Almost a quarter of consumers are being influenced by deals to go out to eat rather than stay in with a takeaway, research has revealed.
Allegra Strategies quizzed over 2,000 consumers for its How Britain Eats 2011 report and found that 22% of the British public choose eating out using 'meal for two' deals over takeaways due to the value on offer.
It found that the frequency of eating out for dinner has remained the same as 2010, while lunch has seen an increase in 2011.
The report also revealed that as consumers seek out value thay are less loyal, with only 19% admitting to frequenting a favourite establishment.
When they do go out, respondents said they preferred Italian cuisine to any other. The sector has seen growth of 4% during 2011, with 2,388 restaurants now across the UK, according to Allegra.
However, the majority also claim to be adventurous, with 68% trying food they wouldn't eat at home.
Time and money pressures continue to affect consumer behaviour, with most respondents citing value for money as the key factor in their choice of eating out establishment.
Anya Gascoine-Marco, director of Insight, Allegra Strategies, said it was clear that consumer anxiety over rising costs and governmental austerity measures were having an effect on how Britain eats. "Additionally, the growth in use of technology from a communication, awareness and education perspective means that consumers are more aware of changes and pressures in food shopping, cooking and eating," she added.
"In response to the worrying economic factors, consumers are seeking counter austerity treats. Consumers still want to indulge themselves on the odd occasion, and this involves eating out and buying treats, dubbed the 'cupcake factor'. We are also observing the growth in street food concepts, as consumers want to broaden their experiences, but doing so whilst expecting good value for money. Street food delivers all that."
By James Stagg
E-mail your comments to James Stagg here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Caterersearch.com jobs
Blogs on Caterersearch.com
Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our E-newsletters