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Food and You 2: Wave 4 Key findings

Chapter 4: Eating out and takeaways

This chapter provides an overview of respondents’ eating out and takeaway ordering habits, the factors that are considered when deciding where to order a takeaway from, and recognition and use of the FHRS.

Last updated: 10 August 2022

Introduction

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) helps people make informed choices about where to eat out or shop for food by giving clear information about the businesses’ hygiene standards. Ratings are typically given to places where food is supplied, sold or consumed, including restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, food vans and stalls. 

The FSA runs the scheme in partnership with local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A food safety officer from the local authority inspects a business to check that it follows food hygiene law so that the food is safe to eat. Businesses are given a rating from 0 to 5. A rating of 5 indicates that hygiene standards are very good and a rating of 0 indicates that urgent improvement is required. 

Food businesses are provided with a sticker which shows their FHRS rating. In England businesses are encouraged to display their FHRS rating, however in Wales and Northern Ireland food businesses are legally required to display their FHRS rating(footnote). FHRS ratings are also available on the FSA website.

This chapter provides an overview of respondents’ eating out and takeaway ordering habits, the factors that are considered when deciding where to order a takeaway from, and recognition and use of the FHRS.

Prevalence of eating out and ordering takeaways

Figure 9: Type of food business respondents had eaten at or ordered food from in the previous 4 weeks

Around half had eaten out in a restaurant (53%), from a café, coffee shop or sandwich shop (either to eat in or take out) (52%) or ordered a takeaway directly from a takeaway shop or restaurant (50%).
Type of food business Percentage of respondents
None of these 9
Facebook Marketplace 0
Food-sharing app 2
Food van or stall 9

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Source: Food & You 2: Wave 4

Respondents were asked where they had eaten out or ordered food from in the previous 4 weeks. Around half had eaten out in a restaurant (53%), from a café, coffee shop or sandwich shop (either to eat in or take out) (52%) or ordered a takeaway directly from a takeaway shop or restaurant (50%) and 43% had eaten out in a pub or bar. Over a third of respondents had eaten food from a fast-food outlet (either to eat in or take out) (38%) or ordered a takeaway from an online food delivery company (for example, Just Eat, Deliveroo, Uber Eats) (35%). Around 1 in 10 (9%) respondents had not eaten food from any of the listed food businesses in the previous 4 weeks (Figure 9)(footnote)

Figure 10: Prevalence of eating out in a restaurant, pub or bar, or from a takeaway by age group in the previous 4 weeks

Younger respondents were more likely to have eaten out in a restaurant, pub or bar, or from a takeaway (ordered directly or online) in the previous 4 weeks compared to older respondents.
Age group Eaten in a restaurant, pub or bar Eaten food from a takeaway, ordered directly or online
16-24 72 75
25-34 73 80
35-44 66 79
45-54 67 75

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Source: Food and You 2: Wave 4

Younger respondents were more likely to have eaten out in a restaurant, pub or bar, or from a takeaway (ordered directly or online) in the previous 4 weeks compared to older respondents. For example, 73% of respondents aged 25-34 years had eaten out in a restaurant, pub or bar compared to 55% of those aged 75 years or over. Similarly, 80% of respondents aged 25-34 years had eaten food from a takeaway (ordered directly or online) compared to 28% of those aged 75 years or over (Figure 10).

Figure 11: Prevalence of eating out in a restaurant, pub or bar, or from a takeaway by annual household income in the previous 4 weeks

For example, 86% of respondents with an income of £96,000 or over had eaten out in a restaurant, pub or bar compared to 53% of those with an income of £19,000 or below.
Annual household income (in pounds) Eaten food out in a restaurant, pub or bar Eaten food from a takeaway, ordered directly or online
Less than 19,000 53 55
19,000 - 31,999 63 65
32,000 - 63,999 76 68
64,000 - 95,999 80 76

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Source: Food and You 2: Wave 4

Respondents with a higher household income were more likely to have eaten out in a restaurant, pub or bar, or have eaten food from a takeaway (ordered directly or online) in the previous 4 weeks compared to respondents with a lower income. For example, 86% of respondents with an income of £96,000 or over had eaten out in a restaurant, pub or bar compared to 53% of those with an income of £19,000 or below. Similarly, 84% of respondents with an income of £96,000 or over had eaten food from a takeaway (ordered directly or online) compared to 55% of those with an income of £19,000 or below (Figure 11).

The prevalence of eating out in a restaurant, pub or bar or eating food from a takeaway (ordered directly or online) in the previous 4 weeks also varied between different types of people in the following ways:
 

