The UK is trailing behind other countries when it comes to exploiting technology to provide food solutions to its workers, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, says an industry consultant.
Tracey Ann Fairclough, managing director of TAF Catering Consultancy, told Facilitate that research carried out over three months showed that the UK was behind other European counterparts like Sweden as well as America and China, which were making considerably more effort to use solutions such as Amazon-style lockers for workers to collect food as well as ‘open fridges’ that use microchip technology.
Fairclough said the UK was particularly dilatory when it comes to providing Covid-19 food service solutions for “flexi-feeding workforces”, zero food waste measures, reduced costs and ‘restaurant quality’ food.
She said: “Throughout lockdown, since March 2020, we have listened to our clients in facilities, specifically to their challenges to deliver workplace feeding solutions”.
The consultancy engaged with 40 food service providers (contract caterers) in its network who operate in and around workplace catering. The consultancy also analysed and assessed data from market research firm Mintel, related to food services during the pandemic.
The final report was presented at a “face-to-face and socially distanced” conference last week attended by executives from different industries such as banking, insurance, property, media, education and restaurants.
The study states that "Covid-19 has accelerated the evolution of innovation around facilities and food services to deliver food and drink to employees at work or the office or at home differently".
One of the report's conclusions is asking the sector if the traditional contract catering model is the right one to allow companies "to flexi-feed our workforce 24/7 at work and at home" or whether more technologically sophisticated solutions should be considered.
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