Irish foodservice market to grow to €8.2 billion – but challenges remain

Ireland’s foodservice market is set to grow by 6.1% this year to reach a value of €8.2 billion, according to Bord Bia.

This was announced by the Irish food board as part of its 2018 Irish Foodservice Market Insights Report, ahead of its annual foodservice seminar which takes place in the RDS today (Wednesday, November 7).

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 practices are disrupting the foodservice industry.

Also, with more operators using food as a tool to compete, new channels such as forecourt food experiences continue to emerge, the report details.

Saturation point

The study also highlights the fact that city centres have now reached close to saturation point when it comes to quick-serve restaurants and cafes, and that a tightening labour market has led to shortages in finding and keeping qualified staff.

Commenting on the report, Bord Bia chief executive Tara McCarthy said: “As the economy has grown, so too has the foodservice industry.

“While we expect to see continued positive activity in the next three years, going forward overall growth figures are likely to be lower than previous years.”

Maureen Gahan, foodservice specialist in Bord Bia, added: “The Irish foodservice industry continues to exhibit strength but, with some cautionary signs on the horizon, it is important that our businesses continue to monitor and plan for Brexit and have a strong focus on cost control.

Our research identified a number of critical strategic issues that will continue to have long-term impacts on the Irish foodservice industry.

“These should be addressed within the strategic planning process to ensure that companies remain competitive and ahead of macrotrends shaping the industry in the years to come.

“We would also encourage companies to prioritise investing in socially responsible activity, particularly packaging and explore ways to differentiate their offering.”

Foodservice Seminar

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 (Wednesday, November 7).

The annual event which discusses emerging trends in the sector will be chaired by entrepreneur and businessman, Bobby Kerr.

Delegates will be addressed by Nicola Knight, senior analyst for 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 at Circle K, on the growing forecourt food 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.

A panel discussion focussing on current foodservice trends will feature contributions from Michael Sheary, Bujo Burger; Mindy O’Brien, VOICE Ireland; Tom Sinnott, Wexford Preserves; and Aoife Ryan, Retail inMotion.

The panel will discuss developments in packaging and sustainability, growing a fast casual business and trends in on-board food service.