The UK’s eating out sector is forecast to grow 3% in value, to £82.5bn, over the next 12 months, despite an increasingly competitive trading environment.

Published in Allegra Foodservice’s Market Outlook Report, it cites emerging fast food concepts, coffee shops and the growing “street food movement” as being behind the sales growth.

The report added that an improving economic outlook, strengthening consumer spending power will support growth.

Executives from the report said that “intensifying competition” was a core business challenge, overtaking concerns over rising food costs. Building stronger customer loyalty will be also be a critical success factor.

Simon Stenning, strategy director, said that the growth will be hard fought for in an “increasingly competitive trading environment”, adding that operators must innovate and add greater value across the consumer experience.

“Eating out market value growth of 3% in 2014 will be the highest since the recession began and is clearly welcome news,” Stenning said. “This will come from a combination of increasing consumer eating out participation, an uptick in visit frequency and some average spend gains as consumers start to feel more confident about their personal finances and spending power.”

Allegra Foodservice, part of William Reed Business Media, provides leading market intelligence and analysis to the foodservice industry.