Food-on-the-go market set to rocket in 2016

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Conditions are excellent for Britain’s ‘food-on-the-go’ (FOTG) market to resume growth, with innovation, healthier choices and new formats set to spur growth in 2016.

That’s the verdict of the NPD Group, which says that operators need to tap the FOTG trend by getting closer to busy mobile consumers, ride successful new product concepts and trends and satisfy demand for unexplored, exotic cuisines.

Operators – especially in the QSR and casual dining sectors – have invested significantly to improve the in-store offering to consumers, and this renewed focus on ‘experience’ and ‘environment’ has contributed to the growth in ‘on-premise’ visits, according to the research house.

Jack MacIntyre, NPD group senior account manager, UK foodservice, said: “The QSR and casual dining sectors have competed and invested fiercely, helping the ‘on-premises’ market to grow. But with the food and/or drink in over half of all visits to the British foodservice market being taken ‘off premise’ for consumption, ‘food on the go’ is clearly a very important feature. The huge importance we place on convenience in our culture of fast-living and instant gratification points to clear opportunities.”

The NPD Group says dinner is an occasion that is seeing signs of FOTG growth. While the overall dinner occasion is down -1% in terms of on-the-go visits for the YE June’15, the fast-food (QSR) and retail channels have each seen growth in on-the-go visits at dinner time.

The NPD Group also cites the London foodservice market. FOTG visits in London grew by +3.6% in the latest year to June ’15, although ‘on-premise’ visits still did better with growth of +8.8%.

Added MacIntyre: “Anybody drawing up a checklist of strengths and opportunities for the FOTG sector only needs to recognise the increased portability of products, mobile ordering and payment, social media campaigns, the growing incidence of working from home and from different locations, commuting over bigger distances, and of course the street-food revolution. There are many factors at play that can only give us all a growing appetite for a breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks on the go.”

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