Maximising the moveable feast Flat out lives mean ‘Full speed ahead’ for Food To Go

There’s never been a better time than now for food to go sales. As a nation, we work longer hours, start our mornings earlier and come home later. And we spend longer each day commuting. With our increasingly busy lives and our need for quick and easy, yet delicious solutions to eat on the move, it’s never been more important for wholesalers to make sure their retail customers have a perfect food to go offering.

In this feature we take a look at what’s out there and how to make the best of the opportunity, with the help of some of the leading suppliers.

Focus on the key categories In theory, ‘food to go’ covers anything you can carry out of a shop and eat. But for wholesalers and retailers to get the best return from their sales space, they need to focus on particular product categories that turn in the best performances.

MICROWAVEABLE SNACKS

Rustlers, the UK’s No.1 micro-snacking brand, is enabling wholesalers to boost profits from chilled food to go products with its quick-to-cook flame-grilled burgers, which provide the hot option, choice and variety ‘F2G’ shoppers are looking for. Micro-snacking shoppers are important to the convenience channel, spending 22% per shop more than average c-store shoppers and visiting more frequently each week.

“Lunchtime is the biggest occasion for Rustlers, accounting for almost half of all consumption occasions,” says Angela Daulby, UK Group Sales Director of Kepak Convenience Foods.

“The fact that eight out of ten food to go shoppers have a microwave at work and more than half of all food to go shoppers eat lunch at their workplace, highlights the pivotal role Rustlers can play in food to go.”

Thanks to the introduction of the Rustlers All Day Breakfast Sausage Muffin, Rustlers now features in the key consumption occasions of breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a major presence in the important shopper mission of food to go. Rustlers is also enabling retailers to offer an in-store cooking solution with its microwave or food to go unit, both proven to boost sales of micro snacking products without the concerns over waste and additional labour costs associated with food to go counters.

MEAT SNACKS

Kerry Foods is responding to the growth in snacking by spearheading a fresh protein snacking movement.

Confirming its position as the ‘chilled’ expert, Kerry Foods is bringing all its snacking products under the Fridge Raiders brand, including Mattessons, Fire & Smoke and Go Go’s.

Ian Garrett, Sales Director for Convenience at Kerry Foods says: “Particularly in the winter months, consumers love hot food to go, as it not only fills them but keeps them warm. Encourage retailers to have hot food to go fixtures where they can serve hot bacon or sausage rolls and include these in your meal deal offering so shoppers can pick up snacks from the chiller, for later in the day.

“Meat and cheese are great for keeping consumers fueled. Healthier snack items are driving growth so ensure retailers have lots of proteinpowered items in their chillers like Fridge Raiders Slow Roasted Chicken Bites or Fridge Raiders Combos.

Sandwiches and wraps are a go-to quick and easy food to go item for retailers. Shake things up and offer customers something different. Fridge Raiders Snack Bites with Caramelized Onion offer the perfect main dish to any lunchtime meal, to build up with a snack and drink to keep them going throughout the day.”

POT SNACKS

If retailers have coffee machines or hot water points, they can offer shoppers a complete takeaway solution with pot snacks, says Steve Kelly, Channel Director at Premier Foods:

“With the number of single eating occasions growing +10% annually, it’s the ideal way to keep up with consumer trends and increase sales in this area.”

Batchelors Super Noodles Pots join the brand’s Pasta ‘n’ Sauce and Cup a Soup To Go Pots and tap into the £204m Pot Snacks sector. Available in four flavours – Chicken, BBQ Beef, Curry, and Bacon – Premier Foods are confident Super Noodles Pots will replicate their previous success in the multiples, with 16.9m units sold since launch. Super Noodles Pots and Pasta ‘n’ Sauce Pots are also available in £1.09 price marked packs.

CUP SOUPS

Cup soups are a natural for workplace lunches, and the more substantial the better! Instant snack brand Mug Shot is stirring the lunch and food to go market as it expands into cup soup with ‘Mug Shot Cup Soup.’

Available in eight delicious flavours, Mug Shot stands out for its enviable health credentials. Mug Shot Soups are made with natural ingredients, are low in fat, contain less than 100 calories and are high in fibre and protein. Flavours available at launch are Roast Chicken, Wild Mushroom, Broccoli & Stilton, Vegetable Chowder, Hot & Sour, Peri Peri, Pea & Mint and Nicely Spicy Indian.

