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4 March 2014 | Gurjit Degun
Rising supplier prices and improved trading conditions have pushed up the average cost of a pub meal.
That’s according to Nicola Knight, director of services at foodservice market trends analyst Horizons, who added that rising costs of rent and services has also affected prices.
“It’s not a sudden increase in supplier prices, but the fact that now confidence has returned, operators feel they are able to increase their prices,” Knight told SM.
“We do know which food prices are up and which are down, but it’s difficult to attribute direct price changes to menu prices. For example, most recently we know that beef, fish and unprocessed potato prices are up, while coffee, tea and sugar prices are down. But menu prices are more likely to reflect the general inflationary rises of food over a longer period.”
Horizons’ latest biannual Menurama survey analyses menu trends of 115 eating out brands across hotels, restaurants, quick service outlets and pubs. It found that the pricing gap between pubs and restaurants is closing.
According to the survey, the average cost of three courses in a restaurant has fallen 4.6 per cent year-on-year, from £21.65 to £20.66. But the average price of three courses in a pub has risen 7.4 per cent from £17.38 to £18.67 during the same period.
In terms of food trends, Menurama highlights the growing popularity of premium cuts of steak such as rib eye and sirloin, while rump steak is appearing less often on menus. Horizons said this is driven by a demand for better quality meat cuts and wanting to know where it comes from. Pulled meats such as pork, beef, chicken and ham, are also showing up more often on menus, up 105 per cent year-on-year.
The number of lobster dishes featured on menus has also risen 11 per cent year-on-year, as a result of "a glut of lobster last year, meaning that they are more plentiful and probably prices have come down". Quinoa and arancini (rice balls) were recorded on menus for the first time, which Horizons said is likely to be a new product development from suppliers.