UK food to go market to contract by £6bn in 2020

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

UK food to go market to contract £6bn in 2020 due to Coronavirus impact says Lumina Intelligence

Related tags: Lumina Intelligence, Coronavirus, UK food to go market, Restaurant

The UK food to go market is set to contract by 29% in 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic's catastrophic impact, the latest data from Lumina Intelligence shows.

According to the UK Food To Go Market Report 2020 Update, £6bn will be wiped off the market this year, taking its total value to £15bn.

It comes after the segment experienced a decade of growth through the 2010’s. 

In 2019, after growth of 2.4%, Lumina Intelligence valued the market at £21.3bn for full year, and the report forecasts that turnover will recover to close to that level by the end of 2022.

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, the market had been set to grow by 2.7% in 2020​ to reach a value of £21.7bn in 2020.

The latest analysis shows that, relative to the overall eating out market, food to go is declining at lower than that forecasted for the wider sector.

As a result, the share of the total eating out market held by food to go is set to increase by 4.1 percentage points to 27.4% this year, up from 23.3% in 2019.

With the pandemic restricting people's movements and leading many to work from home, footfall in the city centres has dropped dramatically. 

The average number of food to go visits per consumer per month has fallen by 25% year-on-year.

Lunch is the worst impacted daypart, with a fall in frequency of 37%.

Coffee shops/cafés have been the strongest performers over the last year, increasing share across all day parts but most significantly at dinner, which has grown by 1.7 percentage points.

In terms of overall share, convenience store grab and go dominates the market at a value of £5bn, which represents a 33% share of the total market in 2020.

Despite a significant reduction in value this year, the report says the food to go market is set to recover quickly due to its versatility, low contact and value-led proposition.

By the end of 2021, Lumina Intelligence forecasts the market to be worth £21.2bn, just behind 2019 turnover of £21.3bn and a growth of +41% vs. 2020 forecasts.

“The sudden shift from a highly transient, on-the-go society, to one with restrictions placed on movement has had a catastrophic impact on the UK food to go market," says Blonnie Walsh, head of insight at Lumina Intelligence. 

"With much of the UK workforce working from home or furloughed, footfall in city centres nose-dived.

“However, the sudden setback is not expected to last. The food to go market is forecast to grow by over 40% in 2021, returning the market value to around the 2019 level.

"The very nature of food to go, whereby it is not consumed on premise, it is relatively inexpensive and much of the customer base of the major players are already back at work, means the sector is well insulated for a swift recovery.”

Related topics: Trends & Reports

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