As the leading foodservice agency we like to keep abreast of all the latest trends and data in the market. That’s why on Thursday morning I was up bright and early to attend the Horizons breakfast briefing. Always a useful state of the nation address, it included an overview on how the foodservice market is doing in the current economic climate and what might be in store, as well as what’s new and exciting in the out of home market and some useful consumer insights.
Michael Skapinker, Assistant Editor at the Financial Times chaired the day and Peter Backman kicked off the presentations with a look at the market. Based on the latest 2011 figures, food and beverage sales are currently valued £42.8bil in real terms (allowing for inflation and VAT increase) sadly however, the market has declined by 1.6% and in the next 18 months Peter predicts that we will have conservative growth of less the 1%, bringing us to 2006 levels by the end of 2012 and 2008 levels by the end of 2013.
On the positive side 72% of 18+ year olds are eating out and the key section of the population that tends to eat-out (25-55 years olds) is growing through immigration, but on the negative side rising unemployment won’t help drive the eating out market. Peter went on to share with us details of the market structure and changing route to market mix, as well as his take on the voucher culture, profit margins and our performance compared to the US (which is pretty much in line it would seem). As far as the likely sector winners and losers in the current climate, things are looking good for coffee shops, pub restaurants, managed food led pubs and operators in shopping centres, while time are tough for independent, tenanted and leased pubs, healthcare education and operators on the high street.
Paul Backman then took us through concepts to watch out for, including: Peach, Pod, Coffee 1, Byron and Wasabi, with Brazilian, Mexican, street food, tea bars and British restaurants. While social media, web initiatives, ½ portion sizes and mini desserts also seem to be proving increasingly prevalent in the market. However, although innovation is rife and there are lots of exciting concepts out there, Menurama has highlighted that it’s still the old favourites that top the bill, from beef burgers to steak, fish & chips and roast chicken.
Looking forward to the summer there are a number of factors that will affect the foodservice market including bank holidays, the Queen’s Jubilee and of course the Olympics. Interestingly Horizons don’t see the Olympics as the holy grail for foodservice as some do, they predict hotels and those inside the fence will benefit greatly, but the rest may not do so well! We shall see.
Emma’s presentation on consumer insights touched on the blurring of foodservice and retail the importance of quality and using voucher data cleverly to build loyalty. This was followed by a wrap-up a panel discussion with Compass MD Ian Sarson and Ed’s Easy Diner MD Andrew Guy joining Peter Backman. They covered the issues of people and service, as well as social media and the benefits therein. Interestingly enough Andrew admires two other operator brands that I’m quite partial too as well – Square Pie and Wagamam – now there’s a man with good taste!
All in all it was an informative and well put together event added to by the imposing surroundings of the Armourers Hall. I look forward to the next one!
To find out more about Horizons and download the full presentations from the briefing visit http://www.hrzns.com/annualbriefing-280410
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