Members’ News

March 2021

Elior UK pledges new gender diversity objectives #

Leading contract caterer Elior UK has announced new objectives to support its ‘Celebrating Equality’ initiative and speed up its progress around gender diversity. By 2025 the UK Board has committed to ensuring its leadership team is more representative of gender diversity across the workforce.
Elior UK has set three key objectives*:
- Increase the number of female chefs at all levels within Elior UK to 49% by 2025 and 53% by 2030
- Increase the number of females in middle/senior management positions within the Head Office to 50% by 2025 and 55% by 2030
- Increase the number of females on the UK Leadership Team to 50% by 2025 and 62.5% by 2030*

These objectives form part of a wider Group initiative to speed up gender diversity across the entire organisation.
This pledge comes at a time when research suggests more women in the workforce have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. A Mckinsey report, published last year, found globally women’s job losses due to Covid-19 are 1.8 times greater than men’s. 
Justin Jonson, HR Director at Elior UK says, “Whilst we recognise the value of diversity and have always tried to create a truly inclusive culture where people are valued for their contribution, we recognise we have more work to do. This is why we are making a commitment to speed up progress with regards to gender diversity and have created a comprehensive plan to make this happen.”
Elior UK is introducing a number of initiatives to support the career development of women at every level of the business. A new coaching and mentorship programme has been created to support employees throughout the organisation with a focus on identifying future female leaders.
Leni Savva, Chief Financial Officer and Gender Diversity Sponsor, says, “I am delighted to be part of the gender equality initiative to drive change and excited to be working with the team to introduce a new mentoring programme to support female colleagues. There is so much great work happening across the business, it is now about how we communicate this and making sure we provide the right level of support employees so that they can progress their careers.”

FEA responds to the Budget: the foodservice industry needs a growth strategy #

Association asks equipment suppliers for input on its position paper for the government

The Budget addressed many of the key issues that FEA has been lobbying for on behalf of the industry, such as the furlough extension and VAT cuts.  However, the Association warns that not enough is being done in terms of a growth strategy for hospitality and, more especially,the supply chain the industry relies on.  

Steve Hobbs, chair of FEA, says, “We welcome the support the government is giving – they’ve accepted at least some of the recommendations we and our collaborators, such as UK Hospitality and the Textile Services Association, have been pushing.  However, what’s needed is a growth strategy that will do more to rebuild the foodservice industry, and its supply chain, as we embark on the recovery.” 

FEA believes the strategy will need to include:-

*  Jobs development –investment and incentives to generate new jobs in the hospitality supply chain.
*  Incentives to build and develop business – including, for example, tax breaks to encourage specific critical areas such as energy efficiency.
*  Investment development – encouraging people and organisations to invest in the hospitality  industry.
*  Training–more investment is requiredto give enough people the skills both the hospitality industry and the supply chain are crying out for. 

FEA is putting together a position paper for the government and is asking foodservice equipment suppliers for their suggestions for the growth strategy.  “We are looking for input that is specific to our industry and its business needs,” says Hobbs. “We will use the information to lobby Government directly and via our links with other organisations.”  

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

Sodexo partners with Food Waste Action Week in fight against climate change #

Sodexo has partnered with WRAP in support of the first ever Food Waste Action Week (1-7 March) to tackle food waste and help save the planet.

The initiative, part of WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign, aims to help people make the connection between household food waste and the impact it has on the environment.

Sodexo has long been committed to this goal and has made a pledge to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030, in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals, through its data-driven food waste reduction programme, WasteWatch by LeanPath.

This initiative enables Sodexo teams to capture food waste data, giving clear insights into what is being wasted in their kitchens and why. Teams can then implement operational and behavioural changes to help end avoidable food waste, whether generated in the kitchen or by consumers.

Sodexo will roll out WasteWatch by Leanpath to 100% of relevant sites by 2025. One office site in Sodexo’s corporate services business that recently introduced the technology has already seen an average food waste reduction of 9.5kg per week through, for example, cooking in smaller batches, not peeling carrots, and sharing tips among the team on reducing wastage.

