In Focus

EXCLUSIVE: What shoppers want from food-to-go

Here, IGD’s Shopper Insight Manager, Rhian Thomas, takes a look at what shoppers want from their food-to-go purchases beyond food and drink.

Our latest ShopperVista research shows that over half (55%) of food-to-go shoppers have completed a leisure food-to-go mission in the last four weeks. This mission is characterised by the shopper choosing to consume some, or all, of their food and drink while still in the store or outlet. Is this strictly food-to-go? Shoppers think so!

“I tend to grab an Americano black primo to drink in before I do my rounds”

“I had a Berry Muffin from Pret. I sat in whilst I did some people watching”

When shoppers grab 10 minutes to sit down to eat their sandwiches or salads and drink their coffees, many are also making the most of the in-store free wi-fi. Our latest data shows that over a third (36%) of food-to-go shoppers would provide free wi-fi if they owned their own food-to-go shop, ranking this feature as third most important on their wish list.

We wanted to find out what other services and features, beyond great food and drink, shoppers see as central to offering a good food-to-go experience. As more retailers and operators invest in adapting their in-store environments and technology to help set themselves apart, what things matter most to shoppers and can subsequently help increase chances of success?

Number one on the list is loyalty cards. Some 46% said that if they were designing their own food-to-go store, they would offer a loyalty option. Loyalty cards or apps are a means of rewarding frequent shoppers, but they are also a way to learn about your shoppers’ behaviour; what days and times do they tend to visit? What are their favourite products? How often do they buy one, two or three items? Loyalty cards are nothing new for retailers and are starting to feature prominently amongst a number of coffee specialists such as Costa.

Loyalty apps can also help meet the second most important service on shoppers’ lists; the ability to pre-order food or drink before arriving at the store. One of the most widely used examples of this feature is the Starbucks app. The app allows for both pre-store ordering and payment, delivering real convenience for users. Thinking beyond convenience, what else can loyalty schemes offer? The ability to personalise offers for shoppers, or to identify specific shopper groups or types to target with marketing activity. Do they offer a way to launch, or trial, new products or variants of products with an already engaged audience?

While there are three stand out services and features for shoppers, two factors around range also feature amongst the top priorities for shoppers; themed food weeks and limited-edition menus. When we probed further around shoppers’ ideal food offer, many took inspiration from the current market place:

“A selection of hot food, similar to that that of Pret. A selection of cold food like M&S”

But more than one in 10 shoppers we spoke to referenced health or healthy products as part of their ideal range:

“It (the range) would be healthy and would have a world theme exploring different regional food/drinks”

We know from our broader ShopperVista research that the quality and taste of the food on offer is the main driver of store choice when it comes to shopping for food-to-go, but do services that offer additional convenience or reward shoppers for their loyalty offer a means of setting a store or operator apart?

For more information about the shopper led food-to-go design, read IGD’s ShopperVista report.

If you want to learn more about the food-to-go market join us later this year at IGD’s Food-to-Go Conference. Whether you’re fully-fledged in Food-to-Go or about to get going, attend the event that serves up practical learnings. Click here for more information. 

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