pret a manger

Food-to-go specialists such as Pret will be in a stong position, says the IGD forecast

The food-to-go market is set to grow by more than a third over the next five years, according to new forecasts from IGD.

IGD predicted the market would grow 34.8% from £16.1bn to £21.7bn by 2021. As part of its research it split the market into five segments: food-to-go specialists, quick service restaurants (QSRs), coffee specialists, convenience, forecourt and other retailers, and supermarkets and hypermarkets.

Food-to-go specialists will be the strongest climbers, with a predicted worth of up to £7.1bn in five years compared with £4.9bn today. The second biggest growth will come from coffee specialists - up from £2.7bn to £3.9bn. QSRs will add £1bn worth of sales to reach a total of £6bn by 2021.

While still significant, the growth in traditional grocery categories is likely to be less pronounced. Convenience and forecourt retailers will grow food-to-go sales by £800m to £3.3bn while the category will grow £200m at supermarkets and hypermarkets to £1.4bn.

“Over the next five years, we are forecasting growth of up to 35% for the overall food-to-go market, providing there is a favourable economic backdrop,” said IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch.

“Suppliers are seeking ways to expand, so the growth potential of this dynamic and rapidly shifting sector represents a really clear opportunity. However, food to go is a different market to grocery retail and requires a distinct approach to succeed.”