Technomic downgrades foodservice industry forecast

A Chicago research and consulting firm this morning downgraded its 2008 U.S. foodservice industry nominal growth forecast from 5.1 percent to 3.6 percent, citing a larger-than-expected slowdown in discretionary consumer spending.

At its Foodservice Planning Program meeting, Technomic said that real spending will likely fall this year due to a 4 percent inflation rate.

''Because the restaurant industry often serves as a leading economic indicator, our opinion is that the U.S. has most likely entered a recession or is headed for one,'' said Technomic President Ron Paul in a press release.

According to the National Restaurant Associationâ??s 2008 Restaurant Industry Forecast, released in December, restaurant sales are projected to reach $558 billion in 2008, the 17th consecutive year of real-sales growth and up 4.4 percent from 2007.

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