Covid-19 to hit foodservice sector for more than £44bn

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Spending slump: 'our Sentiment Survey provides a much-needed ray of hope for restaurant operators and suggests diners will be keen to enjoy the experience of eating out with their friends,' NPD's Dominic Allport said
Spending slump: 'our Sentiment Survey provides a much-needed ray of hope for restaurant operators and suggests diners will be keen to enjoy the experience of eating out with their friends,' NPD's Dominic Allport said

Related tags: Food, Finance, Tenanted + leased, Gastropub, Freehouse, Dining room, Public house

Consumer spend in restaurants and other food-led outlets is forecast to plummet by 57.8% year-on-year as part of a near £200bn drop in spend during 2020.

According to global market research and insight company Mintel’s British Lifestyles 2020​ report, total UK consumer spend is expected to fall by 14.9% or £183.6bn in 2020 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and knock-on effects such as lockdowns and trading restrictions.

Mintel calculated this equates to a drop of about £6,600 per household – with the biggest decreases found in the transport, foodservice, and holiday industries.

Second only to the slump seen in the transport sector, total consumer spend in foodservice is forecast to plummet by 57.8% or £44.3bn – on average £1,593 per household. 

However, the report also predicted the sector will bounce back to the tune of around £17.7bn in 2021.

Mintel’s report also found the amount spent on food, alcoholic, and non-alcoholic drinks for home consumption swelled by £11.2bn, or just over £400 per household. 

“The Covid-19 lockdowns have had a profound impact on consumer spending, decimating the transport industry, and broader travel and leisure sectors,” Mintel associate director of consumer lifestyles research Jack Duckett said.

“But some sectors have benefited from the lockdown, with retail sales of food and drink boosted as all eating and drinking occasions moved into the home.  

“Although consumer spending will recover from this year’s astonishing £180bn drop, it will undoubtedly be a long path to recovery. Mintel forecasts suggest pre-Covid levels will not return until 2023 at the earliest.”  

Customers keen to return 

Yet despite the clamour for home delivery during the pandemic, global information company the NPD Group found n appetite for the on-trade remains, that Brits still very much value eating and drinking out-of-home and will return to venues when they can. 

NPD’s latest Sentiment Survey revealed half of respondents (50%) prefer to dine out or get a takeaway from a restaurant when spending time with friends, with almost six in 10 (58%) saying they choose restaurants to eat “something special”.  

“Delivery has thrived during the pandemic, and we expect to see a strong performance in November too,” Dominic Allport, insights director (foodservice) at NPD said.  

“Our Sentiment Survey provides a much-needed ray of hope for restaurant operators and suggests diners will be keen to enjoy the experience of eating out with their friends, and some special meals in restaurants when they can. 

“With so many operators struggling, let’s hope this happens sooner rather than later." 

These findings came after data from global intelligence platform Streetbees revealed that 3% of Brits have already made multiple post-lockdown bookings in pubs, bars and restaurants over the festive period, while 6% have made one-off reservations.  

On top of this, global intelligence platform Streetbees found that just over a third (36%) of respondents haven’t yet made a booking but plan to do so.

Furthermore, more than a third (37%) of pubgoers stated that England’s second national lockdown would not make them more reluctant to return to their local​ when allowed to do so.

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