UK lunch market competition intensifies

More and more restaurants and outlets are competing for the lunchtime food market, according to new stats.
The days of relying on a packed lunch at work seem to be dwindling, as branded operators and independents have increased their focus to compete in the lunch out-of-home (OOH) market.
Stats from the NPD Group show that 17 chains now have at least a one per cent share of the market, compared to only 13 in 2008.
However, the breakfast market appears to be increasing faster than the lunch sector, with the average OOH breakfast bill rising by 31 per cent in the past eight years to reach £3.30, compared to only a 6.5 per cent rise to £4.57 for the typical lunch.
In fact, OOH breakfasts have increased by 107 million visits since June 2008 while OOH lunches have decreased by 80 million trips.
Interestingly, when people leave the office to buy lunch, they are increasingly opting to eat in the outlet’s premises (plus 5.8 per cent), while there has been a 6.3 per cent fall in the number of people choosing to have their lunch on the go.
In terms of what we’re eating for our lunchtime meal, sandwiches or wraps inevitably lead the way with 33 per cent of all visits, with 16 per cent choosing burgers and 14 per cent opting for chips, while around a quarter of us wash them down with a fizzy drink.
The stats follow a separate report which will also make good reading for people working up and down the country in hospitality jobs, showing that Brits are now spending more on eating out.
The latest data from the Visa UK Consumer Spending Index found growth of 8.9 per cent in the hotel, restaurants and bars sector in July, with recreation and culture rising by 5.2 per cent and an increase of 5.1 per cent for food, beverages and tobacco.
By Owen Mckeon
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