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North America: food service export opportunities

Market opportunity: Food service

Key details

Opportunity: Food service

Country: North America

Sector: Food and drink


More than 40% of revenue generated by the USA and Canada’s food service industry is spent on sourcing products from suppliers. The industry is highly competitive for international suppliers, so our focus is on three main market segments:

  • Restaurant operators
  • Hotels and resorts
  • Limited grocery chain food service offering

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the hospitality industry in North America and we have seen a number of trends emerging, with those outlets that survive having to adapt quickly.

This includes changing menus based on evolving food preferences to focus on better-for-you and healthy options, and the rise of ‘ghost kitchens’ to deliver branded experiences in a delivery-only service format. Food service outlets are also having to strike a balance in the kitchen due to social distancing.

They are also increasingly using analytics to look at and respond to a range of issues, from food safety and security to customer management and ingredient and revenue optimisation.

Scale of opportunity

The US National Restaurants Association projected food service sales in the US in 2019 of $863 billion USD with $400 billion USD spent on suppliers. By 2030, the US food service industry is forecast to grow to $1.2 trillion USD.

Restaurants Canada reported $85 billion USD in revenue in 2018 and 35 billion USD spent on suppliers.

Scottish companies currently have a small portion of the market, mainly from our spirits industry as well as salmon and other seafood. Exports of Scotch whisky topped $1.3 billion USD in 2019 according to latest statistics, while salmon exports to the US exceeded $300 million USD, accounting for a third of all fresh salmon exports from Scotland.

Eligible companies

This opportunity is open to Scottish food and drink companies from all subsectors that can focus on customer-centric approaches and solutions.

Companies must be able to meet the criteria required to supply the food service sector (size, capacity, scope, accreditations) and be able to scale at pace.

Register your interest

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Register your interest

Register your interest

Get in touch with our in-market specialists to find out more about this export opportunity.