Food to go (FTG) has increased its share of total eating out visits by 1.4 percentage points (pp) to 42.3% compared to last year, MCA analysis reveals.

Growth has come primarily from a 2.2pp rise in to-go snacks, as well as a 1.2pp growth in to-go meals, according to MCA’s Food To Go Tracker Q1 2017 report. 

FTG visits at all day-parts are occurring more frequently than in the previous year, rising most for snacking, up 7% to 3.7 visits per head per month, and now accounting for 56% of all FTG visits.

Steve Gotham, director of insight at MCA, said: “Food to Go continues to stand out as a key growth driver within the wider Eating Out market.

“The relative affordability of Food to Go has long been a key source of its popularity. However, average spend per head per visit thresholds of £5 (for lunch) and £3 (for snacking) were breached during the year – and with the likelihood of additional price rises being passed on during the year, there is the prospect that consumers might start to rein in some visit frequency.”

Supermarket to-go are the biggest channel for snacking, accounting for 36% occasions.

Six of the top 10 brands for FTG snacking are supermarkets, with Tesco top, and all six increasing or maintained their share over the past year.

Fast food over-indexes in the FTG market relative to the total market, with McDonald’s No.1 for breakfast and dinner, and second at lunch.

Women account for a growing share of FTG visits, up 3pp 51% - marginally lower than their 52% share of total out of home occasions.

FTG consumers are generally more affluent, with 37% having a household income greater than £40K, up 2pp, and over-indexing compared to the 35% in the total market.

A falling share of FTG visits are from consumers with household incomes less than £20K.

Healthy options and product freshness are more in demand for FTG meals or snacks than on total out of home occasions.