New research from IBISWorld takes a look at some of the trends emerging in the foodservice industry, and suggests where operators must adapt. According to the report, changing population demographics and more health-conscious consumers are driving these trends. Highlights from the report are included below.
Diversified menus: “The trend toward health consciousness, coupled with an increasing interest in gourmet and high-quality cuisine, is inducing foodservice operators to adopt value-added options, such as gluten-free foods, farm-to-table restaurant models and locally sourced produce. Additionally, as time-strapped consumers look to maximize their purchasing power without sacrificing food quality, they will continue to drive demand for niche foodservice players like food trucks,” the report said.
Ethnic cuisine is expected to play a bigger role on menus throughout the next five years, driven by changing demographics.
Sushi concepts are on the forefront of the ethnic cuisine trend. The report said sushi restaurants are experiencing 3.2-percent annualized growth.
As consumers explore more ethnic cuisines, hot/spicy flavors are also on the rise. IBISWorld says the hot sauce industry has grown more than 3.5 percent throughout the past five years, largely driven by the surge of Hispanic or Latino immigrants.
“This growing demographic has introduced a vast assortment of spicy cuisines to American palates, and the market’s response has been overwhelmingly positive. Restaurants have adapted to their customers’ changing tastes by offering fiery dishes, many of which rely on hot sauce for their distinctive flavors,” the report said.
More consumers are changing their eating habits to be healthier, which has led to the growth in alternatives such as soy and almond milk rather than cow’s milk. The growth of froyo chains also indicates a demand for healthier eating, the report states. Revenue for the frozen yogurt industry is expected to grow 22.5 percent annually to 2014, while, conversely, ice cream and gelato revenue growth is expected to decrease 1.3 percent annually.
A demand for high-quality gourmet meals and unique dishes is driving the growth of the food truck segment. The IBISWorld report says the food trucks industry is expected to continue growing at an annualized rate of 4.2 percent to 2019 as a result of “strengthening demand for affordable, high-end gourmet options.”
Environmentally sustainable eating environments that serve farm-to-table and locally sourced dishes, will also become increasingly common.
Craft beer and artisan drinks will also continue on a growth trajectory. The report says the craft beer production industry is forecasted to grow 12.6 percent, especially in the fast casual and full-service segments.