The food-to-go market has grown significantly less in the independent convenience store sector compared to across all channels, according to the latest research from Wholesale experts TWC.

Within the independent convenience sector, the food-to-go market has grown 9% in the latest 12 weeks compared to the same period a year ago.

However, the food-to-go market across all channels has grown by 31% over the same period and total grocery retail outlets have grown at an even more impressive 51%.

This suggests that independent convenience stores are not getting their ‘fair share’ of food-to-go growth.

The growth has been driven by a particularly strong performance for both discounters (81%) and multiple convenience stores (63%).

“It was understandable that many retailers opted to scale back their food-to-go offer at that time as consumers weren’t commuting or getting out and about very much, rather they were preparing most of their meals at home,” TWC development director Tom Fender said.

“But what we have seen in the last few months is the rapid return of consumers eating food-to-go again.”

“We all know the discounters have been attracting new shoppers as well as benefiting from returning lapsed shoppers. But discounters are not renowned for selling food-to-go items, so this should be a slight warning to local convenience operators that discounters are now competing on this mission too.

Fender continued: “This is the ideal time for independent retailers to review their food-to-go range in line with what’s happening in the market to maximise this opportunity.

Whilst many consumers are tightening their belts, food to go is more insulated due to its lower ticket nature vs. other eating out occasions – and it also offers respectable margins for retailers.”

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