According to research, the food-to-go market value is set to recover from its £6bn decline by 2022. With the pandemic eradicating earlier predictions of £400m increased growth, the market actually saw a 29% decline in 2020.  However, in the next two years, we’re likely to see a fast recovery, due to its flexibility and capability to be low-contact.

As we begin to see people returning to offices, so too are we expected to see the market value of food-to-go return. A return to commuting and out-of-home lunches will bring with it a renewed demand. But this demand may have changed its preferences from pre-COVID consumer behaviour. 

The bakeries that stand to win here, are those who adapt to the newly invigorated health concerns and yearning for variety in their bakes. From the inclusion of fresh fruit and vegetables to a want to indulge in nostalgic treats and even to a yearning for flavours from around the globe. Those who are ready to reinvent their offering and cater to larger snacking formats may stand to gain a lot. 

By the end of 2021, Lumina Intelligence forecasts the market to be worth £21.2bn, with a growth of 41% compared with 2020 forecasts. Then, according to the same research, by 2022, food-to-go is set to be worth £21.7bn.

To continue to tap into this market, and increase share, bakers will need to continue to work on price, convenience and the health concerns of their consumers which have come to the forefront during COVID.

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Bakery is biting at the heels of their competitors

Bakeries are fast becoming an increased threat to their high-street competitors, seeing growth in the British quick-service restaurant market. The predictions are that bakery retailers are set to be worth £3.5bn in 2022, up from £3.1bn this year.

Despite the growth of the total market during the last year, convenience stores have lost market share to food-to-go specialists (such as bakeries). And those who have worked hard improving their availability, quality and speed stand to gain. 

Further research shows that eight out of 10 purchases from bakeries are consumed on the move. These figures clearly show that bakeries are already one of the most popular food-to-go outlets on our high streets. The market is doing well to match the shift to comfort, nostalgic and healthy foods we’re seeing from consumers. 

But there’s still plenty of room for growth

These facts and figures are very promising for our industry, but there’s plenty of room for growth. Bakeries only account for £1.2bn (5%) of Britain’s food-to-go business annually (as of 2020). 

Additionally, bakeries are only accountable for 3% of the total click and collect sales recorded across the market, but these sales are growing. 

The sector has also been late across the board to adopt delivery options, while high-street competitors had these services (such as Deliveroo), much earlier. Yet, here too there is growth. Delivery volume for UK bakeries was up 63% in 2020, and the value of the sales included here saw an increase of just over 47%. 

So, while the figures of growth in the market are looking very good, and there’s definite scope for bakeries to reap the benefits, there’s plenty of room for improvement. And one way we may continue to see this climb is by matching the consumer’s appetite for healthier bakes.

The future is set to match the consumer’s want for healthy options

In the past year, there’s been a 10% increase in snack sales. These increases have likely come from the sectors focus on their snack range, but in particular, healthy options. 

The growth in concern around health has been clear to see. Not only have we seen a 400% growth in the vegan sector over the past 5 years (for reasons beyond ethics), but other health/diet trends have emerged, and stayed put.  

These other health trends in healthier baked foods include: 

  • Digestive health, brain health, mood, etc.
  • Functional products such as those with added fibre or protein, or ingredients intended to support specific health claims.
  • Plant-based products and ingredients.
  • Healthier fats and oils.
  • Smaller portion sizes—a trend that has been given an unexpected boost from the COVID crisis, as individual portions have gained favour due to hygiene concerns.

Mintel research revealed that 60% of adults are actively trying to monitor their health. And consumers closely monitor sugar content, next to protein content (globally, 39% of consumers would like to increase their protein intake and 21% look for everyday products with added protein).

Also, according to Mintel, 23% of all snack, cereal and energy bars launched in 2019 carried a ‘low/no/reduced sugar claim.

When it comes to flavour, The Food People have predicted there will be a mixture of desires for nostalgic tastes, fresh, healthy ingredients and want for exotic flavours from around the globe. 

food-to-go flavours wheel - source

Trending food-to-go flavours wheel source: TheFoodPeople

Put all these figures together and there’s a clear notion emerging. The trends show us that as bakeries act to better their snack range, increase the number of healthy ingredients in their bakes and dive into the food-to-go market, growth looks inevitable.  

Ingredients to support your growth

Built on our knowledge of consumer behaviours and customer processes, Bakels are ready to support customers growing their food-to-go offering.


Country Oven provides customers with convenient concentrates to produce healthy breads which support the immune system and much more and the perfect carriers for sandwiches. Wholesome on-the-go treats such as cookies are also possible (health claims only valid for base bread/roll recipes).

Guilt-free Snacking

True Caramels like Low Sugar and Low-Water give customers the tools to produce tasty permissable treats for customers’ on-the-go consumption. Breakfast bars, with the inclusion of granola for example is a delicious way to balance health and indulgence.


Our goal is not only to provide ingredients which produce the best finished goods, but those which make life easier for customers. Our range has a series of just-add-water products, such as Rich Chocolate Brownie Complete (vegan suitable) and Kokomix, for convenient production.

If you’re upgrading your snack range, to include popular features such as vegan, gluten-free or healthy claims and need assistance, get in touch today.