Ireland’s food service sector won’t return to pre-Covid levels until 2023: Bord Bia

Ireland’s food service sector won’t return to pre-Covid levels until 2023: Bord Bia

The food service sector in Ireland will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 at the earliest, according to a report by Bord Bia.

The value of the sector has increased by 14.6% this year, but remains 41% lower than pre-pandemic turnover levels, the new report revealed.

Bord Bia said it expects the value of the industry to reach €5.15 billion for 2021 .

While some market segments, such as limited-service restaurants and coffee shops, were impacted less and will recover quicker next year, restaurants, hotels, pubs and workplace catering will continue to be affected by Covid restrictions and other broader sector challenges.

Maureen Gahan, Foodservice Specialist with Bord Bia, said: “These barriers to growth include labour shortages, supply chain disruption and rapidly rising inflation – all of which are complex issues being faced at a global level, which will require global solutions.”

Dining out is the most missed social activity, compared to shopping for leisure at 59%, concerts, sports and live events at 57% and spending time with colleagues at 45%.

When it comes to eating out, 76% of respondents said they missed the experience, and that the social aspect of dining out is what they most look forward to.

Despite a widespread view that there are adequate Covid-19 safety measures in place, over 60% of diners said they feel some degree of nervousness about eating out.

Almost half of those surveyed said that after the pandemic they will be more likely to choose food options that are kinder to the environment.

Consumers said their support for local businesses has been bolstered by the pandemic. Half of those surveyed said they are more likely to choose a food service option that supports local business and the community.

“It is reassuring to see that for consumers, sustainability and supporting local remain important considerations in choosing foodservice options, trends that are also being reflected in some of our recent global consumer insight studies,” said Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia.