Thought Leadership

Bray Leino

2017 UK Food & Drink Report

Izzy Ashton

Assistant Editor, BITE


2017 UK Food & Drink Report

It’s been a year since the EU referendum exposed the UK’s regional divides and laid bare the dangers of extrapolating national trends based on regional snapshots and personal experience.

The human tendency to gravitate towards people and ideas that confirm our own worldview means we all see the world through a bubble. This is as true of marketers as it is of pollsters and politicians, Brexit and remain voters.

It’s the “trouble with bubbles”. Predicting responses to messages and ideas in a polarised world is no longer a simple task.

How do people’s habits and attitudes towards food and drink play out across this landscape?

How did attitudes to Britishness, health and wellness, fads and trends play out across cultural divides? Where were people looking for culinary inspiration? And how effectively did new marketing channels stack up against traditional ones?

To find out, we surveyed 600 people, comparing remain-voting London with the North East and North Wales, two places Brexit was firmly supported.

Some of the results were expected. Some threw up unexpected insights from around the food and drink map. 

“The last two years have highlighted the risks in making broad assumptions from inside a bubble,” says Bray Leino’s New Business Director Austen Donnellan. “You are not your audience. The only way to get to know them is for you or your Agency to get out there and speak to them.”


Austen Donnellan, New Business Director, Bray Leino

Gideon Aroussi, Strategic Planner, Bray Leino

In conjunction with MindMover Consumer Insight and Experian.


Key take outs:

  • The desire to buy British is strong everywhere. 63% of respondents said they were concerned with buying British, with no significant differences geographically. Remain-voting Londoners were just as likely to be concerned with Britishness as people in the Brexit-voting strongholds of Wales and the North East.
  • Animal Welfare is consumers' top consideration when it comes to food issues. The top 5 considerations were GM, Britishness, Authenticity, Sustainability, and Animal Welfare. The single food issue that concerned most respondents was high animal welfare standards, with 78% claiming to be very or quite concerned. Women were more concerned about animal welfare standards than men.
  • Traditional channels are still the main course of food inspiration. Social media is ubiquitous, and has a role to play in engaging niche audiences. But when it comes to mass audience appeal, traditional channels are where consumers are most likely to seek inspiration.
  • Londoners were more likely to claim they eat healthily, BUT Government statistics show that London has the lowest obesity rates in the country (though still 59% are overweight or obese), however, it’s not all clean living and healthy lifestyles. London respondents were significantly more likely than those in Wales and the North East to say they eat fast food takeaways at least 2-3 times a week. London also leads when it comes to ready meals, with 9% claiming to eat a ready meal at least once a day and nearly 1 in 4 saying they eat ready meals 4-6 times a week or more.


    Download the report here


    Matt Henkes, Marketing, PR and Digital Content Manager, Bray Leino,

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