The lunch market is coming under increasing pressure as people spend more on breakfast, according to data from NPD Crest on the ‘out of home’ (OOH) foodservice market.

The average bill for eating an OOH breakfast in 2016 was 31% higher than it was eight years earlier. In contrast, the average bill for lunch is only 6.5% higher over the same period.

NPD Crest believes that more people are having breakfast out because they don’t have the time at home. Breakfast offerings on the high street – both food and drink – are also more numerous than before and offer wider choice.

Cyril Lavenant, NPD’s director of foodservice UK, said: “Foodservice operators providing lunches of all kinds are working in an intensively competitive marketplace.

“Some 16% of breakfast occasions away from home occur at the relatively late time of between 10am and 11am, meaning that lunch for some might then become just a quick bite of something light that people bring from home. In that case, they would skip buying their lunch from outside. So as breakfast away from home grows, especially if this happens later in the morning, there is a danger breakfast will cannibalise lunch business. That’s a trend foodservice operators should watch.”

Further figures show that lunch has declined during the week in terms of numbers of visit, but is seeing strong growth at weekends, with 8% more visits than eight years ago. Breakfast though is doing even better with over 20% more weekend visits.

Earlier this month, food-to-go outlets were slammed for serving unhealthy breakfasts in a survey.