Food-to-go trend predictions 2020

Date : 14 January 2020

Food-to-go remains a key growth opportunity, and one that is attracting greater interest from a variety of different retailers, manufacturers and specialists as consumers’ lifestyles evolve. Here we share our five food-to-go trends to watch out for in the coming year:

Source: IGD


Fuelling regeneration

Food-to-go is the bridge between retail and foodservice. As both these sectors struggle to cope with changes in shopper and consumer habits that are putting their traditional models under increasing pressure, they are looking to food-to-go as a route to attract new customers and grow sales.  This has led to retailers transforming underused space in large stores to create mini-foodhalls, and restaurant chains launching spin-off concepts designed for the on-the-go consumer. But it’s not just stores that are using food-to-go to fuel growth – food markets and halls around the world are bringing visitors to deserted spaces in cities and towns to revitalise whole areas. In 2020 we expect more companies in low growth markets to use food-to-go as a route to growth and regeneration.

Leading the way

The perfect healthy balance

Source: Burger King


From bloggers and vloggers, dieticians, medical experts, celebrities, chefs and governments, consumers are bombarded by advice on what to eat to stay healthy. But despite this sometimes overwhelming amount of information for most people the occasional (or more frequent) treat is still something to enjoy and look forward to. Our shopper research shows that consumers often work on a credit/debit principle – consciously choosing healthy options at certain times and saving more indulgent food for special occasions or specific times of the week.  Making more informed choices to strike a balance between healthy eating and indulgence is something consumers will be focussing on more in 2020, and they’ll be looking to retailers and operators to help them achieve this on-the-go.

Leading the way:

  • Centra
  • Global QSR operators e.g. KFC, Burger King, McDonalds

Sustainability – beyond the buzz

Source: Too Good To Go/Twitter


Through ground-breaking documentaries like Blue Planet, the efforts of individuals like Greta Thunberg and the media coverage of the devastation caused by natural disasters linked to climate change, consumers are more aware than ever of way modern lifestyles affect the world we live in – including the impact of the food we consume. Over the past year, retailers, manufacturers and food-to-go operators have had to move quickly to keep up with the consumers growing concern about how food it is grown, distributed, packaged and disposed of.  Many have made statements outlining their future aims to become more sustainable, and a number of new initiatives have been trialled. This year, consumers will expect businesses to get serious about how they are going to deliver against these promises. Once the quick wins have been achieved, all parties in the food supply chain will need to work together to overcome the more complex sustainability challenges. 

Leading the way:

Working the spectrum

Source: Aldi, Germany


Consumers now have more information at their fingertips than ever to help them choose how to invest their valuable resources (time and money) to get what they want (better quality products, better service). We’re seeing food-to-go operators, retailers and manufacturers develop products and services at both ends of the time / value /quality spectrum in order to meet the diverse needs of clued-up consumers. Over the coming year, we expect to see these offers become more targeted and refined.

Leading the way:

Flex for success

Source: IGD


In the UK, food-to-go is forecast to grow at 4.7% per annum to 2024 – twice the rate of grocery retail and almost four times that of foodservice.  As these attractive growth rates tempt more new entrants to the market, the increase in competition means existing players need to move more quickly to respond to changing consumer demands. And with costs rising, whether its in format type, use of space, service or range, the winners will be those who can flex fast to get the best return on their investments.  Those who focus on building flexibility into their proposition will be best placed to ride economic ups and downs to succeed in 2020 and beyond.

Leading the way

To read about these trends in more detail looks out for our Food-to-go Trends 2020 report available to Retail Analysis subscribers later this week.

To see these trends in action,ask us about our retail safaris.

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