The idea that takeaways are cheaper than eating at home is a common myth, but one that has been busted many times according to New Zealand Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich.
Research conducted by online and mobile takeaway ordering company Menulog found more than half of New Zealanders were buying takeaways rather than cooking at home. Nearly a third said they thought takeaways were the cheaper option, however Rich said this was not the case.
"I think a lot of people do think that eating takeaways is cheaper than eating at home - it's a popular misconception," Rich said. "But I've seen this myth busted many times and it's particularly true when you're trying to feed a family", she said.
"There is a big gap between perception and reality and I think people eat out for many reasons such as convenience, so they think they might be saving money but in reality if anything they're just saving time."
Menulog found more than 50 per cent of the 435 New Zealanders surveyed had ordered takeaways to save money on cooking with more than half spending up to $50 a week. This was highest in 45 to 54 year olds who spent between $50 and $100 a week on eating out.
According to Menulog spokesperson Julia Snabl, the high price of groceries in New Zealand was turning people towards takeaway food.
"There is a growing demand for takeaway as consumers are very conscious of their household budget and the expense of cooking home meals," Snabl said. "In New Zealand, everyday staples such as milk and butter have been steadily increasing in price, which increases the expense of even simple home cooked meals."
Rich said people had fallen out of the routine of cooking at home, adding that if they did their own tests they would realise this wasn't true.
"Nutrient for nutrient, eating at home is usually cheaper," Rich said. "Take breakfast for example, the price of breakfast hasn't changed dramatically in the last five years and despite what [Snabl] said, milk prices have been relatively stable over the last few years as well so if you were wanting to eat a healthy breakfast, that can cost less than a dollar a day," she said.
The survey found 53 per cent of consumers ordered takeaways because they thought it was more affordable than cooking a meal from scratch, with 68 per cent saying they ordered takeaways once a week or more.
The average spend was around $15 per person, with 33 per cent saying they would not pay more than that and 39 per cent saying they wouldn't pay more than $20 per person for a takeaway meal.
Food for thought
• 53% of New Zealanders order takeaways to save money on cooking.
• 68% order takeaways once or more per week.
• 24% of 45-54 year-olds spend $50 to $100 a week on takeaways.
• 53% spend up to $50 a week on takeaways.
• $15 per person was the best price point according to those surveyed.