Horizons Forecasts 2014 Foodservice Growth Of 3.8% In The U.K.

The recovery of the foodservice market in the U.K. is fragile, but Peter Backman, managing director of Horizons FS Ltd., a London-based research firm, expects positive real and nominal growth for the market in 2014. Backman presented the forecast at the Horizons Annual Briefing in London in March.

With the theme, “Return to Growth: Myth or Reality,” Backman said that while foodservice posted marginal real growth of less than 1% in 2013, after several years of declines “this year (is) likely to return to 2006 levels showing (real) growth of 1.8%, which … means (nominal) growth of 3.8%.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been confident enough to predict real growth in the foodservice market,” he said. “In the recent past, the margin squeeze that operators have experienced has eased, and for the last couple of months, we have been moving into positive territory—this is good news for businesses in the sector.”

But Backman also warned that consumer confidence remains fragile, weather is always a factor and world events, such as the crises in Ukraine and Syria as well as the referendum on independence is Scotland, create uncertainty. “No one could have predicted Horsegate!”

He urged operators to develop a loyal band of customers who can accept price increases more easily, as the pub sector has done. “Winning in the market is not just about being the lowest cost operator,” he said, “it’s about creating an experience that consumers want.”

Information on Horizons research products is available at hrzns.com. “””

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