A look to the future
of foodservice 2012-2015
The last three years have been a
rollercoaster ride for the foodservice
The sector has been squeezed on a number of
fronts: persistently tough trading conditions; the
VAT increase; a culture of discounting; a growing
appetite for casual dining and an intensifying
government focus on healthy eating in the face of
rising obesity levels.
If the last three years have been turbulent, the
next three promise to be equally testing. But as
Benjamin Disraeli said: “The secret of success in
life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when
it comes.”
For the foodservice sector, being ready will mean
not just meeting current challenges, but preparing
for future trends and prioritising the areas that will
deliver growth.
FCSI UK & Ireland has spoken to our members,
some of the most respected consultants in the
industry, to find out just what these hurdles and
growth opportunities will be between now and
2015. Their views shed a fascinating light on the
future of the foodservice sector and the challenges
it will present.
Welcome to Taste of the Future
David Bentley, Chairman, FCSI UK & Ireland
About the study
To investigate the key trends likely
to have the greatest impact on
the foodservice sector over the
next three years, the Foodservice
Consultants Society International UK
& Ireland (FCSI) interviewed leading
industry consultants from among its
We surveyed 64 consultants on key sector trends,
then conducted in-depth online interviews with
many to investigate these trends in more detail.
The research was carried out for FCSI by Allegra
Our report finds sustainability, economic
challenges and healthier eating top of the industry
agenda. Although sustainability is likely to have
the biggest impact on foodservice over the next
three years, our research reveals that the sector
is still failing to take the issue seriously, perhaps
reluctant to take on the sheer complexity of
delivering a sustainable offer and the cost this
Rising costs and austerity measures are
highlighted as the second biggest trend. Our
consultants sound a warning to the sector against
relying on cost-cutting during these difficult
economic times. Investment in a quality offer and
training personnel to deliver quality service will be
vital for foodservice firms to remain competitive in
this environment.
Our study also reveals that healthy eating has
reached a tipping point, and that foodservice must
step up to fully support consumers to achieve the
healthier diets they are striving for.
Taste of the Future sets out the findings from
our investigation of these key trends, their
implications for the foodservice sector, and the
growth opportunities for the industry over the
next three years.
In a world challenged by resource
depletion, population growth and
climate change, sustainability is
moving to the top of the agenda
for businesses in all industries. The
foodservice sector must also take
its fair share of responsibility for the
health of the planet and its population.
Food production, transportation and
consumption impact the environment
on a number of fronts, including
habitat and biodiversity loss, intense
use of land and natural resources,
such as water, and carbon emissions
that result from food production and
A growing priority
FCSI consultants forecast that sustainability will
have the greatest impact on the sector in the near
future. More than half (55%) highlight this as a key
trend for foodservice over the next three years.
Indeed, over the past three years, sustainability
has moved up the industry agenda with whole
magazines dedicated to the subject and high
profile campaigns from businesses across the
industry. The hospitality industry as a whole is
embracing both the social and environmental
benefits, as well as the cost savings, of sustainable
practices. Emphasis on sustainability is only set to
increase, especially as the UK will next year be the
first country worldwide to require listed companies
to include emissions data in annual reports.
As well as legislation, the drive for sustainability is
being propelled by consumer demand, according
to consultants. Consumers are looking for the ‘feel
good’ factor that comes from buying sustainable
products, according to 77% of consultants, and
are driven by the belief that it’s the right thing to
do (64%).
Behind the curve
Yet our research suggests that the foodservice
industry may be guilty of paying lip service rather
than truly grasping the sustainability nettle.
Less than half of consultants (43%) believe that
caterers are taking sustainability seriously.
From our in-depth questioning of our consultants,
cost appears to be the primary barrier. The huge
investment and enormous complexity involved
in creating a truly sustainable offer may be
encouraging many firms to rely on CSR initiatives
to tick the box.
The complexity is reflected in the results of our
research. When we questioned our consultants
on issues within sustainability that are of greatest
importance to foodservice and hospitality, energy
reduction, waste management, recycling, local
sourcing and the future security of food came
out top.
