Two in five Brits now buy lunch at least once a week

The number of Brits buying lunch at least once a week has risen to 40%, up from 35% in 2016.

Two in five Brits now buy lunch for an ‘everyday’ occasion on a weekly basis, while a quarter (26%) do so for a ‘leisure’ occasion, according to new Mintel report Attitudes Towards Lunch Out-of-Home UK 2017.

And the proportion of consumers who buy lunch to eat out of home for an everyday occasion has increased from 64% in 2016 to 76% in 2017.

“The rise in the number of consumers choosing to eat out at lunch is due to a variety of reasons,” said Helen Fricker, senior leisure analyst at Mintel.

“The range of options for lunch on the high street has grown, which means those with dietary needs are far better catered to than in previous years."

She added that mood was a major deciding factor.

“Of those who buy lunch for an everyday occasion, 41% said they were influenced by their state of mind - for instance if they were tired of happy.

“State of mind is also a key driver behind lunchtime food choice and the increased availability of healthy, mood-boosting and functional foods is tapping into this need,” Fricker added.

Of those who buy lunch to eat out of home, a third (32%) look for the cheapest option between Monday and Wednesdays. This number declines closer to the weekend, with only one in five (22%) bothered by cost on a Saturday or Sunday.

The traditional Sunday lunch is also under threat, according to Mintel, as 34% of Brits say brunch has replaced weekend lunches, rising to almost half of those aged 25-34 and 45% of Londoners.

“Brunch is big business,” Fricker added. “It seems that diners cannot get enough of a weekend brunch and operators are only too happy to cater to this. Over the last few years, there has been a huge rise in brunch availability and all types of foodservice outlets have entered into this space. The range on offer is ever-expanding and the variations available continue to evolve.”

An everyday occasion, according to Mintel, is for work, college or to refuel when shopping. A leisure occasion is as part of a day out or when catching up with friends. 

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