The quarterly report which looks at emerging behaviour in the UK's foodservice market and helps companies identify new business opportunities also found that social dining was increasing and that pubs were on the path to recovery.
Breakfast sales out-of-home have grown 2.2 per cent in the last year and NPD's director of foodservice UK Cyril Lavenant said there was still an opportunity, particularly for the quick service sector, to capitalise on the growing trend.
The increase of social dining, where diners are eschewing weekday visits to pubs and restaurants and snacks for family and friend-oriented weekend 'experiences' has also been noticeable in the last year said Lavenant while pubs are also seeing a return to growth, driven mostly through visits by families with children, adult-only parties and adults aged between 50 and 64.
Eating out in pubs is also popular with meal occasions growing 4.3 per cent in the last year. However, beer sales dropped as more drinks orders than ever were non-alcoholic.
In Q3 specifically the out-of-home sector saw traffic growth up 2 per cent compared to the same period last year with branded pubs and restaurants benefiting the most and average spend increased in the quick service and travel and leisure sectors.
Lavenant said: “There is no one trend driving the UK foodservice market at the moment. Instead it is a complex picture by day part, consumer segment and category. Operators really do need to understand how consumers are behaving across the sector and how that is changing quarter by quarter if they are to tap into the growth areas, and address those that are static or in decline.
"There certainly are opportunities. The increase in average individual spend is a positive sign and operators need to give people the chance to trade-up, while not forgetting to maintain value on routine visits.
"Breakfast continues to be a bright spot with real opportunities, particularly for the QSR channel, to maximise it next year. Those providers who offer an experience for social occasions are well placed for success. However, the industry really needs to focus on reinvigorating core lunch and dinner day parts if there is to be sustained growth."