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 report predicts.
"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.
Breakfast - the most frequently
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," said Bone.
Eating out-of-home 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.
Spending on 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," said Bone.
Desk-bound 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
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.