Three quarters of caterers and outsourced service providers lack confidence in the current Government to support the hospitality industry.
That's according to the Food Service Management market report, published today (25 November) by the British Hospitality Association (BHA).
The survey of BHA members, conducted shortly after the election in May, found that a quarter of respondents were not confident that the Conservative government would support the sector, while half said they remained neutral on the issue.
It was also revealed that the hospitality industry has grown in the last five years to become the UK's fourth largest industry, up from fifth place, as noted in a separate independent study for the BHA by Oxford Economics.
In 2014, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.92 million jobs and it currently represents 10% of GDP, equivalent to £143b.
This positive news led delegates at the report's launch to call for caterers to lobby their local MPs and generate Government awareness of the importance of the sector.
Speaking at the launch, Ufi Ibrahim (pictured), chief executive of the BHA, commented: "In the last five years the hospitality sector has grown from the fifth largest industry to the fourth.
"The industry has delivered 331,000 new jobs over the past five years, second only to business services."
Caroline Fry, deputy CEO, CH&Co Group, added: "Our industry crosses all sectors of the private and public sector so it's very encouraging to see continued growth in the Food Service Management sector.
"It's no surprise to people in the hospitality sector that we are the second largest contributor to new job creation in the country but it may be a surprise for others. These statistics should help demonstrate to the Government that we're a very important part of the British economy and an engine for growth."
Caterers serve more than four million customers each day, the report found, representing sales of £83.9b, while out-of-home dining is expected to continue to grow over the next five years.
The market report showed that 100% of the companies surveyed are providing healthier alternatives and lower calorie options. It also revealed that 94% of respondents have reduced salt in the meals they serve and 88% have trained chefs on cooking healthy options.
Ibrahim said: "This is a remarkable achievement and significant work is ongoing to further improve menus and choice in the FSM offer.
"Similarly, there has been positive engagement across many restaurant and hotel caterers, demonstrating the willingness of industry to work with Government to improve public health and reduce obesity in the UK."
The report was launched this morning at the Royal College of Surgeons in London.