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What will the big industry issues be in 2024?


As seen in Contract Catering magazine – The Forum

Chris Chidley, Chief Growth Officer - Compass Group UK & Ireland

2024 is going to be an exciting time in our industry. Emerging from a turbulent few years, the outlook seems refreshingly positive for the year ahead. Especially with new players emerging and some potential M&A activity afoot, including our own proposed acquisition of CH&CO, which we believe has the potential to strengthen both businesses and accelerate innovation.

Following a year of significant growth, as a result of strong client retention and a high proportion of new business coming from first-time outsourcing, we see no signs of this changing. More organisations are wanting to solely focus on their core business, recognising that outsourcing partners can deliver better value, services and expertise.

We all know that since Covid, working patterns have fluctuated and with the war for talent continuing - food and drink are being leveraged more than ever. This is a way to offer a benefit that will attract and retain people, as well as play an integral part of back to the office strategies.

For us the big industry issues for the year ahead remain - people and planet. These are also areas of focus for our clients too. Underpinning all our work is doing the right thing and being proactive around the positive social impact we can have on the communities in which we work. 

We have a big opportunity to make change and positively support our clients on their sustainability journeys too and are doing this through Our Climate Promise – our ambition to reach Climate Net Zero by 2030.

Recognition that around 80% of our emissions are attributable to food has seen us prioritise three areas across our UK & Ireland business: menu reformulation, supply chain economics and engagement.

Over the past year we have had success in areas such as our chefs tapping into their creativity and working on reformulating our 90,000 recipes to reduce their carbon impact – through using more local and seasonal produce, as well as increasing plant-based options. This is a great example of the growing awareness in this area and how empowering people makes change.  

We also continue to deliver on Our Social Promise, which is a commitment to provide opportunities to 1 million people, from both within and outside the organisation by 2030. Attraction and retention of great people is key to our industry’s success. As one of the UK’s largest employers, we know we have the ability to change people’s lives. We’re a barrierless industry to enter, that once part of you can learn and develop in, to navigate an exciting and successful career – so we’ll be continuing our focus on our Career Pathways programme and investment in skills and on the job learning.

So, as we look ahead to 2024, it is with great optimism and a growth orientated focus, that puts people and planet first.

Chris Chidley, Chief Growth Officer - Compass Group UK & Ireland