A new study into the contract catering market has revealed that foodservice management companies now serve more than four million customers every day, representing sales of almost £84 billion.
The value of the market, which is equivalent to more than 42% of total consumer expenditure on food, drink and catering in the UK, was revealed by the BHA following the publication of its annual FSM report.
It said that one in four meals in the UK is now consumed out of the home, with upward trends pointing to continued growth in out-of-home dining over the next five years.
Foodservice management companies include foodservice contractors, operators of food concessions at sports and similar facilities, operators of canteens or cafeterias, and event catering.
The leading FSM companies surveyed by the BHA expect the sector to generate 10,000 new jobs in the next 12 months on top of the 268,000 currently employed by FSM companies.
Respondents underlined expectations for growth in the demand for ‘street food’, healthy options and reduced sugar in meals served. Longer-term trends remain uncertain, in particular consumer demands of the millennial generation.
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said many restaurant and hotel caterers were making improvements to their menus, as well as engaging with government to boost public health and reduce obesity in the UK.
“Significant investment has been made by many FSM companies, to bring reporting in line with the Responsibility Deal,” she said. “We would therefore urge the Department of Health to revive the Responsibility Deal, building on the commitments of hospitality businesses. Continuity of the programme would help to encourage the participation of greater numbers of businesses”.
Phil Hooper, chairman of the BHA FSM Forum, and brand and communications director for Sodexo UK and Ireland said: “I am encouraged by the development of the FSM sector as it continues to grow and diversify. It remains an important industry and for many working in the industry it offers more than just a job, it provides them with a career, one where they can learn, develop and succeed.”
A separate independent study for the BHA by Oxford Economics, meanwhile, confirmed that hospitality as a whole is the UK’s fourth largest industry.
In 2014, it accounted directly for 2.92 million jobs. Adding in indirect employment of 775,000 (where hospitality firms purchase goods and services from UK suppliers) and induced employment of 941,000 (where hospitality and supply chain employees buy consumer goods and services), the total economic impact of hospitality is over 4.6 million jobs, 14% of total employment in the UK.
This, according to the study, equates to gross value added of £143 billion, some 10% of UK gross domestic product.