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Wed 30th Sep 2015 - NPD – technology, innovation and healthy choices to spur food-on-the-go market
NPD – technology, innovation and healthy choices to spur food-on-the-go market: Getting closer to busy mobile consumers, riding successful new product concepts and trends plus satisfying demand for unexplored, exotic cuisines are some of the key potential opportunities in Britain’s food-on-the-go (FOTG) market identified by global insights provider The NPD Group. FOTG visits declined by 1.8% in the year ending June 2015 while “on-premise” visits grew by almost 5%. But this may be the result of increasing competition as foodservice outlets of all kinds compete for a smaller number of visits (438 million fewer out-of-home visits in YE June 2015 compared to YE June 2009). Operators – especially in the quick service restaurant (QSR) and casual dining sectors – have invested significantly to improve the in-store offering to consumers. This renewed focus on “experience” and “environment” has contributed to the growth in “on-premise” visits. But the NPD Group points to a range of factors that could see the FOTG sector fight back. There are healthier FOTG product choices offering lower calories, lower fat and lactose-free, gluten-free and dairy-free options. Eating on the go is becoming easier thanks to product innovations including more portable breakfasts as well as convenient pots and soups for lunch. Packaging is underlining authenticity, portability and premium quality. Technology is a catalyst to all this with online ordering and new apps for consumers on the go and self-checkout and contactless payment for consumers visiting a retail outlet for food and drink they can take out. Jack MacIntyre, NPD Group senior account manager, UK foodservice, said: “The QSR and casual dining sectors have competed and invested fiercely, helping the ‘on-premises’ market to grow. But with the food and/or drink in over half of all visits to the British foodservice market being taken ‘off premise’ for consumption, ‘food on the go’ is clearly a very important feature. The huge importance we place on convenience in our culture of fast-living and instant gratification points to clear opportunities.” The NPD Group said dinner is an occasion that is seeing signs of FOTG growth. While the overall dinner occasion is down 1% in terms of on-the-go visits for the YE June 2015, the fast-food (QSR) and retail channels have each seen growth in on-the-go visits at dinner time. NPD Group said FOTG visits in London grew by 3.6% in the latest year to June 2015, although “on-premise” visits still did better with growth of 8.8%. MacIntyre added: “Anybody drawing up a checklist of strengths and opportunities for the FOTG sector only needs to recognise the increased portability of products, mobile ordering and payment, social media campaigns, the growing incidence of working from home and from different locations, commuting over bigger distances, and of course the street-food revolution. There are many factors at play that can only give us all a growing appetite for a breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks on the go.”

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