Increasingly savvy consumers, changing food trends and new manufacturing methods resulting in greater choice have seen the grab and go food market account for sales of more than £20bn a year.
Growth in the sector is robust, with MCA Insight’s 2017 Food to Go report indicating a 3.8% increase, compared with less than two per cent for the wider dining-out market, with supermarkets and contemporary fast food outlets driving sales.
As more outlets cash in on the trend, it’s understood that convenience is essential to the success of the grab and go food market. It’s not just for working lunches – weekend shopping and leisure occasions now account for 22% of all grab and go food purchases.
Technology is driving change.
Many high street chains offer apps which allow ordering, payment and rewards like loyalty points – further incentivising customers to grab and go.
Simon Stenning, executive director at MCA, said: “Consumers are increasingly demanding better quality and more interesting and wider choices, and will not accept cheap and boring. Convenience has been upgraded to a ‘megatrend’, recognising this increased demand.”
In order to capitalise on the growing trend for grab and go food, here are a few equipment top tips.
As its name suggests, ‘grab and go’ is a fast-moving marketplace so it’s crucial that food safety is maintained at all times. Even if something has been made fresh today, it might still be hours before it’s consumed. So, regardless of whether fresh ingredients or pre-made products are being stored back-of-house, or finished products out front in an accessible merchandiser cabinet, salads, cold sandwiches and dairy-based snacks should all be stored at temperatures below 5°C.
And while bottled or canned beverages may be safe to drink at higher temperatures, they always taste better when they’re ice cold.
It’s not just temperature you need to bear in mind. Some foods, such as pastries and desserts, require specific humidity levels to ensure they stay fresh and look their best.
Our refrigerated display units provide consistent food-safe holding temperatures to keep your produce fresher for longer, while dry case units offer ambient temperatures for produce which doesn’t require cooling. Combination units are also available, so you can showcase both dry stock and chilled.
While your display units will do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to merchandising and selling your food to go, you’ll need to be able to replenish your stock efficiently.
So, whether you’re making fresh-to-order from raw ingredients or retrieving pre-prepared items, it’s important that your storage is as easily accessible and can maintain the same consistent food-safe temperatures as your display units, so you can refill quickly and easily without compromising on freshness or quality.
Air curtain merchandisers or ‘multideck’ cabinets are common in the grab and go food sector. They are often placed front-of-house and can be accessed directly by the customer.
Not having a door certainly ticks the accessibility box, but a glass door merchandiser unit can offer the same high-impact product visibility, while also significantly reducing the operating energy costs of the unit by comparison. Each has their advantages depending on the operation setup, which is why the True range features both.
Using equipment which serves more than one purpose can both save space and make your operations more efficient.
If you run an open pizza or sandwich kitchen, for example, a refrigerated preparation table unit which combines ample work surface space with individual and configurable ingredient pans and convenient storage is a must.
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