Impact of Covid food-to-go sales collapse to last until beyond 2022
Home working and exodus from city centres drives somber outlook for food-to-go.
Food-to-go sales across all retail types have fallen 43% in 2019, wiping out a predicted £7.7billion of sales for the year.
Previous IGD stats show that instead of a previously forecast 30% increase in food to go sales in convenience stores by 2024. However, its newly published update showed the market is actually set to shrink by 10% by 2022 as a result of the pandemic.
The analyst firm’s senior food-to-go analyst Nicola Knight said lockdown had hit on the go shopping missions hard, and the impact was unlikely to end with the pandemic. “A degree of homeworking will form a part of the new normal in the short and long term, which may mean food-to-go businesses will adapt to fit in with their customers’ work patterns rather than wait for old habits to resume.”
Despite predictions of a slight bounce-back in 2021, the food-to-go market is not expected to return to its 2019 high before at least 2023.
However, the IGD said convenience stores would fair better than most with its share of the category rising slightly from 15.34% to 15.57% as coffee shops and specialists deal with the fallout of significantly reduced commuter footfall.
Experts told betterRetailing that while larger foodservice firms serving the independent convenience sector with food-to-go lines would likely weather the storm, the continued impact on the café and specialist market could force some players under. The highest profile casualty so far was Adelie Foods which entered administration in late May. Its flagship Urban Eat brand was acquired by Samworth Brothers in August for £6.4m.
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