Takeaway Culture is So Non-English, but It's Catching on Fast

English breakfasts, fine dining, etiquette and sobriety, everything that is quaintly British is being taken over by an aggressive on the move eating and drinking, as work cultures change, and the way of life changes with that. Brits no more have the luxury of sitting at a restaurant for a quite lunch or a formal dinner. Good or bad, Britons are accepting the change and learning to live with it.

​Steve Morris of Scyphus, a bespoke paper cup and container manufacturer elaborates on the changes that the industry is envisioning in the takeaway food container demand growth in UK, a country traditionally averse to fast food and takeaway for long, is fast changing.

The number of on-the-go consumers in the United Kingdom is soaring

The dynamics of the food industry in the United Kingdom is altering as the number of on-the-go consumers is on a constant rise. Seeing people eating meals on trains is becoming part of the usual landscape. This evolution is closely linked to the explosion of diversity in both restaurant concepts and consumer tastes. It is predicted that by the end of 2017, the eating out market will have grown by 3.4% and that this growth rate will stay stable in 2018 and 2019.

Various key drivers have given rise to the on-the-move eating habit

Multiple factors have pushed consumers to converge towards the on-the-go eating habit. The lack of time allocated for eating and the need for convenience have blurred boundaries between meals and snacks, working time and eating time. Time pressure has altered eating habits with 51% of people in the United Kingdom struggling to eat healthily. In the United Kingdom, the average lunch time has been dramatically squeezed to only 15 minutes now and 10% of snackers are only consuming snacks to replace a meal, as revealed in a study conducted by the University of Westminster.

Eating out is now part of everyday life

In a paper published by the Oxford Farming Conference earlier this year, eating out is on a steady rise, with most people in the United Kingdom opting for snacking and lunch outside. It is no more reserved for special occasions. Sitting down to tuck into a healthy and copious breakfast is almost a tradition of the past. Indeed, more than half of Britons, that is more than 25 million people, are skipping breakfast at home either because they are in a rush or because they are worried.  Eating times are also changing, with people eating when they are hungry rather than sticking to traditional meal times.

On a parallel note, people are spending more on takeaway food mainly because of the large amount of time spent on commuting and at work, but not only.

A recent survey conducted by VoucherCodes has highlighted that 44% of respondents answered that eating out is a very convenient option as often, cupboards are usually empty at home. 38% admitted not wanting to cook to avoid the chores that followed at home like washing dishes. Yearly, the amount of money spent on takeaways by Britons exceeds £6 billion.  

In 2016, the average sum spent on dinner climbed up to £18.11. The 18-24 age group is the most active consumer for snacking, dinner, lunch and breakfast as well. The eating habits of Millennials- a very demanding generation- have also been observed to undergo major changes, with the latter choosing a more mobile lifestyle and eating on the move.  They are also the worst offenders when it comes to skipping breakfast at home in the morning. Indulgence and informality have also become key trends in the eating habits of the Britons.

The food industry is being responsive to consumers changing needs

As homemade food is becoming a luxury, the food industry is adapting itself to cater for the demands of the consumers who now principally eat for the sake of refueling. To build a connection and engage with targeted consumers, various restaurants or fast food outlets are providing takeaways not only for lunch but for breakfast as well. Poached eggs and saucy beans, various types of porridge or crumbles are all readily available.

On the other hand, as consumers wish to eat anywhere and at anytime, disposable paper cups and containers are replacing plates and mugs for their extreme convenience. Even soups and healthy snacks are being proposed on-the-go in sturdy takeaway disposable containers. To respond to the needs and tastes of consumers, restaurants, fast food outlets, cafes and bakeries are mushrooming at every corner. To set its footprint in the rapidly expanding industry, KFC, for instance, has recently inaugurated its very first airport restaurant in the United Kingdom, having partnered with HMSHost International to target passengers in the departure lounge at the Manchester Airport.

Takeaway food does not necessarily mean unhealthy eating

Takeaway food has managed to evolve from the concept of unhealthy food into healthy yet convenient meals. Today, certain franchise concepts are betting on healthier and fresher local sourced ingredients while others are proposing vegetables as the main course or on the primary side. Innovative micro cuisine franchises proposing regionalized menu options are also gaining popularity.

Major fast food chains are also promising to care for the health of their consumers. Mc Donald’s, for example, has announced that it will start implementing a new broiler chicken antibiotics policy as from 2018 to evolve with customers’ preferences in a responsible manner. KFC, on its side, has started proposing raw cauliflowers and boiled chicken part from its traditional menus.

Chinese takeaway food un-crowns fish and chips

The eating preferences of the people in the United Kingdom have transitioned from the famous fish and chips to Chinese food. 35% of respondents of a survey carried out by Paymentsense said to prefer Chinese takeaway while 24% preferred Indian food. Pizza came on the third place. The survey also concluded that 57% of the respondents opt for the delivery option when buying takeaways. 25% prefer to walk to a nearby takeaway outlet while 18% prefer using an app or ordering online.

The same survey pinpointed that Britons order takeaways at least once per week. Men are more inclined to consume takeaway meals even if women spend more than their counterparts.

On-the-go consumers are driving mobile technology

On-the-go consumers are in demand of fast and reliable services. Many food outlets have developed mobile apps with seductive displays to allow clients to place their takeaway orders from anywhere and conveniently, without having to wait in a queue. As consumers are moving away from the sit-down restaurants concept, players in the food industry are having to evolve rapidly and bring forward innovative offers to stay ahead of the curve and attract the grab-and-go booming and valuable market.

Coffee on the go to noodles on the go are now diversifying into catering literally all possible cuisines combinations and are into serious cuisines too, food that was earlier thought to be impossible to serve if not cooked and served on the table, are being cooked and packed in takeaway containers and are retaining the flavours too. Things are definitely changing.

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Source: Scyphus UK