quality of life institutional foodservice

Institutional foodservice: Healthcare and corrections are key targets for contractors

By Geoff Wilson

In its recently released 2017 Canadian Institutional Foodservice Market Report, fsSTRATEGY estimates total gross revenues in institutional foodservice in Canada in 2016 to be $8.5 billion or 10 per cent of total Canadian foodservice industry sales. The table below summarizes the extent of contractor penetration in the primary segments of the Canadian institutional foodservice market.


Approximately 54 per cent of the institutional foodservice market is operated by management and staff directly employed by institutions. The remaining 46 per cent is operated by contract foodservice management companies.

Healthcare, which represents about half of the institutional foodservice market, has traditionally self-operated its foodservices. Nevertheless, contractor penetration in hospitals has been growing gradually as hospitals look to control expenses, focus on their core business and/or replace ageing infrastructure with investment by contractors in exchange for operating rights. Contractors hold significant market share in the education segment; the exception is many of large Canadian universities self-operate their foodservices, especially those with a significant number of students on mandatory meal plans.

Remote catering to resource camps is highly contracted as is business dining (office and plant foodservices).  Nevertheless, due to the slump in world oil prices, demand in the Remote segment has declined significantly in the past three years. Foodservices in correctional facilities are polarized. British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland/Labrador contract out their foodservices. The Food Production Centre at Maplehurst Detention Centre in Milton, Ontario is operated by a contractor and provides lunch and dinner meals for slightly more than half of Ontario correctional facilities; the rest are self-operated. All other provinces self-operate their correctional facility foodservices. Transportation foodservices are largely contracted with exceptions being ferry services and cruise ships.

About the author:

Geoff Wilson is a Principal with fsSTRATEGY Inc. fsSTRATEGY is a niche consulting firm specializing in strategy in the hospitality industry with an emphasis on the foodservice sector. For additional information on the 2017 Canadian Institutional Foodservice Market Report or fsSTRATEGY services, contact us at [email protected] or 416-229-2290.