Improving economic conditions are providing a foundation for foodservice growth in the UK, according to new figures from The NPD Group.
With unemployment decreasing slightly at the end of 2014 and consumer confidence remaining positive, the foodservice industry posted a 2% rise in spend during the fourth quarter versus the same period a year ago.
NPD says the growth equates to more than £261m in extra spend.
Consumers ate meals out more often (+0.8 percent in visits) and spent more (+1.2 percent in average spend per visit) compared to the previous year.
The quick service restaurant (QSR) channel continued to outperform the market, with the sector witnessing a 2.3% increase in consumer spending.
Travel & leisure also grew strongly (2%) in Q4, showing the full effect of the economic upturn.
NPD said the growth of weekday occasions was another sign of foodservice stabilisation after years of consumers eating out at weekends and viewing weekday restaurant visits a non-essential treat.
It insists this is no longer the case, as operators’ efforts to step up and innovate finally paid off in the fourth quarter. Consumers were tempted to also venture out of home during the week, showing consumers were thinking treats no longer needed to be limited to weekends.
All core dayparts continued to march on in QSR, and dinner joined the party with 3.1% growth in traffic in 2014 compared to 2013 in this channel.
Lunch and breakfast remained key drivers of growth in the quick service restaurant channel, showing 3.2% traffic growth at lunch and +5.6% at breakfast in 2014. Dinner was also strong with 3.1% growth in traffic.