The Food Service Management Market Report 2019, which was launched in partnership with Bidfood, also found almost three quarters (70%) of respondents said meat-free was the second biggest trend followed by healthier eating (60%).
When it comes to consumer trends, reducing the use of single-use plastic was the number one consumer driver this year.
Sustainability and support
After that, consumers remained focused on convenience, with smart payment and ‘grab and go’ high up the list.
UKH said sustainability and support for skills and training were key issues for UK catering businesses and the report showed, in 2018, the UK’s foodservice management sector saw a turnover of £10.9bn and employment grow to 293,000.
UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Contract catering is a hugely important aspect of the UK’s hospitality sector and a vital component of the country’s economy.
“It arguably does not always get the recognition it deserves though because other areas of the sector tend to hog the headlines.”
Supporting trading environment
She added: “This report shows catering makes an incredibly valuable contribution and acts as a pillar that supports a great many aspects of hospitality and a variety of other sectors that are public and private.
“This year’s market report shows that, with a supportive trading environment, turnover in the catering sector could reach £12.1bn by 2022.
“It could also be employing 311,000 people by 2020, so its importance as a provider of jobs and investment around the UK should be a key concern for Government.
“Like any sector, contract catering has had to evolve and adjust to changing demands and pressures. This year’s report gives us a snapshot of the challenges and opportunities catering businesses are facing. Much like the rest of hospitality, and indeed the wider economy, sustainability, staffing shortages, the influence of technology and the need for supportive measures from Westminster have all made an impact.”