In a very recent 2015 study of the UK restaurant market covering every type of restaurant spanning fine dining restaurants, casual restaurants, and takeaway food across independent businesses and branded chains, chicken dishes were found to be the most popular food item consumed in casual dining restaurants.
In the first quarter in 2015 chicken was chosen 20.9% of the time, or just over one in five orders. This has grown in importance on Q1 2014, and has claimed the No. 1 spot from pizza as the most popular choice.
Other interesting trends in terms of food choice to note:
- As noted above, pizza and also pasta have both declined from Q1 2014 as consumers look for new dishes and experiences
- Growth in burger incidence at lunch and dinner, with gourmet burger offerings driving the latter.
- Vegetarian items ordered just less than 1 in 20 times and down slightly on the same quarter last year.
It’s not that surprising given that chicken is now the most popular protein consumed by households in the UK and Ireland. That in turn is driven by its versatility, its low fat content, and its value for money versus other meat types.