle East, are adopt­ing this tech­nol­ogy to grow their own fresh herbs and greens in a sus­tained, con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment.

• With ris­ing de­mand for su­per foods, es­pe­cially among mil­len­ni­als, new and trend­ing ingredients are reg­u­larly ap­pear­ing in recipes and in a cold-store near you. Here’s a few mak­ing waves: Chloro­phyll, Kom­bucha (from the tea fam­ily), Wheat­grass, Guaran­i­mal (a herbal form of caf­feine), Al­ka­line water, Bee pollen and Camu camu (a fruit from the Rain For­est packed with Vitamin C).

The Med Diet

• Re­cent stud­ies have proven that Mediter­ranean food has many ben­e­fits. As far back as 1980, Pro­fes­sor An­cel Keys found mor­tal­ity rates were lower in Greece and Italy than in other coun­tries, when pub­lish­ing the re­sults of his in­ves­ti­ga­tions into car­dio­vas­cu­lar­related deaths in var­i­ous coun­tries.

The ideal Mediter­ranean meal in­cludes: - High quan­ti­ties of veg­eta­bles, beans and grains - A mod­er­ate quan­tity of meat and fish - Low amounts of added iodized salt, but in­stead fea­tures sea salt - Plenty of herbs and spices for sea­son­ing, re­duc­ing the need for salt - Mo­noun­sat­u­rated fat (olive oil)

The chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties

• The cold-pressed juice in­dus­try is ex­tremely frag­mented, com­pris­ing many small play­ers, but with­out a mar­ket-dom­i­nant brand.

• Only a few juice­te­rias have a whole­some of­fer­ing that in­cludes ve­gan or healthy foods.

• Bar­ri­ers to en­try are min­i­mal, with startup costs low (around USD 150,000-175,000) and a 20-25 per­cent av­er­age cost of goods sold. The startup costs in­clude a USD 30,000 cold-press juice ex­trac­tor and USD 20,000 li­cens­ing fee for buy­ing a fran­chise, with­out in­vest­ment in hu­man cap­i­tal or con­sul­tants.

• Data pro­duced by Per­sis­tence Mar­ket Re­search in Fe­bru­ary 2017 predicted that the global cold-pressed juice mar­ket will be worth USD 845 mil­lion by the end of 2024.

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