Global information company The NPD Group says that Britain’s travel hubs – airports, motorway service stations, train stations and petrol forecourts – now represent a distinct foodservice market. The value of the travel hub foodservice market increased by over 11% for the year ending June 2019, from £2.47bn to £2.75bn. Visits were up from 576m to 619m, an increase of more than 7%. The travel hub foodservice market is already the same size in visit terms as the delivery sector was at the end of 2015.
Over the past three years, airports have seen the fastest growth in foodservice visits (31%), followed by motorway service stations (16%). This is in contrast to the fortunes of foodservice operators located on Britain’s high streets and shopping centres, where visits growth has been hard to achieve. In the 12 months to June 2019, high streets and shopping centres recorded a marginal decrease in visits (-0.2%, or 8m fewer visits).
Guy Fielding, business development director (foodservice) for The NPD Group, said: “These travel hubs are doing well not just because more people are travelling but also because the quality of food and beverages, as well as the experience, has improved. Times have changed. Yes, there are still locations and outlets that clearly need to do better, but travelling consumers are these days getting much more than they have ever done before in terms of service, variety and quality.”
NPD predicts that the travel hub market could see the same kind of huge growth as the delivery channel, with consumer spending potentially increasing by as much as 25% to £3.44bn by 2022.