Our shopper insight manager Rhian Thomas talks about the top trends shaping the food-to-go market in 2017. She highlights one key trend – the rise of health and wellness – and looks at whether food-to-go shoppers are happy with the special dietary ranges available.
What are the main trends shaping the food-to-go sector in 2017?
We’ve identified five trends to watch this year, from targeting new locations to focusing on different meal occasions.
The rise and rise of health and wellness is one of the key trends. Food-to-go operators are expanding the variety of flavours and products available to meet growing demand. Foods that support active lifestyles and tick the box for dietary needs are performing well.
Our research has discovered UK food-to-go shoppers are especially interested in products that suit particular diets. We found one in four would like to see more options.
So, what are shoppers looking for when buying special dietary ranges?
We asked UK food-to-go shoppers how they felt about four different ranges: dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. 34% are looking for a larger range of vegetarian items, 25% more dairy-free products and 23% seeking more vegan or gluten-free options. This could be to meet a dietary need or simply to eat more healthily.
Source: IGD ShopperVista: Base: 1124 GB Food-to-go Shoppers July - Sept '16
Our ShopperVista research also found some interesting regional differences. London shoppers are more likely to be looking for wider specialist ranges: 44% want more vegetarian products, 35% dairy-free, 33% vegan and 32% gluten-free.
What must category managers and shopper marketing teams know to meet these needs?
Food-to-go shoppers are often in a hurry, so it’s important to make special dietary ranges easy to identify. And, as Londoners are particularly interested in such ranges, the city could be ideal to trial new products or concepts.
In general, it’s vital to understand shoppers’ needs and the missions they are trying to complete. Food-to-go is not one single shopping mission. It’s multiple missions, at different times of the day, so it presents many opportunities for retailers and suppliers.
And finally, can you give us a teaser of what you’ll be talking about at the Category Management and Shopper Marketing Conference in June?
That would be telling! I’ll be sharing our latest insight on food-to-go shoppers, what they’re thinking and doing, and how their habits are likely to change.
Shopper Insight Manager