Food to go sector to reach £23bn by 2025

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

What is the value of the UK's food to go sector?

Related tags Food to go Fast food Fast casual restaurant

The value of the UK food to go sector is expected to reach £23bn by 2025, driven by accelerated physical expansion, new product development and growth in channels such as delivery, according to Lumina Intelligence.

Sharing highlights from Lumina’s newly published UK Food to Go Market Report 2022 at MCA’s Food to Go Conference yesterday (9 March), insight director Blonnie Whist said that in order to answer the question about how the food to go market was performing, we need to look at the market overall – “and the market is tough”, with consumer confidence seeing a seven-point drop to -26 in February on the back of weakened confidence in the UK economy.

The food to go market took a significant hit during the pandemic, but it is expected to rebound, with the CAGR set to stabilise at 2.5% between 2022 and 2025.

The market recovered by 38% in 2021, on its 2020 value and is expected to increase a further 32% this year.

She told delegates there was a total sales growth opportunity of £1.6bm anticipated over the top 10 food to go channels, between 2022 and 2025, with coffee shops/cafes set to lead that growth in absolute terms.

Driving that growth will be accelerated physical expansion, alongside new product development and technology-led efficiencies, including revamped digital loyalty propositions, encouraging consumer spend and boosting value for money credentials, Whist said.

And while inflationary pressures are hitting businesses and consumers from all angles, the habitual and low-ticket nature of food to go means that consumers are unlikely to hugely restrict their spending on the channel.

Using the meal deal prices from the top food to go brands as example, she said the majority sit very close to the £4 mark, demonstrating why average spend in the sector is often so much lower than in the overall eating and drinking out market.

However, Whist said Lumina was seeing a strong trend for premiumisation in drinks, with the majority of new drinks within the food to go sector price at over £4 each.

In terms of where the opportunities lie, Lumina anticipates a return to more classic lunch options of salads, sandwiches and wraps, where are well placed tap into increased average spends at lunch. “Snack pots are out. Salads, rice bowls and soups are in,” she added.

Customisation is one of the big growth opportunities, with operators able to drive spend per head without adding costs to labour, while tapping into the trend for personalisation and experience.

To find out more about Lumina Intelligence’s Food to Go Market Report 2022, please click here.

Related topics Trends & Reports QSR & Street Food

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