Foodservice Equipment Reports

First Quarter Traffic Was Weak In Most Of The World, Reports NPD

Only three of the 10 major foodservice markets tracked by The NPD Group’s CREST studies managed traffic growth in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the first quarter last year, the research firm reports, as recessionary conditions in Europe continued to impact foodservice there. Canada, Australia and China were the only countries to see increased numbers of restaurant visits. Six of the 10 saw sales increases. As previously reported in the June 12 FER Fortnightly, traffic was flat in the U.S. and sales up 2% in the quarter. Canada saw a modest traffic increase and a 2% sales gain during the period.

But even the good news was tempered. China saw the slowest growth in traffic, an increase of about 5%, since NPD began tracking consumer foodservice behavior there in 2010. Overall sales rose 8.1% in the quarter in China.

And Australia’s modest gain may not be sustainable, according to Ciara Clancy, director-NPD Foodservice, Australia. Noting that Australians entered 2013 with optimism, “Concerns around job security still remain with ongoing labor market weaknesses, all of which may raise consumer concern and deflate optimism, resulting in less use of foodservice in subsequent quarters.”

Both sales and traffic fell in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain, as recessionary conditions continued. Bob O’Brien, NPD’s global senior v.p., foodservice, noted that “Eurostat, The European Union’s statistical agency, recently announced that Europe’s recession was the longest since the creation of the single currency in 1999, and the foodservice sector has certainly felt the effects of it.”

Information of NPD Group research can be found at npd.com.

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