Five food-to-go trends for 2018
Food-to-go is one of the food industry’s most exciting areas, with many innovative products tested in this space.
The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), a non-for-profit which spearheads initiatives to help the food and grocery industry deliver what the public needs, has come up with a list of five trends they believe food-to-go will deliver on in 2018.
The list is focused on the UK market but still contains valuable insight for those who work in the ready-to-go food sector within Australia and other countries.
- Health and wellness underpinning innovation
Head of Food-to-Go at IGD, Gavin Rothwell, said many of the concepts from across the world where food-to-go is growing are underpinned by healthy positioning.
“The likes of Sweetgreen in the US, Cedele in Singapore, Chopped in Ireland, Exki in Belgium, Cojean in France and a number of examples in the UK are proof of the increasing role health is playing in products that are eaten on the go,” Rothwell said.
- Changing and expanding reasons to visit
Consumers should have more, and different, reasons to pick up food-to-go in 2018, including health conscious consumers after high-protein products.
“UK retailer Waitrose spoke in late 2017 about a shift away from three fixed meals per day to four,” Rothwell said.
“This suggested change underpins a wider adjustment in how we eat food, with more focus on fitting food around our lifestyles, rather than vice versa.”
- Even more locations and experimentation
Workplaces, fitness centres, sports stadiums and festivals are increasingly offering food-to-go options says Rothwell.
“The growing presence of street food in many markets is encouraging a more flexible approach to companies’ location strategies and is encouraging some to adapt their offer to a food truck format to take advantage of new opportunities,” Rothwell said.
“In the US, the likes of both Whole Foods Market and Walmart are even bringing food truck concepts in-store.
“Meanwhile, in Mexico, we’re seeing the delivery app Rappi experiment with food delivery from street vendors, and in the UK a number of food-to-go players such as Subway and Greggs are experimenting with delivery services to broaden their reach further.”
- Conveying the right balance of function and emotion
More retailers are expected to provide emotional engagement with their food-to-go options in 2018.
“What many food-to-go specialists do well is create emotional engagement with shoppers,” Rothwell said.
“The experience is based on the quality of the product, but is determined by a widening array of factors, including product display, in-store décor, customer service and more.
“We’ve seen some great experimentation around this from retailers over the past year – Albert Heijn’s new counter-based bakery/deli concept in the Netherlands is a great example.”
- More new and unexpected partnerships
IGD expects to see more partnerships between like-minded partners who want to develop food-to-go.
“Part of this could include additional food-to-go specialists looking to target more on-the-go customers, such as working with railway companies and airlines, following the example of M&S and British Airways,” Rothwell said.
“At the same time, the idea of food-to-go hubs, inspired both by retail space, shopping mall evolution and food halls, is an area we expect to see grow in 2018.”
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