Big catering food and drink suppliers are battling each other in a congested arena, leaving smaller firms to prosper in a healthy market, claims a new report by Plimsoll Publishing.
Its analysis of the top 81 firms in the sector found that larger companies were generally less profitable than the smaller players.
Seventeen leading companies failed to make a profit last year, while 30 others did not increase sales above inflation. Only 13 of the top 100 firms have shown any profit growth over three consecutive years, and seven have made no profit at all.
David Pattison, senior analyst at Plimsoll, predicted a "clash of the titans" as major players were forced to merge with or buy their larger rivals to create more breathing room at the top. "In fact," said Pattison, "it's so likely, we have put 26 companies on the danger list."
The 311-page analysis is available for £500. Readers of Caterer are entitled to a 5% discount. Call 01642 626400 for information.