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Japan's economic recovery after a downturn in the last quarter of 2012, has spurred an increase in restaurant visits and spending greater than any other global foodservice market tracked by The NPD Group. Visits to Japan foodservice outlets increased by 3 percent and spending by 2 percent in the calendar quarter ending June 2013, according to NPD's CREST foodservice market research, which continually tracks commercial foodservice usage in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.
While Japan's foodservice market grew, bad weather in Canada, France, Germany and Great Britain kept consumers from visiting foodservice outlets during the quarter. Continuing economic struggles in Italy and Spain was a key contributing factor to their visit declines. The U.K. and Spain experienced the steepest foodservice traffic declines at 4 percent from same quarter last year.
In spite of the American economic recovery, the country's foodservice sector remained flat.
China, which usually posts strong visit gains, had only a 1 percent increase in foodservice traffic due to legislative, inflation and food safety concerns. A change in Australia's prime ministerial leadership and a more cautious economic message left Australians taking a more conservative approach to spending, which kept restaurant traffic flat in the second quarter.
"Japan posted its strongest foodservice traffic gain since the rebound after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011," said Eiko Takahashi, sales and marketing manager, NPD Japan. "The macro economy in Japan has been showing recovery signals since hitting a bottom in the 4th quarter of 2012, and consumer confidence has gradually been turning positive, encouraging more foodservice visits from Japanese consumers."
Meanwhile, in Europe, the quarter marked the end of the Eurozone recession, but not in all economics, according to Bob O'Brien, global senior vice president of Foodservice.
"The end of the downturn did not lift any European foodservice markets. This is also the first quarter since we started tracking China foodservice where market growth did not surpass growth in other parts of the world," he said.
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