Meal deals, branded pubs, soft drinks and burgers are the significant foodservice trends, while cups of tea, Chinese, Indian and kebab takeaways, independent pubs and chocolate bars are suffering in the foodservice and on-trade sector, according to new data from global information company, The NPD Group.

The purchasing habits of consumers in the UK getting something to eat or drink away from home – be it a restaurant meal, a quick snack, or even a grab-and-go supermarket sandwich – paint a picture of how life in the country which has opted to leave the EU is changing if this new research is anything to go by.

Here are ten of the thought-provoking insights into the out-of-home (OOH) British foodservice market from The NPD Group that wholesalers need to be aware of.

1. The brave new world of the British pub

Branded pubs have chalked up a 35% increase in visits in the year ending June 2016, compared with the year to June 2010. Independent pubs have suffered the reverse, with visits falling by over 27%, according to The NPD Group. As of June this year, the 838 million visits to branded pubs over the previous 12 months were close to double the 429 million visits recorded for the independents. Meanwhile, the research claims to have found that pubs of all kinds are seeing servings of alcohol drop, with soft drink servings rising: Alcohol servings are down to 483 million for the year ending June 2016 from 614 million in the year ending June 2010, while soft drinks servings have jumped from 577 million to 647 million.

2. Britain’s love affair with tea has gone off the boil

The NPD research has found that consumers’ thirst for tea is lukewarm at best, while demand for coffee is robust. Over the period year ending June 2010 to year ending June 216, servings of tea in Britain’s OOH foodservice market dropped 20% from 1.07 billion to 861 million. Coffee consumption over the same period was stable at around 2.1 billion servings, with a clear shift from traditional coffee to specialty coffee, such as Americano, Cappuccino, Latte, Espresso, Mocha and Macchiato.

3. Imagine burgers replacing fish and chips

The decline in visits to fish and chip outlets is steady, down nearly 8 per cent in the year to June 2016 against the year to June 2010. Out of 11.3 billion visits to OOH outlets for the year ending June 2016, over 9% were to fast-food burger restaurants, while less than 3% were for fish and chips. Significantly, our hunger for burgers far exceeds the expansion of the quick-service restaurant (QSR) sector serving fast food. Visits to fast-food outlets generally were up nearly 7% in the year ending June 2016 versus the year ending June 2010, but visits specifically for burgers grew by 25% over the same period.

4. Ethnic restaurants could do with spicing up

In the quick-service sector, restaurants serving Chinese or Indian food as well as kebabs, have seen visits drop by 5% between the year to June 2010 and the year ending June 2016. In full-service restaurants, serving more formal Chinese, Indian, Greek, French, Mexican or Spanish food, the decrease in visits is bigger at 6%.

5. We’re hungry for meal deals

We still like to feel we are getting a bargain when eating away from home, if the NPD research is anything to go by. For the year ending June 2016 – and the previous year to June 2015 – 28% of OOH foodservice visits involved meal deals or promotions. Meal deals are big in the casual dining sector, and were used in 40% of visits in the year to June 2016.

6. Do kids make the decisions?

For the year ending June 2016, nearly a quarter of OOH visits where at least one child was present (22.6%) were motivated by the fact that ‘the kids like it there’. NPD’s data shows that children ‘choosing’ an outlet are driving some £3.8 billion of foodservice business each year.

7. Casual dining is red hot

Britain has got casual dining fever, according to the NPD research. For the year ending June 2016, casual dining outlets notched up £5.07bn in sales, up nearly 35% on the year ending June 2010. Consumers made around 502 million visits to Britain’s numerous casual dining outlets for the year to June 2016; that’s 26% more – or nearly 104 million visits – than in the year ending June 2010.

8. Signs of guilt about snacks

Chocolate bars are still our favourite snack, according to the NPD research, followed by crisps, but servings of each have decreased in recent years. For the year ending June 2010, Britain bought 334 million servings of chocolate and 288 million servings of crisps. But by the year ending June 2016, those numbers had allegedly tumbled by 14% and 30% respectively.

9. Breakfasts are getting bigger

The so-called most important meal of the day is certainly a growing part of the foodservice industry, accounting for 11.2% of Britain’s eat-out visits, up from 9.5% six years ago, the NPD research shows.

10. London is the engine of Britain’s foodservice industry

London accounts for around 19% of eat-out sales nationally and nearly 16% of visits. But London foodservice prices are 17% higher than the rest of the country, the NPD research found.


Cyril Lavenant, NPD’s director of foodservice for the UK, said: “We all know preparing meals, snacks and drinks can be hard work so buying food and beverages outside will never lose its appeal and that’s why Britain’s out-of-home (OOH) foodservice market is big business.

“It could be worth £53.5bn by the end of 2016, not so far behind the value of the UK auto industry. But food and drink bought away from home is a fast-changing business too, with new brands and concepts changing the look and feel of our town centres and our high streets, and even changing the way we enjoy our free time.”

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