Members’ News

March 2020

William Murray teams up with 23 Digital to keep industry communication flowing #

[24 March 2020] William Murray Communications has teamed up with video agency 23 Digital to keep industry communications flowing during the Government’s lockdown.
Together, the agencies can virtually deliver events, conferences, meetings and tailored personal video messages. Almost all events, conferences and networking events can be taken online.
Anita Murray, CEO of William Murray, says: “Ours is an industry built on relationships and networking. With events being cancelled we need to find new ways to stay connected, generate business and keep the wheels of our industry going. We’ve teamed up with 23 Digital to give you the solutions: a way to take your sales meetings online, talk directly and personally to customers, or press on with events and conferences. Together, we can help you deliver the same great content, just virtually.”
James Beer, co-founder of 23 Digital, says: “We have the technology to live stream your content from anywhere in the world and bring people together, which is more vital now than ever before. We’re happy to offer advice on how to set up a basic webcast, or work with you to run a more complex panel discussion or broadcast. Our aim is to help businesses broadcast their virtual content from home or wherever they may be. Business communication and discussions still need to happen despite the restricted mobility we are now facing. Together with William Murray, we can help you keep your business moving.”
If you want to get your team together, run a sales meeting, address your customers or even run a planned event or conference digitally, give us a call and we’ll do our best to help in line with the Government’s restrictions.
We can advise on what free platforms to use, and how to monetise your stream. Together, we can take the stress out of streaming so you can get on with delivering compelling content to engage your customers and keeping your business going.
For friendly, free advice give us a call on 020 8256 1360.
What’s on offer: taking the day-to-day virtual
Option 1: webcasts
Go live and talk to an unlimited audience via your favourite social platform. We’ll enhance the quality by using HD cameras, lights and audio – all linked up to live streaming hardware. This will add a clean professional look beyond using your regular webcam. 

Option 2: webinars
Turn that conference or event digital. Broadcast a meeting or host a full live discussion with multiple speakers. This is ideal for an audience of up to 1,000+. Speakers can dial in from anywhere in the world and we can manage and facilitate a slick broadcast with interaction, polls, discussion and live, interactive feedback. Content can be downloaded after the event so no one misses out.

Option 3: Pre-recording
Under the current Government guidelines, filming with a crew is not an option, but we can still facilitate a way for you to film professional messages from home. We will offer you a bespoke plan of action, guiding you through how to setup and record from home, before returning professionally edited videos for you to release.
Option 4: bespoke
Tell us what you want to achieve and we’ll work with you to find a solution.

Hospitality Heroes 2020 open for entries #

[10 March 2020] Entries are now open for the 2020 Hospitality Heroes competition, which recognises foodservice and hospitality industry professionals under 35 who go above and beyond their job role, giving something back in their spare time.
Organised by Kraft Heinz in partnership with Arena, this is the second year of the competition. Entrants must work in the hospitality industry and be under the age of 35 on Thursday 1 October 2020. Entrants will win £500 towards a charity of their choice as well as a seat on the Arena committee for 12 months and tickets to its networking events.
Last year’s winner Leo Kattou, head chef of Simpson’s restaurant says: “I'm a huge advocate of what winners can gain from this experience. Encouraging people to give something back by volunteering is a fantastic initiative. If you or someone you know goes that extra mile outside of their day job, then enter.”
Judges will announce a shortlist who will be invited to a drink’s reception at Kraft Heinz offices in The Shard. Three finalists will be invited to the Arena Christmas event in December 2020 where an independent judging panel will announce the winner.
Claire Traynor, head of foodservice Northern Europe, says: “We are delighted to be back with 57 Hospitality Heroes, celebrating the exceptional ‘extracurricular’ contributions being made by young people across the foodservice and hospitality industry. We believe “growing a better world” means working to improve our planet, its people and the communities where we work and live. And that’s why we value this competition and the chance to celebrate the efforts of those making a positive impact.”   

Lorraine Wood, director, Arena says: “This competition is a fantastic opportunity for our industries young professionals to gain recognition whilst enjoying the benefits of networking. Arena are pleased to be collaborating with Kraft Heinz on this wonderful initiative.”
The closing date for entries is 17:00 Tuesday 30 June 2020.
Entries for the 2020 Hospitality Heroes competition should be completed online by visiting 

Délifrance introduces Mini Indulgent Selection of breakfast pastries #

[10 March 2020] Délifrance has introduced its new Mini Indulgent Selection, the perfect viennoiserie assortment to liven up hotel or café menus.

Recent Délifrance research reveals that 86% of hotel customers would be interested in mini size products(1), and the new selection enables operators to quickly respond to this consumer demand.

Combining rich butter pastry and generous fillings and toppings, the high-quality selection includes the mini chocolate bow tie, mini blueberry swirl, and mini mango and passion fruit gem.

Food and breakfast quality are in the top three most important factors for nearly a third of hotel guests, and 78% of consumers would find it more appealing to have more gourmet viennoiserie with original ingredients(2). Délifrance's new assortment of pastries offer variety, authenticity and quality, and are unique in shape and flavour with eye-catching colours and textures.

Stéphanie Brillouet, marketing director for Northern Europe and North America at Délifrance, said: “For hotel guests, luxury and indulgence is the name of the game. Our new Mini Indulgent Selection is particularly attractive for consumers who are looking for original flavours and more variety in a breakfast spread.

“It’s also an effortless way for hotel kitchens to mirror the latest consumer food trends and demands. With chocolate the fastest growing flavour in pastries, and fruit coming in second place(3), we could confidently develop the selection knowing that’s what consumers really want.”

To find out more about Délifrance UK and see its full range of bread, viennoiserie, savoury and pâtisserie products, visit its website at
1 Délifrance Hotel Study, 2019
2 Foodservice Vision study, 2019
3 IRI, 2019

Elior announces four Culinary Competition finalists #

[25 February 2020] Elior UK has revealed the four finalists of its internal 2020 Culinary Competition. Elior chefs Andrew Biggs, Mark Kinzel, Jessica Simpson and Sam Walton wowed the judges with their unique dishes which will be served at Elior UK’s Awards for Excellence in March, with the overall competition winner announced on the day.

Taking place at Unilever’s Chefmanship Centre, the competition final welcomed 10 Elior chefs from across the business and the UK. They were tasked with developing and cooking a two-course ‘celebration lunch’ menu for two covers, plus three canapés.

They were judged by an expert panel including Peter Griffiths MBE (president of the British Federation of Chefs), Martyn Nail (executive chef, Claridges Hotel London), Robin Givens (MD contracts, Elior UK) and Steven Fitzsimmons (executive chef, AJ Bell Stadium).

Jessica Simpson impressed the panel with canapés such as langoustine, spruce butter and caramelised whey, as did Sam Walton with his vegan maple glazed beetroot tarte tatin with cashew nut mousse. Andrew Biggs was awarded for his main course of Goosnargh duck breast and faggot, crown prince squash houmous, harissa spiced chickpeas and scorched little gem. For dessert, Mark Kinzel’s dessert of salted crème caramel, dark chocolate and pistachio mousse, Norfolk honeycomb, blood orange, poppy seed and basil was chosen as the perfect dish to end Elior’s awards dinner.

Peter Joyner, food development director, at Elior UK said: “Congratulations to our four finalists – I hope you enjoy serving up your prized dishes to your colleagues and friends at the Elior awards dinner next month. Also, well done to all competing chefs – it takes dedication and skill to develop and execute your own menus under pressure.

“Our Culinary Competition, amongst other internal contests, is a brilliant opportunity for chefs to boost their careers, get in front of senior members of the team, and learn key skills for the future.”

Elior wins three-year catering contract with Aberdeen Art Gallery #

[10 March 2020] Elior UK has been chosen as Aberdeen Art Gallery’s new catering partner in a three-year contract. Elior will transform the site’s food and drink offering under its new specialist concessions arm, Foodsmiths, with a focus on provenance, craft and quality.
Elior’s passion and dedication to customer experience, quality and craftmanship were winning strengths for Aberdeen Art Gallery. Its development chefs are busy creating unique menus for the site to celebrate the region’s rich cultural heritage and create a stir amongst visitors.
The art gallery’s main café, balcony and hospitality will be transformed as visitors enjoy Elior’s tempting range of cakes, pastries, salads, specialty tea and coffee, and hot dishes using seasonal ingredients. There will also be an afternoon tea offering and a craft baker will be on site, baking delicious breads, cakes and scones.
Kenny Finlayson, managing director at Elior said: “The highly-anticipated re-opening of Aberdeen Art Gallery has created a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm amongst the Elior team. We are honoured to have been selected as the Art Gallery’s catering partner. We look forward to providing a food service that is in complete synergy with the Gallery so that it becomes an important attraction to visitors in its own right. Through our commitment to the key pillars of craft, provenance and quality we will deliver catering that is a key part of the whole enjoyable visitor experience.”
Cllr Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson, said, “The food and drink offer delivered by Elior at Aberdeen Art Gallery will be a perfect complement to the building. It will be a relaxing, modern and contemporary setting for gallery visitors and passersby. With Elior confirmed as our catering partner, we look forward to world class food and service delivery at Aberdeen’s flagship cultural venue.”

Fleet Street Communications announces raft of new hires #

[18 February 2020] Following a year of significant growth, Fleet Street Communications (FSC) has expanded its already established team of PR and communications professionals with the addition of four new members to its offices in London and Birmingham.

