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Consumers worldwide are spending more on eating out, so shopping centres will need to evolve.

The increasing presence of food and beverage options in shopping centres is being driven by rapid global growth in consumer spending on eating out, says a recent report from Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial real estate services company. 

Statistics show F&B retail outlets often account for more than 20% of units in new and redeveloped schemes in more mature markets. 
With spending on eating out expected to continue growing over the next 10 years, and consumers’ desire to enhance a shopping trip with social and leisure experiences, a compelling F&B offering is now critical to the success of any retail scheme, the report states. 
All four global regions examined in the report – including the Americas, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, and Europe – are forecast to experience growth in F&B expenditure. This growth is led by Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. 
Based on data from Oxford Economics, consumer spending is forecast to nearly double in Africa, from $182.5 billion to $363.5bn, and more than double in Asia Pacific, from $1.052bn to $2.296bn. 
F&B spend is forecast to grow at an annual average of 7.4% up to 2026 in both regions. Cushman & Wakefield notes that as spending increases, customer expectation does too, and once-ubiquitous food courts, made up of common seating areas surrounded by fast food outlets, are a dying breed. 
While mainstream brands – with the ability to pay higher rents – still dominate, landlords are recognising the importance of diversity and other concepts, such as the food hall, have evolved. 
There is also a move towards creating different zones within shopping centres, the company says. However, it also believes there is latent demand for more non-mainstream international food hall market place concepts, which combine restaurants with food and beverage counters and bakeries, along with the sale of cooking-related products and cookery schools for “edutainment”. 
Currently, only a few international players offer such a format and there is scope for more high-quality operators to emerge. 
Nomzamo Radebe, chief executive of JHI, part of Cushman & Wakefield Excellerate, says South Africa has the most developed F&B market in Africa, with international brands “continuing to make inroads”. 
These brands also provide increased competition for domestic operators. 
“A rising population of young people in Africa and the Middle East is attracting more international food and beverage brands. Growth in sales of 5.6% in the F&B sector between 2017 and 2020 is expected in South Africa.” 
Radebe says the tie-in between shopping and eating is stronger than ever and can be seen in the significant growth of F&B outlets in shopping centres in recent years. 
“This trend looks set to continue. We are seeing a growing number of shopping centre owners viewing F&B as a key differentiating component for the success of centres, and investing in creating exciting F&B offerings for customers. 
“This responds to consumers’ growing interest in food culture and adds to the experience and entertainment people want from their visit to a shopping centre.”

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