Britain’s diners cutting costs and choices

21/04/2015

Future Thinking, the business intelligence research consultancy, has today revealed additional findings of the 2015 Shopper Barometer, an annual independent study of current trends and future consumer habits of UK shoppers.

The survey of 1,200 UK consumers revealed findings about people’s eating out habits for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with the majority of views centring on quality and value for money.

Breakfast

Three quarters of consumers (76%) currently eat breakfast at home, with the majority of the remainder eating at their place of work. The most popular breakfast items eaten out of home are: coffee (73%), toast (51%), cereal (43%), a fry up (37%) and porridge (34%). 13% of respondents say that they buy breakfast items every work day, with an average spend of £2.65. Over 35s are most likely to buy breakfast out of home every day.

A fifth of consumers (20%) buy a hot drink out of home every day. The average spend per day on hot drinks is £2.24 per person, a ten per cent increase from last year (£2.05 per person).

According to the research, the most popular breakfast destinations are Costa, McDonald’s and Greggs, with consumers basing their decisions on range of products (73%), quality (53%) and value for money (51%).

Lunch

Half of the survey’s respondents said that they regularly buy lunch outside of the home. The most popular lunchtime outlets (Pubs, McDonald’s, Greggs) see an average spend of £4.86.

However, more than a third of consumers (36%) believe it is too expensive to eat out at lunchtime, and 29% are looking to cut back their lunchtime spending. A quarter of respondents (23%) are considering more packed lunches in the future. The Barometer suggests consumers are still looking to reign in spend where possible, unsure of what 2015 will bring. 

Half of consumers always choose from two or three different ‘dishes’, with 14% of respondents admitting to always ordering the same lunch.

Dinner

Consumers are dining out in restaurants on average once a month, however the overall spend per head has decreased 22.3% to £11.52 (£14.90 in 2014).  More people are now eating out, but this now includes more of those looking for a cheaper option.

The research once again found Britain’s diners to be creatures of habit, with 28% always visiting the same restaurant. Wetherspoon is Britain’s favourite dinner destination, according to 15% of respondents, followed by Harvester (8%) and Frankie & Benny’s (6%). Quality of food and low prices are indicated as the key factors driving footfall. 

There appears to be a very decisive line between those cutting back and those with more cash in their pocket. 7% of consumers report to be eating out more than they used to (5% in 2014). At the same time, 29% of consumers said they are eating out less than they used to, compared to 39% in 2014. There also appears to be a positive trend towards being able to eat out more frequently compared to last year.

Noreen Kinsey, Head of Shopper Insight at Future Thinking, comments on the report findings:

“This research provides a fascinating insight into the eating habits of British people. It is clear from the findings that consumers remain conscious of the need for cost-cutting.  Outlets should ensure they understand who their audiences are and adapt their offer and pricing strategies accordingly. 

“Britain’s consumers place a high regard on both quality and value for money. Restaurants have to strike that balance to meet the needs of a diverse customer base. Understanding and segmenting your audience has never been more critical to ensure that offers are communicated clearly."

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