Food on the move
The food-to-go market has grown steadily over the last five years, over-taking some of the traditional fast-food formats
12 September 2008 | 0
At a glance: food-to-go
- The European inclination to miss meals and opt for snacks is set to rise to 522 billion instances per year in 2009, translating as 1.9 snacks per day per consumer (Datamonitor)
- The average office lunch-break is now 22 minutes long (Peninsula Ireland)
- Of 2,672 employees, a jacket potato was the most popular work mealtime choice, followed by fruit, pre-packed salad, pre-packed sandwiches and chips (Peninsula Ireland)
- The on the go snacking industry is worth €66 billion across Europe
- The sandwich market has grown by 23% from 2002, and is worth over £4 million (Mintel 2007)
- Between 2006 and 2007 the sandwich market grew by 9%, almost three times that of previous years (Mintel 2007)
Healthy eating has proved essential to helping deli foods to grow and diversify in a manner undreamt of in the 1990s. Many deli counters now include options such as on-the-spot stir-frys and sushi. Time-pressed consumers while keen to eat ‘fast food’ are aware of its traditionally negative connotations, reinforced in documentaries such as Morgan Spurlock’s ‘Super Size Me’ looking at the rise of a McDonalds culture.
Premium end and nutritious choices are therefore driving sales, in part influenced by a more continental approach to diet. Younger consumers are also a key group of shoppers in this category, according to a recent Mintel report. Although the downturn in the construction industry is impacting on trade in some respects, placing emphasis on healthy options, high value, variety and difference, and improved experience will be important to drive continued strong growth going forward.
Fresh produce in the food-to-go offering has had broadening appeal over the review period, and with that, organic foods have witnessed growth. Consumers have also begun to take notice of ethical issues surrounding their on-the-go lunch or snack options, such as packaging, waste and recycling, and fair trade. In addition to these trends, some operators are also now adapting their food-to-go offering in order to capitalise on opportunities presented by the presence of other nationalities amongst their customers. According to Mintel, non-nationals now account for approx one tenth of the population in Ireland, the majority of whom come from Eastern Europe.
Freshening up the deli counter
As the food to go market continues to grow, Carroll Cuisine, the deli experts, continue to create innovative concepts and relevant solutions with an emphasis on freshness. In the sandwiches market, Carroll Cuisine’s unique sandwich fillings and speciality accompaniments coupled with Cuisine de France bread offers a total turnkey solution. Carroll Cuisine can provide deli counter ‘must have’ traditional lines from coleslaw to chicken strips to cheese and potato salad. The brand can also provide an innovative and exciting range of products however, that will offer consumers a variety of lunch-break choices everyday at one venue. These include salads such as Italian Style Pepperoni Salad, Mediterranean Vegetable Salad and Thai Noodles with Chicken among other options. A range of Mediterranean accompaniments is also offered such as pestos, tapenades and peppadews.
Since its foundation Carroll Cuisine has specialised in a unique ham production process, which has produced its signature product – Carroll Cuisine Home Cooked Premium Ham. This has provided a platform for a wide range of deli cooked meats which include standard sandwich ham to premium ham, turkey, chicken, beef and salamis. A range of sliced meats is also available for delis with no slicer or delis looking for more convenience.
Combining indulgence with health
Freshways is introducing a range of Granola Yogurts to the market. Combining indulgence with health, the range represents another innovation in food-to-go from Freshways. There are two recipes to choose from, Summer Fruits and Honey. Topped with crunchy bran and wheat granola, the creamy yogurt is probiotic which helps to protect and strengthen the body’s immune system.
Overall, there exists a large gap in the market for health-orientated products that fit with today’s busy lifestyles and which can be consumed on the go. With this in mind, Freshways Granola Yogurt is packaged in easy, no-mess packaging and has been designed to eat on the go, complete with its own spoon. Contemporary packaging gives Granola Yogurts strong on-shelf presence. With this new product, Freshways is making it easier for consumers to eat healthily, while juggling demanding lifestyles.
A blissful blend of beans
Piacetto Espresso is a premium Italian coffee brand, developed by Italian barista champion and coffee sommelier Graziano Chessa. The gourmet coffee to go company from Coca-Cola Bottlers Ireland offers hot beverage solutions for convenience and forecourt stores.
Piacetto coffee’s blend of beans delivers a dark roasted experience. The gentle South American arabic bean combining with the invigorating Indian parchment robusta bean creates a full flavour taste even through milky lattes and cappuccinos.
This unique Piacetto blend of arabica and robusta beans, slow-roasted for an intensive expresso taste, results in a coffee Piacetto believes would not be out of place in a five star hotel.
Providing a complete hot beverage solution
Coffee Perfection provides a strong product for the coffee-to go-market. Over the past five years, the brand has evolved its coffee stand by listening to customers and paying attention to what the public want.