Section 1: Sustainability
Local sourcing
More than half (54%) of consultants point to
local sourcing as an important future foodservice
trend, with 86% predicting a serious impact on
procurement over the next three to five years.
Quite how this impact will be felt remains unclear,
and the experience between different sectors within
foodservice is likely to vary drastically. Independents
and contract caterers are already excelling at local
sourcing, and reaping the rewards in the form of
greater customer loyalty and increased sales. By
contrast, branded restaurants and pub groups will
need to up their game under mounting consumer
pressure. These sectors generally struggle with
local procurement, and our consultants suggest
that the majority of businesses within this area are
only managing to put one or two locally sourced
items on their menus.
There is recognition that the supply chain must
undergo major change for local sourcing to work,
and that wholesalers and suppliers are feeling the
squeeze. The biggest challenge is to make local
souring economically viable, and it will be down
to the wholesalers to find a profitable solution,
according to our consultants.
Food security
In 2010, DEFRA defined food security as
‘consumers having access at all times to sufficient,
safe and nutritious food for an active and healthy life
at affordable prices’1. Achieving this is becoming a
major concern for governments around the world,
including the UK. Global food resources are coming
under increasing pressure as the world’s population
increases by 80 million people annually2.
Back in 2006, DEFRA warned of two major
threats to our national food security: declining
self-sufficiency and the potential for increased
disruption to domestic food supplies due to
factors such as climate change, energy shortages,
geopolitical tensions and terrorism3. This year’s
devastating drought in the USA and Russia is a
case in point. The drought, the worst in almost
half a century, has decimated crops, causing a
significantly smaller grain harvest and prices to
soar to record levels in markets across the world.
Against this backdrop, 53% of consultants identify
the future security of food as a key trend over the
next three years. However, only a fifth (22%) claim
Certification and accreditation
The importance of certification and
accreditation schemes within foodservice
of consultants
rating scheme
as important or
Scheme very important
Fairtrade 75
Red Tractor 57
Rainforest Alliance 52
Marine Stewardship Council 40
Soil Association 25
Eat Seasonably 23
RSPCA Freedom Food 22
Vegetarian Society Approved 14
Leaf 11
Section 1: Sustainability
that their clients are taking food security seriously
as part of a wider CSR policy – indeed, nearly, half
(49%) believe that they failing to do so.
Water usage is seen as the food security issue
likely to have the greatest impact on foodservice,
cited by 84% of consultants, who warn that food
production must become more efficient and loss
of food from field to fork must be reduced.
The foodservice sector needs to consider ways to
reduce the water footprint of menus, by creating
dishes that require less intensive farming processes
and less water to produce.
The hidden water footprint: water usage in
the production of everyday food and drink4
·	 1 potato (100g) 25l
·	 1 glass beer (250ml) 75l
·	 1 cup coffee (125ml) 140l
·	 1 glass milk (200ml) 200l
·	 1 hamburger (150g) 2,400l
· 1 kg wheat 3,000l
·	 1 kg meat 15,000l
Although we are facing global food shortages, over
a third of the world’s harvest is used for feeding
livestock5. To help alleviate this, consultants
suggest that the foodservice sector makes greater
use of fresh, local produce and foods from lower
down the chain such as grains, fruit, nuts and
vegetables, rather that overly rely on processed
food and meat, animal and dairy products. The
strong majority of consultants (89%) agree
government involvement will be important to help
guide foodservice companies on sustainability
issues. Yet at the same time, they warn that this
process needs to involve the input and expertise
of specialist advisors and membership bodies
from within the industry.
There is also a strong belief among consultants that
consumers must be educated on the threats of an
insecure food chain. Despite the critical threat to
the sustainability of our food supply chain, only 14%
of consultants believe that consumers are more
than vaguely aware of food security issues. To
bring this into public consciousness they suggest
that food safety, provenance and sustainability all
be included in the school curriculum.
Energy reduction
Almost nine out of ten consultants (89%) identify
energy reduction as important or very important to
foodservice and hospitality, making it the key issue
within sustainability for the sector.
