Members’ News

January 2021

Thousands of Sodexo employees recognised with national award #

Nearly 6,000 Sodexo employees have received a British Citizen Award in recognition of their efforts in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The British Citizen Award was established in 2015, to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly making a positive impact on society and those community heroes who may otherwise be overlooked.

100 medals and roll of honour certificates have been presented to Sodexo employees for their exceptional contribution during the pandemic.

5,757 Sodexo employees received a Certificate of Recognition for their contribution during the pandemic.

Stuart Winters, CEO Healthcare, Sodexo, said: “I am so proud of the work we’ve done together as a team to support each other and the national effort against the pandemic. In these unprecedented times so many Sodexo employees have stepped up to support their local communities. 

Congratulations to everyone recognised with their British Citizen Award, I am honoured to call you all colleagues.” 

Winners celebrated their wins on-site in a socially-distanced way, with clients invited to join in the celebrations. 

The Rt Hon. The Lord Dholakia, Patron of The British Citizen Award, commented: “The endeavours of these deserving individuals should not go unrecognised during these unprecedented times. Overnight many became essential and key workers, people relied on them being there to enable a form of normal life

Throughout, they have faced the fear of the unknown, overcome safety concerns, protected themselves, their families and customers, and all of this is to be commended. They are all amazing people who have given selflessly in the pursuit of helping communities. They all deserve this recognition.” 

Mike Faulkner, Founder of The British Citizen Award, added: “Thanks to this special group of people and others like them up and down the country, the lights stayed on, the nation stayed fed, the vulnerable were cared for and those that needed assistance received it. These exceptional times call for a monumental effort, and the organisation’s recognising their people in this way are making a monumental difference. The country needs stability and these individuals are giving it consistently. They deserve more than a moment in the spotlight, so we hope they take pride in this recognition, as we are proud of them.”

Nestlé Professional launches 2021 Toque d'Or Competition #

Nestlé Professional has launched its Toque d’Or competition and hospitality awards for the 33rd time - with a new format and even more opportunities for young hospitality professionals to get involved.

The competition aims to inspire the industry’s next generation and provide them with the key skills required to succeed in their career.

In recognition of the increasing importance of community and inclusiveness, this year’s competition will be open to entry level Front and Back of House professionals as well as college students and apprentices. 

Katya Simmons, managing director of Nestlé Professional UK&I, says: “2020 has been an unprecedented and hugely challenging year for hospitality. Through it all, we’ve pulled together and, now more than ever, it’s important we work as a community to help build a sustainable future for the hospitality industry.

Toque d’Or has these aims at its heart. We’re passionate about supporting entrants to develop a wide range of relevant skills to help them in their careers and provide them with the opportunity to work with, and learn from, a number of leading industry experts and businesses throughout the tasks.  I’m proud of what the competition has helped past competitors achieve and look forward to seeing this year’s competitors.

New for 2020, the competition timeline has been adapted in line with college courses making it easier for lecturers to support students in the process, and to provide the best opportunity to hold the finals and the hospitality awards face-to-face.

All Back and Front of House apprentices, students and young professionals (commis chefs and waiters) will be given their relevant entry task 1 February.  The Heats will take place early April, with Finalists announced on 30 April.  The Finals and the Awards will be hosted in the last week of June, with the Awards broadcasted live over YouTube for the rest of the industry to enjoy in the third week of July.

Entrants are encouraged to register via  Registrations close on the 31 January 2021

FEA calls on government for direct financial support for foodservice equipment suppliers #

Just before Christmas FEA wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for extra help for the foodservice supply chain.  The letter cites the implementation of increasing Covid-19 measures is “adding significantly to the pressure on the foodservice equipment supply chain, because hospitality operator outlets have been forced to close.” 

The letter, which was signed by FEAchief executive Keith Warren, calls for targeted, immediate and continued support for the foodservice equipment sector.  It points out that FEA members are wholly dependent on the operator sector for their business and that any recovery is unlikely to be evident until Q3 2021. 

For businesses wholly or significantly dependent on hospitality operators, FEA calls for direct financial support to cover the following costs until 30th September 2021.

·         Business Rates – to be cancelled through Council subsidy.

