Members’ News

March 2017

Sodexo reveals the top five ways the workplace will change in the future #

Global report shows connectivity, innovations and uncertainty are rewriting the rules of the workplace; next-generation working styles are being defined by individuality, inclusiveness and techno-literacy; and we can expect to see more robots as colleagues

A workplace where people and robots collaborate, employees’ personal brands are bigger than their employers’ and the office is a destination for wellness. These emerging trends and others are set to transform the way we work and how leaders direct their businesses over the next 25 years and are just some of the findings of the Global Workplace Trends report by Sodexo.

The global services provider has interviewed some of the world’s biggest thinkers and investigated emerging trends and academic research to uncover the trends that will impact the nature of the workforce and influence future leaders.

Underlying all of the trends is the changing view of the employee and how they will increasingly put themselves first.

The five trends which will change the UK workforce are:

Next Generation Robotics: Whilst some uncertainty exists about the impact of robots, they will create more than two million jobs in the next eight years and will in fact collaborate with people on uniquely human jobs.

Personal Branding: Employees will increasingly become more aware of their own brands, taking a priority over their employers’. Personal branding is taking on a new life and getting deeper scrutiny, as employers look to understand potential risks and leverage the power of employees’ personal brands for the good of the company.

Intergenerational Learning: Training and expertise will no longer be a top-down or old-to-young process. With an ageing population and the arrival of millennials in the workplace will bring a great opportunity for learning between the generations.

Wellness in the Workplace: As the lines between work and ‘life’ become even more blurred, workers will seek more than financial or functional benefits. The workplace will become a wellness destination, where employees will demand an environment that maintains or even enhances their quality of health. This goes beyond the insurance type packages that many large businesses already offer.

The Rise of Cross-Workplaces: The newest iteration of collaborative workspaces takes co-working to a new level, with organisations not only sharing physical space and resources but also intentionally structuring interactions across job functions and specialisms that encourage problem-solving approaches in order to combine strengths and address global issues.

David Bailey, CEO corporate services, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “Our study provides a valuable insight into the many factors that are set to change the way our workplaces look and operate over the next few decades.

“It is important that businesses are constantly looking forward to ensure they are in a position to respond to the changing demands of employees and their clients.

“It’s critical for business leaders to recognise the underlying trends driving change, to evaluate their significance and stay ahead of – rather than follow – them. As a top global employer we have a front row seat to understanding the factors that will shape the workplace of the future.”

Other trends identified in the report include the increasing importance of agility, highlighting that business will seek to find the holy grail of speed plus stability, enabling them to respond to new conditions whilst keeping employees satisfied.

With a workforce hungry for positive change, organisations will be under more pressure to demonstrate how they are actively working towards sustainability, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The physical space, technology and amenities offered in the working environment will also be key to keeping a happy workforce.  

Finally, the report acknowledges the movement of people across geographical and cultural borders. The sheer spread and scale of the relocation of workers, in both emerging and developed economies, is driving new opportunities to demonstrate inclusive leadership through evaluating skill needs, availability, location benefits and effective cultural integration.

Futurologist, James Bellini, added: “The world of work is rapidly changing. This study shows that the arrival of millennials in the workforce will see a much more self-aware and demanding generation of employees, who want their work to fulfil them emotionally, physically and academically.

“Future leaders will need to be more than just financially savvy or a whizz at marketing. They will need to understand their employees more than ever. The main priority will be to create an optimal environment whereby workers are happy, healthy and efficient.”

The Workplace Trends Report is grounded in primary and secondary research. Initial identification of trend topics came from research, including consulting global news sources focused on HR and the workplace, and through independent insights into workplaces around the globe. Having identified global topic-area experts, more than 55 hours of interviews were conducted (two to six expert interviews per trend). Secondary source material and statistics have been compiled from global news sources and research databases. Trends were curated by distilling the findings of the research into a report with relevancy to global workplaces.

Download the 2017 Sodexo Global Workplace Trends Report here 

Medirest secures new contract with London North West Healthcare NHS Trust #

London North West Healthcare NHS Trust has teamed up with Medirest, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, to streamline and improve its outsourced Soft Facilities Management (FM) services, across its hospital and community sites. 

Starting in March, the five year contract worth an estimated £19 million in turnover per year, will see a team of around 600 people deliver cleaning, patient catering, portering and security services. Medirest will introduce a number of new innovations such as improved meal choices, better portering response times and enhanced cleaning provision in both clinical and non-clinical areas.

London North West Healthcare is one of the largest integrated care Trusts in the country, bringing together hospital and community services across Brent, Ealing and Harrow.

The new contract for Soft FM services will cover several hospital sites including; Northwick Park, Ealing and Central Middlesex, as well as community sites, including Clayponds Rehabilitation Hospital and Meadow House Hospice.

Since London North West Healthcare was formed in 2014 it has outsourced Soft FM services to several suppliers, with Medirest working at Ealing Hospital. This partnership signifies the first time these contracts will sit with one supplier and the two organisations will standardise and enhance services where possible.

Nigel Myhill, director of estates and facilities at London North West Healthcare, said: “Following a thorough tender exercise, supported by the London Procurement Partnership, and with the involvement of many of our staff and patient representatives we are pleased to announce Medirest as our preferred supplier for our Soft FM services.

“We have taken the opportunity to bring the varying standards of these services under a single contract. This will improve the quality of the services we currently offer in patient meal choice, portering and cleaning standards while also achieving savings to help further improve the care and experience of patients.”

Steve Cenci, managing director, Healthcare at Compass Group UK & Ireland, commented: “We are really proud to be the chosen provider of these services to London North West Healthcare NHS Trust. It’s exciting to be given the opportunity to provide our services across the entire Trust and this will ensure high standards are consistent. We’re looking forward to building on our relationship with the Trust and working together in the future.” 

Introducing Bidfood Bidvest Foodservice launches new name to wholesale market #

Bidvest Foodservice announced that from 3 April 2017, it will be trading under the new name of Bidfood.

The change follows the separation of the global Bidvest Foodservice businesses from the Bidvest Group, when it listed independently on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in May last year.

The listing meant that Bidvest Foodservice UK, along with the other Bidvest Foodservice businesses around the world, have all changed their name to Bidfood reflect this.

Chief executive Andrew Selley said in choosing the new name, it was important to retain a link to the company’s heritage as well as to reflect what is at the very heart of the business, hence the name Bidfood was developed.

“It’s no secret that as our business has evolved over the years, so too has our name,” says Andrew.

“When we made the move from Bidvest 3663 to Bidvest Foodservice, we also launched a new mission, vision and employee values, all centring on service excellence and offering the best customer experience in the market.

“Although our name is changing, these principles and our wider business priorities remain firmly in our focus, and I believe this is a stronger brand for us and for our Bidfood businesses globally.

“We’re passionate about delivering service excellence, making life easier for customers and helping them to grow, and over the last 18 months we’ve been focused on making important internal changes to meet customer needs now and in the future. 

“We are fully committed to investing in our local depots, our teams and our services and delivering great food, the best choice in the market and innovative and exciting ranges to achieve this,” says Andrew.

There will be a short period of transition from April, where the new name and logo will be introduced in phases across the business including our corporate website, fleet livery, and depot signage.

Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2017: winners announced #

Casual dining sector honoured at national awards

The UK’s best casual dining operators were revealed at the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2017, organised by Diversified Communications UK.

wagamama, Las Iguanas, ASK Italian, The Breakfast Club, Peach Pub Company, and Levi Roots all took home awards.  While wagamama’s chief executive David Campbell was also named ‘Trailblazer of the year’.

The 2017 winners were presented their awards by Matt Dawson MBE at a prestigious ceremony at the Marriot London Grosvenor Square, following the first day of the Casual Dining show.

Over 400 industry professionals – including senior representatives from Casual Dining Group, Living Ventures, Las Iguanas, Nando’s, Bill’s Restaurants, Marston’s, The New World Trading Co, Revolution Bars Group, Mitchells & Butlers, PizzaExpress, Carluccio's, Prezzo, MEATliquor, Giggling Squid, Cabana, and The Breakfast Club – were in attendance to recognise and celebrate the standout brands of the year across the multi-billion pound casual dining sector.

