New Delhi: More and more urban Indians are eating out in their quest for variety and new cuisines, with their frequency of visits to restaurants for meals increasing to six times a month in 2008, compared to 2.7 times a month five years ago.
Indian consumers are seeking variety and are willing to experiment with new cuisines, according to the Food Franchising Report 2009 released by industry body FICCI food wing, the Confederation of Indian Food Trade and Industry (CIFTI).
“The concept of eating out is surely catching up in India. Compared to 2.7 times a month in 2003, urban Indians now have a repast outdoor six times in a month,” the study said.
However, the figure is still low compared with other countries. “In Bangkok, people (on an average) eat out 44 times a month, while in Mumbai, it is about six times and in Jakarta, 14-15 times.”
According to the survey, a traditional outlook on eating out is cited as the main reason for the low growth in India.
“Even in modern urban homes, eating out is viewed as an occasional indulgence. There is a fear of doing it too frequently because people feel they could get addicted to it. The taboo extends even to ready-to-cook meals and ready-to-eat snacks,” it said.
The Food Franchising Report 2009 added that in India, 30% of working singles eat out at least once a month and a majority of them spend about Rs101-150 per meal.
The report said the trend towards home delivery is also fast gaining popularity. CIFTI-FICCI said that India is one of the few countries where fast food chain McDonald’s has introduced its home delivery service.
Regarding the fast-food segment, it said: “The core customers for fast food are in the age group of 25-35 years. Youngsters (18-20 years) taking up part-time jobs coupled with rising salaries also lead to higher discretionary spending on food.”
The study cited the KSA Technopak India Retail Report 2005, which has revealed that eating out accounts for 11% share of an average Indian’s income, second only to grocery at 41% and above personal care items, savings and entertainment.