Fast-food outlets used most frequently by Londoners, market research shows

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14th October 2014 17:16 - Food

Recent food service industry figures demonstrate Londoners visit fast-food outlets and chains more frequently than people across the UK to buy take-out lunch. Although London constitutes 13% of Britain’s population, it has a 17% share of ‘lunch-to-go’traffic, and 18% of Britain’s lunch-to-go spend.

Furthermore, London is significantly outgrowing the rest of the nation in buying food at Britain’s wide variety of fast-food chains; bakery, coffee and sandwich outlets; independent take-aways; and leading supermarkets. Compared with August 2009 London’s traffic in August 2014 is up 13.8% across breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

In contrast, figures spanning the same time frame for the rest of Britain show growth of 2.3%. A comparison of lunch purchases over this period between London and the rest of Britain show’s growth figures of 17.1% versus 4.4%, respectively.

Although figures for London and the rest of Britain regarding percentage of lunch visits constituting ‘to go’food (food taken out of premises for consumption) are nearly the same; 65% versus 64%, it is cost differences which are striking. In London the average ‘to-go’lunch purchase is 24% higher than the average for the rest of Britain, costing £3.53 compared to just £2.84.

Cyril Lavenant, NDP Group Director of Foodservice UK said: There are distinct characteristics regarding the lunch occasion in London. Lunch purchased through the fast-food channel in London has increased far faster than in the rest of Britain. And for the lunch-to-go segment within that, Londoners generate a much higher level of the traffic relative to the population size of the capital.

The NDP compiled a top five list of lunch-to-go items purchased at quick service restaurants in London for 2014. The highest percentage of lunch-to-go visits involved purchasing a chicken sandwich (10.9%) followed by Bacon/BLT sandwich (7.7%), beef burger (7%), cheese/veg sandwich (6.6%), and finally chips/French fries (6.1%).

So where do Londoners consume their purchased lunch-to-go items? Data shows 52% of London consumers eat in their office versus only 38% across the rest of Britain. Furthermore, 15% of London consumers eat their lunches outside versus 20% for the rest of Britain.

Regarding competition between independent and branded food outlets selling lunch-to-go, results are also disparate. In London independents enjoyed a 6% increase in lunch-to-go traffic in 2014 (up to 21% traffic share), whereas across the rest of Britain branded outlets enjoy 73% traffic share with independents suffering a drop in traffic share of 7% (down to 27%).

Cyril Lavenant remarked: Its fascinating to see how independents are taking lunch-to-gotraffic share from the branded outlets in London. Throughout the rest of Britain its the reverse trend so Londons independents have clearly developed a successful offering. One possible reason the capitals independents are doing well is that London is often the city where all kinds of new ventures are tested before they are rolled out to the national market.

Motivations to purchase also differ; ‘quality of food’ is cited as a factor in choosing an outlet by 24.4% of Londoners versus 21.7% for the rest of Britain. 

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