So what is it that on-the-move commuters are eating in their cars, on the train and on the Tube? According to Datamonitor, snacks and take-away meals account for over 38 per cent of the average British consumers expenditure on on-the-move food, while on-the-move drinking is mainly focused on tea and coffee, especially in winter. In 2003, Britons spent £1.4 billion on hot drinks, compared to £0.8 billion on both water and soft drinks.
Snacks may be replacing a certain number of traditional meals for many, but consumers nonetheless retain a certain emotional attachment to mealtimes, Gould suggested. This means that snacks must not only be convenient, they “must also increasingly meet traditional meal-related demands for pleasure, fulfilment and taste.
“In the mind of a high proportion of consumers, however, on-the-move food and drink is viewed as being of poor quality, either because it is unhealthy, or quite simply has an unpleasant taste or texture,” said Gould. “One way to change this is to increase the offering of hot on-the-move meals. Consumers will pay a premium for what is essentially an everyday treat, and a similar approach can be taken to encourage time-pressed consumers to eat on-the-move,” he added.
On-the-move snacking is most prevalent in northern European countries such as the UK, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, according to the report, driven primarily by the working culture there which is traditionally more intensive than in countries further south, where the hot weather tends to lead to a more relaxed lifestyle.
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