Foodservice sales in Europe are unlikely to pick up to 2007/08 levels until 2013, according to a new report by Rabobank. However, as consumers continue to trade down on products, the report suggests the active promotion of meal deals or discounts can help reach out to consumers, who are keeping a tight hold on their purse strings.

Future trends in the market could include increased consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, and stronger growth for chain operators at the expense of the independents. According to the author of the report, Elke Maas of Rabobank’s food & agribusiness research and advisory, "the stronger branded players are likely to reinforce their position" in the current downturn.

The report noted that although the UK has a more heavily embedded culture of eating out-of-home (45% compared to 33% in the rest of Europe), in-home consumption was rising throughout Europe. Away-from-home expen-diture was expected to drop by 0.5% to 33.1% by the end of 2010, according to Rabobank.

In 2008, the size of the UK foodservice market stood at E54bn (£47.3bn).