Total food to go occasions declined by 11 per cent in the latest 12 weeks to 20 March, wholesale experts TWC Group, in partnership with food-to-go and out-of-home tracking programme MealTrak, reported.  

This was driven by forecourts (-43 per cent), transportation sites (-40 per cent), sandwich shops and specialists (-24 per cent), high street (-17 per cent), coffee shops and cafés (-13 per cent), workplace (-13 per cent), fast food & takeaway (-12 per cent) and independent convenience stores (-2 per cent).  

The discounters (+23 per cent) and the multiples (+3 per cent), with their more affordable food-to-go offer, remain the clear winners.  

Latest MealTrak results show the number of out-of-home eating occasions were one per cent lower than the comparable period in 2022, on a 52 week/MAT basis.  

In the latest 12 weeks, the number of out-of-home eating occasions fell by 10 per cent vs. the equivalent period in 2022.  

In the last 12 weeks, occasions in the ‘eating out’ channel (comprising pubs, restaurants and hotels) declined by two per cent vs. the previous year. Pubs continue to outperform the other sub-channels (+2 per cent), ahead of restaurants (-6 per cent) and hotels (-2 per cent).  

Value sales increased 8 per cent on a 52 week/MAT basis; but were flat (+0 per cent) on a12-week ending basis versus 2022.  

“Out of home eating occasions continued to fall this period, with a decline of -10 per cent in the latest 12 weeks. Interestingly, the ‘eating out’ sector is outperforming food-to-go currently, with a decline of -2 per cent in the latest 12 weeks, vs. -11 per cent for food to go occasions,” Tom Fender, Development Director at TWC, said.  

“We continue to see an outperformance amongst those outlets offering more affordable options, namely the discounters – and to a lesser extent the multiple grocers. Discounters saw growth of +23 per cent in the 12 w/e 20 March 2023.”  

“Through the cost-of-living crisis, the discounters are performing strongly – with Aldi achieving a record grocery market share of 9.9 per cent in 12 w/e 19 March 2023 and Lidl was the fastest growing supermarket over the same period (Source: Kantar Worldpanel).” 

 “The impact of the discounters on food-to-go can’t be ignored either. With enhanced ranges and an increase in quality through investment in better ingredients, improved packaging and more sustainable practices, the discounters are offering food to go that is not only affordable but is also a convenient and credible option.” 

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