The food service sector remains optimistic about the next 12 months, despite the global credit crunch and fears about falling consumer spending, research will reveal today.
The Senior Executive Top of Mind Survey, published by research group Allegra Strategies, surveyed 187 senior executives at companies such as Spirit, Compass, Caffè Nero and Wagamama, as well retailers and suppliers.
It found 84% of those surveyed thought the trading environment in the next six months to a year would either stay the same or improve. Just 16% believed things would deteriorate.
One reason for optimism may be that 70% of those quizzed believe consumers will be eating out more in five years' time than they are today, with considerable growth in eating on the move.
Far and away the most important consumer trend mentioned by executives was healthy eating (63%) with convenience (40%) and food provenance (33%) next.
Rising food costs were the single biggest concern for businesses (50%) and attracting and retaining staff, innovation and sustainability were also identified as big challenges.
The most-admired brands
Nearly 70% of respondents to the Allegra survey believe that brand identity will become more important in the next five years. The most-admired brands are: Pret A Manager, Starbucks Coffee, Carluccio's, PizzaExpress, Giraffe, Nando's, Costa Coffee and Caffè Nero.
By Chris Druce
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