Consumer participation has fallen at coffee shops and cafés and there has been a two percentage point (pp) decrease in the channel’s share of total snack occasions, MCA analysis reveals.

Average spend has fallen on lunch visits, but risen on snacks and at breakfast, MCA’s Eating Out Panel Q1 2017 report finds.

The top lunch and snack item in coffee shops and cafés was sandwiches, which gained share of visits for breakfast, lunch and snack times.

The top coffee shop and café breakfast was a full English, which is featuring more often this year, eaten on 13% of visits, up from 12% a year ago.

The biggest increase at breakfast was for muffins, which are eaten on a tenth of visits, up from 7% in Q1 2016.

Coffee, though still undisputed No.1 beverage, lost share of visits across the board, with hot chocolate and fruit juice making gains at breakfast, tea, tap water and juice drinks at lunch and lemonade, smoothies and fruit juice drinks on snack visits.

A quarter of coffee shop and café breakfast visitors are 18-34 year old women, compared to just a fifth in the breakfast market overall.

Costa Coffee is the most popular coffee shop chain at all day-parts and has achieved a significant growth in share on snack occasions, up six percentage points to 27%, as the 2nd ranked brand Starbucks has lost share.

Starbucks has been the top performer at breakfast, climbing 1.4pp points to 18% of coffee shop/café visits. At lunch, both Costa and Starbucks have lost share as the No. 3 brand Caffè Nero has gained ground.

Gareth Nash, head of consumer insight at MCA, said: “In what has been a concerning start to 2017 for the Eating Out market so far, a key reason for the decline in consumer visits has been a reduction in snacking, the big driver of growth last year.

“Supermarkets to-go, convenience stores and coffee shops have been hardest hit, as increasingly health-conscious consumers have cut back on the more day-to-day, unhealthy snack purchases such as crisps and chocolate.

“A creeping uncertainty and worry over spending has also encouraged changes in consumers’ habits, such as buying fewer coffees – either cutting down on their consumption altogether, or perhaps substituting some purchases for a hot drink at home or a free tea or coffee at work instead.”