The New Trends in the Foodservice Industry Friddle, Sandeep and Jean’s The food service industry: trends and changing structure in the new millennium (2001) is an exploratory study investigating current trends in the foodservice industry. This study offers a review of current and future developments in the economic, technological and labor markets and their implications for the foodservice industry. The study findings indicate that changing customer demographics are the driving force behind the developments in the food service industry. The article notes that the baby boomers’ food consumption demand has been on the rise in the recent past.
These consumers are not concerned about recession and unemployment, they tend to value retail and in-store experience and record the highest number of high-end restaurant visits. In addition to this, they are more concerned about their health while purchasing products and services (11). This article is, therefore, important in understanding the changing landscape of consumer demographics and its implications to the foodservice industry. It also equips food retailers and restaurants with relevant strategies for segmenting the market and designing products and services that meet the needs of the various population cohorts.
Friddle, Sandeep and Jean (13) observe that the continued growth in the baby boomer and senior’s segment is driving further outcomes in the foodservice industry. Firstly, there has been the emergence of grocery and foodservice under one retail store and one business enterprise. This phenomenon occurs because the consumers in older market segment have the tendency to match ready-to-eat foods with other groceries, beverages and fresh produce ingredients as a way of customizing their eating diets.
Secondly, there has been continued competition in the foodservice industry as the various foodservice providers seek to increase their market share and tap into this lucrative market segment. Thirdly, there has been continued increase in food product and menu innovation with the aim of increasing quality, eating experience and gaining competitive advantage over rivals. Fourthly, there has been a shift of consumer preference from cost factors to other evaluation valuables such as diets, nutritional and health concerns in the selection of foodservice restaurants.
Growth in the baby boomers and seniors population, who have a high purchasing power, is likely to lead to continued growth in the food service industry. According to Friddle, Sandeep and Jean, this market segment has high disposable income, wide travelling and eating experiences and less cooking skills compared to the younger generation Y segment (11).
Increased spending in the foodservice sector, by baby boomer and senior consumers, will lead to the growth of the industry. Marketers will have a wider market segment to tap from and new foodservice and retail establishments will emerge with the aim of targeting this market segment. We are also likely to experience growth in foodservice technology as companies seek to stay ahead of the competition.
This article is very relevant and accurate in highlighting the developments in the food service industry. Firstly, available demographic evidence suggests that the US population is ageing thus implying that most consumers are entering the older segments. Demographic trends also indicate that most of the ageing population is attaining the retirement age, have adequate savings and tend to have limited time and skills to cook for themselves.
Apart from this, the article points out that healthy eating and lifestyle choices are major concerns for aging the population. Several studies also indicate that the baby boomer market segment has unique needs and preferences, which are driving shopping behavior and buyer involvement in purchase decision. I, therefore, agree with the facts and arguments raised in this article.
This knowledge is very important for my future marketing role in the food service industry. Parment observes that understanding the changing consumer demographics and their impacts on the foodservice industry is important in five different ways (197). Firstly, it is important in segmenting the foodservice market based on the preferences and needs of the specific customers. Secondly, this information will be very important in the formulation of marketing strategies targeted towards attracting and maintaining loyalty and trust for this growing market segment.
Thirdly, this information would also be useful in the development of marketing communications that address the key needs of this market segment. Fourthly, this information is important in developing new products and services that are able to give the emerging customers unique eating experience, and meets or exceeds their expectations. Fifthly, this information will be very important in effective positioning and targeting the food service product offering to the seniors and baby boomer segment.
Friddle, Sandeep and Jean observe that the growing mature market segment is going to have three major implications for the foodservice industry (55-56). Firstly, it is likely to have a major impact in the foodservice channels of distribution. As older consumers tend to eat from anywhere, it is interesting to research on how this will affect the traditional roles of the food retail stores, grocery stores and foodservice places. One key question that needs investigation is whether these distribution channels will remain distinct and unique or whether they will merge and rely on the same wholesaler.
Secondly, it will be very interesting to conduct research on the possible impact of these developments on the consumer tastes and preferences. Food service marketers would be interested in investigating whether this trend will result into development of strong, homogeneous market segments with similar needs and preferences. Thirdly, marketers would be interested in investigating future trends in the food service delivery and value system in terms of production, cost management and innovation.
Friddle, G. Charlotte, Sandeep, Mangaraj and Jean, D. Kinsey. The foodservice industry: trends `and changing structure in the new millennium. New York: The Retail Food Industry `Center, 2001. Print.
Parment, Anders. “Generation Y vs. Baby Boomers: Shopping behavior, buyer involvement and `implications for retailing.” Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 20(2013): `189-199. Print.