With the food-to-go market set to increase by an average of 4.4% over the next three years, this is the time for retailers to cement their offering to their shoppers.

As the demand for this mission increases, so does the competition - and it’s coming from not just traditional food-to-go outlets, but also some new players, writes HIM’s Belle Nairac.

Shoppers don’t even have to leave their desk to get their favourite lunch these days; it is now a mere two taps away through the innovative Deliveroo and Uber Eats apps. This trend is being spearheaded by millennials who continue to demand easy access and quick service from any outlet.

So how can convenience stores compete with this? It’s about finding your USP and from our 2016 Food to Go study we know that soft drinks and sandwiches are just that. These categories are the ones driving shoppers to convenience stores, so ensure there is enough space to hold a suitable selection to suit your shoppers.

We know for sandwich shoppers that taste, price and range are most important, so think about this when delivering both in-store and, essentially, out-of-store communications. It’s safe to assume that if a shopper doesn’t know you offer food-to-go products then they will go somewhere that they know does. This is linked to the increase in branded concessions such as Greggs and Subway located in convenience stores to encourage first-time shoppers away from traditional food-to-go outlets.

The most valuable of the food-to-go shoppers are those buying both food and drink, with three items being the most common basket size. The two most commonly-purchased items are soft drinks and sandwiches, but what about the third item? Shoppers are demanding more variety, with 41% of shoppers wanting yogurt to be offered as part of a meal deal.

But don’t forget, outside of the shopper’s spend on food to go this mission will drive additional shop spend, too. In fact, only 57% of shoppers’ spend is on food to go so a whopping 43% is coming from other additional purchases.