YouGov reports that sports event attendees expect food available at the venue to be over-priced, unhealthy and of limited choice. This finding will be a disappointment to many of the catering companies at major sports venues, who have been making major efforts to improve the food they offer.
Two thirds (64%) that had been to a major sporting venue in the last two years agreed with the expectation that only fast food such as burgers or chips would be available at the venue, compared to 17% who disagreed. This number rose to 71% at major football stadiums.
A further 60% of the sports venue visitors expected the food would be unhealthy, compared to 11% who disagreed. Only 12% believed the food would be of excellent quality and just 11% said it would be good value for money.
On their most recent visit to a major sports venue, three out of five (60%) ate meals at home before or after the event showing the preference to avoid eating in the stadium.
Price and variety
Price is a clear issue for many, with nearly six in 10 (59%) saying they would like to see lower prices. They also want greater choice, 16% of those who always/sometimes buy food when visiting sports venues but did not do so on their most recent visit say nothing appealed to them. 43% of the sports venue visitors would like to see a greater variety overall with ethnic and vegetarian food suggested by respondents.
More than four in 10 (45%) sports venue visitors say they are uneasy about a lack of healthier choices and poor quality ingredients in stadium food, while 41% worry about food standing around for too long. A third (33%) are concerned that food is not cooked properly, while a quarter (25%) have misgivings about where the food is sourced from.
What can be called ‘functional reasons’, explain why sports event attendees purchase food at the venue. Among those who bought food inside the venue during their most recent visit, 55% said they did so because they were hungry and 38% said it was to keep them going until they return home.
However, two in five (39%) say that ‘it’s all part of the experience’ and one in ten say they always eat the same sort of food at that venue.
Commenting on the report, YouGov’s Tom Rees said:
‘At sports venues. there’s a huge opportunity for vendors who take the necessary steps to ensure greater variety, better quality and healthier options, so that buying food at a sporting event is an enjoyable part of the experience.’