This is an overview of the healchcare foodservice industry, including the size of the industry, how it is organized, who the key players are and how to sell to them.
If you’ve thought about selling your foodservice product to the healthcare industry, this blog post covers some of the main areas of this industry. Healthcare facilities includes hospitals and also long-term care facilities like nursing homes.
There are around 5,000 hospitals of different types, in the US. And around 15,000 nursing homes. So, this is a big market, depending on what your product or service is. These facilities range in size from small local and rural hospitals and rehab facilities, to very large urban hospitals, often affiliated with universities and medical schools.
The foodservice aspect of hospitals includes both the retail cafeterias and coffee shops provided for visitors and employees, as well as the nutrition services provided for the patients. Both aspects are managed by the same food and nutrition team. Large hospitals employ a foodservice team consisting of a director of food and nutrition as well as chefs and dieticians.
A large hospital can have as many as 5,000 employees, as well as thousands of daily visitors and hundreds of patients. Added together this is a large foodservice operation.
Selling to a healthcare food operation is complex; it involves selling to the operator, or foodservice team at the facility but will usually also require selling to the food distributor they use, such as U.S. Foods or Sysco. And it can also involve working with a Group Procurement Organization, which are buying groups hospitals use to negotiate better prices.
Similar to how foodservice is managed in colleges and universities, healthcare foodservice operations are either run by employees of the hospital or by a contract management company. These large, national businesses specialize in foodservice and managing facilities. Sodexo, Aramark and Compass Group are the largest.
These contract management companies run about 30% of healthcare foodservice in the U.S. with the other 70% being self-operated.
The main industry organization for the healthcare foodservice industry is the Association of Healthcare Foodservice (AHF), which is a non-profit, industry-managed association that holds an annual conference and tradeshow and also has regional chapters.
That’s a very brief overview of this large and growing industry; at MSource we help companies navigate and sell to this and other industries – to learn more contact us here.