Foodservice, catering, away-from-home consumption: whatever name you give it, the reality is the same: 21st Century Homo Consumerus is buying more and more ready meals. For institutional or commercial catering, foodservice accounts, in France, for one meal in five, and one meal in two in the USA.
Despite economic vicissitudes (the foodservice market is highly dependent on the macroeconomic context) or fashion phenomena (the revival of homemade food, for example), the trend is unmistakeable: foodservice is a long-term growth market. There is no shortage of reasons to explain just why this is so:
In all developed countries, the quest to save time is a sociological constant. “Saving time” is a clear contemporary imperative. Foodservice solutions meet this imperative.
Long commuting journeys (making it impossible to go home for lunch) and the proliferation of outdoor leisure activities (which, by necessity, take you away from the kitchen): more and more consumers are having to take their meals away from their homes.
Massive progress has been made in the development of what is on offer over the past 15 years. For catering outlets that prepare their products on-the-spot, management of the preservation and cooking processes has helped to improve the quality level. For those simply involved in blending or retailing "as-is", the progress made by foodservice manufacturers has also helped to raise the bar of the service offering.
All around the world there have never been so many foodservice outlets. The United States, for example, accounts for 240,000 restaurants, and 310,000 fast-food outlets. In the United Kingdom, the respective totals are 40,000 and 60,000. In France and in Italy, for restaurants alone, there are over 100,000 establishments!