Raising the Bar – Sophisticated pub snacking habits soaring

Posh snacks are ousting traditional pub favourites in the battle of the bar snacks. Age-old nibbles such as pickled onions and prawn cocktail crisps are falling by the wayside as punters opt for more exotic or healthier alternatives to tuck into while enjoying a cold pint.

And surprisingly pub-goers in the north of the UK are most likely to turn their backs on traditional crisps and nuts in favour of ‘classier’ more artisanal choices.

According to extensive data, upmarket accompaniments such as cashew nuts, olives, halloumi fries and gourmet flavoured crisps are now all the rage.

The trend, identified by ServedUp, a mobile order and pay system which enables customers to order food and drinks to their restaurant or bar table, has seen the shift hot up following the lifting of lockdown in April.

And follows the launch of a £25 tub of vegan crisps on sale at upmarket department store Fortnum & Mason recently.

Analysing over 1.5 million orders nationwide since significant parts of the economy opened on April 12, 2021, the appetite for healthier baked crisps has risen by 23% per cent, cashew nuts by 20% and popcorn by 12%.

During the same period, the hospitality technology business witnessed demand for gourmet flavoured crisps rise by 16% and olives 8%

While low-carb diets like paleo and keto rise in popularity, so too is the demand for convenient high-protein snacks, such as Biltong, the 400-year old traditional South African cured meat snack, was up 7% over the same period.

Hugo Tilmouth, chief executive at ServedUp said: “Brimming with life, creativity, great minds and innovative start-ups, the north is a cosmopolitan, vibrant melting pot. And with that has come prosperity – and a love of the finer things in life.

“While there will always be a place for traditional bar snacks it is clear there is a revolution underway as smart, upmarket bars and restaurants open offering a wide range of more eclectic snacks.

“Obviously our data reveals a snapshot of life in Britain’s bars and pubs, but could it be that the north has overtaken the south and is now the epicentre of the upmarket bar room nibble?

“What’s similarly interesting is that technology seems to have influenced how experimental we are with our ordering habits.

“Lots of us can relate to that pressure cooker moment at the bar, where we revert to autopilot ordering in a bid to be quick and polite

“But as we’ve embraced mobile menus, we’ve seen consumers increasingly trying new and alternative options too.” Servedup’s app is available in thousands of pubs and restaurants around Britain enabling them to provide a snack map which shows which treats are frequently consumed in specific areas. According to the map the towns and cities with increasingly sophisticated snack palates include Manchester, York and Aberdeen.

 Possibly driven by formerly London-based hipsters heading for the coast, the data also revealed Margate’s genteel nature based on punters’ appreciation for Pipers Sea Salt crisps, an elevated gluten free and vegan approved interpretation of a British crisp classic.

But if you still prefer the more traditional pack of Monster Munch or Mini Cheddars with your pint, Middlesborough or Swansea is where you want to head to.

The data reveals a southern contingent of crisp snackers while the ‘nut hub’ appears to be the Midlands.

Overall servedup’s data shows the top ten declining snacks to be:

 Movers and Shakers: Top 10 snacks rising in popularity (Since April 12)

1.     Sea Salt Baked Crisps

2.     Sweet Chilli Crisps

3.     Roasted Nuts

4.     Carded Black Country Pork Scratchings

5.     Cashew Nuts

6.     Rosemary and Thyme Crisps

7.     Salt and Vinegar Baked Crisps

8.     Popcorn

9.     Olives

10.  Biltong

Movers and Shakers: Top 10 declining snacks (Since April 12)

1.     Onion Rings

2.     Pickled Onions

3.     Chilli Nuts

4.     Salted Peanuts

5.     Beef Crisps

6.     Nachos

7.     Mini Cheddars

8.     Salt and Vinegar Crisps

9.    Prawn Cocktail Crisps

10.  Worcester sauce crisps

Snacks sold in pubs pre-lockdown were worth £24 million and are set to increase further according to experts. After pub gardens reopened on April 12 sales of snack items in supermarkets began to slow down. Around one in five pub punters are estimated to buy a snack with their drink.

 In March a poll of 2,000 adults revealed pork scratchings as the country’s favourite bar snack.  A spokesman for ServedUp confirmed bar snacks have finally come to the attention of foodies who like to give off an air of sophistication while sipping their sauvignon blanc. 

ServedUp CEO, Hugo Tilmouth added “If we look back, searching for the little blue sachet in a packet of Salt and Shake crisps was possibly the most novel and exciting as snacks got.“So it’s great to see Brits are being more adventurous as flavours and choices evolve.

“Snacks can be a great way for businesses to increase sales, so it’s important for publicans to always be on the lookout for new and inspiring options.

“Whether you’re a plain crisp purist or prefer a pretzel or pistachio to accompany your pint, ServedUp will have them at your fingertips in a matter of minutes.”

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