September 17, 2020 • Food5 min read

The nation’s takeaway divide: the unhealthiest regions revealed

City Pantry and Just Eat reveals the nation's takeaway divide, by looking at which cuisines and eating habits saw the biggest rise during lockdown.

Infographic showing the nation's takeaway divide

When the UK headed into lockdown at the start of March due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many of us missed out on our regular meals out with loved ones and turned to takeaway food instead. But who made the healthier choices, and who preferred sugar-heavy options to get them through months spent stuck at home?

New data, compiled by City Pantry and Just Eat, reveals the nation’s takeaway divide, by looking at which cuisines saw the biggest rise during lockdown in each region.

The data shows that the East of England saw the largest increase of unhealthy eating habits during lockdown, as orders for healthy vegan orders were low, while dessert orders (up 141%) and alcohol product sales (up 7.7%) spiked.

Meanwhile, the North East - home to Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland, and Durham - made the healthiest takeaway choices during lockdown, with healthy vegan or vegetarian orders up an impressive 124%. However, it seems that even the North East were tempted to treat themselves while stuck at home, as dessert orders also rose during lockdown.

Overall, the UK exhibited an increase in both healthy and unhealthy habits. Plant-based takeaway orders rose by almost a third (29%) across the nation, while alcohol product sales were up more than a third (36%). Northern Ireland was found to be the biggest drinkers as alcohol product sales jumped by 9.3%, while the West Midlands saw the lowest alcohol consumption increase overall at 3.5%.

As well as choosing more vegetarian options, some regions have grown more adventurous with their meal choices. For example, Scotland has seen orders of Greek food - such as moussaka, baklava, and gyros - rise by 167%.

"With much of the country working from home over the last six months, we have seen a significant rise in demand for deliveries to homes. Convenience and variety play a big role in this increased demand, with busy remote workers not able to spend sufficient time preparing all their meals from scratch every day," says Tom Squire, Financial Director at City Pantry.

"Additionally, we’ve seen hospitality businesses adapt and create new offerings during lockdown - from creating recipe boxes of their best-selling dishes to hampers that include treats and alcohol, all available for delivery to peoples’ homes,

We’ve seen that lockdown has encouraged people to use their lunch breaks to curate a better work-life balance, with healthier foods seeing increased orders. Health and wellbeing has become even more front of mind in individuals' decisions,

As businesses and individuals continue to adapt to the “new normal” and practice social distancing, it’s likely we will see further growth in delivered-in meals. The traditional “9-to-5” will need to continue to be flexible, with lower office populations and remote working here to stay. As such, it’s important that we in the hospitality industry continue to work together to find solutions that are COVID-safe and adapt to meet the evolving needs of consumers."


At City Pantry, we have a wide range of food to suit your team’s tastes - whether you’re healthy-eating enthusiasts or looking for a sweet treat. Get started finding your dream lunch here.