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'Grab-and-go' trend and demand for healthier options continue to drive growth in food consumed out of home

Value of Irish foodservice market rises to reach record €7.8billion in 2017

Date: 08/11/2017

@bordbia | #foodservice17

Bord Bia today released the findings of its 2017 Irish Foodservice Channel Insights Report in advance of its annual foodservice seminar which takes place in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. The report shows that Ireland’s foodservice market continues to grow and is now valued at a record €7.8billion, comprising over 33,000 individual outlets. The foodservice market includes all food consumed out of home incorporating restaurants, pubs, hotels, coffee shops, workplace catering, hospitals, education and vending.The report, which also tracks consumer behaviour and sentiment when eating away from home, highlights that take away, or grab-and-go concepts, are one of the key drivers of foodservice growth and that healthier foods are trending and influencing menu ideation.

According to Bord Bia Chief Executive Tara McCarthy, “During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to create data-driven solutions for our food and beverage clients. Today’s seminar and the new research that we are bringing to the foodservice market reflects our ongoing commitment to delivering relevant insights”.

Foodservice Market in Ireland

Over one third (35%) of consumer spend is found in Limited Service Restaurants*, which incorporates quick-service restaurants, fast-casual dining and food-to-go, with 12% attributed to Full Service Restaurants. Consumer spending in pubs (excluding alcohol) accounts for 17% of the market value and is showing a lower year on year growth rate than the overall market attributed in part to Brexit which has decreased weekend trips and holiday visits to Ireland by UK travellers. The two segments showing the biggest share gain are the hotel segment, accounting for 17% of total foodservice consumer spendingand the coffee shops and cafes which now account for 6%.

Maureen Gahan, Foodservice Specialist in Bord Bord added “We’re delighted to report that the sector remains on track to grow at a compound rate of 4.9% and to reach a value of €9 billion by 2020. Ireland has started to become known as a “food destination” and much of the investment operators have made in quality and service upgrades have helped fuel the foodservice growth witnessed in the island of Ireland (IOI)”.

Continued economic prosperity hascontributed to a relatively strong and healthy foodservice industry and a number of key trends include:

  • Coffee shops and cafes maintain their position as the fastest growing sector, and the investment in beverage has been seen across all segments as operators strive to provide High Street level coffee and beverage programmes to their guests.Flat whitesare this year’s trending coffee beverage with coffee perceived as an affordable luxury among consumers and health trends are beginning to shape coffee orders with consumers seeking out alternative milks.
  • A rise in fast-casual concepts (limited service but generally more upscale offering higher quality ingredients and higher average spend than quick-service) to meet the consumer demand for higher-quality foods at an affordable price.
  • Technology is a foodservice-enabler and third party delivery is causing some disruption and seeing strong growth, particularly in major urban centres as a result of younger consumers and business travellers favouring convenience.
  • A focus on provenance can be seen particularly with new chains finding success in labelling menu items as “fresh” and “local which are often associated with “better for you” items.
  • Large foodservice brands and forecourt stations are aligning to the consumer demand for healthier options and so upgrades and investments continue, with a focus on fresh foods and made-to-order offers.
  • The introduction of new cuisines and variety into the Irish diet as a result of the continued entry of International brands into the Irish market. This is also creating additional competition for home-grown brands.

Foodservice Seminar

The findings of the report will be shared with more than 300 delegates at Bord Bia’s Foodservice Seminar taking place in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin today. The annual event which discusses emerging trends in the sector will be chaired byentrepreneur and business-man, Bobby Kerr. Delegates will be addressed byJoe Barrett, Chief Executive, Applegreen regarding how the ‘food-to-go’ segment has evolved and is changing the face of forecourt convenience. Attendees will also hear from Jack Kirwan, Founder, Sprout, who will share his insights on providing a healthy food offering to meet the needs of millennials, how technology is improving efficiencies and the importance of transparency when it comes to sourcing ingredients.

