The foodservice sector is fast catching up with grocery giants as more and more people go out to eat, new research from CGA Strategy shows.
CGA’s figures estimate the foodservice market to be worth some £64bn a year, having grown by 2.7% in the last year despite the difficult economic climate.
That leaves foodservice behind the grocery multiple market, which is worth £87bn a year – but which grew only 1.2% in the last year, and is increasingly challenged by out-of-home eating.
CGA’s research also reveals that around 43% of people in the UK now go out to eat at least once a week. In London – arguably the most dynamic foodservice market in the world right now – the figure rises to 59%. And consumers are increasingly sophisticated, visiting an average of more than seven different food concepts every six months. The same applies to drinking habits, with evidence of much greater experimentation and the rise of craft and premium beer and spirits over standard brands. Other key trends uncovered by the research include: Flexible all-day concepts are creating a whole new model for eating and drinking out. CGA stats show there are now 80% more of these than there were in 2003; Food on the go is a big growth area.
A CGA Peach survey of industry leaders found that 53% think ‘food to go’ food will grow this year, while 63% think ‘express’ or cut-down formats will thrive; Range and quality are increasingly important draws for foodservice companies. The main driver of choice of supplier remains price (37%) – but range (15%), quality (9%) and local sourcing (10%) are becoming more important too.
CGA Strategy commercial director Tom Lynch said: “Foodservice is evolving fast. Multi-occasion bars, casual dining brands and on-the-go concepts are redefining the eating and drinking out landscape, and operators have made some seismic shifts in operational focus and proposition quality. Our research proves foodservice to be a dynamic market and one with scale, which has traded well through the recession and is primed to thrive over the next few years. With completion so fierce, it has never been more important for operators and suppliers alike to stay on top of trends and get smart intelligence about what their customers want.”