Welcome to the January edition of Bord Bia's Ireland Market Foodservice Newsletter and Happy New Year to all of our subscribers.
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Trend of the Month
Retail Meets Foodservice
The new owners were quick to announce a planned overhaul of the flagship Oxford Street store in London. In addition to upgrading the food hall, they also plan to develop a luxury hotel in part of the building – serving travellers’ needs for convenience when staying in the city.On Christmas Eve, the 113 year old Selfridges business was sold by the Weston family to Thai retailer Central Group and Austrian property firm Signa Group for a £4 billion price tag.
Following close to two years of Covid-19 restrictions and stay at home mandates, consumers are increasingly craving experiences that entice them away from online and back out into the ‘real world’. The pairing of retail and hospitality opens up opportunities for brands to provide both engaging and luxury offerings, thus tapping into consumer pandemic saving pots.
General Industry News
Irish consumer sentiment reached its lowest level since February
Business Post – 23.12.2021
Irish consumer sentiment reached its lowest level since February in December, due to concerns over the spread of Covid-19 as well as fears over the rising cost of living. KBC Bank’s consumer sentiment index showed “a clear and material deterioration” in the mood of Irish consumers of late but “not a complete collapse in confidence”, Austin Hughes, the bank’s chief economist, said. “The sense that the pandemic and price pressures may prove more persistent and problematic than previously thought – and the ghosts of previous spikes in both – mean the December sentiment index speaks of seasonal fear rather than seasonal cheer,” he said.
Passenger numbers at Dublin airport up 14% last year
RTE - 12.01.2021
Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport increased 14% to 8.46 million last year, when compared with 2020. Traffic figures released by the airport reveal that passenger numbers for 2021 were down 74% when compared to numbers in 2019, as Covid-19 continued to impact the aviation sector across the world. Two thirds of all passengers who travelled through Dublin Airport last year did so in the months of August, September, October and November - which equates to 5.6 million passengers. In total, 8.3 million passengers either started or ended their journey through Dublin Airport, while 155,000 of the overall number used the airport as a transfer hub last year. When compared to 2020 figures, short-haul traffic increased by 17% to 7.5 million, while long-haul passenger numbers decreased by 1% to almost one million. However, the figures show this is a drop of 83% when compared with 2019 passenger numbers for long haul pre-Covid-19 and 73% for short haul.
Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) & Pub Sector
Irish Domino's Pizza firm pays €8m dividend
Independent.ie – 31.12.2021
A company controlled by a Northern Ireland family that operates about 30 Domino’s Pizza outlets across the island paid an €8m dividend to its shareholders earlier this year, newly-filed accounts for the business show. The accounts for Shorecal show that revenue at the business rose 3% to €55.2m last year. Its pre-tax profit climbed to €10.5m from €8.8m. Of its revenue, €37.3m was generated in the Republic of Ireland, and €17.8m in Northern Ireland. “At the time of approving the financial statements, the group remains exposed to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which has had a negative effect on its trading activities for 2020 and has resulted in a lower than expected level of trading activity,”
McDonald’s McPlant burger now available in all UK restaurants
Propel – 06.01.2022
McDonald’s has released its vegan burger – the McPlant – in all of its UK and Ireland sites following a successful trial. The McPlant was co-developed with Beyond Meat and is marked as the fast-food giant’s first official fully plant-based burger option. Taking over three years to develop, the new item features a Beyond Meat Patty with a vegan cheese slice based on pea protein, vegan sauce, vegan sesame bun, mustard, onions, pickles, ketchup, lettuce, and tomatoes. It joins the menu as part of Veganuary and the chain has also confirmed that the vegan option is cooked separately from all other McDonald’s products and uses dedicated utensils. Michelle Graham-Clare, chief marketing officer for McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said: “We’re so pleased that our McPlant is now officially ‘everywhere’ and available for more of our customers to taste and enjoy. We saw a remarkable response to the trial period back in October and now McPlant is on the high-street, in retail parks and service stations all over the UK and Ireland so all of our customers will be able to try it.”
Hotel & Restaurant Sector
Hatch & Sons Announces Venue Closures
Hospitality Ireland – 10.01.2022
Hatch & Sons has announced the closure of its venues in Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery and beneath the Little Museum of Dublin. Hatch & Sons stated on its website, “We are so disappointed to announce that Hatch will no longer operate in either the Hugh Lane Gallery or under the Little Museum of Dublin on St. Stephen’s Green in 2022.” According to Hatch & Sons. “Froom 2020, there were simply not enough tourists or office workers to sustain sales in any meaningful way. Despite some attempts to pivot, it was clear we had lost 96% of our revenues for 2021.”
Dublin Airport to get €100m investment in new terminal-linked hotel
Irish Times – 06.01.2022
Dublin Airport is to get a €100 million investmen in a new terminal-linked hotel that will create up to 550 jobs. Fingal County Council has given the green light to UK hotel group Arora for a 410-bedroom luxury hotel adjacent to Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. The project is Arora’s first move into the Irish market. Arora owns and operates 12 hotels – including 10 airport hotels in the great London area. It has hotels at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead airports. The new hotel will be one of the largest in Ireland when finished. The planned 11-storey hotel has a total floor area of 30,566sq m and will feature a leisure cente with a gym, steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi on the third floor. It will also have a penthouse bar and executive lounge area on the top floor.
Casual Dining & Contract Catering Sector
Freshly Chopped signs 120-site partnership deal
Propel – 06.01.2022
Dublin-based, healthy fast-food brand Freshly Chopped plans to open 120 new sites across Europe over the next five years after agreeing a new partnership deal with Dutch company Fresh Food Fast Company International Holding. The deal will see the business open new sites in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Launched in Dublin in 2012, Freshly Chopped currently operates sites across Ireland, the UK (Manchester and Leicester) and Cyprus, employing over 1000 people. The new deal will see Fresh Food Fast Company own the Freshly Chopped master fanchise until 2032. The first site under the new partnership will open in February in Leiden, Netherlands, with a further seven outlets planned to open in the country in 2022
Compass Ireland to Launch Checkout-Free Store in 2022
Checkout.ie – 16.12.2021
Compass Group Ireland plans to launch its first fully “frictionless” checkout-free store in a workplace in early 2022. The Irish store, a first for the foodservice sector, is set to open in Dublin in the New Year and will be followed by sites in the UK during 2022. Frictionless units will be established within corporate clients’ offices as well as in the sports and leisure centres. The new stores will utilise AiF’s AI-powered computer vision technology which allows shoppers to purchase items in-store without having to wait in line or stop to scan or pay. The stores will typically stock a selection of both hot and chilled “grab-n-go” dishes, drinks and confectionery.