As Australian consumers work longer hours their tastes are changing, and hamburgers have become the first casualty of a trend that favours healthier fast foods.

Addressing the Foodweek conference in Sydney, the managing director of analyst Bis Shrapnel, Gary Tilsley explained how tastes are becoming more sophisticated while at the same time people have less time or inclination to cook meals at home.

Wholesome prepared foods are the way forward for this market, he said, explaining that these foods are nutritionally complex. He added that tastes are becoming more diverse, as the effects of multiculturalism are felt within the range of foods available.

At the conference he explained: “Australians ate 11 hamburgers per head in 2000, two fewer than in 1997. [This equates to] a decline of 15% and represents some 40m fewer hamburgers.”

Discussing market research that has studied the evolution of the fastfood sector over the past three to four years, Tilsley revealed that revenue within the sector eased off 0.3% last year, to A$6.35bn. There is no shortage of consumers purchasing quick meals outside the home however, indeed people are increasingly opting to eat smaller amounts more frequently rather than the traditional three meals a day approach, and for the cafes and restaurants providing healthier options, revenue increased by around 10%, to A$8.55bn.