‘Grab & Go’ is definitely trending right now as a business opportunity for retailers of all sizes to capture in store, from the biggest Asda to the tiniest Little Waitrose, as peckish punters do a supermarket sweep to relieve their hunger.

It’s no coincidence that in the depths of this winter just gone, while retail sales fell and petrol sales slumped as a result of the poor weather keeping shoppers indoors, when consumers actually could get out they spent happily on food to go, as confirmed by Dum Dum Donuts’ third franchiseeowned store breaking records recently in its initial week of trading in Westfield London. There’s always been an element of grocery products being bought for immediate consumption ever since modern grocery retail began. But for decades the ‘eat now’ focus was strictly on drinks and snacks and other small food items, like sandwiches, pies and pasties, shoppers. Things began to change when lunchtime meal deals started being promoted in the front of store and they have since been joined by a widening range of food and drink. In the year Walkers Crisps turn 70 meat snack brands, sweet snacks, carbonated beverages and bottled water are all seeing good growth, and so too are healthy items.

The key food to go occasions are breakfast, lunch and snacking. They are very big business for such iconic brands as Wall’s, the UK’s no.1 savoury pastry, and Pork Farm’s, the nations favourite pork pie, which were recently added to the roster of food-to-go supplier, Adelie Foods alongside URBAN Eat sandwiches. Kim Burgess, Head of Markets at Addo Food Group, quotes research highlighting that sausage rolls and sandwiches are on a par when it comes to consumption trends, with 55% of people eating sausage rolls throughout the day and 53% eating sandwiches. According to Addo Foods, convenience format stores’ Food to Go sales are ahead of supermarkets, with +4.4% growth versus 0.3% year on year decline. There’s plenty more room for growth in both sectors, with 83% of people saying they would be encouraged to buy Food to Go products whilst in store if the right products were available.

As sandwiches’ popularity continues to decline, almost three quarters (74%) of food to go shoppers now buy meat snacks or hot food to go regularly for lunch. Lunchtime is the biggest occasion for Rustlers with over 60% of all products eaten for lunch. Eight out of ten food to go shoppers have a microwave at work, and more than half of all food to go shoppers eat their lunch at their workplace, highlights the pivotal role that Rustlers can play in food to go.

However the smartest C-store can’t compete with the larger supermarkets’ food to go departments, offering extensive range of freshly cooked hot food, We have details in this feature of a new installation by Danish combi oven specialist, HOUNÖ A/S in the food to go department at a new 31,000 square foot Tesco Superstore, recently opened in Calne, Wiltshire. The menu includes whole chickens, chicken portions, ribs, pizzas, panini, sausages, pies and sausage rolls, as well as breakfast items. Grab and go for it!

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