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Step back in time with retro food

As nostalgic grub makes a comeback, Take Stock takes a trip down memory lane.

If you thought prawn cocktail had vanished along with shoulder pads, Roland Rat and Ah-ha hits, then think again. Retro food is back!

In these tough times, we are driven by a need to remember the good old days, and so are gravitating towards comfort food to transport us back to happier, more innocent times.

David Kershaw, chief executive of M&C Saatchi, says, “Retro foods make us think of better times. When times are hard, nostalgia becomes more attractive. Looking back to bygone days in a somewhat misty- eyed way is quite an understandable response.”

According to Mintel, this new retro wave is transporting consumers back to life in the 80’s and 70’s and businesses are jumping on this trend.

Stodgy dishes, rich sauces and delicious desserts are appealing again as consumers opt to eat out ‘the retro way’.

Cashing in

Bob Bob Ricard in London is serving Chicken Kiev and Bedford and Strand, also in the Capital, has introduced fondue nights. Some restaurants have turned completely to this trend. Retro Feasts, a Mayfair-based pop-up created by nineteen year-old Luke Thomas concentrates solely on the retro food concept. Says Luke, “We’ve come up with a menu full of the guilty pleasures that British people grew up with and still love to eat – even though they might not want to admit it in public.”

A twist

The Three Fishes in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, has brought back classics such as Steak Diane but put a twist on old favourites with dishes such as Black Forest Cheesecake. Nigel Haworth, Chef Patron of Ribble Valley Inns, commented, “We have worked hard on the menu to make sure there is something for all to enjoy.  There is a bit of a retro aspect to the menu. I love taking these traditional dishes and putting that contemporary twist on them.”

Old faves

Market data supplier CGA strategy found that soft drinks such as Barrs Original Ginger Beer, Fentimens Dandelion and Burdock and Hartridge’s Good Cloudy Lemonade have seen recent growth, and reworked classic flavours such as rose lemonade are becoming popular. The report found that these drinks commanded premium prices and were good profit drivers.

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