05 December 2016

The nation’s favourite lunch moves to dinner

The traditional Sunday lunch is fast becoming the contemporary Sunday evening meal and a midweek feast, according to new research published today by Premier Foods.

Sandwiches have replaced roasts as the most commonly eaten meal at Sunday lunch, whilst traditional roasts have moved to dinner time, accounting for more than one in five (21.6 per cent) meals eaten on Sunday evening (as compared to one in seven at lunchtime). Meanwhile sandwiches account for more than one in four Sunday lunch meals (26.6 per cent) with toast meals such as eggs on toast and beans on toast accounting for a further 4.1 per cent. 

“Sunday has been transformed from arguably the least active day of the week to the most” says Paul Chapman, Director of Insight & Business Analytics at Premier Foods.  “Families still want to find time for communal eating on Sundays,” he says, “but they’re having to be increasingly flexible about when and how to achieve it.” Sunday has become a day for playing and watching sport, kids activities, shopping and entertainment says Chapman. The middle part of the day has become especially squeezed, he says, often turning into a quick fuel stop.

Whilst 28 per cent of Sunday lunches are planned and designed to bring the family together, 16 per cent are described as ‘a quick bite’ and only less than one in twenty Sunday lunches have guests present.
“Extended families have become more geographically dispersed over time making it more of a challenge to get everyone together”, says Chapman. “Bigger meals, where the extended family get together, are now more likely to be eaten out of home”, he says.

For these reasons the Sunday roast is migrating to Sunday evening. But we also see roasts going midweek. 
“Roast dinner was seldom part of the Monday to Friday routine”, says Chapman, “but there’s been a marked shift towards midweek roasts in recent years. That’s why roast dinners in total are actually on the increase”.
Premier Foods, which owns the Bisto, Oxo and Paxo brands, amongst others, has been innovating to cater for changing trends.

“With the traditional ‘Sunday lunch’ now just as likely to pop up in the middle of the week we’ve evolved our range to reflect shorter preparation times, for example with ready to use gravy,” says Chapman.
It’s not just time pressure which is changing the Sunday eating landscape. More and more people are being exposed to the spice and variety of ethnic cuisines, and increasingly we see this in our choice of Sunday lunch.

Over nine per cent of the meals we eat for Sunday lunch are international dishes with Indian, Chinese, Thai and Mexican the most popular; as well as pasta and pizza.

“The impact of travel on our taste buds is well established and this is fuelled further by the rise in the popularity of street markets which is driving the more recent increase in demand for hotter, spicier fare as an alternative at Sunday lunch when people are out and about,” says Chapman. Responding to the trend Premier Foods launched a range of street market inspired Korean, Vietnamese and Sri Lankan sauces under its Sharwood’s brand.

“We’ve also seen a big Americana trend in the past year or two,” says Chapman. “TV Shows like Man vs Food have sparked an interest in big, bold meaty dishes and we’ve responded with a range of Homepride All American sticky sauces for dishes like Texan BBQ.”

The research, which is based on data from Kantar Wordpanel*, also reveals that:
•    Chicken is the most popular Sunday roast accounting for 40.8%. This is followed by beef (21.3%), pork (17.4%), lamb (11%) and turkey (3.5%).

•    The average Sunday lunch preparation time is just 27 minutes with 46 per cent of Sunday lunches taking less than ten minutes to prepare. (In fact we spend considerably longer preparing evening meals on Sunday (42.8 minutes) and the average Sunday lunch preparation time is seven minutes less than the overall average for evening meals).

•    Ninety five per cent of all roast occasions are served with vegetables. Broccoli (+5%) has seen the greatest increase in popularity of vegetables eaten with roasts, followed by onions (+2%) and peas (+2%) and then carrots (+1%) . Losing favour are Brussel sprouts (-10%), cauliflower (-8%), beans and pulses (-3%), cabbage (-2%) and potatoes (-2%)

•    Apart from Monday, Sunday is the day of the week we are least likely to eat a meal out of home. 17.1 per cent of meals are eaten out of the home on a Sunday compared with 18.4 per cent overall daily average

•    2pm has been the peak time for eating Sunday lunch for the last three years but there has been a slight decrease in the proportion of meals served at this time and a slight increase in eating at 8pm.


*Kantar Worldpanel 52 weeks ending 19th June 2016; 21st June 2015 and 22nd June 2014

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