Summary of our market study

The global foodservice market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.97 percent. Within this market, the Italian foodservice sector suffered a significant slowdown in 2020 due to the pandemic, with a sharp 26.6 percent drop in sales resulting in a 1.75 billion decrease from the previous year. However, the market is slowly recovering, as evidenced by a 34.5 percent increase in total sales between 2020 and 2022, largely due to the recovery of office work and educational institutions.

The main drivers of the Italian foodservice market

The Italian foodservice market has undergone significant changes in consumer preferences and demographic transformations that are affecting demand in the sector. Demand analysis indicates that despite the decline in average monthly spending in canteens over a five-year period, some segments such as elderly care have growth potential due to an aging population. By the end of the decade, the elderly population is expected to grow by about 10 to 15 percent, which could increase the demand for congregate dining in nursing homes.

it is equally important to understand the demand in the school sector. Despite the downward trend in enrollment, with a decline of about 15-20% in kindergartens, the need for healthy and sustainable school food service persists. Parents are increasingly expressing their desire for menus that are not only nutritious but also environmentally friendly.

The percentage of small and medium-sized businesses offering cafeteria services has declined slightly. In response, corporate food services are exploring new trends in demand, such as the diversity of ethnic offerings and technological improvements in menu customization and ordering.

Regional disparities in demand are evident: monthly household spending on food services is significantly higher in the northwest (over 5 euros) than in the south and islands, where spending is just under 1 euro.

Some of the key players analyzed:

  • Sodexo Italy has established itself as a giant, supporting the market with a range of foodservice and facility management solutions. Its global footprint and substantial presence in the corporate, educational and healthcare sectors underscore Sodexo's leading role in the Italian market.
  • The Elior Group is another international foodservice heavyweight, responding to changing meal delivery needs with a focus on personalization. Elior's commitment to the health and environmental aspects of contract catering makes it a pioneer in the culture of responsible consumption.
  • The Compass Group, whose tradition spans more than three-quarters of a century, remains a major player with its emphasis on freshness, locality and adaptability in its offerings. Compass' early adoption of technology to facilitate the pre-ordering of personalized meals illustrates its forward-looking approach to catering.
  • By venturing into local Italian businesses that have become synonymous with quality foodservice, the Pellegrini Group has an impressive growth trajectory, firmly rooted in the concept of wellness. With its wellness recipes, Pellegrini has combined culinary experience with scientific validation, offering a menu that is not only tasty, but also healthy.
  • Camst is a company that has integrated seamlessly into the fabric of Italian daily life, serving a wide range of customers with a commitment to food diversity and innovative workspace solutions. Its strategic expansion into international markets speaks volumes about its ambition and the scalability of its business.
  • CirFood has climbed the ranks to become an industry leader, particularly in the school food service segment. CirFood's continued growth and expansion is a testament to the brand's commitment to feeding the community with a blend of tradition and innovation.
  • Serenissima brings the richness of Italy's culinary tradition to the foodservice industry. Focusing on fresh, authentic Italian flavors, Serenissima caters to a myriad of institutions, ensuring that meals are not only nutritious, but also culturally meaningful.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market Summary

1.1 Definition and presentation

The mass catering market refers to the economic sector that provides large-scale meal preparation and distribution services to communities and organized groups, such as businesses, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, correctional institutions, and other collective facilities. This market differs from commercial catering (restaurants, bars, cafes) in that it focuses primarily on non-individual customers and aims to provide meals to a large number of people at once.

Collective catering can be broken down into three macro-categories:

  • School sector
  • Hospital sector
  • Work sector

In 2023, the global foodservice market was worth $257.3 billion. With a compound annual growth rate of 4.97 percent for the next six years, by 2028 the value could rise to $327.9 billion. Market growth is supported by a combination of demographic changes, social trends, technological innovations and economic factors. These elements jointly stimulate demand for large-scale catering services and offer new opportunities for industry players.

The value of the Italian foodservice market shows steady growth from 2022 to 2029 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.20 percent.

In recent years, the foodservice market has experienced a decrease in both the number of active companies and the number of employees employed. This trend reflects significant changes within the industry, indicating a process of transformation and adaptation to new economic and social dynamics.

