Data from IGD is predicting a faster-than-expected food-to-go recovery. By the end of 2021, it is forecasting sales to reach £15.6bn, 82.5% of its 2019 value. It is also forecasting sales to return to pre-Covid levels in the second half of 2022, six months earlier than expected.

Food to go

The five-year forecasts from IGD predict the market will be worth £22.7bn by 2026 which is 20.5% more than 2019. This will be the outcome of five years of growth at above pre-pandemic levels, following significant contraction in 2020, and, “will predominantly be driven by foodservice operators,” states Nicola Knight, senior analyst.

In terms of what happens for the remainder of 2021, Knight suggests that: “Delivery, digital and proposition development have placed survivors in a good position to maintain momentum as restrictions ease,” while adding, “Coffee Shops and food-to-go outlets may experience a dip in sales growth in the second half of this year, as consumers have more choice on where and how to spend their money.”

In retail, the share of the food-to-go market is forecast to reduce to 21% in 2021 from 24% in 2019. This will gradually increase to 23% by 2026 as momentum starts to return to retail food-to-go.