Ana Svab, Corporate Responsibility Manager for Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “A third of all food produced globally ends up in landfill, and yet 870 million people go hungry everyday, making food waste one of the greatest contributors to climate change and biggest scandals of our time. 

“There are many reasons for this waste, including overproduction and expiration.

But as a leading food services provider, we have a responsibility to help combat food waste across our operations. 

“Food Waste Action Week is a fantastic opportunity to help make the connection between the food that goes to waste and the effect this has on our environment, and we will be sharing tips and recipes with our own teams and with our customers to help highlight to role we all play in reducing food waste.

With food waste reduction a strategic priority for Sodexo, teams are regularly encouraged to consider how small changes to daily operations can make a big impact. The company holds an annual WasteLESS Week competition, with sites using their own initiative to look at ways to reduce waste. 

The winner of the 2020 competition was the team at one of Sodexo’s corporate services client sites, who used insight from food waste collected across their site to pinpoint common problem areas. By increasing batch cooking and more careful management of grab-and-go items, the team was able to reduce food waste by 75% over a two-week period, from 14kg down to 3kg. 

During Food Waste Action Week, Sodexo will be sharing tips from chefs on how to make food go further and use up items that often get thrown away. 

Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP, said: “Wasting food is a major cause of climate change – it generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all the commercial flights in the world. We know through our research that the climate change emergency matters to people so this is something we can – and must – act on together. It is time to focus on saving one of our most precious resources instead of generating greenhouse gases producing food that is never eaten

"I’m delighted to be launching the first UK Food Waste Action Week in March, and to have such strong support from our partners, like Sodexo, across sectors

Together we will inspire real and lasting change. Food Waste Action Week gives organisations a unique opportunity to capture their customers’ attention as part of a national event and help them to play their part in eliminating food being wasted and tackling climate change.” 

Sodexo’s commitment to reducing food waste is part of its wider recently-launched Social Impact Pledge 2021. Find out more about Sodexo’s social impact commitments here. 

Follow #foodwasteactionweek for hints and tips.

Kraft Heinz brings Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo to foodservice #

Kraft Heinz has launched Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo into foodservice, following a resounding thumbs up from retail.

With the same great taste and creaminess as much-loved [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise, Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo is a Heinz first in foodservice.
The launch is perfectly timed to tap into increased interest in vegan, plant-based and flexitarian diets – burgeoning business for foodservice. In fact, recent research from Mintel shows that 25% of young British Millennials (aged 21-30) say that they now see a vegan diet more appealing. The research also revealed that a vegan diet is proving more attractive to 12% of all British consumers[1].

[1] Mintel, June 2020
Growing enthusiasm for health and sustainability is also driving consumer calls for ‘clean’ products and Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo is a great back and front of house choice for operators, with its clean labelling – no artificial colourings or flavourings.

The thick and creamy texture of Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo makes it ideal not only for topping dishes but also a great base for creating special sauces due to heat friendly formulation.

Claire Traynor, Head of Foodservice UK&I at Kraft Heinz says: “Our taste test research reveals that 71% of chefs would use Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo in some way at their restaurants, with most chefs saying they prefer Heinz over competitors as it tastes closer to regular mayo.

“This makes Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo an ideal solution for consumers with varying dietary requirements who choose to eat together. We’re delighted to bring a plant based Seriously Good Mayo to foodservice to bridge the gap and help operators provide a tasty vegan alternative from Heinz, a brand consumers know and love

Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo is available in 875ml squeezable bottles and 5l pails, with a 12- and a 9-month shelf life, respectively.

And operators can give it a try for themselves, on us. To get a free sample (while stocks last), email with your name, business, address and telephone number.

