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Open all hours for food to go

We all need to sleep, but opening all hours could prove an eye-opener for those with a comprehensive food-to-go offer.

Brits visited food or drink outlets 257 million times between midnight and 7am in the year to May, new data from The NPD Group shows.

The growing demand for overnight and early-morning food and beverages consumed away from home is an important new source of growth – a trend that reflects the ability of foodservice operators to make their assets work hard 24 hours a day, says NPD.

London leads in overnight food and drink provision but large cities, especially in the North and Scotland, are building night-time business with 20% average growth in visits over the past two years.

Cities in Wales, the Midlands and the east of England are less successful overnight.

Dominic Allport, NPD insights director, says a huge variety of sectors routinely involve night work, such as hotels, restaurants, arts, entertainment, media, transport, health and social work, wholesale and retail.

“People in these occupations want to visit foodservice outlets to buy food and beverages that they can consume away from home.”

Another survey, in MCA’s UK Eating Out Market Report 2018, shows convenience stores and supermarkets command a 15% share of all eating-out occasions and more specifically a 24% share of out-of-home snacking occasions.

C-stores’ and supermarkets’ share of the UK eating-out market has increased 0.2% year on year, largely because of an uplift in consumers on lunch or snacking occasions, which have grown 0.7% and 0.8% respectively.

Gareth Nash, director of consumer insights at MCA, says: “Convenience stores need to ensure they have a strong on-the-go offering that is reflective of their location. City centre stores are more frequented by professionals who are time-pressed and looking for a quick snack or meal before heading back to work. Ensure your range is well stocked with variety and located in clear view of the front of the store to maximise the opportunities available.”

Andrew Don.

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