Casual Dining’s group event director, Chris Brazier, says: “Once again the sheer quality of this year’s awards entries has been outstanding and sends a strong signal that the casual dining restaurant and pub sector is getting stronger and more innovative every year.

“The Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards is a fantastic way to celebrate and reward those companies – from the big names to the emerging brands – who are making a real difference to the growth of this sector.  Congratulations to each of our winners – the casual dining market is thriving, thanks in large part to your continuing innovations and dedication to offering an incredible dining experience.”

Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2017 winners

Trailblazer of the Year – David Campbell, chief executive of wagamama

New Casual Dining Concept of the Year – Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse, Westfield Stratford City, London

Casual Dining Community Award - The Breakfast Club: Multiple volunteering initiatives

Casual Dining Marketing Campaign – Las Iguanas: Summer 2016 Championsheeps Family Dining Campaign

Best Designed Independent Casual Dining Restaurant – The Vincent Café & Cocktail Bar, Liverpool (designed by DesignLSM)

Best Designed Multiple Casual Dining Restaurant – ASK Italian: Gloucester Road, London (designed by Gundry & Ducker)

Best Designed Casual Dining Pub or Bar – Galvin HOP: Spitalfields, London (designed by DesignLSM)

Independent Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year – Jack & Alice, Gerrards Cross

Independent Casual Dining Pub of the Year - The Malt House, London

Small Casual Dining Employer of the Year – Jack & Alice

Large Casual Dining Employer of the Year – Peach Pub Company

Menu Innovation Award – KuPP

Multiple Casual Dining Pub Brand of the Year – The Draft House

Multiple Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year – wagamama

Global Packaging Specialists Huhtamaki exhibit at Packaging Innovations 2017 #

Huhtamaki showcased its diverse range of packaging solutions at this year’s Packaging Innovations Exhibition.

Visitors found the latest in packaging innovations; GreeNest and FutureSmartTM, underpinned by a global drive to sustainable packaging.

Huhtamaki focus on making every consumer packaging experience enjoyable, consistent and safe.  Working closely with its customers to build brands and drive new opportunities.

Representatives from Food Service, Flexible Packaging and Molded Fiber were on hand during both days of the exhibition to guide visitors through Huhtamaki’s market leading and innovative portfolio and manufacturing technologies.

Huhtamaki’s Molded Fiber range is 100%recycled and recyclable as well as being compostable and biodegradable.  It’s used in the manufacture of products such as egg cartons, cup carriers, and wine bottle trays plus other custom packaging. At the exhibition, Huhtamaki also be exhibited its new GreeNest egg carton. Naturally sustainable, the carton uses innovative technology to produce a completely natural product made with 50% grass fibres.

Fulfilling a multitude of packaging needs across a broad customer base, Huhtamaki's Flexible Packaging delivers bespoke products for food and beverages, health and personal care products and pet food. The portfolio includes labels, tube and extrusion laminates and Terolen pouches. Through a collaborative approach and an advanced understanding of the customer's packaging requirements, Huhtamaki's Flexible Packaging works to protect, preserve and promote the product it serves. 

Also on the stand was Huhtamaki’s foodservice range of single use cups, food containers, corrugated solutions for bakeable and ovenable products and folding carton packaging for the QSR and retail markets.  The Global need for sustainable packaging drives much of Huhtamaki's new product development and innovation. FutureSmart, a 100% renewable paperboard material which has been engineered to form paper cups and food containers is proof of Huhtamaki's pioneering work in this sector.

CESA chair Glenn Roberts awarded Doctorate of Foodservice #

NAFEM honour recognises contribution to foodservice equipment industry

Glenn Roberts C.F.S.P., chair of CESA, was awarded a Doctorate of Foodservice (DFS) by NAFEM, the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, during the NAFEM Show in February. 

A NAFEM spokesperson said, “We’d like to thank Glenn for his contributions to the industry at large and to the Catering Equipment Suppliers’ Association (CESA) specifically.” 

The award ceremony took place at a special breakfast on Thursday 9 February during The NAFEM Show at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida. 

“I’m sure the whole UK catering equipment industry will join me in offering heartiest congratulations to Glenn for this award,” said Keith Warren, director of CESA.  “He’s a dynamic and committed leader who has made a big impact on the industry, especially in areas such as sustainability and training, both through his professional work and his involvement in CESA.” 

Glenn became chair of CESA in November 2016. 

Sodexo appoints new senior VP for UK Offshore & Marine business #

Sodexo appointed Susan Elston as senior vice president for its Offshore & Marine business in the UK and Ireland.

Sodexo’s Offshore & Marine business is part of the company’s Energy & Resources segment which serves clients in the oil & gas, mining and engineering & construction industries as well as other energy sectors.

Elston will be based at Sodexo’s Aberdeen office and will report directly to Sodexo’s Global CEO for Offshore & Marine, Lindsay Tocher. 

With 18 years’ experience in the oil and gas sector, Elston is a well-respected figure, she joined Sodexo five years ago and in that time has held a number of global roles with the offshore and marine business. Previous to this new role Elston was Global VP operational solutions and director of operations new geographies.  

Lindsay Tocher, global CEO, Offshore & Marine, Sodexo energy & resources said, “We are delighted to appoint Susan to this role, she brings a wealth of experience in the sector and will continue to ensure the successful development and deployment of solutions for our clients.”
Susan Elston added, “I am really pleased to be leading the UK and Ireland team who are doing a fantastic job delivering quality of life solutions to our clients.  In addition to this I will also be looking to develop our diversity and inclusion strategy particularly around gender balance as well as looking at employee engagement and of course continuing the focus on safety for both our employees and those of our clients.”

Sodexo is the leading quality of life services provider for offshore facilities around the globe, from Asian shipyards through towing operations to exploration and production locations around the world, serving thousands of men and women from the North Sea to Western Africa and from Singapore and Australia to the Gulf of Mexico. 

Sodexo’s Offshore & Marine business addresses the complexities of its clients’ challenges in this sector, including the geographic mobility of their operations and installations as well as work/life balance in this unique environment. The very nature of onshore/offshore rotations is extremely demanding for our clients’ crews. We deliver services to make their time away from home as comfortable as possible. 

Book your space for the CESA Light Equipment and Tableware Forum #

What’s making a buzz in next year’s foodservice kitchen?

Trends, concepts, gizmos and widgets: CESA Light Equipment & Tableware Forum 2017, 25-26 April 2017, Drayton Manor Hotel, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B78 3TW 

For any catering equipment buyer wanting to find out what’s next for the foodservice kitchen and the restaurant table, the CESA LET 2017 Forum is a must.  Nineteen leading light equipment and tableware suppliers will showcase their very latest ideas and concepts, giving insights into foodservice trends as well as hands-on experience of new technologies, tablewares, widgets and gizmos. 

“Last year the trends ranged from copper to gin, with freeze dryers and centrifuges being amongst the talking points.  This year – well, who knows?” says Stephen Goodliff, chair of the CESA LET Group.  “The continuous innovation in light equipment and tableware means there’s a real buzz about the Forum every year.”   

For 2017 the LET Forum has an exciting new venue, the Drayton Manor Hotel.  Delegates attend for free and their ticket includes overnight accommodation and attendance at the LET Awards Dinner, on Tuesday 25 April. 

“The LET Forum offers true insights for equipment buyers,” says Stephen.  “The hands-on experience and expert advice are key, but there’s also the opportunity to network with colleagues from across the industry.” 

The LET Forum is open to catering equipment buyers, specifiers and foodservice operators.  Tickets are free but strictly limited.  To book spaces please contact Jocelyn Carr at CESA on 020 7793 3029 or email  Alternatively fill in the online form here

UK shows it is open for business as it is announced as IFE 2017’s Partner Country #

The UK took centre stage at IFE 2017 (The International Food and Drink Event) as it was announced as Partner Country for the first time at the nation’s biggest food and drink trade show.

As Partner Country, the UK had an unrivalled opportunity to showcase the very best of the UK’s food and drink to more than 29,000 of the world’s leading food buyers, producers and investors who flocked to ExCeL London from 19 March.