The Access Group acquires Acteol and expands its presence and customer support in the Hospitality and Leisure sector #

The Access Group, a leading business solutions and software provider for mid-sized organisations, today announced the acquisition of Acteol, the UK’s leading provider of CRM software and contracted marketing managed services to the hospitality, leisure, travel, and gaming sectors. Acteol will be incorporated into The Access Group’s Hospitality division, which delivers an industry leading hospitality management suite that transforms the guest experience for more than 1,500 customers in the UK.  
The addition of Acteol to Access Hospitality is the latest in a series of best-of-breed solutions that provide a fully integrated technology service for multiple operators within the hospitality and leisure sectors.   
Henry Seddon, Managing Director of Access Hospitality commented “The acquisition of Acteol reinforces Access Hospitality’s position as the UK’s No 1 provider of software solutions for hospitality and leisure businesses. We are dedicated to supporting our clients through every customer, supplier and employee interaction, offering end to end solutions that drive efficiency and improve their business operations. The addition of a market-leading CRM platform to Access Hospitality’s existing product range of over 20 integrated Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions creates a definitive modular option that is flexible and can be scaled for any size of multiple operation. 
“With business leaders recognising the growing importance that technology plays as they recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, integrating a CRM system into the Access portfolio creates an unrivalled business building proposition. Organisations use Acteol to create a single customer view where all their customer data is in one place, cleaned, de-duped and enriched. This allows more effective and efficient multi-channel marketing to customers, creates more meaningful connections, greater customer engagement and therefore sales. We are excited by the additional opportunities that will come from integrating Acteol CRM capabilities with Access Hospitality’s existing solutions, including EPoS, reservations, and ticketing. This will provide great opportunities for our existing customers as well as increasing the growth potential for Acteol client base.
Stephen Powell, Director of CRM at Acteol added “The Access Group is recognised for its experience in accelerating product development, investing in customer success and providing software that gives their customers the freedom to focus on guest experiences – all principles which Acteol holds dear. We are looking forward to Acteol continuing this journey with Access and becoming bigger and better. Each of our customers will be able to take advantage of a far-reaching suite of best-in-class solutions, delivered from a single supplier, through a single platform and we are excited that Acteol will now be an integral part of such an effective technology portfolio.” 
Henry Seddon concluded, “Access Hospitality’s strategy is to continue bringing new and innovative products to market and Acteol is a natural fit within our expanding technology solutions. We believe there will be particular benefit of integrating Acteol into Access Workspace, which powers the tools that increase engagement and share information across all business functions. Adding the capability of Acteol CRM to our current product range will play an important role as Access Hospitality continues to deliver the high levels of support and service that our customers have come to expect.”

Sodexo UK & Ireland announce changes within its Corporate Services leadership team ​ #

Sodexo has announced the appointment of Gemma Lynch as Head of Business Development and Mark Hill becomes Director of Strategy and Transformation for its corporate services business in the UK and Ireland. 

Gemma joined Sodexo’s business development team in 2018 and has played a key role in securing some major contracts for the corporate services business. Her experience includes ten years in operational roles across the corporate, healthcare and government sector as well as extensive sales experience where Gemma utilised her operational experience to practice solutioning bids. 

Mark has worked for Sodexo for 15 years, he has held a broad range of roles across Europe and Asia, from operations, finance, marketing, business development, project management and strategy. Mark relocated to the UK & Ireland from Japan in November 2020. Mark’s role will see him lead the corporate services strategy focused on delivering Vital Spaces. He retains responsibility for digital and innovation which are key enablers of transformation within both Sodexo and its clients’ organisations. 

In Japan, Mark had developed extensive experience of growth through partnerships with leading technology providers, as well as a clear understanding of the role that digitalisation plays in complex client transformations. He pioneered the development of the Twelve Pay platform with Dynamify which was initially deployed in Japan and launched in the UK last September. 

Julie Ennis, CEO Corporate Services Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “It is clear that the B2B and consumer landscape has changed considerably and we know the importance placed on us to help our clients create the right workplace environment and offer the right worklife services for their people. 

“I look forward to working with Gemma and Mark as we continue to develop workplace and digital solutions through our Vital Spaces value proposition which will help us, and our clients, thrive, in both the short and long-term

RSPCA Assured reports soaring accreditations and recognition #

The RSPCA’s Freedom Food ethical food scheme was rebranded as RSPCA
Assured in 2015

The number of food products carrying the RSPCA Assured label grew by
52% between 2016 and 2020, new data from the accreditation scheme
has revealed.

