Content of the study:
The contract catering market - France

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1.1 Introduction and scope of study

Collective catering is an industry that prepares and distributes meals within communities, companies or public institutions. It differs from commercial catering in that its moderate prices are partly paid for by the employer and not entirely by the customer. The industrialists in the sector are the producers and suppliers of meals, and possibly of labour. [ Collective catering ]

Inaugurated in 1934, the collective catering service in France was set up at the Banque de France. Since then, 3.8 million meals have been served every day in France by collective catering companies [...] NTS ]

The market is divided into two main types of CRS management: direct management on the one hand, where the client organisation manages the catering, the teams, etc., and concessionary management on the other hand, where a service provider provides the services mentioned above. INSEE]. Our study will therefore focus on this last segment

Insured by French leaders in the field, the contract catering market is extremely concentrated, with three companies sharing 75% of the sector's shares. Regulations imposed on nutritional quality and food hygiene, as well as new eating habits govern the market. [ Themavision ]

1.2 Europe, the leading market for contract catering

The global market for contract catering is in full bloom; between **** and **** the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of *.*% to reach €*** billion. 

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

Market outlook: Sales in billions of euros ****-**** Source: ****

Additionally, as ...

1.3 A domestic market in growth

Contract catering activities in France are labelled under NAF **.** "Other Food Services" established by INSEE; catering as a whole is included here (***).

In ****, the total catering market was valued at above €** billion. Moreover, SNRC states that in ****, *.* million meals were served per day, and ***,*** hours of training were made in ...

1.4 COVID-19's impact on the contract catering market

Measures affecting the restaurant sector

The main measures related to the epidemic that paralysed the catering sector were established by the decree of ** March ****, which prohibited the reception of the public for several categories of activities, including "restaurants and public houses". Catering (***) were touched upon these measures. 

Restaurants were allowed to ...


2.1 Four major client families

The National Union of Contract Caterers (***) categorises the client scope into four major categories:

Education: from small classes to Universities Retirement homes and social institutions Corporate: businesses and administrations, generally public Medical: hospitals and other health care institutions

These four market players represented **% of the turnover of contract catering companies in ...

2.2 Demand analysis by customer type


The student population, of all ages and all levels, increased by *.**% in ** years, from **.** million in **** to **.** million in **** (***). The margins for growth are still significant, with a concession rate of a mere **% in ****. [***]

  School enrolment France, ****-****, in '*** people Source: INSEE  

Retirement homes and social institutions

At ...

2.3 New ways of eating out


Other out-of-home catering circuits are being developed near or within establishments that are customers of Contract Catering Services. This is notably the case for snack offers that appeal for their simplicity and affordability. Many companies thus have their own snacking areas, a trend that collective catering leaders are integrating into ...


3.1 Market concentration is high

Contract catering services are run by three major players in the French market. Elior Group, Sodexo France and Compass together hold a market share of more than **% in France, measured through sales. The first two are French in origin and are now among the world leaders in contract catering, notably through ...

3.2 Domestic market dominated by local players

French companies dominate the market, with Sodexo and Elior being national. Below the distribution of meals sold is depicted.

Ranking of the top ** SRCs (***) by number of meals France, ****, in million meals Source : Néorestauration (***)estimates based on group turnover data and the average for the sector no. of meals/ ...

3.3 Distribution

The clear majority of collective catering meals are delivered to the client. This is the essence of the service's value add. In ****, **% of caterers operated under licensed collective catering, whilst **% were directly managed.

Sales by distribution channel for out-of-home catering, measured in volume France, ****, in % Source: ****

3.4 Les spécificités des acteurs de la restauration collective dans les transports

Les acteurs de la restauration aérienne et ferroviaire sont des acteurs bien distincts du reste du marché de la restauration collective. En effet, les plateaux-repas confectionnés sont livrés en l'état et consommés sur des lieux différents du lieu de préparation, à la différence des ...


4.1 Service lines by target clientele

The major groups in the sector develop their solutions according to the type of customers they target, offering a varied range of meals for companies, and educational and health establishments. All the information in this section is taken directly from the websites of the main playersnamely Elior Group , Sodexo France and ...

4.2 Bio products are on the rise in the catering industry

In ****, **% of collective catering establishments declared offering organic products, *% more than at the end of ****. Moreover, of these companies, **% are private and **% are public structures. [***]

Gazette-santé-social states that the bio products served in the contract catering are **% from France, and **% origine régional.  

Share of catering establishments that have introduced ...

4.3 Cost index

In ****, the average price of a meal in a collective restaurant was *.**€ The client pays the part not covered by his or her community or by his or her employer. [***] 

Also in ****, the average price of a starter, main course and dessert in CROUS student restaurants was *.**€ on average. The city ...


5.1 Current regulation

France's regulation regarding collective catering falls under the food paradigm. An overview can be found here, and is summarised below:

Food hygiene standards

Regulation (***) No ***/**** touches on the hygiene of foodstuffs.

Decree n°****-**** of ** September **** The Commission is also responsible for the implementation of Article L. ***-* of the Consumer ...


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Customer cases and references

Customer cases and references
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