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US Restaurant Industry Sets Table for Kiwi Exports

US Restaurant Industry Sets the Table for Kiwi Exporters

21 June 2005 – New Zealand food and beverage exporters could be in for a feast if predictions of US dining patterns prove true, says New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) Acting Trade Commissioner for LA, Karyn Murray.

According to the National Restaurant Association forecast for 2005, the US restaurant industry is expected to see record revenues this year of nearly US$500 billion. This number includes $165 billion for the full-service and fine-dining sector, a gain of about 5% over 2004.

Ms Murray says that Kiwi food and beverage producers could stand to benefit. “We’re urging exporters to learn more about the market. They should consider going along to some of the food service and retail shows to find out more about appropriate channels into the market and what’s influencing retail and food service decision-makers”.

New Zealand Trade & Enterprise regularly assists companies wishing to include relevant trade shows in their US marketing plans. Companies wanting more information should contact NZTE.

The National Restaurant Association annual show in Chicago was held at the end of May. If its projections hold true (and NRA projections have been very close to the mark for the past four years), this will be the 14th consecutive year of growth for the industry. NZTE participated in the inaugural International Pavilion at the 2005 National Restaurant Association Show, and will be encouraging qualified New Zealand exporters to participate in a New Zealand pavilion at the 2006 show.

On a typical day American restaurants post total sales of $1.3 billion. American consumers now spend 47 percent of their food dollars in restaurants and about a third of that in full-service establishments.

Even more interesting for New Zealand food producers, says Ms Murray, research shows that a quarter of all restaurant patrons categorize themselves as “adventurous” diners, willing to try new foods and ingredients. These are affluent, educated, often well travelled and largely urban dwellers between the ages of 30 and 60 who eat many of their meals outside the home.

Many food and beverage media commentators are suggesting that the second half of 2005 could show a shift upwards in spend and profitability for the industry after a couple of lean years, says Ms Murray. “We look forward to offering more premium New Zealand products to US restaurants as they seek to deliver fresh and innovative choices for their patrons.”


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