NPD Group releases its first ever complete forecast for the British foodservice market

As British consumers rediscover a sense of confidence about the future, they have started to eat out more. NPD is forecasting that the British foodservice market will grow by 1.1% in 2015 and 1.5% in 2016.

The NPD Group says momentum is well underway following the 0.9% growth in out-of-home (OOH) foodservice visits in Britain 2014, the first rise in many years.

With foodservice seeing fiercer competition and as consumer habits continue to evolve, the NPD Group has produced a detailed complete forecast of British OOH foodservice trends for 2015 and 2016. It begins by analysing the British foodservice sector, details the UK’s economic performance and prospects, and then looks at important consumer trends affecting foodservice. The bulk of the report focuses on forecasts, covering the industry overall and then zooming in on quick service restaurants (QSR), full service restaurants (FSR), casual dining and the travel & leisure sector. There is data on sub-channels too, such as burgers, chicken, fish and chips, sandwiches and bakery within the QSR channel, and hotels, in-store restaurants, bars, clubs and motorway services for the travel & leisure sector.

Which channels will grow? Which will suffer?

“This is our first-ever complete forecast for the British eat-out foodservice market,” said Cyril Lavenant, NPD’s director of foodservice for the UK and France. “Ranked on spend growth to the end of 2016, we are predicting six ‘star’ players – casual dining, quick-service operators serving chicken, pizza/Italian, burgers and coffee, and the hotel channel. But the forecasts are only half the story. Knowing the reasons for why some channels will enjoy growth, and why others are going to suffer, is the key to understanding the market.”

NPD says three key important consumer trends are impacting the foodservice industry. First, thanks to a brighter economy, consumers are looking to treat themselves and their kids. Second, they want more choice and diversity and are much more willing to try something new. Third, when consumers go out to eat, they want a ‘full experience’ and the sense of a ‘social or family occasion’.

These trends will impact foodservice channels in different ways with the branded channels enjoying better growth potential than the independents. The NPD Group says consumers will continue to seek value across the board. Pubs are set to overtake the FSR channel and will be driven by the top chain brands. Pubs will notch up 1.29bn visits by end 2016 against 1.18bn visits for FSR

Casual dining to top £5bn spend by end 2016

NPD Group is also bullish about the entire casual dining segment because the restaurants are exceptionally well positioned to meet core consumer needs for something that combines ‘newness and diversity’ with the opportunity for a “family-oriented treat”. Casual dining will outgrow all other channels and achieve spend of well over £5bn by end 2016, finishing at 13.7% ahead of the casual dining spend recorded end of 2014.