Post-millennials have a big appetite for food-to-go

Date : 01 June 2017

Our Generation Change research shows that not only are 18-25-year-olds shopping more for food-to-go than older shoppers, but they are particularly interested in ranges that meet specialist dietary requirements. 
The research found that 30% of them completed a food-to-go mission on their last shopping trip, compared to 13% of over-26s. The research also found:

  • When shopping in convenience stores, post-millennials were twice as likely to buy food-to-go compared to their older counterparts (48% vs 24% over 26-year-olds) 
  • One-third (32%) bought food-to-go at supermarkets and hypermarkets, compared to 9% of over-26-year-olds
  •  Almost a quarter (23%) shopped for food-to-go at a food discounter vs 7% of over-26s

Post-millennials are more interested in expanded ranges of food-to-go than those over 26. Half (49%) wanted to see an increase in vegetarian ranges, compared to 32% of over-26-year-olds, while 41% were seeking more vegan food-to-go options (22% over-26-year-olds). Dairy and gluten free ranges were also something post-millennials wanted to see more of (39% and 35% respectively), while these were only of interest to 24% and 22% of over-26-year-olds.

We’re forecasting food-to-go to be worth over £21 billion by 2021, so there is a great opportunity for retailers and manufacturers looking to take a bigger bite of this market to really think about how they are appealing to this new generation of shoppers.

Thinking about the adjacencies and the way in which products are merchandised is key. This is especially true in convenience stores, as we’ve seen that almost one in five (17%) of 18-25s see this as the best place to visit when purchasing food-to-go.

Continued manufacturer innovation can also help take advantage of this opportunity. Providing products to appeal to all food-to-go occasions, from breakfast to snacking.

Post-millennials also show a preference for food-to-go specialists, with a quarter (25%) saying they were their favourite places to buy food-to-go products, while 24% cited quick service restaurants (QSRs). These outlets were mentioned just ahead of larger stores (21%) illustrating the opportunity across many UK shopping channels.

We’re already seeing that food-to-go specialists and QSRs are appealing to younger shoppers by focusing on expanded ranges, health, quality and convenience, but there’s an opportunity to continue developing these areas. Post-millennials are the shoppers of the future, so creating food-to-go ranges that appeal to them could be a route to significant success.