Consumers are hungry for healthy, convenient foods – and the foodservice industry is proving it can deliver.

According to recent figures, the U.S. consumer foodservice market reached $587 billion in 2018 and experts predict sales will exceed $633 billion by 2020, representing an impressive 8% increase.1 Market value of consumer foodservice in the United States from 2015 to 2020 (in million U.S. dollars). Statista. 2019.

Foodservice offerings located within grocery stores can fuel sales, as shoppers demand more fresh foods and better-for-you groceries found around the store’s perimeter. Supermarket prepared foods and in-store dining have grown nearly 30% since 2008, accounting for 2.4 billion foodservice visits and $10 billion in consumer spending in 2015.2 Skrovan, Sandy. Supermarket foodservice goes upscale: Will shoppers bite? Grocery Dive. March 6, 2017. In addition, the commercial foodservice industry serves hotels, airlines, hospitals, university campuses and casinos.

Earlier this month RangeMe parent ECRM hosted a Foodservice at Retail efficient program planning session (EPPS), and a Commercial Foodservice EPPS in Braselton, Georgia, to address the needs of various foodservice stakeholders.

The retail-focused event connected buyers from retailers like Amazon, Kroger and UNFI/Supervalu with food and beverage suppliers of ingredients, prepared foods, equipment and supplies, and grab-and-go meal options. The commercial event attracted buyers from companies like AMI Inflight, Inc., Desert Diamond Casinos and Joey Restaurant Group.

Both events connected foodservice buyers and suppliers and discussed exactly what’s in demand for effective product discovery and strategic sourcing while proactively adapting to emerging trends to stay competitive.

In addition to roundtable discussions about the latest industry trends, the events’ highlights included news about:

  • Grocerants: Kelley Fechner, Director – Customer Solutions at Datassential shared her predictions on how grocerants (restaurants inside grocery stores) will evolve over the next decade to drive traffic amid increasing competition and complexity.

  • Better-for-you megatrend: Michael Hahn, General Manager at Diversified Marketing shared practical tips for retailers to adapt their foodservice offerings to capitalize on unrelenting consumer demand for healthy food and beverage items.

  • Market forces: Stephanie Nicklos, Director of Foodservice at ECRM, shared a strategic overview of external factors that challenge retail foodservice growth and how to adapt, including embracing online sales, home delivery and restaurants.

  • Competitive differentiation: David Arens, Divisional Merchandise Manager – Consumables at Exchange spoke about the power of competing with creative and unique on-premise foodservice offerings that drive traffic to retail stores.

  • Talent management: At the Commercial Foodservice EPPS, Donald Burns, Founder and CEO of Off the Range Ventures, LLC shared his proven experience and tips to help foodservice companies attract, train, and retain top talent.

Unlike trade shows, these EPPS sessions allowed foodservice stakeholders to share information ahead of time to match buyer needs to supplier offerings. Attendees received a curated list of appointments that allow productive, focused one-one-on discussions designed to ensure a good fit that could drive business.

Attending EPPS session helps suppliers, retailers and foodservice companies set themselves up for success. As consumers seek convenient, local, culinary and healthy food offerings, companies in the foodservice industry can collaborate to deliver a unique consumer experience to drive revenue and long-term loyalty.

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1. Market value of consumer foodservice in the United States from 2015 to 2020 (in million U.S. dollars). Statista. 2019.
2. Skrovan, Sandy. Supermarket foodservice goes upscale: Will shoppers bite? Grocery Dive. March 6, 2017.

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