Food to go is expected to be worth £16bn in 2016, up by 6.8% on last year, according to new research from IGD.

The IGD analysis revealed that food to go in convenience, forecourts and ‘other retailers’ such as Boots and WHSmith was worth a combined £2.5bn, more than twice as much as at supermarkets (£1.2bn). It noted that many c-stores had introduced specialist food to go counters in their stores and focused on the different times of day shoppers purchase food to go.

Food to go specialists, which are worth £4.6bn, have been growing their scale and impact, with more of them moving outside London and introducing new health-driven brands and using technology to personalise the shopper experience, the research found.

Meanwhile, IGD’s shopper research identified five key missions for food to go shoppers, with 70% of shoppers buying something for lunch in the last month, making it the most popular occasion, compared to breakfast (28%), snacking (45%), leisure (32%) and drinks to go, which was a more popular mission at supermarkets (30%) than in convenience (23%).

Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive, said: “There are some really clear development opportunities for food to go in the UK, driven by the growth of little and often shopping, the rise in popularity of street food and coffee culture, and shoppers’ increasingly flexible lifestyles. Many suppliers are now starting to expand beyond grocery retail and food to go could present them with considerable opportunities. IGD is now looking to support these suppliers, as we develop our own coverage of this dynamic market, its key players and its shoppers.

“Suppliers looking to expand into this area must first and foremost broaden their understanding of the different types of food to go shopper. What drives them to purchase? What excites them? How can you work with your food-to-go customers to keep shoppers coming back for more? Those suppliers who really develop their knowledge of this unique market will be best placed to make the most of the growth opportunities available.”