Ireland’s food service industry has continued to grow at a rapid pace and is currently worth €7.5bn a year.

According to research carried out by Technomic, in conjunction with Bord Bia, the food service industry in Ireland is currently consists of over 33,000 individual outlets with the accommodation and foodservice industry employing over 200,000 people in 2016, an employment figure which is steadily rising.

The industry, which encompasses all food consumed outside of the home, is worth 7.5bn a year with quick service restaurants accounting for €2.6bn, hotels making up for €1.2bn and pubs stood at €1.3bn. The remainder of the sector was made up of coffee shops and institutional catering including industrial/place of business, education and healthcare.

The sector that saw the strongest growth was the café and coffee segment. The sector currently holds just 5% of consumer spend but according to the figures is growing at a rate of 9% year on year.

This growth is also reflected across the industry as a whole which has experienced steady growth over the past number of years and is expected to be worth €9.1bn by the end of 2020.

The research points to several factors such as better than expected economic growth and GDP along with increased consumer confidence and spending have all positively impacted the industry. Increased tourism numbers, particularly in major cities, has also had a significant impact on the foodservice industries within these areas.

The research also pointed to emerging food trends within commercial restaurants. The study shows consumers will be focused on value for money. Diners will be willing to spend more on high quality food and beverages and will be looking for the fairest price rather than the lowest price. Consumers will also be interested in seeing an emphasis on product origin, and ingredient transparency along with more healthy options on menus.