Working across the hospitality, leisure, travel and food and beverage sectors, FSC has recruited senior account director Kaye Rawlings, account manager Emily Burnett, senior account executive Jordan Wood and junior account executive Lucy Hatherall.

Having previously worked for FSC back in 2011 when the agency first opened its doors, Kaye has returned to the London team as a senior account director. Kaye brings with her an abundance of industry knowledge following a career working for agencies in both Dubai and London over the last 10 years in the drinks trade and consumer lifestyle sectors.

A new addition to the Birmingham office, Emily completed an apprenticeship in marketing before working for the past seven years both agency and client side, with a particular focus on public relations, copywriting and digital marketing within the hospitality, leisure, medical, and automotive industries.

Jordan has joined the London team after three and a half years specialising in the travel, aviation and transport technology sectors. Jordan brings with him experience working with various industry leaders in business and general aviation, providing consultancy, media relations and quality written content.

With a background working within the hospitality sector and having completed the Leith’s School of Food and Wine Cookery Course, Lucy joins the London team in the role of junior account executive.

Commenting on the appointments – on the back of recent expansion and client wins – managing director Mark Stretton, said: “We’re extremely proud of the team we’ve managed to build at FSC. We pride ourselves on hiring the best talent who not only have great experience and knowledge of the sectors in which we work, but are also passionate about delivering the best possible results for our clients. We’re delighted with our new additions, who have joined a brilliant, skilled and dedicated team, and we’re looking forward to further continued growth in 2020.”

The new additions to the FSC team will work across the agency’s stellar line-up of clients, which includes Asahi, Diageo, Expedia, Ei Group, Sky, Hawthorn Leisure, Puttshack, Treasury Wine Estates, Parkdean Resorts, and new business win, Hildon Natural Mineral Water.

Top tips to staying compliant for foodservice & hospitality operators #

[4 March 2020] With the news that 70% of hospitality workers report lacking confidence on allergen procedures, it’s time for foodservice and hospitality operators to take a deep dive into their risk management procedures to review how safety checks are implemented at site level. Malcolm Muir, consultancy director at Venners, offers his top tips for foodservice and hospitality operators on staying within the law to ensure customers receive the safest dining experience.
Compliance must go to the top of the training agenda
Given the worrying statistics suggesting the majority of hospitality staff lack confidence on allergen procedures, training has to become a natural prerequisite across the industry. Tell your teams about allergens – this may sound obvious, but you’ll be amazed how many foodservice and hospitality operators don’t.
Empower your teams to take ownership
A key priority for every operator must be to explain and ensure teams understand the consequences of not following what may seem to them a simple and unimportant operational procedure. Empower them to take ownership and responsibility, because if they don’t, the worst-case scenario with a breakdown of the system, could lead to a needless fatality.
Beware! Protect all the links in the compliance chain
The effect of just one person not being trained to the same level as existing employees, will eventually mean the original control procedures put in place will fail. Foodservice and hospitality operators need to beware, because once a single link is broken, the rest of the compliance chain can become useless.
Check, review and check again
Foodservice and hospitality operators need to be carrying out weekly checks to ensure staff are continuously up-to-date on compliance procedures. Every member of the team must remain aware and focussed on the delivery of procedures. Ongoing checklists are a useful tool, but these must be treated as a thorough check, not just a tick-list.
Look at your business through the eyes of your customers
It’s imperative for foodservice and hospitality operators to step outside the business and look back in from a customer perspective. Often it is difficult for both to disengage from their expectations of procedures, so I’d advise getting a specialist company to carry this out.
Scores on the doors
According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), food hygiene ratings influence 72% of consumers in their decision to dine with an operator. It is therefore vital to have stringent processes in place for the hygienic handling of food, cleanliness and condition of facilities and building, together with the hygienic management of food safety.
Ensure expert risk management is in place
Deciding who is responsible for compliance management is vital. We’re seeing a trend towards foodservice and hospitality operators appointing a risk manager to cover various compliance elements across the business. However, problems can arise – for example, financial risk is totally different to food safety risk, so the skills and expertise to manage both may not be available in-house.  
Watch all branches of the brand
Franchising has grown to be a significant force in the UK economy. However, it’s important for operators with a franchise business model to ensure that not only do franchisees stay on-message with the brand, but also adhere to parent company principles when it comes to food safety – something which is not easy to regulate. Remember, one break in the compliance chain can lead to a collapse in remaining procedures, making it difficult to recover from reputational damage.
Foodservice and Hospitality operators looking for further assistance with compliance should visit

Bisto Gluten Free now suitable for vegans #

[5 March 2020] Premier Foodservice’s much-loved Bisto brand has had its Gluten Free Gravy certified as suitable for vegans. The ‘nation’s favourite gravy’[1] now caters for both vegans and vegetarians, all whilst maintaining the great taste of Bisto. Available in 1.9kg packs, the launch brings an exciting vegan addition for caterers’ menus, allowing them to make up to 27 litres per pack.
Bisto Gluten Free has zero allergens to declare, with the further benefit of no added MSG. This helps outlets of all sizes ensure they are compliant with government guidelines.
Holly Marrero Easson, innovation manager, at Premier Foods, comments: “We’ve had some great initial feedback around the delicious taste of Bisto Gluten Free. People love the fact that it’s now suitable for vegans, as well as remaining gluten-free. Caterers are facing increasing pressure to develop menus which cater for all dietary requirements and allergens, and this product delivers an all-in-one solution, not to mention the great taste which consumers and know and love and quick preparation time for caterers across all menus in pubs and schools alike. Whether in a roast dinner or in a hotpot, gravy is a staple on menus across the UK and it’s brilliant that Bisto can now be accessed by everyone.”
Bisto Gluten-Free Gravy Granules are available now in 1.9kg packs.

[1] IRI Data, 52 week, ending 25th Jan 20

Nisbets switch to Paper Wrapping #

[19 February 2020] Central Mailing Services announced that Nisbets has made the switch to Paper Wrapping.
By switching their Monthly catalogue mailings from Polythene to Paper wrapping, Nisbets will save on their UK postage cost, as well as significantly reduce their polythene usage.

As part of Nisbets’ efforts to reduce plastic in their business, their marketing team had been investigating alternatives to the Polywrapping.

Increasing sustainability and reducing environmental impact are a key goal for both firms. Central Mailing Services have worked tirelessly to ensure that, as a business, they offer as green and ecologically responsible solutions as possible. All paper wrap is FSC accredited and all the printed reels are produced using organically produced inks.

Central Mailing Services are an existing supplier to Nisbets, and have been in discussions with their marketing team since it was announced that CMS had purchased their new CMC paper wrap line in July.

The CMC One, built to spec for CMS, is capable of 20,000 packs/hr with an ability to cope with varying pack sizes from 100x120mm up to 300x420mm and up to 30mm thick – 10mm thicker than the standard One.

It will run an inline Inkjeting for personalisation, as well as bulk loader, shuttle feeder, rotary feeders, stream feeder, five-way camera match, rotary cutter and extraction, an unwinder for 1.2m reels and a Mailsort kicker. It has the ability to enclose up to 10 inserts in A5 packs and up to six in C4+ packs, cycling at speeds up to 18,000 per hour.

Using printed reels with full bleed to the edge coverage, the mail pack will have the full colour impact of the existing polythene wrapped mail pack, while allowing Nisbets to gain greater value from their postage spend by now using a mailmark service.

Unlike a lot of paper wrapping machines, the CMC one will chip away the bleed on a printer paper wrapped pack, ensuring that the artwork offers complete coverage instead of a white border on the mail pack.

This ability was a winning factor for the Nisbets marketing team. It was vital that key messages are still visible and had impact.

Certainly, it represents a big change for Nisbets and their marketing team. A lot of work between the two firms has cemented an already close relationship, and both parties are very excited about the future and further opportunities to look at other marketing campaigns too.

The first packs were sent out in early January 2020.

​Compass Group UK Celebrate Remarkable Fifth Place World Ranking and Gold at 2020 Culinary Olympics #

[2 March 2020] Compass Group UK hold their chef hats aloft in celebration as they finish fifth in the world, for Regional Teams, and win an impressive gold medal in the Regional Team Buffet Culinary Arts. The successful team of 17 Compass chefs, from across the business, out-cooked 26 other teams to claim fifth place, in what was a highly competitive year at the 2020 Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart.

Led by Team Coach and Culinary Director for Compass Scotland, Graham Singer, Compass wowed the judges with an impressive display in the Regional Culinary Arts Buffet competition. Showcasing their top talent, the best local produce from the UK – West Coast Langoustines, supplied by the Amity Fish Company;   Tenderloin of Suffolk Pork supplied by the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board – and an awe-inspiring chocolate centrepiece, which was masterminded by Team Artist, Terry Greenhouse of Levy UK, it was no great surprise that this tremendous display took home gold.

The team created a Finger Food Menu, Platter, Five-Course Fine-Dining Gastronomic Menu, Plated Starters, Individual Plated Desserts and Petits Fours. The foraged inspired ‘Some Call Me Nature’ display encapsulated the beauty and strength of nature and its plight. Stand-out dishes such as: Hebridean Cold Smoked & Cured Scottish Salmon, Chalk Stream Trout Galette with Dill & Horseradish Mousse, Jerusalem Artichoke Solferino & Crisp, Sea Fennel & Parsley Stalk Salad with an Antsina Vinaigrette stole the show.

