Young people are increasingly shunning alcohol in favour of food, marking a fundamental shift in consumer habits, according to a report published this week.
The Future Shock report, produced by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) in partnership with CGA, looked at the drinking and eating patterns of 19-24 year olds.
It found that over the past six months fewer than 10% of young people have been out drinking at least three times per week, with 40% only going out once. The report also found that one in seven young people did not go out at all.
According to the report, 60% of young people, including students, drink out less than once per week. In contrast, 50% of young people eat out at least once per week.
The report says the findings reflect a major change in eating and drinking out patterns, away from pubs and bars to branded dining outlets.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of ALMR, said: "The publication of the ALMR's report shows the changing nature of consumer habits as well as the evolving nature of the sector itself. This research also puts paid to the myth that young people in the Britain are drinking dangerously. We have seen alcohol consumption fall by 17% since the Licensing Act and rates of binge drinking fall from 29% to 18%.
"Young people are increasingly planning their social lives around eating-out, turning away from drink and towards food. On average, under-25s are eating out between five and six times per month."
ALMR believes the shift is being driven by the accessibility and affordability of ever-improving eating-out options, as well as the increasing sophistication of young people, making them demanding consumers of food.
It adds that celebrity chefs, ranging from Jamie Oliver to Ella Woodward, author of Deliciously Ella, have helped create a foodie generation that is more conscious of the health aspect of eating out and the provenance and freshness of the ingredients.
Nicholls said: "The boom in eating-out, particularly in casual dining outlets, has seen a renaissance of our high streets driven by younger consumers. This is not only helping to drive growth in our local economies, but help contribute to healthier consumption and changing attitudes towards alcohol."