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Contract catering report reveals growth in a changing market

04 March 2008

In 2007 the food service management sector experience modest growth with turnover up 5.5 per cent to nearly £4bn and meals provided were up by 3.8 per cent, according to the British Hospitality Association's Food Service Management Forum's 19th Annual Survey.

The survey showed that the market grew by 5.5 per cent in 2007 to nearly £4bn, although the number of outlets in the business and industry sector declined. Following the Jamie Oliver effect in the school meals sector, the number of state schools catered increased by 20 per cent. Ministry of Defence contract fell marginally but this hides the fact that the contracts awarded are larger and meal numbers higher.

There were increasing cost pressures during 2007. Labour costs rose by 4.5 per cent and the labour force rose by 1 per cent. Food costs rose in line with the general increase in food prices.

The support services provided by food and service management (FSM) companies as part of the catering contract remains significant with cleaning the most popular service provided. This emphasises the continuing move by catering companies towards offering a full FM service.

A plea for improvements in the way public sector catering contracts are awarded was made by Phil Hopper, chairman of the British Hospitality Association's Food and Service Management Forum. He said that FSM companies believed that too many tender documents were drawn up by procurement officers without any catering input, were too detailed and too inflexible, took too long and were too expensive to complete and rarely allowed companies to suggest new or alternative ways of providing a service.

Food and Service Management Survey 2008 is available from Bob Bacon at The British Hospitality Association Tel: 0207 404 7744 price £35 (soft copy PDF), £50 (hard copy).

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