The number of food-to-go occasions fell by 7% year-on-year in the 12 weeks ending 20 February, according to the latest figures from wholesale experts TWC Group and out-of-home tracking programme MealTrak.

The decline 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%.

In addition, the data shows value sales grew 2% year-on-year in the 12-week period.

Tom Fender, Development Director at TWC, 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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