New Report Highlights The Continued Growth For The Food Service Management Sector

The continued growth and importance of the food service management industry is highlighted in this year’s annual survey of the industry from the British Hospitality Association published today, Thursday 16 November 2017.

‘Leading Through Unprecedented Change and Uncertainty: Food Service Management Market Report 2017’ reveals that the UK sector saw a turnover of £35bn last year. It forecasts that, despite expectations of a period of unprecedented change caused by Brexit, there will be growth in the short and medium turn, stimulated by demographic trends, the ageing population and rising student numbers.

The major FSM businesses who answered the survey forecast they would add 32,000 new jobs next year but, with 31 per cent of their workers coming from the EU, respondents were concerned about post-Brexit immigration and restrictions on the UK labour market.

The survey reveals that the industry’s confidence in government support for it slipped further, and that the main ‘ask’ from government is that they support ways to improve attractiveness of catering as a long-term career choice. Businesses want a more measured approach to the National Living Wage and a stronger recognition of the importance of immigration.

This is a competitive market, the survey shows, with winning share from competition the top opportunity for growth. The top factor constraining growth, said respondents, is rising food cost inflation with staff recruitment difficulties the second.

Looking to the future the industry recognises the rise of new trends with healthy eating and street food important as well as smart payments. Self-service kiosks and online ordering are seen as key trends for the future. Recognised brands are seen as a major part of the future too.

The industry showed that it is firmly behind the government’s ambition to combat obesity and increase the nation’s health with almost all companies reducing the amount of sugar and salt in their offerings and providing healthier alternative meals.

Ufi Ibrahim, the chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said:

“This report is a vital resource for those in the industry. Its results show the strength and confidence of the industry but also its concerns, most notably those about Brexit and its impact on employment. We, as the major representative of the hospitality and tourism sector, are the main voice of this industry and can communicate its concerns to government.”

Andrew Selley, Chief Executive, Bidfood, said:

“We’re delighted to support the BHA and welcome the report which paints a refreshingly positive outlook for continued short and long-term growth in the foodservice market.  As an industry we can be justifiably proud to have created new jobs, and apprenticeships, and healthier, more sustainable menus that really help to fuel our economy. Realising the growth potential for foodservice in the future will mean we need to work together to promote our industry as a great place to work, and support the BHA in their mission to engage with Government as they determine the policies that will dictate our access to talent and skilled employees from overseas.”

Simon Stenning, Executive Director, MCA, said:

“This complex market has been constantly evolving to face new challenges, and these keep coming, but the resilience of the leaders within it will ensure that it sees further growth. The key challenge from a catering perspective will be how to embrace retailing techniques and skills to fight off stiff competition from the High Street, whilst balancing the need to be ‘foodie’ caterers.”

Caroline Fry, Chief Executive – Business & Industry, CH&Co, said:

“The report shows that whilst there are clearly some major changes afoot that affect all companies, the foodservice sector is also optimistic about growth and job creation in the short to medium term.  This sector works with just about every part of the economy and is a very big employer. Given how supportive we are of the Government’s efforts to reduce obesity and improve the nation’s health, we hope that in return they will understand the challenges faced by the industry and support us, especially when it comes to planning the potential restrictions on the UK labour market.”

David Davies, Managing Director, Checkit, said:

“Food service business of the future can do much to combat the pressures of cost inflation and competition by investing in technologies that deliver competitive advantage through improved efficiency, reduced compliance risks and consistent standards of quality and customer experience”