Delivery thrives again in lockdown

Two thirds of consumers celebrating Valentine’s Day this year will do so by getting food and drink from the out-of-home sector.

Food delivery has become habitual for consumers in Britain’s latest lockdown, while rising take-up of cook-at-home meal kits has given restaurants a welcome new sideline.


Those are some of the insights from CGA’s ‘2021 Hospitality Consumer Forecast’, which explores crucial changes in people’s behaviour and attitudes ahead of the sector’s reopening.


The research shows that more than a quarter (27%) of consumers ordered hot food delivery over the festive period, while nearly one in five (18%) took advantage of drive-thru facilities and one in ten (10%) ordered pick-up or click-and-collect. Among those receiving deliveries, nearly half (44%) said they were doing so more frequently than they had in previous festive seasons.


Consumers’ appetite for delivery peaked on Christmas Eve, the research shows, with New Year’s Day and Christmas Day just behind. Orders were driven by a desire for treats and relaxation, which were cited as motivations for 36% and 27% of consumers. One in five (18%) said they were seeking to replace their typical meals out—another sign that consumers are missing their favourite restaurants, pubs and bars.


While still a relatively small part of the market, restaurants’ meal kits have also become a welcome alternative for people missing eating out, with one in 20 (5%) consumers buying one over the festive period.


Deliveries and kits have been boosted by the closure of hospitality, but there are signs that consumers’ new habits will last well beyond lockdown. Seven in ten (69%) of those who ordered deliveries or collections over the festive period say they will continue to do so throughout 2021.


CGA’s ‘2021 Hospitality Consumer Forecast’ sets out the factors behind consumers’ delivery choices, and emphasises the importance of quality, value and trust. It also reveals the demographics of regular buyers, who tend to be younger and more affluent than the average consumer, and more likely to live in city centres where access to deliveries is easier.

The wave of lockdowns over the last year has engrained delivery into the everyday habits of consumers,” says Rachel Weller, head of consumer research at CGA. “As the market has grown, space has also emerged for innovations like meal kits, and further evolution will undoubtedly follow, even after venues can welcome people back inside.

“Operators and suppliers will have to stay closely tuned to changing habits and be ready to pivot to give consumers what they want as the market moves towards its next phase of recovery”


CGA’s ‘2021 Hospitality Consumer Forecast’ is based on a survey of a nationally representative sample of 3,000 on-trade consumers. For more about the series, email

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