Food-to-go in the UK convenience channel is set to grow by 31% over the next five years, according to new IGD research.

food to go

The IGD forecast reveals that for convenience, forecourts and ‘other retailers’, food-to-go sales will grow from £2.9bn in 2019 to £3.8bn in 2024 - representing a total increase of 31% - with a market share increase from 15.5% to 16.1% over the five-year period.

The UK food-to-go market in total is forecast to grow 26.4% to £23.4bn by 2024, up from £18.5bn in 2019. The channel is set to experience double the growth of the wider UK food and grocery retail market – 12.5% – over the next five years.

Annual growth in convenience (5.4%) is predicted to be faster than all other channels, including food-to-go (4.6%) and coffee specialists (5.2%).

IGD head of shopper and food-to-go insight, Rhian Thomas, said: “Convenience and food-to-go are increasingly intertwined, as food-to-go success becomes increasingly critical to the prospects of most convenience stores.

“Similar principles apply to the forecourt channel, where the added need to encourage dwell time among shoppers will grow in importance as the factors influencing where and how people stop on the road shift. Consumer expectations around convenience and forecourt food-to-go are rising fast, creating an opportunity for businesses to invest and upgrade, or else risk getting left behind.

“The good news here is that there’s lots of growth to go for, and in many locations, there remains opportunity to do more to meet these evolving shopper needs. Those businesses who focus more on emulating competitors rather than investing in how they can innovate will meet the big challenges.”

Thomas added that food to go remained a key growth opportunity for businesses, especially given the structural and growth challenges being faced by UK supermarkets and hypermarkets.

“While there continue to be good opportunities for growth in this area, the gap will continue to grow between those businesses who are actively targeting food-to-go growth and those who simply want a presence in the channel. Opportunities remain, however, for those with clearly defined and relevant strategies,” she said.