REVEALED: Top 5 Most Profitable Food and Drink Items in the UK

REVEALED: Top 5 Most Profitable Food and Drink Items in the UK

It’s fair to say that the UK has a diverse selection of food preferences—some rather questionable, and some that are a popular preference among society. When faced with the question of “what food could you not live without?” you never have an easy answer.

The UK has seen the introduction of new foods and snacks from  across the world over the years, leaving us spoilt for choice as to which one is our favourite.

Of course, most will be quick to assume that the likes of junk food such as chocolate and crisps come out on top as the nation’s favourite, but you’ll be surprised at what search volume results show to have experienced a spike in popularity over the last few years.

From alcoholic beverages, to vegetables, we reveal what the UK’s top five food preferences are according to google search data and which are most likely to drive profits.

Number One: Alcoholic Drinks

Its no secret that we as a nation enjoy a pint or two every now and then. From day drinking with our friends, to birthday celebrations, alcoholic drinks tend to be a go-to preference that suits most occasions—and google search trends prove exactly this.

Dating back to 2017, searches for ‘alcohol’ related terms have experienced numerous spikes, all of which are in December. The most obvious assumption for these spikes would be due to Christmas celebrations, where those yearly family reunions occur and catch-up drinks and parties with friends put us all in high spirits. In 2017, alcohol search terms spiked at 729,910 in December, increasing to 993,100 in December 2019. With this in mind, the sale of alcohol for businesses can inevitably drive profits, with margins found to be between 17.5-20%—a significant boost to your cash inflow.

As for the most popular searched type of alcohol, there was a significant increase in a variety of the nation’s favourite alcoholic drinks in April this year. Beer comes out on top, with searches reaching 90,500. As for wine, there was a significant increase in searches from the start of the year to August, increasing from 49,500 searches in January, to 74,000…

Number Two: Vegetables

On the other side of the scale to alcoholic drinks, are vegetables. Although many of us roll our eyes at the thought of opting for a meal full of fresh greens and sweet potatoes as opposed to binge eating our favourite takeaway, the nation as a whole has shown an increasing appreciation for vegetables over the years.

In April 2017, searches for vegetables stood at 225,500. Fast forward to April 2020, 562,500 searches on Google for vegetables were found. While the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated difficulties is most likely responsible for the nation’s increase in alcohol consumption, perhaps it has also given us the motivation to prioritise eating healthy more so than we usually would—now that we are spending more time in the house to do so. The likes of veganism could also be responsible for this increase too, with more and more people adapting to a vegan lifestyle.

As for the most searched for vegetables, asparagus seems to be an increasingly preferred choice of vegetarians over the course of lockdown—increasing from 40,500 searches in March, to 90,500 searches by May 2020. Broccoli was also searched for an incredible number of times in July this year, accounting for 60,500 searches. Searches for carrots however have decreased this year, from 60,500 in March to 40,500 by August. So, for those who operate their own fresh fruit and vegetable shops, be sure to leave a space for these items on the shelves and watch as your profits soar.

Number Three: Chocolate

Of course, chocolate is in the top five most searched for foods. We all love a sweet treat every now and then, and chocolate tends to be the go-to option for many. Although chocolate is a treat that is enjoyed all year round, google search trends highlight which parts of the year seem more popular to indulge in chocolate—the Christmas season being a key contributor.

In December 2017, searches for chocolate spiked at 205,100, with dark chocolate accounting for 12,100 of these searches alone. Fast forward to December 2019, searches for chocolate increased to a staggering 293,200. Most recently however, the biggest spike in chocolate occurred in April 2020, equating to 421,000 searches, a key comfort during lockdown.

Between 2014 and 2019, the number of people deciding to take up a vegan lifestyle is found to have quadrupled. As a result, searches for ‘vegan chocolate’ also increased by an escalating amount from 6,600 in September 2016, to 60,500 in December 2019. In relation to this, sales of confectionary goods are found to have a profit margin of around 25 per cent, another healthy contribution to your revenues.

Number Four: Energy Drinks

Although energy drinks have been a popular source for the day to day boost we need, searches on Google represent a gradual increase during the last three years, from the lowest point of 63,580 searches in December 2017, to the highest of 243,400 in May 2020.

Although this increase for searches in energy drinks may not come as a surprise, especially considering energy drinks tend to be a go-to source of fuel for many, shops have financially benefited from selling drinks in more ways than one. In fact, slush machines are proven to be incredibly beneficial for businesses, and can bring an average gross profit margin of 80 per cent. To think, if one slush costs on average 30p to make, and is sold for £1.50, you’re making a profit of £1.20 per slush – you do the maths!

Number Five: Snacks

Of course, snacks confirm their place in the UK’s top five food searches. From mid-day treats to late night bites, we all love to indulge in a snack every now and then- and google searches mirror this. Despite snacks experiencing no dramatic spikes in searches over the last four years, one recent anomaly appeared in May 2020, where searches spiked at 214,500- again, perhaps due to us spending more time inside and ultimately having more time to indulge in our favourite treats.

Crisps appear to be an increasingly popular snack, with searches for them increasing from 12,100 in April 2017, to 60,500 in April 2020. As for snacks from around the world searches for nachos increased from 18,100 in April 2017, to 49,500 in May 2020. The UK’s snack preferences have been influenced by American culture too, and in recent years searches for beef jerky increased from just 5,400 in December 2016, to 14,800 in June 2020.



From healthy greens, to alcoholic beverages, the UK clearly has a diverse selection of favourite foods and snacks that can play advocate for your gross profit margins. Although everyone’s tastes and preferences are different, one thing that remains persistent is the nation’s love for these five options, which have led the way for food and drink on Google search trends for several years.