British dishes kick-off World Cup with top spot

Friday, 8 June 2018

Britain is the winner when it comes to meal choices at restaurants and pubs in the UK – but it risks scoring an own goal if the foodservice industry doesn’t shake-up its offerings.

British dishes are the favoured cuisine when dining out, accounting for more than half of all meals eaten out of the home. However, a diminished desire for a roast dinner, fish and chips and a full English fry-up means the country has also lost the biggest share year-on-year. 

With the World Cup just days away, AHDB has produced an article exploring which country’s cuisine has legs, which are being relegated and those that may qualify in the future.

Looking at the current eating out habits in the UK, research shows British dishes have the number one spot with 54.6 per cent, followed by American dishes at 14.8 per cent and Italian in third place with 7.6 per cent.

We then see the long established cuisines of Indian, Chinese and Mexican finishing off the top six positions – accounting for 7.8 per cent in total. 

Outside of these more traditional cuisines, we see smaller contributions from France, Portugal and Pan Asia – with all other players in the food industry falling below a one per cent share of eating out occasions.

AHDB Senior Analyst Kim Malley said: “World cuisines are a vast and expanding market impacting people’s cooking habits but, more often than not, impacting the foodservice world first.

“It’s widely known in the industry that world cuisines have grown in importance as UK consumer tastes and behaviours evolve. And as we approach the start of the World Cup, what better time to look at current eating out cuisine habits here in the UK.

“When you look at the current standings, unsurprisingly the most popular cuisine eaten out in the UK is British with no other country coming close to knocking it off the number one spot. But what’s of more interest is how these standings are evolving.”

According to the latest data, British dishes have lost the biggest share year-on-year, falling 0.5 per cent. Although established British meals are iconic, some may need a shake-up to reverse declines.

Pan Asian cuisine is also losing its share following a very strong 2017 for Japanese and Thai meals, dropping 0.3 per cent, followed by Chinese cuisine, which has seen a slight decline of 0.1 per cent.

Kim added: “These findings show that some countries need to innovate their dishes to rebuild momentum and prevent themselves from dropping down the table.”

Among those countries moving up the rankings is America which has seen the biggest growth year-on-year, driven by burgers and fried chicken. Portuguese cuisine is challenging French and Mexican dishes and demand for Middle Eastern food is growing due to more health conscious consumers wanting lighter meal options.

Other cuisines warming up behind the scenes which may qualify in the future are West African meals, Venezuelan dishes and coming out of South America is Peruvian cuisine.

Kim said: “Understanding what dishes consumers are eating out of home and potentially in the home in the future, provides an opportunity to identify areas for AHDB to innovate offerings and inspire world cuisine recipes incorporating a variety of different foods.”

The full report can be downloaded here.