Ireland’s food sector remains in robust health, with the foodservice market forecast to grow to more than €9 billion by 2020, according to a Bord Bia report relating to food eaten “out of the home”.

This includes everything from restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, bars and forecourt delis, to workplace catering, hospitals, education and vending. According to Bord Bia, the food exports development agency, the foodservice market segment benefited from better than anticipated economic growth, buoyant consumer confidence, a strong domestic and international tourist market, an unemployment rate that is now less than 8 per cent, and the continuation of the 9 per cent VAT rate for hospitality.

Almost 35 per cent of consumer spend is in what Bord Bia calls “quick-service restaurants”, which comprises traditional fast-food as well as more upmarket outlets, along with the growing area of food-to-go.

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