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RESEARCH | Staff Reporter, UK
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Over-50s Brits have growing appetite for eating lunch out

They have accounted for 1 billion lunch visits for the year-ending June 2017.

New research from global information company, The NPD Group, suggests that Britain’s older consumers could support growth in eat-out lunch business in future years. There were 1 billion lunch visits out-of-home (OOH) by the over-50 age group for YE June 2017, and this demographic spent £6 billion on lunch over the year.

NPD Group’s Foodservice Director UK Cyril Lavenant said, “The over-50s demographic in Britain will grow in size and become wealthier, more active and more experimental than previous generations. For anybody running a business in Britain’s £54 billion foodservice industry, there’s a distinct ‘over-50s opportunity’. People in late middle age and older will respond well to the innovative approach we see on Britain’s high streets to lunchtime eating. The over-50s represent an excellent target for the foodservice industry and will definitely play a bigger role in the growing popularity of eating lunch out of home.”

The wider lunch occasion is growing faster than the overall eat-out market. The 4.0 billion overall lunch visits (both on-premise and off-premise) for YE June 2017 were up 3% on the same period last year. But the lunch-to-go segment is reportedly doing even better with 4% growth.

NPD said that the growing popularity of eating lunch-on-the-go could generate nearly 2.2 billion visits annually to foodservice operators by the end of 2019, an increase of 11% over the nearly 2.0 billion visits recorded for YE June 2017. Lunch-to-go could soon account for 53% of overall lunch visits and 19% of all OOH visits in Britain each year.

“Modest or zero wage growth coupled with rising inflation has prompted many consumers to trade down from dinner where we now see declining visits. Lunch meanwhile has strong appeal because it is affordable, and offers high quality and an enormous choice of formats and cuisines whether it is consumed on or off the premises. There’s absolutely no doubt that lunch is an increasingly relevant offer for consumers. Foodservice operators have also made their lunch products more attractive through time-saving technology such as contactless payment and click-and-collect apps,” Lavenant added.

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