Content of the study:
The contract catering market - Belgium

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1.1 Definition and scope of the study

The mass catering is the preparation and distribution of meals within companies, communities or public institutions. Part of the cost of the meal is sometimes borne by the employer or the institution in question. A distinction is made between different types of management - depending on whether it is autonomous and managed internally or delegated to private companies.

The three main sectors of activity of the collective catering are catering at work in companies and public administrations, catering in health care facilities and health care (hospitals and retirement homes) as well as the restoration associated with the educational sector The issues and determinants of the business thus depend on the type of client sector

Worldwide, contract catering is growing rapidly, with forecasts of more than 5% per year between 2018 and 2023 before the Covid-19 crisis. The market is dominated by global players such as the French Sodexo and Elior the American Aramark or English Compass.

Collective catering actors are trying to highlight the quality of their meals, to counter the sometimes somewhat "down-market" image of the offer in collective canteens. By focusing on an organic, responsible and local offer. As the world's leading food service provider, players are trying to win over more and more customers and consumers as the choices for lunch are numerous - especially for corporate catering.

The Covid-19 crisis has had a major impact on the sector and is expected to have a lasting negative impact - with the rise of teleworking in particular - thus accelerating the business model change of the actors of the collective catering.

1.2 A growing global market

The global food service market is booming; between **** and ****, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of *.*% to reach €*** billion.

The main players in this market are relatively few and include Compass Group (***). [***]

Size of the contract catering market World, ****-****, in USD billion Source: ****

NB: Estimates made before ...

1.3 A Belgian market in decline in recent years

The contract catering sector is generally declining since ****, with an CAGR of -*.*%. The turnover of the players in the sector amounted to *** million in **** according to Statbel - about the same level as in ****/****.

The market is dominated by * main players who together account for almost half of the sector, ...

1.4 The impact of the Covid-19 crisis

The Belgian subsidiary of Sodexo announced *** job cuts due to the Covid-** crisis, which is expected to result in "a significant decline in sales"for the players in the sector [***]

The graph below highlights that the main food services players in Belgium lost a significant part of their turnover during the ...


2.1 Type of demand

Statbel accounts for contract catering activity under the name "Other food services". This class includes the provision of industrial catering services on the basis of contractual arrangements with the customer for a specified period of time. The meals are usually prepared in central kitchens.

We distinguish :

Activities of companies providing meals ...

2.2 Demand drivers for corporate catering

The lunch habits and preferences of Belgians during the working day

If in the past the company canteen was the preferred place for employees of large companies to go to, the situation has changed and there are more choices.

Thus, Belgians have several choices for lunch:

Company restaurants Home-cooked meals Off-site ...

2.3 The impact of the evolution of the age pyramid

The growing number of people aged ** and over is increasing the need for care facilities. In ****, there were more than two million people aged ** and over in Belgium, which corresponds to **% of the population. [***]

According to the Federal Planning Bureau, this proportion will increase to **% in **** and even **% in ****. This will ...

2.4 Towards a more balanced and responsible food consumption

In school canteens, parents expect their children to receive a healthy and balanced diet. This is also important in order to educate them to eat well, especially as the number of overweight children has been rising for several decades. The public authorities are also moving in this direction.

Share of overweight ...


3.1 Segmentation and actor dynamics

The evolution of the number of companies and employees in the sector

Between **** and ****, the total number of businesses in the contract catering sector has seen an average annual decline of *.* in Belgium.

The number of employees in the sector is also declining, but at a slower rate, a slower pace ...

3.2 Growth strategies

Players compete with each other via various strategies to grow, including:

Winning public contracts and tenders (***) when companies want to outsource their collective catering - for example by focusing on the local aspect of the products, CSR, environmental sustainability, etc

Centraledesmarches lists tenders, such as the European Parliament, in ****.

M&A ...

3.3 Competition from other restoration methods

This competition is especially true for company catering, as employees have a choice of catering options for their meals.

As seen in *.*, some Belgians also prepare their meals or lunch boxes at home - which is both more economical and allows them to choose their meal.

Many companies also donate the ...

3.4 Production and distribution analysis: a changing business model

Overall, there are two types of kitchens:

The on-site kitchens that produce meals that are consumed exclusively on site the traditional business model of collective restaurants is mainly based on this type of system The central kitchens, at least part of whose activity produces meals - most often - for satellite ...


4.1 Typology and issues of meal supply according to sectors

The different types of management of canteens and collective restaurants:

There are three types of management:

Autonomous Granted Mixed

The types of management depend on the type of player and the size of the player (***). Globally, large companies most often have company restaurants conceded to private companies, which is less the ...

4.2 Analysis of prices and associated costs

Overall, according to Statbel, the graph below highlights a price increase over the period **** - **** - an average of *.*% per year in the contract catering sector. This is broadly the same price increase trend as in the period ****-****.

Evolution of the consumer price index in the catering industry Belgium, ****-****, ...

4.3 Trend in supply: towards "responsible" and "sustainable" collective cooking

In ****, Wallonia launched its "Green Deal Sustainable Canteens" by proposing specifications - signed by *** canteens and public authorities, i.e. more than **% of the region's stakeholders - with various objectives [***] such as:

Reaching **% of organic and local dishes by the end of **** in school canteens and community kitchens. Respecting animal welfare Getting ...


5.1 Regulations

The main rules are grouped into themes common to the whole sector: Fire safety, Insurance, Indication of prices, Copyrights and similar when broadcasting music or images, conditions for allowing your customers to smoke, Alcohol and similar drinks, VAT - Tariffs - Receipts - Cash register, Food safety, Environmental permits, Acoustic standards, ...


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Customer cases and references

Customer cases and references
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