The Irish foodservice sector is set to grow by 6.1% this year, giving it a valuation of €8.2bn for 2018, according to the latest Bord Bia Irish Foodservice Market Insights Report.
The report was released at Bord Bia's annual foodservice seminar, which took place in the RDS on November 7th. The report tracks trends in consumer behaviour when eating out of home and also highlights some of the challenges the industry faces following the significant growth in recent years.
Findings show that consumer demand for convenience and sustainable practices are disrupting the industry, and that with more operators using food as a tool to compete, new channels such as forecourt food experiences continue to emerge.
Three meals a day are no longer considered the norm - non traditional working practices and increasingly diversified timings for social occasions mean the standard of breakfast lunch and dinner is disappearing.
Consumers are looking for experiences when eating out, and are willing to spend on something that is considered unique and different; while tech-enabled solutions are chipping away at the front of house experience.
Bord Bia speculates that city centres in Ireland have reached close to saturation point for quick serve restaurants and cafés, 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: “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.”