Milton Keynes food industry is strongest in the UK, according to this data

New data suggests Milton Keynes is the strongest food industry in the UK.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 1:52 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd April 2021, 1:54 pm

New data compiled by Magnet Kitchens says Milton Keynes has the strongest food industry, thanks to the growth in restaurants and dark kitchens in the city.

The data shows the number of food outlets in Milton Keynes increased by 93% between 2020 and 2021, the highest rate of growth in the country.

There are now 225 different food options in Milton Keynes. With all these choices, pizza remains the most popular cuisine. Magnet Kitchen's data shows a 21% of growth year on year for pizzerias across Milton Keynes.

Franzos Milton Keynes

Despite the crippling challenges and strains the pandemic has put on businesses all around the world. Milton Keynes has come out of lockdown with a bigger and broader range of foods available for home delivery.

A number of new restaurants are opening in the area, including a recently announced noodle bar, while existing outlets have been reopening since April 12.

The selection of different foods now accessible through food delivery services and takeaways has grown by 45% in the past year in the UK overall. Restaurateurs and chefs have taken advantage of the opportunities to start and grow their takeaway offerings through dedicated cookery spaces - without the requirement for an eat-in option.

An analysis of over 50,000 restaurants by researchers at Magnet Kitchens has shown takeaway growth to be strong across the country, with the following representing the biggest percentage growth when comparing pre-lockdown to 2021 figures:

-Milton Keynes (+93%)

-Scunthorpe (+90%)

-Wakefield (+87%)

-Tamworth (+84%)

-Stoke-on-Trent (+82%)

-Rugby (+82%)

-Bury St Edmunds (+80%)

-Haywards Heath (+80%)

-Birmingham (+79%)

-Taunton (+78%)

Hayley Simmons, director of commercial range at Magnet Kitchens said: “With Amazon’s investment, and newer start-ups entering the game all the time, dark kitchens could potentially become much more popular. Suppliers will no longer need a storefront to sell to customers, reducing overheads and other costs such as staffing in the process.

“This is a real positive for the industry and its consumers. The ability for the food industry to adapt to the pandemic conditions has driven growth in new channels so they can continue to serve customers and will bode well for the future, which remains uncertain in so many ways.

“At the same time, consumers can now access a much broader range of cuisines on their own doorsteps than ever before. In a world where diversity is so celebrated, this ability to get a real ‘taste’ of different cultures has the potential to unlock better understanding and cultural growth.”

Mark Smith is marketing partner for Franzos which just opened a new restaurant in Milton Keynes. He added: "We originally planned to open for dine-in, lockdowns meant that we had to open for collection & delivery only. We’ve been able to utilise the government's VAT reduction, however this hasn’t provided much relief when combined with delivery partners high commission fees of 30% or higher.

"We plan on utilising the government's Kickstart grant to increase local employment, but we hope that the government will offer more initiatives, similar to Eat out To Help out, specifically to increase confidence in the hospitality industry.

"To boost revenue during this difficult time, many restaurant owners have looked to expand into dark kitchens, operating more than one delivery brand from the same kitchen to increase their sales through delivery platforms at this difficult time. We are looking to take advantage of this by launching two more takeaway food concepts very soon in Milton Keynes with priorities on delivery moving forward. "

Rick Smith, insolvency and business rescue expert and managing director of Forbes Burton, provided his predictions for the food industry in the years to come, saying:“I think the sector will likely return to pre-pandemic conditions, but it is hard to pin a time frame. A lot will depend on the government, lifting of restrictions and how effective stimulus packages are. You only need to look at how well the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ campaign worked to get people dining out and spending again.

“Socialising is an important part of our mental stability, virtual has its place but it can’t replace face to face interactions and that human contact aspect of people as a whole. It’s going to be a slow return but so long as we have control over the virus, 2021 Christmas momentum into 2022 should give the industry a good kickstart.”

The full report from Magnet Kitchens can be found at https://www.magnet.co.uk/dark-kitchens/.