Northern Ireland takeaway sector boosts economy by £235m and employs 8,000
Whether you prefer Chinese, Indian, pizza or fish and chips, takeaways have become so popular in Northern Ireland that they now boost our economy to the tune of £235m and support 8,000 jobs.
The figures emerged following new research by the British Takeaway Campaign (BTC), a new umbrella body representing the sector.
The research revealed that people in Northern Ireland spent £509m on takeaways last year.
The most popular was Chinese food, followed by pizza (alongside other Italian dishes) and fish and chips.
Each household spent an average of £12.93 a week on takeaways (around £51-56 a month).
The BTC revealed that takeaways contributed £4.5bn to UK GDP in 2016, rising to £9.4bn when factoring in the multiplier effect of supply-chain and employee spending.
Takeaways across the UK support more jobs than telecoms, advertising and Premier League football, with 41,000 jobs created since 2009.
Restaurateur Ibrahim Dogus, who is chair of the BTC, said the takeaway industry has transformed the high street and the British palate, with people enjoying everything from fish and chips to the latest fusion food.
"The thousands of takeaways across Northern Ireland make a huge contribution to jobs and growth," he said.
"But many are being hamstrung by skills shortages, rising food and wage costs and business rates. We want to get more young people fired up about working in this industry by ensuring they get the right training and skills to help this thriving industry continue to grow."
Graham Corfield, UK managing director at Just Eat, which co-founded the BTC, added: "Everyone loves their local takeaway, but few would realise that these small, often family-run businesses are behind so much of the UK's growth and jobs.
"The choice and variety on offer is unparalleled. British consumers are now increasingly enjoying north African and Middle Eastern takeaways, with orders for Syrian food increasing ten-fold since 2014.
"That's alongside favourites like Italian, Chinese and Indian and all at the touch of a button."