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Emerging trends in healthcare foodservice industry
Today's Restaurant Internet Exclusive
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 15:08

HomepageNew York, NY - The healthcare foodservice industry is thriving, growing 4% in 2010 to reach $34 billion, according to "Trends in U.S. Hospital, Nursing Home and Residential Facility Foodservice" by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

According to the report, several trends are powering this growth: room service and individualized patient care; the availability of on-site branded restaurant cuisine; variety and culinary exploration; wellness and nutrition; sustainability and green initiatives; and the need for speed. All trends share a clientele-centric and gastronomically conscientious focus, aimed at fostering greater satisfaction among patrons. Strong healthcare industry growth is also expected to spur market growth, as hospital, nursing home and residential facility foodservice sales increase an estimated 5% in both 2011 and 2012.

"The U.S. hospital and nursing and residential facility footprint is massive, providing enormous foodservice opportunity. So in an age where patient satisfaction surveys and revenue considerations are increasingly powerful influences on hospital decisions, putting the patient first is a top trend with continuing momentum," says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts.

Perhaps nowhere is this "patient first" mentality most obvious than in the room service and individualized patient care trend. Customizing the foodservice experience while providing personalized attention and enhancing patient control over meal times can significantly differentiate one hospital program from the other. While no one wants a repeat visit to a hospital, reputation and word of mouth can assist in attracting patients.

Meanwhile, the presence of restaurant brands at hospitals creates a dilemma for healthcare professionals. Fast food served in hospitals arguably contributes to a less healthy diet for consumers, but from a purely financial standpoint popular restaurant brands typically offer significant revenue potential. Considering the oomph patient satisfaction surveys carry regarding foodservice decisions, Packaged Facts views hospital-based restaurant establishments as a component of foodservice consumers expect both because of the variety of food offered and because of the speedy availability of branded cuisine.

Nevertheless, restaurant brands perceived as less healthy are having a harder going, whereas more healthfully perceived brands can offer a win-win proposition for hospital foodservice. Until recently, wellness and nutrition were phrases that were not at the top of many hospitals' lists. But the societal tide has shifted significantly, and hospitals are beginning to assume their natural leadership position as drivers of healthful eating.

Packaged Facts views the variety and culinary exploration trend as borrowing from larger and stronger associated restaurant-driven trends. However, among hospitals the trend is somewhat split, as larger, deeper-pocketed hospitals with more diverse patient populations and foodservice space are better positioned to lead the venture.

Additionally, sustainability and green initiatives are becoming more prevalent among hospitals, as more facilities move to buy at least some local and organic foods. However, these purchases often remain an insignificant percentage of total food expenditure. Packaged Facts also notes increases in various green initiatives such as the presence of farmers markets at the larger hospitals.

"Trends in U.S. Hospital, Nursing Home and Residential Facility Foodservice" provides insight and analysis on key trends and policies shaping sales growth and potential, and features in-depth profiles of hospital foodservice programs and hospital and nursing home foodservice contractors. Key coverage includes: "Share of stomach" hospital and nursing and residential facility sales analysis, which includes 2005-2012 expenditures trends for the hospital and nursing and residential facility segments, with forecasts for 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet products and services, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.