2012 Category Breakdown, Part 5: Foodservice

Growth through 2014 will outpace previous the previous four years

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

[Editor's Note: In its second-annual category review, CSP takes a look at first-half 2012 sales data to determine how the industry is performing so far this year. In this five-part CSP Daily News series, we look at four major categories. For the complete report, see the September issue of CSP magazine.]

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- Murphy Oil USA saw foodservice sales grow 3% to 4% in the first half of 2012. It's a bit less than the chain of more than 1,100 convenience stores would have liked, but it's ahead of the c-store industry as a whole and double that of foodservice-industry growth in general.

"Growth in c-store foodservice has outpaced overall industry sales since 2008," according to the recently issued Technomic Inc. report Outlook & Opportunities in C-Store Foodservice. "The segment experienced nominal sales growth of 2.8% over the past four years, compared to just 1.5% for the entire foodservice industry," it said.

For El Dorado, Ark.-based Murphy Oil Corp.'s Murphy USA, dispensed beverages kept Ben Lucky, category manager for foodservice and dispensed beverages, guessing for much of the first half of 2012.

"Beverages are running about flat, maybe up or down 1%, depending on which market it is," he told CSP Daily News. "As temperatures now are coming up and staying up, I'm actually seeing a 7% week-to-week jump that puts the subcategory back where we should be [compared to] the same time last year."

Not that cooler weather doesn't have its perks. "The corollary is that my coffee sales were actually up," Lucky said. "So early on [the weather] was friendly to coffee and not friendly to fountain, and then vice-versa."

On the food side, Lucky found good fortune with prepared sandwiches and prepared heat-and-eat items, two areas that Technomic predicts will grow over the next couple of years.

"Projected foodservice category growth in convenience stores through 2014 is expected to exceed the previous four-year period, driven by soups and salads, fully cooked meats, frozen dispensed beverages and pizza," according to the Technomic report. "Of the major foodservice categories, only cold dispensed beverages are expected to grow less."

Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
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