Changes in consumer behaviours often directly impact on the hospitality industry and with the concerns around inflation increases and discussions around the probability of a recession, these changes are as important as ever.
Interesting research has been carried out on customer behaviours around out-of-home eating and food-to-go eating behaviours. MealTrak, a company which continuously tracks food-to-go and out-of-home consumption, surveying 36,500 consumers a year and TWC which are data and digital experts, working across the wholesale, foodservice and convenience retail channels with data led solutions have joined forces to research and share insight.
According to the Latest MealTrak Results – 12 w/e 11 July 2022
- Results show the number of out-of-home eating occasions were 12% higher than the comparable period in 2021 on a 52 week/MAT basis.
- In the latest 12-week, the number of out-of-home eating occasions were 9% higher than in 2021. There were 807 million eating out of home occasions in the 12 w/e 11 July 2022.
- In the last 12 weeks, the ‘eating out’ channel (comprising pubs, restaurants and hotels) was in strong growth, +42% vs previous year. However, the growth rate has slowed significantly since last month (when 12 w/e growth was +97%). Growth in ‘eating out’ is driven by restaurants +58% and pubs +32%.
- Sandwich shops (-5%), coffee shops/cafes (-9%), fast food & takeaway (-12%) and high street (-36%) are all in decline.
- Forecourts are rebounding well – with a 17% increase in occasions in the previous 12 weeks compared to 2021. Convenience stores have seen a stronger performance in the last 12 weeks, at +18%.
When one considers value;
- Value sales are up 24% on a 52 week/MAT basis and +19% on a 12 week ending basis versus 2021.
- Sub-sectors driving growth (last 12 weeks vs 2021) are predominantly ‘eating out’ venues: restaurants (+65%), pubs (+35%) and hotels (+104%).
Commenting on the results, Tom Fender, Development Director at TWC, said:
“The market has slowed as the impact of economic shocks bites, with growth dipping under 2% over the last 4-weeks, but the wider recovery remains solid, with both occasions and value making strong gains over 12 and 52-weekly periods across both FTG and Eating Out.
“Encouragingly, for the moment at least, value growth remains ahead of occasions, indicating that spends are holding up and consumers are continuing to seek rewarding experiences rather than trying down on prices and functionality. That said, in FTG we are seeing the strongest growth in the Multiple and Convenience sectors, whilst Coffee shops and GTG Specialists are flat and Takeaways have fallen back.
“Eating Out continues to recover well across both restaurants (especially) and pubs. Consumer Missions are also beginning to show some movement in response to current inflationary and economic pressures, with a higher proportion of consumers looking for FTG products which are ‘Not too expensive’ (7.6% of all primary FTG missions over the latest 12-weeks vs. 6.5% over the latest 52-weeks and 6.0% over the previous year) or ‘Quick & easy’ (21.7% latest 12-weeks vs. 18.9% 52-weeks and 16.7% previous year). Allied with a corresponding fall in demand for Hot FTG (weather-related), Treats and Cravings, missions which grew significantly during Covid.
“At Category level, we are seeing strong growth in the traditional ‘Meal Deal’ product groups (Sandwiches, crisps & snacks, soft drinks) and Hot Drinks, alongside above average growth in treaties sectors such as Confectionery and Cakes and pastries. Categories underperforming are led by FTG Hot meals, Soups and Cereals.
“Interestingly (and unusually) growth is currently being driven by older consumers now retiring to the market, especially 45 – 64’s, where growth is much stronger than for the younger age groups across both FTG and Eating Out (Millennials and Gen Z are generally the trailblazers). Over 65’s have yet to return to FTG whilst Eating Out, which had been recovering well in this age group, has dropped away over the latest 12-weeks, perhaps because this age group is more vulnerable to the impact of rising costs.
“Similarly, over the last 12-months growth in all channels has been driven more by women than men, but this has reversed over the last 12-weeks, with women too perhaps changing their behaviour more rapidly in response to current economic pressures”.
Some very interesting research findings which continue to show how the industry is changing and needing to change as well as how consumers are driving the agenda.