Although still growing, sales of foodservice equipment and supplies continue to moderate reflecting a somewhat less volatile marketplace.
For example, sales of foodservice equipment and supplies increased 8.7% during the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to the previous quarter, which saw 9% sales increase. This data comes from the latest Business Barometer published by the Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry. Looking ahead, reps forecast a 7% sales increase for the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.
Coming out of the pandemic pent-up operator and consumer demand led to steep increases in foodservice equipment and supplies sales, peaking with a 20.7% growth rate in the second quarter of 2021. Since then, sales growth has remained high but it has gradually ticked down, with quarterly growth rates of 17.9%, 16.8%, 13.2% and 11.5%. Still, quarterly growth rates of 8% and the projected 7% remain noteworthy even as sales of foodservice equipment and supplies start to stabilize.
In addition, other MAFSI metrics point to a still strong business climate. For example, 30% of reps report increased consultant activity during the fourth quarter of 2022, up 5% from the third quarter of 2022. And 43% of reps reported increased quoting activity for the fourth quarter of 2022, this is 14% better than the previous quarter.
Fourth quarter sales growth varied by region as well as product type. On a regional basis, the South led the way with 11.4% growth followed by 9.9% in the West, 8.9% in the Midwest and 6.2% in the Northeast. Canada reported a 6.4% sales increase.
Looking at sales by product type, primary cooking equipment led the way with a 10.5% increase and was followed closely by serving and holding equipment, which saw sales increase by 10.2%. The growth rate for other product categories includes storage and handling equipment at 9.5%, refrigeration and ice machines at 8%, food preparation equipment at 6.9% and warewashing/waste handling equipment at 3.5%. Ventilation sales decreased by 2% per the MAFSI data.