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Following the lifting of the Working from Home Guidance in January 2022, millions of UK employees have been heading back to the office, triggering an immediate increase in the purchase of food to go, with the market forecast to grow by 31.8% this year (£21.3 billion value).

However, whilst dining out and food to go are back to the forefront of everyone’s minds, the cost-of-living crisis (resulting from post-pandemic return to work labour shortages, post-Brexit trading rules affecting UK imports from the EU and the war in Ukraine driving up food and fuel prices) means everyone is looking for ways to make their money go further.

With this in mind, TAF’s latest Benchmark Report “Planet Lunch” (June 2022) set out to establish:

(1) WHAT options UK consumers have today when considering dining out and food to go for lunch, (2) WHICH of the UK’s market leading companies/brands offer the biggest potential savings and (3) HOW consumers rank them when it comes to food quality and taste.

Report Content

The Report addresses 2 Key Insights:

  1. Consumer Research | Insights based on the latest market intelligence from Global Data, addressing the eight most relevant 2022 consumer megatrends and the five factors influencing food purchasing decisions.
  2. Lunch Benchmark | Insights based on TAF’s unique field research, conducted in February and March 2022 addressing how UK consumers are looking for ways to make their money go further.

Click the link to download a copy: TAF Planet Lunch_Benckmark Report

Research Methodology

Field research was conducted within a 6-week period and relied on feedback from 3 researchers representing                3 consumer demographics (Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X) and 3 geographical areas (the North, the South and the East of England).

Each researcher was given a daily £10 budget to spend on one lunch at 9 different locations, specified by TAF, whilst also completing a structured questionnaire, taking photos of their lunch, and then rating the lunch. Meals were to be purchased Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.

The 9 companies/brands benchmarked were: (1) 3 Food Delivery Apps (Deliveroo, Just Eat & Uber Eats); (2) 1 Supermarket Chain (Tesco); (3) 3 Food Franchises (Greggs, McDonald’s & Subway) and (4) 2 Coffee Shop Chains (Costa Coffee & Starbucks).

Research Findings

3 Key Considerations can be drawn from TAF’s Lunch Benchmark:

  1. Consumption Behaviour | Our findings corroborate consumer research around customers’ preference to opt for “easy & affordable” lunches and their willingness to spend more for “premium” products and experiences. Our researchers didn’t mind spending extra to dine in a welcoming venue with plenty of seating space, good quality food to go and consistently good levels of service.
  2. Health & Wellness | Our findings contradict market research, rating Easy/Affordable and Heath/Wellness the same in terms of importance. Regardless of age, consumers prioritise affordability over health/wellness, our researchers commenting more often on how lunch tasted/how filling it was, rather than how healthy.
  3. Digital Convenience | Our findings suggest that despite today’s expanded digital convenience landscape and increased accessibility via digital tech, food delivery apps may have had their day in 2020-2021. Our researchers stating that, while they did enjoy the lunches they purchased on food delivery Apps, they would rather order directly from restaurants to combat high delivery fees, limited choice & poor customer service.

Alex Mingoni | Consultant


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