Thanks to our collaboration with MealTrak – the nation’s leading continuous tracking programme for food-to-go and out-of-home consumption, we are now able to report the latest consumer trends to support operators, wholesalers and suppliers with their forecasting and strategic planning.

Following the pandemic, we are often asked to what extent workers are returning to their offices and the year-on-year growth in visits to work-based catering outlets is further proof of the direction of this trend. In 12 w/e 21 March 2022, MealTrak reported a 152% increase in visits to workplace catering venues vs. the same period in 2021. The growth fell somewhat in 12 w/e 18 April 2022, almost certainly due in part to the long Easter weekend, however this could also indicate that consumers are starting to tighten their belts, as we have seen across many sectors (including retail).

Tom Fender, Development Director at TWC, said:

We all know that many workers are returning to workplaces across the UK, to varying degrees of frequency, but we are also pleased to report that visits to the catering outlets associated with workplaces are also growing. I know this will be important to operators as well as their wholesaler and supplier partners as we move through 2022 and beyond. This is of course a trend to watch given the cost-of-living crisis. In previous recessions we have seen a rise in ‘brown bagging’, where consumers prepare food at home to take to work to save money.

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