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Chinese cuisine most popular, but Aussies still love McDonald’s

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Oct 2013-Sep 2014, n=16,176 and Oct 2017-Sep 2018, n=15,009.
Australians increasingly like to eat a broad range of international food cuisines. Over 14.2 million Australians aged 14+ like to eat Chinese cuisine, up from 13.5 million four years ago followed by Italian, Thai, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Greek, Middle Eastern, Lebanese and French cuisine now in tenth place. The growth in preference for Chinese cuisine has kept pace with population growth while all other top 10 leading cuisines are today liked by a greater proportion of Australians than they were four years ago.

The biggest improvers over the last four years are led by Japanese cuisine which over 8.5 million Australians (42%) now like to eat, up from 6.9 million (36%) four years ago and Middle Eastern cuisine now liked by over 5.7 million Australians (28%), up from 4.5 million (23%) four years ago.

Other cuisines to significantly improve their appeal over the last four years included Indian cuisine now liked by 51% of Australians (up 4ppts), Greek cuisine now liked by 36% (up 4ppts), Lebanese cuisine now liked by 28% (up 4ppts), Thai cuisine now liked by 58% (up 3ppts) and Mexican cuisine now liked by 44% (up 3ppts).

Top 10 food cuisines Australians like to eat

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Oct 2013-Sep 2014, n=16,176 and Oct 2017-Sep 2018, n=15,009.

Australia’s generations diverge on the favourite food cuisines


Although Chinese cuisine is the favoured cuisine across all generations analysis shows older Australians are more likely to prefer Chinese cuisine than younger Australians. Over 70% of Baby Boomers & Gen X (born before 1975) like to eat Chinese cuisine compared to fewer than 70% of the younger Gen Y & Gen Z.

However, this trend is significantly reversed for other leading cuisines. Italian cuisine performs best among Gen Y (66%) and Gen Z (65%) compared to being liked by only 45% of Pre-Boomers. Fifth placed Mexican cuisine is liked by 56% of both Gen Y and Gen Z but only 14% of Pre-Boomers and 30% of Baby Boomers.

McDonald’s & KFC top quick-service outlets despite cuisine preference
 

Along with a love for a wide range of international cuisines there’s no doubt that Australians love their fast food with 58% of Australians (11.9 million) reporting visiting a quick service restaurant in an average four weeks, up from 57% (10.9 million) four years ago.

The interesting aspect of this growth is that it is being driven by an increase in heavy repeat visitors to quick service outlets. Over 3 million Australians (15%) now report visiting quick service restaurants 10 or more times in an average four week period, up from 2.5 million (13%) four years ago.

The two most popular quick service restaurants are old favourite McDonald’s which is visited by over 6.4 million Australians (32%) in an average four week period, up from 5.6 million (29%) four years ago and KFC now visited by nearly 4.7 million Australians (23%) in an average four week period up from 3.8 million (20%) four years ago.

A big winner over the last four years is pizza outlet Domino’s now visited or used for take away by over 2.8 million Australians (14%) in an average four weeks up from 1.8 million (9%) four years ago.

Over a fifth of Australians, or 4.4 million, now visit fish & chip shops in an average four weeks while just under a fifth, 3.9 million, get take away from Asian restaurants which includes leading cuisines liked by Australians such as Chinese, Indian, Thai and Japanese.

Australia’s top 10 quick service restaurant/ fast food places

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Oct 2013-Sep 2014, n=16,176 and Oct 2017-Sep 2018, n=15,009.

These insights analysing the cuisine preferences and favourite fast food outlets of Australians are derived from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey which is based on in-depth personal interviews conducted with over 50,000 Australians each year in their own homes.

The extensive data collected by the Roy Morgan Single Source survey allows an unrivalled ‘deep dive’ into the preferences and choices that Australians make and allows businesses looking to gain a deeper understanding of the Australian marketplace a leg up on the competition.

Michele Levine, Chief Executive Officer, Roy Morgan says Australians are increasingly open to a broad range of international cuisines but fast-food favourites like McDonald’s and KFC still dominate as Australia’s leading quick service restaurant outlets:

“Australians are increasingly open to eating food from around the world and the latest Roy Morgan research into Australians’ preferred food cuisines shows a growing number of Australians saying they like to eat each of the country’s top ten favourite food cuisines.

“Over 14.2 million Australians now like to eat Chinese cuisine (70%), up from 13.5 million four years ago and there have been particularly strong increases for Japanese cuisine to 8.5 million (up 1.6 million), Indian cuisine to 10.4 million (up 1.3 million), Middle Eastern cuisine to 5.7 million (up 1.2 million) and Mexican cuisine to over 9 million (up 1.2 million).

“Some of the more well-known quick-service restaurants catering to this increasingly diverse palette include Guzman Y Gomez and Mad Mex (Mexican), Shuji Sushi (Japanese), China Bar (Chinese), Noodle Box (East Asian) although it is local restaurants and outlets that are still the favoured places to go to eat Indian, Middle Eastern and more exotic international cuisines.

“However, despite this proliferation of new outlets catering to a diverse and growing number of international cuisines, it is McDonald’s and KFC that remain clearly the ‘top dogs’ in the quick service restaurant industry. Ubiquitious burger chain McDonald’s is visited by nearly a third of all Australians aged 14+ (6.4 million) in an average four weeks, an increase of over 800,000 from four years ago while chicken-centred outlet KFC is now visited by nearly 4.7 million Australians (23%), up nearly 900,000 from 2014.

“Digging into the extensive Roy Morgan data on Australia’s food and take away preferences shows that while more women (6.1 million) than men (5.8 million) visit a quick service restaurant in an average four weeks it is men that disproportionately constitute the most frequent visitors to fast food restaurants. Over 1.7 million men (17% of Australian men) visit quick service restaurants at least 10 times in an average four weeks compared to just under 1.4 million women (13% of Australian women).

“Analysing these heavy users of quick service restaurants by generation shows that over a fifth of both Gen Y (born 1976-90) and Gen Z (born 1991-2005) visit quick service restaurants at least 10 times in an average four weeks compared to just under 15% of Gen X (born 1961-75) and only 7% of Baby Boomers (born 1946-60).

“Gaining a deeper understanding of constantly evolving Australian food and eating preferences allows restaurants and investors in the sector to cater their menus to these changing tastes. Roy Morgan’s extensive consumer profiling and segmentation tools allow businesses in the sector to pinpoint where their most lucrative customers are likely to be located and how to reach them.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2