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The foodservices market in Ireland is booming, consumption of food and beverages outside of the home and supermarket in 2003 was valued at €5.7billion and with the Christmas rush just around the corner, the foodservices industry is bracing itself for one of its most profitable trading periods. That’s the findings from Mintel Ireland’s latest Irish Series report ‘Foodservices’ (November 2004). This is the first time the foodservices industry throughout Ireland has been examined and the report from Mintel also reveals that significant opportunities exist for both local and international food suppliers and catering contractors in what is a rapidly growing industry.

Mintel Ireland, production manager, Alison Surgeoner explains, ” The foodservices industry in Ireland, north and south, is a huge market with a current market value of €5.7billion. Many people will be surprised at the size of the market and our report has identified the clear opportunity that exists for local companies especially, to tap into this market. In the UK a few key players hold the majority share of the market. In Ireland the market has not yet reached that point but we have identified that major UK catering contractors such as the Compass Group with their Irish subsidiary Eurest, which operate out of 160 sites across Ireland, are beginning to move into the market which does raise concerns among smaller independent local food suppliers and catering contractors. ”

Changing Irish demographics, an increase in tourism plus consumer demand for both healthier and more international eating options all look set to push the market forward in 2005. Innovative Irish food suppliers and catering contractors can benefit from this demand for improved food services across Ireland if they can take advantage of current gaps in the market.
Healthier Eating & Lifestyle OptionsMintel Ireland, production manager, Alison Surgeoner, identifies the areas in the foodservices industry with the largest potential for growth. ” Weight and health issues have been an increasing concern in both NI and RoI in recent years, as such there is significant opportunity for all foodservice suppliers and contractors to expand their offers to healthier fast and convenience foods. Similarly an opportunity exists to expand the range of organic produce offered throughout the foodservices market. Currently the organic market only accounts for 2% of the present retail market. The foodservice providers who begin to introduce organic produce onto their menus will reap the benefits as this market expands as predicted. ”