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Research reveals education caterers forced to cut portion sizes amidst price hikes

25th Oct 2023 - 07:00
Education caterers forced to cut portion sizes
BRITA Professional’s recent research highlights the knock-on effect the rise in costs has had on education catering services including labour, fuel/energy and equipment.

In the last five years the education catering industry has seen ‘substantial’ price hikes, some as high as 30% affecting a range of items and services. 

The research revealed that when it comes to school meals, education caterers have faced notable challenges affecting supply chain reliability including rising costs/inflation (71%) labour shortages (51%), ingredient shortages (47%), undelivered or late orders (46%) and a lack of funding (40%)

The knock-on effect has been staff mental health impacted negatively (66%), using outdated or broken equipment (47%), smaller portion sizes (45%) and reduced wages or underpaid staff (28%).  

Faced with the most prominent challenges of surging expenses and labour and ingredient shortages, more than half of caterers confessed to making modifications to their menus. According to the research 37% of caterers have resorted to reducing portion sizes whilst still keeping with Government guidelines, due to rising costs.

The research has also indicated that many education caterers have begun to explore solutions to improve supply chain reliability, such as working with local suppliers (51%), working with more suppliers to try and help avoid shortages and disruptions (49%) and investing in a school-grown vegetable garden to increase self-reliance (13%).

This is due to 51% of education operators claiming that their suppliers have become slightly less reliable in the last five years.

Chris Fay C.F.S.P, business account manager at BRITA Professional, said: “When it comes to putting a plate of food on the table, education caterers have been confronted with some immense challenges in delivering nutritious and high-quality meals.

“Our research shows the far-reaching impact of rising costs, inflation, and supply chain issues and how caterers have had to clearly and quickly adapt by cutting portion sizes to ensure a limited impact on providing nutritious meals.  

“To support the industry, we’ve brought together insights and solutions from leaders from across the industry on the biggest challenges they’ve faced and how to overcome them, which can be viewed on our Rely Chain campaign page.” 

Written by
Edward Waddell