Food to go will see a significant bounce back from its 2020 decline next year, increasing its share of the overall eating out market, according to Lumina Intelligence.

Key findings in its Food To Go After Lockdown: Downturn and Recovery Report, show that although the market saw a significant decline in Q2 visits this year (down 25%), it is expected to grow by 41% in 2021.

The impact of the coronavirus crisis is expected to be less damaging to food to go compared to the wider eating out market, with the sub-sector expected to decline by just 27% this year, much less than the 40% expected decline in the total eating out market.

In its insulated position – as a lower ticket occasion, its retail ability to continue through lockdown and its to-go nature - food to go is expected to grow its share of the eating out market to 27% in 2020, and will return to its 2019 levels by 2022.

“Although 2020 has been really challenging for the food to go market, we do envisage it bouncing back,” said Lumina insights manager Katherine Prowse. “It will really benefit from consumer preference for contactless service and drive-thrus, as well as the shift to lower ticket dining out occasions.

“Working from home will have a really significant impact on food to go, especially in city centres with restricted footfall. However, lunch fatigue is expected to set in, with consumers looking for more exciting lunch options, highlighting the importance for new product development.

“A growing opportunity is there for premium options, particularly in the snacking category, as well as the growing impact of contactless and convenient options.”