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Gazing Into the Bigger Picture

The National Restaurant Association recently came out with its annual "Restaurant Industry Forecast." As usual, it is chock full of data on the foodservice industry, like that it will hit nearly $800 billion in sales, more than one million locations and almost 15 million employees in 2017. Here are a few other highlights of importance to the packaging community:
  • Hot markets: The snack and nonalcoholic beverage segment is expected to have the highest sales gains at “eating places” in 2017, coming in at 6 percent over 2016. In the managed services sector, it’s no surprise that the highest growth market is hospitals and nursing homes (also coming in at 6 percent over 2016). Rounding out the opportunities in the commercial space are strong increases – 6.1 percent – at recreation and sporting venues. 
  • Freezing cold market: There’s only one market segment that is projected to experience a loss in sales compared to 2016, and that’s cafeterias, grill-buffets and buffets (formerly known as "commercial cafeterias.")
  • State projections: NRA projects that the top five states for restaurant sales growth in 2017 will be Florida, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Oregon. Time to consider beefing up your sales forces in those states. Perhaps pull some of your people from the states with the lowest sales growth projections: North Dakota, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Ohio. Finally, California continues to capture the largest sales revenues, with a whopping $82 billion projected in 2017.
  • Trends: This latest report from the NRA highlights the five key trends shaping the industry in 2017. It's proof that foodservice operators have a lot on their plates (tee hee hee). They are focused on difficult business environments, where recruiting is a top challenge. They are trying to tap into pent-up demand for restaurant services and create more "concept-based" food trends, versus "ingredient-based." I think we have Millennials to thank for that one. Finally, technology may play a role in helping foodservice operators, but not everyone is on board with that yet. 
How does the packaging industry better support the bigger foodservice industry? Help with the challenges and take advantage of the possible opportunities. That’s a win win.

Posted By Lynn M. Dyer (President) | 3/28/2017 3:05:13 PM