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Foodservice in the 2010's, 4 key trends: food and nutritional safety, adapting to the new lifestyles and new expectations of customers, themed offerings, blurring the barriers between the forms of retail outlet.
Catering, needless to say, is equally subject to the rigours of public health considerations, the imperatives of which are all the more underscored by the advent of the "instant news" society which reports in real time on any food safety anomalies, making food safety a more vital prerequisite than ever of foodservice.
In parallel, nutrition has grown in importance and will continue to do so. In France for example (although in other countries the same applies), the recommendations of the National Nutrition and Health Programme have found their way into the menus of institutional catering establishments. Sometimes it is even the case that minimum organic product requirements will be contained in the technical specifications of invitations to tender.
As far as commercial catering is concerned (where operators have a greater margin of liberty), salads have largely conquered the sandwich bars, fruits and vegetables have been included in the menus of fast-food restaurants and "guilty-pleasure" products (sweet desserts) are proposed in miniature, and hence more acceptable, versions! Likewise certain chains now sell on the promise of “100% organic” or, failing this, “100% natural produce”.
With the consumption modes of consumers undergoing profound changes, the restaurants and catering chains are obliged to follow suit! In a word, adaptation is the name of the game. Examples... Everyone is developing formulas to enable customers to manage their budgets better. "Traditional" restaurants are switching from menus to blackboards. There are more and more "dishes of the day", often linked up with wine-by-the-glass offers in order to tie in with the more moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages. "Cafés gourmands" (coffee with mini-pastries) are often proposed as dessert to meet the need for a lighter, more "calorie-controlled" meal.
At the same time, market players are adapting to the growing mobility of customers. Firstly, by setting up shop in transit zones. Then, by developing a new form of foodservice: street-food. An example of this is "Le Camion qui fume" . In this case, the response to the mobility factor is matched by a response to a more generalized expectation in society: transparency, with meals being prepared under the watchful gaze of the customer!
Themed offerings constitute a long-term trend on the foodservice market. This falls into line with a more global commercial trend, which is to provide customers, before they even come through the door, with a very precise idea of what will be on offer once inside. Recent illustrations of this include pasta bars, sushi shops, etc.
All forms of food sales look to conquer the largest "stomach share" possible. It is with this in mind that the mass retailers have come up with new hybrid formats combining convenience store and foodservice outlet (Monop, Carrefour City, Delitraiteur, etc.). These strategies have even given rise to a new concept: “Distriration”, a contraction of the French terms for "Retail" and "Foodservice".
Likewise, existing restaurants are increasingly proposing a dual service: eating in (at the bar or at a table) and "to-go" (drive-in, takeaway). In every case, the idea remains the same: providing the most comprehensive possible response to the same customer requirement: the "meal solution".