The report, produced by Industry analysts Allegra Strategies, looked at the shopping, cooking and eating patterns of over 2,000 UK consumers.
It found that the majority are are influenced by the breadth of Italian-focused restaurant chains, a sector that’s seen healthy growth of four per cent in outlets during 2011, through a renaissance led by Jamie Oliver, Carluccios and PizzaExpress.
But when it comes to eating at home, British cuisine is still the first choice, with roast dinners and stews in the top 10 most frequently cooked dishes. British food also fares well when dining out and is the second most popular dishes on the menu, thanks to a greater food focus by pub groups and carvery chains driving a growing appreciation of British food.
It also shows that, while consumers stick to well-known produce in attempts to curb their grocery spending, 22 per cent of the British public choose ‘meals for two’ deals over eating out or a take-away due to the convenience of quality and good value offers.
Anya Gascoine-Marco, director of insight for Allegra Strategies, said: “It‘s apparent that consumer anxiety over rising costs and governmental austerity measures are having an effect on how Britain eats. Additionally, consumers are more aware of changes and pressures in food shopping, cooking and eating.
“As a foodie nation, consumers are building their experiences in food and seeking to push the boundaries more, and this is leading to the key trends that we see.”
Seventy-six per cent of British adults claim to either be ‘passionate about’ or ‘love’ food and cooking. However, time pressures often lead to consumers skipping around three meals a week on average in attempts to save time and money.
The majority of British public claim to be adventurous in their eating out habits, with 68 per cent trying food they would not eat at home while eating out.
“Consumers still want to indulge themselves on the odd occasion,” added Gascoine-Marco. “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.”