German specialist publisher hosted the 29th International Management Forum (IMF) for communal catering at Congress Park Hanau. The conference welcomed over 300 delegates and started with a talk by Burkhard Schmid, an industry expert and editor in chief at specialist magazine gv-praxis. He presented some impressive figures: German consumers spend €80.8 billion (gross, excluding the Care sector) on eating out. In order to maintain this level of sales, works catering services will have to prepare themselves for future trends: flexible working hours and mobile positions (co-working), changing eating times and meal structures, with snack options and takeaways becoming increasingly important. Diners are looking for healthier and more sustainable options, as well as a personalised end product – people want to eat when they have time, fancy it and are hungry.
Simon Kuhn, founding director at K&P Consulting, Dusseldorf, describes the future in one sentence: ‘In future, the canteen will be the company living room.’ The furnishings are an important part of that. A well styled lounge and more space dedicated to interaction can help to create a cosy atmosphere. Hans Rudolf Eggenkamper from Axa, Cologne, presented his workplace concept, ‘Doing away with ties and speaking on first name terms isn't enough to start a new workplace culture. Eating in the Axa canteen is an occasion of enjoyment, prestige, indulgence and business all at once.’ The new catering concept takes into account employee requests, health management, food preparation, surplus production (waste), team building, 24/7 service, sharing dishes, a coffee bar, a marketplace and culture.
Founder and managing director of Alnatura, Darmstadt, Prof. Götz Rehn, emphasised every individual's responsibility. ‘It makes much more sense not to pollute our water with glyphosate in the first place rather than purifying it later, which is difficult and expensive for the taxpayer.’ He urged us, ‘Please, everyone, use organic products. There is no downside – for the climate, biodiversity or the environment.’
The 2019 catering awards were the highlight of the forum, with first prize in the ‘best campaign idea’ category going to Frankfurt Student Union for the campaign, ‘You're up! Make it your canteen.’ Klüh Catering came in second place with ‘Finally! A holiday! The cruise ports of the world.’ Aramark clinched third place with ‘Feeling fresh – fermented vegetables.’
MAN Energy won the top prize in the ‘best concept idea’ category for their ‘MAN ES FOODVERSITY’ concept designed to make kitchens more sustainable in terms of how the food is produced. MAN operate their own deposit system for bowls and reusable cups which are used within the company, proving that the company is taking the issue seriously internally.
Second place went to Sodexo Services with ‘Gusto Rigolo,’ a school catering concept to get the diners, namely the children, involved. KFW Banking Group took third place for ‘Good food – balanced and delicious,’ which focuses on modern twists on classic dishes, with employees getting involved in writing the recipes. Health and nutrition psychologist Prof. Christoph Klotter believes that nutrition has replaced religion for many people in the modern world and urges moderation in using marketing concepts like ‘superfoods’. ‘Eating should be a break; all of this ‘eating on the go’ is just toxic.’ There is therefore nothing positive about the ‘to go’ trend. Getting children involved in food preparation early on is of utmost importance. It gives them the best chance of eating a balanced diet as an adult. Klotter also emphasised the importance of having a personal connection to the chef and believes that he or she should leave the kitchen and talk to diners about the menu.