Back To Listing

Fast-food avoiders: a rare but slowly growing breed

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2014 (n=15,944). Base: Australians 14+

In our time-pressed society, it is not always possible to spend hours in the kitchen lovingly preparing a home-cooked meal. In fact, even whipping up a quick slap-dash feed requires more time and effort than some of us are willing to devote. No wonder fast food is so popular: quick, convenient and cheap, it can be hard to resist. But a slowly growing number of Australians are choosing to abstain, as the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal.

When asked if they ever buy or eat takeaway food, more than eight out of every 10 Australians 14+ (81%) answer in the affirmative. This represents a slight decline since 2010, when it was just over 82%. Over the same time period, the proportion of Aussies who never buy or eat takeaway food has crept up from 12% to 13%. Some 6% can’t say, unchanged from 2010.

So who are these people? Among the most likely to be non-fast-food eaters, are young singles (16%) and folks from older households (21%), as well as people from the less affluent E and FG socio-economic quintiles* (16% and 18% respectively).

Australians who never buy/eat takeaway food


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2014 (n=15,944). Base: Australians 14+

Aussies who avoid dairy foods whenever possible (21%), and those who are totally or almost totally vegetarian (25%), are also more likely to steer clear of takeaway food.

At 13% each, the proportion of men and women who never buy or eat takeaway food is identical.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Let’s face it: despite conflicting opinions on its nutritional benefits, culinary quality and environmental impact, fast food is extremely popular in Australia. More than 80% of the population eat it, with 57% of us visiting a fast food outlet at least once in an average four weeks.

“With 50,000 respondents interviewed annually, Roy Morgan Research’s Single Source survey is Australia’s largest, most comprehensive survey of the nation’s eating habits. It offers a plethora of insights into everything from takeaway restaurants visited and frequency of visitation, to customer satisfaction and even ‘fast-food avoiders’.

“Our data reveals that the proportion of the population who choose not to eat fast food is gradually increasing. Between 2010 and 2014, the number of Aussies who never buy or eat takeaway grew by more than 480,000 people.

“Contrary to popular stereotypes of fast-food eaters being low-income earners, these groups are actually more likely than the average Australian NOT to eat it – and we’re not just talking older people subsisting on their pensions, but all ages.

“Not surprisingly, vegetarians comprise the segment with the highest proportion of fast-food avoiders: after all, it’s a rare takeaway restaurant that offers a decent selection of genuinely vege-friendly options.

“A small but growing minority, Australians who never eat or buy takeaway are avoiding it for a reason. It is important for fast-food chains to understand the motivations, attitudes and demographics of these people, so as to continue to retain their customers.”

* A note on socio-economic quintiles: Roy Morgan Single Source collects thousands of data points from each respondent, allowing us to segment the Australian population in many ways. Socio-economic quintiles segment the population based on education, income and occupation, with AB being the top-scoring quintile and FG being the lowest.

For comments or more information please contact:
Roy Morgan - Enquiries
Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309

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


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%