Threats To The Global Foodservice E&S Market In 2017
We created this annual directory of foodservice equipment and supplies manufacturers throughout the world in 1999 on the principle that foodservice operators want and should have access to all the equipment, supplies, furnishings and related products made anywhere on the globe. We believe strongly that the relatively unfettered movement of goods, of technologies, concepts and brands, and yes, of people, benefits all of us in the long run.
Yes, there should be regulations, especially when it comes to quality and safety, and in labor and environmental standards. No one wants to use ceramic dinnerware with lead in the glaze, a cooking appliance that’s an electrical fire hazard, or a piece of equipment manufactured under conditions that threaten worker safety.
But access to the world of E&S products is now an essential aspect of the market nearly everywhere in the world. Try to imagine a foodservice market in which Yum! Brands KFC would have to find suppliers of pressure fryers in every market in which it does business. Or in which tariffs complicated Hilton or Marriott’s access to leading brands of dinnerware from around the world. Or trade strictures that made German-made combi-ovens or warewashers too costly for a U.S. school district.
A lot has been written and said about the consequences and disruption globalization and new technologies have wrought on developed and developing economies. But we should also all be aware that attempts to move back toward protected local markets will also be highly disruptive.
It’s not that we’re naïve or unsympathetic about the negative impact globalization has had in the U.S., in parts of Europe and elsewhere in the developed world. In the nearly 40 years we’ve been covering foodservice, we’ve watched U.S. manufacturing of ceramic dinnerware, flatware and other smallwares and servingware products nearly disappear. The opening of trade in foodservice equipment brought about by the development of the European Union cost many countries their local foodservice equipment manufacturing bases. A lot of people we’ve met and knew lost their jobs and even their communities. Political elites nearly everywhere in the developed world have failed miserably, with almost wanton disregard, to mitigate the negative impacts of globalized trade on their affected citizens.
So, we shouldn’t be surprised that many question the benefits of free trade. Nor should we be surprised that even politicians who once championed free trade are backtracking. In its nicer form, it’s called responding to electorate.
But we believe all of us in foodservice and foodservice E&S should continue to champion the free movement of goods and services, and with reasonable controls, people. After all, very few industries have been more dependent on immigrant labor than foodservice. Both freer trade and immigration have been very positive for our industry and we should all continue to support them.
We want to thank Christine Palmer, our directory editor, for all her very hard work identifying and keeping up-to-date the contact and product information of the more than 5,000 suppliers in our Worldwide Buyers Guide. Thanks to her, you can identify, research and access all these global E&S suppliers any time in print and through the online version at fermag.com/bg.