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Brits named the least adventurous eaters in Europe while Spaniards & Italians are most likely to try new foods on holiday

Mangetout, Rodney! Brits are the least adventurous eaters in Europe, according to a new study.

A survey of 14,000 people in 14 countries revealed that we are the least likely to sample local food when abroad than any of our European neighbours.

The Spanish and Italians are the most open-minded eaters in Europe with 94 per cent having tried local cuisine or foods they’d not previously heard of while on holiday.

But just 57 per cent of UK adults will eat unknown food or indulge in local dishes – putting us bottom of the list of 14 countries studied and well below the 79 per cent European average.

The research was commissioned by Expedia as part of their ‘Europe on a plate’ campaign which aims to help people expand their food horizons and uncover the hidden gems of Europe through locals’ eyes.

Germany (83 per cent), the Netherlands (77 per cent) and even nearby neighbours Ireland (75 per cent) all show a far greater willingness to experiment with foreign food and push out of their comfort zones.

While Finland (59 per cent) was the only other country to score lower than 60 per cent of people willing to try new foods- still finishing above the UK.

Just 57 per cent of UK adults will eat unknown food or local delicacies
Just 57 per cent of UK adults will eat unknown food or local delicacies

Alex Platts, Commercial Director of Northern Europe, Brand Expedia, said: “Our survey highlighted that the UK is far below the average and showed the least willingness to try new food of all 14 of the countries studied.

“Perhaps this means us Brits know what we like and are content to stick to it, but it also could point to us feeling a little hesitant or struggling to know how to broaden our horizons.

There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you like and keeping to it but there is also a world of food out there to be experienced and enjoyed, and we want to help as many people discover it.”

Despite less willingness to be adventurous with our food while overseas, food is still a big priority for Brits with nearly a third saying it influences where they go.

Brits are most open minded to Italian food, followed by Spanish when quizzed on where they would be willing to travel in the pursuit of good cooking.

But when it comes to trying Japanese or Vietnamese cuisine Brits are far more hesitant, results showed.

And while our palates may not be as refined as the rest of Europe, our restaurant service more than holds its own as Brits deem table service in the UK second highest in quality, with only that offered in Italy any better.

The UK is well below the 79 per cent European average for trying new foods
The UK is well below the 79 per cent European average for trying new foods

Expedia has partnered with 12 food bloggers across Europe to help you explore your hidden adventurous side and eat more like a local on your next trip. From discovering an organic family-run farm in the Nockberg Mountains of Austria, or a hidden gem in the city of Bordeaux where they only use produce sourced direct from local farmers, Expedia’s ‘Europe on a plate’ helps Brits to eat more like a local.

Alex added: “Expedia believes in the true value of local and authentic experiences and sampling local delicacies found nowhere else can have a huge impact on how we enjoy a visit to somewhere new.

“‘Europe on a plate’ encourages people to find and try new foods that they normally might not and create new memories and experiences to come back with from any trip away.”

Visit Expedia’s ‘Europe on a plate’ blog at: –


(All figures are percentages)
1. Spain – 94
2. Italy – 94
3. France – 91
4. Switzerland – 91
5. Austria – 89
6. Norway – 81
7. Germany – 83
8. Netherlands – 77
9. Denmark – 76
10. Ireland – 75
11. Belgium – 74
12. Sweden – 73
13. Finland – 59
14. UK – 57

All images used in this article are copyright: Barrafina is an authentic Spanish tapas bar owned and operated by restaurateurs Sam & Eddie Hart. There are three Barrafinas in London; the original site is on Soho’s Frith Street, the other two are on Adelaide Street and Drury Lane in Covent Garden.