Coffee Perfection works closely with brand leading groups like ADM Londis and newly established Fine Food Fair, a Munster based retail chain. They also supply a number of Musgrave’s Centra Good To Go and BWG Spar outlets. It produces the finest artisan hand roasted coffees, Rain Forest Alliance certified and Fair Trade coffee, and all products are ethically traded. Coffee Perfection provides the highest level of customer service with a 24-hour breakdown service available 365 days of the year. Coffee Perfection provides in-depth staff training and audits all accounts on a monthly basis to ensure the highest standards are maintained.
The team at Coffee Perfection believe they have the best offer at the best price. Retailers can start in the coffee-to-go market for €4,500.00 or with complete coffee to go units from €8,500.00 up to €10,500.00. The complete unit serves all coffees with the option of adding flavoured essence to a cappuccino or latte, as consumers can do at coffee shops. It also serves hot chocolate and regular tea along with a range of specialty teas, providing a complete hot beverage solution.
A fresh seal of approval
The Kenco Coffee Company introduces its new Kenco FreshSeal solution – a range of well-known brands and quality products, conveniently presented for customers. Kenco Sustainable Development was introduced to the Kenco FreshSeal range in 2007 and provides an ethically sourced, quality coffee made entirely from Rainforest Alliance certified beans. These are 100% Arabica beans purchased from farms independently certified by the Rainforest Alliance, a US based non-governmental organisation recognised for more than 17 years for its work in sustainable agriculture. Customers can enjoy a premium coffee, while helping coffee farmers and their families earn a decent living as well as conserve the environment.
Additional brands available include favourites such as Carte Noire, Suchard, Lyons, Twinings and Bovril. Knorr Soup is the most recent delicious addition to the Kenco FreshSeal range of products. Loose ingredients are kept secure under a foil seal so that drinks are fresh every time. Consumers simply pull back the foil to remove the seal, then add hot water, adding a sip lid for coffee on the go.
For customers, the Kenco FreshSeal cup looks and feels like a coffee shop paper cup, but also features strong plastic fins and a branded wrap to minimise heat transfer, making it even easier for customers to enjoy hot drinks.
Convenient packaging drives food-to-go sales
Innovative packaging can play a key role in making food-to-go lines a success. A report by market analyst Datamonitor found that the European inclination to miss meals and opt for snacks throughout the day is set to rise to 522 billion instances per year in 2009, translating as 1.9 snacks per day per consumer.
However, the analyst claims that although consumers look for convenience and takeaway functionality, they can be deterred from snacking on-the-move because it creates too much mess and is too much trouble to eat or drink. Convenient packaging that reduces mess and provides self-contained snacks and meal replacements specifically for consumption on-the-move can address these concerns however, and allow manufacturers to tap into “burgeoning demand” for food-to-go options according to Datamonitor. For example, pre-packaged fruit formats which remove the need for peeling or preparation elements are proving increasingly popular.
But while convenience is a key concern for on-the-go commuters and workers, sustainability and environmental considerations are also important considerations for manufacturers when designing new packaging. In this vein, innovative packaging ideas are attempting to tackle the issue of sustainability. For example, Zip-Pak is expecting that the first use of its re-sealable zipper on deli meat packaging in Europe will lead to a new trend that will have sustainability and marketing benefits for food manufacturers.
The company has developed packs for cured meats and sausages with a zipper closure for Norwegian meat manufacturer SPIS Grilstad. Packs first hit store shelves in February, and SPIS Grilstad claims the innovation has already led to an increase in market share from 18 to 75%, and helped it secure two new grocery store chain accounts in Norway.
Food-to-go thrives with average lunch break lasting only 22 minutes
Food-to-go is becoming increasingly popular with office-workers, with the average lunch break now standing at just 22 minutes according to a recent survey. Conducted by recruitment firm Peninsula Ireland, the survey also shows three out of four employees are under so much pressure to get work done they are taking their break at their desks. And while the traditional pub lunch was the second most popular food choice three years ago, such a leisurely option no longer ranks in the top five.
A poll of 2,672 employees across Ireland found a jacket potato was the most popular food choice for a work meal-time, followed by fruit, pre-packed salad, pre-packed sandwiches and chips. Datamonitor research also found that snacks serving as filling light meals will ultimately have broader occasion applicability as consumers increasingly skip home-based main meals, opting for on-to-go alternatives instead.
New packaging can deliver longer shelf life
A new sorbent sachet has been launched with claims it can improve shelf life and deliver better quality characteristics for refrigerated sandwiches and pizzas. Packaging specialist Multisorb Technologies launched the packet known as FreshPax S in June. The company states it works by preventing oxidative and moisture-mediated degradation within refrigerated foods from days to weeks, and within shelf-stable products from months to years.
FreshPax S also protects a product’s aroma, flavour, texture and nutritive value, according to the company. What’s more, it’s believed to be particularly effective for prepared foods comprising dough or incorporating a filling where moisture levels need to be regulated precisely.
Its oxygen scavenging component cuts and maintains oxygen levels to less than 1% at relative humidity levels of 40 to 50%. This is said to prevent the onset of mould and other spoilage.