Londoners pay more for fast, fresh and fancy lunchtime sandwiches

Londoners pay 24% more for their lunchtime sandwiches according to new research.

The capital’s inhabitants visit fast food outlets and other chains to buy a take-out lunch more frequently than people in the rest of Britain, but pay over the odds compared to the rest of the UK.

According to new figures from NPD, London comprises 13% of the population but has a 17% share of Britain’s ‘lunch-to-go’ traffic and 18% of the country’s ‘lunch-to-go’ spend.

When it comes to buying food at QSR restaurants, London is significantly outgrowing the rest of Britain. For all parts of the day – breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the day – London’s traffic is up 13.8% YE August 2014 vs YE August 2009. This compares to the much lower growth of 2.3% for the rest of Britain over the same period. London lunches purchased from the QSR channel recorded traffic growth over the same period of 17.1% vs just 4.4% for the rest of Britain.

The percentage of London lunch visits that are ‘to go’ is almost the same as the rest of Britain (65% vs 64%). But there’s a marked difference in cost with the average lunch-to-go purchase from a fast food outlet costing £3.53 in London, 24% higher than the £2.84 average for the rest of Britain – even when people are purchasing the same number of items.

The research also shows that London is a boomtown for independent food outlets selling lunch-to-go. Outside London, branded fast food outlets and leading sandwich, bakery and coffee chains are stealing traffic from the independents. For YE August 2014, traffic share for independents outside London was down seven percentage points at 27% with branded outlets enjoying the remaining 73%. But in London, it’s the reverse with independent outlets enjoying an increase in lunch-to-go traffic of six percentage points for YE August 2014, giving them a total of 21% traffic share.

Pelican’s foodservice and hospitality PR communications expert Emma Entwistle commented: “Yet again the unique nature of the capital’s foodservice market has been highlighted by this research.

“London remains a global centre for foodservice innovation and a market which foodservice brands should study closely in order to spot developing tastes and trends.”

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