The food-to-go phenomenon is showing no signs of letting up, with encouraging indications that health is becoming a more important part of the buying equation.
New research from IGD shows that post-millennials are extremely engaged with the food-to-go market, and not only are 18-25-year-olds shopping more for food-to-go than older shoppers, but they are particularly interested in ranges that meet specialist dietary requirements.
The study, which refers to those born between 1992 and 1999, found that 30 per cent completed a food-to-go mission on their last shopping trip, compared to 13 per cent of over-26s.
It also found that when shopping in convenience stores, post-millennials were twice as likely to buy food-to-go compared to their older counterparts (48 per cent vs 24 per cent of over 26-year-olds); one-third (32 per cent) bought food-to-go at supermarkets and hypermarkets, compared to nine per cent of over-26-year-olds; and almost a quarter (23 per cent) shopped for food-to-go at a food discounter versus seven per cent of over-26s.
The research also shows post-millennials are more interested in expanded ranges of food-to-go than those over 26. Half (49 per cent) wanted to see an increase in vegetarian ranges, compared to 32 per cent of over-26-year-olds, while 41 per cent were seeking more vegan food-to-go options (22 per cent for over-26-year-olds). Dairy and gluten-free ranges were also something post-millennials wanted to see more of (39 and 35 per cent respectively), while these were only of interest to 24 and 22 per cent of over-26-year-olds.
Rhian Thomas, shopper insight manager at IGD, said: “We’re forecasting food-to-go to be worth over £21 billion by 2021, so there is a great opportunity for retailers and manufacturers looking to take a bigger bite of this market to really think about how they are appealing to this new generation of shoppers.
“To capture the post-millennial pound, retailers must think about the way they merchandise products. This is especially true in convenience stores, as we’ve seen that almost one in five of 18-25s see this as the best place to visit when purchasing food-to-go. Being clever about product placement can really benefit food-to-go sales in convenience stores.
“Manufacturers should continue to innovate to take advantage of this opportunity. Providing products to appeal to all food-to-go occasions, from breakfast to snacking, is a sure way to succeed.”