1.2 The global and European market

In ****, the global foodservice market reached a value of $***.* billion. With a compound annual growth rate of *.** percent for the next six years, the value could rise to $***.* billion in ****.

Catering market World, ****-****, billion dollars Imarcgroup In order to delve deeper into the global contract catering market, the market related ...

1.3 The Italian market

The value of the Italian foodservice market shows steady growth from **** to **** with a compound annual growth rate (***) of *.**%. Starting from *.** billion euros in ****, it is expected to reach *.** billion euros in ****. This represents a total increase of **% over the period analyzed. Italian Catering Market Value Italy, ****-****, in billion € Company ...

1.4 The consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict

The outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in February **** has led to, among other things, a general increase in the consumer price index. The foodservice industry is not exempt from this increase although the price increases mainly affect corporate catering. In fact, In May ****, the index was at ***.* and, after some minor ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Demand in Italy

To provide a general overview of the demand for mass catering in Italy, household spending on canteens is first analyzed. The average household expenditure has decreased overall. In ****, it was *.** euros, but it dropped to *.** euros in ****, a reduction of **.* percent. In ****, due to the pandemic, spending dropped further to *.** euros, ...

2.2 Different factors influence demand

The aging population

In ****, **.* percent of Italian families say they are willing to consider a care facility as a solution for their loved ones who are no longer self-sufficient. The progressive aging of the Italian population is therefore one of the main factors that may drive the demand for collective catering, ...

2.3 New demand trends

Demand trends in foodservice are constantly evolving, as is the commercial foodservice sector. In particular, some of the main trends are:

The growing preference for sustainable products: consumers are increasingly inclined to consume products with an environmentally and ethically sustainable supply chain. Mass catering is called upon to adapt its skills ...

2.4 Geographical distribution of demand

In order to visualize the geographic distribution of demand, a map was created with the monthly household expenditure on communal food services.

The distribution of spending across the territory is extremely uneven. The Northwest presents the highest monthly expenditure, with *.** euros spent on average by households. It is followed by the ...

2.5 Trends in demand for catering and canteens

Trends in catering and canteen searches in Italy from June **** to June **** show different trends for the two services. Catering searches ranged from a low of **.* in February **** to a high of **.* in June ****, with an overall increase of * percent from June **** (***).

Canteen searches showed greater variability, with a significant peak ...

3 Market structure

3.1 The market structure

In order to analyze the contract catering market, enterprises under Ateco code **.** "Canteens and continuous catering on a contract basis" are considered. In particular, the number of active enterprises, the number of employees and the legal form of enterprises are analyzed.

Number of enterprises

The number of catering and canteen enterprises ...

3.2 The value chain

3.3 Distribution

Mass catering service can be divided into two categories based on the process of meal distribution. The two types of systems are:

Conventional system: meals are prepared and cooked in the same facility where they will later be distributed. Each kitchen thus works independently of the others as the entire preparation ...

3.4 The main actors


Sodexo: Founded in **** in Marseille, Sodexo is the world's number one food service and business services company. The company is present in ** countries around the world and serves more than *** million customers every day. In the catering business, it is active in the corporate, public administration and education sectors. The ...

4 Supply analysis

4.1 Supply analysis

The price index for consumer canteens in Italy shows a steady increase from **** to ****. Starting from ***.* in ****, the index reaches ***.* in ****, representing a growth of *.* percent over the period. The annual increase is smooth, indicating a steady increase in prices for canteens, with the most pronounced growth between **** and ****.

Price index ...

4.2 The prices

Regarding prices, rates related to corporate catering are highly variable since it is the company itself that enters into the contract with the caterer and decides how much of the price to charge. For nursing facilities, prices are often included within the monthly or daily fee. In contrast, for school catering, ...

4.3 New supply trends

The foodservice industry's offerings are constantly evolving not only in order to attract new customers but to ensure better service and meal quality. The following are the main trends in the offerings:

Entico street food: some companies active in the sector have launched several ethnic cuisine projects in response to the ...

5 Rules and regulations

5.1 The legislation

The sector is subject to various regulations both at the national and European level. There are regulations applicable to food hygiene and safety . The European Union has adopted several pieces of legislation aimed at establishing a single and transparent food hygiene policy :

regulation ***/**** establishes the basic principles (***) and defines specific obligations ...

