Consumers are hungry to support British. British diners are hungry for a gourmet experience that supports our bountiful island and brings that extra-special something to the table, according to a recent survey.
Findings revealed that when it comes to eating out or taking a short break, diners and holidaymakers are more likely than ever to take advantage of the UK’s vast selection of quality gourmet experiences – staying close to home and supporting British food, restaurants and hotels.
The questionnaire was carried out over the Summer by Gourmet-Lifestyle, who specialise in creating unique ‘GourmetXperiences’ which are gourmet gifts created for the growing ‘experiential market’, for high-end consumers. Gourmet-Lifestyle support accredited chefs and cookery schools in marketing their unique elements to help to ‘make the special, extra special’ via their ‘GREATEST BRITISH GourmetXperiences’ campaign, websites and social media. The enlightening results were taken from their annual survey carried out with partners at the ‘Best Loved Hotels’ collection amongst their members, customers and social media followers.
The survey results, from nearly 1500 gourmands, revealed that more than 60 percent of those questioned said they were more likely to take an overnight stay in the UK in the next 12 months than in the past year; with most opting for two nights away at a time. And more than 70 percent said they were more likely to purchase British produce in the coming year than in the past.
The questionnaire found that the majority were dining out between once and three times a month, and were happy to indulge in a ‘gourmet experience’ if they felt they were receiving value for money.
Many respondents were choosing British breaks over long-haul holidays, with 61% saying they would be staying overnight more in the UK over the next year, with the majority (70%) taking a staycation once a month or less.
40% said they would spend between £125-£199 for a hotel and breakfast for two, with 44% preferring the £50-£125 option. Most enjoyed to plan their break in advance with 44% booking more than one month ahead and 30% 2-4 weeks ahead; and the favoured length of stay was two nights (45%). The beautiful South West of England, with its vast range of gourmet establishments, proved to be the favourite short break destination of 30% of people, alongside Northern Ireland as a growing UK destination.
The survey highlighted the fact that despite worries over austerity, rising food prices and Brexit, people were still spending their money on special occasions, but expected greater ‘added value’ for their hard-earned cash.
Though location and price were main factors, more than half (52%) said a unique experience would encourage them to dine out or staycation in Britain more in the next year. Experiences such as cookery courses, gourmet tasting menus, wine and gin events or thrill-seeking activities were all seen as extra enticements for choosing British. Michelin stars were a draw for many with Raymond Blanc’s two-star Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons named by many respondents as the ultimate gourmet experience alongside newer venues such as Lympstone Manor in Devon, headed up by chef patron Michael Caines MBE, which recently achieved its first Michelin Star for 2018.
When it comes to shopping and the growing market of ‘gourmet gifts’, consumers were also staying closer to home and supporting British with more than 70% of people saying they would be more likely to buy British produce in the next 12 months. Naming English wines as areas of growth over Champagnes and Prosecco when celebrating, alongside interest in gaining new skills at accredited cookery schools learning how to cook sustainable British produce.
Julian Ebbutt, MD of partners Best Loved Hotels, said: “The survey confirms the importance of the stay-cation for the British consumer, especially in view of unfavourable exchange rates and travel uncertainties. It’s heartening to see so many holidaymakers ready to support high quality independent British hotels and restaurants. More and more consumers have come to the conclusion that there’s no reason to travel overseas when there are so many fantastic places to visit on the doorstep.”
Gourmet-experiences.co.uk dedicated website, which was launched early this year in response to growing demand for added value experiences, offers once-in-a-lifetime culinary experiences for diners to enjoy personally or to gift to friends and family. Profits from selected experiences are donated to each chef or restaurant’s chosen charity.
‘GourmetXperiences’ creator and Gourmet-Lifestyle MD James Day said that the survey followed the trend of similar research over the past year and clearly showed that for many diners and holidaymakers it was ‘all about the experience.’
He said: “The hospitality industry needs to go that bit further to offer customers an unforgettable ‘personalised’ experience. It’s not all about price – and with rising food and operating costs for restaurants, they have to go that bit further to satisfy the needs of their diners.”
GourmetXperiences available include learning from top chefs such as Eckington Manor’s Mark Stinchcombe, a former Masterchef The Professionals winner; a meet and greet with a surprise menu created by Michelin-starred chef Brad Carter in Birmingham; and a Land Rover off-road driving experience and top-class British cuisine and accommodation at The Verzon House hotel, in Herefordshire. Nationally acclaimed chefs such as Cyrus Todiwala OBE, Michael Caines MBE, Shaun Rankin and TV Chefs are all supporting the cause and creating GourmetXperiences to attract aspiring gourmands who seek new experiences to learn from, and inspire. Cookery school gift vouchers are already proving popular as ‘educational’ gifts for gourmands.
James Day concluded “the next 12 months are going to be seminal for British consumers and the hospitality industry. These results show that there is a growing loyalty amongst aspiring consumers towards independent British hospitality and quality produce, supported by overseas research to Uk visitors, and we will continue to create GourmetXperiences that make the special, that extra bit special to help encourage industry growth”
For more detailed results and industry insights contact Gourmet Lifestyle Experiences Here.