Mike Benton, Head of Snacking Business Unit at brand owners Symington’s, commented:

“We’ve launched Mug Shot Soup with a broad mix of flavour profiles similar to the rest of the portfolio and look forward to seeing how it performs. We sell 2.7 packs of Mug Shot every second, and are sure Mug Shot Soup will make a positive contribution to an incredibly strong brand.”

DELI SNACKS

Millennials’ interest in adventurous new flavours is really driving the food to go sector, says James Robinson, Product Trainer at Brindisa. Their commitment to sustainable, ethical produce means they’re seeking products with provenance without compromising quality or taste:

“Time-poor consumers are increasingly looking for exciting food to go options. Wholesale customers providing take away offerings are responding with inspiring menus and in-store shelves packed with produce that is increasingly sophisticated, innovative and internationally inspired.”

Brindisa’s offering spans from meaty to meat-free with their Sierra de Barbellido Ibérico Cebo de Campo Pork Presa and their Navarrico chickpeas, a versatile, vegetarian and gluten-free ingredient for lunchboxes, the perfect fast food for wholesale customers.

CEREAL BARS

21 years after launching as the world’s first cereal bar, Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars have a new recipe and new look. Containing no artificial colours or flavours, the bars’ distinct fillings have been reinvented to enhance Nutri- Grain’s fruity flavour. The perfect midmorning snack for people with jampacked schedules, Nutri-Grain bars contain 25 per cent of our daily needs of B vitamins and 17 per cent of our daily iron.

BISCUITS

Wholesalers with depots around the UK need to be aware of the regional differences in consumer preferences for particular food products. As an example, Scots on the go are forsaking mid-morning snacking for mid afternoon enjoyment, according to a new survey commissioned by Lanarkbased biscuit manufacturer, Border. Border’s Marketing Manager Suzie Carlaw explains:

“Our findings show the average time in the day people pause to enjoy a treat is now around 3.20pm, demonstrating a shift in the Scottish psyche from ‘elevenses,’ the traditional time for snacking.”

Border has introduced a new Snack Pack offering for retailers in Scotland that is perfectly tailored to the needs of today’s grab and go society. Featuring some national favourites, the new Snack Pack contains six individually wrapped biscuits in three varieties, Golden Oat Crumbles, Light and Buttery Viennese Whirls and Divinely Chocolatey Cookies.

SOFT DRINKS

Consumers often visit convenience stores looking for soft drinks to consume on the go, so it’s important to make the experience easier by merchandising products so they can be located quickly and efficiently, says Amy Burgess, Trade Communications Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP):

“For consumers looking to enjoy their soft drink straight away, it’s worth keeping stocks high to meet increasing demand for drinks on the go, with as wide a choice as possible, covering different sectors, variants and pack formats to appeal to every taste and occasion. Retailers should also look out for new or special edition products, as well as those backed by marketing spend, to maximise incremental growth.

“Where space is available, secondary siting is a great way to boost sales instore by appealing to ‘mission shoppers’ and highlighting the products they need. Once the main display is utilised, retailers can benefit from showcasing products in other areas, such as near the entrance of the store, aisle ends or adjacent to the till queuing lane to attract attention and prompt purchase.”

Merchandise to Maximise: ‘Make A Meal of It’

Meal deals that offer discounts when a soft drink is purchased alongside a sandwich or a snack are a great way of meeting the demands of lunchtime shoppers looking for a convenient meal on the go, while also giving a perception of great value.

Retailers can maximise the potential of these offers by stocking all the products that are eligible for the deal together, with POS materials signposting the meal deal. This will increase the convenience for shoppers looking to pick up their meal quickly, while also enticing them to take advantage of the offer in store.

New from CCEP

Fuze Tea: The UK iced tea market has grown by £6million in the past year and millennials are the biggest consumers.

Fuze Tea, a premium, low-calorie blend of fruits, botanicals and tea, appeals to this group with its sustainable, lowcalorie credentials and fresh, innovative flavours. Fuze Tea is Soft Drink Taxexempt, made with 100% sustainably sourced tea leaves and comes in two unique variants: Green Tea & Mango Chamomile and Black Tea, Peach & Hibiscus.

