The UK food-to-go sector is set to be worth £22.8 billion by 2023, growing at a rate twice that of the overall grocery retail market.

New figures from IGD predict the rapid growth of the channel, which is currently worth some £17.8bn. The fastest growth is expected to come for food-to-go specialists, with increasing fusion predicted between the different segments as businesses look to extend their core capability into new areas.

Recent examples of this expansion include EAT17 and the Co-op enhacing their offer to meet more shopper missions.

More collaborations between partners with similar values and mutually beneficial propositions are also likely, as evidenced by the tie-ups between Crussh and Sainsbury’s, and M&S and Wasabi. Larger retail stores are expected to link up with food-to-go partners to maximise their space.

Health and wellbeing are also predicted to be strong trends in the food-to-go segment, which should provide opportunity for the fresh produce sector.

“The food-to-go market remains a strong growth opportunity that continues to provide a great source of inspiration and innovation,” saidGavin Rothwell, head of food-to-go at IGD. “We’re forecasting solid growth across each of the five segments, but this will become harder to come by for operators, retailers and suppliers amid an increasingly competitive landscape.

'But while growth will slow, we’re expecting it to remain strong as more consumers buy food-to-go more often and as more operators target different types of locations and missions.”