F&B sales in travel hubs worth £14 billion a year

Camden Food Co.

The travel food and beverage market in airports and railway stations is valued at approximately £14 billion, industry operator SSP Group has said.

The company has made a name for itself in the travel sector and told investors this week that its prospects look bright because the market “is characterised by long-term structural growth”.

SSP insists its ability to deliver attractive and effective food solutions at travel locations internationally offers it excellent opportunities to expand globally.

“An important element of this is the brand line-up we can offer. Our brands include both international brands which we franchise, such as Burger King and Starbucks, but also our own proprietary brands such as Upper Crust and Ritazza, as well as bespoke concepts and local heroes,” management explained.

“We have opened a number of exciting new units across our range of brands in the first half including a new-look Ritazza in Euston station, a bespoke new concept called Five Borough Food Hall at JFK Terminal 4, new Pret A Manger and YO! Sushi outlets at Charles de Gaulle Airport, and Epi (a local bakery) and Hausmann’s (a local hero brand) outlets in Dusseldorf Airport.”

A significant development for SSP has been its recent entry into India, where it now has a 33% stake in food concessions operator TSF, which manages 200 units in the country.

SSP reported that global net contract gains were 3.4% for the six months to the end of March, driven by new unit openings and high levels of contract retention.

Underlying profit at SSP rose 25% to £43m on sales up 8% to £1 billion for the six-month period, with CEO Kate Swann says the second half had continued in much the same vein.

“Looking forward, the second half has started in line with our expectations and whilst a degree of uncertainty always exists around passenger numbers in the short term, we continue to be well placed to benefit from the structural growth opportunities in our markets and our programme of operational improvements,” she said.

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