Against a backdrop of rising household consumption, increasing national wages and falling unemployment, Horizons’ managing director Peter Backman forecast a value growth of over £10bn for the UK’s foodservice sector by the end of 2019.
Speaking at the company’s Annual Briefing, held at the London headquarters of global law firm Dentons, Backman said that in 2014 the value of the foodservice sector saw a nominal growth (including inflation) of 3.8%, with real growth at 2.9%, giving it a current value of £46.6bn.
“We expect the market to continue to grow over the next five years, and factoring in the impact of inflation, it is likely to reach a new value of £56.3bn by 2019,” he told the audience of operators, analysts and suppliers.
Things are looking good
“More robust levels of consumer consumption have been prompted by the fact people are now less exposed to high levels of borrowing, are more certain of their jobs, and are buoyed by low inflation. This is great news for the eating out sector – and while it’s not racing ahead, it is growing at a higher level than we have seen since before the economic downturn,” he said.
“Overall things are looking good for the UK’s foodservice market with group operators driving much of that growth, in particular pizza delivery outlets, managed branded pubs, pub restaurants and coffee shops.”
Margins were improving, he said, giving operators money to invest, evident in a number of businesses changing hands, rebranding or expanding.
“The use of discounting and money-off vouchers has levelled off, with operators using them much more tactically to support particular events or occasions, such as Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day,” Backman added.
Increased average spend
Horizons’ director of marketing & business development Emma Read outlined the fact that average spend on a three-course meal has risen in the past year to £14.48. Another ongoing trend is that 35-44 year olds are eating out more than ever. “We are now also catering for a slightly older average customer, whose needs and habits have changed and vary depending on the occasion, the location and the time of day.”
Read said that current food trends included the increasing number of regional American dishes on menus as well as those of world cuisines such as Vietnamese, Peruvian and Egyptian. There was also a trend towards catering for health and well-being considerations as well as offering more indulgent dishes.
Smaller chains set to grow
Horizons’ director of services Nicola Knight highlighted some of the smaller chains set to become high street brands of the future from Horizons’ Ones to Watch survey, including Fuel Juice Bars, Dunkin’ Donuts, Abokado and Tortilla Mexican Grill.
“Juice bars, Mexican and specialists such as Pieminster and Dunkin’ Donuts are growing their estates and there is still plenty of room left for growth in the coffee sector,” she said. “In terms of regional expansion the UK’s hotspots for development include Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and some of the UK’s market towns, along with London.”
Horizons’ MD Peter Backman rounded off the event with a message to operators:
“Keep in touch with the way people are eating out now and the products they want – the market is changing all the time and if you don’t offer what they want, someone else will.”
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