UK Food-To-Go Sector To Grow By 26.4% By 2024

The UK food-to-go market is forecast to be worth £23.4bn by 2024, up from £18.5bn in 2019, growing by 26.4%. According to new research from IGD, the channel is set to experience double the growth of the wider UK food and grocery retail market – 12.5% – over the next five years.

IGD head of shopper and food-to-go insight Rhian Thomas said: “Food-to-go remains a key growth opportunity for businesses and one that appears particularly attractive given the structural and growth challenges being faced by UK supermarkets and hypermarkets right now.

“While there continue to be good opportunities for growth in this area, the gap will continue to grow between those businesses who are actively targeting food-to-go growth and those who simply want a presence in the channel. Opportunities remain, however, for those with clearly defined and relevant strategies.”

IGD found that food-to-go specialists such as Greggs, Subway, Pret, Eat and Leon will see sales increase from £5bn in 2019 to £6.3bn in 2024.

Thomas added: “ Food-to-go specialists include a wide selection of different operators, and within this segment we’ve witnessed contrasting fortunes and performance over the past year.”

Fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC and Five Guys will also see an increase in sales from £5.8bn in 2019 to £7.2bn in 2024.

Thomas added: “The quick-service restaurant (QSR) channel has remained strong despite an increase in the choice of food-to-go options and a greater focus on healthier eating, which is not an area that QSR’s are traditionally known for. The combination of improved in-store environments and technology, along with targeting the online meal delivery channel has all been factors that are driving driven growth.”

Coffee specialists such as Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffe Nero will see sales increase from £3.3bn in 2019 to £4.3bn in 2024.

Rhian Thomas said: “Over the past 12 months we have seen significant developments from coffee specialists, with a clear trend towards the expansion of smaller, more niche chains. Expansion at the likes of Coffeesmiths Collective, with a repertoire of coffee chains under its umbrella, shows how the barista coffee experience is evolving.

“We are also seeing coffee shops developing their offer to appeal to different shopper needs, whether it’s a stronger all round food offer at the likes of Costa, Starbucks and Caffe Nero, a very targeted offer – such as waffles at Black Sheep Coffee – or a broader push into evening and alcohol, as we’ve seen at the likes of Grind and, globally, at Starbucks’ latest roastery openings in New York, Tokyo and Milan. Travel is also a growing priority, with Eurogarages being perhaps the highest profile driver behind Starbucks’ recent UK expansion, adding sites alongside forecourts across the UK and beyond.”