As goes consumer confidence so goes the global foodservice industry and when consumer confidence sagged in the second quarter this year so did foodservice traffic in most countries around the world, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. Foodservice industry traffic around the globe reflected the uneven, unpredictable path of the economy, with traffic down or flat in most countries with the exception of China.
According to NPD’s CREST®, which tracks commercial foodservice usage in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States, foodservice visitsdeclined in Australia (-1 percent), Canada (-1 percent), Japan (-3 percent), and Spain (-6 percent) and traffic remained flat in Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States. China showed the strongest visit gains with a +15 percent increase. Countries also showing traffic growth, although slight, were France (+1 percent) and Italy (+1 percent). Consumer spending at foodservice was flat in Japan and Spain but increased in the remainder of the countries tracked by NPD’s CREST service.
Global changes in Foodservice traffic and spending
(Source: The NPD Group/CREST, quarter ending June 2011)
“With so much uncertainty surrounding the local and global economy, consumer confidence remains low and hence it is difficult to forecast any real improvement in foodservice traffic,” says Guy Fielding, managing director of NPD’s UK foodservice. “In addition, the recent riots in the UK will negatively impact the third quarter foodservice figures as consumers refused to venture into city and town centre’s due to the unrest.”
While full service foodservice concepts posted declines in most countries, quick service restaurants (QSR) increased some growth in every country, including Japan that continues to recover from last March’s Great East Japan Earthquake. At work (OnSite) foodservice traffic is generally down due in most part to high unemployment. Only in France where the economy is relatively stable is there growth in OnSite.
“The foodservice industry is truly a bellwether of the economy and, regardless of country, the consumers’ state of mind,” says Bob O’Brien,global senior vice president, foodservice at NPD. “The second quarter foodservice measures werea direct reflection of the times.”