Brits have access to a more diverse range of cuisines than ever before thanks to the growth in so-called ‘dark kitchens’ during lockdown, shows new data by Magnet Kitchens.
The selection of different foods now accessible through food delivery services and takeaways has grown by 45% in the past year. Restaurateurs and chefs have taken advantage of the opportunities to start and grow their takeaway offerings through dedicated cookery spaces – without the requirement for an eat-in option.
By analysing over 50,000 restaurants in Deliveroo’s database, researchers at Magnet Kitchens have revealed our changing eating habits including:
– The number of restaurants offering takeaway has grown by 45% across the UK
– There are more pizza restaurants than any other cuisine, making it the UK’s number 1 takeaway food
– Health food, convenience food and deserts have seen the biggest increase in availability over the past year, up by 133%, 102% and 76% respectively
– The number of ‘dark kitchens’ listed on Deliveroo has increased by 12%, with Leeds, Salford and Wandsworth seeing the biggest rise
Hayley Simmons, Director Commercial Range from Magnet Kitchens said:
“With Amazon’s investment, and newer start-ups entering the game all the time, dark kitchens could potentially become much more popular. Suppliers will no longer need a storefront to sell to customers, reducing overheads and other costs such as staffing in the process.
“This is a real positive for the industry and its consumers. The ability for the food industry to adapt to the pandemic conditions has driven growth in new channels so they can continue to serve customers and will bode well for the future, which remains uncertain in so many ways.
“At the same time, consumers can now access a much broader range of cuisines on their own doorsteps than ever before. In a world where diversity is so celebrated, this ability to get a real ‘taste’ of different cultures has the potential to unlock better understanding and cultural growth.”
In London alone, the number of available cuisines now surpasses 21,000 – meaning you could order a different cuisine every day of the week for the next 57 years!
The locations with the biggest increase in cuisines by percentage change year on year are Milton Keynes (+93%), Scunthorpe (+90%) and Wakefield (+87%).
While the rise in takeaway options has enabled the food industry to adapt and survive through the pandemic, experts are still warning of the challenging times to come – and the ongoing necessity of new approaches to embrace the ‘new normal’:
Marinos Alexandrou, owner of London Victoria’s Brass Monkey pub, said:
“We have seen pubs, restaurants and cafes all over the country brought to a halt by lockdown. Many have modified their business’ activities to offer a takeaway and home delivery service – these services have provided something of a lifeline for both businesses and the public who have been able to enjoy better food than ever before in their own homes.
“Young people will quickly return to old behaviours but I am sure there will be large sectors of society who will be slower to go back into crowded pubs and restaurants in spite of all of the technology and safety protocols developed over the last year.”
Rick Smith, insolvency and business rescue expert and managing director of Forbes Burton, provided his predictions for the food industry in the years to come:
“I think the sector will likely return to pre-pandemic conditions, but it is hard to pin a time frame. A lot will depend on the government, lifting of restrictions and how effective stimulus packages are. You only need to look at how well the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ campaign worked to get people dining out and spending again.
“Socialising is an important part of our mental stability, virtual has its place but it can’t replace face to face interactions and that human contact aspect of people as a whole. It’s going to be a slow return but so long as we have control over the virus, 2021 Christmas momentum into 2022 should give the industry a good kickstart.”
The full report from Magnet Kitchens can be found at https://www.magnet.co.uk/dark-kitchens/