Feeding Alberta’s growing population as well as hungry workers in remote locales countrywide will fuel Canada’s commercial foodservice industry over the next several years.
In its annual industry forecast, released on Monday, Restaurant Canada predicts that commercial foodservice sales will rise to $59.8 billion next year, a four per cent hike from this year’s estimate of $57.5 billion.
Alberta will see the fastest growth next year, up five per cent, followed by Nova Scotia at 4.8 per cent and Manitoba at 4.4 per cent (see chart).
New Brunswick will experience the slowest growth next year, up only 2.3 per cent.
Industry growth next year will lead to the creation of 21,000 jobs, “from cooks and chefs to IT managers and digital marketers,” Garth Whyte, president and CEO of Restaurants Canada said in a statement.
But not all foodservice growth will come from everyday consumers looking for a nibble out.
Restaurants Canada says the foodservice’s “breakout star” will be contract caterers who will lead all segments with average annual growth of 5.3 per cent per year between 2014 and 2018.
The reason for the surge? Demand to get food into remote areas driven by natural resources industries, as well as rising populations at colleges, universities and health-care facilities.
Overall foodservice sales during that same 2014 to 2018 period are forecast to grow four per cent per year, according to the report.
Restaurants Canada was formerly known as the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Association. It represents some 30,000 in foodservice, including bars, restaurants, caterers and suppliers.
The association said its forecast is based on Conference Board of Canada forecasts of economic indicators such as real GDP, disposable income, employment and population.