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Number of meals served by UK contract caterers – Industry data

15 June 2010 by

The number of meals served by UK contract caterers fell marginally by 0.7% to 1.607 billion in 2009, compared with 1.619 billion in 2008, according to the latest survey by the British Hospitality Association.

This drop reflects the 6.4% fall in employee numbers during 2009 as well as contract losses, with the total number of outlets falling by 2.3% to 16,583 (from 16,983 in 2008).

Business and industry was the hardest-hit sector, reflecting a 6% decline in the number of outlets. The market served 582 million meals in 2009, down from 717 million in the previous year. However, it retains the lion's share of the market, accounting for 36.2% of all meals served.

Other sectors enjoyed significant increases in meal numbers, most noticeably healthcare where caterers provided three meals a day.

These facts and figures are reported in the Food and Service Management Survey 2008, published by the British Hospitality Association. The full report (which is free to BHA members) can be bought for £95 (for the printed version) or £50 (for a PDF file). For enquiries or orders, phone 0207 404 7744 or contact Philippa Brady.

More facts and figures from the Food and Service Management Survey

UK contract catering turnover >>

Key ratios in contract catering >>

Types of catering contract >>

Number of employees in UK contract catering market >>

Structure of the UK contract catering market >>

Number of meals served (in millions) followed by percentage share of the total market

20082009
Business \+ industry717 44.3%582 36.2%
Healthcare197 12.2%250 15.6%
State education266 16.4%263 16.4%
Independent schools88 5.4%90 5.6%
Local authorities23 1.4%24 1.5%
Ministry of Defence170 10.5%215 13.3%
Oil rigs ^18 1%30 1.9%
Catering for the public140 8.7%153 9.5%
Total and % change year-on year1,619+1.2%1,607-0.7%
200720062005200420032002
Business \+ industry 666 41.6%680 44.1%645 43.1%617 38.5%613 38.1%605 39.0%
Healthcare210 13.1%203 13.2%204 13.6%208 13%232 14.4%237 15.3%
State education 289 18.1%272 17.6%265 17.7%287 17.9%281 17.5%250 16.1%
Independent schools 100 6.3%105 6.8%100 6.7%120 7.5%135 8.4%128 8.3%
Local authorities 19 1.2%20 1.3%22 1.5%28 1.7%37 2.3%35 2.3%
Ministry of Defence 145 9.1%105 6.8%105 7.0%110 6.9% 108 6.7%85 5.5%
Oil rigs ^ 20 1.2%16 1.1%16 1.1%17 1.1%17 1.1%13 0.8%
Catering for the public 150 9.4%139 9.1%139\* 9.3%214 13.4%185 11.5%197 12.7%
Total and % change year-on year1,599+3.8%1,540 +2.9%1,496 -6.5%1,601 -1,608 +3.7%1,550 +2.9%
200120001999199819971991
Business \+ industry 588 39.1%583 39.6%545 40.1%512 39.3%474 40%325 49.7%
Healthcare238 15.8%237 16.1%198 14.6%155 11.9%141 11.9%41 6.3%
State education 227 15.1%218 14.8%222 16.3%238 18.3%228 19.3%33 5.0%
Independent schools 125 8.3%92 6.3%93 6.8%92 7.1%76 6.4%81 2.4%
Local authorities 42 2.8%44 3.0%44 3.2%40 3.1%31 2.6%31 4.7%
Ministry of Defence 93 6.2%135 9.2%102 7.5%100 7.6%87 7.4%56 8.6%
Oil rigs ^ 15 1.0%17 1.2%17 1.2%16 1.2%16 1.4%25 3.8%
Catering for the public \* 177 11.8%145 9.8%140 10.3%150 11.5%133 11%62 9.5%
Total and % change year-on year1,505 +2.3%1,471 +8.1%1,361 -1,303 -1,189 -654 -
\* Figures adjusted to take account of Compass's sale of Select Service Partner in 2006 ^ Includes training centres and construction sites
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