Posh grub.

Vogue Cafe in Dubai

Global luxury retailers are turning their hands to gourmet experiences and 2016 will see this culinary trend grow from strength to strength.

Big names are wanting in on the profits being made by the hugely successful food and beverage market, which has seen exponential growth in the last 15 years. In the US, the ‘dining out’ sector had sales reach $482 billion in 2014, up from $395 billion in 2009. Within this, cafés have seen incredible growth. In the UK in 2015, the coffee café market grew by 12% and is said to be worth £7.9bn. In the States, that market grew by 15% in 2015.

So there’s clearly money to be made, and as sales of bags and shoes slow down, luxury brands are investing hugely in experiential luxury. 2015 saw the launch of Thomas’ which is Burberry’s all-day café at its London flagship store. Following suit, Prada has bought Milan’s infamous pastry store Pasticceria Marchesi and Armani now have a total 13 restaurants and cafes across the globe. “I’ve always wanted to create a complete Armani lifestyle that reflects my ideas beyond fashion,” says Giorgio Armani. VOGUE has also segued in to café culture with 4 locations across the globe, and a further 5 set to open in future.

Lorna Hall, head of market intelligence at WGSN, a trend forecasting agency, reinforces what Armani claims, believing that more needs to be on the table than just product. Experiential luxury accounts for 55% of the luxury market, and it’s growing 50% faster than spending on goods. Gone are the days of retailers representing just a monetary exchange, consumers of today want to walk away with memories, feelings and sensations. So it looks like, from now on, “food is in fashion” as correctly stated by Hall.

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