Australia / Analyst Insights
Healthier consumers have left fish and chip shops adrift

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by Bao Vuong
Aug 29 2017

Rising health consciousness among Australian consumers has led to healthier eating habits over the past five years. The growing popularity of healthier food options has influenced the performance and product make-up of the fast food services industry. The more traditional types of fast food, such as burgers, pizza, and fish and chips have declined as a share of industry revenue, while healthier options, such as sandwiches, salads and juices have grown as a share of revenue. Overall, fast food industries that offer healthier meal options, such as the sandwich shops industry, have benefited from rising health consciousness.

To take advantage of rising health consciousness, many sandwich shop operators have marketed the freshness and nutritional content of their menu items. For example, Subway has promoted the nutritional breakdown of its menu, and advertised its line of sandwich meal options with six grams of fat or less. Other smaller industry players have carved out a niche by providing gourmet sandwich options, and by promoting the quality and ingredients of their offerings. As a result, the sandwich shops industry is expected to grow at an annualised 3.0% over the five years through 2017-18, to $2.1 billion.

Other fast food industries, such as the fish and chip shops industry, have not been so fortunate. Fish and chip shops have struggled to shake a perception of unhealthiness and have been losing market share to external competitors, such as sandwich shops. Traditional fish and chip shop’s offer consumers a high-fat menu, rich in salt and sugar. Therefore, the shift towards healthier eating habits has negatively affected industry operators, with revenue expected to fall at an annualised 0.9% over the five years through 2017-18, to $655.8 million.

In response, many fish and chip shops have been expanding their menus to include a wider range of fish and seafood products, as well as healthier options such as salads. Fish and chip shops have also started to adopt low-oil air fryers to appeal to health-conscious consumers. This strategy has helped to improve their image as a healthier fast food option, although its overall success has been limited. The traditional reputation of fish and chips as a high-fat, deep-fried meal choice has left many consumers sceptical of the nutritional improvements that low-oil commercial fryers and air fryers can provide. To better compete with healthier fast food operators like sandwich shops, fish and chip shops will have to do more to inform consumers that enjoying fish and chips doesn’t necessarily have to be a guilty pleasure, as alternative fryers can produce meals that are significantly healthier than the traditional deep-fried fare.

Related industries:

H4512 – Fast Food Services

OD5499 – Fish and Chip Shops

OD5497 – Sandwich Shops