Food to go is forecast to be worth £16.1bn this year, a rise of 6.8% on 2015, according to new research from IGD.

The analysis reveals food to go in convenience, forecourts and ‘other retailers’ such as Boots and WHSmith is expected to be worth £2.5bn, more than double supermarkets and hypermarkets at £1.2bn.

Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive, said: “There are some clear opportunities for food to go in the UK, driven by the growth of little and often shopping, the rise in popularity of street food and coffee culture, and shoppers’ increasingly flexible lifestyles.”

However, she warned that only through a clear understanding of the market could retailers really benefit from its popularity.

“It’s a different market to grocery retail, requiring a very distinct approach to succeed,” she said. “Those who really develop their knowledge of this unique market will be best placed to make the most of the growth opportunities available.”

Simply Fresh is one group looking to capitalise on the growing trend, with the launch of its new food to go fixture, The Kitchen.

salad bowlThe first Kitchen which offers healthy fast food such as Hot Boxes packed with food high in protein and carbohydrates, self-serve salad bars and smoothies – has just opened at the company’s new store in Guildford, with others in the pipeline.

“The Kitchen at Surrey University has only just been opened but is already doing well. Staff are having to restock three times a day,” Davinder Jheeta, Simply Fresh’s creative director, told Retail Newsagent.

“We’ve signed up a new store in Northern Ireland and once we get a few stores on board we expect growth to happen naturally. We expect retailers will see the advantages and based on the existing model we expect to see a lot of traction.”