In celebration of National Picnic
Week, we’re revealing the nation’s favourite picnic foods, with crisps and
sandwiches topping the charts across the UK.
found that the humble picnic has evolved over the last 10 decades from traditional
cuts of meat and chilled soufflés to crisps and quinoa in the modern day. In
fact, nowadays Hummus, falafel – and even sushi – have become typical picnic
staples, alongside the traditional sandwiches, sausage rolls and scotch
variation of breads features on the list – including bagels, pitta bread and
focaccia – but sandwiches have stood the test of time, with more than half of
the nation (58 per cent) believing they will always be a picnic staple.
The study also found the rise of
meat-free diets has had an influence, with vegetarian sausage rolls, pies and
an assortment of salads featuring on modern picnic blankets.
Fact: Did you know that the word picnic is derived from the French verb which
means ‘to peck’?
historian and TV presenter, Polly Russell, who has partnered with us for the study said: "Though variety has been a defining characteristic of the
picnic for more than a century, the influence of different cultures and foreign
foods on our tastes is more obvious than ever on the picnic blanket today. Some
picnic foods have clearly fallen out of favour though – you’d be unlikely to
take tongue or a boiled fruit cake on a picnic today.”
the 1930s, car ownership expanded the possibility for day excursions – usually
accompanied by a picnic – and cold roast meats were often on the menu during
the 40s and the war, picnics remained an inexpensive and informal way for
people to relax and escape day to day worries, rations meant home-grown
vegetables were added to the basket.
forward to today, sandwiches and crisps still top the charts and old-fashioned
favourites like Scotch eggs feature, but eclectic tastes and a desire for
variation mean picnic goers can enjoy the likes of carrot sticks, dips and crudités.”
71 per cent of respondent’s pack crisps for their picnics today, food history
expert, Polly explained they became an ‘essential’ in the 1970s as new flavours
study also found the average adult has three picnics a year, but a third
believe the choice of food has changed greatly over time, with 49 per cent
agreeing there are more options today.
despite the modern additions, 41 per cent admitted they ‘prefer’ traditional
items such as cold meats and scotch eggs.
half have been known to home-make picnic snacks, including 43 per cent of those
making sausage rolls, 35 per cent baking a quiche and more than a third
whipping up some scones.
also emerged 46 per cent believe picnics are a typically British event which
will always be popular.
feeling of summer (60 per cent), eating outdoors (60 per cent) and the social
aspect (35 per cent) were among the best things about having picnics.
third also like having finger food rather than a meal and three in 10 enjoy
exploring new places – with a beach, national park and forests revealed as the
popular locations to have a picnic.
further quarter said the ritual feels ‘nostalgic’ and 30 per cent have many
childhood memories of family picnics.
than half said their favourite picnic food as a child was sandwiches, while 48
per cent enjoyed crisps and a third liked cake the most.
study also found that during recent months in lockdown, a quarter of
respondents have had a picnic – with two thirds of them taking place in their
further 65 per cent admitted to having had a socially distanced picnic with
people outside of their household and a fifth said this has replaced going out
27 per cent believe the event has been more popular than usual recently because
it’s one of the few ways people can socialise.
explaining the role of the picnic and the nation’s feelings towards it, Polly
Russell summarises, "Despite the notoriously unreliable British weather, the
British love of picnics hasn't been dampened for over 100 years. From lavish
feasts of roast grouse and whole hams in the 1930s, to Tupperware filled with
cheese rolls and drinks cartons you can learn a lot about Britain's changing
tastes by looking at the picnic. Whilst there are new additions like kebabs and
pasta salad, the Warburtons research shows that family favourites like
sandwiches, quiche and sausage rolls have held their place on the picnic
Top 10 savoury items to take on a
3. Sausages rolls
4. Cherry tomatoes
6. Pork pies
7. Scotch eggs
8. Slices of cheese e.g. cheddar,
9. Cocktail sausages
10. Hard boiled eggs