The scheme now has more than 1,100 accredited product lines, while the
number of animals farmed under the scheme rose by 63% between 2015
and 2020, from about 15.9 million terrestrial animals in 2015 to 25.9
million in 2020.

This equated to almost 12% of the UK terrestrial farming market for the
species covered by RSPCA Assured, while the majority of all Scottish
salmon farms were also also now under the scheme, it said.

Following Freedom Food’s rebranding to RSPCA Assured in 2015 –
which was undertaken to increase the scheme’s visibility to shoppers –
the label was now recognised by 64% of young professionals and families
(its target market), it added.

This was more than three times the awareness level of 19% measured
when the new logo first launched in 2015, vastly exceeding the charity’s
expectations. General consumer awareness had also continued to
increase from 15% in 2015 to 58% today, the scheme said.

Despite an incredibly turbulent 12 months, fraught with the challenges
of Covid-19, avian influenza and Brexit, these results show that the trend
for ethical food is unwavering
,” said RSPCA Assured CEO Clive Brazier.

Consumers are standing firm by farm animal welfare even during the
toughest of times, which means the future is looking very promising for
higher-welfare farming

Sodexo celebrates International Women’s Day by launching programme to engage female prison leavers #

To mark International Women’s Day 2021, Sodexo is launching a series of virtual engagement events designed to help female prison leavers get back into employment.

The sessions will be delivered as part of Sodexo’s SheWorks programme, aimed at introducing women to new job opportunities they may not have previously considered and will focus on female offenders approaching prison release.

Virtual sessions will be delivered in two of Sodexo’s female prisons, HMP Bronzefield in Surrey and HMP Peterborough, as well as HMP Drake Hall in Staffordshire.

Each event will include guest speakers from across Sodexo’s business talking about their jobs and careers. There will also be an opportunity to identify job opportunities with partner organisations and employability guidance and advice.

Working in partnership with New Futures Network, a department of the Ministry of Justice, suitable participants, have been identified for the programme and will be inspired to think about their interests and options once released.

Janine McDowell, CEO Sodexo Justice said: “Women in prison often face a number of hurdles when trying to secure employment on release, which for many is a crucial step towards resettling back into the community. 

“This new series of Sodexo’s SheWorks webinars will hopefully offer inspiration to women looking to embark upon a new life journey – one that will open-up new job and career opportunities and ultimately help them back into employment

Sodexo continues its commitment to celebrate and empower women on International Women’s Day, investing year on year in initiatives to accelerate the progress towards gender equality and societal change by empowering women in communities. 

Having planned to launch the SheWorks programme to ex-offenders in 2020, Sodexo delayed the project because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, the programme will engage with the women via a series of virtual events and will also be extended to a number of other prisons once the easing of current restrictions allows. 

Beverley Toone, Women’s Estate Group Employment Broker said: “New Futures Network and the Women’s Prison Estate welcome this partnership. 

“We look forward to working with Sodexo to help provide employability support and employment opportunities for our women, which in turn will help to reduce re-offending

The programme has also been welcomed by the equalities lead for HMPPS women’s estate, Laurie Buckton who said: “The women in our prisons often find it challenging to gain employment on release, which is why initiatives such as the SheWorks programme are so important to help them to gain valuable skills, and inspire them to have the confidence to apply for jobs in the community.” 

As part of its social impact pledge and commitment to creating local career pathways, Sodexo aims to fill 5% of its job vacancies with prison leavers and those with an offending background by 2023, where appropriate to do so. 

More information about the pledge is available here.

Nestlé Professional 2021 Toque D'Or Competition reveals new format for entry #

With the continued lockdown measures in place, Nestlé Professional reveals a new format to enter its 2021 Toque d’Or competition which comes into effect today until submissions close on 16 March. 

While previously the entry task consisted of a practical assignment, this year participants will be asked to complete a virtual assessment. Competitors will receive links to reading material on the topic of sustainability and nutrition, and will need to complete a set of multiple-choice questions on 18  March between 8.00am and 11:59pm. 

