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UK Contract Catering market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Contract Catering market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Report coverage

  • Business and Industry
  • Schools
  • Healthcare and Hospitals
  • Prisons
  • Defence
  • Remote Sites

Company profiles

  • Aramark UK Ltd
  • Baxter Storey Ltd
  • Compass Contract Services (UK) Ltd
  • Elior UK Plc
  • OCS Ltd
  • Sodexo

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Marco Amasanti, a leading analyst in the B2B sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The contract catering market successfully navigated Brexit headwinds for a second year in 2018. Growth was underpinned by robust consumer expenditure and strong demand in business and industry and education, tied in part to record employment and pupil numbers. However, margins remain pressured by mounting price competition, while the industry looks set to face further difficulties in the coming years, marked by continued uncertainty, rising input costs and skills shortages. Marco Amasanti
B2B Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Contract catering continues to grow despite challenging conditions
              • Figure 1: UK contract catering market value, £ billion, 2014-23
            • Companies and brands
              • Boosted collaboration between caterers and high street brands
                • The consumer
                  • Workplace remains primary channel of catering demand
                    • Figure 2: Visitation of catering facilities, October 2018
                  • Cost remains paramount, with quality a close second
                    • Figure 3: Motivating factors behind consumer choice, October 2018
                  • More than half of consumers put off by high prices
                    • Figure 4: Deterring factors, October 2018
                  • Opportunities for mobile applications and appetite for broader menus
                    • Figure 5: Means of boosting visitation, October 2018
                  • Workplace catering attitudes
                    • Figure 6: Workplace catering attitudes, October 2018
                  • What we think
                  • Issues and Insights

                    • Growing skills shortages
                      • The facts
                        • The implications
                          • Brexit uncertainties and mounting concern
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                • Market continues to grow despite challenging conditions
                                  • Robust catering demand in business and industry and education
                                    • Growth forecast to gradually accelerate in the coming years
                                    • Market Size

                                      • Contract catering maintains growth through challenging conditions
                                        • Figure 7: UK contract catering market, £ billion, 2014-18
                                      • Business and industry and education demand continues to rise
                                        • Prison and defence orientated demand contracted in 2018
                                        • Market Forecast

                                          • Contract catering set to recover momentum in the coming years
                                              • Figure 8: UK contract catering market forecast, £ billion, 2019-23
                                            • Recent growth trends forecast to continue
                                              • Figure 9: England and Wales prison population projections, June 2018-June 2022
                                            • Development of mobile applications
                                              • Further increases to the National Living Wage
                                                • Figure 10: National living wage, £ per hour, April 2018-April 2019
                                            • The Impact of the Economy

                                              • 2018 economic assessment
                                                • Pressures on consumer finances
                                                • Market Trends

                                                    • UK labour force demand
                                                      • Figure 11: UK employment levels, '000 people, Q1 2013-Q3 2018
                                                      • Figure 12: UK disposable income index, net national disposable income per head, Q1 2013-Q2 2018
                                                    • School attendance completes a decade of growth
                                                      • Figure 13: UK number of schools and pupils, 2009-18
                                                    • Free school meals continue to fall
                                                      • Figure 14: UK free school meals, % of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free meals, 2009-18
                                                    • Hospitals continue to move away from overnight stays
                                                      • Figure 15: Average daily available beds overnight, England, Q1 2013-Q2 2018
                                                    • Patient admissions remain largely stable while NHS employment booms
                                                      • Figure 16: NHS inpatient elective admission events, England, Q1 2013-Q3 2018
                                                    • Prison population slips in 2018
                                                      • Figure 17: England and Wales prison population, 2014-18
                                                    • Squeeze on defence spending continues
                                                      • Figure 18: UK Army regular forces, October 2014-18
                                                    • UK construction levels maintain stubborn growth
                                                      • Figure 19: UK construction all work output, £ million, Q1 2013-Q3 2018
                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                    • Robust consumer expenditure and stable confidence
                                                      • Figure 20: UK consumer expenditure on catering, £ billion, 2008-17
                                                      • Figure 21: Trends in how respondents would describe their financial situation, October 2017 and 2018
                                                    • Collaborations between caterers and high street brands
                                                      • National Living Wage driving operation costs
                                                        • Figure 22: National Living Wage, £ per hour, April 2016-April 2018
                                                    • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Significant role of SMEs
                                                        • Collapse of Carillion
                                                          • Boosted collaboration between caterers and high street brands
                                                          • Industry Structure