·         Rents – contracted rental costs to be covered by Government grants.

·         VAT – deferral to ease business cash flow.

·         Furlough Scheme – extension to prevent the loss of experience, knowledge and skilled jobs. 

Announcement of such support will give security to foodservice equipment supply companies, and will ensure business viability and long term sustainability,” says Warren.  “In return for this investment our sector will be able to ensure that it is well positioned to be able to respond to the needs of the operator sector when the recovery inevitably commences, hopefully in Q3/Q4 2021.”

The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA)is the independent, authoritative voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing nearly 200 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes.  For more information on FEA visit

Délifrance expands vegan offering with new Vegan Baskets savoury range #

Leading bakery supplier Délifrance has launched its latest vegan product development, Vegan Baskets, the perfect addition for operators and retailers looking to build on their vegan offering.  

The Vegan Baskets range is a selection of savoury vegan puff pastries that can take consumers from snack time to dinner time. As a unique offering, the range includes a variety of wholesome recipes that are nutritious and convenient for both customer and consumer.  Free from palm oil and additives, the innovative offering serves up a generous filling encased in a specially crafted buckwheat puff pastry.   

Stéphanie Brillouet, Marketing Director at Délifrance says “We know 1/3 are following a flexitarian diet and veganism is at an all-time high with a 62% increase in those following a vegan diet1. Aligned with this is the growing consumer trend for health & nutrition and demand for functional foods. It’s increasingly important for operators and retailers to tap into this to remain ahead. That’s why we’ve created our Vegan Baskets. Nutritionally rich, easy to bake and full of flavour, they are an ideal choice for all consumers from flexitarians through to vegans.”   

There are three carefully curated recipes to choose from:

·         Carrots, Cumin, Sweet potatoes and Chickpeas – a source of fibre, this experimental fusion is nutritionally dense and brings texture and sweet taste  

·         Quinoa, Lentils, Coriander and Green apple – an inventive delicious recipe packed with protein  

·         Tomatoes, Courgettes, Onions and Sweet Potatoes – inspired by ratatouille but with a twist for a fresh flavour blend  

The Vegan Baskets roll out builds on Délifrance’s pioneering approach to vegan bakery having begun in 2017 with a foodservice first, the Oatmeal Vegan Croissant and Spelt and Quinoa Vegan Croissant. Délifrance’s vegan viennoiserie portfolio has since expanded to include its popular clean label Plain Vegan Croissant which sits under its Feel Good range. 

Compass Group Plc Supports Inspirational Terra Carta Charter #

Part of HRH The Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative
Compass Group Plc welcomes the launch of the #TerraCarta from HRH The Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative, and is one of 25 companies supporting this new initiative.
The Terra Carta provides a roadmap to 2030 for businesses to move towards an ambitious and sustainable future; one that will harness the power of Nature combined with the transformative power, innovation and resources of the private sector.
The new global business proposition outlines ten areas for action and comprises of nearly 100 actions for business as the basis of a recovery plan that puts Nature, People and Planet at the heart of global value creation.
Dominic Blakemore, CEO, Compass Group Plc said: “I am delighted that Compass Group is supporting the Terra Carta, which provides a roadmap to 2030 for businesses to move towards an ambitious and sustainable future. We take our responsibility seriously as a global business to positively contribute to a sustainable future for individuals, communities and the planet. Our strategy to reduce environmental impact focuses on minimising food waste, increasing plant based menus and working closely with our clients and suppliers on decarbonisation right through the value chain.
Find out more here:

