Hotel and catering sector set for larger share as revenues in the food industry recover

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Hotel and catering sector set for larger share as revenues in the food industry recover

  • Opportunities in benefitting from rising away-from-home consumer spending
  • ‘Meaningful fresh products’ as an opportunity for producers to stand out
  • Quality and trust still the most important foundations of the food industry

Expenditure on food in 2014 was down 0.1 percent relative to 2013. For the food industry, the greatest growth opportunities lie in fresh products. Following years of economic decline, consumer expenditure away from home in particular is expected to increase again this year. This presents opportunities for producers that are geared not only to retail but also to the hotel and catering sector and to comfort, for example by offering products that can be sold through a variety channels, that surprise the consumer and that benefit from the increasing number of daily eating moments. This is ABN AMRO’s conclusion in its Vision on Food 2015, published today. Authentic local products and ethical and healthy food are becoming increasingly important to more and more consumers. This is evidenced by the number of small-scale local fresh produce boxes, the declining consumption of sugar and calories and the increasing volumes of water that people are drinking.

Increased popularity of meaningful fresh products

Producers can give their products additional meaning, ABN AMRO believes, by telling the story behind their products – either directly or else indirectly through the retailer – and focusing more closely on the specific benefits that they offer their targeted market. Caterers and wholesalers can benefit from the opportunities presented by the aging population, the increasing number of single-person households and other factors to further develop food concepts (specifically fresh food) for home consumption. Wholesalers face the challenge of cutting their operating costs and increasing their procurement power in respect of producers. Their prices still differ significantly from retail, and ABN AMRO believes that this is adversely affecting competition.

Product origins increasingly important

The food industry can improve its image by focusing on quality, food safety and the origins of the products. ‘The story behind the product is becoming more important as a way to bind consumers. For example, the fishing industry faces the challenge of tempting younger consumers to eat fish, by stressing the health aspects. The meat sector can also create opportunities by developing meat concepts based on flavour, freshness and sustainability, to reflect consumer preferences. This will require the supply chain to focus even more strongly on animal health, animal welfare and food safety. This can only be achieved by cooperating, exchanging expertise and introducing clear direction throughout the supply chain,’ explains Rob Morren, Sector Banker Food at ABN AMRO.

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