Pub grub sales rise faster than booze

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Top billing: steak is the UK’s favourite pub evening meal
Top billing: steak is the UK’s favourite pub evening meal

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage

Sales of pub meals grew by 14% between 2012 and 2016, reaching £7.4bn in value, whereas sales of alcohol grew by just 6% and soft drinks by 7% for the same period, according to Mintel research.

The Mintel figures show more customers visited the on-trade for food, with almost a quarter (23%) in 2016 citing high quality as their reason for a pub visit. In 2017 this rose to 30%.

More than two thirds (69%) of pubgoers said one of the most important factors to make them choose one pub over another is the food quality, and 16% of diners said they would go to a pub or bar especially to try a new menu.

UK pub industry turnover grew by around 8% between 2012 and 2016 to reach £23.5bn and last year alcoholic drinks made up half (50%) of all sales, compared with 31% for food.

Pubgoers are prepared to spend the following on dinner at the pub (excluding drinks):

  • 63% less than £14.99
  • 18% between £15 and £19.99
  • 10% between £20 and £24.99
  • 8% more than £25

Research from Mintel UK Pub Visiting Marketing report

All-day dining

Pubs with a higher proportion of food sales could attract a wider audience and would, therefore, be stronger businesses, said Mintel senior food and drink analyst Richard Caines.

“This was reflected in sales of meals in pubs having benefited from an ongoing move in the pubs market towards more food-led venues and efforts to improve quality and to expand and update menus across price points,” he said.

“The pub catering market has also benefited from an increase in average spend per visit. The trend towards all-day dining, including the development of breakfasts in pubs, is another contributor to increased sales.”

Premium ingredients

The UK’s top four favourite pub dishes:

  1. Steak (20%)
  2. Roast dinners (19%)
  3. Burgers (15%)
  4. Fish and chips (14%)

Research from Mintel UK Pub Visiting Marketing report

Almost half (45%) of pubgoers said they would refrain from ordering a dish that wasn’t freshly made and more than two thirds (69%) would be interested in seeing pub or bar dishes made using premium ingredients.

Mintel foodservice analyst Trish Caddy highlighted how value ‘gastropubs’ are helping the trade to grow, but urged all operators to include a premium offering.

She said: “When it comes to food, it is not just about venues using premium ingredients, but also creating standout menu options that customers have come to expect, such as build-your-own dishes, set menus and a wider range of healthy options.

“Value for money gastropubs are currently fuelling the pub sector, but looking to the future there is a growing appetite among pubgoers for more premium offerings.”

Related topics: News, Food

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