Global Foodservice Weak in 2008

Canada, U.S. faring better than other countries surveyed by NPD
CHICAGO -- Fewer visits to foodservice outlets across the globe was among the effects of the worldwide economic downturn, according to market research firm The NPD Group. NPD reports that the last half of 2008 was particularly weak for global foodservice traffic, largely due to a sharp drop in demand in the fourth quarter.

According to NPD's CREST, which tracks commercial foodservice usage in France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdon, Italy, the United States and Canada, and now China, restaurant traffic counts declined in Japan and across Europe. Italy and Spain [image-nocss] had relatively steep traffic declines, and the United States, compared to other countries was relatively resilient and ended the year slightly up from prior year. Canada is an exception to the lackluster year for the global foodservice market. Consumer spending at Canadian restaurants, driven by both traffic and average eater check, grew in 2008. (Click image to view chart.)

"While deals and promotions helped drive the small traffic growth at U.S. restaurants in 2008, such value-oriented practices are largely unfamiliar in other countries," said Bob O'Brien, senior vice president of global foodservice at NPD. "Instead, other countries are much more aggressive with product variety as an enticement to visit."

Broken down by restaurant segments, such as quick service, full service and retail outlets, traffic to quick-service restaurants fared well in most countries, but was strongest in Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Japan, where quick service is a small part of the Japanese foodservice market.

"The global foodservice market in 2008 mirrored the economic downturn throughout most parts of the world, but there were positive areas too" said O'Brien. "Foodservice operators and manufacturers need to get organized around the positive areas and have a solid understanding of what will drive growth as we emerge from today's weaknesses."

The NPD Group is a leading provider of consumer and retail information for a variety of industries. It helps clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys and wireless.


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