Consumer spend on out-of-home lunch and afternoon snacks has dipped over the past year, as breakfast and early evening meals are proving more popular, research has found.
According to a report from food service analyst the NPD Group, visits for lunch and afternoon snacks in 2012 have declined by 6% compared with last year, while breakfast is up 6% and early evening meals have increased by 12% year-on-year.
Although spend on morning snacks has grown 3% in the last year, both lunch and afternoon snacks have dropped by 3%.
The NPD Group's research suggests that consumers are continuing to manage spending by trading down from full service restaurants, pubs, and cafés or bistros to quick service restaurants. Annual per capita visits to out-of-home eating destinations for meals and snacks continued to decline with 179 visits per capita in 2012, down six visits compared to a couple of years ago, the research suggests.
Fielding added that one of the drivers of this mid-day dip was time-pressed consumers increasingly looking for food on-the-go. "We expect to see the struggling full service sector to start to deploy a more flex-casual approach by adopting a quick service style of service at lunch and off-peak periods, and offering the core full service delivery at dinner," he said.
"Likewise, quick service restaurant operators are focusing more and more on building a bigger on-the-go business for both lunch and snacking, by introducing new products and greater focus on portion, portability and packaging."
By Kerstin KÁ¼hn
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