>>overall trend is down

Lunchbox foods are defined as those that are taken from the home and consumed out of the home, in other words carried out foods.
Five per cent of all food is eaten from a lunchbox. After strong growth last year, up 3% on 2003, the popularity of the lunchbox has fallen this year, dipping 5%, while out-of-home meals are up 1%, driven by the restaurant, cafe and bar sector. Some 46% of the GB population eat a lunchbox meal in a two-week period.
The key consumers of lunchbox foods are adult males who account for 42% of all lunchbox meals eaten, and 46% of all men will take out a lunchbox in a fortnight. Their consumption has declined by 5%, reflecting the overall trend. Lunchboxes are less popular among adult women, who account for 29% of lunchbox foods eaten. However, their share of the occasion is up 1% on last year.
People aged over 65 have increased their overall lunchbox consumption by 10%, but only account for 3% of lunchbox foods consumed.
The majority of lunchbox foods, 67%, are consumed at work and this is in decline by 7%. However, meals consumed at the workplace, at subsidied outlets such as canteens, are up 6%.
Children represent 29% of all lunchbox meals eaten and 57% of all children take out a lunchbox in a fortnight. Most kids’ lunchbox meals are eaten at school, down 8% on last year, while school meals are also in decline.
Health is an important element in lunchbox meals with 24% of foods eaten because they are healthy, and this driver is up 2%. It is becoming even more important for children (+8%) and adult females (+4%).
‘Favourite’, the main reason for eating lunchbox foods, accounting for 26% of such meals, is down 6%.
Sandwiches feature in almost three-quarters of all lunchboxes but are down 5% while sandwich shop sales are in growth by 7% versus last year. Healthier offerings in outlets such as Subway have had an impact.
Fruit is the second most popular item in lunchboxes featuring in more than half.
Some 40% of all lunchboxes feature crisps, nuts, and snacks, 29% feature biscuits, 15% yoghurts and fresh cream desserts, 12% cakes, tarts and pastries, and 7% confectionery. However, most of these foods are eaten less frequently because consumers want healthier alternatives such as yoghurts, which are up 5%, cereal bars, up 19% and flapjacks, up 3%.
Some 54% of all lunchbox foods are eaten with a drink. However, drinks in the lunchbox are growing. Nineteen per cent of lunchbox foods are consumed with squash, 9% with fruit juices, and 7% with carbonated soft drinks.
Laura Wilson, TNS Family Food Panel
Produced for The Grocer by TNS Superpanel. For more information call 020 8967 4521