We present our analysis in three graphics
Company performance across multiple issues.
Future-fit companies need to be performing well across multiple issues, rather than focusing only on a few challenges.
Company spider diagram profiles are calculated from performance on metrics within each topic.
Click through to see each company’s profile against multiple issues. Scores closer to the outer ring of the graphic indicate better performance.
Company focus on products vs supply chains.
Future-fit companies need to focus on developing their products and revenues and ensuring their supply chains are both aligned with a healthy and sustainable food system.
Companies are rated on two dimensions: Products and Supply Chains. Ratings for this are calculated from scores on specific metrics from our analysis that relate to healthy and sustainable products, and to sustainable and equitable supply chains accordingly. Companies should aim to be in the top right hand corner.
Hover over the data points to see how each company performs.
Company traffic light score across multiple issues.
Future-fit companies should aim for green lights across all issues.
Traffic light rankings are allocated from the same data used in the spider diagram profiles.
Click on each issue to see how companies compare on specific topics.
Each individual company scorecard can be downloaded below the three graphics, along with a sector summary.
Last year we found that only Sodexo had public targets relating to sales of fruit & vegetables (although limited to its UK & Ireland operations). While actual corporate reporting of targets and performance has not significantly changed, we now see more of this sector making commitments around vegetables (with Compass Group and ISS joining Sodexo in pledging to increase sales of vegetables as part the Food Foundation’s work on Peas Please, and Aramark seeing successful impacts from plant-based menus in the US). Across the sector there is evidence of menu engineering towards plant-based meals, with some evidence of positive wider impacts. For example Compass Group report using analysis tools to reduce their carbon footprint across menus in the US, and Aramark’s US business reports an increase in fruits, vegetables and wholegrains and a reduction in red meats as a result of plant-forward menus.
Key investor asks on all companies operating here should be to convert initiatives into company-wide targets that show a shift away from foods that are high in fats, sugar and salt, towards fruit & vegetables, fibre-rich foods and for a proportionate increase in the sale of proteins that are plant-based.
Regarding climate change, only limited progress has been made towards setting targets for scope 3 emissions and integrating climate change data into menu designs and business goals.
As with other sub-sectors, zero deforestation targets are stronger for palm oil, although often focused on cooking oils rather than ingredients. Some caterers state that their exposure to risk here is limited to cooking oils and margarine because the proportionate volume of palm oil as an ingredient in other foods is not significant; this may be worth challenging. Soy remains a problem, with some soy mapping in place but a lack of targets for deforestation-free animal feed.
Sustainable seafood (wild-caught and aquaculture) is being addressed across most of the sector, primarily through certifications. However, concerning agriculture more generally there is a lack of reporting on the sustainable farming practices being used (or not) across the wider supply chain for these companies.
Regarding risk exposure to water scarcity, the sector generally responds to water use in their supply chains through approaches to plant-based foods (on the basis that plant-based foods are less water intense than animal products), but this fails to address issues of water intensity in different foods and the more regional impacts of sourcing from water-scarce regions.
This sector has generally taken stronger actions on food waste, with Compass Group and Sodexo especially having extensive waste management solutions in place, and progress overall having been made on single-use plastics. Comparable targets are still needed however and the sector is not yet tackling food waste in its supply chain.
For a detailed analysis of the sector’s performance on animal welfare and antimicrobial resistance in livestock supply chains, see BBFAW.
Targets around living wages are weaker in this sector although other employee benefits are clearly a key focus for companies. We found ISS and Sodexo to be signatories to the Real Living Wage initiative in the UK.
Similarly to other sectors in this analysis, regarding human rights in their supply chains, businesses are working towards better understanding of human rights risks and mapping across their global supply chains, although concrete data on the % of supply chains being actively engaged, especially beyond tier one, remains unclear.
Remarks on the impact of covid-19
All contract caterers experienced significant negative impacts in the first few months of the UK response to covid-19 (see the Food Foundation’s share price tracker).
With longer-term uncertainties around the future of office work and the growth in delivery services, investors looking to engage with companies in downstream food businesses should ensure that the pursuit of market growth or economic recovery does not come at the expense of businesses setting ambitious targets and reporting clearly on their transition to healthy and sustainable food. Our analysis of contract caterers shows this sector to be more advanced that other non-retail sectors and they opportunity exists for investors to build to set business- and reputation-enhancing goals into their engagement.