18 months in the making, the menu won over the judges and the way the Compass team portrayed the environmental issues facing the planet drew some notable comments from the judging team: “It was inspirational to see a team truly embrace what is currently going on in the world and its importance” and “I have judged all over the world and I have never seen anyone present a Buffet concept like this, the team really have a great understand of what is currently happening to our planet and how looking after what nature provides is so important.”  

Compass also received a well-earned Merit in the Community Catering Restaurant Hot Kitchen, where they debuted in this category and gained some important experience to take into future competitions.  

Robin Mills, MD, Compass Group UK & Ireland said of the teams: “We’re incredibly proud of what our Compass chefs have achieved at the Culinary Olympics this year. The judges’ comments from the Regional Culinary Arts Cold Buffet were very complimentary and with all the work we do as a business around the environment, it is fantastic to see this being reflected in our competition work.

“To mastermind such a display and be recognised on the international stage to secure a gold and top five position in the world, is an outstanding achievement. As a people-focused company, I hope this result inspires many of our chefs, who are the heart of our business and these results highlight the exceptional culinary skills of our brigades.”

Team coach, Graham Singer, culinary director for Compass Scotland added: “The success of the Compass UK culinary team at the 25th Culinary Olympics came from the passion, drive and commitment of each and every team member. It has been truly amazing to be a part of this team, who have achieved so much in such a short space of time. Coming together as a team was the beginning and working in perfect harmony is how we delivered so much success. We’ve accomplished so much more than I could ever have been imagined. This team were so proud to represent Compass UK.”

Compass bolsters UK & Ireland executive team #

[17 February 2020] Compass Group UK & Ireland has bolstered its Executive team with a number of key appointments.

Joining the UK & Executive team as Chief Marketing Officer is Ian Cranna. Ian joins the business from Starbucks and has over 25 years’ experience working for major retail and food and beverage brands.  As Compass sharpens its focus on how it can utilise its scale and breadth to enhance the health and wellbeing of the millions of customers it serves every day, Ian’s knowledge and understanding of the changing consumer landscape, combined with his personal passion for making a difference through sustainable food and nutrition will be invaluable.

Charlie Brown has been appointed Managing Director of Chartwells, the company’s education business, following the departure of Richard Taylor at the end of January. As a father of young children, Charlie is passionate about serving nutritious food and ensuring school children are educated about the benefits of food and how it can fuel inquisitive minds. Most recently Compass UK’s Transformation Director, Charlie has held senior operational roles across a number of Compass sectors including Chartwells and was Managing Director for its Government Services and 14Forty businesses. Prior to joining Compass, Charlie was at Whitbread for 10 years and his extensive experience means he is perfectly placed to build on the success of Chartwells.

Also joining the UK & Ireland Executive team as Finance Director is Sarah Sergeant. Sarah takes over from Kate Dunham, interim Finance Director and has been in the Compass family for over 12 years, most recently as Financial Controller for Compass Group Plc. Prior to this Sarah worked as the company’s Chief Financial Officer for Asia Pacific. Sarah has a strong finance background having spent the first nine years of her career at Price Waterhouse Cooper.

Commenting on the appointments Robin Mills, managing director of Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “Compass’ key strength is its brilliant people and I’m delighted to welcome Ian to the Compass family and congratulate Charlie and Sarah on their appointments. We have an exciting year ahead of us and these new appointments will be integral as we drive Compass forward on its growth journey and shape our future business strategy.”

Highbury College and Compass Cook Up an Exciting Partnership to Encourage Apprenticeships #

[6 February 2020] Compass Group UK & Ireland is proud to be industry leaders in the recruitment of young and upcoming culinary talent. Amongst the variety of approaches to encourage young people into apprenticeships, the recently re-launched Compass-created Junior Chef Academy – an introduction to catering, aimed at aspiring chefs aged 14 to 16 years – is the perfect stepping stone to becoming an apprentice.

Compass has set up its new Junior Chef Academy in collaboration with established partner Highbury College, Portsmouth, who specialise in vocational learning. The after-school course will run for 10 weeks, spanning March to May, during which time the selected student cohort will be taught a variety of dishes and skills, including vegetable and fish preparation, meat masterclasses and more; this will all be underpinned by training in food preparation safety.

Calling upon its chef experts, Compass Group UK & Ireland has introduced sessions with Women in Food ambassador and lead development chef, Leanne Turk; and Robert Brown who is Head of Menu, Recipe & Ingredients Management Team. 

Paula Tegerdine, catering apprenticeship trainer, Highbury College said: “The free Junior Chef Academy is a great after-school activity. Students will not only gain a lot of confidence on the course, they’ll also be having loads of fun while learning a new skillset in professional cookery, alongside gaining a preview of how their life could look if they were to progress into an apprenticeship. I’m really looking forward to welcoming this year’s students.”

The programme goes beyond equipping students with culinary skills, and instead empowers them to cook, eat healthily, and consider their future career prospects more deeply, a task which can often be daunting during teenage years. The 40 hours of learning time culminates in an exciting graduation meal prepared by the students, serving up dishes that allow their newly taught skills to be put into practice so they can dazzle their friends and families!

Jonathan Foot, head of apprenticeships and early careers, Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “We are thrilled to be elevating our affiliation with Highbury College, and they are ideal partners for the Junior Chef Academy due to the range of successful apprenticeships they have on offer. We passionately believe in helping support the skills development of enthusiastic students who are aspiring to become the future new talent within the hospitality sector.”

Speaking of their apprenticeships, Craig Mincher, director of employer & commercial services, Highbury College commented: “Highbury College has a long history of teaching the nation’s next top culinary talents. Our chefs have gone on to work all over the world in renowned restaurants. We’re proudly supporting Compass Group UK & Ireland in upskilling their staff while at the same time helping aspiring chefs take their next steps in the industry.”

New appointment and coffee specialist awarded prestigious Q Grade Award at UCC Coffee UK & Ireland #

[16 March 2020] Katherine McCarthy, coffee specialist at UCC Coffee UK & Ireland has been re-awarded one of the coffee industry’s highest accolades, Q Grader status following a two-year break from the coffee industry.
Previously achieving Q-Grader status in 2014, Katherine passed the challenging Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) course for the second time positioning her among the leading coffee specialists in the world, with less than 100 making the grade in the UK.
To qualify as a Q Grader, means completing an intense six-day course, including three days of exams, sensory triangulation (selecting the odd one out based on coffee origin), coffee cupping (to grade the coffees) and green grading (ascertaining defects in green beans).
The news follows further expansion to UCC Coffee’s quality team, with the appointment of Peter Wolthuizen as senior product developer and blender. Peter, who has been part of the coffee team at UCC Coffee BENELUX for over 30 years, has been appointed to take on responsibility for coffee quality and blending across UCC Coffee’s Northern Region including roasteries in Dartford and Bolsward, The Netherlands. 
Elaine Swift, regional director (North), UCC Coffee comments: “Our team is the best in the industry, and they are at the very heart of our success. Katherine’s achievement not only reflects her passion for coffee but further cements her coffee credentials. She’s a real asset to the UCC team and her Q Grader status demonstrates our dedication to recognising quality coffee and delivering an exceptional customer experience.
“We’re also delighted to announce an expansion of our coffee quality team. Peter, comes with a wealth of unrivalled experience and expertise and we’re delighted to have him on board as we continuously work to develop our total coffee solution.”

Perking up coffee sales this spring #

[6 February 2020] Lyons is unveiling an all-new portfolio this spring, comprising a bold look that’s complemented by additional blends and formats. Available to all out of home and foodservice operators from the 1st March, the range offers the brands’ best-ever coffee beans and coffee bags that’ll ensure customers keep coming back for more.
The all-new line-up includes eye-catching illustrations and light-hearted blend names that tell the story of Lyons’ flamboyant heritage. Two new variants, Perkadilly and Rockadero, offer further choice of flavour and strength to suit all palettes. In addition, its best-selling No.3 blend has been renamed Go-Joe - a nod to its founder Sir Joseph Lyons - and Decaf is now Decaf Dreams. Lyons is also relaunching with fully recyclable packaging[1] on its coffee bags. 
To further boost awareness of the new-look range, Lyons is investing in a targeted media, social, digital, OOH and print campaign, also live from the 1 March. A suite of branded point of sale materials is available to further support sales.

Marcus Swift, commercial director, UCC Coffee UK and Ireland said: “We know today’s coffee consumer desires more than just a caffeine fix, they want full-bodied flavours and formats to suit their needs. Our refreshed range certainly delivers this, and we’re excited to unveil it in outlets across the UK.
“With sustainability becoming more and more important in customers’ purchase decisions, we’re also pleased to now offer fully compostable coffee bags. It’s set to be a great year for Lyons and we’re confident we’ll bring growth to the Roast & Ground coffee category with our new and improved range.”  
Lyons is working towards a sustainable future alongside TIPA. All of Lyons’ coffee bags and sachets are certified as fully industrially compostable and if local recycling allows, the packaging can be added to food recycling or green waste bins. 
[1] The outer box is recyclable, and the coffee bags and sachets are fully industrially compostable where local collections allow

The Hub welcomes Lactalis Professional back on board #

[12 March 2020] The Hub is delighted to be appointed by Lactalis Professional UK and Ireland, one of the world’s leading cheese manufacturer as their UK and Ireland retained trade communications partner.
The Lactalis Professional UK and Ireland product range includes market leading cheese and meat brands; Président Professionel, Galbani Professionale, Cricket St Thomas, Seriously Strong, Galloway, Orkney Cheddar and Société.

