According to the global packaging firm, the new Food To Go Market Factsheets further enhance its knowledge of the marketplace and are a valuable tool that Huhtamaki said it would share with the foodservice industry and those looking to gain an insight into this popular category.
Around 2,000 consumers surveyed 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.
According to the research, almost three quarters of consumers (73%) buy food to go at least once a week. That’s equivalent to over 24 million consumers. 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. Unsurprisingly, consumers are most likely to buy food to go from their preferred outlet because of its convenience (55%); 62% of consumers also buy a drink at the same time as buying food to go.
Seventy percent 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.
Work is an important factor influencing food to go. Over half of consumers (59%) buy food to go during the working week, and over half (56%) 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.
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. Sixty-eight percent 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. Seventy percent of consumers think that the ‘green’/environmental credentials of the packaging should be communicated on pack.
The research showed that 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%).
In conducting independent research Huhtamaki said is able to assess any particular trends, and this insight into food to go highlights the use of social media. The majority of consumers who use social media to interact with food outlets choose to do so via Facebook (89%). Social consciousness is also identified within the research, with the fact that over half of consumers (53%) claim to have requested a ‘doggy bag’ from a restaurant.
Finally, it would appear that the XXL culture hasn’t yet influenced food to go in the UK. Most consumers (70%) buy ‘medium’ size portions – only 2% choose ‘extra large’.
For further information and/or to receive copies of Huhtamaki’s Consumer Insights Market Factsheets, email email@example.com.
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