A study by leading meals provider, apetito in partnership with Care England, has shown that 97% of care homes are worried about both the fast-rising inflation of food ingredients and the labour costs associated with mealtimes, with 90% of homes reporting they have looked at ways to streamline cost and efficiencies in the kitchen since the cost-of-living crisis hit in 2022.

And 82% of scratch cook homes say they struggle with labour, compared to 29% when they switch to a prepared meal solution.  

Homes that cook from scratch were unanimous in saying that if they could reduce the cost and stress of mealtimes, that they would look to do so.

Richard Woodward, General Manager for apetito Care Homes division says:

“There’s no question that every care home wants to deliver an excellent dining experience to its residents.  Mealtimes are all about ensuring a personalised, enjoyable, and nutritionally based pathway for each resident.

“With unprecedented inflation and rising cost of goods, it’s little surprise that care homes are so worried about maintaining high standards.  

“It’s not just the ingredients that are the problem.  More than 90% of homes also said they’re very aware of the administrative time it takes their kitchen team to order ingredients and manage nutritional pathways and inspectorate needs with 63% of homes saying this factor has had a detrimental impact on them.

“We are seeing more and more homes turn to pre-prepared meals which enables them to maintain a high standard of tasty and nutritious food, whilst also enjoying consistency of cost and supply across a diverse range of bespoke requirements.  

“And it’s proven to be a smart move in combating labour shortages, as the stats show that of those homes which have turned to prepared meals, only 29% are being impacted by kitchen shortages – in contrast to 80% of scratch cook homes.  That’s a big figure giving clear evidence that prepared meals offer a cost-effective solution, with teams cooking meals from frozen with minimal training”.

Check out how you can reduce mealtime costs whilst maintaining a superb and consistent mealtime experience for your residents:

Care Home Menus and Dining Experiences | apetito