It’s coming home: foodservice equipment sales are heading back towards pre-Covid levels

EFCEM survey of European and UK suppliers shows positive attitude to the future

Foodservice equipment companies across the UK and Europe are broadly positive about their future prospects, according to the latest business survey from EFCEM (the European Federation of Catering Equipment Manufacturers).  The UK’s FEA (Foodservice Equipment Association) is a member of EFCEM.

The survey, conducted in June 2021, had respondents from France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland as well as the UK.  73% were manufacturers, 30% dealers and distributors, and 8% were service companies, with the remainder including trade associations and design consultants.

More than two thirds said that current sales were over 60% of pre-Covid levels, with a quarter saying they were at 90% or above.  Looking to the future, 46% expect to be at 100% of pre-Covid levels by the June 2022, and 63% expect to be at 100% by December 2022.

Getting payment from customers had been an issue in previous surveys, but the figure in June was relatively low at 19%.

“These are very positive figures, especially given the grim market conditions of the past 18 months,” says Phil Williams, EFCEM president.  “More customers are paying on time, too.  The picture is probably just about as good as it could be.”

Respondents were also positive in terms of support from their governments, with 48% saying they had received grants or loans.  In fact, 100% of those who had applied for grants or loans had been successful.  On the down side, 100% of those making a Covid-related claim from an insurance company had been unsuccessful.

Nearly all those replying said that at least some staff had received government support for their salaries.  As support ends, just over 20% said they were likely to make redundancies, but that leaves nearly 80% looking to retain staffing levels.

Governments across Europe have announced a variety of recovery plans with specific support for the foodservice equipment industry, or for hospitality, or both.  “We welcome the 30% higher subsidy on energy-optimised kitchen appliances across Europe,” says Williams.  “It ties in very clearly with our net zero carbon plan for the industry.”

Copies of the survey summary are available on request from FEA.