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Brits turn to 'posh junk food'

06 | 08 | 13

Brits' taste for junk food remains as strong as ever, but people now expect more from their burgers and hotdogs, a new study has revealed. 

A report by market analyst firm Mintel discovered an increasing number of diners are now opting for gourmet junk food that contains higher quality ingredients. 

A preference for posh food 

According to the research, some 13 per cent of Brits have sampled so-called posh junk food, while close to half (46 per cent) of those who haven't would be interested in doing so. 

Of these gourmet options, most have tried a build-your-own dish meal, which is often a burger, sandwich or ice cream sundae. This allows consumers to choose a number of the elements of their meal and has been eaten by 22 per cent of people, while a further 49 per cent would like to.

Chip flights (a number of different chips served with a variety of dips) are also popular, with more than one in ten people having sampled them and 61 per cent keen to taste the dish. Meanwhile, 12 per cent of consumers have tried gourmet donuts and eclairs.

Innovation is key

Helena Spicer, a food service analyst at Mintel, believes this is evidence of how menu innovation is increasingly important in the competitive eating out market.

"Menu innovation is now rife in an increasingly competitive and mature marketplace, with current food fashions, including gourmet junk food and artisan pastries, designed to reignite consumers’ enthusiasm for spending on eating out," she stated.

Ms Spicer said many restaurants are looking to take advantage of the gourmet junk food trend, with exotic side dishes also becoming a common theme.

"Sweet potato fries were a notable trend in 2012, whilst courgette fries have been gaining traction on menus in 2013 at leading venues. 

"Offering these options as a price bundle in the format of a ‘chip flight’ encourages diners to be more spontaneous without taking them too far out of their price comfort zone," she added.

This news will certainly be of interest to kitchen and catering equipment firms, as any popular trend in the eating out sector could have an impact on the products they supply to venues.

Pub grub remains key

Mintel's research also revealed the pub meal is still seen as the best option in terms of value for money. It found some £6.5 billion was spent in this sector in 2012, which is roughly 20 per cent of the £31 billion total.

This preference for pub food is reflected in the fact 57 per cent of diners said they have visited this type of venue in the last 12 months. The second most popular is ethnic restaurants such as Chinese, Indian and Thai outlets, which attracted 52 per cent of respondents last year. 

Despite the tough economic climate, 54 per cent of the people surveyed said they have not changed their eating out habits in the past 12 months. However, some 34 per cent of consumers claimed money concerns mean they have scaled back on trips to restaurants, while 24 per cent still attend but spend less.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801621233-ADNFCR

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