This emerged from Wave 4 of a Food & You survey conducted in the UK by the Food Standards Agency there.
The definition of eating out in the survey encompassed eating or buying food from a wide range of establishments including restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs, cafés and coffee shops, sandwich bars, fast food outlets, canteens, hotels and stalls as well as takeaway food.
Almost all respondents (96%) ate out, with 43% doing so at least once or twice a week. There was some variation by gender: 50% of men ate out at least once or twice a week compared with 38% of women.
Wave 4 of the survey (ongoing since Wave 1 in 2010) consisted of 3,118 interviews from a representative sample of adults aged 16 and over across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
It was commissioned by the Food Standards Agency and represents its principal source of methodologically robust and representative evidence on consumers’ self-reported food-related activities and attitudes. The findings also help to build a picture of consumers’ eating out practices and highlight the importance of cleanliness and hygiene when people decide where to eat out.
It found that women were more likely than men to be influenced by the cleanliness and hygiene of the establishment when deciding where to eat out (75% of women, 69% of men).
The youngest respondents (aged 16 to 24) were more likely than other groups to say that the price of food was the most important factor in deciding where to eat out (18%, compared with 4% to 12% in older groups).
Respondents most commonly used their own experience of establishments (64%) when deciding where to eat out. Around half (45%) took word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends or family (47%) into account.
Food and You, an official statistic, runs on a biennial basis. It provides key data on the public’s self- reported knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in relation to food safety and food-related issues. Fieldwork for Wave 4 was carried out from May to September 2016 and consisted of over 3,000 interviews across England, Wales and Northern Ireland among a representative sample of adults aged 16 and over.
All Food and You survey reports and data can be found at www.food.gov.uk/food-and-you.