Sending strong a message that the UK is open for business, the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) championed the UK’s food and drink expertise and excellence at the four-day event - alongside more than 60 other exhibiting countries at IFE.

Soraya Gadelrab, event director of IFE 2017 said: “Our show has always been the biggest shop window to showcase British excellence to the world. In an increasingly global market, having the support of DIT and Defra is an enormous privilege and we welcome their support.

As Partner Country, the UK government will play a central role in supporting our home-grown exhibitors with brilliant advice on overseas success, as well as raising the external profile of the wider industry.”

International Trade Minister, Mark Garnier, said: “From Wensleydale cheese to English Sparkling Wine, the UK is renowned for its excellent food and drink with UK companies sending their products to over 200 territories around the world. With an established reputation for quality, reliability and transparency we are a great food nation with a strong heritage.

IFE is an important event in promoting the UK and attracting inward investment; I look forward to working with this flourishing sector and discussing how we can build on their exporting success.”

Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, said: “Thanks to our well-established reputation for taste, quality and high welfare standards, the global appetite for British food is growing –  with exports worth more than £20 billion last year.

IFE 2017 is a great opportunity to showcase our high-quality products and that’s why I’m hosting a Food is GREAT reception, connecting the best of British with international buyers to get more of our food on supermarket shelves around the world.”

Over the course of four days, DIT hosted its ‘Exporting is GREAT’ hub providing in-depth advice to ambitious food and drink producers looking to get their produce overseas.

For the show’s overseas visitors, the DIT International Business Lounge offered an unrivalled opportunity for buyers looking to source and refresh their lines of UK products, discover and learn about the latest trends and network with the industry.  It also offers UK companies the prospect of expanding their business into overseas markets.

The Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, also hosted a “Food is GREAT” celebration, inviting food producers, businesses and experts from around the world to gather together and celebrate the very best of the UK’s food and drink. 

Casual Dining reports 9% increase in attendance for 2017 #

Casual Dining enjoys its best show yet with nearly 5,000 attendees

London was the capital of the casual dining world last week – as Casual Dining returned to the Business Design Centre in Islington on 22-23 February to showcase the best new products, solutions, insights, and innovations of the year.

The multi-award winning event enjoyed its fourth year of significant growth, raising the bar yet again to serve up 4,785 unique attendees, with over £736m annual spending power, to its 200 exhibitors.  Notably, nearly one in three visitors are responsible for a corporate spend of over £500k.

Demonstrating their growing appetite for casual dining, senior executives from all the UK’s biggest restaurant, pub and bar groups, plus thousands of independent operators, hotels, wholesalers, distributors, attractions, and contract caterers, packed the aisles to discover what’s new and next at this vibrant industry showcase.

Significantly, the strong footfall has been backed by glowing testimonials from across the show floor.  Fantastic, excellent, informative, busy, successful, unmissable, and essential – are just some of the words attendees have used to describe the show so far.

“We don’t have to fly across the Atlantic to find the latest industry innovations under one roof any more – Casual Dining has brought all that and more to the UK," says Karen Forrester, CEO of TGI Friday’s UK.

“Casual Dining is always a fantastic opportunity to discover something new,” says Garry Duncan, operations director at Nando’s.  “It’s become the meeting place for our industry.”

“Brilliant show again, with the most innovation I have seen at any of the shows this year,” says Tim Foster, co-founder of the Yummy Collection.

“I thoroughly enjoy visiting Casual Dining.  It’s a must attend event!” says John Metcalf, commercial director at Strada.

Among the attendees were also senior decision makers from Jamie's Italian, JD Wetherspoon, Enterprise Inns, Whitbread, Marston’s, Revolution Bars Group, Mitchells & Butlers, PizzaExpress, Pizza Hut Restaurants, Carluccio's, Prezzo, GBK, Punch, ASK Italian, Zizzi, Greene King, Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Las Iguanas, Giraffe, K10 Restaurants, ETM Group, Côte Restaurants, Yo! Sushi, Papa John's, Glendola Leisure Group, Bourne Leisure, Hollywood Bowl, The Rank Group, Gordon Ramsay Restaurants, Stonegate Pub Company, Charles Wells, Compass Group, Sodexo, WSH, Bidvest Foodservice, Hilton, Thwaites hotels & spas, and wagamama (winner of ‘Multiple Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year’ at the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2017).

The industry’s favourite show
Chris Brazier, group event director of Casual Dining, calls the support of the show ‘phenomenal’, highlighting the dedication of the thousands of attendees who turned out over both days.  Casual Dining 2017 was a record-breaker in every respect, he says.

“The fact that we've just enjoyed our best ever show – with record numbers of buyers and, more importantly, a record quality of buyers – who battled travel strikes and Storm Doris to attend – is testament to this wonderful industry of conscientious decision makers, who simply wouldn't miss the two days a year that the casual dining sector gets together.  Their support of the show, as always, has been phenomenal.  Thank you to all our visitors, exhibitors, speakers, associations, and media partners,” he says.

It was this quality of attendees, the high level of engagement, and quantity of new business leads that impressed countless exhibitors.  Prompting over 75% of them (another record) to rebook for next year before the show had even closed.

Summing up their exhibitor experience Sam Chote, head of sales at Karma Cola, says:  “For a business still getting started, choosing the right show can be quite stressful.  Casual Dining 2017 was clearly the best trade show we have done – we had so many great conversations.”

“We had a huge amount of interest for 2017.  We have already signed up to exhibit in 2018 – well done to the Casual Dining team for another fantastic show,” says Terry Larkin, group general manager at JJ Food Service.

“Casual Dining is my favourite show of the year.  It always delivers a good atmosphere and a high level of serious visitors looking for innovative ideas and quality products – the main reason why we’ve exhibited since the show’s inception,” says Robert Marciano, director of DiSotto Foods.

“Casual Dining was another fantastic show.  It’s by far the best for us and the quality of footfall is exceptional,” says Kim Addison, marketing director at Vito UK.

“This is the second time that we have chosen to exhibit at Casual Dining and I have to say that each year gets better!  The contacts and leads that we collected were absolutely outstanding and we have meetings booked as a result beyond all of our expectations.  The Casual Dining show is now firmly in our diary as a 'must do' for next year,” says Kim Antoniou, founder of Kafoodle.

Show highlights for 2017
One of the show’s key draws was its exceptional show content.  There were 18 Keynotes and panel sessions covering all the key developments and challenges affecting the industry – from market trends and Brexit to menu innovation, profitability and brand expansion.

Highlights included standing-room only sessions by leading industry operators – Karen Forrester, CEO of TGI Friday’s UK, Martin Robinson, non-executive chairman of CDG, Mark Fox, CEO of Bill’s Restaurants, Jo Fleet, MD of Wahaca, Andrew Gallagher, group marketing director at Côte Restaurants, Jeremy Roberts, CEO of Living Ventures, and David Pellow, VP of operations – Europe at Hard Rock International.

“Casual Dining is a great event – two packed days for the industry to get together and share new ideas, discuss trends and an opportunity to meet new suppliers,” says Pellow.

As in previous years, market updates were delivered by Simon Stenning (MCA), Graeme Loudon (CGA Strategy), Peter Backman (Horizons), and Kate Nicholls, CEO of the ALMR.

Innovation Challenge Awards & King of Craft – results
Designed to promote and celebrate new ideas in the market place, the prestigious Innovation Challenge Awards, attracted over 40 entries this year.  Fourteen finalists (chosen by popular visitor vote on opening day) took turns to impress the judges in the live pitching session on Thursday 23 February.

Those judges included Chris Knights, group executive chef at Young’s & Geronimo Pubs; James Nye, MD of Anglian Country Inns, Martin Caws, group exec chef at Casual Dining Group; Alyson Scott, procurement & supply chain director at TGI Friday’s; and Alice Elwes, senior purchasing manager at Côte Restaurants.

Ascentia FSE’s F1 High Speed Oven, Double Dutch Drinks’s Pomegranate & Basil variant, and Karma Cola by Karma Cola Co were the winners of Gold awards this year.

