The most popular type of food-to-go was hot food (38%), found the survey, but when it came to the items of cold food being bought, sandwiches, wraps and paninis were the most popular choice (63%).
Most consumers (19%) bought food-to-go from Greggs. However, the research showed that Costa Coffee, Greggs, M&S Food and Pret A Manger were the outlets with the broadest appeal across the age groups.
Seventy per cent of consumers bought food- to-go to take away rather than eat-in, and this was reflected in the research – over half of consumers (55%) bought food-to-go served in packaging fitted with a lid.
Lunch (60%) was the most popular eating occasion for which to buy food-to-go, and food-to-go bought at lunchtime was most likely to be purchased from M&S Food (89%) or Pret A Manger (84%). Consumers most often bought breakfast from Starbucks (45%). A quarter of consumers (25%) bought food-to-go to eat as a snack.
In total, 2,000 of those surveyed bought food-to-go in the month prior to being surveyed - the equivalent of 31.8m consumers, according to the research commissioned by Huhtamaki.
The survey also revealed that almost three-quarters of consumers (73%) bought food-to-go at least once a week, the equivalent to over 24m consumers, with 10% buying food-to-go at least once a day.
Consumers were most likely to buy food-to-go from their preferred outlet because of its convenience (55%). Sixty-two per cent of consumers also bought a drink at the same time as buying food-to-go.
Last month it was revealed that the UK foodservice market was continuing to grow, although the rate of growth was expected to slow.