Forward for food to go

Research points to five years of growth ahead

CONVENIENCE stores are to share in continued food-to-go growth which will give the sector a £3.6bn share of the £23.5bn market in 2022, according to research from education and training group IGD.

The research splits the market into five sectors: food-to-go specialists (e.g Greggs), quick-serve restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets and a ‘convenience, forecourts and other retailers’ category.

It gives that final category a value of £2.7bn in 2017 and predicts growth of £0.9bn over the next five years.

18 to 25-year-olds are twice as likely to buy food to go in convenience stores compared to older counterparts.

Senior insight manager Gavin Rothwell said: “Across all our five market segments we’re seeing some highly innovative product and menu development. Much of this inspired by shopper trends towards health and wellness and global flavours and tastes.

“Convenience and forecourt retailers are now becoming increasingly active in this area.

“Younger shoppers are particularly likely to drive growth in these stores, with 18 to 25-year-olds twice as likely to buy food to go in convenience stores compared to their older counterparts.”

Rothwell added that many operators are tailoring ranges to different times of day.

Food service supplier Brakes agrees that different snacks perform better at different times of the day and has identified mid-morning and afternoon as the main snacking sales opportunities.

Junior category manager Charlotte Howkins said: “Of the main meal occasion – breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacking – snacking has 20.5% share of meals and this is forecast to grow 7.7% by 2018.”

Quoting research that predicts food to go to grow by 6% over the next five years, Country Choice said ‘grab and go’ is a proven footfall driver.

Marketing executive Hannah Morter said: “We’re seeing good growth in pastries.

“The main trend within savoury is the growing demand for spicier varieties.”

Costcutter has also identified a demand for spicier products and has added a Mexican Chicken variety to its sandwich range.

Brand manager for independent at Costcutter, Jenny Leetch, said: “As a key signifier for the group, food to go continues to grow, particularly around sandwich solutions. 

“The UK’s sandwich market is now worth £7.85bn, with over 3.5bn sandwiches bought a year.”