Further to a competitive pitch process, The Hub has been instructed to develop and implement an engaging foodservice communications strategy for the brand, encompassing trade and customer marketing, content creation, public relations and social media.
Heloise Le Norcy-Trott, marketing director, Lactalis UK and Ireland comments; “We are delighted to be working with The Hub once again to reaffirm our position as the leading provider of cheese and dairy products to the UK and Ireland foodservice sector through our “Smarter Dairy Solution” strategy.
“There’s a great deal of excitement across the team about working in partnership with The Hub, to collaboratively deliver a strategic programme of support and inspiration to our customers and end-users, which will further increase our brand awareness, and communicate the versatility, quality and value-add that the Lactalis UK and Ireland portfolio of brands delivers.”
Rebecca Riches, founder and MD of The Hub comments; “Lactalis Professional, with its extensive and renowned brands, is perfectly placed alongside our roster of industry leading clients operating both within foodservice and retail environments - it’s really gratifying to have a previous client come back to the agency. We are very thrilled to be supporting such a professional and passionate client team, with their future growth ambitions.”

Fruit Shoot launches £1m myth-busting media campaign #

[4 March 2020] Robinsons Fruit Shoot has launched a £1m media campaign to educate parents and health conscious consumers alike on the positive credentials the product boasts. The campaign tackles misconceptions about of the quantity of sugar and artificial ingredients in children’s soft drinks and reveals the truth about Robinsons Fruit Shoot.
The eye-catching creative will be visible across traditional channels including national OOH, digital, and cinema advertisement in addition to a targeted radio campaign. The activity will be upweighted during the second largest kids’ drinks trading period – the Easter school holidays[1] - when the target audience will most likely engage with the messaging.
With no added sugar and containing real fruit, Fruit Shoot believes that clearer communication around these statements will positively affect intent to purchase and the brand perception.
Fruit Shoot continues to see growth within the market, seeing a +2.9% increase in sales in the last 12 weeks, vs. a -3.1% decline across the category[2]. The brand hopes the campaign will positively influence shoppers and propel the growth of the category as a whole.

[1] Nielsen Scantrack, Total Coverage, Kids Soft Drinks, Value Sales, w/e 05.01.19 -04.01.20
[2] Nielsen Scantrack, Total Coverage, Kids Soft Drinks, Value % chg. vs YA, 12w/e 25.01.20.

Britvic announces first sustainability-linked financing deal #

[17 February 2020] Britvic has agreed its first sustainability-linked credit facility, allowing it to borrow up to £400 million over the next five years whilst linking the margin of the facility to its sustainability goals.
The five-year facility, which can be extended by a further two years, was co-ordinated by Rabobank and has been provided by a group of seven lenders. The facility is linked to the progress Britvic makes against three sustainability targets. The better Britvic performs against these targets, the further the margin will reduce.
Britvic has committed to reaching these targets by 2025 under the terms of its sustainable business strategy.
Britvic’s sustainability targets include:
- 50% of all plastic bottles in Great Britain and Ireland to be made of recycled plastic (rPET)
- 50% reduction in carbon emissions (when compared to 2017)
- 75% of the drinks portfolio globally to be either low or no sugar 

In what is one of the first agreements of its kind in the UK, Britvic or the lenders will donate the proceeds from any change in margin to charitable causes.(1)
Sarah Webster, sustainability director at Britvic, said: “This financing agreement is part of our commitment to embed sustainability at the heart of our business and drive real behaviour change.
“We’ve made progress against our sustainability ambitions, however there’s more to do and this is a significant commercial milestone in our journey. By linking financing to our goals, we can ensure that every penny we invest is done so with our sustainability targets in mind.”
Alastair Cameron, from Rabobank’s London-based loan syndications team, said: “Sustainability-linked financing has been a growing trend for several years but this facility, which will see Britvic donate the discount proceeds to charity, is one of the first of its kind in the UK market.
“Sustainability was the key theme of last year and it will continue to dominate the agenda in 2020. Linking funding to metrics like developing a healthier product portfolio and recycling more plastic packaging is one way corporates like Britvic can continue to show leadership to make business more responsible and sustainable.”
This credit facility represents a significant step forward on Britvic’s journey to operate as a fully sustainable business.  As a founding signatory of The UK Plastics Pact in 2018, Britvic committed to strict targets which aim to transform the plastic packaging system in the UK and keep plastic in the economy and out of the environment. Already, all Britvic’s plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans are 100% recyclable.
As well as ensuring Britvic’s packaging is recyclable, Britvic is investing in the recycling infrastructure needed in the UK. Each year, Britvic invests £850,000 in UK recycling infrastructure through its 2018 commitment to only purchase domestic Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) from UK recyclers. More recently, Britvic entered into a long-term agreement with Esterform Packaging Limited for the supply of recycled plastic (rPET), providing £5 million worth of investment towards the construction of a new rPET facility in North Yorkshire.
The business has also announced targets to reduce its carbon emissions and keep the global temperature rise to within 1.5°c. These targets were independently verified by the Science Based Target initiative. The targets follow an announcement in October 2018 to run all Britvic’s GB manufacturing sites on 100% renewable electricity.
As part of Britvic’s long-term commitment to health, 99% of its GB owned brand portfolio, which includes Fruit Shoot, Robinsons, J2O and Tango, is low or no sugar.
Britvic was advised by KPMG on this facility. Rabobank acted as sustainability co-ordinator, documentation agent, facility agent and mandated lead arranger on this facility.

1 If Britvic meets two or three of its sustainability targets the margin will decrease and Britvic will pay any saving to charity. If Britvic meets one target the margin will remain unchanged. If Britvic fails to meet any of the three sustainability targets the margin will increase and the lenders will pay the difference to charity.

Southampton Football Club partners with Gather & Gather #

[4 March 2020] Southampton Football Club is pleased to announce it has reached an agreement in principle with Gather & Gather to enter into a new catering and events partnership.

Gather & Gather, which launched in 2013, is part of CH&CO, a specialist catering and hospitality company that holds a Royal Warrant for the provision of catering services to Her Majesty The Queen and works with prestigious clients, including Historic Royal Palaces and Kew Gardens.

The partnership is due to begin from 1st July. Gather & Gather will provide catering and events services across the club’s sites; from food and drink concepts and service in both the concourses and hospitality suites on matchdays, to conferences and events at St Mary’s on non-matchdays, as well as catering for the club’s players and staff.

Gather & Gather, which has extensive experience of catering for large-scale outdoor events, will also work closely with Southampton to identify additional ways to enhance the experience for supporters at the club’s games and for clients who visit the stadium for conferences and other functions.

Southampton Football Club’s chief commercial officer, David Thomas, said: “We conducted an in-depth and lengthy selection process as we looked at a new catering and events partnership, and it was Gather & Gather that emerged as the standout choice for us.

“It is not only a dynamic and agile brand, with a reputation for providing a first-rate service, but one that shares many key values with us, from its desire to challenge the status quo, to how it places innovation and people at the heart of everything it does.

“We are delighted to be working with such a fresh and exciting company, and we are looking forward to collaborating with them on enhancing an experience we are already proud of for both our fans and our clients.”

Rob Fredrickson, managing director, Gather & Gather UK, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Southampton Football Club. Putting brilliant food and drink experiences at the heart of every visit to the club was a consistent theme throughout the process, and we’re excited to be working with a forward-thinking partner that shares that aspiration. There was an immediate connection as we talked through our proposals with David and his team, with our vision, values and approach closely aligned.

“Together we will make a tangible difference to not only the matchday and non-matchday experience, but, through our work with Saints Foundation, to the lives of the people and communities connected to the club.”

CH&CO launches The Education Board by CH&CO #

[2 March 2020] CH&CO launched The Education Board by CH&CO to address and take action around the prominent issues of physical and mental health and sustainability through food and nutrition.

It brings foodservice, independent schools, state schools and the third sector together to challenge the role of food in schools and lead the conversation on the intrinsic link between nutrition and wellbeing.

CH&CO created The Education Board to help facilitate partnerships and interactions between independent and state schools and the third sector. The beneficial connections will provide a strong platform to share knowledge, best practice and facilities relating to food, nutrition and sustainability, and to create positive food messaging with young people throughout all stages of education and into society.

It also champions the diverse and exciting career opportunities the hospitality industry offers.

The Board is a collaboration of foodservice, nutrition, education, healthcare and sustainability experts who believe that creating good relationships with food in young people through education will have a positive impact on their wellbeing and those of future generations, and on the planet. It’s also supported by The Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit academic medical centre, which supports the initiative as creating a healthier nation will reduce the pressure on the healthcare sector.

Nourishment & Beyond Event
The Education Board by CH&CO launched with a Nourishment & Beyond Conference, held at Westminster Kingsway College. Attendees from across the education sector enjoyed a programme of relevant and inspiring speakers that supported the vision and objectives of the Education Board by CH&CO, which were introduced by Deborah Homshaw, Managing Director Education and Healthcare, CH&CO and John Pratten, Chair of The Education Board by CH&CO and former Bursar of Box Hill School and past Chair of the Independent Schools Bursars’ Association (ISBA).

Keynote speaker Professor Tanya Byron gave a fascinating presentation on ‘Emotional Nourishment: wellbeing and food’; renowned chef Raymond Blanc OBE made the link between good food and sustainability with ‘Smart food is nourishing food: provenance, sustainability and zero waste’; Tim Baker, Head Teacher at Charlton Manor Primary School, London, discussed his successful approach of ‘Teaching the national curriculum through food’; CH&CO’s consultant nutritionist Amanda Ursell shared her nutrition expertise; and Juliane Albrecht, Head of Patient Support Services at The Cleveland Clinic explored ‘Linking healthcare and service careers through food’.

