The boozy lunch is making a comeback, with new figures showing beer, cider and wine gaining share of consumption at lunchtime while soft drink share declines.

The figures, from M&C Allegra Foodservice’s EatingOut Panel, show lunchtime bucking the trend of an overall decline in alcohol consumption. Beer and cider now accounts for 8.1% of total drinks consumed across all channels at lunch, whilst wine represented 5.1% of drinks sold, compared to 4.1% a year ago. In total, alcohol increased its total share of lunchtime drinks to 14% (+2%), while soft drinks (including tap water) fell 3% to 51.4%. Hot drinks maintained its position at 34.6% of the total with coffee remaining the most ordered drink overall.

Gareth Nash, head of consumer insight at M&C Allegra Foodservice, said: “Alcohol consumption has been falling for quite some time now so the figures will be welcome news for the on-trade. There are opportunities for alcohol to benefit from the growing eating out market and we are seeing that coming through most clearly at lunchtime. “What’s interesting is that the growth isn’t just in wine but beer and cider. It seems that the recent resurgence in cider and the growing interest in craft beer have given that segment a lift. You are seeing operators making a much conscious effort recently to match food with beers and ciders, as well as wine, and clearly that is paying off.”