Wholesale experts TWC Group, in partnership with food-to-go and out-of-home tracking programme MealTrak, reports the latest food-to-go market performance to 12 w/e 26 December 2022.
Latest MealTrak results show the number of out-of-home eating occasions were +10% higher than the comparable period in 2021 on a 52 week/MAT basis.
However, in the latest 12 weeks, the number of out-of-home eating occasions fell by -5% vs. the equivalent period in 2021.
In the last 12 weeks, occasions in the ‘eating out’ channel (comprising pubs, restaurants and hotels) declined by -6% vs. the previous year. Pubs continued to outperform (+3%), whilst restaurants (-10%) and hotels (-20%) were in decline.
Sandwich shops (-10%), coffee shops & cafes (-8%), fast food & takeaway (-17%), high street (-59%) and transportation (-43%) are all in decline.
The multiples (+18%) and the discounters (+19%), with their more affordable food-to-go offer, remain the clear winners. Forecourts are also performing well (+21%), although convenience stores are in decline (-16%).
Value sales are up +24% on a 52 week/MAT but have declined by -2% on a 12-week ending basis versus 2021. The decline in the last 12 weeks is surprising given the current high inflation (Consumer Prices Index was 10.5% in December, source: ONS)
Commenting on the results, Tom Fender, Development Director at TWC, said:
“For the 12-week ending period to 26 December 2022, we saw eating out occasions fall by -5% vs. the same period in 2021, a continuation of the trend of falling occasions that we have been reporting over the last couple of months. What is however a surprise is that value in the latest 12 weeks has also fallen into negative territory, against a backdrop of rising prices, with the ONS Consumer Prices Index at 10.5% in December 2022.”
“From our data on consumers’ needs and missions, we know that for some time ‘something inexpensive’ has been a key growth driver, and this is also reflected in the outlets which are performing most strongly: the multiple grocers and the discounters. In these outlets, it’s possible to buy a food-to-go meal deal for under £4, in many cases less than this time last year, as retailers including Tesco and Co-op have introduced reduced prices for loyalty card holders.”
“With the cost of doing business sharply increasing, we must consider how sustainable these promotions are, and certainly it makes it hard for independent outlets to compete on price alone. With consumers also prioritising quick and easy solutions and ‘something sweet’, these could be other levers to pull.”
Mealtrak is a vast data source so if you would like to know more of the detail behind these headlines, please contact Tom Fender at TWC (Tom@twcgroup.net) for more information.