Lunch also offered a real taste of the vision with interactive pop-ups showcasing how food can engage and excite, whilst delivering important, positive food and sustainability messages. For example, zero waste street food dishes featured ingredients usually thrown away; ‘smart bowl food’, created by CH&CO chefs and Westminster Kingsway College students, offered clever seasonal dishes that can be adapted to use produce in season all year round; the cookery teacher and students from Charlton Manor Primary School demonstrated mini anatomy and science lessons using food to teach the national curriculum; and the emotional nourishment menu showed the power of food in evoking memories and emotions.

Vision into action
The first initiatives that put The Education Board’s vision into practice were also unveiled and will launch in September. This includes accredited, age appropriate food and nutrition courses, which are being developed in partnership with Westminster Kingsway College and will be delivered by CH&CO chefs and nutritionists. They will bring students together from across the education sectors to learn about good food and nutrition in a fun, interactive and tangible way.

The Education Board Chef Competition was also introduced, which will see teams featuring students from each sector plus a mentor chef compete in their relevant age category.

Deborah Homshaw said: “I’m incredibly excited and proud of what we’ve created. As experts within foodservice we have a responsibility and the capability of forging really positive messaging, relationships and action with people within all the different parts of the education sector focusing on the powerful benefits of intrinsically nutritious food. The Education Board by CH&CO is the result of that vision and it’s gaining momentum.

“We’re challenging the status quo.  For many years, society has, unintentionally, created bad relationships with food by focusing on negative messages, state and independent schools have worked separately and the clear impact of food and nutrition on physical and mental wellbeing and academic and sporting performance has been, on the whole, ignored.  We’re turning this on its head. By bringing everyone together, we’re delivering positive messages around food, making it fun for our children and investing in practical solutions that put food and nutrition at the centre of conversations. This is how we empower young people to make good choices today and into the future, and that’s the right thing to do.

“We’re also working with schools and colleges to champion the fantastic career opportunities within hospitality. From chefs and front-of-house teams to accountants, lawyers, marketeers and HR professionals, our industry offers diverse career paths and excellent development pathways.”

John Pratten said: “Partnerships between independent and state schools are not new and we hope by adding this nutritional dimension as well as career pathways into the hospitality and healthcare sectors that we can extend these excellent relationships even further. It’s important that we address the primacy of nutrition on mental, as well as physical, wellbeing. The impact of food and nutrition applies to us all, regardless of background, so it makes sense that all parts of the education sector should share their knowledge, skills and facilities to ensure young people are given the right information, in a fun and tangible way, so that they can embrace and enjoy nutritious food that fuels their wellbeing.

“The response we’ve had from the schools we’re talking to has been very positive. They get what we’re doing and want to be part of it. We’re also listening to the children. We link a lot of our messaging to sustainability and the environment as they can relate to this. Children have shown us how interested and motivated they are, and food is no exception.”

Board members include Deborah Homshaw, Managing Director Education & Healthcare, CH&CO; Amanda Ursell, Consultant Nutritionist, CH&CO; John Pratten (Chair), Former Bursar of Box Hill School and past Chair of the ISBA; Tim Baker, Head Teacher, Chartwell Manor Primary School; Garry Ratcliffe, CEO, The Galaxy Trust; Louisa Vicaria, HE Programme Area Leader – Culinary Arts & Culinary Health and Nutrition, Westminster Kingsway College; Juliane Albrecht, Head of Patient Support Services, The Cleveland Clinic, as well as a strong support team from CH&CO.

CH&CO and Vacherin join forces #

[Friday 28 February 2020] In a joint statement, independent caterer and Royal Warrant holding company, CH&CO, and boutique caterer, Vacherin, have announced that Vacherin has joined the CH&CO family of catering businesses.  Vacherin, based in London’s Hatton Garden area, has a turnover of £30m and 45 operations across London working with a broad range of discerning clients and providing hospitality catering and reception services at the highest level.

Vacherin was founded in 2002 by Mark Philpott and Clive Hetherington and they were joined in 2006 by Phil Roker, who became Managing Director of the business in 2016.  Vacherin has enjoyed consistent organic growth and award-winning performance over the years and has a strong food and sustainability culture with the service offer being completely tailored and focussed on their clients’ business requirements.

All three owners will continue to be involved in the business and retain a financial interest.  Phil Roker will continue as Managing Director and clients will still be working with the same team.

Mark Philpott, chairman of Vacherin, commented: “We’ve been impressed by the way other organisations have transitioned into the CH&CO family, which now has an established model of successfully bringing together businesses with similar cultures and strategies. This deal sets Vacherin up perfectly for further growth and as part of a larger organisation, our team will also have access to more and wider opportunities for development and career progression.”
Clive Hetherington, Vacherin’s executive finance director, added: “Now as part of CH&CO, Vacherin benefits from the support of a larger business to help us address some of the challenges a growing company like ours faces, particularly in areas like technology and systems, and these will help enhance our administration processes.”

Phil Roker, managing director of Vacherin, said: “The past few years have seen Vacherin consistently grow and we were at the stage where we needed to either seek significant investment to take the company to the next level, or join forces with another successful company and grow with them. I’m delighted we’ve chosen to grow with CH&CO.  Vacherin will continue providing catering and front of house experiences with a difference by delivering exceptional food, drink and wellbeing initiatives that make our clients' businesses stand out from the crowd.”

The addition of Vacherin to the CH&CO family sees the company expand its portfolio significantly in this dynamic region.

Bill Toner, CEO of CH&CO, said: “I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Mark, Clive, Phil and the whole Vacherin team.  Vacherin has achieved significant success and has been a strong operator in the London market for many years.  While it is very much business as usual, this next stage for both Vacherin and CH&CO will be about giving the combined business the resources to perform even more effectively in this very competitive marketplace and sharing innovation and tactics to help us all become stronger and deliver exceptional food and service to our clients.”

The addition of Vacherin to the CH&CO Group adds over 600 employees to the wider team.

CH&CO restructures for continued growth #

[12 February 2020] Independent catering and hospitality business, CH&CO, has announced an operational restructure, including a series of senior level promotions, to strengthen the leadership team as it enters its next phase of growth.

The progressive move follows a successful 2019 that delivered a strong financial performance, driven by organic growth and the integration of Gather & Gather and Company of Cooks into the CH&CO family.

The reorganisation leverages CH&CO’s significant expertise and impressive client portfolios in its core operating arenas. With immediate effect, CH&CO’s structure and focus has been aligned to support the following five key business sectors: Workplace, Education & Healthcare, Events, Venues and Destinations.

The revised operational structure has created promotion opportunities across the sectors, supporting CH&CO’s commitment to continually developing its people and their careers. A talented team of business leaders and sector experts has been appointed to drive continued growth and success.

Allister Richards, previously the managing director of Gather & Gather UK & Ireland, moves into the new role of Chief Operating Officer for the group, with responsibility for Workplace, Events and Venues in the UK and Ireland. Allister is highly respected for his award-winning success in creating and developing the Gather & Gather brand and his promotion reflects this. His expertise, together with his industry knowledge, strong reputation and excellent client relationships add great value to the business and will be instrumental in CH&CO’s growth strategy for 2020 and into the future. 

The new managing director of Gather & Gather UK & Creativevents is Rob Fredrickson, who has been promoted from managing director of Gather & Gather London & Creativevents. Meanwhile, Matt Symonds’ role as managing director for CH&CO Workplaces outside of London has been expanded to include Scotland and the Inspire business. Kevin Simpson has been appointed the new managing director of Inspire as David Pease and Lorna McFarlane step back from the business following the completion of the successful integration of Inspire into CH&CO.

Rob and Matt will report into Allister, together with CH&CO’s London Workplace operations team and Pauline Cox, who continues to drive growth in Ireland as managing director of Gather & Gather Ireland.

In the Events & Venues arena, Carly Mitchell will continue to lead CH&CO’s event businesses, Ultimate Experience and Create, working closely with Rob Frederickson. CH&CO Venues has a new managing director, Katy Thompson, who has been recognised for her instrumental role in the growth of the venues business and notably the launch of eve, CH&CO’s market-leading full-service venue and events solution. Peter Martin, the managing director of CH&CO’s Livery business will now report into Katy, with both Carly and Katy reporting into Allister Richards.

Bill Toner, CH&CO’s CEO, will retain direct responsibility for the Education & Healthcare business, which will be led by Deborah Homshaw, who’s managing director role has grown to now include Independent and State schools, as well as healthcare. Bill will also continue to oversee the Destinations business, which will be led by Mike Lucy, the founder of Company of Cooks.

CH&CO’s group-wide support functions have also been strengthened to drive its growth strategy, integration and business improvement. Madeleine Musselwhite, executive director M&A, Terry Waldron, executive director central resources, Nick Thomas, CFO and Nick Clegg, Group sales director, will lead their combined functions centrally to ensure the operations teams are continually supported with the right systems, processes and procedures to deliver on the business objectives.

Bill Toner comments: “2019 was a year of significant growth for CH&CO. Organic growth and merger and acquisitions have taken our team to more than 10,000 people and we’re well placed to realise a turnover of £500million by the end of 2020. Our reorganisation is an important part of our strategy to reach this milestone. Following extensive discussions with our leadership team and listening to valuable feedback from clients and consultants, continued focus on market leadership in our core sectors is key to ongoing success. There are fantastic growth opportunities across our sectors and geographical areas and the new structure puts us in a good place to realise these.

