Food-to-go culture gives convenience retailers £36m boost

Offering a greater variety of food-to-go options has boosted revenues for convenience retailers by £36m, according to market research company IRI.

Sandwiches, sushi, salads and snacks purchased ‘to go’ grew 6.6% in the high street multiples, including Co-op Food, Tesco Express, Little Waitrose and Sainsbury’s Local in the year ended 25 March 2017.

IRI claimed retailers have capitalised on the British shoppers’ culture for convenience, expanding their ranges to include more innovative offerings than the lunchtime sandwich.

Researchers revealed that sales of sandwiches grew 3.8% to £1.4bn and while sandwiches still account for the greatest share of volume sales, baguettes, salads and sushi are showing faster growth.

“Now that there are more choices available, including sushi and salad, shoppers don’t need to compromise their health,” said Martin Wood, head of strategic retail insight at IRI.

“There are also some really good ‘meal deals’ being offered that add a drink – with more convenience retailers providing fresh coffee - and/or a snack to the sushi or sandwich lunch, at a price that often works out a lot cheaper than all of the component parts.

"This was encouraging people to buy their breakfast, lunch or ‘anytime meal’ on the way to work or home, he added, boosting sales across not just the food-to-go category but also snacks and beverages too."

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