A new survey by food service consultancy firm Horizons which has revealed that British consumers are cutting back on the number of times that they eat out.
The survey reveals that the number of times that people eat out has fallen by 25 per cent in the last year. A year ago the average consumer was eating out around 1.4 times per week. This figure is now around once per week. The fall has coincided with a corresponding increase in the number of people attending cookery courses.
However despite the current economic climate 70 per cent of consumers said that they had dined out at least once in the last two weeks with almost 50 per cent doing so twice or more.
One third of the 1,400 people questioned thought that eating out was more convenient and a quarter claimed that they would prefer not to cook at home.
Of those that have eaten out recently almost 30 per cent said that they were being sociable, 23 per cent were celebrating a special occasion whilst 17 per cent claimed it represented better value.
A spokeswoman for Horizons explained that the results show that whilst consumers have reduced the number of times that they eat out, it continues to be a popular pastime due to sociability, value for money and convenience.
The survey also found that a third of consumers choose the venue based on habit whilst 22 per cent claimed that their choice was unplanned. Around 14 per cent chose the venue based on a recommendation with only 11 per cent being influenced by special offers or vouchers.
According to the survey the most popular place to eat out is pub restaurants with around 20 per cent of people questioned choosing to eat there. The next most popular choices were home delivery and takeaways with Chinese and Indian restaurants coming joint third.
The recent study also found that pubs were proving a popular choice for customers wishing to eat out.