Our online interviews indicate that consultants
believe that a serious assessment of current
energy management systems and monitoring
methods in the sector are required. However, they
add that this must go hand in hand with long-term
education initiatives to illustrate the benefits of
reducing energy consumption within foodservice.
These initiatives need to deliver detailed
knowledge on the energy and cost savings that can
be made from emerging heating and refrigeration
technologies. One such technology on the market
includes real-time energy monitoring that measures
the energy cost of each item on a menu.
Section 1: Sustainability
Waste management
The UK food and drink industry generated an
estimated 7.6 million tonnes of food waste in
20116. Analysis by WRAP UK, the not-for-profit
organisation which campaigns for a world without
waste, suggests that the foodservice sector itself
produced 3.4 million tonnes of food waste each
year, of which 1.5 million tonnes is sent to landfill.
The organisation puts the cost of avoidable food
waste to pubs, restaurants, take-aways and hotels
at more than £720 million per annum.
Considering that a third of the world’s greenhouse
gas emissions are caused by food sources7 it is
perhaps of little surprise that waste management
is cited by over three quarters (77%) of consultants
as a key future trend.
Over half the food produced in the world today is
lost, wasted or discarded as a result of inefficiencies
in the restaurant and retail8 supply chain. To put the
level of inefficiencies in foodservice into context,
The Sustainable Restaurant Association found
that 65% of food waste occurs at preparation
stage, compared to just 30% that is left on
consumers’ plates.
Our consultants suggest that the sector needs
to be better at developing waste plans and
create more efficient waste disposal systems. It
also needs to improve menu planning in order
to avoid much of the total food waste in the first
place. Each tonne of food waste that could have
been eaten creates an astonishing 3.8 tonnes of
CO2 equivalent emissions in the manufacturing,
distribution and disposal process9.
Recycling is a hot topic once again. Some 73
leading UK hotels; pubs; restaurants; quick service
restaurants (QSRs); contract caterers; industry
bodies and government departments signed up to
WRAP’s Hospitality and Food Service Agreement
last year, including FCSI.
The agreement aims to cut food and associated
packaging waste by 5% by 2015 – a reduction of
234,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions (e), equivalent to
that generated by approximately 100 million meals.
The agreement is clearly focusing the minds of
the industry. Some 77% of consultants identify
recycling as a critical sustainability element for the
future. Almost as many (72%) state that they
are being asked to consider recycling solutions
for clients.
Although our consultants say that cost is a barrier
to taking on the sustainability challenge as a
whole, it is a driver where recycling is concerned.
Recycling schemes, such as the conversion of grey
water and implementation of anaerobic digestion
systems, reduce waste disposal charges.
Indeed, WRAP estimates that if just 25% of
the foodservice sector signed up to the waste
agreement it would save up to £76 million by the
end of 2015, reducing CO2 (e) impact by 570,000
Section 1: Sustainability
With media headlines dominated by
economic stagnation and crisis in the
Eurozone, rising costs and austerity
measures loom largest over the
foodservice sector after sustainability
issues, identified as a key future trend
by over half (52%) of consultants in
our study. These are also seen as
the biggest risks to the foodservice
industry, cited by 33%.
The continuing squeeze on household budgets,
increasingly cost-aware consumers and the rising
cost of living are creating a market driven by value
- and this does not look set to change in the
foreseeable future. When asked to name the most
critical factors in delivering superior customer
experience, almost half (44%) of consultants cite
value for money.
Yet at the same time, there is a warning to
foodservice firms against implementing their
own austerity cuts, as investment in key areas
of customer service is required to retain a
competitive edge.
Food quality is cited as the most important factor
for delivering superior customer experience (55%),
while 37% stress the importance of personal and
engaging employees. A third (33%) describe both
good employee training and restaurant design as
critical, while almost as many (28%) point to fast
and efficient service.
Section 2:
Rising costs and
austerity measures
With the Department of Health
estimating that more than 50% of
adults in the UK could be obese by
205010, the hospitality industry has a
significant role to play in the future
health of the nation. The average UK
consumer eats one in six meals away
from home11 equating to almost four
per week.
