Why we're packing in packed lunches

Packed lunches on decline
Packed lunches on decline
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Packed lunches are falling in popularity ... meaning the economy is improving.

The number of workers making sandwiches at home surged between 2007 and 2012 as the recession took hold.

However, according to Kantar Worldpanel, packed lunch consumption has fallen by 10 per cent in the first quarter of this year as the improvement in the economy sees more workers heading out for mid-day meals.

Year on year, this amounts for 76 million packed lunches. The figures had previously surged 4.9 per cent to 4.2 billion midday sarnie boxes in the five years leading up to 2012.

The report shows 16-24-year-olds were most responsible for the fall in numbers, making their own lunches on 26.5 million fewer occasions. The 25-34-year-old age group made 22.8 million less sandwich-based midday meals.

However, children’s packed lunches fell by far less - just 1.4 per cent or 2.4 million packed lunches down.

Kantar Worldpanel analyst Lucy Barton told The Grocer magazine that the figures were “partly due to the recovery in consumer confidence as we leave the recession.

“We saw a lot of consumers starting to use packed lunches as a way of saving money when times were tight,” she added.

“We also know consumers put ‘eating out’ at the top of the list of things they would do if they had more money.”