Recent data from Lumina Intelligence suggested that there has been a 1.3% rise in Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) visits compared to the previous year. This increase can be attributed to consumers actively seeking affordable meal options amidst the ongoing cost-of-living challenges.
According to the most recent monthly report from the Eating and Drinking Out Panel, covering the four weeks up to 16th April 2023, there has been a noticeable growth in both the demand for Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) options and the sales of key fast food items.
Specifically, there was a 2.5% increase in the consumption of chips, wedges, and fries compared to the previous year, and a 2.8% growth in burger sales.
In addition to the growth in Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) visits, lunch occasions have also seen a year-on-year increase of 0.8%, driven by a higher number of consumers returning to offices.
As a result, there has been a rise in sales of sandwiches (up by 0.5%) and salads (up by 2.2%). The increased interest in healthier eating among consumers, coupled with a greater availability of lighter meal options from food operators, has contributed to the surge in salad sales.
During the specified period, the overall penetration of eating and drinking out on a weekly basis experienced a 2% increase compared to the previous year. This growth can be attributed to the rise in consumer confidence, which was bolstered by the Bank of England's statement that the UK is unlikely to enter a recession this year.
However, despite the improvements in market penetration, there has been a disparity in spending growth, which has only reached 3.8% year on year. This indicates that the increase in spending has not kept pace with the level of inflation.