A panel discussion focussing on the drivers of foodservice growth will feature contributions from Liam Cox, Deliveroo; Thomas Ennis, Thomas Ennis Group; Barry Murphy, Paganini Desserts and Olivia Duff, Headfort Arms and Boyne Valley Food. The panel will discuss the growth in trends such as food tourism and third party delivery, along with the growing importance of food to go within the retail channel and how suppliers can benefit from a partnership approach with foodservice customers.

About the Research:

Over the past three years, Bord Bia has commissioned Technomic to deliver new research and insights on the Irish foodservice marketplace. Deep dive insights on the QSR and food-to-go market were published in 2015 and a broader assessment of the entire foodservice market was published in 2014 and 2016.In 2017, a full update on the island of Ireland foodservice market was requested, examining the likely direction of each foodservice channels and the implications in terms of product and service requirements. The process undertaken as part of this research included a large range of in-depth interviews coupled with existing secondary data. 

Restaurant Classifications:

Limited Service Restaurants include:

  • Quick Service Restaurants: limited service, primarily characterised by offering counter service and/or drive thrus. Typically refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients.
  • Fast Casual restaurants:also limited service, but generally more upscale with higher quality ingredients and higher average spend.
  • Food on the Go: includes convenience stores, supermarkets, and petrol stations with forecourt convenience stores. Traditionally, the food offer has been pre-packaged but there is an increased movement toward fresh prepared foods

Full Service Restaurants

Full Service Restaurants generally focus on table service, serving lunch or dinner. Menus generally offer a complete range of items often using fresh ingredients – appetisers, soups, main courses and desserts are accompanied by a wine or beverage list

Market Breakdown


2017 Irish Foodservice Market2017 Consumer Spending (€M)2017 Operator Purchases (€M)2016-7 CAGRTotal Outlet Count
Limited Service (QSR, fast casual, food to go) € 2,715 € 904 3.5% 8,905
Full Service Restaurants € 943 € 311 3.4% 3,175
Pubs € 1,353 € 392 0.7% 8,400
Coffee Shops and Cafes € 424 € 123 6.9% 2,275
Hotels &Accommodation € 1,343 € 457 5.7% 1,275
Other Commercial € 291 € 102 5.1% 1,050
Total Commercial € 7,070 € 2,289 3.6% 25,080
Business and Industry € 302 € 145 1.6% 2,075
Healthcare € 231 € 118 -0.1% 1,140
Education € 144 € 62 0.4% 4,940
Other Institutional € 40 € 20 1.8% 200
Total Institutional € 717 € 345 0.8% 8,355
Total IOI € 7,787 € 2,635 3.3% 33,435
Republic of Ireland € 5,683 € 1,916 5.8% 26,845
Northern Ireland € 2,104 € 718 -2.7% 6,590

Foodservice Seminar Agenda

  • 9.45-10.30 Registration, Tea & Coffee
  • 10:30 – 10:45 Welcome Note: Bobby Kerr, Chair
  • 10:45 – 11:00 Opening Address: Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia
  • 11:00 – 11:20 2017 Irish Foodservice Channel Insights Maureen Gahan, Foodservice Specialist, Bord Bia
  • 11:20 – 11:45 Out of Home Consumer Trends What’s happening in Ireland and globally David Henkes, Senior Principal, Technomic
  • 11:45 – 12:10 The changing face of Forecourt Foodservice Joe Barrett, Chief Executive, Applegreen
  • 12:10 – 12:30 Q&A with Bobby Kerr
  • 12:30 – 13:15 Lunch & Networking
  • 13:15 – 13:40 Serving the needs of today’s Fast Casual consumer Jack Kirwan, Founder, Sprout
  • 13:40 – 14:30 Panel Discussion: What’s driving Foodservice Growth?
  • Olivia Duff, Headfort Arms and Boyne Valley Food– Food Tourism
  • Liam Cox, Deliveroo– Growth of Third Party Delivery
  • Barry Murphy, Paganini Desserts– Developing a Partnership Approach
  • Thomas Ennis, Thomas Ennis Group– growing importance of F2G within the Retail channel
  • 14:30 – 14:45 Wrap Up: Bobby Kerr