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Consultants upbeat about foodservice business

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FCSI consultants are predicting a pick-up in work for suppliers in the next seven years, as improving attitudes towards healthy food and population changes drive major growth in the eating out sector.

The FCSI this morning released its Taste of the Future 2020 report, compiled by Allegra Strategies, which contains the views of the UK’s leading commercial kitchen designers and catering consultants on the key issues and consumer trends likely to affect the foodservice industry by 2020.

The frequency with which consumers eat out is forecast to be “significantly higher” by 2020, with more than two thirds of foodservice executives believe the ageing population will have a positive impact on restaurant spend.

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The FCSI said this increase in demand will “need to be met” by the supply chain. Additionally, consumer quality expectations will rise and new areas of demand and growth are expected to open up as niche cuisines and unique dining experiences become more popular.

The report also suggested that healthy eating will lead the list of long-term consumer trends influencing market growth, with 46% of consultants indicating this would be the most important factor.

Knowledgeable and demanding consumers (45%), price consciousness (44%), value consciousness (36%) and a growing food culture (35%) completed the top five consumer trends.

The legacy of the recession will continue into 2020 with 65% of respondents saying consumers will be even more value-conscious than they are today.

Niccola Boyd-Stevenson, chairman of FCSI UK & Ireland, said the findings suggest a “reshaping of the market” that will only lead to more business for suppliers.

“What our report has highlighted is that our foodservice market presents significant opportunities for operators and suppliers alike,” she said. “Over the next seven years we will see a reshaping of the market with the frequency of eating out becoming significantly higher, new areas of demand including greater emphasis on healthier eating and new, global cuisines. Our ageing population will also have a dramatic influence on the industry.”

Boyd-Stevenson did sound a note of caution, however, pointing out that it’s “not all plain sailing”.

She said: “Operators and suppliers will face substantial challenges with greater market consolidation and higher food prices putting even more pressure on operating costs. Skill shortages will become even more of an issue for our industry.”

On a cuisine level, consultants foresee a major shift in popular food choices between now and 2020, with healthy eating, South East Asian, British, premium chicken and global fusion categories rising in popularity to replace today’s top five choices (Italian, burgers, Indian, Chinese and fried chicken).

69% indicated that British-sourced food will increasingly determine where consumers eat out of home, with 60% saying consumers will demand more locally sourced menu choices.

Outlets that deliver unique concepts will win in 2020 with new fast food (59%), street food (55%) and pop-up restaurants (51%) being identified as the fastest growing businesses to watch.

Simon Stenning, foodservice strategy director at Allegra Strategies, said: “This report has given us, as an industry, a unique look at what the future holds and will help operators, manufacturers and executives across the board prepare for some challenging but rewarding times ahead. To succeed in 2020, operators will have to offer something special, with experiences that excite and deliver first-class product quality and service.”

Tags : businesscatering equipmentconsultantsfoodserviceManufacturersrestaurants
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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