Together with healthy eating, food industry executives believe that local sourcing will have the greatest impact on menu development over the next three years, according to a new report by Allegra Strategies. Recent data, published in Eating Out in the UK 2010, has revealed that 50% of consumers asked indicated local sourcing was the most important sustainability initiative for foodservice operators, such as coffee shops and sandwich bars, to engage in.
The research, carried out between April and June 2010, showed that service was another key factor in consumers' decisions about where to eat with 78% rating the quality of service as highly as the food in determining choice of venue.
The report estimated that the value of the UK 'informal eating out' market had grown by 1% to reach £40.5bn in 2010, following a 0.8% drop in 2009, with coffee shops and sandwich bars holding a £6.9bn share of the market. Despite consumers trading down and reduced visit frequency, the report predicted that, over the medium- to long term, people would eat out more frequently, with the market set to reach £49bn by 2015.
Lunch is still the most popular meal eaten out-of-home, found the report, with around 27% of consumers having at least one lunch meal out a week. Young adults (18-to 24-year-olds) were found to eat out around 3.3 times a week, while the over-65s ate 1.2 meals out of home on average.