Sodexo has purchased a majority shareholding in Fooditude, the London-based delivered-in office foodservice provider.
The deal represents a significant milestone for Sodexo in off-site food production and food delivery, allowing the business to grow new digital-enabled and consumer-focused foodservice solutions for clients.
Fooditude produces high quality fresh food from a 20,000 square foot central production unit (CPU) in London that is delivered to corporate clients.
Its customer base is predominantly with media and technology organisations, including Netflix and Pinterest.
Sodexo said the investment would give it access to “significant” off-site food production, which will accelerate the roll-out of delivery models, such as Good Eating Delivered, which it launched through its Good Eating Company Delivered brand in August. The service utilises the firm’s central production unit in the heart of London.
Changes in lifestyles brought about by the global coronavirus pandemic have resulted in huge shifts in both working patterns and consumer food habits this year.
A recent survey by the firm showed that 88% of UK workers who worked from home during the pandemic would like to continue to do so, with three days the most popular option (35%).
As a result, organisations are reviewing their real estate and looking at the role of food as a benefit, either as a way to entice people back into the office, or to support their productivity at home, with healthy food delivered in.
Sodexo said its research showed that half of employees were less likely to visit the staff restaurant when they return to the office, while 60% of those wanting to continue working from home said they were interested in food delivery.
26% of respondents claimed the ability to order food to be delivered is one of the main improvements their company’s foodservice provider could make.
The acquisition of Fooditude forms part of Sodexo’s regional and global strategy to develop new and more flexible foodservice models, which respond to accelerated trends in consumer demand.
Julie Ennis, CEO of corporate services at Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: “Fooditude is a well-established and dynamic food brand, putting food right at the heart of employee experience. The world is changing at pace, and it is imperative that we have the right brands, production capability and digital solutions to deliver the best food services in the market, across all sectors.
“Using the insight gained from our research, we will work closely with Fooditude grow and expand their business and importantly we will use their production capabilities and delivery model to support our growth.”
Founders Dean and Sam Kennett will retain shares in the company and continue to operate the business under the Fooditude brand alongside their existing team.
Mr Kennett said: “I couldn’t be happier about our decision to join forces with Sodexo to bring the Fooditude brand to new audiences across the UK and beyond.
“We have ambitious plans for growth after 15 successful years as a premium workplace caterer to London’s most forward-thinking businesses and partnering with Sodexo will accelerate those plans.
“Our partnership with Sodexo is a good fit for us and will ensure our success as we seek to develop new opportunities together.”
Sodexo UK has also recently partnered with leading foodservice technology provider Dynamify to develop an app-based digital retail platform to support the growing trend for a contactless food experience.