The UK out-of-home foodservice market, which includes food-to-go through retailers, has slowed one year after the June 2016 Brexit referendum, the latest foodservice research from The NPD Group suggests.
Visits in the 10 months from July 2016 to April 2017 increased 0.7% year on year – slower than the 1.5% growth seen in the half year to last June, before the referendum.
Cyril Lavenant, foodservice director UK at The NPD Group, said the weakness of sterling meant local sourcing would have to replace global sourcing while still maintaining the quality.
The research showed consumers had started to drop the more expensive dinner occasion, which was down 3% in visit terms, although breakfast and lunch appeared to be taking up the slack with faster growth since the referendum than before.
The NPD Group said there was no evidence consumers were sacrificing quality even though the average bill per visit, as a result of inflation in foodservice, had climbed by slightly more than 2%.
However, less affluent consumers – the C2DE demographic – were the most cautious about spending, with their visits down almost 1% in the 10 months to April, whereas the demographic was recording growth before the referendum.
Lavenant said there was still an opportunity to premiumise breakfast, such as by super fruits and seeds to porridge to feed into health trends, smoothies and natural juices.
He also stressed the importance of embracing technology by creating an app where customers could pre-order food to go, pay for it and then quickly pick it up.
“The players that don’t offer that opportunity to consumers will suffer,” he said.