Optimism surrounding foodservice sales remains overwhelmingly positive at 74% even though it tapered after high hopes a year ago, when 88% of respondents thought it would improve somewhat or greatly. Just 5% think sales will slow somewhat or greatly in the next year; last year, that number was 2%, an indication that respondents didn’t think things could get much worse. Meanwhile, 21% of respondents think sales will stay about the same in the next year.

The uptick in foodservice sales in 2021 also wasn’t a surprise coming off 2020’s poor pandemic numbers.

In the latest survey, 58% reported performance as up slightly or significantly, compared with 41% a year earlier. Meanwhile, 22% said sales were down slightly or significantly, better than 2021’s 49%.

In dispensed beverages, 84% report having reopened all self-serve dispensed beverage operations, 10% said “some, but not all,” and 6% were still closed. These numbers come as 34% reported shutting down self-serve dispensed beverage operations in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Among the categories that retailers cited as favorites for growth potential: “canned or bottled beverages” and “dispensed regular coffee,” neck and neck for first.