The UK’s food-to-go sector is predicted to be worth around £23.5bn by 2022 up from £17.4bn in 2017, and is expected to overtake the QSR sector, according to new research.
Chains like Greggs, Subway, Pret, EAT and Leon are all expected to make significant gains in the next five years as the food-to-go market adapts to the sophisticated tastes and demands of consumers.
Gavin Rothwell, senior insight manager at IGD, which carried out the research, says that food-to-go specialists are setting the pace product innovation and range development, as well as expanding quite rapidly outside London.
“In addition to the well-known high street names, there are several new players emerging in this segment as well,” said Rothwell. “Health and wellness is a particularly big focus for these specialists, with three-quarters of shoppers satisfied with the choice of healthy options available in-store, higher than any other segment of the food-to-go market.”
“Although we expect food-to-go specialists to become the biggest part of the market by 2022, QSRs are also set to grow well over the next five years, with 83% of the food-to-go shoppers who visit these stores satisfied with their overall experience.
“Many QSR chains are updating their menus and reinventing the in-store experience to bring in more technology, creating a more premium look and feel to appeal to younger consumers. There are also many newer players emerging and expanding across the UK in this segment.”
Food is also a growing focus amongst coffee specialists, many of whom are now pushing the boundaries with menu upgrades and ranges tailored to different times of day, especially breakfast.
The research says that hot drinks remain the most purchased food-to-go product at breakfast, bought by half of shoppers, but over the last year there has also been an overall rise in the number of products bought on a breakfast mission.