Tasty growth for food to go

Three-year forecasts show profit rise but warn of fall in market share for c-stores

Shelf of pastries
Food to go is expected to grow, but the convenience channel faces competition.

CONVENIENCE retailers are set to share in an extra £475m from food to go sales over the next three years according to findings from research by the Merchandising Consultants Association and HIM.

The Food To Go Market Report 2020 predicts that the value of food to go within convenience will grow from £6.2bn in 2019 to £6.7bn in 2023.

It points out, however, that over the same period the sector’s share of the growing market will fall.

The report also highlighted that while convenience remains the number one channel for lunch and snack occasions, it is losing share of snacking to coffee shops and cafes.

Foodservice players in the  top ten brands increased their sales by 5.6% in 2019, compared to grocery retail operators in the top ten growing sales by only 0.7%.

Girl eating sandwich

Blonnie Walsh, head of insight at MCA Insight and HIM said: “Convenience retail continues to be the biggest shareholder of the UK food to go market.

“However, frequency is declining and with participation arguably reaching its peak, retailers are under pressure to find ways of increasing spend to mitigate a drop in footfall.”

Walsh continued: “Value for money continues to grow in importance and is an area that is considered synonymous with convenience retail in the context of food to go.”

HIM said that meal deals are the number one mechanic for promotions, but foodservice specialists are using innovation and technology to improve their offer beyond the traditional meal deal within c-stores.

Walsh advised that offering a wider variety of products within a takeaway food range is critical to success.

She added: “Health has changed the landscape of food to go, with growth in vegetarian and vegan options, as well as dietary requirements.

“In fact, 15% of visitors have dietary requirements, so failure to offer a wider, more diverse range will see frequency continue to fall.”