CHICAGO — Retail food service purchases are up from 2017, according to a study from industry analyst Technomic, Inc.

Sixty-six per cent of consumers purchase prepared foods from retail at least three times a month, compared to 55% in 2017, according to Technomic’s 2019 Retail Foodservice Consumer Trend Report. Among the factors that are driving this growth include recent retailer investments in food service menu variety and quality.

The report also found that 73% of prepared foods purchases are taken to go, 71% of grocery delivery users say they would add a prepared foods meal to their grocery delivery orders at least occasionally, and 47% of consumers eat their prepared foods immediately after purchase (as opposed to waiting an hour, a day, etc.).

“Regularly scheduled grocery trips drive many prepared foods purchases as consumers appreciate being able to take care of grocery shopping while also having access to a freshly prepared meal or snack,” said Bret Yonke, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Moving forward, full-service restaurant and food hall experiences will begin to roll out more frequently, which is likely to encourage consumers to consider retail food service for a wider variety of occasions.”