Beef burgers have increased their dominance in the food to go dinner occasion, from a 12.5% share of visits to 14.2% (Y/E June 2017 vs. Y/E June 2018), according to the latest MCA Food To Go Tracker.

They are consumed more than twice as often as the next most purchased food to go item at dinner – fish and chips, which has lost share from 9.9% of visits to 6.4%. Incidence of chicken burger purchases have also declined from 7.4% to 5%, and curry from 4% to 2%, however pizza, cake and ice cream have all seen gains.

The trends seen in the share of lunchtime visits remained more consistent, with sandwiches the most popular food to go item, declining only 0.2pp to achieve a 19.6% share of visits. The next most popular item, baguettes, fell slight from 7.8% to 7.4%, while pasties declined by 0.5pp to 2.8%. Doughnuts, subs and cake were the only items in the top 10 lunch food to go items that increased their share of visits.

At breakfast time, 7.8% of visits included a sandwich, down 0.8pp on the previous year. Sweet muffins saw a strong increase, up 1pp to 5.3%, while the popularity of cakes declined, down from 6.8% to 6.5%.

Burgers, doughnuts and sausage rolls all gained share in the snacking occasion, while crisps and cake saw declines.

Purchases of drinks declined at all day-parts, with the drop most prevalent at dinner, with 32.6% choosing not to purchase a drink, compared with 30.7% the previous year. Of those that did buy a drink to takeaway, fewer were purchasing cola drinks – down from 19.2% to 16.7% – and wine, down from 3.5% to 2.8%. However the bottled water category saw an increase in share of visits during the dinner occasion (from 14.2% to 15.6%), as did coffee (3.2% to 3.5%).

Food to go accounts for a growing share of meal and snack occasions – 43.3% of all eating out market visits, up 0.5pp for the year to June 2018, according to the Tracker.

The share of visits for snacking was up 0.6pp to 60.5%, compared with the previous year, while share at meal times was up 0.5pp to 32.1%.

Visit frequency fell more slowly than the total market, down 4.4% to 6.7 visits per month, on average, for UK adults. This compared to a drop in frequency of 5.5% to 15.5 visits per month for the total eating out market.

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