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Venue caterers urged to study consumer food trends to benefit from sector growth

By Emma Eversham , 11-Jul-2011
Last updated on 11-Jul-2011 at 17:36 GMT

Event and venue caterers are being urged to check that their food and drink offerings are in line with consumer trends so they can take advantage of predicted growth across the sector in the next four years.

Research by Mintel, revealed at a breakfast briefing by venue and events caterer Amadeus, found that despite the leisure industry suffering a recent sales decline, the market is expected to grow from £2.1bn to £2.3bn by 2015.

It also found that although consumers had cut back on spending overall, when they did have spare cash the majority (34 per cent) said they would spend it on dining-out, rather than putting it into savings or going out (both 33 per cent).

However, when it came to visiting historic buildings, museums and galleries, only 66 per cent of people ate there too and of those, 37 per cent preferred a quick snack. By comparison, 75 per cent of cinema-goers buy food when at the movies.

Key areas

Ben Perkins, head of UK food and drink research at Mintel said leisure venue caterers should take four key areas deemed important by consumers into account so they can deliver the ‘most effective and profitable services’.

“Today’s food consumers concentrate on four key areas; provenance (local sourcing and traceability), the ability to have a ‘quick snack’, the idea of exclusive dining, and the ability to have a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “By taking these areas into account leisure venue caterers have the ability to resist the weak economic climate because dining out still remains a strong priority for consumers.”

Alyson Cawley, managing director of Amadeus, supplier of catering at the NEC, Bolsover Castle and Coventry Transport Museum among others, said the research provided an insight into the predicted trends for foodservice and how businesses could use it to their advantage.

“From the findings we can see that despite the current climate the leisure venue catering industry is strong and consumers still consider eating out a key part of their lifestyle, so as caterers we need to ensure that we’re offering the best and most relevant services to customers,” she said.

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