The latest CGA data shows the foodservice market grew from 2.7 per cent to £64bn last year, while the grocery multiple market, which is worth £87bn a year, grew just 1.2 per cent.
Around 43 per cent of people in the UK are now eating out at least once a week, with the figure rising to 59 per cent in the capital.
Food to go
CGA Strategy commercial director Tom Lynch told BigHospitality that food to go is enjoying particular growth, with ‘express’ or cut down formats thriving.
“Food on the go is moving beyond functional and into experiences. It is really about meeting a new need that is about consumers wanting more quality in all of their experiences in food and drink, not just in the evenings when they are on leisure time,” he said.
“The vast majority of the growth in express and cut down formats has occurred in travel hubs where people are going about their business and yes they are in a rush but that doesn’t meant they want to compromise on quality.”
Another growth area is all-day dining, with operators increasingly seeking ways to expand the trading window and appeal to more occasions and more consumers.
“People are going out far later and probably contracting their drinking occasions to weekends only. For pubs and probably a lot of bars to survive they have to become almost chameleon in their nature and that revolves around meeting more occasions and more needs on the part of the consumer,” Lynch explained.
According to CGA statistics, there are 80 per cent more flexible all-day concepts on the market today than there were in 2003.
As consumers seek out new experiences and look to be wowed, be it while dining out at a full-service restaurant or nipping out for some lunch, foodservice operators are becoming more and more creative in the way they deliver those experiences.
“We are seeing more investment and private equity in the market then there has been for a long time and operators are flourishing with creativity, they are responding to the needs of consumers more than they ever have done and arguably using more niches than they ever have done,” said Lynch.
He predicted that branded and emerging national chains will dominate growth going forward, with the independent sector suffering from lack of resources to plough into innovation and research.
“All of our research indicates that national branded chains are growing more aggressively than independents and that consumers are comfortable with brands,” he said.
“There will always be consumers that are anti-brand but they are in the minority and all of our research points to high level of engagement with regional brands and even national brands.”