Takeaways lose trade to ethnic ready meals from mults

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Takeaways lost out on 13.6 million visits last year as consumers turned to supermarket ready meals and hot counters for their Chinese and Indian food fixes.

Full sit down restaurants lost six million visits in the year to September, according to foodservice analysts NPD Crest. However, retailers sold nine million extra portions of ready-to-eat ethnic food, taking the total 84.6 million.

And the latest Kantar Worldpanel data shows sales of Indian and Chinese chilled ready meals up 6.1% and 8.4% respectively to £179.6m and £95m [52 w/e 2 September 2012].

“Price is a big factor when the retailers sell all-in Chinese or Indian packages at a third of the cost,” said NPD Crest business development director Guy Fielding. “A delivery in 45 minutes is not that appealing now you can get really high quality ethnic food on your own terms.”

Sainsbury’s offers main dishes such as Thai green curry with rice and chicken jalfrezi with rice, plus a side dish for £5. Asda sells two main dishes, two rice dishes and two snacks for £7.

Takeaways risked getting into a spiral of declining quality and business, Fielding said. “When outlets lose traffic the quality falls and they lose more,” he said.

NPD recorded 536 million visits to fast dining and takeaways, with an average spend of £6.02.

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