‘Post-millennials’ have a big, big appetitite for food-to-go, finds new IGD report

The under-25s are more engaged with the food-to-go market than any previous generation, according to the latest report from the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD).

Not only are 18-25-year-olds (referred to as ‘post-millennials’) shopping more for food-to-go than older shoppers, but they are particularly interested in ranges that meet specialist dietary requirements.

IGD’s research on these post-millennials 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, this group was 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

The research also shows 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.

Rhian Thomas, shopper insight manager at IGD, said: “We’re forecasting food-to-go to be worth over £2bn 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.

“To capture the post-millennial pound, retailers must think about the way they merchandise products. 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. Being clever about product placement can really benefit food-to-go sales in convenience stores.

“Manufacturers should continue to innovate to take advantage of this opportunity. Providing products to appeal to all food-to-go occasions, from breakfast to snacking, is a sure way to succeed.”

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.

Thomas continued: “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. Retailers and manufacturers should therefore work together to meet the dynamic needs of this new generation of shopper.”

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