Consumer spending on takeaways has increased by 18% to £12.5bn in 2018, up from £10.6bn in 2015, with the sector growing at roughly twice the rate of the overall economy.
That’s according to new research commissioned by the British Takeaway Campaign, which has found the average household now splurges £38 per month on takeaways, a 25% rise on the last decade, and that food to go now accounts for almost 15% of household expenditure, an increase from nearly 11% in 2015.
A continuation of this growth is predicted into the next decade, with £15bn forecast to be spent by 2023.
The research also reveals that orders of takeaway vegan food have increased by 388% since 2016, while orders of vegetarian food are up by 136%.
Other cuisines to see significant growth over the last two years are Greek (69%), Caribbean (56%), Persian (34%) and Thai (24%).
The increases are being attributed to the growth of the takeaway sector, driven by new technology and changing consumer habits.
The research also looked at the current state of the takeaway sector and found that the number of takeaway restaurants is up 25% since 2015 from 30,189 to 37,732. The number of jobs has also risen 5% from 273,961 to 286,798 while 40% of takeaway owners are first-time entrepreneurs.
According to the research, £5.9 billion of additional direct wealth was created for the UK economy in 2018 as well as a further £3.2 billion through its supply chain and £3.2 billion from spending by those employed in the sector. The value created by takeaways makes up almost 12% percent of the entire food services industry.
The report is not all good news for the sector. Takeaway owners highlight access to skilled workers as an acute area of concern, alongside the increasing cost of food due to the drop in Sterling.
Government figures show that chefs are the most in-demand skilled trade and the sector currently relies on EU and non-EU migration to supply 25% of the workforce.
In response to these challenges, the BTC is calling for an urgent acceleration of plans to upskill young people in the UK along with the development of a points-based immigration system which, like Australia’s, recognises chefs as of strategic long-term value to the economy. This would allow takeaway owners to recruit skilled chefs from abroad to fill the significant gap in the workforce, while more young people from the UK study for the necessary qualifications.
It also wants to see the introduction of the Catering and Hospitality T-level, the technical equivalent of A-levels announced by the Government last year, brought forward to 2021.
Ibrahim Dogus, Chair of the BTC, said: “The takeaway sector has firmly established itself as an engine room of the UK economy – providing growth, jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs to start up their own thriving businesses.
“And as people look for healthier and more diverse eating options, they aren’t turning away from takeaways – they are turning towards them.
“What we need from the Government are policies that support this Great British success story. That means more vocational training for young Brits and an immigration system that ensures that skilled chefs can come to the UK too.”
Dino Papas, co-owner of Papas, Yorkshire, adds: “Fish and chips have been in our family since 1966. My brothers and I trained as a vet, lawyer and doctor but it just never felt right, and our passion brought us back to frying. If you’re passionate about running a quality business, cooking delicious food and giving back to your community, then there’s nothing but pride to be found in running a takeaway. We want to inspire the next generation and show what a career in hospitality and the takeaway sector can offer.”