Europastry’s Crystal Beer Sourdough Burger Bun, Morgenrot’s Ceriux Rubia, and Surgital’s Amichetti Laboratorio Kids took home Silver.

While Bronze awards went to 3S POS – Hospitality EPOS (3S POS Online Food Ordering System), Bar Foods (Moroccan Lamb One-Pot), Beacon Foods (Juice-it), Island Oasis (Island Oasis Frozen Beverage Solution), Joe Delucci’s Gelato (Joe Delucci’s Mulberry Gelato), Kafoodle (Kafoodle’s Labelling), McCain Foodservice (McCain Signatures Staycrisp Fries), and New York Bakery (Croll).

Other winners at Casual Dining 2017 included Thistly Cross Cider’s Whisky Cask Cider and Freedom Brewery’s Organic Helles Lager, which were both crowned King of Craft 2017.  In a first for the show, both received equal marks from the judges, who included selected VIP visitors.

Save the date for Casual Dining 2018
“Casual Dining is an excellent opportunity for both NPD and networking – I would recommend it to anyone in the industry,” says Ryder Butler, head of procurement at Bill’s Restaurants.

Casual Dining will return to the Business Design Centre, in Islington, London, on 21-22 February 2018.  

PG tips Monkey ready to chat through Facebook Messenger for Red Nose Day #

PG tips launched an interactive chatbot version of its much-loved Monkey in a bid to help raise #1MillionLaughs for Red Nose Day.

Conceived by Collider and developed by ubisend, Monkey ChatBot is driven by powerful AI that allows him to tell jokes and chat intelligently to millions of Facebook users via @MostFamousMonkey – brightening people’s tea breaks in the run up to Red Nose Day. To give it a try, visit    

Monkey said: “We could all do with a little more Monkey in our lives, so to help PG tips raise #1MillionLaughs for Red Nose Day I’ve decided to share my best jokes and wittiest chat with the world. Just pop over to @MostFamousMonkey on Facebook on your next tea break and I’ll join you for a cuppa.”

PG tips is an Official Partner of Red Nose Day. And whether it’s HA HAs from Humberside or ROFLs from Reading, PG tips want the whole country sharing their jokes using the hashtag #1MillionLaughs.

Monkey TM & © Comic Relief Ltd. 2017

‘Better’ menus mean better business #

Experts call on the Casual Dining industry to put ‘better’ food onto restaurant menus, as new research finds more than half of casual diners (56%) would be more likely to go to a restaurant offering healthy menu options.

For the Casual Dining industry, new research has revealed that ‘better’ menus can mean better business.

The research by One Poll in collaboration with Nestlé Professional to mark the launch of a new ‘BuzzBites Good Food, Good Life’ report, found that over half of casual diners (56%) are more likely to go to a restaurant offering healthy menu options and over two thirds (69%) would like to see more ‘fresh’ and ‘healthy’ choices.

The report – launched at the Casual Dining Show – also challenges misconceptions about ‘healthy’ food lacking taste, with half of diners (50%) finding healthier menu options to be just as tasty and appealing as other options.

Other findings include:
• Going ‘small’: 44% of diners would like to have the option of a small portion size
• Counting calories: More than a third (37%) would like to see clearer calorie labelling on menus
• Battle of the sexes: Women are driving the ‘healthy food revolution’, with 61% more willing to go to a restaurant offering healthy menu options as opposed to 50% of men

Speaking from ‘BuzzBites Good Food, Good Life’ breakfast briefing at the Casual Dining Show, Paul Lumley, brand & communications manager for Nestlé Professional said: “The Casual Dining industry is changing, and fast. Consumer trends are fast paced and businesses need to be able to flex and adapt to keep up.

“At Nestlé Professional, we are moving to become a catalyst for change. Working with the whole industry, we are creating opportunities for better practice and better learning through more effective collaboration.

“This is what BuzzBites powered by Nestlé Professional is all about. Starting with ‘Good Food, Good Life’, we are bringing the industry together to shine a light on innovative topics within foodservice.”

Also speaking live at the event was award-wining dietitian Lucy Jones – a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association who has appeared on a host of TV shows including BBC1’s ‘Eat Well for Less and Channel 4’s ‘The Food Hospital: “For me, ‘good’ food isn’t about putting a label on something. Eating well doesn’t have to mean excluding certain foods or following a specific diet; it’s all a question of balance.
“The new research shows we are seeing a fast-growing consumer appetite for healthier products, dishes and ideas, and for the Casual Dining industry there is a huge precedence to meet this demand – to provide healthier menu options and clearer choices.

“However, this needn’t be daunting. It’s about getting the foundations right. With a bit of innovation and creativity, creating a ‘better’ menu is achievable.”

To download a copy of BuzzBites ‘Good Food, Good Life’ powered by Nestlé Professional, go to

Hospitality big hitters join Best Brigades judging panel #

Executive head chef at Hertfordshire’s world-famous The Grove, Harry Lomas MBE, and executive development chef at the University of Warwick, Graham Crump, have been revealed as judges in Essential Cuisine’s 2017 search for the UK’s hardest working, hardest cooking chef teams – Britain’s Best Brigades. 

The highly respected pair, no strangers to judging high-profile culinary competitions, including, amongst others, the prestigious Salon Culinaire, Springboard Future Chef and TUCO Chefs Challenge, bring a wealth of experience to Essential Cuisine’s nationwide search, now in its third year.

With a new format that will shine a spotlight on the skills of kitchen teams from eight dedicated sectors – Healthcare, Restaurants, Hotels, Business & Industry, Schools, Universities and Colleges, Event Caterers and Pubs – the competition will see one brigade from each going forward as a finalist.

The appointments of Graham and Harry ensure that chefs from both the profit and cost sectors are represented. With a background as a highly respected development chef and former protégé of Anton Mosimann, Essential Cuisine MD Nigel Crane completes the judging trio.

Nigel says: “In Harry and Graham we truly have two of the industry’s big hitters helping us decide on which brigades deserve to go through as finalists. The choice to have representatives from opposing sides of the industry was a deliberate one – both understand that skills and teamwork are as much alive in the restaurant sector as they are in healthcare, and that while menu constraints may differ, the dedication does not. It’s this ethos that forms the cornerstone of Best Brigades.”

Entries to the competition are still open – all teams have to do is go to, and leave a few details about the personalities, passion and plates of food that make their kitchen operations stand out.

Following the judging of paper submissions, eight brigades will be tasked with bringing their entries to life in the form of a 60-second video. The eventual winners will be decided by way of a public vote.

Alongside the coveted title, a prize of £1000 cash towards a team knees-up plus a bespoke menu development masterclass with a leading UK chef are up for grabs. New for 2017, teams will be able to nominate a charity which will receive 50p for every vote registered.

The seven runners-up will each receive £300. 

Whisks at the ready… Big School Bake Off is back #

Big School Bake Off is back, giving school caterers the opportunity to put their skills to the test on a national stage and the chance to win some fantastic prizes.

Deadline for paper entries is Friday 26 May 2017 and all entries must include at least 50 per cent fruit (half of the total ingredients’ weight) aligning with the School Food Standards in England. From paper entries, an expert judging panel will select 12 finalists – one from each LACA region.

Finalists will then compete in the live final at the LACA Main Event on Thursday 6 July 2017 where one school cook will be crowned 2017 Big School Bake Off champion.

Sarah Levenson, 2016 Big School Bake Off champion and catering manager at Lordsgate Township CofE Primary School, Lancashire, said: “Winning Big School Bake Off has been an incredible experience. Not just for me, but for the whole school, in fact they haven’t stopped talking about it!”

Alex Hall, executive chef at Unilever Food Solutions said: “This competition has got bigger and better every year. It’s a real celebration of the passion and talent of school cooks the country over.”  

All school caterers who enter this year’s competition will receive their very own personalised embroidered apron.

Entries must be submitted online at by Friday 26 May 2017. To enter, simply:

1. Choose your best bake
2. Upload an image of your bake, 50 words about what makes it great, and the recipe (including full ingredients and method for 12 portions)
3. Wait for a reply to see if you’ve been shortlisted

Big School Bake Off is an annual competition run by Unilever Food Solutions and is open to all school caterers across the UK. 