“The continued success of CH&CO is down to the amazing strength, talent and passion of our teams. It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to recognise this with so many promotions. Each one is absolutely deserved, and I look forward to working with the new leadership team as we continue to drive our dynamic and diverse company forward along with our commitment to deliver memorable food and service experiences for our clients and customers.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to show my gratitude and respect to the business leaders that have been instrumental in CH&CO’s incredible success but have decided that the time is right to hand the reins over to the excellent talent they have helped develop. My thanks and best wishes to David Pease and Lorna McFarlane. It’s been a pleasure to work with them and I wish them the very best in their next chapters.”

Essential Cuisine unveils new care guide with aim to shake up the sector #

[16 March 2020] Essential Cuisine has joined forces with HB Ingredients to create an innovative new care guide, that is set to revolutionise the way care chefs approach both menu planning and recipe creation. 

As Nutrition and Hydration Week 2020 begins, the new guide unites the joint expertise of the two manufacturers and features a new and unique range of time-saving products and recipes aimed specifically at care chefs and the varied dietary needs of residents.
Chefs can download the new guide now:
With the face of care catering already undergoing a sea change in recent times, Essential Cuisine and HB Ingredients have called upon the recipe expertise of not one but three development chefs to further build on its growing reputation.
Essential Cuisine business development chef, Robin Dudley is joined by HB Ingredients’ Sam Rain and chef director of Oak House Residential Home, Preston Walker, to create a highly experienced brigade. Each has contributed a wealth of recipes, hints, tips and techniques to the guide, which also has forewords from both Chloe Hall, Community Dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association and Neel Radia, National Chair of the National Association of Care Catering.
Including highly useful information on catering for dementia, dysphasia, fortification and the importance of hydration, the innovative new guide seeks to match recipe ideas that address each of these sector challenges.
Recipes such as: ‘Mango sponge with clotted custard, served with a passion fruit emulsion and mango caviar’, ‘Posh prawn sandwich’ and ‘Gold profiteroles’ aim to bring care menus to life while still helping chefs face the practicalities of their roles.
Robin Dudley says: “Driven by a raft of innovative thinking from chefs, nutritionists and key associations, care catering has undergone a real facelift in modern times – it’s no longer about stodgy puddings and wilted veg; this is highly nuanced sector where both nutrition and food’s visual appeal are key. The new guide brings our dual vision for the sector to life and we’re delighted to be working with HB Ingredients to support working kitchens and the incredible chefs that work in the sector.”

North West Young Chef Competition postponed #

[19 March 2020] The organising team behind North West Young Chef of the Year have taken the decision to postpone the 20th edition of the prestigious competition, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of chef competitors and all related stakeholders amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

The competition, held in association with Essential Cuisine, Sous Vide Tools, CHR Equipment and hospitality training provider CPL Online, was to stage three semi-finals between March 25th and April 1st, with a final set for 13th May. Chairman of the judging panel Brian Mellor met with the organising team yesterday, where they took the ‘heart-breaking’ decision to postpone to the autumn. New dates will be announced in the coming weeks.

He said: “This decision has been taken jointly and was made in the interests of the health and safety of everyone involved. We know this will come as a blow to our young contestants – 2020 was a record-breaking year for entries – but we feel it’s the absolute right thing to do. I want to reassure each semi-finalist that, once we are in a position to go again, your place stands and will be honoured. We will see you shine in the bright spotlight of this competition very soon. I very much look forward to that day, and would like to thank everyone – chefs, judges, sponsors, mentors – for their support at this difficult and unprecedented time.”  

North West Young Chef of the Year invites chefs, 25 and under, from across Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Cumbria and Shropshire to produce a three-course meal for two featuring local and seasonal produce, on a budget of £25, against the clock.  

To keep informed of the very latest developments, visit:, search @northwestyoungchef on Instagram or @NWYoungChefComp on Twitter.

Toque d’Or finals and awards postponed until late 2020 #

[20 March 2020] In light of the current situation surrounding COVID-19 and the advice from Public Health England, Katya Simmons, managing director of Nestle Professional UK & Ireland, has confirmed that the Toque d’Or 2020 Grand Finals and Awards, set to take place in April and June, have now been postponed until later in the year. 
Speaking about the decision Katya said: “This was a difficult decision, however, the health and wellbeing of our competitors, colleagues, partners and customers is our top priority. Whilst a new date has not yet been set, we will continue to monitor the situation and keep everyone updated on plans as we move into a position of being able to make new arrangements.
We’ve had a successful year so far for Toque d’Or 2020, with the National Heats taking place earlier this month, where we announced the 24 talented apprentices and college students that will compete in the Grand Finals. Reaching the final is no mean feat and we look forward to seeing how the competition progresses later in the year with challenges designed to push the competitors to their limits around the Toque d’Or 2020 theme of sustainability. 
Whilst the Grand Final has been postponed, the Toque d’Or community will continue to spread messages of positivity with a digital challenge on Instagram to ensure the creative juices keep flowing for our finalists. We want to continue to showcase the best of our industry and demonstrate how, when we pull together, we come out stronger.
This is a tough time for the hospitality industry and there is a lot of uncertainty around what the future holds. At Toque d’Or, our ethos has always been focused on supporting the sustainability of careers and the wider industry, and we appreciate this is now more important than ever. We are constantly inspired by the resilience of our industry and know that we will support each other through this time.
If you would like to keep updated on the competition, see some of the highlights from the recent heats and support our finalists through their digital channels, please do follow us on social media @nestletoquedor and #toquedor2020.”
For more information about Nestlé Professional® Toque d’Or 2020 visit

Nestlé Professional partners with Costa Coffee to rolo-out a new speciality muffin #

[9 March 2020] Nestlé Professional and Costa Coffee have teamed up for the first time in a historic brand partnership to launch a Chocolate & Caramel muffin made with Rolo©. Available across Costa Coffee stores now, the bakery innovation sees two iconic brands come together to launch the mouth-watering new product, which will be the latest addition to Costa Coffee’s March Menu.
The chocolate muffin is filled with an indulgent caramel sauce, topped with caramel icing and Little Rolos®. The muffin is wrapped in printed Rolo paper and is an eye-catching new sweet treat for Costa Coffee’s bakery cabinets.  Designed to be enjoyed with the one you love, the muffin isn’t about giving someone your last Rolo, but instead sharing with the one you love over Costa Coffee’s signature, handcrafed coffees.
Nestlé Professional’s head of channel – On The Go, Kate Alexander, comments: “This is an exciting partnership for us. Rolo has an iconic brand reputation and heritage, with strong product loyalty from Rolo fans. We expect to see great demand for the product across Costa Coffee’s UK stores. The NPD team have done an amazing job creating a melt-in-the-mouth muffin that delivers on both look and flavour.”
Eric Tavoukdjian, commercial marketing director at Costa Coffee, adds: “We’re delighted to announce the partnership with Nestlé Professional to roll out the Chocolate & Caramel muffin made with Rolo, across Costa Coffee stores nationwide. As the nation’s favourite coffee shop[1] we’re excited to be working with brands like Rolo, that are both recognisable and desirable to our customers. The limited edition muffin is the perfect treat to enjoy alongside our returning favourite, the Flat Black – it’s too delicious to miss.”
The Chocolate & Caramel muffin made with Rolo is available at Costa Coffee stores nationwide from Thursday 5 March until Wednesday 2 September 2020, with an RRP of £2.25. The Costa Coffee store locator can be used to find the nearest store.
[1] Allegra Strategies for ten years running (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)

How to capitalise on the demand for convenient coffee #

[26 February 2020] Nestlé Professional explores frictionless convenience for the coffee to-go market
- ¾ of Brits now drink at least one cup of coffee out-of-home a week
- Nine in ten consumers now buy coffee to-go 

New research has found that a coffee shop is no longer the stop of choice for a coffee to-go with over eight in ten consumers preferring to pick up a coffee from a self-service machine in a shop or forecourt.  As consumers continue to seek out convenience, they look for coffee as part of their daily routine, whether they’re popping to the supermarket or filling up with petrol.
In fact, the top 4 times when consumers are likely to buy a coffee on-the-go are:
1. When it’s the nearest coffee on offer
2. A treat
3. When it’s cheaper than a coffee shop
4. Weekday mornings on the way to work 

The findings on consumer convenience behaviours are included in a new report from Nestlé Professional titled Mind the Gap: Driving frictionless coffee to-go experiences.
Consumer buying and payment habits
The research study of 1,500 consumers also explores consumer attitudes towards payments in the convenience sector and found that nine out of ten consumers now buy coffee to-go and nearly half prefer to purchase it when it is offered from a well-known brand.
Whilst, more than a fifth (22%) of customers have become so used to technology speeding up shopping experiences that they no longer expect to have to queue to make payments. As such, Nestlé Professional has identified the optimum ‘Convenience Gap’ (the time consumers are willing to wait after ordering) for takeaway products, such as coffee, is between two and three minutes.
How can brands utilise consumer attitudes?
This is an ideal time for brands to communicate their key messages to consumers and the research found that sustainability should be top of the list. Consumers are currently seeking out the ‘feel good factor’ that comes with buying an environmentally-sound product.
As demonstrated by some of the additional findings in the report:
- Two thirds [62%] would be more likely to buy coffee to-go if they could use their own cup.
- Nearly four in 10 [39%] coffee lovers say they try to buy coffee to-go responsibly but sometimes don’t feel they are able to.
- One third [37%] assume bigger brand coffee is responsibly sourced.
- The majority [57%] would use a reusable cup if they could get a discount on future coffee purchases.
- The majority of consumers [51%] would be more likely to choose convenience coffee if there was no queue. 