  • household size: respondents who lived in larger households were more likely to have eaten food from a takeaway then those who lived in smaller households. For example, 80% of respondents living in 4-person households had eaten food from a takeaway compared to 40% of respondents living alone
  • children under 16 years in household: respondents who had children in the household (77%) were more likely to have eaten food from a takeaway than those who did not have children aged 16 years or under in the household (59%). However, the prevalence of eating out in a restaurant, pub or bar did not differ between those with (66%) or without (66%) children aged 16 years or under in the household**
  • NS-SEC: full-time students and those in some occupational groups were more likely to have eaten out in a restaurant, pub or bar or have eaten food from a takeaway compared to those in other occupational groups or those who were long term unemployed and/or had never worked. For example, 74% of full-time students and 69% of those in intermediate occupations had eaten food from a takeaway compared to 60% of those in semi-routine and routine occupations and 53% of those who were long term unemployed and/or had never worked. Similarly, 75% of full-time students and 73% of those in managerial, administrative, and professional occupations had eaten out in a restaurant, pub or bar compared to 47% of those in semi-routine and routine occupations and 31% of those who were long term unemployed and/or had never worked
  • urban/rural: respondents who lived in an urban area (66%) were more likely to have eaten food from a takeaway than those who lived in a rural area (54%). However, the prevalence of eating out in a restaurant, pub or bar did not differ between those who lived in urban (66%) or rural (66%) areas**
  • food security: respondents with high (71%) or marginal (64%) food security were more likely to have eaten out in a restaurant, pub or bar than those with low (48%) or very low (48%) food security. However, the prevalence eating food from a takeaway did not differ greatly between those with different levels of food security (for example, 66% of those with very low food security compared to 62% of those with high food security)
  • ethnic group: white respondents (67%) were more likely to have eaten out in a restaurant, pub or bar compared to Asian or British Asian respondents (54%), however Asian or British Asian respondents (73%) were more likely to have eaten food from a takeaway compared to white respondents (62%)
  • long term health condition: respondents with no long-term health condition (71%) were more likely to have eaten out in a restaurant, pub or bar compared to respondents who had a long-term health condition (58%), however the prevalence of eating food from a takeaway did not differ greatly between those with (58%) or without (66%) a long-term health condition**. 

Eating out and takeaways by mealtime

Figure 12: Frequency of eating out or buying food to takeout mealtime

Respondents were least likely to eat out or buy food to take out for breakfast, with 55% of respondents never doing this.
Frequency rating Breakfast Lunch Dinner
About once a week or more often 9 23 24
About 2-3 times a month or less often 34 52 59
Never 55 23 16

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Source: Food & You 2: Wave 4

Respondents were asked how often they ate out or bought food to take out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Respondents were least likely to eat out or buy food to take out for breakfast, with 55% of respondents never doing this. Around half of respondents (52%) reported that they ate out or bought takeout food for lunch 2-3 times a month or less often. Respondents were most likely to eat out or buy food to take out for dinner, with 59% doing this 2-3 times a month or less often and 24% doing this about once a week or more often (Figure 12)(footnote).

Factors considered when ordering a takeaway

Respondents were asked which factors, from a given list, they generally considered when deciding where to order a takeaway from(footnote)

Figure 13: Factors considered when ordering a takeaway

Around 4 in 10 (38%) respondents considered the food hygiene rating when deciding where to order a takeaway from.
Factors considered Percentage of respondents
Calorie information provided 2
Allergen information provided 5
Healthier options provided 8
Independent business or chain 11

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Source: Food & You 2: Wave 4

Of those who had ordered food from a takeaway, the factors most commonly considered when deciding where to place an order were the respondents’ previous experience of the takeaway (80%) and the quality of food (75%). Around 4 in 10 (38%) respondents considered the food hygiene rating when deciding where to order a takeaway from (Figure 13)(footnote).

Awareness and recognition of the FHRS

Most respondents (89%) reported that they had heard of the FHRS. Over half (59%) of respondents reported that they had heard of the FHRS and had at least a bit of knowledge about it(footnote)(footnote).

Figure 14: Percentage of respondents who had heard of the FHRS by country

Most respondents living in England (89%), Wales (95%), and Northern Ireland (92%) had heard of the FSA.
Region Have heard of the FHRS Have never heard of the FHRS
England 89 11
Wales 95 5
Northern Ireland 92 8

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Source: Food and You 2: Wave 4

Most respondents living in England (89%), Wales (95%), and Northern Ireland (92%) had heard of the FSA (Figure 14)**.

Respondents in Wales (74%) were more likely to report that they had heard of the FHRS and had at least some knowledge of the FHRS compared to those in England (57%) and Northern Ireland (65%)**.

When shown an image of the FHRS sticker, most (88%) respondents reported that they had seen the FHRS sticker before. Recognition of the FHRS sticker was comparable across England (87%), Wales (95%) and Northern Ireland (94%) **(footnote).

FHRS usage

Respondents were asked if they had checked the hygiene rating of a food business in the last 12 months. Around 4 in 10 (41%) respondents reported checking the food hygiene rating of a business in the previous 12 months(footnote).

Respondents living in Wales (54%) were more likely to have checked the hygiene rating of a food business in the last 12 months compared to respondents in England (40%) and Northern Ireland (46%)**. 

Figure 15: Food businesses where respondents had checked the food hygiene rating in the last 12 months

The most common types of food business which respondents had checked the food rating of were takeaways (70%) and restaurants (69%).
Food business Percentage of respondents
In other food shops 5
On market stalls\street food 6
In schools, hospitals and other institutions 7
In supermarkets 12

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Source: Food & You 2: Wave 4

Respondents who said they had checked the hygiene rating of a food business in the last 12 months were asked what types of food businesses they had checked. The most common types of food business which respondents had checked the food rating of were takeaways (70%) and restaurants (69%). Respondents were less likely to report that they had checked the food hygiene rating of cafés (46%), coffee or sandwich shops (33%) or pubs (32%) (Figure 15)(footnote)