Retail Foodservice Forecast Brighter (By Comparison)

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Retail Foodservice Forecast Brighter (By Comparison)

By Bob Ingram - 11/18/2010

It’s that time when everyone and his or her brother goes out on his or her limb, takes a deep breath, hopes nobody saws the limb off, and makes a forecast for the coming year. The folks at Technomic are no exception, and their forecast will undoubtedly evoke shudders in some quarters and sighs of relief in other segments of the foodservice industry.

The overall outlook for the foodservice sector is a tepid growth rate of 1.7 percent next year, up from a flat market in 2010, which if comes to pass, will produce a miniscule 0.3 percent gain. That 1.7 percent figure looks pretty good until Technomic adds the caveat that the growth will be driven largely by some increases in menu pricing and operators passing on higher commodity costs. The real killer is the market research firm’s prediction that the entire industry will potentially decline 0.3 percent in real terms.

Restaurants are expected to “underperform” and casual dining will still lag in expected growth. No good news in that quarter. A bright moment for supermarket foodservice is that Technomic expects our segment to do “relatively well” in 2011 -- even with a projected 9.3 unemployment rate, slow growth in disposable income, and food costs inching higher in 2011. The CPI for food away from home is expected to grow 2 percent next year as opposed to 1.5 percent in 2010.

Supermarket foodservice operators can make that “relatively well” prediction even more relative by paying heed to the latest need-to-know foodservice news below regarding breakfast, lunch, snacks, and desserts. There’s also a trio of reports which should buck up morale in the supermarket foodservice trenches for 2011.