Consumer behavioural expert, Kate Cooper-Fay, CEO of CXY Limited, commented: “’The key is to increase spend per basket and sell higher margin products, such as coffee to-go, as part of the shop. The coffee to-go proposition also provides an opportunity to make the convenience space a destination in its own right. With higher quality coffee to-go offerings making an appearance, I expect we may even see a shift to coffee purchasing being the main reason people visit a convenience store, which is why it’s essential to get the offering right.” 
The report includes top tips for convenience retailers including, the benefits of sampling to educate consumers on the taste, the importance of relevant POS with clear branding that brings provenance as well as brand identity to drive revenues for retailers.
Commenting on the report, Kate Alexander, head of channel – Leisure & On The Go at Nestlé Professional®, said: “Frictionless convenience, where the consumer can enjoy almost instant gratification in a fast, easy and personalised shopping experience, is a trend gathering serious pace. Millennials and Gen Z in particular are driving an on-demand and increasingly technological culture where convenience is redefined as services that are available at the push of a button, anytime, anywhere. On-the-go retail spaces fulfil this need by providing easy access to goods as part of an accelerated lifestyle.”
For more insights into the coffee to go sector, download the report from Nestlé Professional here - just click on the 'download the full report' button at the bottom of this landing page.

FEA offers advice on "mothballing" catering appliances #

[30 March 2020] Mothballing: FEA launches online resource to help operators protect their equipment FEA’s Equipment and Systems Preservation Guidance offers timely advice
As many hospitality businesses temporarily shut up shop they are having to shut down and ‘mothball’ equipment.  The problem is, if it’s not done correctly then the appliances can be damaged, even just by sitting idle.  Which could mean that, when the crisis is over and the business needs to reopen, the equipment has broken down before it’s even started. 
Now FEA (Foodservice Equipment Association) has put together a resource for any foodservice operator looking for information on how to protect equipment that needs to be shut down for a long period.  It’s called FEA Equipment and Systems Preservation Guidance.  The Association’s members have got together to pool advice and supply instructions on how to shut down appliances, to ensure that they are safe and ready for action when they are needed. 
In an ideal world the kitchen would be mothballed by a service provider, who could service the appliances at the same time.  Obviously this isn’t possible for many operators, hence FEA’s decision to create the resource.   
The advice is split into different types of equipment, warewashers, fryers and so forth, and is simply and clearly laid out.  “By putting all this information in one place, operators can access it easily and quickly,” says John Whitehouse, chair of FEA. 
The FEA Equipment and Systems Preservation Guidance can be found in the COVID-19 section, here,at’s also in the news section, here. 
As with so many things, the devil is in the detail.  For example, when mothballing combi ovens, once you’ve isolated the water supply one point to remember is to run the hand shower, if it has one, until it’s empty.  Here are some more typical key tips to ensure the integrity of catering equipment:
- Cookware: remove and clean all pans and grids from appliances. 
- Back-up batteries: if an appliance has back up batteries, run it for 30 minutes a week to keep them charged. 
- Water treatment: turn off the water supply (and the electric supply, if applicable) and, if possible, clean the salt out of the brine box.
- Fryers: once you have drained and disposed of the oil, clean and dry the pan, then give it a light coat of oil, then cover with a lid. 
- Doors: with most appliances with doors (ovens, fridges, dishwashers, etc.), if you are mothballing then it’s a good idea to prop the door partially open to ventilate the inside.  Similarly, hoods of passthrough warewashers should be left partially open.  However, if there is the possibility of ingress from dust, insects, pests, etc. then you may need to shut doors or hoods.  It’s a judgement call. 
- Gas appliances: once the gas supply has been isolated, do NOT unfasten the yellow gas supply hose from the isolation point. 
- Veg and meat prep units: remove everything that can be removed (such as top covers) and give them a good clean – make sure there are no places that foodstuffs can lurk.  Obviously, in the case of powered units, turn off and unplug the unit before commencing work. 
- Ventilation: once the kitchen is closed down, the kitchen ventilation system should be switched off, this will ensure that the gas interlock operates and disconnects the gas supply to the kitchen appliances.
- Insect killers: remember to leave these turned on!
To access the FEA Equipment and Systems Preservation Guidance resource, visit the FEA website.  The direct URL is:

FEA marks CFSP’s tenth anniversary #

[10 March 2020] NAFEM vice president acknowledges FEA role in taking CFSP ‘to the next level’
The best of the best: who scored top marks in CFSP exam since 2009?

FEA celebrated the tenth anniversary of the CFSP (Certified Foodservice Professional) training programme with a special event during the HRC Show.  It was attended by many of the foodservice professionals who have taken the course since 2009, including the latest class of graduates. 
Simon Frost, chair of FEA’s Education Advisory Group, hosted the event standing in front of the CFSP Wall of Fame, which now lists 586 UK persons who have passed the exam.  “CFSP is all about raising the professionalism of the whole foodservice industry,” he said.  CFSP began in North America and Deirdre Flynn, executive vice president of FEA’s USA equivalent, NAFEM (North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers) joined Simon on stage.  She spoke about FEA’s huge role in taking CFSP to the next level, by exporting it to countries around the globe, including Sweden, Dubai, Austria and India. 
At the end of her speech Simon presented Deirdre with a glass trophy in recognition of the ten years partnership between FEA and NAFEM. 
Completing CFSP is not an easy task – just ask anyone who has tried.  With so many graduates past and present on hand, it was time for a celebration of the best of the best.  “We are delighted to announce that the two people who gained the highest score in passing CFSP are here today,” said Simon.  “They are Megan Nesbitt of FEM and Dan Pratt of Foster and Gamko.”  He then presented both with trophies in recognition of their hard work. 
“CFSP has such a wide scope, you learn about everything, front of house and in the kitchen,” said Megan. “It means you can understand customers’ challenges and can relate to them, so you can suggest what would be best to solve their problem.  CFSP is a lot of work but you get a lot out of it.”
“CFSP has given me more confidence and knowledge to talk to end users,” said Dan.  “It helps me to spot potential pain points and suggest solutions.  I’d absolutely recommend it to other foodservice professionals.” 

Sodexo caters for extra 4,000 Army personnel at Salisbury Plain garrisons #

[11 March 2020] Over the last year Sodexo has seen its contract at Project Allenby/Connaught(1) significantly increase with the addition of seven new catering outlets including a new junior ranks super diner to accommodate the extra c.4,000 Army personnel who have relocated to four garrisons across Salisbury Plain as part of the joint Army and Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) Army Basing Programme2 (ABP).

A major infrastructure programme is being undertaken by Aspire Defence Capital Works across the garrisons which has included the construction of around 130 new buildings including regimental HQs, offices, technical assets, single living accommodation and facilities to support them including new diners, Messes and sports facilities. Construction is scheduled to complete in 2020.
As a result of the programme Sodexo’s 1,416 strong team has grown to almost 1,652 with the number of kitchens increasing from 54 to 60 and catering locations from 69 to 78.
Four of the existing SNCO and Officer Messes were refurbished, and seven new catering locations constructed including a new junior ranks ‘super’ diner at Larkhill garrison. The new super diner is one of the largest of its kind and has a team of six professional chefs catering for five Royal Artillery regiments. More than 600 soldiers can be served during one meal sitting.
Situated close to two brand new, single living accommodation villages, the new diner also houses a retail outlet, coffee shop and bar facilities, offering a one-stop shop, seven days a week.
Paul Anstey, CEO, Government & Agencies, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “This has been an exciting time for our teams across the garrisons as we have seen fantastic new buildings being constructed. We have worked closely with Aspire Defence Services throughout the programme to ensure that the existing and the new personnel stationed here receive the highest standard of service from the catering, retail and leisure facilities.”
Mark Carr, managing director, Aspire Defence Services said: “Feeding the Army is a complex operation. A staggering 3.4 million meals are served to soldiers in our dining facilities across Salisbury Plain and Aldershot each year, that equates to some 9,500 meals every single day.  The Sodexo teams work closely with each garrison operational team to ensure customer satisfaction is maintained.

Before the ABP Sodexo managed 45 officer and WO & Sgts Messes; 14 Junior Ranks diners; 14 Costcutter shops; 14 Coffee and Co/Costa café bars; five pubs and several mobile catering units 

In addition to the existing catering and retail outlets the following have been added:
- Larkhill: New junior ranks diner; two new senior ranks dining and a new officers Mess.
- Bulford: New senior ranks dining and refurbished senior ranks into an officers Mess.
- Perham Down: New senior ranks and officers Mess.
- Tidworth: New senior ranks dining plus two existing senior ranks and one officers Mess, all refurbished.

The ABP has also seen Sodexo invest in the existing retail and leisure outlets and its cleaning contract has extended to now cover 100 new buildings.

Mark Carr added: “Sodexo and military chefs work side by side delivering the catering services in state-of-the-art kitchens. In addition to providing a crucial service to everyone living and working across the garrisons, the catering services provide a wide range of job opportunities and career paths for chefs, catering support staff and front of house, enabling them to share experiences, hone their skills and gain valuable qualifications.

"The Sodexo element of ABP delivery has been a great success and all the catering refurbs and new builds have completed to requirement, so Sodexo and their teams were ready to welcome and serve the new personnel joining us across the Project.”

