Experts take a bite out of data to present the future of the Foodservice Industry
8th Jul 2011
Two of the UK’s leading retail experts joined a data analysis expert this week, to discuss the opportunities open to the foodservice industry as part of a special briefing hosted by Amadeus, one of the UK’s fastest growing venue and event caterers, at RHS Hampton Court Flower show on 7 July. This industry briefing was hosted by Alyson Cawley, Managing Director of Amadeus, as part of a breakfast briefing at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
Richard Perks, Director of Research at Mintel – an industry-leading supplier of market research – opened the event with a presentation on consumer trends and outlined the opportunities available to foodservice suppliers.
“Until recently, consumers have been resisting the recession and continuing their ‘boom time’ attitudes. However, as a result of continued financial pressures and waning confidence in the economy and employment, the leisure industry in particular is seeing a decline in sales,” commented Perks.
Studies found that consumers considering their financial situation as ‘tight’ had risen from 21% in mid 2009 to 31% in March 2011. This also sat alongside a general concern for finance, which rose by 10%; from 48% to 58% in the period November 2009-March 2011. The research also stated that ‘dining out’ was still number one for consumers on their entertainment agenda.
Also joining the expert panel was Ben Perkins, Head of UK Food & Drink Research at Mintel, whose research looked further in to the foodservice industry.
“Although the general retail market has seen a decline in sales, our research predicts a steady rise in the market value of leisure venue catering in the coming years, with the value of the industry predicted to climb from £2.1billion to almost £2.3billion by 2015,” commented Perkins.
Delving deep in to the buying trends of consumers, the Mintel research identified the movement into ‘fast casual’ dining, with 37% of people stating that they prefer to “refuel” rather than sit down for a full meal. With rising oil prices and lower disposable income driving people to more UK attractions, Mr Perkins identified that the emphasis be placed onwhypeople visit attractions andwherethey make that decision. Over 50% of people said that special events led them to specific venues and 48% stated that recommendations and internet searches helped them make their decisions. This, Mr Perkins said, was an opportunity for venues and venue caterers to explore how they communicated with prospective visitors.
Mr Perkins continued by telling guests that today’s food consumers concentrate on four key areas; provenance (local sourcing and traceability), the ability to have a ‘quick snack’, the idea of exclusive dining, and the ability to have a healthy lifestyle. By taking these areas into account he said that leisure venue caterers have the ability to resist the weak economic climate because dining out still remained a strong priority for consumers and by understanding and researching what they want, venues and caterers could provide the most effective and profitable services.
In addition to the Mintel findings, Adi Clark, Head of Insight & CRM at the NEC Group, built upon these ideas and discussed the importance of research to the foodservice industry in surviving the economic climate. Clark, who recently won ‘Best Venue Marketer’ at the Exhibition News Awards, discussed how his in-house Insight team uses consumer data to benefit the NEC Group’s catering business, Amadeus:
“With a key focus on visitor demographics and brand preferences we are able to advise Amadeus on who their key audiences are and what they want when visiting venues. By going into detail about where people come from and what brands they buy we can then compare this with extensive market intelligence, such as that displayed by Mintel today, and shape strategies for Amadeus. Our industry intelligence helps us in setting price points and developing menus at specific venues, upselling hospitality and targeting our market correctly.
Insight’s ability to interpret customer behaviour enabled Amadeus to take a unique approach to the menu planning for RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, which alongside the expected great food quality and innovation, helped secured the contract.
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show joins an ever growing list of prestigious events that Amadeus cater for, including the Barclay’s Scottish Open golf tournament, who’ve been clients for the past ten years, The AEGON classic Tennis and, most recent addition, the 2012 Olympics, where the company is responsible for catering throughout the Olympic Park North, serving around 100,000 people per day.
Alyson Cawley, MD of Amadeus commented:
“We brought together these leading experts to demonstrate not only the current conditions we, as a whole, face in the foodservice industry but to also provide an insight into the predicted trends and ways that businesses can use them to their advantage. From the findings we can see that despite the current climate the leisure venue catering industry is strong and consumers still consider eating out a key part of their lifestyle, so as caterers we need to ensure that we’re offering the best and most relevant services to customers.”
“As part of the NEC Group we have access to the unique work carried out by Adi and the Insight team, which helps Amadeus shape its offering not only to end consumers but to our partners and clients too – at the end of the day we want to provide them with a service that will keep their customers coming back. We chose to host this briefing at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show as part of the re-brand. We aim to bring more to the table for all our customers. More Insight. More innovation. More care.”
As a division of the NEC Group, Amadeus is well-versed in catering for thousands of visitors a year, having spent the last 35 years supplying the NEC group’s world class venues – the NEC, ICC, NIA and LG Arena- where it supports around 900 events a year for 4.1million visitors, as well as sharing its expertise over the last 10 years at a number of external events and venues including The Barclays Scottish Open and Dunhill Links Golf, plus numerous historic houses within the UK. For more information, visit www.amadeusfood.co.uk.