GulfHost: CESA helps UK equipment suppliers reach multi-billion $ market #

£2,500 TAP funding grants available; CESA package makes exhibiting easy and affordable

The GulfHost exhibition will attract 50,000 visitors from the multi-billion dollar Middle East market.  Billed as the ‘new home for foodservice equipment previously located within Gulfood,’ it takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre, 18-20 September 2017, and is part of Dubai Hospitality Week.  CESA is running the UK Pavilion and has put together a GulfHost package designed to make it as easy as possible for British companies to exhibit at the show.  In addition, the Association has secured TAP (Tradeshow Access Programme) funding from the Department for International Trade, which means that grants of £2,500 are available to support up to ten SMEs exhibiting at the show.  

“GulfHost is a great opportunity for UK companies wanting to export to this dynamic, lucrative market,” says Stephen Goodliff, chair of the CESA Export Group.  “It’s a new show and, with Dubai Hospitality Week happening at the same time, it will pull in key buyers from across the Middle East. 

“We are working closely with the organisers to ensure that the show builds on the success of the previous exhibitions in Dubai.”

CESA has put together a brochure detailing its exhibitor package, which is available to download from the ‘events’ section at  For application forms and information about the TAP funding, which is subject to terms and conditions, contact CESA by phone on 0207 793 3030 or by email via  

“Space in the UK Pavilion is limited to 400 square meters and already half of the area has been booked up,” says Stephen.  “Any UK equipment supplier considering exhibiting should contact us right away.”  

Sodexo celebrates International Women’s Day with awards success #

Sodexo brought in International Women’s Day with a successful night at the Northern Power Women Awards.

Christine Williams, HR director, Service Operations, and Jo Manifold, director of learning and development, were inducted into the Northern Power Women Top 50 Future List which recognises the influencers, leaders and change makers of the future who are already making a difference.

FM development manager Jane Farrell won the Transformational Leader award for her gender diversity work in the security industry.

Sodexo’s commitment to gender balance has seen it listed in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women for the last three years.

In November last year Sodexo announced its gender pay gap, one of the first organisations of its size to do so. Sodexo’s gender pay gap of 7.65 per cent is less than half the Office of National Statistics national average (18.1 per cent), and Sodexo is committed to reduce it further.

Sodexo’s global research shows gender balanced management teams outperform those without across a range of business drivers.

Gross profit, employee engagement and client retention were among the indicators where Sodexo management teams with a 40-60 per cent gender split outperformed their less balanced counterparts.

Sodexo’s 2016 Global Diversity and Inclusion Report shows global senior executives are 30 per cent women. Global CEO Michel Landel has set a target to increase that figure to 35 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.

Gender is one of six workstreams to make up Sodexo’s diversity and inclusion strategy, alongside generation, cultures and origins, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability and inclusion.

James Taylor, CEO Healthcare Sodexo UK & Ireland and executive sponsor of the gender workstream, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating International Women’s Day with a very successful night at the Northern Power Women Awards. Congratulations to all my Sodexo colleagues who were recognised at the ceremony.

“Creating an environment where everyone can fully contribute is central to Sodexo’s mission to improve quality of life, and we have worked hard over the last six years to bring greater gender balance to our activity, as evidenced in the UK and Ireland by our gender pay gap. However, this is just the beginning. We need to work hard every day to drive a culture where no matter your background you can enjoy a rewarding career with Sodexo.”

Bidfood walks away with two wins at the first-ever Chefs’ Choice Awards #

Bidfood is celebrating after two fantastic wins at this year’s Chefs’ Choice awards, where the team picked up awards in the Vegetarian Ready Meal Category and the Cakes, Biscuits and Scones Category.

Running for the first time, The Chefs’ Choice awards is a new award scheme set up by market-leading brands The Grocer, The Morning Advertiser, Restaurant, Food Manufacture and MCA supported by William Reed Business Media and in association with Food Innovation Solutions.

The awards – judged by chefs for chefs – aim to shine a spotlight on operators that can demonstrate quality, innovation, creativity, value and great taste delivery in their frozen, fresh, chilled or ambient products.

Bidfood was applauded for its Butternut Squash, Aubergine, Feta and Pomegranate Moussaka in the Vegetarian Ready Meal category and its Premium Spiced Parsnip, Maple and Pecan Cake in the Cakes, Biscuits and Scones Category. They were also recognised for four highly-rated lines within their Own Brand range: Premium Selection Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese & Chutney Bloomer, Premium Selection Five Seed and Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese Bloomer, Premium Selection British Sausage Roll and its Premium Selection Hummingbird Cake

Speaking about the award wins, Gavin Hands, director of B2B at Bidfood said: “We are over the moon to receive these awards.

“Our teams work incredibly hard to develop our own brand ranges, including our award winning Premium Selection range, so that we can offer a wide choice of products that lead in quality and at the same time offer great value for our customers.

“The recognition we have received tonight highlights our determination to develop products that exceed the expectations of our customers.”

Bidfood launched four new own brands in January last year; Premium Selection Everyday Favourites, Essential Supplies, and Farmstead. The Premium Selection brand brings customers the finest quality food using the best ingredients and all of the products within this range are endorsed by the Craft Guild of Chefs for their quality, taste and ease of use.

The awards presentation and dinner took place at the Haymarket Hotel, London on the evening of Tuesday 7 March 2017. 

Gram SUPERIORPLUS K72G voted Most Energy Efficient Product in Europe #

Hoshizaki is delighted to have won a further prestigious accolade - the ProCold ‘Most Energy Efficient Product in Europe’ in the Vertical Chilled Storage Cabinet category.

Adding to a host of awards already achieved by the Superior Plus range since its 2014 launch, Gram’s SUPERIORPLUS K72G is now regarded as the most energy efficient and environmentally sustainable model in its class throughout Europe.

Demonstrating ground breaking innovation and unrivalled efficiency, the SUPERIORPLUS 72 range is the result of extensive research & development, and responds to the market’s needs to meet Europe’s Minimum Energy Performance standards and specifications of the Ecodesign Directive which came into force in 2016.

ProCold is the organisation supported by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation Programme, which aims to champion climate-friendly refrigerants and help hasten the switch to more energy efficient models.

Steve Loughton, Hoshizaki’s director of UK & Ireland, comments; “We have enjoyed exceptional success with our latest Generation 5 technology – the Gram SUPERIORPLUS 72. The launch of the range was our response to the demands of our customers who told us they wanted more energy efficient and sustainable products. The SUPERIORPLUS K72G’s latest award is testament to the ongoing investment, hard work, and dedication of our R & D teams. Our goal is to continue to innovate and drive this market sector.”

The announcement was made at the award ceremony held at Euroshop Show in Düsseldorf, Germany on 7 March 2017.

Extended deadline: Could you be crowned McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year? #

Due to popular demand, Premier Foods is giving school caterers more time to recruit a team of enthusiastic young bakers and enter its third annual McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year competition. The deadline for registration has now been extended by an extra two weeks, until Friday 31 March.

Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods, comments: “We are thrilled this competition has excited caterers for the third year running and it is great to see so many schools keen to get involved. We are extending the deadline for registration to give caterers a little more time to get their teams together and would urge anyone that wants to take part to register now, before it’s too late.”

The new deadline still leaves plenty of time for teams to receive their McDougalls toolkits, within which they will find product samples, application forms and recipe inspiration. The toolkits are designed to assist schools with their entries, giving them the best chance to be crowned champions at this year’s LACA – The Main Event.

To make it to the live final, teams must create one sweet and one savoury recipe, meeting the ‘local ingredient’ theme. The recipes will be judged by a panel of judges including representatives from LACA, the Craft Guild of Chefs and Premier Foods.

To register your interest now, simply log on to our website at and enter your contact details by Friday 31 March. 

Hoshizaki announces new Director, Sales and Chain Accounts #

Hoshizaki UK announces the appointment of Simon Frost CFSP as director, sales and chain accounts. Simon will work closely with Steve Loughton who was recently appointed as director, UK & Ireland.

