Pubs – quarter of €6bn foodservice sector

Although the decline in the number of pubs in Ireland has been well-documented, this channel still accounts for over a quarter of consumer spend in the foodservice sector, demonstrating that improved food offerings in pubs have gained traction with consumers.

Bord Bia’s new Foodservice Channel Insights Report reveals that Ireland’s foodservice market has grown from €6.07 billion in value in 2013 to €6.13 billion this year, with growth forecasts to almost €6.5 billion by end 2017.

The report indicates that Fast Food continues to dominate Irish foodservice channels at 38.1% of the market but pubs come second with 25.3%.

‘Health’, ‘entertainment’ and ‘unique offerings when eating out’ rank among the main expectations from  today’s diner, although price is still a key consideration.

Bord Bia published its report at its recent annual industry seminar in Dublin attended by over 200 Irish food suppliers and foodservice trade buyers.

Speaking at the seminar, Bord Bia’s Foodservice Specialist Maureen Gahan said, “The sector has continued to experience moderate improvements in 2014, with a positive outlook expected over the next few years. Growth in consumer spending is predicted to be up 1.9% on a compound annual growth basis through to 2017.”

Optimistic indicators for the future of the foodservice market’s performance lie in the rise in disposable income, increasing consumer confidence and greater tourist numbers. The report mentions that agreement by the Government to retain the 9% VAT rate for hospitality in this year’s budget will provide stability into 2015.

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland has welcomed the new study which recognises the contribution of the Irish pub to the country’s food offering.

The study outlines not only the volume of food on offer at Irish pubs up and down the country but also, critically, the quality on offer. This copper-fastens last week’s latest Michelin awards guide where 34 Irish pubs received accolades.

Meanwhile, the report also points to the importance of the Irish pub to Irish tourism. In a recent survey of over 1,500 visitors to Ireland, 21% cited the quality and variety of food available as one of the reasons their holiday exceeded their expectations.

Studies also reveal that a significant proportion of overseas visitors use Irish pubs for meals. Figures, for example, show that 36% of people visiting Dingle, County Kerry, used pubs for sustenance.

VFI President Noreen O’Sullivan commented, “This study serves to highlight the exceptional standard of food on offer in the pub. More and more publicans are focusing on changed offerings with a real emphasis being put on quality food. Further, the decision of the Government to implement and maintain the 9% hospitality VAT rate is bearing fruit for both business owners and consumers.

“Overall, pubs the length and breadth of the country are adapting to meet customer demands. They’re finding their own individual niches and filling these niches well to the benefit of their customers.”

Other trends highlighted in the in-depth report into the “out of home” food and drink market include:

  • Health and Wellness continues to experience growing consumer demand, with notable moves towards increased nutritional information on menus.
  • Value is still dominant and opportunities exist for producers engaging in lean, efficient production and delivering foodservice innovation. As consumer prices have remained relatively stable over recent years, operators have been required to increase their level of innovation to manage costs and attract customers.
  • The origin of food and drink products is identified as a driving trend within the trade. To the extent that where a ‘local’ or ‘made in Ireland’ positioning can be used, it can provide a meaningful point of differentiation. With growing interest in ingredients, manufacturers need to be completely transparent about labelling, nutritional and sourcing information declarations.
  • While traditional menu options remain important to core foodservice offerings, consumer interest in ethnic cuisine is growing and is opening up new opportunities for outlets to broaden their menus and restaurant offerings.


Irish Foodservice Market Directory 2014

Bord Bia also published its Irish Foodservice Market Directory 2014 today, which includes detailed profiles of over 100 operators and wholesale distributors. It’s aimed at providing companies with key background information on potential customers and advice on how to drive their foodservice business.  

Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free