Coffee shops are the country’s most popular place to eat, according to Allegra Strategies, which organises UK and European coffee summits and symposiums. Its new survey shows 31% of British consumers admitted to buying at least a meal in one each week compared with 23% last year.

Consumers are eating out more often than last year, but reduced disposable income means they want better value during their lunchtimes the most popular meal out of home, says Allegra’s Eating Out in the UK 2011 Report. Shoppers have embraced discounting, with one in two adults regularly using vouchers, compared to one in three in 2010.

It credits coffee shops with having a quality, value-driven proposition. "Coffee chains’ food offer is improving and they’ve got a price point that’s affordable, although a lot of independent cafés are also pushing the food quality up," said Anya Gascoine Marco, head of food and beverage insight at Allegra Strategies.

Its research found consumers visited coffee shops to eat out an average of 3.1 times a month, followed by workplace canteens (2.1 times), sandwich/bakery-to-go (2 times), sandwich bars (1.7 times) and pub restaurants (1.5 times); 34% are eating out at lunch compared to 23% eating out at dinner.