Asian foodservice markets are coming back to life, the US is still uncertain
Foodservice markets around the world are still suffering from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic but signs of slow recovery are reported in some of the most important Asian markets. "Since the start of COVID-19 global pandemic, the foodservice sector has been one of the worst affected industries, with wide-scale shutdowns and operation restrictions across almost all countries. The performance of this sector is critical to the Australian red meat industry, as it encompasses a diverse range of occasions and products, ranging from offal to manufacturing meat, to high-end Wagyu," reported MLA in a recent analysis.
The latest data released by the China Hospitality Association show that China’s catering revenue from January to June 2020 decreased 33% from 2019 levels due to COVID-19 impacts. Statistics by Capital Economics also shows that earlier in July, total restaurant orders were still only at 80% of pre-COVID-19 levels, while take-out and delivery orders remained higher.
Looking across the nation, foodservice and hospitality operators in China have been adjusting their businesses in an effort to accelerate recovery and build long-term resilience. While diversified service offerings such as food retail, delivery and online marketing/trainings are widely seen across major cities, some providers took their innovation to an entirely new level by establishing eateries where food is prepared, cooked and served to customers by fully automated robots.
In Japan and Taiwan, the sector seems to hit the bottom of the pandemic crisis in April or May, with a small improvement in sales reported in the last two months. The foodservice sector in Taiwan has reported a steady recovery path, with sector sales in May improving 29% from April but still 9% lower than year-ago levels.
The Japanese market is still supported by take-out and deliveries from restaurants due to a new wave on infections reported among Tokyo's youth.
The land of uncertainty
For the US market, no one could really predict how the situation is going to evolve and the word "uncertainty" seems to catch the whole picture. "A study of credit card spending shows a 25% gap between large and small restaurant spending among consumers, indicating greater recovery among national restaurant chains, in comparison to smaller, independent operators. Only 36% of US adults are comfortable dining out right now, compared to 41% back in April", resumed MLA. The impact is wider due to the fact that most of the wealthy states in the US are now operating in foodservice with a total lockdown or with restrictions. These are the cases for the states of California, Texas or New York.
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