Simon brings over 30 years of industry knowledge to the Hoshizaki UK team and a significant network of industry contacts with distributors, chain accounts and the cost sector. His experience has been gained from the ground up, starting as a field engineer and then sales roles with a South coast dealer and Falcon Foodservice Equipment where he progressed quickly to the role of national sales manager. Simon was sales director at Manitowoc UK where he gained huge knowledge of International brands and worked with factories in both North America and Europe. He has worked as UK country manager for Wexiodisk who manufacture professional warewashing equipment and latterly, Monika, who major in wireless temperature monitoring equipment for the foodservice industry.

Simon is the immediate past chairman of CESA and notably played an integral role in launching the CFSP scheme in the UK.

With a reputation for driving commercial growth and delivering exemplary customer accountability, Simon will bring additional insight and an in-depth understanding of the equipment marketplace to the role. He also shares Steve’s belief in the power of the Distributor network.

Simon Frost comments: “I have knowledge of and a long standing affiliation with the Hoshizaki brands and the team, and am genuinely thrilled to be taking that relationship to the next level as director, sales and chain accounts. As Hoshizaki and Gram now operate under one united corporate identity and the business continues to scope out its UK growth, I am joining at a time of exciting opportunity. With the support of our experienced field and office teams and an exceptional portfolio of category leading products, I know I can make a significant contribution to the future of the company.”

Steve Loughton comments: “I am personally delighted to welcome Simon to our team. He brings a wealth of relevant experience, which will be invaluable to us as we continue to unify our product catalogues and grow the business.  We also share the same strong values of customer and colleague support, which are vital for success in today’s market." 

Compass Group UK & Ireland launches “blue plates” to help people living with dementia #

The healthcare division of Compass Group UK & Ireland, Medirest, has launched the use of blue plates alongside providing specialised finger-food options, both specifically designed to support people living with dementia.

Last year, Medirest rolled out a Dignified Dining toolkit, in a bid to provide patients in hospitals and care homes with tailored nutritional care. The toolkit, which was put together in consultation with Alzheimer’s Society, outlines ten key nutritional related guidelines, enabling people with dementia to be given more personalised and specialist support in relation to their food provision, an essential part of their care.

Medirest is now introducing the use of blue plates and specific finger-food options, which are being rolled out to 30 hospital Trusts where Medirest delivers the food to patients.

The new range has been introduced to enhance the Dignified Dining toolkit and is in conjunction with Medirest’s Steamplicity range, a unique patented cooking system to steam cook fresh and raw ingredients in under five minutes.

Some people living with dementia experience difficulties with sight and perception and as a result fail to distinguish between their food and crockery. Research shows that the use of a bright, contrasting colour plate helps people see their food more easily and encourages people with dementia to eat more to maintain a balanced diet. In addition to this, the new finger-food options include food which people living with the condition may find easier to eat with their hands, from a range of hot food, salads, sandwiches to healthy dessert options.

Steven Cenci, managing director of Healthcare at Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “The launch of the blue plate range and finger-food menus will go a long way in supporting those living with dementia to remain healthy. Managing the food provision of people with dementia is crucial to their wellbeing and we aim to continue with our work in providing exceptional nutritional care for people affected by the condition through introducing different coloured plates and finger-food options as part of our Steamplicity offer.”

Maxine Cartz, dietitian at Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “People living with dementia often find it difficult to meet their nutritional needs. Our Dignified Dining toolkit provides key guidelines to enable people with the condition to be given specialist support in relation to their food provision. Following on from this, we are now excited to be launching our blue plates range and tailored finger-food menu items as it will provide further support to people affected by dementia when it comes to mealtimes and encouraging them to eat.”

Kathryn Smith, director of operations at Alzheimer’s Society, added: “Eating and drinking can become an issue for people living with dementia and this can lead to severe weight loss and dehydration. The launch of the blue plates will encourage people with dementia who have difficulties with sight and perception to differentiate between their food and crockery. The finger-food menu is a great way to further support their nutritional needs through offering food they find easy to eat with their hands.”

Pret A Manger wins FPA Foodservice Retailer of the Year #

Pret A Manger has won the 2017 Foodservice Packaging Award for Foodservice Retailer of the Year.  The Award was presented at the FPA Awards at The Grand Hotel Brighton on 9 March in front of 450 FPA members and their guests. According to the FPA, competition was tough and shortlisted retailers included  5 guys, Costa, McDonald’s, Patisserie Valerie and Waitrose.   

Executive director of the FPA, Martin Kersh said: “This category indicates the strong relationship our members have with the foodservice retailers and the importance of the foodservice and food to go sectors.   The Award was voted for by FPA members and was sponsored by Deb.” 

Compass also won the 2017 Foodservice Packaging Award for Foodservice Operator of the Year.  According to the FPA, competition was tough and shortlisted companies included Aramark, BaxterStorey, CH&Co Group, Elior, Sodexo.

Martin Kersh said: “This category indicates the strong relationship our members have with the contract caterers and the importance of the foodservice sectors.   The Award was voted for by FPA members and was sponsored by Dart Products Europe.”

CESA tells UK Government: we need trade and we need voice in Europe, post-Brexit #

‘Positive’ meeting at Downing Street outlines catering equipment industry needs to Lord Bridges

CESA met with Lord Bridges at 9 Downing Street to present the catering equipment industry’s position on Brexit.  Lord Bridges is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union.  The meeting lasted 50 minutes and was ‘very positive’, according to Glenn Roberts, chair of CESA.  “The government are keen to engage with our industry, they want to know about the sector and what it needs,” he said. 

Alongside Roberts at the meeting, and representing the catering equipment industry, were Lord Trefgarne, patron of CESA, Keith Warren, director of CESA, and Phil Williams and Richard Cromwell, who are both on the CESA Council. 

During the meeting, the discussions ranged from the big picture – Lord Bridges stated that the government aims to have reached an agreement about our future partnership with the EU by the time the two-year Article 50 process has concluded – to the specific, including the employment needs of the sector and CESA’s request that self-certification should remain in place for UK companies to CE mark equipment (excluding gas equipment).

“Lord Bridges understands that it’s critical that we get clarity on exactly what catering equipment companies will need to do to sell into Europe, post-Brexit,” says Roberts.  “Just as important is the question of how we can influence EU policy if we don’t have a seat at the table.  For example, currently we are involved in the continuing development of MEPS tests, under the Ecodesign Directive.  If we’re not involved, European manufacturers will impose their preferred test standards, without any input from British companies.   We also discussed CESA’s desire for the UK to develop our own policies in these areas, ensuring we are keeping pace with the EU, and the importance CESA places on government prioritising this. 

The meeting follows the Government’s publication of the green paper, Building Our Industrial Strategy.   “CESA is taking the lead in presenting the position of the catering equipment industry to government, following consultation with our members and other trade associations,” says Roberts.  “However, I would urge any catering equipment company or organisation with an interest in trade with Europe to respond to the green paper direct.”  Copies of the green paper area available from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s consultation hub, at  Responses must be submitted by April 17 2017.  

New look retail offer at Dorset County Hospital #

Dorset County Hospital has teamed up with the Healthcare retail business of Compass Group UK & Ireland to extend the retail space and offer at the hospital.

Starting in April, the 10 year partnership will see an investment of £550,000 to extend the main hospital building into an unused courtyard, providing much needed space for visitors, patients and staff. The new retail offer will include a Costa Coffee and an amigo shop, which will incorporate new healthier ranges, and will generate an estimated £1million for the Trust to invest in its services.

Dorset County Hospital, director of strategy and business development Nick Johnson, said: “We are really pleased to welcome Costa Coffee and the amigo shop to our hospital and offer our visitors and staff more choice in food and drinks available on site. The extension will also provide much needed space for seating, where people will be able to relax and enjoy their refreshments.

“This will also generate significant income for the hospital which we will use to further enhance our patient services and facilities.”

Andrew Jones, MD Healthcare Retail, Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “This partnership will see obvious enhancements to the hospital building and will offer improved retail services. We’re confident that this development will improve the experience for everyone visiting the hospital and we look forward to working with the team at Dorset over the years to come.”  

The new Costa Coffee and amigo shop will run alongside The Friends of Dorset County Hospital shop.

