CHICAGO – Technomic revised its 2010 U.S. foodservice industry sales forecast downward, citing continued concern over job losses, underemployment and continued consumer frugality in dining away from home.

The company now expects the industry to decline 1.6%. It had previously estimated the decline at 0.8%. Although the forecast remained unchanged for most foodservice segments, weaker-than-anticipated sales in fast food, business dining, and vending segments prompted the downward adjustment for the overall industry.

Technomic acknowledged in comments first delivered to clients during its Foodservice Planning Program that some segments will outperform the industry at large, most notably education, supermarket foodservice and healthcare. However, all segments will continue to contend with a foodservice environment that will remain challenging throughout 2010.

"Given current dynamics among consumers, we don't see the industry returning to the sales levels it previously enjoyed until 2011 or even early 2012," said David Henkes, Technomic vice-president. "With demand remaining weak and bundled deals and promotions driving down check averages, top-line sales growth among foodservice operators won’t bounce back quickly."