WHEN IT COMES to food-on-the-go, quality is what people want, according to new research by Horizons.
The latest Ones to Watch report shows that the focus remains on established favourites, such as burgers and hot dogs, but with a gourmet edge.
Healthy eating was also identified as a key trend. Nutritious, appetising food has become more exciting, the report concluded, as operators capture consumer demand for healthy food.
"A wider variety of takeaway foods are available as consumers expect better quality food-on-the-go," said Horizons director of services Paul Backman. "New specialists are emerging, such as outlets selling dishes with just one or two ingredients or Artisan versions of popular concepts. Many are focusing their attention on high traffic areas such as shopping malls, railway stations and airports."
Transport hubs, for example, are now providing more space for eating out brands. London's Kings Cross station now has triple the concourse space and features established foodservice brands Burger King, Caffè Nero, Pret A Manger and Starbucks as well as up and coming Ones to Watch brands such as Benito's Hat Mexican Kitchen (burrito quick service) and Yalla Yalla (Lebanese street food).
Additionally established operators have extended their concepts to offer transport hub-specific variations such as Giraffe's (world food restaurant) Giraffe Stop, and Prezzo (Italian restaurant) opening its first outlet offering takeaway dishes such as flatbreads, pizza, pasta and salad at Kings Cross.
The first phase of the £25m redevelopment of London's Waterloo Station includes a Yo! Sushi, Carluccio's and the Benugo variant Benugo Sports Bar and Grill. A new Corney and Barrow concept, C&B Cabin, is also expected to open there in the future.
Coffee shops also continue to be a UK success story with high street brands expanding their repertoire as consumers become more knowledgeable about coffee.
While the market is still dominated by Costa, Starbucks and Caffè Nero, smaller brands are offering something different perhaps a local feel or a higher quality coffee.
Artisan coffee shops, with an emphasis on quality beans, top spec espresso machines, expert baristas and often latte art, also add a point of differentiation to the larger chains.
Ones to Watch demonstrates that there is a continued appetite for food and coffee on the go, but consumers are demanding a better quality and wider variety which the specialists are moving in to provide.