Food service 8 October 2018

Consumers want
and lifestyle

Trendwatcher Paul Oomen on the dynamic food service sector

Modern consumers like to eat out. They also often order a complete meal and have it delivered to their home. In the United States, this is a normal way of life. In a series of articles on InZpire, Paul Oomen, HZPC's food service specialist, talks about trends and developments in the field of food service.

Consumers are spending more and more money on food prepared outside of the home; they are mainly looking for convenience and they like to try out new things. Food is also increasingly associated with lifestyle.

Foodservice in the United States is in a state of flux, which is reason enough to follow these developments more closely. HZPC food service specialist Paul Oomen will take us into this sector and discuss the possibilities for potatoes. But who is Paul Oomen? And what does the foodservice industry look like?

Paul Oomen
Paul Oomen


‘I am Paul Oomen, I’m 30 years of age, and I grew up on a farm in the Noordoostpolder in Holland. After studying at Wageningen University, I started as a trainee at HZPC in 2015. I then worked for HZPC Germany for two years as a retail fresh product manager. Since July 2017, I have been working as a business development manager within the SBDA department on the development of the North American market.

Foodservice is one of our most important spearheads and our focus at the moment is trying to learn how we can successfully create even more demand for our varieties. I work closely with my American SBDA colleague, Jeff Scramlin, and the team at HZPC Americas Corp. in Canada.’

What is food service?

Over the past year, HZPC carried out a thorough analysis of the foodservice industry in the United States. This sector consists of all companies and organisations that `are involved in offering meals that are prepared outside the home’ (Technomic, 2017). This includes both restaurants and bars, as well as so-called `beyond restaurants’. As shown in the figure below, restaurants and bars are further subdivided on the basis of service level, menu focus, and location, among other things.

If we look at the structure of the food service industry, we can see three important parties: the producers, the distributors and the operators (the restaurants).

An interesting lesson to be learned from North America is that the distributors, especially the culinary team, are responsible for many decisions about the composition of the menu in restaurants. They also often deal with the introduction of new products, such as new potato varieties, products and concepts.

The distributor operates as an independent party between the producer and the operators (the restaurants). The distributor is responsible for the purchase, storage and delivery of a wide range of products. These are often purchased per pallet or in bulk and then distributed to the operators in boxes and small packages.

Facts about Sysco

  • 425,000 customers
  • 51,700 employees
  • 197 distribution facilities
  • 9,600 delivery vehicles
  • Assortment of approximately 15,000 products
  • Market share, frozen: 16%
  • Market share, fresh produce: 11%

There are different types of distributors. There is also a distinction to be made between broadline distributors – who often offer many non-food items in addition to food – and specialist distributors who, for example, only offer fresh produce. In addition, there are national and regional distributors.

North America has a total of around 16,500 distributors. Market leader Sysco is responsible for 17.7% of the total market, with sales of $265 billion (Technomic, 2017).




Coming soon on InZpire, episode 2

Soon, we will tell you more about the most important developments and growth segments within the foodservice industry. But we would also love to answer questions that you might have and hear about any experiences that you would like to share.

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Read more on Food service

Opportunities for the industry: fresh cut French fries, creamers and yellow potatoes The developments in food service in Northern America offer enormous opportunities for the potato industry. That is why the potato industry is keen to quickly pick up trends and respond to them. Read this article Striking trends in food service The fast changing world of food service in Northern America offer enormous opportunities for the potato sector. Which trends can we expect in the coming years? Read this article Consumer values are changing rapidly Modern consumers spend more and more money on food. They also often eat out. Foodservice is flourishing more than ever before. Read this article

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