Yet curiously, less than half (45%) of consultants
highlight healthier eating as a key trend.
But when quizzed further, consultants point to a
potential tipping point within the industry where
healthy eating is concerned. Over three quarters
(76%) agree that UK consumers are already
introducing more meat-free options into their diets.
Nearly half (49%) expect this trend to grow further.
Two thirds (65%) are witnessing an increase in
white meat consumption over red meat, while a
over a third (31%) are seeing growth in consumers
adopting vegetarian diets.
Clearly, the foodservice sector needs to support
consumers as they look to adopt a healthier diet.
The industry needs to be more imaginative when
it comes to choice, range and portion size, and
remove unnecessary extras from the plate to help
reduce overconsumption.
Section 3:
Healthier eating
Section 4:
Future growth
As the third biggest employer
in the UK, responsible for 4.9%
of the country’s economic output12,
hospitality, foodservice, leisure and
travel will play an important part in
our economic recovery.
Our research highlights several
opportunities to drive growth within
the sector, including investment in
service skills and talent management,
social media, increased tourism and
building customer loyalty.
Over half of consultants (56%) believe that
investment in people and talent management
within foodservice provide an opportunity for
growth. But the outlook for people coming into
the industry has never looked so bleak. The
government no longer finances training for people
over the age of 24, and for the first time, people
over the age of 19 will have to take out a loan to
progress to a Level 3 qualification.
There is no doubt that investment in service skills
and improved talent management is necessary to
deliver the high levels of service that consumers
expect when they eat out. Thanks to television
programmes like The Art of Service, the sector
is finally making progress in the training and upskilling
of employees and enhancing its image as
a ‘career option’ for high quality candidates.
The government expects businesses to meet the
training needs of their own industries. This will be
a particular challenge for the foodservice sector,
composed largely of SMEs, meaning that there
are very few companies of the necessary scale to
take on this responsibility.
With catering colleges unable to recruit new
students due to the lack of funding, the industry’s
future may be at risk. The fragmented hospitality
industry needs to pool resources and dedicate
investment to lobbying the government with a
united voice. Employing 10% of the working
population, hospitality is the fifth biggest industry
in the UK13, and has a major part to play in the
recovery of the economy. Its voice must be heard
to secure the future health of the industry.
Social media
Whether selling off last-minute tables, ramping
up loyalty with discount codes, or benefiting from
great customer reviews or suffering bad ones, the
foodservice sector is feeling the multiple effects of
social media.
Indeed, nearly half of consultants (46%) believe
that social media is playing, and will continue to
play, a vital role in the growth of the industry.
Winners and losers
Despite the current economic climate
and trading conditions three fifths of our
consultants identify branded restaurant
chains such as Wagamama, Nando’s and
Gourmet Burger Kitchen as big winners
over the next three years.
Large coffee chains such as Starbucks,
Costa Coffee, Caffè Nero, and independent
coffee shops and cafés are also likely to
prosper over this period, cited by over half
(55%) of consultants.
However, college and school refectories
and workplace restaurants do not receive
consultants’ vote of confidence. Nearly half
(43%) single out these two sectors as the
most likely to struggle in the run-up to 2015.
Hotels (38%), fine dining restaurants (34%)
and local independent restaurants (34%),
including Indian, Chinese and Italian outlets,
are also likely to find the going tough.
Facebook, FourSquare, Livebookings and Twitter
are no longer the domain of the early adopter. The
increasing take-up of tablets and smartphones
will continue to enable the customer to be the
critic, creating competition and forcing operators
to create a point of difference in order to attract
Increasing tourism
Capitalising on burgeoning tourism will be vital to
the future success of the industry according to
nearly half (43%) of consultants.
With a record 12.3 million holiday visits occurring
during the year to May 201214, there is a clear
market opportunity for catering operators. And
the resounding success of the Olympics has
given the world a taste of what Britain has to offer.
Britain’s cities, particularly London, have steadily
been making a name for themselves as foodie
destinations with a raft of high profile new openings.
