We Now Spend More in Restaurants Than on Food for Meals at Home

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 19, 2006 | Go to article overview

We Now Spend More in Restaurants Than on Food for Meals at Home


Byline: By RIN SIMPSON Western Mail

Welsh families eat out so often, enjoying cooked meals like this delicious roast dinner, that they now spend more in restaurants than on food eaten at home. The value of household spending on eating in restaurants, cafes and bars has doubled between 1992 and 2004, according to official figures. For the first time what we spend on food eaten outside the home has overtaken the budget for home-cooked meals, according to the Office for National Statistics. It does not mean we are eating out every night of the week, but that one or two trips to a restaurant a week are now costing more than a weekly food shop. Cultural changes in food consumption mean people are eating out more regularly and enjoying a wider range of cuisine, which continues to have an impact on the UK economy.

Household spending on fresh and processed food and drink products was pounds 85.8bn in 2004 (the latest figures available), up 53.4% from 1992.

Over the same period spending on food and drink products consumed outside the home grew by 102.2%, to pounds 87.5bn in 2004.

Of 123 industries surveyed by the Office for National Statistics, the hotels, catering and pubs industry was the sixth fastest growing industry between 1992 and 2004.

By contrast, growth in the agriculture and food-processing industries is not keeping pace with that of the whole economy.

Restaurateur Glyn Heulyn, co-owner of the Harbourmaster Hotel in Aberaeron, is not surprised by the results.

He said, 'People do eat out more. We've got people who eat here two or three times a month.

'Everybody is busy and many people have disposable income, but don't have time to prepare food at home, so it's easier to go out and have a meal.'

People's tastes in food are also changing, which could lead to more people looking to restaurants for inspiration, Mr Heulyn suggested.

He added, 'People are much more adventurous than they used to be. We do sea bass, lobster, oysters - things that you might not have had years ago.'

Eating out has always been a high priority in Wales.

The Wales National Readership 2000 found that 63% of middle-class families enjoy eating out in restaurants, while 47% enjoy getting a take away. …

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