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1.1 Definition and presentation

The contract catering market refers to the preparation and distribution of meals within local authorities, companies or public institutions. It differs from commercial catering in particular by its moderate price and the fact that it is partially paid for by the employer or organisation. Contract catering can be segmented into three macro categories

  • Collective catering in the school sector
  • Collective catering in the hospital sector
  • Collective catering in companies

The three segments share a uniform market share, but contract catering in Italy is now facing a gradual change in eating habits, on the one hand supported by a strong interest in health and sustainability and on the other hand guided by choices oriented towards convenience and price.

The three segments mentioned above are affected by these changes in food consumption, but in a singular way for each of them. Moreover, one of the other main determinants in this market is the strong presence of regulations relating to nutritional quality and hygiene

1.2 The European market

Source: ****
With an estimated turnover of **.* billion euros in ****, France is the leading market for contract catering in Europe. The outsourcing rate is around **% of the total amount of the contract catering market. ** billion in **** and is thus in second place: the rate of outsourcing in the UK is approximately **% of ...

1.3 The Italian market

Source: ****
This graph represents the evolution of turnover for canteens and catering on a contractual basis (***)
The scope is therefore wider than the study, it brings together as well
the activity corresponding to ATECO code *****: Canteens. This corresponds to the management of canteens (***) under concession the activity corresponding to ATECO code ...


2.1 Traditional Demand Levers

Source: ****
The main markets for contract catering in Italy are business, education, health and medico-social, accounting for **%, **% and **% of total contract catering turnover in **** respectively
In Italy outsourcing rates are high:
**% in the workplace **% in workplaces with public administrations **% in the education market **% in the health and medico-social market
By outsourcing, ...

2.2 Evolution of traditional demand levers

The ageing of the population

Source: ****
As the number of people over the age of ** continues to grow, it is likely that the number of benefits for them is also increasing. While the family remains the main support for the elderly in Italy, the indispensability of old people's homes is increasingly ...

2.3 New Demand Levers

Fragmentation of demand
Employees and students are increasingly disrespecting the traditional lunch break. The length of the lunch break has been steadily decreasing in recent years as employees and students adapt to their schedules and appetites. They spread their consumption throughout the day, resulting in a multiplication of meals. According to ...


3.1 A less concentrated market than the rest of Europe

Source: ****
This graph corresponds to the companies in the sector ATECO ****, i.e. canteens and continuous catering on a contractual basis. The sector is dominated by small structures. In fact, the vast majority of companies in the sector have fewer than ** employees. **% have just one employee and **% of companies have between ...

3.2 Legal forms & number of companies

Source: ****

Source: ****
The number of canteens decreased between **** and ****. The number of canteens decreased from **** in **** to *** in ****. Conversely, the number of companies in the continuous catering sector on a contractual basis increased over the same period. With *** companies in this sector in ****, there were *** in ****.
In both cases, the majority ...

3.3 Distribution of costs within the sector

Source: ****
The acquisition of goods and services represents the largest burden for canteens and contract catering companies, reaching *.* billion euros in ****. This is followed by personnel costs and salaries in the amount of *.* and *.* billion euros respectively.


4.1 Different offers

A varied offer
Beyond the segmentation by type of customer, we can see an offer that differs according to the type of management:
direct management : preparation in the kitchens of the customers use of central kitchens : the cooked meals are transported to the client. Meals can be delivered in single portion ...

4.2 Increasingly attentive to food wastage

Source: ****
According to a study by the Technical Institute of Milan, *,*** thousand tons of food waste are produced per year, equivalent to **.* billion euros. Final consumers are largely responsible for this waste: **% of the leftovers are due to consumers. As for the catering industry, which brings together collective and private catering, ...

4.3 A gradual increase in prices

Source: ****
Catering prices have been rising steadily in recent years, as shown in the price index below. In Italy, they have increased by **% between **** and ****.
More specifically, prices for Italian canteens increased by *.*% between October ****. This is mainly due to a price increase in company canteens, which show a price increase ...


5.1 Regulations

A highly regulated sector
The sector is subject to various regulations at both national and European level with the European Union regulations.
A distinction is made between regulations applicable to food hygiene and safety .
The European Union has adopted several pieces of legislation aimed at establishing a single and transparent policy ...


6.1 Segmentation of players

  • Elior
  • Sodexo
  • CIRFood
  • Compass Group Italia

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