Dorset County Hospital was established in 1991 as part of a long–term project to bring together all the local services for acutely ill patients onto one site. The new hospital, just outside Dorchester town centre, was completed in 1997 and was awarded Foundation Trust status in June 2007. The hospital serves a population of around 250,000, living within Weymouth and Portland, West Dorset, North Dorset and Purbeck. 

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland launches unique approach to training #

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland has launched Coffee Works: Measure. Train. Excel – a unique, fresh approach to coffee training to help customers consistently deliver exceptional coffee, regardless of scale.

Through its Coffee Excellence Check, the programme is able to accurately measure performance across individual sites and entire estates, identifying areas for improvement. The output of the check then informs a tailored approach to practical, hands-on training – delivered through interactive courses, supporting materials like handbooks and videos, and continued site visits to ensure standards are consistently high and continuously improved.

Gareth Davies, head of coffee excellence, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland comments: “In an increasingly competitive market, consistency is more important than ever. To achieve it, you need three things – good coffee, good machines and good baristas. Controlling and maintaining your coffee and machines is simple. Ensuring uniform quality across all your baristas is the challenge. That’s why we’ve developed Coffee Works – a tailored, practical and hands-on approach to training that can be delivered at scale, ensuring exceptional coffee, every time.”

Coffee Works training includes three new interactive courses: Becoming a Barista, Journey Through Coffee, Manager Critique, as well as SCA accredited diploma courses.

Coffee Works can be delivered on-site or at UCC's Coffee sites in Milton Keynes, Huddersfield, or Portlaoise (Ireland). To register interest in Coffee Works or book on to a taster course, email 

Ampersand Events adds new Design Museum to its portfolio #

Ampersand Events, CH&Co Group's innovative events and catering business, has been named an approved listed caterer for London’s newest contemporary events space – the Design Museum. 

The Design Museum’s new £83million home on Kensington High Street is an exciting addition to Ampersand Events’ portfolio of unique venues.  It is a stunningly refurbished building offering an inspirational event space, perfect for high-end, conceptual conferences, dinners, receptions and screenings, such as fashion, design and branding launches.

Ampersand Events secured its listed caterer status following a competitive tender in which the team showcased its creativity and event expertise, particularly within museums, and upheld its reputation for great food, impeccable service and strong client relationships.

The team also demonstrated its flair and ability to capture a client’s vision when it was selected to cater for the Design Museum’s official opening party in November 2016, the very first event in the new space.  The party, co-hosted by the Design Museum and Alexandra Shulman, was a stylish, aspirational affair attended by 1200 people, including the crème de la crème of the design and fashion world, and the menu specifically created and served by Ampersand Events portrayed this.

As well as the opening party, Ampersand Events catered for the wrap party for the build project.  Both events were a resounding success and led to the invitation to tender for listed catering status.  Feedback praised the food and creativity of Ampersand Events, as well as the team’s professionalism, skill, flexibility and service that surpassed expectations.

Richard Meyer, group general manager at Ampersand Events, said: "We're thrilled to be named a listed caterer at the Design Museum.  To have London’s latest contemporary event space in our portfolio is incredibly exciting – it’s an exceptional building. It was an honour to cater for the official opening party and to have the excellent opportunity to prove ourselves as innovative and professional caterers and event experts. The feedback from the client and guests was fantastic and I do believe that our success is a result of the team’s flair in creating these outstanding events and forging strong client relationships. The Design Museum really is an inspirational space and we're eager to bring more creative events to life. "

Ampersand Events’ connection with ITA Venues*, CH&Co Group’s specialised venue booking service, also adds real value to the business and its client venues, and is part of the appeal that sets it apart from other event caterers.

Compass Group UK & Ireland chefs shine at Scottish Culinary Championships 2017 #

A number of talented chefs from Compass Group UK & Ireland showcased their cooking skills at the Scottish Culinary Championships 2017, after winning a haul of medals during the competition.

Altogether, 11 Compass chefs, nine of whom come from ESS, the business’ Defence, Government Offshore and Remote division, celebrated after winning 14 awards between them, including: one Gold, six Silver and five Bronze medals, plus a Merit, a ‘Certificate of Participation’, as well as three ‘Best in Class’ recognitions.

Compass chefs, mentored by Graham Singer, food operations manager at ESS, competed alongside chefs from across the industry who participated in various competitions across three categories: Live Theatre, Culinary Art Display and Skills Arena.

The Championship, which aims to showcase the breadth of culinary talent in the Scottish foodservice industry, took place during ScotHot 2017, Scotland’s biggest food, drink, hospitality and tourism trade show, held at the SECC Glasgow between March 15 and 16.

Graham Singer, food operations manager at ESS, said: “I am extremely proud to have led the team, which included three junior chefs, to a successful result. This was a brilliant competition which allowed our chefs to demonstrate the skills and talent we have at Compass. It is an amazing achievement for our team to have come away with an array awards.”

James Larkins, executive chef at Eurest, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, won a Silver and a Bronze medal. He said: “The Scottish Culinary Championships gives our chefs the opportunity to showcase the high culinary standards we have across the business. I am delighted to have been recognised with two medals and thrilled as the team as a whole won a great number of awards across the board.” 

Workplace design failing knowledge workers according to new Sodexo study #

Study of 2,800 knowledge workers reveals crucial factors affecting productivity, employee engagement and talent retention.

A new in-depth study, released today, has revealed the crucial factors affecting productivity, engagement and retention in one of the UK’s biggest and fastest growing employment sectors.

The comprehensive study, ‘Creating a workplace that maximises productivity’ was commissioned by Sodexo, in partnership with Quora Consulting, specifically to look into workplace factors impacting knowledge workers in the UK.

With retention crucial to the success of any organisation the revelation from the study that 67% of knowledge workers stated the reason for leaving their last role was because their workplace was not optimised for them is a wake-up call for organisations not to put cosmetic design over substance.

In terms of engagement just 36% thought that their organisation cared about their wellbeing and little under half (48%) trusted their managers’ to ‘do the right thing’ by them.

Office noise, bad lighting and access to quiet space were all cited as crucial factors affecting productivity, with 69% of knowledge workers stating that their workplace design directly impacted their effectiveness.

In the UK today, knowledge workers represent 60 per cent of the overall labour force and are the single fastest growing segment. The needs and expectations of knowledge workers in relation to their work and working environment are unique and it is essential that organisations reliant on this group consider their unique needs if they are to drive productivity, retention and engagement.

More than half of those questioned (51%) claimed that reducing unnecessary noise was the single most important factor to improving their effectiveness, while a third (35%) of respondents stated that access to quiet space was key to increasing productivity.

Ensuring access to daylight and good lighting was a close second to noise with just under a half of respondents stating that it was a major disruptive factor.

Workplace nutrition was also highlighted as playing a significant role in worker performance, with more than half (53%) of those questioned claiming that quality of food is important, but only a third (37%) felt well catered for by their organisation.

Martin Boden, managing director, UK corporate services for Sodexo said: "This study provides a valuable insight into the barriers affecting the productivity, engagement and retention of employees in the knowledge sector, set within the wider context of a rapidly ageing and retiring workforce, shortage of new talent and the overall need to address gender imbalances across the industry.

"The findings clearly demonstrate that seemingly simple factors are pivotal in workplace design with noise, lighting and nutrition playing a far greater role in impacting productivity than more creative workplace solutions and office perks.

"Sodexo is committed to providing solutions that impact the performance of organisations by making positive impacts to the lives of employees. It is clear that collectively, our industry has to work more closely and collaboratively to meet the needs and expectations of knowledge workers."

More than 2,800 employees in this group were questioned as part of the in-depth study which offers analysis and recommendations on how employers can optimise their organisation to increase productivity, engagement and retention against a backdrop of a rapidly changing nature of work. Interestingly, the need for greater collaboration to drive change to the workplace was cited by two thirds of respondents when asked for their views on productivity.

Angel Delight ignites excitement with new ready to eat pots #

Premier Foods is launching brand new Angel Delight ready-to-eat pots into the foodservice channel, to help operators capitalise on the growing trend for food to go. With customers becoming more time-conscious and looking for convenient options that fit their busy lifestyles, it has created the perfect opportunity to launch the ready-to-eat pots.

