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ANALYSIS: Catering in need of extra spice

We examine B2B marketing in the food service sector

The lines between the food service and the food retail sectors are becoming increasingly blurred as supermarkets offer takeaway Indian meals on deli counters and petrol stations sell coffee and burgers.

The growth in the market has come predominantly from the profit side. While eating out used to be a special event for UK consumers, over the last 10 years it has become an everyday activity.

According to research company Horizons 10.5 million meals are served in food service every year. That is 20,000 meals every minute. Since 1997 the number of meals served has risen by 16.5 per cent and their value has grown by 30 per cent in the last five years alone. It is now the fourth largest consumer market after grocery retail, housing and transport.