Development and trends of the meal voucher market in Italy (2003)
In the most advanced countries, food consumption is becoming a progressively smaller share of total expenditure, due to the emergence of a lifestyle in which structural variables have less and less influence on consumption trends. In contrast, other socio-cultural components are gaining importance, segmenting the market and creating a system of niches on a restricted scale. The changes in the employment sector, with the spread of forms of continuous self-employment and dependent work, the growing tertiary sector and the increasing employment of women, influence the structuring of family lifetimes. In addition, the availability of innovative food consumption means (microwaves, frozen food, etc.) favours the tendency to optimise the time spent preparing meals.
The analysis of the trend in household food expenditure, carried out by making a difference between domestic and non-domestic consumption, highlights the high increase recorded in the catering sector. The data show a radical change in the eating habits of Italian families: more and more of them are choosing to have lunch in a diner, a bar or directly at their workplace. Eating habits are therefore increasingly conditioned by people’s daily routine: whether it is a matter of school or work commitments, the occasions for eating a meal (usually lunch) outside the home are very common, so much so that eating is increasingly becoming an informal and irregular practice.
How Italians’ consumption and eating habits are changing
Some elements of the sector’s regulations
The meal voucher market in Italy
The public market for canteen replacement services
Some possible interventions