Made with fresh milk, no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, the convenient Angel Delight desserts are the first ready-to-eat, aerated, ambient desserts in the market. They offer the delicious taste and bubbly texture that fans associate with Angel Delight and are available in the brand’s classic flavours – Super Strawberry, Bubbly Butterscotch, Banana Bubbles and Chocolate Cloud. The new pots are also ambient, providing the added advantage that caterers are able to store them without having to worry about chilled space in their kitchen.

Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods, comments: “Angel Delight has a special place in people’s hearts and childhood memories, so we are really excited to bring our new, convenient ready-to-eat pots to caterers looking to extend their food on the go offering. They are a quick, easy and portable solution – perfect as a snack for the travel and leisure industries, for busy students looking for a treat in between lectures, as well as workplace catering outlets that want to take advantage of the ‘afternoon treat’ occasion.”

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland and Hotel Chocolat collaborate to offer unique sensory experience #

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland and Hotel Chocolat have joined forces for this year’s London Coffee Festival, marking the highlight of London’s coffee calendar with unique sensory lab sessions to explore what makes coffee and chocolate great.

In the 30-minute sessions, Gayan Munaweera, head of coffee quality at UCC Coffee UK & Ireland and David DeMaison, head chocolatier at Hotel Chocolat, will help visitors discover the stark similarities and differences between coffee and chocolate.

In the hands on session, festival goers will get to pair coffees and chocolates from the same origins as the experts walk them through different flavours and mouthfeels. They’ll learn about how roasting, and chocolate’s delicate ‘conching’ process, can create different flavours from the same raw product. And, having discovered the relationship between coffee and chocolate, guests will leave with a bar of coffee chocolate, created just for the London Coffee Festival and an exclusive pack of Hotel Chocolat’s own coffee beans.

UCC Coffee is also offering coffee lovers the chance to experience coffee like never before in an interactive live cupping and roasting experience.

Gareth Davies, head of coffee excellence, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland will walk visitors through the seed to sip coffee experience. Using the on-stand Ikawa roaster, guests will roast their own specialty coffee beans, cupping at each stage of the roast to explore flavours and aromas, before leaving with a personal pack of coffee, freshly roasted just for them.

In the Hyde Park area of the festival, UCC Coffee is showcasing the latest coffee, equipment, sharing insight and giving visitors the opportunity to taste its new Grand Crü Composition No.2, developed with Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn. The Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II T3 and Appia II will be put through their paces as the team hosts hands on micro-training sessions - busting coffee’s common misconceptions and teaching latte art in three simple steps.

Spaces on the experiences are limited so for more information, or to bag your spot on the cupping and roasting experience, please contact Nicole Hartnell at

London Coffee Festival takes place at Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London from 6-9 April 2017. 

Leading global brands gather in London for the UK’s biggest food and drink event #

As the doors close on the 20th edition of the UK’s biggest food and drink trade show – The International Food & Drink Event (IFE 2017) and the show floor falls silent, the organisers reflect on yet another successful exhibition.

The vibrant four-day show celebrated the latest NPD, newest trends and in-depth insight across the global food and drink landscape. Visiting buyers witnessed huge growth in many trends including the adult soft drink category, as well as an increasing demand for convenient, alternative protein snacks. The two and a half miles of stands showcasing exciting food and drink innovations certainly ensured that everyone left with new found business inspiration.

ExCeL London welcomed thousands of international buyers, suppliers and distributors as IFE 2017 invited the world to London. Buyers came from across the food and drink industry including Tesco, Ocado, Amazon, Sainsbury’s, The National Trust, Bidfood, PepsiCo and Claridge’s who all took time to walk the aisles and sample the latest offerings across a range of categories from confectionery and snacking to meat, seafood and health & wellbeing products. The organisers were delighted that while maintaining the visitor number, there was a significant increase in visitors with purchasing authority, rising from 65% to 78%. While 28% of IFE’s audience had a purchasing authority of more than £500,000 per annum – a whopping 10% increase compared with 2015’s edition. 

International interest from suppliers continued to grow with Denmark, Singapore, Ukraine, Pakistan, Palestine and Tunisia all exhibiting for the first time, bringing the total number of countries exhibiting to over 60. With international suppliers in abundance, the show floor was attended by some of the industry’s most influential international buyers including Carrefour, Aldi and Nandos.
global R&D manager at PepsiCo commented, “IFE has been great to visit. There is a great range of things to see and such a passionate selection of exhibitors sampling and talking about their products. I will be back next year!”

While Frankie Najduck, director at Barbaran Delicatessen commented “Interesting variety of products and always good to network in the food industry with these kinds of reps and suppliers. Have found some good new products for the deli.”

IFE 2017’s inauguration ceremony was led by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), minister George Eustice. Really bringing home the importance of IFE and the UK’s huge food and drink industry he commented, “Food and drink is our most important industry, it’s bigger than aerospace and automotive put together, employing millions and there are many opportunities for us to export to other countries”.

With the UK as Partner Country, IFE 2017 had the backing of two government departments; the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Defra. Partner Country status offered the UK an unrivalled opportunity to showcase the very best of the UK’s food and drink brands to the world’s leading food buyers, producers and investors - truly illustrating that the UK is open for business.

DIT hosted its ‘Exporting is GREAT’ hub, providing in-depth advice to ambitious food and drink producers looking to get their produce overseas. While for the event’s international visitors, the Department for International Trade’s Business Lounge offered opportunities for buyers looking to source and refresh their lines of UK products.

There were more than 30 seminars hosted on IFE 2017’s new Talking Trends stage and Big Picture theatre, led by some of the industry’s leading names including food industry expert, Jane Milton as well as Ben Carter, UK marketing director, Just Eat and Andrew Roberts, commercial director, Bidfood. Covering a diverse range of industry relevant and on-trend topics from the sugar tax to the rise of craft gin and the impact Brexit could have on the UK’s food and drink exports, the industry has been armed with the most up to date knowledge giving them the opportunity to help drive their businesses forward in these challenging times.

The live theatres were a constant hive of activity, including The Staff Canteen Live, which saw a fantastic schedule of renowned chefs including James Golding, group chef director at The Pig Hotel and Kim Woodward, executive chef at Skylon, demonstrate their enviable culinary skills to a knowledgeable and enthusiastic audience.

Celebrating and rewarding industry progression, IFE 2017 hosted the World Food Innovation Awards. Judges considered 265 entries from 29 countries, across 23 categories, and finalists and winners were recognised for their innovation, new flavours, convenience and environmental responsibility. Importantly, entries encompassed categories relevant to all three co-located shows – IFE, Pro2Pac and Waste-Works. The Big Picture theatre also hosted the People’s Choice Quality Food Awards in association with Campden BRI, with a range of retail products put through their paces by 50 consumers before the winners were announced at the show.

IFE also launched its very first experiential Ice Cafe in collaboration with British Frozen Food Federation and the Craft Guild of Chefs and sponsored by Bidfood, helping to highlight the benefits of cooking with frozen food and illustrating how chefs and catering staff can reduce overheads and food waste - all without compromising on taste and quality.

With so many exhibitors showcasing products IFE 2017 worked to minimise food waste across the show by teaming up with City Harvest to collect surplus product and redistribute to organisations that offer meals and food to those who need it the most.

With the most innovative offerings in food and drink, packaging and waste, the co-located IFE, Pro2Pac and Waste-Works events offered the industry solutions to every part of the food chain; from Farm to Fork to Fertiliser and Fuel.

IFE event director, Soraya Gadelrab commented, “IFE is always the culmination of two year’s immense hard work from our sales, marketing and operations teams. We always listen to the feedback from both our exhibitors and visiting buyers and work to raise the IFE bar each time to ensure that everyone leaves feeling that their investment in the show has been a profitable one – whether financial or just in terms of experience and knowledge. This year’s visitor numbers are consistent with 2015 while we had an increased and consistently high calibre of buyers walking the show floor from when the event opened on Sunday morning to when we closed our doors on Wednesday afternoon.

"We have had extraordinarily positive feedback from buyers and suppliers alike and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back in 2019!”