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Hitchin’ a Ride on the Foodservice Industry’s Coattails

A couple of weeks ago, the National Restaurant Association 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 more than $709 billion in sales, one million locations and 14 million employees in 2015. That got me thinking about what that report means for the foodservice packaging industry. Here are my thoughts.

·      Hot markets: The snack and nonalcoholic beverage segment is expected to have the highest sales gains in 2015, coming in at 5.2 percent over 2014. Compare this to the quickservice/fast casual restaurant segment (4.3 percent) and tableservice segment (2.9 percent). How’s your line up of snack and beverage packaging offerings?

·      State projections: NRA projects that the top five states for restaurant sales growth in 2015 will be Arizona, Florida, North Dakota, Texas and Colorado. Of course, don’t forget about California – the state that rakes in the highest foodservice sales in the U.S. 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: Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, West Virginia, Minnesota and Ohio.

·      Challenges: Restaurateurs list food costs, building and maintaining sales volume, the economy and recruiting and retaining employees as top challenges for 2015. What does this mean for packaging? It seems cost will continue to be a driver of packaging decisions, especially as operators are facing higher costs in other areas of their business. As for sales volume, we know that packaging can help drive sales, especially through new catering and snack time opportunities. Do you offer packaging that enables these efforts?

·      Opportunities: According to the NRA, consumers continue to have substantial pent-up demand for restaurant services: 38 percent of consumers say they are not eating on the premises of restaurants as frequently as they would like; 41 percent say they are not purchasing takeout or delivery as often as they would like. Imagine what would happen to packaging sales if those 41 percent got takeout/delivery as much as they would like!

Since our industry supports the broader foodservice industry, the results of NRA’s latest report are certainly very encouraging for us. If you would like review more details from NRA’s report, or to purchase it in its entirety, please click here.

Posted By Lynn M. Dyer (President) | 2/17/2015 5:10:34 PM