How to Win in Foodservice

Steps to success:

1. Understand the market

2. Choose your wholesale partners

3. Know your customer

4. Learn the trends

5. Keep up with the news

Why should you invest in foodservice? 

Demand for out-of-home eating has never been higher. 43% of UK consumers now eat out at least once a week, and 60% of 25-34 year-olds. In the last ten years, the number of foodservice outlets has increased by 8,600, a large proportion of which are independents. A growing and ageing population is fuelling demand for cost sector catering, including hospitals, care homes and schools.

There's never been a better time for product suppliers to invest in partnerships with wholesalers and take advantage of new opportunities to reach the consumer through foodservice distributors.

FWD members work with 330,000 foodservice operators, from restaurants and care homes, from hotels to coffee shops, and from schools to take aways. These businesses account for over 40% of our members' turnover but they are often overlooked by supplier companies with a focus on retail. With more meals being professionally prepared and eaten outside the home, there's a great opportunity for product suppliers and brand owners to find new routes to the consumer through the menus and counters of our foodservice customer base. The key to this is partnerships with the distributors who understand the needs of their customers.


"Suppliers need to identify the best-fit potential customers where customer support generates the best return on investment. Food suppliers willing to invest in greater engagement will certainly be pushing on an open door." - Dan McGlynn, CGA Strategy, at the FWD conference


In these pages we are building a resource to help those suppliers make the most of this opportunity to explore and exploit this new market for their products. We believe that partnerships with wholesalers and the businesses they supply and support can open new doors for brands which are prepared to adapt and invest. Foodservice is a different beast to retail, but it rewards those who understand the needs of caterers and adapt their range to suit the pack, formulation and nutritional information requirements of this route to market.

We'll add to this information resource over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, here's some background facts to get you started, and some sources of further intelligence. 

How's the market looking?

  • Consumer eating out hits 3 year high at 72%
  • Frequency of eating out up at 2.04 times in a two week period
  • Average spend down to £14.07 (but that’s not bad news!)
  • 18-24 year olds eat out the most - but spend less
  • The main reasons given for eating out are meeting friends and convenience
  • Health and lifestyle are key factors affecting choice
  • Italian is the favourite cuisine of choice
  • Time of day continues to evolve

Horizons Eating Out-Look report gives the detail behind all these statements for eating out behaviour over the Christmas period - with key facts trended over time, summer and winter. 


Related Content

About Wholesale Distribution

About Foodservice Distribution

About FWD

Latest News

22/09/2016 - FWD to chair Arena Brexit panel

18/05/2016 - BBC Food is caterers second favourite source of inspiration

24/03/2016 - New research reveals foodservice customers’ advice for suppliers and wholesalers

20/10/2015 - Distributors tell PM not to U-turn on school meals


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