David Field, managing director, Nestlé FoodServices shares his thoughts on the changes predicted in the 2007 UK Food and Service Management Survey, which the company sponsored for the first time this year.
The findings of this year's report from the British Hospitality Association are indicative of the challenges and opportunities that face the food industry. Never has the importance of nutrition and healthier eating… on-the-go, at work and in schools, been more in the public eye.
With the Government called to task on the quality of food provision in the public sector and employers increasingly savvy as to the benefits of a healthy workforce and keeping staff on site, caterers and suppliers have an added responsibility to deliver healthier food.
Manufacturers still choosing to supply the education sector have adapted and changed product lines to fit with Government legislature. What's important is that we continue to engage in ongoing dialogue with both our education partners and Government to levy the best solutions.
Looking ahead, 2007 will see a requirement for all secondary school students to have a plated sit-down meal. This is a chance for the supply chain to work together in doing business smarter. And, it's an opportunity for manufacturers to develop the right products and market them well.
Our own strategy has been to work closely with our education partners to develop menus that appeal to students and offer the right nutritional balance across the school week.
In business and industry - where the largest contracts still remain, we work with contract caterers to provide food and beverage solutions which will keep staff on site, ranging from high quality coffee solutions which work in the boardroom to the staff canteen; to meal deals with effective marketing support which sustains "customer" loyalty.
In education, we reward the hard work of contracted school chefs across the country through the Local Authority Caterers Association School Chef of the Year competition and also currently in the throes of the 19th year of the Nestlé Toque d'Or competition. Each dedicated to celebrating effort and keeping the skill-base alive.
There's challenges ahead for sure but here's to working together to inspire growth industry-wide and tackle them.
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