The Irish foodservice sector relates to ‘out of home eating’ including restaurants, pubs, hotels, cafes etc and Pallas believes that the renewed optimism from business owners in the sector is due to a number of factors which are creating positive momentum in the sector, namely: the economic recovery where customers are spending more of their disposable income; increased forward bookings for the tourist season and new food offerings to meet changing customer demands.
Interestingly, the launch of the Wild Atlantic Way was also cited as one of the primary reason for renewed growth optimism.
In relation to consumer spend, business owners surveyed found that their customers are eating out more, but 55% found that they’re not purchasing more when dining out. 44% found that their customers were purchasing more when out, the trend moving from 2 to 3 course meals.
Like all other business sectors, the increasing cost of running a business in Ireland and competition are the two biggest challenges facing Irish foodservice businesses today. 30% of those surveyed highlighted increasing overheads as an issue while 29% highlighted new competition and entrants to the market as an issue.
“Pallas Foods looks to 2015 with the same optimism and confidence of our customers,” commented . Peter Foley, Executive Vice President of Pallas Foods, “That confidence is based on the recovery that is happening but is also related to the rate of innovation and change that is happening in the sector, all of which is geared to meet the growing needs and sophistication of Irish consumers.”
Other survey findings are summarised as follows:
Supporting Irish producers
- Over 70% of those surveyed commit to using Irish ingredients on their menu
- 29% of those surveyed use between 40% & 60% Irish produce on their menu
- 41% of those surveyed use between 60% & 80% Irish produce on their menu
- 8% of those surveyed only use Irish produce on their menu.
Changing Consumer Tastes
The continued growth of gluten-free menu options was highlighted by those surveyed.
o 53% highlighted that their customers were requesting gluten-free menu options
o 13% highlighted Ingredient traceability
o 9% highlighted calorie information
o 8% highlighted international flavours.