The UK foodservice market grew by 3.5% in 2015 to an estimated £36b, according to market intelligence agency Mintel; a real increase of 2% taking inflation into account.
The research is part of Mintel's ‘British Lifestyles' report, which tracks spending across all major consumer markets.
Spending in burger and chicken restaurants in particular rose by 5% to reach £4.7b, and with the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations, UEFA European Championship and Brazil Olympics coming up, pub catering is forecast to continue to do well in the short term.
"Craft" labels continued to boost sales of beer, with the market worth £16.7b in 2015. Around one in six (16%) bought craft lager in the three months to November 2015, while 18% purchased craft ale or bitter.
Volume sales of sparkling wine grew by 14% to reach 107 million litres (£1.3b); however 28% of consumers are spending less on alcoholic drinks outside of the home. Fruit drinks appear to have been hit by health concerns, with the non-alcoholic drinks market seeing growth of only 1%. One in nine UK adults (11%) are buying less fruit juice or smoothies compared with six months previously; 34% of those because of concerns over sugar.
The report also said that one in three British diners today (34%) consider themselves to be a "foodie" and over half (57%) that they like to experience new flavours.
Kiti Soininen, head of UK food, drink and foodservice research at Mintel, said: "The UK foodservice market still faces intense competition from dining in. The onus remains on the foodservice operators to deliver a compelling enough experience to win over potential customers.
"Menu innovation is crucial when many people are increasingly adventurous in their dining tendencies. The rise of the 'everyday foodie' offers a potentially lucrative market, but it requires operators to match the diners' enthusiasm for adventure, experimentation and exclusive dishes."
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