Research offers insight into ‘Food To Go’
Work is the biggest factor influencing food to go, a new survey reveals. More than half of consumers buy food to go during the working week and eat food to go on the move or during their commute. Nearly half of consumers (43%) who eat food to go during their commute eat breakfast; and 65% of consumers buy their lunch during their daily commute.
According to new research commissioned by global packaging specialist, Huhtamaki, into food to go consumption within the UK, 2,000 consumers said ‘yes’ to buying food to go in the month prior to being questioned, the equivalent of 31.8 million consumers. These respondents were then questioned on three main areas – frequency of purchase; what’s being bought; and the importance of packaging. Three quarters of consumers (73%) buy food to go at least once a week – equivalent to more than 24 million consumers – and 10% of consumers buy food to go at least once a day.
Most consumers (19%) buy food to go from Greggs, although the research shows that Costa Coffee, Greggs, M&S Food and Pret a Manger are the outlets with the broadest appeal across the ages. Un-surprisingly, consumers are most likely to buy food to go from their preferred outlet because of its convenience (55%), while 62% of consumers also buy a drink at the same time.
70% of consumers buy food to go to ‘takeaway’ (rather than ‘eat-in’); and this ‘on the move’ nature of food to go is reflected in the research – over half of consumers (55%) buy food to go which is served in packaging fitted with a lid.
Lunch (60%) is the most popular eating occasion for which to buy food to go, and food to go bought to enjoy at lunchtime is most likely to be purchased from M&S Food (89%) or Pret a Manger (84%). Consumers most often buy food to go to eat for breakfast from Starbucks (45%), and KFC is where most consumers choose to buy food to go to eat for dinner (37%). A quarter of consumers (25%) buy food to go to eat as a snack.
Although the most popular type of food to go bought by consumers is hot food (38%) – compared to a third of consumers (33%) who buy cold choices – when it comes to the items of food being bought, sandwiches/wraps/paninis are most popular (63%).
It would appear that despite the popularity of worldwide culinary trends in the ‘eat-in’ marketplace, English cuisine is most popular ‘to go’ – it’s preferred by 70% of consumers buying food to go – and American cuisine (13%) is the most popular ‘foreign’ food.
Identified in the food to go research is a high environmental awareness by consumers. 68% of consumers want to know about the ‘green’/environmental credentials of the packaging used to serve food to go; and of these, 82% want to know if the packaging is recyclable. 70% of consumers think that the ‘green’/environmental credentials of the packaging should be communicated on pack.
The customisation of packaging is a necessary consideration. Three quarters of consumers (75%) buy food to go which is served in branded packaging, with hot food to go choices most likely to be served in branded disposables (52%).