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Foodservice Q&A with Saskia Philp

  • SalesOut
  • SalesOut

Saskia Philp has recently joined SalesOut as Director of Suppliers. She arrives from Nestlé Professional, one of the major players in the Foodservice sector, to lead our client service team as well as our newly-created Insight function, designed to provide additional support to our valued customers.

With the market, consumers and suppliers increasingly being met with new pressures, we want to support all parties in delivering data-driven actionable insights that help drive growth.

We sat down with Saskia for a quick Q&A session to understand her own views on what’s currently happening in Foodservice, and where she sees the opportunities going forward.

Q: Hi Saskia, let’s start with the biggest issue of the day. What short-term effects of inflation are you expecting to see within Foodservice?

As we emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry experienced a positive bounce-back driven by pent-up consumer demand for social occasions that had built up over so many months of isolation. Despite consumers making fewer foodservice visits than before the pandemic, the industry’s recovery was boosted by consumers buying more and spending more per visit.

However, 12 months on, we find ourselves back in the middle of a crisis driven by rising energy bills, fuel prices and global food prices. With the majority of households expected to feel some degree of financial pressure, consumers, particularly those on lower incomes, will once again have to adapt their behaviours in order to manage their spending.

We can expect consumers to continue to eat out less frequently. However, while some will trade up during ‘special occasions', we’re now likely to see more trading down behaviours. This could involve buying less, purchasing cheaper items, switching to more value-led outlets or having more ‘celebratory’ occasions at home. In times of uncertainty, however, small, comparatively low-cost pick-me-up items increase in importance, so we can expect to see indulgence and treat categories continue to perform well.

While the future is by no means certain, it is something we at IRI SalesOut are continuing to analyse and report on. To find out one of the innovative ways IRI SalesOut data insight could benefit your business, check out our new inflation tool.

Q: How should Foodservice suppliers and wholesalers be reacting to these effects?

Foodservice suppliers and wholesalers need to be mindful, agile, proactive and innovative.

UK consumers are more polarised than ever before, and product ranges need to meet the requirements of the consumer, as well as the operational needs of the customer. That could be through delivering value or premiumisation, health or indulgence, experience or convenience. We could see a squeeze on products that fall in the ‘middle’. Formats also need to be fit for purpose depending on the customer; whether that be pre-portioned versus bulk, frozen versus ambient, or large versus small packaging formats.

Consumers are preparing for the unexpected. In a landscape that may change again in an instant, companies that recognise the importance of remaining agile, and spend time scenario planning different outcomes are most likely to navigate future challenges successfully.

Health and sustainability are also likely to remain high on the consumer’s agenda so products that “do good” for the planet, or the consumer’s mind, body or social wellbeing, are more likely to stand the test of time.

Q: Longer term, Saskia, how do you see the Foodservice market in the UK evolving?

Several years of Brexit and COVID turmoil have already weakened many businesses within the foodservice sector. So the huge pressure on rising costs comes at the worst possible time. Inflation now represents the biggest threat to businesses in the Foodservice industry.

With surging costs showing no immediate signs of easing, and with consumers’ disposable income heavily impacted, there will be huge pressure on businesses to drive not only sales but increased margins. At the same time, they will need to continue to meet the expectations of the consumer.

While we feel confident about the long-term future of the foodservice industry, there will certainly be more turbulent times ahead. However, with uncertainty comes opportunity. That means we can expect more innovations to appear across the entire supply chain and for the lines to continue to blur between retail and foodservice.

Q: Finally, how will the newly created Insight function be supporting clients?

We, at IRI SalesOut, have the broadest coverage and most accurate read of the UK’s Foodservice and Wholesale market. The data we capture can be invaluable to our customers. However, we know that data holds no value without context, understanding and insight.

As experts in data analytics and the Foodservice industry, we wanted to draw on our strengths as a business and create a team that is dedicated solely to driving understanding and action from the data. Ultimately, our aims are to help our customers navigate their challenges, capitalise on opportunities and achieve their objectives.

We will also be proactively sharing insight on the latest market trends as we all continue to understand and adapt to the “new normal” and the challenges that may come with it.

To find out how IRI SalesOut insight could drive your Foodservice business forward, please get in touch. Alternatively, connect with Saskia on LinkedIn.


Published 6 June, 2022

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