The size of the pub catering market in the UK is set to grow by £1.2 billion over the next five years.
Research from data analysts Mintel suggest the market will be worth £7.77 billion by 2017, an 18% rise on the figures recorded last year.
A ‘best case scenario’ would even see the value of the market shoot to £8.3 billion, but that is based on Mintel’s most optimistic forecast.
In 2012, UK customers spent £6.57 billion eating out at pubs.
The pub catering category has outperformed other revenue segments in the pub industry over recent years, appealing to customers as a ‘value-for-money’ category.
The segment has grown around 3% a year over the last couple of years despite the cloud of a growing pub closure rate hanging over the market.
Pub operators are looking to more proactively chase footfall and win over spending from takeaways and coffee shops in order to insulate themselves from customers that are holding back on eating out, according to Mintel.
“Opportunities exist for the industry to learn from other sectors in the wider eating out market,” said Helena Spicer, senior foodservice analyst at Mintel. “We have already seen increasing exploration of additional revenue streams such as takeaways or grab-and-go products, as well as pub operators looking to bolster sales by gaining market share from other sectors such as coffee shops, as well as from other pubs.”
The firm said that the market is likely to polarise going forward, with concepts increasingly tailored to the needs and demands of specific consumer groups.
Strong growth is predicted for both the ‘pre-/no family’ and ‘retired lifestages’ over the next five years.
While convenience-driven services such as takeaways appeal to the young age groups, the retired demographic are more likely to be looking for shorter menus to denote quality food, and to be drawn to comfortable seating.