Sprite Lemon Lime and Cucumber No Sugar is a new venture into the flavour market for the brand, made from 100% natural flavours. With growing demand for light, flavoured carbonates Sprite Lemon Lime and Cucumber No Sugar offers more choice with a unique, refreshing cucumber taste.

Lighten Up: The health and wellness trend continues to influence purchasing decisions as more consumers opt for low and zero sugar soft drinks. In addition to the drive for lower calorie options, there is growing demand for these products in their own right. CCEP have invested over £25m into Coca-Cola Zero Sugar since 2016, and it is now Britain’s fastest growing cola brand. CCEP have also launched three unique new flavours, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Peach, Diet Coke Feisty Cherry and Diet Coke Exotic Mango, to offer greater variety and tap demand for low sugar variants.

FOOD SERVICE – OR FOOD TO GO?

As our lives get busier and busier the distinction between ‘food to go’ and ‘foodservice’ are blurring. That’s certainly the case in the final two categories in this feature, Bakery & Pastry and Hot Food from Frozen, which wholesalers are equally likely to supply to retailers and catering outlets.

BAKERY & PASTRY

Kate Sykes, Marketing Manager at Lantmännen Unibake UK recommends that wholesalers advise their customers to offer a selection of sweet and savoury hand-holdable bakery products. A tasty and quick lunchtime option is the Schulstad Bakery Solutions Cheese Twist, all butter pastry with a dash of Dijon mustard, twisted and topped with a combination of cheeses.

Classic French and Danish pastries are also popular with consumers looking for a pick me up before or after lunch. By placing items like Apricot or Apple Crowns and Cinnamon Swirls in on the go packaging, wholesaler customers can take advantage of this trend.

Breakfast Bulletin

Breakfast is a massive part of the food to go opportunity, says Kate Sykes. With 54.1% of consumers eating it out of home and 53% of shoppers visiting more than one outlet to complete their breakfast shop, more than any other meal out of home, it’s crucial for wholesale outlets to enable their customers to get their breakfast offer right.

Lantmannen Unibake say establishments should serve pastries in grab bags and use POS to promote their quality credentials. They should also communicate usage ideas like ‘great with coffee’, ‘a breakfast treat’, ‘this week’s special’ or ‘freshly baked,’ and consider running cross category promotions to increase the likelihood of impulse buying as consumers are tempted to pick up a tasty treat.

Work-based journeys are the biggest driver in eating breakfast on the go and wholesale customers can capitalise on these time-poor consumers by stocking bakery items for consumers looking for a quick breakfast option either en route to work or at their desks.

The Schulstad Bakery Solutions All Butter Croissant, Pain Chocolat and Pain Raisin from Lantmännen Unibake UK are popular must-stock French pastry breakfast choices that are the perfect partner to morning hot drinks and easy to eat on the move.

HOT FOOD FROM FROZEN

The Big Al’s frozen range provides the perfect solution for operators to meet consumer demands and deliver speedy meals that cook in minutes from frozen, even during busy periods. Being able to deliver dishes efficiently, without compromising on taste, quality or consistency of serve is vital.

Big Al’s Pizza Twists enable operators to deliver a filling, tasty meal option without the time and hassle of cooking, or the expense of eating out and are perfect for the 70% of UK adults purchasing lunch on the go out of home. Cooked from frozen in minutes, the pizza twists come in their own handheld sleeve packaging, and are available in two flavours – margherita and pepperoni.

The Big Al’s Prime Burger is a delicious addition to any on the go menu and the brand’s first raw product, made with 100% grass-fed beef. The Prime Burger is created with chuck and brisket cuts and allows operators to tap into the gourmet burger trend by offering a premium taste and flavour experience and creating burgers to suit all taste buds.

Big Al’s Gourmet Hot Dogs are made with premium 100% Irish Pork, created by master butchers and beechwood-smoked for an irresistible taste. Cooking from frozen in minutes, Big Al’s Gourmet Hot Dogs can be built into a variety of menu ideas to suit a range of consumer preferences.