On-trade must adapt to 'flexible' consumer lifestyles

Claire Dodd

Claire Dodd

22 July 2015

Changing lifestyles, working hours and smart phone technology are all having a major impact on how consumers eat out, according to a new report on dining trends by Sacla' UK.

The 'Eating Out – Today and Tomorrow' report is based on interviews with more than 2,000 nationally-representative pub and restaurant customers. It found that consumers are increasingly fluid, flexible and informal in their eating-out habits.

Acccording to Sacla': 62% of consumers describe themselves as totally adventurous in terms of cuisine, while 31% of all respondents say they eat out at least once a week. An even higher number of Londoners (44%), the self-employed (45%) and 18 to 34 year olds (41%) eat out at least once a week.

The foodservice market is worth £89bn a year, including £14bn on snacks and treats against almost £194bn on groceries – that means a total of £283bn spent by consumers each year on food and drink, of which almost a third goes to the out-of-home market such as pubs, restaurants and cafes. Around 56% of Londoners and 52% of non-Londoners describe their working hours as irregular, changing or unpredictable.

One in five people last ate out mid-morning or mid-afternoon, while 37% expect to go out to eat a sit down breakfast in coming years. Forty one percent of consumers outlined that recent visitor reviews are a significant help when dining out.

Clare Blampied, managing director at Sacla' UK, said: 'The launch of Eating Out – Today and Tomorrow responds to the UK's increasing passion towards food and consumers' higher expectations when it comes to dining out-of-home.'

The report was produced by independent consumer foresight and futures consultancy, Trajectory. Paul Flatters, managing director said: 'Consumers feel less constricted in their behaviour by traditional norms of time, place and social status, a core theme throughout the report and a concept we labelled the deregulation of life. The four fundamental elements of this – time, place, individualism and mobile devices – demand that foodservice operators consider how they could or should offer the flexibility and choice to match today’s deregulated lifestyles.'

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