Restaurant and pub operators are introducing more innovative dishes and flavour combinations as British consumers are becoming more discerning about food.
According to new research from food service analyst Horizons, high street operators across the UK are offering more choice on their menus as well as additional information on the provenance of ingredients.
However, despite increased consumer awareness, the Menurama survey, which questioned 115 high street operators across the UK, found that the top 10 most commonly listed menu items have remained largely unchanged.
"While consumers like to think they will try something new when they eat out, often they opt for their old favourites, so the top 10 most commonly listed dishes don't change much from year to year," said Horizons director of operations Paul Backman.
"However, the descriptions of them do change - a burger, for instance, is more likely to be listed by weight and provenance, and fish and chips are often described as being from a sustainable source. Some 39% of establishments now include calorie information on their menus or websites."
Meanwhile the average price for a three-course restaurant meal has gone up 7.1% from £19.53 last year to £20.90 this year. A three-course meal in a pub is up 4.2% from £15.50 to £16.15.
The Menurama survey also shows that regional price disparities, which have traditionally meant that eating out tends to be more expensive in the south and cheaper in the north, are narrowing.
"These price disparities are disappearing, largely because many of the chain restaurants now operate a single pricing structure across their whole estate. Operational costs are also levelling out across the country," added Backman.
Some of the most innovative dishes found on high street menus include:
• Cheese and jalapeno popcorn (EAT)
• Rhubarb & blueberry 'buried treasure' jelly (Pret A Manger)
• Vegetarian 'fish' and chips with halloumi (City Pubs)
• Herefordshire snail, chicken and smoked bacon pie (gastropub)
• Wild boar and chorizo burger (Vintage Inns)
• Raspberry granola cranachan (Chef & Brewer)
Top 10 main course dishes and average prices
1 Beefburger £8.72
2 Pizza (whole) £10.07
3 Fish & chips £8.69
4 Chicken burger £7.53
5 Rump steak £10.01
6 Chicken curry £8.93
7 Sirloin steak £15.00
8 Grilled chicken £9.58
9 Roast chicken £10.43
10 Beef lasagne £7.58
10 Sausage & mash £7.27
By Kerstin Kühn
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