Regardless of the Easter bank holiday and school holidays, consumers remained cautious with their discretionary spending as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, despite confidence improvements.
However, weekly eating and drinking out penetration across the total market increased by 2 percentage points year-on-year during this period, attributed to a rise in consumer confidence following the Bank of England’s predictions the UK will no longer enter a recession this year, boosting high-street footfall.
Average spend was also up according to the data, despite no change to the frequency in on-premise visits, rising from £10.77 last year to £11.18, though this was not in line with inflation, according to the report.
The report stated: “Despite improvements, spend has not increased at the same level as inflation, with year-on-year growth at only 3.8%.”
In addition, the Lumina Eating and Drinking Out Panel (EDOP) showed lunch occasions increased by 0.8 percentage points year-on-year as consumers returning to offices pushed “demand” for salad and sandwich items, up 2.2 and 0.5 percentage points respectively.
Snack only occasions also saw growth, accounting for 11.2% of the total market vs 10.7% for comparable period in 2022.
Looking at the remaining dayparts, breakfast occasions saw no change year-on-year, remaining at 3.4%, while dinner occasions saw a 0.5 percentage point decline and drink only occasions saw a 0.2 percentage point drop compared with last year.
Pubs and bars remained the third most popular setting for eating and drinking out occasions behind coffee shops and QSR, accounting for 13.6% of the total market in the panel, though this was a yearly decline of 1.2%.
This follows the previous panel, which showed weekly eating and drinking out occasions had declined 6.7% in the year to Sunday 19 March 2023, while participation and spend rates increased.
Chips, burgers and salads remained the most popular menu items during this period, with all items seeing year-on-year growth and accounting for 30.9%, 19.9% and 13.1% of the total market respectively.
Other popular menu items included pizza, pastry, fruit, crisps and wings/nuggets/tenders as consumers are “increasingly seeking inexpensive meal options”, according to the monthly snapshot report.