NPD: Japan posts strongest foodservice traffic gain

Chicago / IL. (npd) Japan´s economic recovery after a downturn in the last quarter of 2012 has spurred an increase in restaurant visits greater than any other global foodservice market tracked by The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Visits to Japan foodservice outlets increased by three percent and spending by two percent in the calendar quarter ending June 2013, according to «NPD´s Crest foodservice market research», which continually tracks commercial foodservice usage in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.

While Japan´s foodservice market grew, bad weather in Canada, France, Germany, and Great Britain kept consumers from visiting foodservice outlets during the quarter. Continuing economic malaise in Italy and Spain was a key contributing factor to their visit declines. The United Kingdom and Spain experienced the steepest foodservice traffic declines at four percent from same quarter last year. In spite of the American economic recovery, the country´s foodservice sector remained flat. China, which usually posts strong visit gains, had only a one percent increase in foodservice traffic due to legislative, inflation, and food safety concerns. A change in Australia´s prime ministerial leadership and a more cautious economic message left Australians taking a more conservative approach to spending, which kept restaurant traffic flat in the second quarter.

«Japan posted its strongest foodservice traffic gain since the rebound after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011», says Eiko Takahashi, sales and marketing manager, NPD Japan. «The macro economy in Japan has been showing recovery signals since hitting a bottom in the fourth quarter of 2012, and consumer confidence has gradually been turning positive, encouraging more foodservice visits from Japanese consumers».

«As our global foodservice results were coming in, it was reported in the financial news that the quarter marked the end of the Eurozone recession, but not recession in all Eurozone economies», says Bob O´Brien, global senior vice president foodservice. «However, the end of the downturn did not lift any European foodservice markets. This is also the first quarter since we started tracking China foodservice where market growth did not surpass growth in other parts of the world».