As a newbie to foodservice, I jumped at the chance to attend the Horizons Key Club & Study Tour last week, which aimed to provide an introduction to the industry and an update for those already familiar with it.
Focusing on the sector as a whole as well as delving deeper into the customers, suppliers, distribution paths and trends, there was a lot to take away from the session. Here are my top ten learnings from the session:
1. The figures are HUGE – food and drink sales to consumers tops £44.9 billion (this excludes drinks not served with food). The foodservice industry serves 7.8 billion meals per year.
2. The UK foodservice industry still has a long way to go before it can reach USA levels – UK foodservice is currently 28% of the total food and drink industry (including retail) while in the USA it is 48%. This shows there are growth opportunities in the UK market.
3. Only 1/3 of a caterer’s total spend is on food and drink, the rest is spent on labour and other items such as equipment and rent.
4. Despite the fact the frequency of people eating out has declined over the past four years, the average meal spend per head has increased.
5. The largest foodservice sector is quick service which accounts for over two billion meals served in the UK.
6. There is a potential threat from retailers to become delivered wholesalers / cash and carries – in many cases the infrastructure to be a supplier to foodservice is in existence i.e. online sales and delivery options.
7. The terms used on menus to describe food are increasingly important to customers, with ‘homemade’ the most popular amongst foodservice brands. This shows customers are drawn towards fresh and authentic food.
8. Growth sectors include casual dining, Mexican, fast casual, healthy eating and Japanese.
9. The breakfast-to-go market is growing at the same rate as the lunch-to-go market – there are huge opportunities surrounding this.
10. Menu trends include sharing options (platters, sliders, tasters etc), innovation (e.g. honeycomb cannelloni) and premium adaptations (e.g. of burgers, ‘posh’ fish and chips, sweet potato fries etc).
Many thanks to Horizons for arranging this session.
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