Food service 26 February 2019

Striking trends
in food service

New formulas and trendy places address lifestyle with quality and freshness

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?

Paul Oomen
Paul Oomen


American consumers increasingly buy their meals on a daily basis. They cook with convenience products, preferably with ready-made meals. Or they eat out. It is also common to buy products to consume on-site, often on the go on the way to work.

Partly because of this, the boundary between retail and food service is fading. Paul Oomen, HZPC trend watcher, explains: ‘It is called, the blurring phenomenon. Supermarkets add food service elements to their store operations, and non-food retailers also have complete food corners in their shops.’

Convenience and experience

In the last ten years the restaurant industry underwent a revolutionary transformation. It shifted from chic and traditional to casual and contemporary.

Convenience concepts emerged; new fast food formulas, family restaurants, quick service restaurants, lunchrooms, coffee shops, wine bars, sandwich shops, delivery retailers, food and market halls. ‘And a lot of other trendy places.’

Paul Oomen is particularly impressed by the growth of fast casual restaurants in the last couple of years. ‘Their success is based on convenience and experience. Chains like Vapiano, Chipotle, Smashburger and Five Guys meet the consumers’ needs at any time and they address lifestyle with quality and freshness.’

Meals on your smartphone

Having food delivered to the front door is booming. Driven by online technology, home delivery is growing at lightning speed and it’s the fastest growing food service segment in North America today.

‘In larger cities all around the world you see lots of couriers in the streets, send by formulas like Uber Eats or, in Holland, Meals on your smartphone’, says Paul Oomen.

Technology, internet and smartphones are changing people’s lives. They also have a big impact on food service. The online market is growing rapidly. Meals are ordered by phone and delivered at home by bike, e-bike, scooter or even by drones and robots.

Younger generations grow up with digital ordering technology. Older generations are becoming increasingly familiar with it as well. Paul Oomen: ‘Voice assisted technologies such as Alexa, Google Home or Siri are developing fast and offer consumers possibilities to order items directly online by using simple voice commands.’

Leaving HZPC – Thank you!

After more than 4 years working with great pleasure for HZPC, Paul decided to accept a new challenge. Per March 1st he will be the managing director of Geo for Agri, a new company focusing on data for the agricultural sector. Off course with a special focus on the potato industry “It’s a small world, and I hope to stay in touch!”

Of course the foodservice articles will continue. Jeff Scramlin (Head of Business Development North America) and Amy Myrdal Millar (Farmers Daughter Consulting) will work together on a series with insights about the leading Foodservice industry in North America.

Dilemma between the head and the heart

The modern consumer undergoes a classic brainteaser every day: the choice between fast food or healthy food. It is a dilemma between the head and the heart.

‘The consumer of today feels constantly pressured and rushed, but at the same time he worries about his health,’ explains Paul Oomen. ‘People opt for organic, vegetarian, vegan and raw food more often. Healthy and premium products are popular.’

In New York he visited the Whole Foods Market. It is a supermarket, full of vegetable products, fruits and freshness. Paul Oomen was enchanted: ‘Wow! Everything you can buy there, oozes health.’

The trendy grocery store also sells products online. ‘Whole Foods Market was recently taken over by Amazon. This concept is going to fly.’

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 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 Consumers want convenience and lifestyle 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. Read this article

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