Weekend-biased shopping and leisure occasions account for biggest chunk of food-to-go visits, new report finds

A new report on the Food to Go market, MCA’s Food to Go Market Report 2017, reveals that the sector’s growth is being driven by changing consumer attitudes: Food to Go is no longer predominantly a convenient option for workday commutes and breaks; weekend-biased ‘shopping & leisure’ occasions now account for the biggest segment (22%) of total Food to Go visits.

Snacking culture provides a sweet spot

The report confirms impressive growth in the sector, which bucks the trend set by the wider Eating Out market. While Food to Go is expected to grow by 3.8% in 2017 (a value of £20.2bn), the market at large will achieve a slower growth rate of 1.7%. Food to Go, it seems, is enjoying a sweet-spot, as consumers look for fast, convenient, good value food and drink solutions that fit less structured eating patterns all week.

Consumer health-kick shapes product development

Eight out of ten brands expanded their ranges between Q1 2013 and Q1 2017, with the total count of Food to Go products increasing by 17%. Responding to the consumer trend for healthier eating, many brands added products featuring alternative carbs, such as quinoa and buckwheat, while ten out of eleven introduced more salads.

Winners – supermarkets and branded contemporary fast food

Tesco is the leading Food to Go brand, with 6.5% turnover share of the market, followed by McDonald’s (3.8%), Subway (3.7%), Sainsbury’s (3.6%) and M&S Food (3.2%). Branded contemporary fast food has increased its share from 0.8% in 2011 to a forecast 1.6% in 2017. This channel, featuring brands like Five Guys, responds to consumer trends towards convenience, quality, adventurousness and healthier eating.

Market intelligence gives businesses a competitive edge

With the Food to Go market outperforming the wider Eating Out market, grocery and foodservice operators are eyeing this attractive market. Competition among operators will intensify, adding to the pressure of post-referendum economic uncertainty.

Quality market intelligence and forecasts enable Food to Go players to stay ahead of the game. Scrutinising the evolving market landscape, the meticulously researched Food to Go Report 2017 is a vital asset to operators, suppliers and stakeholders.

The multi-faceted industry audit gives them the big picture, as well as drilling into the fine detail that can make a difference to their individual business.

Simon Stenning, executive director of MCA, comments, “The depth of insight in our Food to Go Market Report 2017 is astonishing. We have delivered a report packed with cutting edge insight, data and market intelligence.

“With the benefit of a 360-degree perspective across the sector, operators and suppliers can gain an excellent grasp of the pressures they face, as well as opportunities they can maximise. The report is a major asset to help them build a strong strategic foundation for their future success.”