CHICAGO — As consumer confidence sagged in the second quarter this year, so did foodservice traffic in most countries throughout the world, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. NPD relays global foodservice industry traffic reflected the uneven, unpredictable path of the economy, with traffic down or flat in most countries other than China.

Foodservice visits declined 1 percent in Australia and Canada, 3 percent in Japan and 6 percent in Spain, while traffic remained flat in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, according to NPD’s CREST.

China, with a 15 percent increase, showed the strongest visit gains. Other countries showing traffic growth were France and Italy, both up 1 percent. Consumer spending at foodservice was flat in Japan and Spain but increased in the other countries tracked by NPD’s CREST service.

“With so much uncertainty surrounding the local and global economy, consumer confidence remains low and hence it is difficult to forecast any real improvement in foodservice traffic,” said Guy Fielding, managing director of NPD’s UK foodservice. “In addition, the recent riots in the UK will negatively impact the third quarter foodservice figures as consumers refused to venture into city and town centers due to the unrest.”

Although full-service foodservice concepts experienced declines in most countries, quick-service restaurants experienced some growth in every country, including Japan, which continues to recover from March’s major earthquake and tsunami. OnSite foodservice traffic is down primarily due to high unemployment. France, where the economy is relatively stable, was the only country to experience OnSite growth.

“The foodservice industry is truly a bellwether of the economy, and regardless of country, the consumers’ state of mind,” said Bob O’Brien, global senior vice president, foodservice at NPD. “The second quarter foodservice measures were a direct reflection of the times.”