Food to go market expected to outpace pre-pandemic value this year

By Hannah Currie

- Last updated on GMT

Food to go market expected to outpace pre-pandemic value this year

Related tags Lumina Intelligence Food to go Casual dining QSR R200 Multi-site Fast food drive-thru

The UK food to go market is expected to grow 3.5% to a value £23bn in 2024, outpacing its pre-pandemic value by 9.3%.

According to data from Lumina Intelligence’s Food To Go Market report​, this will be ahead of the total eating out market and inflation, indicating growth from stronger volumes following a weaker 2023.

The market is forecast to see strong net outlet growth of 0.7% to 152,783 sites, which will be driven by the expansion of a variety of formats including travel hub, drive-thru and kiosk-style services.

An additional 1,000 outlets are expected each year to 2027 with coffee shops, bakery and sandwich sites and travel hubs leading this expansion.

Based on those projections, the UK food to go market is forecast to reach a value of £25bn by 2027.

Growth strategies will focus on travel hub expansion and supermarket partnerships with operators including Greggs, KFC, Starbucks and Creams Café already capitalising on these opportunities.

Drive-thru outlets, in particular, present a cost-effective opportunity for brands to expand into white space, boost accessibility and generate greater transaction volumes, Lumina notes.

For example, KFC is looking to expand its drive-thru estate this year by diversifying into small format stores designed to fill the gap in smaller trade zones boosting location flexibility and cost efficiencies.

Meanwhile, Caffé Nero will open its first ever drive-thru store in Stansted Airport this spring. further strengthening its partnership with the airport and providing a template to expand its store format in the future.

The Food to Go report​ notes that the past year has seen a resurgence in both domestic and international travel, which is driving increased foot traffic to travel hubs, making them attractive locations for operators.

Strategic partnerships are also key, according to Lumina, with Greggs accelerating its partnership with Sainsbury’s, opening its first standalone café within a supermarket.

Elsewhere, dessert parlour Creams Café is set to open its first dessert café concession within Tesco.

Foodservice giants are also investing in driving delivery share growth, as delivery gains an average of 8ppts of share of leading foodservice brands’ turnover between 2019 and 2024.

Related topics Trends & Reports QSR & Street Food

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