6 Positioning of actors

6.1 Positioning of actors

  • Elior Ristorazione S.p.a
  • CIRFood (Cooperativa Italiana di Ristorazione)
  • CAMST (Cooperativa Albergo Mensa Spettacolo e Turismo)
  • Compass Group Italia
  • Sodexo France
  • Ladisa
  • Serenissima Ristorazione
  • Gruppo Pellegrini
  • Vivenda s.p.a

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Ripartizione del fatturato per divisione
  • Average household expenditure item for canteens
  • Evoluzione della popolazione anziana
  • Strutture di assistenza residenziale
  • Evoluzione del numero di alunni
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Latest news

Foodservices Sodexo continues to transform its business model - 26/10/2023
  • Sodexo customer retention rate: 95.2
  • Revenue growth for fiscal year 2023: +11.6
  • Sodexo revenues in fiscal 2023: €22.6 billion
  • Revenues from Pluxee food stamp business: +26.9 percent to 1 billion euros
  • Pluxee net profit: 234 million euros
  • Net profit from all other Sodexo businesses: 560 million euros
  • Percentage of Group capital controlled by family holding company Bellon SA: more than 40 percent
  • The United States accounts for 46 percent of Sodexo's on-site services revenues.
Sodexo BRS: transforming the customer experience - 02/06/2023
  • Sodexo BRS (Benefits & Rewards Services) leverages Genesys Cloud CX and Salesforce Service Cloud to harmonize its customer service strategy
  • Sodexo BRS has a presence in 31 countries.
  • 36 million beneficiaries of Sodexo BRS services.
  • 500.000 corporate and public sector customers.
  • 1.7 million business partners.
  • More than 1,500 customer service agents in different countries.
Mass catering: Elior relaunched by Derichebourg - 18/04/2023
  • Merger between Elior and Derichebourg Multiservices (DMS)
  • Derichebourg's stake in Elior increases from 24.36 percent to 48.4 percent
  • Value of DMS: €450 million (9.1 times its EBITDA for 2022)
  • DMS: 37,000 employees
  • Additional turnover for Elior after integration of DMS: 943 million euros
  • New group (Elior + DMS): turnover of 5.23 billion euros, 134,000 employees
Sodexo splits in two to increase shareholder value - 07/04/2023
  • Sodexo is the world's number two in food services.
  • The BRS division will be spun off in 2024.
  • Sodexo's current market value is about 15 billion euros.
  • BRS accounts for less than 5 percent of Sodexo's revenues, but 25 percent of its operating results.
  • BRS employs fewer than 5,000 people out of Sodexo's total of 420,000 employees worldwide.
  • BRS is targeting sales of 1 billion euros this year.
  • Edenred, a major competitor, has a market capitalization of more than 14 billion euros.
  • Since 2016, Edenred has doubled in size.
  • Food stamp startup Swile, a competitor in the food stamp industry, raised 175 million euros at the end of 2021.
Sodexo announces business split - 05/04/2023
  • Net profit up 30.6 percent in the first half of Sodexo's first fiscal year
  • Net profit of 440 million euros from September 2022 to February 2023
  • sodexo employs 422,000 people in 53 countries
  • The food services group plans to spin off its employee benefits and rewards business into a publicly traded company.
  • Planned "during the course of 2024," the transaction will involve "the distribution of shares of the (new) entity to Sodexo shareholders."
  • The Bellon SA family holding company, Sodexo's main shareholder with 42.8 percent of the capital as of Aug. 31, 2022, "supports this project and intends to maintain a role as a long-term controlling shareholder in both entities," the text reads.
Sodexo will spin off and list its Benefits & Rewards division on the stock exchange - 05/04/2023
  • - Proposed spinoff of Benefits and Rewards Services business planned for 2024
  • - Bellon SA: largest shareholder in Sodexo with 42.75 percent of capital, supports the proposed demerger

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Elior Ristorazione S.p.a
CIRFood (Cooperativa Italiana di Ristorazione)
CAMST (Cooperativa Albergo Mensa Spettacolo e Turismo)
Compass Group Italia
Sodexo France
Serenissima Ristorazione
Gruppo Pellegrini
Vivenda s.p.a

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