The outsourced business and industry (B&I) catering market will be worth £2.13 billion over the next three years, making it the largest part of the contract catering sector by some distance, it has been predicted.
The value of the B&I market, which represents foodservice sales to offices and workplace environments, reached £1.96 billion in 2016 but is on course to grow by another £17m by 2020, according to latest BHA Food Service Management Market Report.
Additionally, the in-house B&I catering market was said to be worth £389m last year and will rise to £422m by 2020.
The B&I sector still represents the largest opportunity for contract catering providers based on the size of the market.
The next most lucrative area is in-house catering in the education sector, which was worth £709m last year and will likely reach £773m in the next three years.
Completing the top three is the leisure sector, worth £486m in 2016 and predicted to be valued at £536m in three years time.
Research firm MCA, which compiled the report, is forecasting the contract catering market to grow by 1.8% in 2017, reaching £4.7bn in consumer spend excluding VAT.
Over the coming three years, growth is forecast at 1.9% per annum. However, outlet volumes are projected to remain flat over the same period, reflecting government expenditure cuts and falling numbers of public-sector institutions.