The Public Sector Catering Alliance created its latest survey to investigate how the cost of living crisis is changing the industry’s ability to provide a catering service that lives up to the expected standards. The survey was split into three core sections including supply chain, costs and recruitment.
The Public Sector Catering Alliance (PSCA) comprises caterers, dietitians, politicians, healthy eating campaigners and suppliers who operate in the public sector and use their collective 'clout' to drive Government legislation and action towards helping people adopt healthier lifestyles through catering and education initiatives.
The February survey found 80% of caterers experienced food shortages and substitutions from their supply chain. The most affected product categories were ambient food at 82% and frozen food at 56%.
The survey also revealed that almost half of the caterers had to source new suppliers, 84% had to change their menus, 26% switched to meat from abroad and 49% reduced meat on their menus due to costs.
The majority of respondents (around 94%) experienced further rises across all categories since September, with 31% reporting prices increases of more than 40% for dairy and bakery. Almost half of respondents (43%) said rising costs affected their ability to meet food standards that are relevant to their sector.
In terms of recruitment, 89% of respondents have experienced a lack of applications since Covid-19 and Brexit. Since July 2022 the situation has not improved or got worse for 92% of respondents.