Could UK Cafes Benefit from Rethinking Their Snacking Strategy?

Last year saw the Government announce the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Most people probably forgotten how it worked but the basic premise is that participants offered 50 per cent off food and non-alcoholic drinks with maximum of £10 off, Monday through to Wednesday each week last August. However, the scheme is not around this summer.

With the country set to truly re-open with the final stages easing restrictions upon us, this crucial time will hopefully see the likes of coffee houses and independent chains across the country, benefit and enjoy welcomed footfall. But could now also be the ideal opportunity for UK cafes to rethink their snacking strategy?


We're Not Talking About Reinventing the Wheel

With customers returning to cafes, many outlets across the country are working towards this reinvention, making themselves 'places to be'. In order to lure would-be customers back to the streets, retailers need to be inventive and innovative in what they offer. At its peak on the high street, café culture has boomed with 80% of people who visit coffee shops do so at least once a week, whilst 16% of us visit on a daily basis. Times have changed and so have consumer demands.

Providing exciting and memorable in-store experiences, which go beyond their products core offering can help. Independent cafes have some unique attributes that make them more attractive to their local customers and local community. Benefits such as the ability to offer a more personalised service and be more responsive to local needs, taste preferences and trialling innovative new ranges.

"...It's safe to say shoppers have a wealth of choice when it comes to hot drinks but all too often feel let down by the choice of snacks"

Consumers have also come to expect a full range of omni-channel services that large retailers now provide, which many smaller stores find hard to replicate as they focus on the day-to-day running of their businesses. Independents need to be smarter and more enterprising in the way they operate, thinking beyond the confines of their four walls. Being smaller means these retailers actually have an advantage – they can be nimbler.


The Rise of the Cafe Culture

Visit any café across the UK, from a counter in a leisure centre, to the traditional ‘greasy spoon’, the bespoke tea house or urban hipster pop-up and they will all have one thing in common – there will never be only drinks on sale. Whether it’s tea and biscuits or coffee and cake, having a snack with a hot drink is something of an unwritten rule and, with the UK consuming over 95 million cups of coffee every day, there is huge potential to up-sell a delicious range of treats. However, as audiences have become increasingly conscious of what they consume, and with a range of dietary requirements to adhere to, finding the right mix to satisfy all taste buds is a tricky challenge.

Many cafes now offer an array of milk choices as a matter of course, meaning customers can enjoy their lattes, macchiatos and cappuccinos with almond, soy, coconut, the list goes on. However, when it comes to snacks, it can be easy to fall back on familiar favourites, with little to no time to contemplate or research a wider range of ‘free-from’ or nutritional food choices for their customers to enjoy. It's safe to say shoppers have a wealth of choice when it comes to hot drinks (no surprise when we're talking cafes) but all too often feel let down by the choice of snacks.

On the high street and in people's daily lives, café culture has continued to boom - gone are the days of drinking a cuppa from a polystyrene cup with a bland digestive - and in its place has come a true appreciation for the holistic coffee experience alongside the indulgent, premium treat in hand. Taste is king in all areas of grocery, and snacking is no different. By providing a wider and better selection of interesting food snacks alongside their drink choices - snacks made from honest, premium ingredients and delivering indulgent taste to suit a more nutritionally-savvy audience - café owners put themselves in a great position to expand their audiences and boost sales figures.


Making Snacking Right for Your Audience

Shoppers are seeking healthier, low calorie snacks to grab when they need a fix to satisfy those cravings, keeping them fuller for longer, and clocking in at 150 calories or less which don't short on the taste. Try Lexis, turning the humble marshmallow in to gooey crispy low calorie snack bars, perfect alongside a skinny hazelnut latte!

Look for packs made using paper recyclable packaging or compostable outer wrappers to site alongside the till point, to appeal to consumers who today have a far greater awareness of the environment impact of plastics. We recommend the likes of the Flower & White meringue bars and Prodigy chunky chocolate bars for something which appeals to eco-conscious consumer.

Those looking to dip their toe into a healthier selection don’t have to stray too far from the familiar, most healthy snacks mirror the look and taste of their more ‘artificial’ cousins. Take Mallow & Marsh, a boutique confectionery business which has re-imagined the childhood favourite of marshmallow and turned it into a snack that not only delivers on flavour but has none of the artificial colours or flavourings of the more traditional counterpart.

Gut health, gluten-free and high fibre are the fastest-growing health conversations around breakfast and the morning coffee. Fuel10K made with gluten-free oats are the perfect on-the-go breakfast with a coffee.

One of the big driving factors to look for is the variety of flavours and delicious ingredients that are changing the face of savoury snacks, from the including the growth of plant-based .

Take PROPER's exciting lentil-based range, Proper Chips which comes in at under 100 kcals per serving and contains less than 30% fat than leading crisps*. Founded by the team behind the UKs bestselling premium popcorn, these Lentil Chips have sold well across all independents. Made with nourishing and free-from organic ingredients, coated in the finest Swiss vegan chocolate, Rhythm 108 are another must stock plant based snack, to appeal to a wider audience.

Of course, a large proportion of the UK’s coffee and tea sales come via a takeaway cup – in both Cafés and Convenience Stores - whether it’s the first drink on the morning commute, or a grab and go in-between meetings or on the way to fitness session. This means your snacking selection too, has to be suitable for healthier consumers on the move. Having a snacking selection that is not only convenient to eat on the go but can also providing a healthy hit of protein or fibre, such as Tribe plant-based protein bars, can help give your business a healthy boost too!

rhythm 108 chocolate bars

Sourcing the Best Snacks with a Hot Drink

As an independent snacking wholesaler, we’re passionate about ensuring businesses can quickly and simply offer nutritious and filling snacks to their customers. We make it easy with a fast turnaround, no minimum delivery, and expert advice on adding healthy additions to your current food line-up, no matter how small the available counter or shelving space is. Discover more about how Epicurium can make your café a healthy local haunt that customers can’t wait to return to! 

With a quick turnaround of 24-48 hours, no minimum order number and free delivery on any order over £80, our team here at Epicurium can have you tapping into freshest healthy snack, drinks, bars and crisp alternatives in no time. 

To learn more about working with Epicurium, just follow this link to discover more.

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