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The global foodservice industry held steady in the third quarter of 2016. It performed better than the previous quarter despite encountering strong headwinds — an earthquake in Italy, a terror attack in France, a potential recession in Canada, concerns over the impact of Brexit, and two years of a deep recession in Brazil.
Visits to Europe's restaurants were flat but sales were up, according to global researcher The NPD Group. Australia, which has enjoyed nearly a generation of economic growth, out-performed all other global foodservice markets in terms of traffic growth. With its economy improving at a moderate rate, Japan had its consumers increase their restaurant visits. And Canada, which had its largest GDP decline since the second quarter of 2009, realized a modest gain in traffic in the third quarter over last year.
Other global markets with weakened or slow moving economies did not fare as well. Given the challenging economic climate in Brazil, where its GDP dropped nearly 4 percent during the third quarter, foodservice visits declined by 7 percent, the sharpest declines of all countries tracked by NPD Group. Russia, also faced with economic challenges, realized a three percent decline in foodservice traffic. A rise in China's consumer price index slowed the development of its foodservice market. Its traffic dipped by one percent.
Quick service restaurants again drove the growth of the European foodservice markets in the third calendar quarter of 2016. Market strength was more widespread in Australia, Germany, and Spain, where consumers felt the economy was on the upswing. Growth in Great Britain lost strength. The North American markets were held down by the two main restaurant segments, quick and full service restaurants. And Japan's huge retail foodservice segment helped to keep its market afloat.
"Despite economic and social turmoil, things were a little better for the global foodservice market in the third quarter of this year," Bob O'Brien, senior vice president, global foodservice at The NPD Group. It really comes down to the fact that the foodservice marketplace around the world continues to meet its consumers' needs, whether it be convenience, the social experience, or simply to eat. "