Canadian foodservice sales are expected to rebound somewhat in 2021, albeit still remaining way below pre-COVID-19 levels.
Commercial foodservice sales in Canada are forecast to improve to $61.4 billion in 2021, says a new report from Restaurants Canada. This would represent an 11.8-per-cent increase compared to 2020 but would still be 20 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.
It is expected to be a slow process, too.
In the first quarter of 2021, sales have continued to be affected by ongoing restrictions and health measures across Canada. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, foodservice sales are forecast to be $13 billion in Q1 2021, which would be relatively unchanged from Q4 2020 but some 31 per cent lower than Q1 2019.
Figures should improve modestly in Q2 2021, up to $14.6 billion, a 45-per-cent increase over Q2 2020, when the full extent of the effects of COVID-19 was starting to be felt and much of the country went into shutdown. That would still be 24 per cent below Q2 2019 levels.
The report notes that in Q3, as more people are vaccinated and containment measures are lifted, commercial foodservice sales are forecast to climb to $16.2 billion and then to $17.1 billion in Q4.
Beyond 2021, there is thought to be the potential for greater growth, although commercial foodservice sales are not expected to surpass 2019 levels until 2023.
In 2022, sales in Canada are forecast to grow to $74.6 billion, up 21 per cent from the predicted 2021 figures but still 3 per cent below 2019 levels.
In 2023, the commercial foodservice industry will finally eclipse 2019 levels by growing five per cent to $78.6 billion, driven by improved spending at restaurants, caterers, and drinking places by households, businesses, and tourists.
By 2025, commercial foodservice sales are forecast to reach $84.6 billion.