The cost-of-living crisis has dampened the consumer appetite for food to go, with visit frequency down 2%, according to Lumina Intelligence.

However, average spend was up +12%, driven in part by inflation, MCA’s Food to Go Conference heard.

Retailers have been the main beneficiaries of consumers being more focused on value during food to go occasions, and was up 1 percentage points (ppnt) year on year in terms of channel share.

Routine-led food to go occasions are declining, with a 2ppnt drop in people citing this as the reason for their mission, Kate Prowse, senior insight manager at Lumina said.

“Pressure on household spending power has translated into weak consumer confidence, with the measure still well below pre-pandemic levels,” Prowse said. 

“Consumer are increasingly becoming more value-led, with a shift in consumer attitudes towards their household finances.”

Consumer aged 35-44 were the age group which curtailed routine food to go missions the most, with a decline in participation of 4.2ppts.

Meanwhile, more consumers are choosing to buy food only, with a -4.2ppnt decline in those ordering food & drink together year on year.

Lumina estimates the food to go market will grow by +4.1% in 2023.

The top 10 food to go operators are forecast to grow outlet numbers by +1% in 2023.

There has been a resurgence in travelling or commuting food to go snacks, which were up 4.3ppnt to 15.5% overall.