Overall foodservice equipment and supplies sales were strong for the first quarter of 2022 but there are signs that the industry is slowing down, according to the latest Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry (MAFSI) Business Barometer.
The first quarter saw a 15.2 percent growth in overall sales. While a significant turnaround from Q1 2021, when sales fell 2.1 percent, it was still below MAFSI’s forecasted growth of 16.8 percent and less than the gain of 17.3 percent seen in Q4 2021. As a result, the association is tempering its outlook with a forecast of only 13.2 percent growth for Q2 2022 as the industry moves toward normalization.
The tabletop segment saw the largest sales growth in Q1, 21.5 percent. It was followed by supplies (17.9 percent), equipment (14.8 percent) and furniture (7.7 percent). The Northeast led by region, with an 18.9 percent increase in sales, followed by Canada (17.1 percent), the South (15.8 percent), the Midwest (15.7 percent), and the West (8.2 percent)
MAFSI notes that demand is slowing somewhat as the supply of equipment has improved. Still, the increase in prices coupled with overall economic trends such as the labor shortage and energy costs is creating a high level of uncertainty. “With all these factors in play at the same time, the best-case scenario appears to be for a soft landing,” the association said.