MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules: Competing cooking shows which have resulted in a national penchant for fine home-cooking and increased consumption of kale, quinoa and sea urchin. But have these trends turned us all into culinary wizards and stopped us from eating out? Quite the opposite, in fact.
A recent study from Roy Morgan Research has revealed that in the last ten years, the tendency of Australians to head out for a meal, a coffee, or both, has increased. While cooking shows attempt to convince us all that we can bake, broil and braise like a celebrity chef, it hasn’t resulted in a home-entertaining boom—which may surprise many.
It seems that perhaps our inherent laziness (or total lack of gastronomic skill) as Australians has simply resulted in an increased love for food and entertaining; albeit at a restaurant or café! This handy (yet entirely lacking in foodie appeal) table below highlights a few of the key changes in the last decade.
(If you’ve got a spare $1390 and you’re really keen to find out the diner profiles of cafés, restaurants and BYO restaurants you can pay the folks at Ray Morgan a visit and get some industry-specific information.)
Interestingly, punters are less likely to order in a pizza than they were ten years ago, (down from 43.9% to 31.9%) which was the biggest shift in habits within the study. Tendency to head to a pub for a meal, or to a café were both up (5.7% and 7.8% respectively), whereas those who like to head out to a pub just for a pint were down by 4%.
This increase in eating-out (and totally unfair move away from the humble home-delivered pizza!) is not, however, accompanied by an increase in diet-conscious attitudes, it would seem. Despite the rising obesity epidemic in Australia, and the fact that we are constantly reminded about it in the media (thanks Biggest Loser and A Current Affair), it seems that Australians are actually less concerned with eating a low-fat diet, and with their cholesterol. Here’s another fun table, just for the heck of it:
As you can see, over 23% of people surveyed admitted that, if they could afford to, they would eat out every night. So, does this speak to our unpreparedness to cook, or our fondness of heading out for a night of hedonistic consumption? Probably a bit of both, actually.
Another Roy Morgan study has found that the ‘hipsterisation’ (their word, not ours) of fast food in particular is driving young people to boutique establishments, and away from the larger fast-food chains. McDonald’s is even attempting to cash in on the hipster movement by opening a minimally-branded establishment in Sydney, named ‘The Corner’.
Barely a Mickey Dee’s logo in sight, the new café is dubbed a ‘lab’ by the conglomerate, in which they test new hipster-friendly menu items before rolling them out into their other restaurants. Bacon and egg brioche bun with chutney; Asian slaw salad; cold-drip, single-origin, fair-trade, gluten-free, vegan coffee; all on the menu (ok, so that last one may be a little hard to come by).
Clearly, Maccas are savvy to the market shift happening in Australia, and are trying to get in on the action. As The Guardian’s article states, the last thing Australia’s café scene needs is McDonald’s trying to muscle-in on it (albeit in a spiffy new outfit). However, considering the recent trends, it appears that there is good news for the restaurant and cafe industries within Australia…for now. (Keep your sticky, four-cheese fingers off, McDonalds!)