Five food-to-go trends for 2018

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 17th January 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.”

  1. 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.”

  1. 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.”

  1. 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.”


Related articles