The Hub sees in the New Year with a quartet of new client successes #

The Hub is delighted to announce a positive start to 2021 with the onboarding of a number of new exciting business wins – with each new client retaining The Hub to build their brand equity and drive sales by leveraging the agency’s expertise within the foodservice, retail grocery and wholesale sectors.
Adding each of these clients to the roster continues to broaden our market experience, with more to come later in the year. We’ve also expanded our core convenience and grocery retail remit for Red Bull to include out of home and UK Foodservice.
New Clients:
Sana Lifestyle is Europe’s premier distributor of Cannadidiol (CBD) and plant-based wellness products including health, beauty, food supplements and skincare. Sana Lifestyle works in partnership with retailers, navigating the category and offering comprehensive advice on the products that best meet their consumer demographic, from high-end to high-street. The Hub will be driving a communications programme based on clarifying a potential complex market (alongside the forthcoming Novel Foods legislation), enhancing consumer trust in the Sana portfolio, and developing a number of high-profile brand wellness partnerships. This win takes The Hub into an exciting category and we are certain that more health and beauty brands will follow.
Good Earth, a beverage brand new to the UK, but well established in its native California. Expanding The Hub’s eight year relationship with the Tata Consumer Products portfolio of brands, the Good Earth portfolio includes eight variants of biodegradable tea bags, four loose teas and three chilled variants of organic, bubbly Kombucha. Already catching the eye of buyers across both the retail and Foodservice marketplace, Good Earth is expecting to set the beverage world alight in 2021, defying convention and creating new experiences for consumers.
Dinner Jackets is a retail focused pre-prepared vegetable brand seeking to cash in on the increasingly important plant-based movement while offering retailers the optimum in a convenience offering. Pre-baked to perfection and ready in significantly less time than a raw potato but tasting better than currently available frozen options, Dinner Jackets has come to The Hub to help increase profile, boost listings and get in front of consumers seeking convenient, on-trend meal solutions which simply don’t compromise on taste.
Kentish premium juice brand, Owlet’s is working with The Hub from the start of 2021 to strengthen its local presence in convenience and hospitality outlets, while strategically expanding their business nationwide to a broader customer reach. The Hub will also actively work with the new owners and producers of Owlets, in developing the Loddington Farm brand – which is changing the way produce is grown by farming with nature instead of chemicals to produce more nutritious, more environmentally-friendly food.
Each client has asked The Hub to provide a full-service trade communications solution including PR, channel strategy development and digital comms, alongside traditional media and customer marketing support.
Rebecca Riches, Founder and MD of The Hub comments; “It goes without saying the 2020 has been a challenging year for the hospitality and foodservice sectors, whilst the retail sector has faced logistical and operational challenges of its own and had to adapt accordingly.  
“As a dedicated communications partner agency, The Hub has remained focused, supportive and committed to directing our clients through this period.  More importantly, perhaps, we have been helping them think through how to prepare for the longer-term implications and remediate the shorter-term shocks. We are delighted to have not only retained our much-valued existing clients during this unprecedented period, but to have successfully pitched and won some very interesting new client partners.  I personally think it is testimony to the passion and spirit of brand owners to drive their businesses forward, and the faithfulness that our resilient industry will return stronger than ever.
“Thank you to all our media partners for your ongoing support to, not only us at The Hub and our clients but also the industry as a whole.  We look forward to speaking with you all about our exciting new clients as the year progress

Garden Gourmet launches new vegan meat-style balls this Veganuary #

GARDEN GOURMET has expanded its plant-based range this Veganuary with the addition of their new Vegan Meat-style Balls - perfectly placed to tap into consumers growing desire to cut back on meat.  

Available from January, the GARDEN GOURMET Vegan Meat-style Balls are a delicious and versatile meat alternative, made using high quality ingredients to provide meals that are both flavoursome and have some bite.  A source of plant-based protein and fibre, they are quick and easy to prepare and can be added to a wide variety of recipes, from rich Italian pastas to fragrant Asian dishes.  

Rohini Alam, Category Manager – Food, UK & Ireland at GARDEN GOURMET says “We recognise that more consumers are gravitating towards a plant-based diet with the number of vegans in the UK increasing by 62% over the last year alone.1 As a result, many consumers are looking to find meat alternatives. That’s why we’ve developed our Vegan Balls, a tasty and versatile product to help operators cater to this demand. Now is the ideal time to experiment with GARDEN GOURMET.”  

The Vegan Meat-style balls join the GARDEN GOURMET vegan range which includes the Sensational Burger, Vegan Mince and Vegan Fillet Pieces.   

For more information, please visit 

Statement from Robin Mills, Compass Group UK & Ireland Managing Director #

Chartwells Free School Meal Food Parcel Commitments (including half-term provision)
As Managing Director of Compass Group UK and Ireland, the company which owns Chartwells, I want to tell you what’s happened with our free school meal parcels following school closures and – most importantly – what we’re doing to put things right.

