Food & Drink sector grows steadily

Increasing numbers of food & drink establishments 

In the past six years, the number of food & drink establishments in the Netherlands has grown by 3,000. We see a slightly growing trend: an increase of 0.3% in 2010 has moved to 2.1% in 2015.


Not all catering facilities are doing equally well. Coffeeshops (the Dutch kind), discos, and nightclubs are in trouble, and part of the blame can be put to stricter laws and the development of alternatives (such as the many open air festivals). For example, the number of discos decreased by 32% in the past six years.

Then again, we see significant increases in the number of retail outlets in the sectors Takeaway/Delivery, Lunchrooms, and Icecream shops: over 50% in the past six years (of which 10% in the past year alone).


The graph shown above shows the number of retail outlets in the Food & Drink sector per 1/1/2010 and 1/1/2016. The red line shows the relative growth per sector. 

The next question would be the development of this trend throughout the country. Do food and drink establishments increase equally in all provinces? 
Limburg is the only province in which we see a slight decrease over six years (1%). Flevoland hosts the least food & drink establishments, but in comparison with the other provinces, shows the greatest increase. North- and South-Holland are the most important provinces for food & drink. Together, they take up 40% of all food & drink establishments in the Netherlands. This comes as no surprise: they have the highest population densities, and welcome more tourists than any other province.


The province of Limburg is dealing with an ageing and shrinking population. When we take demographic development (increase/decrease) of the various provinces into account, we see a different picture:

  • Per inhabitant, Limburg does see a slight growth in the number of food & drink outlets;
  • The population of Zeeland has, most notably because of tourism, the most food & drink outlets per inhabitant.

The number of food & drink establishments per inhabitant of Flevoland is minimal. Despite the strong growth of the past six years, it is still falling far behind the other provinces.

Higher turnovers in the food & drink sector, too

Not only the number of food & drink outlets is increasing, but also their turnovers. In 2015, the turnover of the food & drink sector increased by 5.7%, according to the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). The increasing number of food & drink outlets is also expressed in an increase in turnovers. The CBS combines the sectors Snackbars, Icecream shops, and Lunchrooms, and notes an increase of 8.4% in the final quarter of 2015.

More and more people choose for easy convenience, as the growth of 50% in the sector Takeaway/Delivery shows. But this increase does not mean that people are choosing for unhealthy food. In the fastfood sector, ‘healthy fast food’ shows the greatest increases, according to Horeca Nederland (Association for hotels and food & drink sector).

Six trends in food & drink

Locatus is all about numbers, which is why I popped downstairs to visit our office neighbours (Horeca Nederland) for the latest trends in food & drink:

  1. Increasing individuality: guests want that personal touch in their food experience and products.
  2. Hyperactive life styles demands easy food, but preferably fast good food.
  3. Blurring: traditional boundaries of retail functions are blurring. Do some work at a café or restaurant, drink coffee in a shop, have lunch at a laundromat, etc.
  4. Environmentally friendly and healthy food: one important trend that’s going to stick with us.
  5. Sharing economy: we will share everything equally, a trend that we are starting to see in the food & drink sector too: fine if you bring your own sandwich, as long as you order a cup of coffee with us too.
  6. Guests choose fairtrade, sustainable, and artisanal products. The story behind your hamburger is important. Have you had a hamburger from a “doubble purpose cow” yet?  

Retail Outlet Explorer

The Retail Outlet Explorer provides you with up-to-date information about a shopping centre, a sector, or retail in the entire country. The database contains information about retail in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and, increasingly, large cities in the rest of Europe.