Takeaways: Can Britain’s healthy eaters be won over?

Amelia BrophyHead of Data Products, UK
March 23, 2020, 10:19 AM GMT+0

Health-conscious Brits are increasingly opening their eyes to food delivery apps – but they still need some convincing

Deliveroo recently announced it is investing £1 million in developing takeaway brands and supporting restaurants to offer better options for health-conscious customers.

The move came after a 181% uptick in healthy orders over the past three years. It points to a wider trend in the food delivery industry. Growing numbers of people with healthy diets say they would consider ordering from delivery apps Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats, YouGov BrandIndex data shows.

Similar to the wider industry trends, Just Eat is the number one choice for health-conscious consumers while Deliveroo comes second and the most recent entrant, Uber Eats, third.

Who are the healthy eaters?

Three in ten Brits say they have a healthy diet, including 4% who describe it as ‘very healthy’. They eat out at nearly the same frequency as the rest of the nation with 38% having food out at least several times a month - not far off the national average of 44%.

But the gap widens when it comes to takeaway food. A quarter of health-conscious Brits never have food to go, compared with 10% in the wider population. And while over a third of consumers treat themselves to a takeaway at least several times a month, this is only true for under a fifth of healthy eaters.

Age partly explains the difference. Just over half of people who say they eat well are 55 and older – a segment, which generally is less keen on food to go.

But even among people aged 55 and older, healthy eaters are more reluctant than their peers to order a takeaway, with three in ten (30%) saying they never do it. In contrast, the figure is only 14% for people aged 55 and older who say their diet could improve or is unhealthy.

People under 55 with a healthy diet are more open to having food to go than their elders but they tend to buy it less often than other people their age. Just over a third of the younger healthy eaters buy multiple takeaways in a month, compared with 43% of Brits who say their diet could be healthier or is unhealthy.

Fresh produce and organic ingredients trump price for healthy eaters

Nutrition-focused Brits are less likely to impulsively buy a takeaway as a treat but they can be won over with nourishing fresh food.

They generally make more of an effort to have fruit and veg (87% agree vs. 71% of the wider population) and prefer sitting down together to eat (73% vs. 65%).

The healthy eaters are also happy to pay more for goods without artificial additives (56% vs. 48%) and actively avoid supermarkets that don’t stock high-quality fresh food (56% vs. 46%). And they are more likely to prefer serving their family organic food (48%/34%).

Giving in to temptation is not so much an issue. People with healthy diets are less likely to treat themselves to unhealthy food (44% vs. 68%), snack between meals (42% vs. 59%) or eat out of boredom (51% vs. 65%).

In the next months as we try to minimise our social contact, food delivery will provide a small glimpse of hope for many restaurants that are already operating on tight margins. Adding a few nutritious veg-packed options could allow them to widen their customer base when it’s most needed.

Photo: Getty