In advance of its annual foodservice seminar which takes place in the RDS today, Bord Bia released the findings of its 2018 Irish Foodservice Market Insights Report which shows that Ireland’s foodservice market is set to grow by 6.1% this year to reach a value of €8.2billion.
The report tracks trends in consumer behaviour when eating out of home and also highlights some of the challenges the industry faces in light of the significant growth in recent years.
Findings from the report show that consumer demand for convenience and sustainable practises are disrupting the foodservice industry and that with more operators using food as a tool to compete, new channels such as forecourt food experiences continue to emerge.
The report also highlights the fact that city centres have now reached close to saturation point when it comes to quick serve restaurants and cafés, and that a tightening labour market has led to shortages in finding and keeping qualified staff.
Convenience is key with consumers looking to source food ‘anytime, anywhere’. A continued emphasis on convenient options such as takeaway and delivery will drive growth and spread to other segments that traditionally don’t cater for this, including full service restaurants, pubs and even hotels.
Furthermore, consumers are looking for more experiences when eating out. Restaurants and foodservice are increasing seen as “entertainment” and consumers are willing to spend on something that is unique and different. Occasions will increasingly be divided into those that are convenience driven and those in which consumer demand “something unique.”
The report predicts that third party delivery is possibly the biggest disruptor as technology provides app-enabled ordering which is increasingly growing into segments that haven’t traditionally delivered such as full-service restaurants and even pubs. Delivery-only kitchens are starting to appear in other countries and will likely be an area of focus for delivery companies in Ireland.
The report also predicts that the growing on-demand foodservice culture is driving the popularity of cashless, click and collect and third-party delivery options. As more tech-enabled solutions enter the market, much of the ‘front of house’ experience between consumers and the operator could ultimately become automated.
The changing palate of the Irish consumer has seen the rise in demand for ‘fresh and locally sourced’ not only to meet the needs of ‘health and wellness’ but also for sustainable business practices. Plant-based diets are no longer fringe and while the percentage of consumers that are vegan or vegetarian remains small, consumers are increasing looking for alternatives options.
Commenting on the report, Bord Bia Chief Executive Tara McCarthy said, "As globalisation continues and Ireland remains an attractive location for expansion of multi-national foodservice operators, Irish provenance and its sustainability credentials remains a strong differentiator and something that Irish consumers see as unique and important to their decision making process which is encouraging for Irish food and drink suppliers."
The findings of the report will be shared with more than 300 delegates at Bord Bia’s Foodservice Seminar taking place in the RDS today. The annual event which discusses emerging trends in the sector will be chaired by entrepreneur and business-man, Bobby Kerr.
Delegates will be addressed by Nicola Knight, Senior Analyst, IGD who will highlight the latest trends and best-in-class foodservice operators from Europe’s food-to-go market and Paul Doggett, Head of Category Management, Circle K on the growing forecourt foodservice offering.
Attendees will also hear from Stuart Fitzgerald of LEON Ireland on the future of fast food and Grace Binchy, Consumer Insight Specialist with Bord Bia on how global consumer lifestyle trends are influencing out of home consumption.