The Future of Foodservice - Big opportunities and potential disasters ahead for the restaurant and food industry

The Future of Foodservice - Big opportunities and potential disasters ahead for the restaurant and food industry


The food service industry has a challenging period of change and opportunity ahead of it that could produce some major difficulties too. The industry is implementing new technology to make the product more convenient and easily available and has had some success, but potential failure to meet consumer is ever present and a number of big brands have failed in their attempts to innovate.

The food service supply line remains under heavy threat from environmental pressures and over farming, and the industry will have to find ways to make its products more sustainable and safe. Consumer tastes are changing and there is a large gap in the market to better provide healthy, organic and vegan food in future for a new generation of people that want different products.

Ethics in the industry is a continuing concern and the wages of workers, the safety of the food and deliberately misleading food information is reducing consumer confidence in the industry. Some of the leading brands are struggling to properly connect with customers at the moment and have sales dropping significantly, but so too are many businesses making big changes to exploit new opportunities in the food service industry.

Key Highlights

  • Foodservice is an industry that for a long time relied upon more or less the same methods of selling and delivery, but technology has had a transformative impact beyond what many analysts imagined when the internet became a feature of everyday life. Product innovation has been somewhat speedy.
  • Major brands are investing heavily into creating online and mobile platforms that make products exciting and attractive to consumers. Food has never been so convenient and the encroachment of technology into a buying experience that formerly only involved at most a phone call is beginning to dominate.
  • Foodservice, particularly in restaurant form, suffers when costs rise due it being one of the most controllable areas of spending for most people. Producers should take note.
  • Various environmental threats in the oceans and on land threaten to interrupt supply and make products more expensive. For businesses that are predicated upon reliability, convenience and speed, environmental factors constitute a rising threat to the key points of attraction many customers demand.
  • The industry will have to adapt by ensuring supplies are more secure and sourced from sustainable sources. Many consumers are becoming more environmentally aware, driving the growth of flexitarians, and it will become of increasing importance in the coming years.
  • A critical eye has been cast over the entire food service industry in recent years and it has largely been found wanting in many areas. From new modern delivery services through to traditional tipping culture and even to the way our food is grown and supplied, there is a kind of inherent exploitation of something or someone built into the actual business model.
  • This has largely been less important historically, but now that animal welfare standards and minimum wages are coming under the spotlight so too are certain food service businesses with questionable practices.
  • Learn how technology is changing the food service industry.
  • Examine the threats to the food service industry supply chain and what can be done to improve food security.
  • See how consumer tastes are changing and what food service companies are doing to adapt.
  • See how much of a problem ethics and wages are for the industry.
Reasons to buy
  • What are the major changes happening in the foodservice industry?
  • Who are the major players implementing those changes
  • What problems does the industry currently face?
  • What does the future of the industry look like?
  • Are there any major opportunities for players to capitalize on?

Executive Summary 2
Innovative Technology is transforming food service industry 2
Foodservice industry under pressure from threats to supply chain 2
Millennials have specific requirements when it comes to food 2
Wages in the food service industry are more important than ever 2
Food service industry will need to clean up its act to suit changing tastes 3
Innovative Technology is transforming food service industry 8
Starbucks targets artificial intelligence to improve consumer spending 8
Digitization of Domino’s Pizza has proved highly successful - rivals are taking note 9
World’s largest food service delivery company, Delivery Hero, is changing food service forever via data 10
Whilst fast-food convenience thrives, Amazon targets grocery deliveries 11
Gig economy is making app-based food service function, but this may not last forever 12
Foodservice industry under pressure from threats to supply chain 14
Poisoned soil raises concerns over agriculture in developing world 14
Oceanic dead-zones pose major environmental concerns for food service companies 15
Global fish stocks are in decline due to overfishing - food service companies face severe long-term issues 16
Conditions of animal rearing to become more relevant to foodservice industry as consumer awareness rises 17
Environmental disasters are increasing threat to food supply security 18
Food Retail: Millennials have specific requirements when it comes to food 20
Healthy and ethical foods are more important for this generation 20
Fast casual shows just how important convenience is for millennial customers 21
Introducing new fashionable ingredients to remain on trend 22
New ordering tech and home delivery very useful for businesses 22
Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat have brought restaurant food to the home 23
Money is a big issue for millennials as they are underemployed and have less disposable income 24
Wages in the food service industry are more important than ever 26
Minimum wages are back on the table and new consumers are aware 26
Deliveroo and Uber Eats are the future of the industry but they are not pristine in image 27
Tipping culture is inherently discriminatory and will need to change in future 28
US tipping culture continues to cause problems for the restaurant business 28
It is uncertain if consumers actually mean what they say 29
Robotic replacements are coming 30
Food service industry will need to clean up its act to suit changing tastes 32
Food industry is constantly hit by food safety scandals 32
Number of vegans has grown dramatically, due to concern over industry practices 33
World is trending towards plant based eating and the major brands are aware 33
Restaurants need to better display their healthy eating credentials 34
Sugar scandal is due to change the industry significantly 34
There are big opportunities for ethical food businesses 35
Key Findings 36
Appendix 37
Sources 37
Further Reading 37
Ask the analyst 38
About MarketLine 38
Disclaimer 38
List of Tables
Table 1: Nestlé’s announced goals for its food range 34
List of Figures
Figure 1: Starbucks revenue 2009-2017 ($bn) 8
Figure 2: Domino’s Pizza net profits 2012-2016 ($m) 10
Figure 3: Delivery Hero moped 11
Figure 4: Amazon Fresh delivery truck 12
Figure 5: Chinese soil pollution 14
Figure 6: Map detailing ocean ‘dead-zones’ 2008 15
Figure 7: Overfishing of Atlantic and Mediterranean 2010-2015 16
Figure 8: Free-range eggs sold in UK 2006-2017 (thousands of cases) 18
Figure 9: NASA 2100 climate change projection 19
Figure 10: Survey of three generations over willingness to spend more on healthier products 20
Figure 11: USA average obesity levels by age group 2016 21
Figure 12: Sriracha & Kale Burger from McDonald’s 22
Figure 13: Self-service checkout from McDonalds 23
Figure 14: Millennial unemployment, US 2017 24
Figure 15: % of generation that purchases food away from home twice a week 25
Figure 16: US states with minimum wage increases 2017- 2018 US$ 26
Figure 17: Deliveroo workers protest for better working conditions 27
Figure 18: Consumer attitudes towards issues in the food service industry 28
Figure 19: Rates of obesity in millennials and baby boomers by 45 years old in UK 29
Figure 20: Prototype robotic kitchen from Moley Robotics 30
Figure 21: Plant based diets UK 2006-2016 32
Figure 22: Veggie Pret, the vegetarian Pret a Manger 33
Figure 23: Google trends showing the global hotspots for vegan related google searches 35

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