The first thing I want to do, personally and on behalf of Chartwells and Compass, is to say sorry. The quality and quantity of the produce in the images on Twitter fell short of our usual standards.

We’ve undertaken a number of immediate actions to put things right:
- Apologised to parents who have contacted us about their parcels
- Committed that we will not charge the schools affected by any shortage
- Created extra quality assurance checks at the supplier level and within each individual school – including photographing every batch of parcels when it goes out
- Confirmed that our colleagues in each school will sign off on batches of parcels as they leave the school
- Allocated additional Chartwells employees and provided extra guidance to support them
- Set up a free helpline for concerned schools and parents that will go live on Monday

Getting nutritious food to children at home during lockdown is critical. We are stepping up to meet this challenge in multiple ways, ensuring everything we do meets the exacting standards which rightly apply to children’s food:

- Created a supply chain specifically to serve children with these parcels
- Moved to one-week parcels to include more fresh produce
- Increased the quantity and variety of products
- Provided a detailed recipe guide to help families prepare nutritious lunches
- Committed that we make no profit on the provision of food parcels

In light of this week’s events, and the very challenging circumstances many families find themselves in, we feel that it’s right we go further:

We will provide free breakfasts to all children currently receiving a Chartwells lunch parcel from 25 January for the duration of school closures

In addition, for those same children, we will offer schools the option of lunch parcels through the February half term at no costAs a member of the Marcus Rashford Child Poverty Taskforce, we are very focused on the review of the free school meals system. We have also engaged closely with policymakers, and together with the industry we have developed a series of protocols to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

We are moving quickly to fix the problem and to deliver on our commitments.

The Hub’s Annual Industry Calendar 2021 #

As 2021 promises new beginnings and positivity, for not just our sector but our own wellbeing, we must not forget the massive negative impact the pandemic has had on fundraising for charities across the globe.

So, this year we wanted to help in our own small way, championing just some of our industry’s wonderful charities and the amazing initiatives they advocate in our annual industry calendar (15th edition), a must have for all within the sector.

Click here to order yours. 
While event dates remain unpredictable, we will continue to update important and exciting dates so be sure to scan the QR Code which will keep your Google Calendar up to speed.

Charities included are:

Only A Pavement Away
FareShare UK
Hospitality Action
The Clink Charity
Macmillan Cancer Support
Meals & More
Hospitality for Heroes
School Food Matters
National Association Of Care Catering (NACC)

Sodexo porter’s actions help hospital patient following fall #

Two Sodexo porters at the Royal Stoke University Hospital provided critical help following the fall of a patient.

On 16 November 2020, porter William Nock heard a patient fall while they were being transported in a lift and sprang into action to provide help.

William alerted hospital colleagues to raise a crash call, collected equipment to transport the patient and called on his colleague, fellow porter Liam Ecclestone, to bring specialist lifting equipment.

Their actions ensured the patient received the best quality care before clinical staff could restore the patient’s heartbeat.

Shaun Hollinshead, Sodexo Senior Operations Manager, said: “William and Liam’s actions undoubtedly provided a family with more time to spend with their loved one. 

“Working in a hospital brings pressure, particularly during a pandemic, so to think clearly when in a critical situation shows their calibre as professionals and individuals.

“Their commitment to helping others is commendable and I am proud to call them colleagues

William has worked at the hospital since taking part in a DFN Project SEARCH internship September 2019, in conjunction with New Friars College, becoming a full-time member of staff in June 2020.

The internship enables young adults with certain additional learning needs, and other disabilities, to learn skills while working to help them gain employment. 

Claire Cookson, DFN Project SEARCH CEO, said: “We are so proud of Will and how he responded in such high-pressure circumstances. 

“Will is a true inspiration to us all and has risen to the challenge in a frontline role during the Pandemic. 

“He has an amazing work ethic and is showing that he can respond quickly, calmly and also adhere to new ways of working in the current landscape

Will’s story and the incredible work of our graduates in frontline essential worker roles is certainly working to smash stereotypes and create a greater awareness of young people going through supported internships and the value they can bring to society.”

DFN Project SEARCH is a leading transition to employment charity for young people with learning disabilities and autism.