C-stores bag lunch

FOOD-TO-GO is big, right? So specialist sandwich shops and other specific food-to-go outlets should be grabbing a major share of sales.

Well HIM Research and Consulting reckons consumers often want more than just a grab-and-go midday meal and as a result they are increasingly using c-stores when they want to buy food to go.

HIM marketing executive Ruth Cousins said:  “Last year the food-to-go mission in convenience was worth £4.8bn, we predict sizeable growth to £7.8bn by 2020.

Coscutter Kelty FTG sandwiches chilled area

Food to go and quick-cook snack products play an important role in the Costcutter store in Kelty, Fife. HIM Research found that many consumers see c-stores as an ideal place to pick up lunch, snacks and on-the-go foods at the same time as carrying out other shopping.

26% of food-to-go shoppers that HIM had spoken to said range is the most important factor when choosing where to shop, she added.

Last year the food-to-go mission in convenience was worth £4.8bn and is predicted to be £7.8bn by 2020. Average spend increased to £3.81.

“In theory it makes perfect sense for convenience stores to expand their food-to-go offering.”

The company’s insight manager Louise Howarth explained that shoppers said a key reason for choosing that particular store was being able to get everything they need there and said: “When you look at people who are on a food-to-go mission in c-stores, the majority are using it as a convenience store as well.”

Not only are consumers eating more food-to-go products, they are also spending more on their purchases according to John Want, UK head of marketing at Adelie Foods.

A report commissioned by Adelie revealed that 44% of those surveyed bought food to go every week and that 34% buy items two or three times a week.

And it showed that on average people are spending £3.81 per visit, an increase of 23p on the previous year.

Want said: “This represents a year-on-year increase of 6.4% which is a substantial increase against a backdrop of zero food inflation.”

He added that meal deals affect buying decisions with 43% of consumers deciding based on variety on offer within the deal and that more people are making decisions in-store.

He continued: “There are some interesting variances between age, location and gender, with 25 to 44 year olds more likely to be buying food-to-go products four or more times a week. Males are more likely to buy that frequently.”