Coffee shops are missing out on sales because they are failing to emphasise the freshness and quality of their sandwiches, accor-ding to a new IGD report on consu- mer attitudes on food-to-go.

While coffee shops generally have a good reputation for their hot drinks, many people prefer to buy their sandwiches from specialist sandwich outlets, which are seen as offering fresher, better-quality products. At the same time, sandwich retailers are losing out on coffee sales to coffee shops for similar reasons.

Michael Freedman, IGD senior consumer analyst, told British Baker: "Food-to-go consumers are generally looking to go to the perceived specialists, whether it is fast food outlets for hot food, sandwich outlets for sandwiches or coffee shops for the highest-quality, fresh hot drinks. There is a key opportunity for these outlets to promote the freshness and high quality of other non-core products, such as sand- wiches at coffee shops."

Meal deals are one way that coffee shops could boost their reputation for food, he added. "It is important that consumers believe they can obtain competitively priced food-to-go offers from coffee shops. Coffee shops may need to review their promotional strategy for food and consider providing meal deal promotions that include hot drinks and sandwiches," he said.

The report also found that shoppers who buy food- or drink-to-go are more concerned about quality and freshness (56%) than price (31%), despite the recession.

Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive, said: "Food-to-go is a highly competitive market, but some retailers and suppliers continue to enjoy strong growth. Price is important, but definitely not at the expense of quality."