1 Aspire Defence is improving living and working environments for British soldiers through provision of modern, high-quality, fully serviced and purpose-built accommodation in Aldershot and across Salisbury Plain, under the 35-year Project Allenby/Connaught contract (PAC).  PAC is one of the largest infrastructure PFIs (Private Finance Initiative) ever let by the MOD.

2 The Army Basing Programme (ABP) is a joint DIO and Army programme set up to implement the Regular Army Basing Plan announced by the Secretary of State for Defence in March 2013.  It has provided the facilities the Army need to live, work and train in the UK following the withdrawal from Germany in summer 2019, rebasing across the UK and restructures to future Army 2020 formations. Aspire Defence Capital Works’ ABP construction programme began in 2016 and will complete in 2020.

Ronnel Nulud announced as winner of Sodexo Chef of the Year 2020 #

[4 March 2020] Sodexo Hospitality Head Chef Ronnel Nulud has been named as Sodexo Chef of the Year in a live cook off at this year’s Hotel, Restaurant and Catering (HRC) event held at ExCel London.

On 4 March, Ronnel represented Sodexo’s Energy & Resources business segment, making an impression on the competition judges for his take on a plant forward menu using ‘Future 50’ ingredients. 

The ‘Future 50’ are ingredients identified by Sodexo’s partners, WWF and Knorr, that can help boost the nutritional value of meals while reducing the environmental impact of our food supply. Sodexo has already successfully adopted recipes across the UK and Ireland that incorporate a selection of the Future 50 Foods, aligning with a growing consumer demand for healthier meal options that taste great and are responsibly sourced.

Receiving gold best in class for his menu, Ronnel scored highly for his presentation and use of sustainable ingredients within his menu. Ronnel’s menu consisted of a plant-based starter of Asian steamed dim sum featuring ‘Future 50’ ingredient soybeans, a main course of his famous whole free-range chicken adobo and a dessert of British poached pears with lemon sponge cake and a pistachio crumb.

Andy Clarkson, Catering Manager from Aiwal Barracks represented Government & Agencies and was awarded runner up by the judges with an additional gold award.

In total, nine chefs from across Sodexo UK & Ireland competed against each other in a live cook off watched on by supportive colleagues, friends and family winning awards for the participation – two gold, three silvers and four bronze. In the lead up to the final, the finalists competed in individual heats as well as participating in workshops and a mentor day hosted by Sodexo client and event sponsor Unilever. The events crockery was kindly supplier by competition sponsor Lockhart Catering Equipment.

Ronnel was presented with a trophy for winning the prestigious competition. As well as winning the title, Ronnel will have the opportunity to take part in a professional development activity to support his culinary progression and visit a top UK restaurant.

All nine finalists received certificates and medals for their appropriate awards and participation, as well as a personalised chef jacket, a year’s subscription to the Craft Guild of Chefs and an exclusive invitation to a bespoke innovation training workshop. The interactive event will be held in May 2020 and supported by competition sponsors Rational and Vegetarian Express.

Ronnel Nulud, hospitality head chef, Energy & Resources for Sodexo UK & Ireland said on his win: “I wasn’t really expecting this today. After all our hard work over the past few months, and the competition’s experience as a whole, I feel blessed to have won the 2020 title of Sodexo Chef of the Year. My menu is inspired by my Asian heritage, with the plant-based starter posing quite a challenge for me – I am used to creating dishes with butter and fats – but I rose to the challenge and created my dumplings.

“All the other chefs have been very supportive and given me advice to improve my dishes. It’s been a really tough competition, and other people’s skills are very impressive, but it makes me happy to see all these chefs making such an effort. It has been great to work with everybody, and I can’t wait to share the knowledge I have picked up with next year’s competitors.”

David Mulcahy, food development & innovation director, Sodexo UK & Ireland commented: “We all wish a huge congratulations to Ronnel on winning the title and a massive well done to all those that participated in today’s final. Ronnel’s dedication to Sodexo’s sustainable future has been demonstrated clearly through his food being delivered to such a high standard. All the chefs this year rose to the challenge of presenting plant-forward dishes, which is a testament to their determination, training and their supportive Sodexo colleagues around them.

“Participating in this competition means that these chefs can proudly stand alongside their alumni and competitors who are continually pioneering Sodexo’s culinary innovation. As an employer, we recognise the importance of these events to inspire and nurture the talent of our people, but also attract the next generation of chefs so they too can take on this Sodexo Chef of the Year challenge.”

Martin Parlow, national account manager for competition sponsors Vegetarian Express said: “At Vegetarian Express, we believe the future of food lies in a more plant-based diet. We’re proud to support Sodexo and work with their chefs to provide the best in plant-based, ingredients, ideas and inspiration.”

Sodexo Chef of the Year 2020 finalists:
- Ronnel Nulud, Hospitality Head Chef, Energy & Resources – gold best in class
- Andy Clarkson, Catering Manager, Aliwall Barracks, Government & Agencies – gold runner-up
- William Tinkler, Sous Chef, Eton College, Schools & Universities – silver second runner-up
- David Humphreys, Development Chef, Tillery Valley Foods, Healthcare – silver
- Alex Fellows, Head Chef, Woldingham School, Schools & Universities – silver and hygiene award
- Oliver Keenan, Senior Relief Chef, Paypal, Dublin & Dundalk, Corporate Services – bronze
- Bruce Morrison, Chef Manager, Voyageur Spirit, Energy & Resources - bronze
- Peter Ciszak, Head Chef, Keepers Restaurant at the Royal Academy of Arts, Sports & Leisure – bronze
- Adam Collison, Head Chef, APL Alderley Park Ltd, Corporate Services – bronze

Sodexo Chef of the Year 2020 was judged by:
- Steve Scuffell, Chair of Judges
- Paul Mannering, Chef Director, HIT Training
- Alex Hall, Culinary Director, Unilever Food Solutions
- Nick Sinclair, Chef Director JSW Recruitment
- Alyn Williams, Chef and Restaurateur
- Adam Smith, Executive Chef, Coworth Park
- Andrew Clarke, Co-founder of Pilot Light
- Derry Clarke, Chef Patron, L’Ecrivan restaurant
- Andy Voice, Development Chef, Sodexo UK & Ireland
- Yolande Stanley, Consultant Pastry Chef
- Paul Jervis, Chef Lecturer, Westminster Kingsway College

Sodexo Chef of the Year 2020 was kindly supported by:
- Unilever Food Solutions
- Lockhart Catering Equipment
- Knorr
- Rational
- Vegetarian Express
- The Craft Guild of Chefs

Sodexo appoints Julie Ennis to lead UK & Ireland corporate services business #

[27 February 2020] Sodexo has announced the appointment of Julie Ennis as CEO for its corporate services business in the UK & Ireland from 1 March, following the expansion of current CEO David Bailey’s role to oversee Sodexo’s corporate services business in North America.

Julie joined Sodexo in February 2019 as managing director for Sodexo’s corporate services business in Ireland. She then assumed the role of Country President from Margot Slattery in September 2019 following her appointment as global diversity and inclusion officer for Sodexo.

Sodexo’s corporate services business delivers a wide range of workplace and food services to clients in predominantly the financial services, professional services, pharmaceutical and FMCG sectors. Over the last year Sodexo has enjoyed continued success in retaining existing clients and winning new contracts such as the recently announced five-year contract with Quilter. Clients include: Microsoft, Nestlé, Astra Zeneca and Nomura.

In her new role, Julie will continue in her role of Country President for Ireland and represent Sodexo’s corporate services business as a member of the UK and Ireland Regional Leadership Committee.

David Bailey, CEO Corporate Services Noram and UK & Ireland said: “I am delighted to be handing over the leadership of the UK & Ireland business to Julie. Over the last year Julie has proved herself to be a strong leader with our teams in Ireland, she has set out a new strategy for our business there and has delivered strong results.”   

Prior to joining Sodexo, Julie held numerous senior management roles with Bank of Ireland in sales, proposition development, strategy and operations. She is a strong advocate of diversity & inclusion, having held roles on Bank of Ireland’s LGBT+ and Gender Balance networks. She is an MBA graduate of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and a National Council member of the Executive Institute.

Sodexo launches new braille food menu at Queen’s Hospital Romford #

[18 February 2020] Sodexo, a leading global services company, has launched a braille menu for patients at Queen’s Hospital Romford.

The new menu has been introduced in each ward to ensure patients with visual impairments can read the standard menu.

Karen Ford-Sneddon, Sodexo patient dining manager at Queen’s Hospital Romford, said: “We truly care about our patients and so are always looking for ways to improve how we meet individual patient needs and help ensure a patient’s stay is as comfortable as possible.

“The introduction of a braille menu is vital to empower our visually impaired patients and help them to feel welcome at mealtimes.

We worked closely with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to make sure these menus were perfect for our customers.”

The braille menus were launched on 13 February, 2020.

Adebowale Ogungbose, ophthalmology lead nurse, said: “I am delighted at this great news that Braille menu will now be available on the wards. This will mean a lot to our blind and partially sighted patients as promotes independence, intellectual ability, their interaction and freedoms, plus enhances intellectual interaction and communication.”

Victoria Miles-Gale, head of patient experience, said: “We know that technology has helped to make information more accessible to blind and visually impaired people through read aloud software and other advances.  However, there are still a lot of blind and visually impaired people who read braille and we also know that if you are a braille reader, provision of information in this way is welcome.”

The team is now working to introduce braille menus across all hospitals where they deliver a patient dining service.