Medical Meal Service/Therapeutic Meal Delivery Service Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2019
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has conducted a survey on the domestic medical meal service/therapeutic meal delivery service market, and has found out the market trends of meals at hospitals, facilities for the elderly, and of therapeutic meals for delivery, the trends of market players, and the future outlook.
The once ever-expanding markets of hospital meals (for inpatients and for hospital personnel) and meals provided to the facilities for the elderly (for the elderly and facility personnel) slowed down the growth level, the former because of integration or closedown of hospitals and of less beds in clinics together with hospitals, leading the market to a slice decrease, and the latter because more meals have been paid at the users’ expense, though the number of newly built facilities being on the rise to increase the market as a whole. On the other hand, the meal delivery service market has shown stable growth.
The domestic medical meal service/therapeutic meal delivery service market for FY2018, based on the end-user sales at businesses, rose by 0.8% to attain 2,258,900 million yen. The reduced margin in the hospital meals was supplemented by the meals for the facilities for the elderly as well as the therapeutic meal delivery services now grown as large as 1,300,000 million yen, bringing about the market to a slight growth.
Labor Shortage in Medical Meal Services Can be Supplemented by Central Kitchens
The recent shortage in personnel has become a serious problem for the medical meal market where the meals must be delivered three times a day for 365 days. Therefore, some attempts are needed to be taken urgently to save labor at cooking sites, and to improve sanity for preventing food poisoning. Utilization of new cooking systems through central kitchens (hereinafter CK) is praised in that it enables to offer standard meals by anybody without any specific cooking techniques of a chef, while saving labor and increasing safety and security.
Since the amendment to the Medical Care Act in 1996 the hospital meals are allowed to be prepared at the cooking facilities (CK or satellite kitchens) located outside the hospital. However, no progress was made for the medical meals to be cooked at outside facilities due to some restrictions in the aspect of costs, cooking techniques, and menus. At last, the above-mentioned backdrops and reasons led the method of CK to start attracting attention once again.
In addition, the CK business by external enterprises has become invigorated, enabling to provide completely cooked food through the methods of cook chill and cook freeze. They are first delivered as breakfast at the facilities for the elderly and then for lunches at various facilities including day-care services.
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