Norway’s foodservice sector is forecast to grow by a rate of 3.2% over the next few years to 2006, according to a new study by foodservice and economic research company BIS Shrapnel.

The institutional sector is expected to reach 2.6% growth in the three years to 2006, and the commercial sector 3.7%. This growth will be supported by the expected strengthening of private consumption expenditure, the report said.

Sissel Rosengren, who led the study, estimates the total size of the Norwegian foodservice market to equal NOK46bn, with the nation’s 13,854 foodservice outlets serving more than 800 million meals per year.

Rosengren said that despite a reasonably strong economic performance in Norway in recent times, the foodservice market remains largely underdeveloped. The incidence of consuming food at foodservice outlets has risen over the last few years, and eating at food kiosks or bakeries with tables and chairs (konditori) are common throughout Norway. The foodservice market is slowly diversifying, with Asian, Arab and African food increasingly available.

The institutional foodservice sector is forecast to experience further growth as the ageing population increases demand. The dominant outlet type in this sector is the work canteen, incorporating both government and private organisations (49%). This is followed by schools (27%) and nursing homes/retirement villages (17%).

The report, Foodservice in Norway, 2004 to 2006, notes a general recent drift away from fine dining towards less expensive brasserie-style eating-out, perhaps reflecting economic conditions.

BIS Shrapnel believes the economic outlook for 2004, 2005 and 2006 is more favourable, and forecasts the foodservice market to once again commence its upward trend.