Hospitality businesses will need to forge closer relationships with their suppliers in order to reassure customers about the integrity of the supply chain, according to buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.
With signs that consumers are starting to spend more on eating out as the economy picks up, Lynx Purchasing believes that an increasing number will seek out operators who can give them confidence in what they are eating.
As the company publishes the Summer 2014 edition of its Market Forecast, the company expects restaurants, pubs and hotels that can form genuine partnerships with suppliers to gain an advantage with customers.
John Pinder, Lynx managing director, said: "With last year's horsemeat scandal still fresh in consumers' memories, newspaper headlines in May focused attention on the use of halal meat by a number of restaurant and foodservice businesses. It was clear that one of the concerns for consumers was that operators may not be asking their suppliers the right questions.
"As consumers become increasingly interested in the provenance of their food, more of the operators we work with are asking us to link them with suppliers that share the same values and commitment."
The Market Forecast also looks at the prospects for food pricing across the summer and into the autumn with an overview of market and pricing trends for hospitality operators
Some areas for concern highlighted by the Market Forecast are:
• Potentially higher prices for beef and lamb. In the US, beef production is behind demand for the first time in many years, which has led to South American beef being diverted to make up the shortfall. This drives up demand for UK and Irish beef in turn. Meanwhile, with British lamb prices at their usual seasonal high, demand for Australasian supplies remains strong from China and the emerging markets.
• Continued high prices for farmed salmon, due to increased global demand and insufficient stocks, as well as supply issues with farmed tiger prawns due to the Early Mortality Syndrome virus in Asia.
• Imported fruit is likely to cost more due to problems with disease, including a fungus spreading through banana crops and the potential of a European ban on South African citrus imports due to Citrus Black Spot.