Total food to go occasions declined by 7 per cent in the latest 12 weeks to 20 February, according to the latest MealTrak results.  

This was driven by transportation sites (-54%), high street (-46%), forecourts (-22%), fast food & takeaway (-16%), sandwich shops and cafes (-11%), independent convenience stores (-11%) and workplace (-9%).  

The multiples (+5%) and the discounters (+28%), with their more affordable food-to-go offer, remain the clear winners. Coffee shops and cafes also recorded modest growth in the latest 12 weeks period, at 3 per cent. 

However, value sales have registered a more modest growth rate of 2 per cent in the 12-week period, versus 2022. 

“Whilst total out of home eating occasions fell by –7 per cent in the latest 12 weeks, this decline is not as deep as the previous period (wave 110), when we reported occasions in decline by 12 per cent. Value sales are in growth (just) on an annual basis, so there is room for cautious optimism,” commented Tom Fender, development director at wholesale experts TWC Group, said.  

“Whilst the out-of-home market continues to face many headwinds, we do see opportunities for those operators that really know their customer and are investing in relevant innovation that meets the needs of the post-pandemic, economically challenged consumer.”  

 “For instance, we’ve seen a shift in spending into the back end of the week, which represents more leisure-driven occasions, this could well be the driver of the coffee shop occasion, which is an affordable leisure mission.” 

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