They can continue to build this reputation through
the use of British produce and by capitalising on
the talent of chefs in this country.
Building customer loyalty
Repeat custom and building loyalty was cited as
a success factor by 39% of consultants.
Care should be taken by operators of falling in
to the trap of ongoing discounting – a tactic
which can cheapen the brand and devalue the
offer. PizzaExpress is a prime example of a brand
that has been effected by discounting – one in
six customers claiming they never dine without
a deal15.
Offers should be value and loyalty led to entice
return visits and build up a relationship with the
customer. Loyalty cards, offers which offer a set
price or complementary dishes all work well to
encourage the customer to return without giving
product away, or cutting prices. Customers also
place value on the experience, which is vital to get
right when building loyalty.
Section 4: Future growth
Over the next three years, the
foodservice sector will come under
government and consumer pressure to
improve the sustainability of its offer,
and shoulder its share of responsibility
for the health of the environment and
global population.
To deliver a truly sustainable offer, the sector
needs to devote more than lipservice to the
challenge. There is no doubting the complexities,
but the sector should begin by taking a serious
look at existing energy management systems
and monitoring methods, developing more
efficient waste plans and waste disposal systems,
continuing to make use of the latest recycling
technology and working with suppliers to put more
local food on the menu.
Cost is a significant barrier to creating a sustainable
foodservice offer. But with imagination and
determination, the drive to achieve this goal could
actually cut costs in the long term.
Effective cost cutting will be at the forefront of
most business’s agenda in an environment of
rising costs and austerity, but our consultants
warn the foodservice sector against radical cuts.
Firms should ensure that cuts do not reduce the
quality of product or service, and with it their
competitive edge.
To capitalise on existing opportunities for
growth, the sector should instead be considering
investing in its people, make the most of
increasing tourism and looking at ways to deliver
increased customer loyalty.
FCSI Professional Member Directory
A&E Partnership
07764 245355
Liz A Rose, Principal Consultant
Anthony Galvin,
Senior Associate Consultant
Adrian Stokes Associates
01923 261500
Adrian Stokes, Principal
Andrew Etherington
01622 832995
Andrew Etherington, Director
Argus Consulting Limited
01234 772882
Anne Brailey, Director
AVF Marketing
01609 775686
Arnold V Fewell, Director
AVL Consultancy Limited
01483 750991
Vic Laws, MBE, FIH, Director
Boyd-Thorpe Associates
01491 411735
Fiona Boyd-Thorpe,
Managing Director
Catering Consultancy
Bureau Ltd
0844 357 7745
Peter Pitham, MHCIMA, FCSI,
RIPHH, Managing Director
01603 721961
Calton Clarke, Director
Chapel Foodservice
01580 201132
Jackie Snaith
Common Sense Compliance
01761 235604
Philip Wilson, Director
Coverpoint Catering
Consultancy Limited
0118 940 5265
Jonathan M Doughty,
Group Managing Director
Adam Griffin,
Senior Management Consultant
Ian Hanlon,
Senior Management Consultant
Food Service Consultants Ltd
01934 877407
Derek White, Director
Foodesco Ltd
01753 620022
Rosemary Hare, FCSI, Director
Foodservice Ventilation
01635 250558
Steve Cole, Principal Consultant
Geoff Ward Consultancy
07717 202088
Geoff Ward, TD, FCIEH, CMIOSH,
01476 585944
Garry Nokes, Director
GY5 Limited
01737 371 797
Julian Edwards MIH,
Managing Director
Hepburn Associates Ltd
07957 882085
Duncan Hepburn, Director
Humble Arnold Associates
01438 821444
Stephen M Arnold, Director
Andrew P Humble, Director
Patrick McDonagh,
Project Consultant
Intelligent Catering
07747 767046
Roz Burgess
KEG Consultants
01273 400795
Kate Gould, Principal Consultant
Keith Winton Design Limited
01424 773939
Keith A Winton, Director
