Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
person at table using chopsticks to eat an entree in a bowl

The Future of Grab-and-Go

Discover how the current and future state of grab-and-go can help you plan new ready-to-eat promotions for your food and beverage business.

Trend Report Cover image of person eating bowl of food with chopsticks

What’s Inside


  • Chapter 1: Making Grab-and-Go Delicious and Convenient
  • Chapter 2: Grab-and-Go’s Future
  • Chapter 3: Prepping and Promoting Your Grab-and-Go



More than half of the operators who have added grab-and-go or prepared food stations are enjoying increased sales.

The grab-and-go food category has evolved significantly over recent years, catering to the needs of consumers seeking fast, convenient, and ready-to-eat options in various settings.

Originally prevalent in convenience stores, airports, and college campuses, grab-and-go concepts have expanded across diverse markets, with 76% of consumers now considering a grocery store’s prepared food offerings before a visit. This shift reflects changing dining and snacking habits, driven by factors such as evolving work hours and preferences for quick, affordable meals.

Various foodservice setups, including limited-service restaurants, micro markets, vending machines, and creative configurations in hospitals, airports, and hotels, have embraced grab-and-go offerings, ranging from beverages to scratch-made snacks and ready-to-heat frozen meals.

The market has seen substantial growth, with consumers turning to grab-and-go options as a solution to rising inflation and restaurant prices. However, to adapt to evolving preferences and maintain consumer interest, the grab-and-go industry must innovate.

Technology plays a pivotal role, with operators implementing cashless payment systems and enhancing convenience through delivery and pickup options. Furthermore, there’s a growing emphasis on flavor creativity, customization, local sourcing, sustainability, and healthier ingredient options to cater to diverse consumer preferences.

Popular grab-and-go foods include:

  • breakfast items
  • chilled beverages
  • sandwiches
  • salads
  • packaged prepared foods
  • snacks
  • baked goods

Touchless self-checkout technology has been introduced to streamline the purchasing process for grab-and-go items and grocery stores have expanded their offerings to include meal kits and various ready-to-eat options to meet the demand for convenient meal solutions.

Looking ahead, grab-and-go’s future hinges on staying abreast of emerging trends such as global cuisines, plant-based foods, and innovative beverage offerings.

As consumers increasingly prioritize convenience and health-conscious choices, operators must continue to focus on delivering delicious, sustainable, and technologically enhanced grab-and-go experiences. This entails offering touchless payment options, leveraging social media for promotion, and incorporating online ordering and customization features.

Successful grab-and-go operations prioritize menu diversity, quality control, and effective marketing strategies. Operators are encouraged to start small, build grab-and-go menus gradually, and focus on promoting offerings through a variety of channels.

The grab-and-go industry presents significant opportunities for operators to meet the evolving needs of consumers seeking convenient, tasty, nutritious meal solutions. By embracing technological advancements, culinary innovation, and sustainable practices, grab-and-go businesses can thrive in a competitive market landscape while providing unparalleled convenience to consumers on the go.

person sitting at a table eating with chopsticks

Would you like to receive the full report?