Inflation rates set to drive demand within the US foodservice sector

Press release   •   Apr 08, 2013 12:28 BST

Profit within the US foodservice market accounted for 88.2% of total sales over the past five years, showing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2%.

2012 had both positive and negative effects on the US foodservice industry. With consumer confidence on the rise, total transactions and sales grew, growth however, remained stagnant as the total number of outlets declined, primarily driven by the restaurants sector.

Despite the slow pace of the economic recovery in the US, confidence among consumers began to improve over the past year. Many Americans started to increase the frequency of their foodservice purchases, but their price- sensitivity acquired during the recession proved difficult to shake.

Operators catered to this demand with everyday value pricing and smaller, lower-priced snacking items that could satisfy the urge for a small indulgence while still keeping costs low.

Over the past few decades, the market for fast food has grown more rapidly than that for food in full-service restaurants. As part of their growth strategy, fast food companies built more outlets closer to consumers' homes and work places to make it more convenient for consumers to purchase meals and snacks.

Many restaurant companies opened outlets in non-traditional locations such as department stores. In addition to convenience, a household's demand for food-away-from-home is affected by its income and demographic characteristics.

Any shift in market share between fast food and full-service restaurants could influence the mix of foods and services offered by both types of restaurants. For example, if trends favour full-service restaurants, the market could shift to include more full-service restaurants that offer a wider range of menu selections and dining amenities. In response, fast food restaurants might introduce comparable foods and services.

In previous years, many major brands in the US specialised in specific time segments during the day, including specialist coffee shops like Starbucks that conduct the majority of sales during breakfast hours and fast food concepts like Taco Bell that cater strongly to mid-day and evening crowds.

In the increasingly competitive environment of 2011, however, many major brands opted to expand into new day parts in order to increase the potential number of daily eating occasions in which customers might visit their stores.

Through to 2016, the sector is expected to experience renewed demand with positive employment numbers and a low rate of inflation. In contrast to the past five years, the market is anticipated to demonstrate growth during as a result of better consumer confidence and expenditure from 2013 to 2016.

For more information on the US foodservice market, see the latest research: US Foodservice Market

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