FCSI Professional Member Directory
King Design Consultancy
0207 277 6695
Geoff King, Director
Merritt-Harrison Catering
01483 533962
Matthew Merritt-Harrison,
Managing Partner
Sandra Reid, Consultant
MESV Consultancy
020 8979 6556
Marc Verstringhe, Principal
Neller Davies
01462 711941
Julian Fris, Managing Director
Panache Consultancy Limited
01275 390546
Niccola Boyd-Stevenson,
Managing Director
Jon Rook, Company Director
Robert Read Associates
01954 230623
Robert Read, Proprietor
Rosemary Osbourne
01234 717173
Rosemary A Osbourne, MBE,
01322 420050
Gareth Sefton, Director
Ken Winch, Director
Derek Horn, Director
Sterling Foodservice Design
0121 445 0900
Andrew Powis FIH,
Managing Partner
Stern Consultancy
01403 273555
Chris Stern, Managing Director
Support Training & Services plc
01252 728300
Neil Rush, Managing Director
The Food and Beverage
Training Company
020 8205 0507
John Cousins FIH, FCSI, MCIPD,
The Peter Burholt Partnership
01273 835560
Kevin Barnes
Graham Moore
The Russell Partnership
020 7665 1888
Professor David Russell, Chairman
David Bentley, Director
Tim Dunn Design
01276 506451
Tim Dunn
Tricon Foodservice
Consultants plc
020 8591 5593
Tony Horton, Chief Executive
Turpin Smale Foodservice
020 7620 0011
Chris Brown, Director
Charles Manners, Director
ZBP Acoustics
020 8940 8161
Alex Krasnic, Senior Acoustician
Senior Associate Members
Paul Arnold,
Sefton Horn Winch
Christine Puttick,
Merritt-Harrison Catering
Associate Members
Edward Bircham,
Humble Arnold Associates
John Gillam,
The Peter Burholt Partnership
Jo Headland,
JoH Design
Matthew Reeve,
James Shaw,
Mark Shentall,
Humble Arnold
Matthew Summers,
Hepburn Associates
Stuart Timms,
Clive Walton,
Sefton Horn Winch
1 DEFRA, UK Food Security Assessment, 2010
2 Research by FCSI consultant Clara Pi, 2011
3 DEFRA, Food Security and the UK, 2006
4 Stockholm International Water Institute, September 2011
5 Research by FCSI consultant Clara Pi, 2011
6 New estimates for household food and drink waste in the UK;
 The composition of waste disposed of by the UK Hospitality
 Industry; Food waste in schools, WRAP 2011
7 Research by FCSI consultant Clara Pi, 2011
8 UNEP, The Environmental Food Crisis, 2009
9 DEFRA, WRAP Hospitality and Food Service Agreement to
reduce waste, 2011
10 Department of Health, Health Survey for England (HSE), 2007
11 DEFRA, Family Food Survey, 2008
12 People 1st, State of the Nation Report, 2011
13 The British Hospitality Association, 2012
14 Visit Britain, 2012
15 Allegra, Eating Out in the UK, 2012
FCSI UK & Ireland helps members
and the wider foodservice industry
to prosper by sharing knowledge and
raising standards.
As a group of over 1,000 foodservice experts
worldwide, FCSI has the knowledge and insight
to deliver innovative, commercial and sustainable
solutions to foodservice business challenges.
The professional membership is made up of
consultants who focus on everything from
catering strategy to commercial kitchen
design. FCSI allied members are professional
suppliers that work alongside the consultants to
successfully deliver projects.
Areas of expertise include: foodservice strategy,
business planning, contract tendering, design
and equipment solutions in all sectors of the
Allegra Strategies’ leading-edge
research and thinking assists
growing companies to focus on
markets, customers and strategy.
Pioneering work in retail, consumer lifestyle
and technology, Allegra’s sharp insights help
managers and investors to make better business
Allegra’s mission is to deliver outstanding quality
information and consulting to help clients realise
their corporate visions.
William Murray Communications,
has been delivering award-winning
campaigns for its clients for 25
The Top 100 PR agency works with a wide
range of the food, drink and hospitality
industry’s well-known names to deliver award
winning campaigns across trade, consumer
and social media.
For further information on the report contact
William Murray on 020 8256 1360.
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