Food to go, the sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads and mini cakes which grace our UK high streets, is on the rise. While many traditional restaurants would like to see a reversal in this trend and a return to sit-down dining, the forecasters say this is unlikely to happen. We've developed a taste for even faster food and it's only going to get bigger.
The current food to go market is estimated to be worth around £17.4bn in the UK and is populated by businesses such as Greggs, Subway, Pret and Wasabi, in addition to smaller local players. And behind these, the businesses that produce packaged sandwiches, bespoke crisps, printed napkins and wooden forks, are all booming. This is because our lifestyles are changing, lunch breaks are getting shorter and more and more customers demand convenience. There is also the appeal of avoiding any cooking or preparation, with an amazing 1 out of 3 of us admitting to leaving the house to purchase food-to-go to eat at home.
But not all of this success is down to changes in time management needs. With various forms of healthy lifestyle trends on the rise, these producers have been quick to offer avocado and quoin to busy people, all conveniently packaged with the calories clearly marked. And for those who do want to take their food home, the supermarkets and department stores have also seized the opportunity to bring out their own lines of eat at home, instant food. So it's no surprise that the market is forecast to grow to around £23bn by 2022.
With these figures showing year on year grow at an almost exponential rate, it's hardly surprising that many new food to go businesses are already in development. However, the logistics behind such growth will still need to be managed. Recruitment alone for such growth will need to be addressed, in addition to recycling and food waste management issues.
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