The British Hospitality Association 2007 UK Food and Service Management survey has revealed the number of outlets and meals served in 2006 were up.
Overall turnover increased 2.6% to £3.768b with the number of meals served 2.9% higher year-on-year at 1.54 billion, last year.
The business and industry (B&I) sector maintained its lion's share, accounting for 40% of all meals served in the sector, although the report warned that with more than 9,000 outlets, B&I remains a mature market with little overall growth potential.
Despite well publicised difficulties school meals caterers suffered as a result of the "Jamie Oliver effect", the number of state school contracts increased by 11% to 4,413 outlets over the calendar year.
Elsewhere in the public sector, the number of Ministry of Defence outlets declined from 490 outlets in 2005 to 421.
With the lunch hour in most workplaces now closer to 30 minutes than an hour, "grab and go" snacks accounted for 60% of all sales.
Contract wise, the traditional subsidies that made large-scale catering possible after its inception post Second World War continued to be eroded, with 70% of outlets now operated on some sort of commercial basis.
The survey is sponsored by Nestlé Foodservices.
The UK food service market in figures
- In 1990, the contract catering sector was valued at £1.3b in turnover. Today it is £3.7b.
- There were 17,373 food service outlets in 2006, 2.3% higher than 2005.
- Food service employs 146,307 staff (compared with 150,487 in 2005)
- Labour cost as a percentage of turnover 45.5% (2005: 45.6%).
By Chris Druce
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