September 3, 2004, as reported by just-food.com: Britain is
trending away from traditional sit-down meals and toward
“grab-and-go” convenience according to a
new report from independent market analyst Datamonitor.
People in Britain will eat 2.7 billion less meals at
home while increasing their snacks consumption, the
"With the rise of 'flexi-eating', food consumption
is increasingly fitting around people's needs and lifestyles,
rather than people fitting their lives around structured
mealtimes," said Daniel Bone, consumer analyst
at Datamonitor and author of the report.
the most frequently missed meal
Brits are more likely than their European counterparts
to miss breakfast. In 2003, British people skipped on
average 113 breakfasts a year per person, and Datamonitor
forecasts this will increase to almost 120 in 2008.
In comparison, Europeans missed on average 71 breakfasts
a year per person in 2003.
"Convenience and time pressures are more apparent
in the morning. Even when consumers are having breakfast
at home they are taking less time to prepare it,"
is big business and getting bigger
In 2003, out-of-home consumption accounted for 31.6%
of all eating occasions, and is set to rise to over
35% by 2008 – this represents an additional 3
billion breakfast, lunch and evening meals eaten out-of-home.
In contrast, the number of in-home breakfasts, lunches,
and dinner occasions will decline by 2.7 billion occasions
over the same time period.
"The growing number of out-of-home occasions does
not mean British dislike eating at home. It is a lifestyle
driven trend with time-poor consumers increasingly embracing
innovative meal and snack solutions that facilitate
on-the-go consumption," added Bone.
Even when consumers eat at home, they want minimal
fuss and preparation. Convenience-based needs are driving
growth in the number of 'pit-stop dining' occasions
where consumers seek near instant gratification from
easy to prepare meal solutions.
The foodservice sector is set to benefit from increased
out-of-home food consumption. Datamonitor forecasts
that the value of UK foodservice consumption will increase
by 17.5%, from £30.5bn (US$54.6bn) in 2003 to
£36bn in 2008.
snacking to increase by 20%
By 2008, snacking will account for 44% of all eating
occasions, and Brits will spend a total of £10.3bn
on bakery items, bagged snacks, dairy snacks, fruit
and vegetables, and confectionery alone. This represents
an increase of over 20% on 2003 levels. Overall, Datamonitor
forecasts that the total number of snack occasions consumed
outside of a main meal in the UK will increase from
41 billion in 2003 to almost 43 billion in 2008. This
means that a typical consumer will snack on 27.4 more
occasions in 2008 than 2003. As consumers skip meals
more often, they turn to snacks to help compensate for
lost nutrients and energy. "Consumers increasingly
view snacks as a positive part of their daily nutrition
and are demanding healthier, and more filling options,"
Brits spend over £6bn on desktop dining
The UK leads Europe in workers' spending on food and
drinks for the workplace - this is due to a culture
which places less emphasis on the social aspects of
workplace lunches and offers greater flexibility in
working hours to employees. As working hours become
more flexible, the 'lunch hour' no longer seems to exist
in many workplaces, with consumers instead eating two
and three times a day while at work. The French, Spanish
and Italians are much more likely to choose restaurants
and cafés, making a full-blown social occasion
out of lunch, while the Germans, Swedes and Dutch prefer
canteens as a functional and practical solution to the
problem of eating at work.
One area where the UK is notably different from the
rest of Europe is in the number of workplace breakfasts,
giving rise to the term 'deskfasts'. In 2003, British
workers spent over £1bn on breakfast at work -
this compares to only £200m in France.