Great Britain led the developed markets in foodservice traffic gains and the fledgling Russian foodservice market continued to increase consumer visits in the Q1 compared to same period year ago, reports The NPD Group. Improved consumer confidence and mild weather helped Germany’s foodservice sector, which has had several quarters of traffic declines, gain visits in the quarter, according to a news release.
An improved economic environment in the early months of the year encouraged a 2-percent traffic increase in Great Britain. Visits to Russian foodservice outlets grew by 6 percent, driven by “newness of the market,” the release said.
Meanwhile, Australia and China saw a modest gain of 1 percent in traffic.
As has been the story from many companies and analysts, harsh weather kept foodservice customers away in Canada and the U.S. Also, Spain and Italy continued with steep visit declines in the quarter as each continue to struggle with economic challenges.
"In the year’s first quarter, Germany’s foodservice market benefited from an improving economy, increased income levels, moderate inflation, and strengthened purchasing power amongst German consumers,” Jochen Pinsker, NPD’s SVP of Foodservice Europe, said in the release. “A look at the individual foodservice segments showed the strongest growth at on-site foodservice areas, like workplace and educational catering, which benefited from calendar effects, such as Easter and bank holidays.”
Foodservice chains, which have stayed buoyant since before the global economic crisis, were weak in a number of markets. Major chain traffic was flat in Canada, Japan and the U.S. in Q1 compared to year ago, and down in Spain and Italy.
In every market tracked by NPD, chains are larger than they were in 2007, and independents are smaller than they were in 2007.
“While there is a persistent drumbeat of more positive economic news in most developed markets, it’s hard to declare the industry has turned to a growth path,” said Bob O’Brien, NPD Global SVP.