Confidence is returning to the foodservice sector as consumer spend continues to increase however QSRs and pubs and restaurants cannot show complacency as key groups dining groups remain in decline according to the latest report from meat supplier EBLEX.

The report, Focus on Foodservice shows that the pace of innovation in food trends has picked up and the street food movement is continuing to grow as more pubs and restaurant incorporate street food into their menus.

EBLEX warns against complacency despite figures from NPD Group / CREST showed consumer spending was up 2% year-on-year for the 12 months to June 2014. The growth is coming from affluent consumers while less well-off consumers are showing negative figures.

“The challenge remains not just getting the right focus on convenience, price, promotions and customer experience but in ensuring the right balance to appeal to particular customer groups,” the report says.

It suggests growth in the QSR segment is driven by men while numbers of women customers decline and the continuing drop off of less-affluent customers must be addressed if growth is to be sustained.

The pub and restaurant sector is doing well with families and the under 50s but the over-50s are continuing to drift away.

Families with children account for more than 20% of visits to full service restaurants while adult-only visits are down 1% with the 25–49 age group down 3% and accounting for around 40% of all visits.

The report suggests that although most people do not understand – and are too embarrassed to ask about – the details on a menu, more detailed descriptions encourage trading up as diners pay more for fuller descriptions. This plays well into the growing trend for greater transparency of the provenance of ingredients and how the food has been cooked that diners are demanding of their food.

The food trends identified in the report that are seeing burgeoning popularity include slow-cooked, pulled or smokehouse meats that often have southern America influences; street food from around the world including American, Peruvian, North African, Japanese and Vietnamese, Chinese and Indian.