Taking food to go to the next level

Hot snacks and smart merchandising key

Rustlers reckons a well positioned hot food to go station can boost basket spend

TRENDS don’t come much bigger than food to go in convenience at the moment and Scotland’s retailers have been quick to embrace the opportunity this shopper mission provides.

Food to go in the UK may still have plenty of headroom for growth but it’s already a major footfall driver according to Nick Widdowson of Unilever Partners for Growth, who suggested the quality of food to go on offer can make or break a store’s reputation with some customers.

“One quarter of c-store shoppers are going into the store for food to eat now, so the mission offers retailers a huge opportunity.

“Get it right and shoppers will be back – and probably often. Get it wrong and they won’t bother,” he said.

The right way to go about it, according to Widdowson, is to create a store layout based on shopper mission rather than by traditional categories.

“Put food to go categories – sandwiches, crisps, soft drinks, confectionery and other products to eat straightaway together.

“Put food to go at the front of the store and make it look tempting, these shoppers are making quick decisions.”

Widdowson added that retailers who don’t do so already, may wish to consider introducing some hot food to their offer, a suggestion echoed by Angela Daulby of Kepak Convenience Foods, the firm behind Rustlers.

Daulby said that the popularity of sandwiches is in decline among British shoppers and she suggested retailers who don’t offer a hot alternative are missing a trick.

“The fact that eight out of ten food to go shoppers have a microwave at work and more than half of all food to go shoppers eat their lunch at their workplace highlights the pivotal role that Rustlers can play in food to go,” said Daulby.

“Convenience stores which offer hot food to go also generate a higher basket spend, with the average basket spend of a ‘hot’ food to go shopper over 10% more than the average food to go shopper.”

To help tap into demand for hot options, Daulby highlighted Kepak’s in-store offer which can include a food to go unit or a microwave preprogrammed with Rustlers SKUs.

“Ideally, they should be sited next to the front-of-store chiller or with other food-to-go options, which act as a signpost for shoppers,” she said.