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Which meals matter most?



NPD Group’s latest figures predict a fall in dinner visits and a cut back in snacking over the next two years but a boost for breakfast and lunch visits as well as delivery


Global information company The NPD Group says the British foodservice industry should grow by an additional 83 million visits in 2018 (up +0.7% on 2017), despite stagnant wage growth and high inflation. This could grow by a further 93 million visits (up +0.8% on 2018) in 2019.

Much of the growth in visits NPD Group predicts will come from specific dayparts. Breakfast currently represents more than one in eight of the 11.36 billion OOH visits expected by the end of 2017. NPD is forecasting breakfast visits will grow by +5.7% in 2018 and +4.8% in 2019. Meanwhile, lunch will remain the largest daypart and is forecast to grow steadily, by +2.2% and +1.9% respectively in the same two years.

In terms of the average bill, dinner is the most expensive daypart but pressure on consumer spending will drive a continuing decline in dinner visits during 2018 and 2019. By the end of 2019, there could be 5% fewer dinner visits compared to 2016, a decline of over 134 million. However, the rapid rise of delivery - which is projected to grow an additional 101m visits by 2019 (+16% on 2017) - will provide some relief.

In fact, delivery has risen quickly to become a significant catalyst in the British foodservice industry and its rapid rate of expansion looks set to continue as the likes of Just Eat, UberEATS and Deliveroo expand their reach across the country. This will encourage more foodservice operators to adopt delivery as a route to market, and NPD is predicting an additional spend of £656m (+17%) by consumers on delivery occasions by 2019. 

Commenting on the report, Cyril Lavenant, foodservice director UK at the NPD Group, says: “Delivery shows no signs of running out of steam over the next two years and will help to bring home the bacon in Britain’s £55 billion foodservice industry. Burgers, casual dining, breakfast and lunch are also thriving and should help operators shrug off fragile consumer confidence, as well as inflation and stagnant wages, to achieve growth. We are especially bullish about burger chains and casual dining as these restaurants are meeting the consumer’s appetite for a contemporary experience that also offers a family-oriented treat.

“Regardless of a soft Brexit or a hard Brexit, any foodservice operator that invests for the future, and gives consumers the value, product quality and service quality they want, can look forward to growing their business in 2018 and 2019.”

Boost from burgers
Burgers are likely to retain their popularity and enjoy a boost from the delivery boom. The NPD Group expects burgers to lead growth in both visits and consumer spend. Outlets serving quick-service burgers will see visits grow by +5.1% in 2018 and +4.5% in 2019.

Casual dining v full-service
Casual dining chains are forecast to increase visits by +2.8% in 2018 and +2.7% in 2019. Full-service restaurants serving chicken will benefit from its ongoing popularity and from brand loyalty among millennials and other consumers: such restaurants could grow visits by +4.2% in 2018 and +4.0% in 2019.

Saving on snacks
Cutting back on snacks is an established consumer tactic for spending less on eating out, and in 2018 snacking visits could decline -1.2%, followed by a further decline of -1.1% in 2019.  

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