Food to go

Coffee shops and specialists takeways such as Greggs and Subway will benefit most, says the research

The UK’s food-to-go sector is set to shoot up by more than a third in the next five years to be worth £23.5bn, IGD has forecast.

Coffee shops and specialists such as Greggs and Subway are set to make the highest gains as the £7.4bn category experiences a surge in popularity, IGD said today.

The food-to-go sector in 2022

Food-to-go specialists £7.7bn

Quick service restaurants £6.3bn

Coffee specialists £4.2bn

Convenience, forecourt & other retailers £3.6bn

Supermarkets & hypermarkets £1.7bn

Total £23.5bn

The research charity found food-to-go specialists would achieve the highest annual growth rate over the next five years - 8.4% - to rake in £7.7bn in sales by 2022. This will put the likes of Greggs ahead of the current largest category. quick service restaurants, which are estimated to take in £6.3bn.

Coffee shops are forecast to achieve the second highest level of annual growth at 7.4% to be worth £4.2bn.

Convenience retailers and supermarkets will also enjoy healthy rates of growth - 6.1% and 5.9% - to take £3.6bn and £1.7bn respectively.

“What we’re seeing is a growing number of retailers, specialists and suppliers looking at how they can take advantage of that food-to-go opportunity,” said Gavin Rothwell, senior insight manager at IGD. “We know that shoppers are shopping more frequently, their basket sizes are smaller and more food to go is a very natural part within that, so that’s becoming more important as a source of shopper missions as a whole,”

He highlighted retailers such as Musgrave, which utilizes its Centra convenience format to meet multiple food-to-go missions within its stores, ranging from barista coffees to burrito bars, or more traditional sandwich counters.

Rothwell also noted the significant efforts by supermarkets in the past 12 months, which have put a strong focus on their own ranges and partnered with external brands to provide in-store concessions such as juice bars and sushi counters.

“If you look at the likes of Tesco, the likes of Asda, and Sainsbury’s over the past year, they have all had some significant range developments in that food-to-go space, but at the same time they are also recognising that there are certain areas where they are best off partnering with specialists, like Crussh, like Sushi Gourmet, to enable them to reach new shoppers and reach new missions,” he said.

Rothwell also highlighted the importance of innovation boosting value in the food-to-go sector. “We’re seeing a lot of that come through in convenience forecourts and also in supers and hypers and I think some of the innovation around sushi counters at the current time is real testimony to that,” he said.

“One that clearly stands out in terms of coverage is the veggie Pret. It is quite interesting how that has become an increasingly core element of its corporate position off the back of what was originally a one-store trial just for a month. So again that really epitomises the real focus on innovation across that food-to-go sector and shows how it can evolve and meet shopper demands and be more targeted in what it does, as well.”