Eating out in Ireland is now valued at a record €7.8bn, according to Bord Bia. It is growing at an annual rate of almost 5% and is expected to hit €9bn by 2020.
Bord Bia has found that the grab-and-go trend and demand for healthier options continues to drive growth in food consumers out of home.
The foodservice market consists of more than 33,000 individual outlets.
It includes restaurants, pubs, hotels, coffee shops, workplace catering, hospital, education, and vending.
Bord Bia’s 2017 Irish Foodservice channel Insights Report shows that quick- service restaurants, fast-casual dining and food-to-go accounts for 35% of consumer spend.
Full-service restaurants account for 12% of consumer spend.
Consumer spending in pubs (excluding alcohol) accounts for 17% of the market value and is showing a lower year-on-year growth rate than the overall market.
Bord Bia said Brexit was partly to blame for pubs not doing as well as other foodservice areas. This was because of decreased weekend trips and holiday visits to Ireland by British travellers.
The report shows that the biggest share gains were made by the hotels at 17%. Also, coffee shops and cafes now account for 6% of the market.
Incidentally, flat whites are this year’s trending coffee beverage. Coffee is now regarded as an affordable luxury among consumers who also seeking out alternative milks.
Bord Bia’s foodservice specialist, Maureen Gahan, said much of the investment that operators had made in quality and service upgrades had helped fuel the food- service growth.
Ms Gahan said stores had started taking out their shelves and putting in seating because they knew that people were spending more money on foodservice.
“It is growing at a faster rate than the retail market and those who are getting it right are seeing the benefit,” she said.
She said the increased demand for healthier options did not necessarily mean the lowest calorie option on the menu. “It is about having great tasting food that is going to leave you feeling good afterwards.”