The Foodservice Sales Story Isn’t As Clear As It May Seem

The Lempert Report
September 28, 2016

The truth behind the Acosta and Technomic 2nd Edition of The Why? Behind The Dine

There have been a bunch of headlines touting how consumer spending on foodservice has surpassed sales of food at retail 50.6% to 49.4%. While foodservice operations are rejoicing, the key to the truth behind the Acosta and Technomic 2nd Edition of The Why? Behind The Dine report rests in the description: share of consumer spending. 

This is an important distinction as no one would argue that food that is prepared at restaurants, QSRs and even prepared foods in supermarkets is more expensive than buying similar offerings in a supermarket and bringing them home to cook and consume. The number frankly I would like to see would be based on the volume of food, less waste, to calculate just how much food is being consumed from each outlet. Just looking at dollar sales is not enough. 

Having said that, I still find value in the finding from the report. 

In the three months prior to surveying consumers for the report, Acosta and Technomic report that 95% of consumers prepared meals at home and 85% ate restaurant meals. 17% of consumers picked up food at farmer’s markets, which represents triple-digit growth from 15 years ago. 16% of consumers ate meals from food trucks. 14% ate meals from the dining area of convenience stores. 8% are ordering meal or ingredient kits online for home delivery. 

Enter the Grocerant. Consumers are spending $27.5 billion on fresh prepared foods from their supermarkets – a dollar increase of just over 10 percent as compared to overall supermarket growth that is relatively flat. 

The Acosta report says that younger diners and those with children are more likely to embrace grocery prepared food, and 64% of Millennials and 67% of diners with children bought grocery prepared food in the three months prior to survey, compared that to only 57% of consumers overall. 

It goes on to point out that grocery shoppers use different digital tools than restaurant diners – relying more on emails (28% vs 18%) and social networking (20% vs 15%) than other options. Restaurant diners, on the other hand are more likely to use mobile websites (17% vs 11%). A wise lesson for those operating Grocerants. 

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