Research into private school catering


Pasta King started as a family run business in the early 1990s and has grown to become the leading provider of nutritious pasta and sauce meals to schools in the UK. They now supply over 20 million meals a year. Education is their speciality, but their convenient meals can also be found in sports facilities, workplaces, hospital canteens, and on the high street.


It was estimated that there were some 2000+ private schools across the UK and Pasta King was interested in developing this area of the market.

Attempts had been made to sell in the pasta sauces to catering units within private schools but this had met with mixed success. Various assumptions and hypotheses had been developed about the reasons for this and these needed testing to determine what action needed to be taken.


We worked with Pasta King to develop a comprehensive research plan to better understand the key value drivers of their proposition with the aim of enabling higher sales conversions. The research objectives included identifying what the key drivers to purchase were amongst Private school catering units and also looked to better understand the consideration and purchase process. The levels of appeal and potential take-up of the Pasta King pasta sauce service offering were also tested.

We carried out a series of telephone depths with current clients, lapsed users and unconverted prospects to fully explore the objectives with audiences at different stages of the relationship.


The data generated allowed the client to review their brand positioning and refine their sales approach – leading to an increase in sales and market share in the Private schools sector. The element of research looking at lapsed users and determining the reasons why they no longer used Pasta King was particularly enlightening. It revealed the areas in which the service value proposition could be strengthened and included price, product concept, flavour and other tangible / intangible issues associated with the product and the company.


  • Food


  • Customer, Employee and Supporter Surveys
  • Product and service research

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