                                                              • Changes in the structure of the industry
                                                                • Figure 23: Financial analysis of the changes in the activities of event catering, number of outlets and businesses, 2014-18
                                                                • Figure 24: Financial analysis of the changes in other food service activities, number of outlets and businesses, 2014-18
                                                              • Structure by employment
                                                                • Figure 25: Analysis of the employment structure of activities of event catering, number of employees and outlets, 2017 and 2018
                                                                • Figure 26: Analysis of the employment structure of other food service activities, number of employees and outlets, 2017 and 2018
                                                              • Structure by turnover
                                                                • Figure 27: Analysis of the financial structure of activities of event catering, £'000 and number of businesses, 2017 and 2018
                                                                • Figure 28: Analysis of the financial structure of other food service activities, £'000 and number of businesses, 2017 and 2018
                                                            • Company Profiles

                                                              • Aramark UK Ltd
                                                                • Recent company activity
                                                                  • Financial information
                                                                    • Figure 29: Financial analysis of Aramark UK Ltd, £ million, 2013-17
                                                                  • Baxter Storey Ltd
                                                                    • Recent company activity
                                                                      • Financial information
                                                                        • Figure 30: Financial analysis of Baxter Storey Ltd, £ million, 2013-17
                                                                      • Compass Contract Services (UK) Ltd
                                                                        • Recent company activity
                                                                          • Financial information
                                                                            • Figure 31: Financial analysis of Compass Contract Services (UK) Ltd, £ million, 2013-17
                                                                          • Elior UK Plc
                                                                            • Recent company activity
                                                                              • Financial information
                                                                                • Figure 32: Financial analysis of Elior (UK) Plc, £ million, 2013-17
                                                                              • OCS Ltd
                                                                                • Recent company activity
                                                                                  • Financial information
                                                                                    • Figure 33: Financial analysis of OCS Ltd, £ million, 2014-17
                                                                                  • Sodexo Ltd
                                                                                    • Recent company activity
                                                                                      • Financial information
                                                                                        • Figure 34: Financial analysis of Sodexo Ltd, £ million, 2013-17
                                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                      • Workplace remains primary channel of catering demand
                                                                                        • Boosting income from the workplace sector
                                                                                          • More than half of consumers put off by high prices
                                                                                            • Redeeming interest
                                                                                              • Driving future appeal
                                                                                              • Visitation of Catering Facilities

                                                                                                • Workplace remains primary channel of catering demand
                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Visitation of catering facilities, October 2018
                                                                                                • Decision-making Factors

                                                                                                  • Price remains paramount
                                                                                                    • The importance of quality and ingredients
                                                                                                        • Figure 36: Motivating factors behind consumer choice, October 2018
                                                                                                    • Barriers to Visiting

                                                                                                      • More than half of consumers put off by high prices
                                                                                                        • Lack of information
                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Deterring factors, October 2018
                                                                                                        • Time-strapped consumers
                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Length of lunch break/main break at work, October 2017
                                                                                                      • Enhanced Services

                                                                                                        • A role for technology
                                                                                                          • Broadened menu demand
                                                                                                            • Figure 39: Means of boosting visitation, October 2018
                                                                                                        • Workplace Catering Attitudes

                                                                                                          • The value of workplace canteens to businesses
                                                                                                            • Addressing negative perceptions of the industry
                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Workplace catering attitudes, October 2018
                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                  • Methodology
                                                                                                                  • Further Sources and Contacts

                                                                                                                    • Trade associations
                                                                                                                      • UK Hospitality
                                                                                                                        • Hospital Caterers Association
                                                                                                                          • The Association of Catering Excellence (ACEGB)
                                                                                                                            • The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS)
                                                                                                                              • Trade magazines
                                                                                                                                • Catering Insight
                                                                                                                                  • Essentially Catering
                                                                                                                                    • Hospitality and Catering News
                                                                                                                                      • Trade events
                                                                                                                                        • Hotel, Catering & Retail Show
                                                                                                                                          • The Food & Drink Trade Show
                                                                                                                                            • The International Food & Drink Event