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Lunch sales 'crucial to hospitality market'

24 | 09 | 12

The lunch sector has proved an exception to relatively flat trading in the leisure market over the last few years, expanding rapidly to account for roughly 35 per cent of the total food service market, according to Horizons.

Emma Read, director of marketing and business development with foodservice analyst Horizons, predicted that this figure is set to grow further over the coming years as the sector continues to expand.

This is because consumers are increasingly taking advantage of increased options and value to have lunch wherever they happen to be, rather than relying on readymade sandwiches or packing their own food.

Britain's lunch market is worth £14.9 billion overall, a 3.3 per cent increase from 2009 - an impressive level of growth given the difficult trading conditions facing the leisure industry at the moment.

Consumers "are also prompted to eat out by money-off vouchers and meal deals, many of which are predominantly lunch-based," added Ms Read.

This new data emphasises the fact that consumers have continued to eat out in recent years despite the economic downturn, with some analysts warning that a lack of disposable income could have a catastrophic effect on the leisure industry.

While these concerns have proven to be groundless, there has been a change in how and when people eat out, with a desire for convenience and value meaning the casual dining sector has continued to prove successful.

"Work pressure also means that consumers are more likely to opt for a takeaway to eat at their desk," added Ms Read.

A recent report from Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels noted that confidence is on the up in the pub sector, with owners suggesting that concentrating on a good food offering is vital to attracting customers.

Some 29 per cent of industry professionals revealed that food-led bars and country dining businesses are likely to be crucial to expansion in the sector over the coming six months.

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