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How to Grow Your Food Brand in Healthcare

How to Grow Your Food Brand in Healthcare

Make gains in this rising foodservice segment.

The U.S. healthcare foodservice market will likely jump a whopping 73% in four years, according to market research by MarketsandMarkets.

Not only is healthcare growing fast – it’s evolving. Food management professionals are proving their resilience in the face of highly changeable markets. The best innovations arise from a deep desire to help people feel better, which is what serving great food is all about – and where you can help.

Here are the new healthcare movements we’re excited about, and key tactics for reaching the heart of healthcare decision-makers.

Skip the complications.

Keep it simple for the foodservice director. After all, figuring food for healthcare is already complex. Dining is just one of the many priorities within any senior living center, hospital, or long-term care facility. Even within the food operation alone, there are several distinct needs to meet between the wide range of people receiving care and those giving it.

How-to: Streamline menus with cross-utilization.

Highlight multi-purpose products that help directors streamline ingredient sourcing between patient foodservice and retail operations for employees and guests.

  • Help operators source multi-purpose products, e.g. breads, buns, pre-prepped produce.
  • Assist with recipe versatility, e.g. a meat sauce that can be used for chili and multiple pasta dishes.
  • Show how your products meet an array of stringent dietary requirements.
  • Highlight meal solutions that translate well for in-room tray service.

Lead with taste and innovation.

Big healthcare expansion means more choices – and more choosiness. 42% of consumers consider food options early on when selecting long-term care or senior-living residency.*

Delicious, wholesome food is not only an attractive point of differentiation for senior living centers – it’s also a matter of dignity. Most long-term care/senior-living residents (80%) say the food factors strongly into their overall care experience.*

*Source: Datassential blog, Hospital food, reimagined: Emerging trends in healthcare foodservice, December 2021

How-to: Highlight flavor.

Even dietary-compliant foods should meet a high benchmark for taste. Emphasize palatability and guest satisfaction without lowering standards.

  • Highlight quality ingredients and strong flavor profiles.
  • Include options to increase flavor with some level of spice and flavor innovation.
  • Help foodservice directors build an “always” menu: delicious and nutritious favorites that are always available as a backup meal.

61556 square brochure mockupMilestone Senior Services takes pride in serving wholesome meals with compassion and dignity, regardless of one’s ability to pay. Their paid delivery option streamlines menus and allows them to serve more community members in need.

Read the Case Study

Consider the caregivers.

With increased demands on a smaller number of workers, organizations recognize how onsite meals and convenient ordering can lead to employee satisfaction and higher retention rates. Think of ways your brand could help a foodservice director take care of employees with accessible and satisfying meals.

How-to: Maximize onsite mini markets.

Hospitals are offering workplace shopping so stressed employees have one less stop on their way home. Mini markets require minimal space and staff – and can use the same cashier setup as an adjacent coffee shop with the same hours. How could your wholesale offerings fit it?

  • Highlight sustainable and local products.
  • Consider home replacement meals and other kitchen-staple supplies.
  • Think across refrigerated / ambient / cooler display cases, shelving, and tables.

How-to: Order up with apps and delivery services.

Mobile ordering is increasing in healthcare, where staff members who couldn’t otherwise come to the cafeteria due to long shifts (or don’t want to) can order and pick up at convenient stations. Residents and patients all appreciate the ease of in-room ordering.

  • Help organizations increase check averages with add-ons: Bottled drinks or drink mixes, desserts, etc.
  • Package a variety of “For now” and “For later” meals; consider fully prepared meals, meal kits, and a selection of hearty snacks.
  • Offer in-app promos to increase product purchases.

How-to: Make meal kits next-level.

Time-strapped and work-stressed caregivers are loving the option of take-home meal kits. Larger facilities are offering mobile ordering with payroll deduction payment options.

  • Offer ideas for chopped and measured meal-kit ingredients along with a recipe for such items as pasta bakes, premade salads, and pizza.
  • Show total cost savings of value-added, pre-chopped ingredients when sold as a complete kit.
  • Consider to-go salad bar solutions with single-service dressings and upgraded plant-based protein and warm veg toppings.

Use wellness as a teachable moment – and business builder.

Foodservice directors are reaching out to the community with everything from local wellness workshops, to catering local events and offering on-site services for meetings and dining events, to virtual teaching kitchens that explore culinary and nutrition literacy.

How-to: Make your brand a trusted practitioner.

  • Evaluate products or services that would assist those new to catering, e.g. value-added items, canned heat, table lights.
  • Help senior living staff support family caregivers; provide samples, educational materials, or human resources for events that help families extend the dietary care their loved ones need when off-campus.
  • If there’s an event that resonates with your brand’s mission, consider partnering with your customer in terms of personnel and/or product.

For the health of your food brand, stay tuned to the needs of this growing segment.


Posted in: Thoughts
June 24, 2022

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