Sales in the contract catering sector grew by more than two-thirds in the second quarter of 2021 as the sector continues its recovery from Covid-19 lockdowns.
The latest edition of the CGA Contract Caterer Tracker showed sales from April to June 2021 were up by 69% on the same three months in 2020, when the UK moved into a full national lockdown. Year-on-year sales growth grew at a higher pace from April into May and June — months in 2020 when most venues served by contract caterers, like schools, universities, offices and sporting venues, were closed.
However, on a rolling 12-month basis, sales in the year to the end of June were 38% below the previous 12 months.
Karl Chessell, CGA's business unit director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: "After a devastating 2020 and early 2021, these numbers are encouraging signs that the contract catering sector's recovery is under way. With many people continuing to work from home, it may be some time before sales get back to pre-Covid-19 levels, but the gradual return of education, leisure and event catering over the second quarter has been a positive start.
"As is the case in hospitality, the pandemic has reminded us just how much consumers and organisations value contract caterers. Significant operational challenges remain, especially in recruitment and distribution, but we can be optimistic that demand will continue to pick up over the rest of 2021."