Competitors will also need to complete a one-minute selfie-style video explaining why they are passionate about hospitality and why they should be selected as 2021 Toque d’Or contestants.   

Katya Simmons, Managing Director of Nestlé Professional UK&I, says: “I am absolutely delighted to announce the new 2021 Toque d’Or competition entry format.”   

Our aim has always been to support the next generation and provide them with the opportunity to learn and grow in their career. Changing the format of the entry task to one that is virtual ensures that the competition remains accessible to all aspiring professionals. I’m excited about what the 2021 competition has to offer and wish all those entering the best of luck.”  

Updated Timeline:  

·         Registration deadline – 16 March 
·         Virtual assessment – 18 March 
·         Heat task communicated – 26 March
·         Virtual cooking challenge to take place - 15 April  
·         Finalists announced – 30 April 
·         Grand finals hosted – w/c 28 June 
·         Awards (on the last day of the finals) - w/c 28 June 
·         Awards broadcast – July 2021  

The news comes on the back of the announcement of MasterChef winner Louisa Ellis and educator and drinks expert Alison Taffs being selected as judges for the heats.  Both judges will lend their expertise to a cohort of up to 320 youngsters throughout the heats when the competition kicks off in March.  

To register or for more information, please click here  

Smart Group appoints Chloe Jackson as Managing Director #

As the events industry begins to blossom following the announcement of the government’s latest road map, Smart Group are delighted to announce the appointment of their new Managing Director, an internal promotion of Chloe Jackson (nee Martin).

Jackson steps into the role with immediate effect having begun her journey with the Group almost seven years ago, joining Moving Venue as Senior Events Manager shortly before Smart Group acquired the brand. From there she has enjoyed a meteoric rise, including positions as Head of Sales, Sales Director and Deputy Managing Director of the catering division before her latest promotion.

Greg Lawson CEO of Smart Group first met Chloe when judging the Rising Star at the Event Awards 2014 which Chloe went on to win and comments ‘When I met Chloe for the Event Awards, her presentation was just outstanding. Her level of verve, passion and confidence was mesmeric and as she left the room, I spoke the famous last words of “You will work for me one day”. She has excelled in every single role that she has held and in the last challenging year, has stood shoulder to shoulder with me as we have battled through this pandemic together. I am delighted that she now holds the appropriate title.’

Commenting on her appointment Jackson said: "To think that almost 8 years ago, I sat in the audience of the Event Awards 2013 watching Smart Group win award after award following their role as caterer for the London 2012 Olympics, and here I now am leading them into the future alongside Greg. The last year has taught me so much, and with the light finally glistening at the end of the tunnel, I look forward to bouncing back with an incredible team of individuals. I am very proud to work for a progressive organisation, who have always placed talent and determination above age and gender."

The Rick Stein Group Diversification Stimulates Technology Transformation #

A move into new revenue streams within The Rick Stein Group business portfolio has stimulated the decision to transform technology systems across the company. The existing restaurant, cookery school, retail and online shop operations have been boosted by the launch of Stein’s at Home food boxes and Access Procure Wizard from the Access Group has been selected as the Purchase to Pay (P2P) software to manage its food and beverage procurement centrally. 
David Lawley, Systems Co-ordinator at The Rick Stein Group explained “As we expanded into new business areas it became obvious that there was a lot of duplication between our EPoS, warehouse management and procurement systems with products and ingredients sometimes being loaded three times. The Stein’s at Home menu boxes have proven so popular since their introduction last summer that we recognised our growing e-commerce presence needed an improved P2P system that could keep pace with our expansion, streamline our processes and help cut costs.   
“The Rick Stein Group is a long-standing customer of Access EPoS and we believe the integration that it can provide with other solutions, including Access Procure Wizard, will be a huge benefit to our business. Most of the divisions work from the same recipe ingredients, costs and planning so automating processes, reducing duplication and minimising admin time will help us become more efficient and cut costs
With most of the company’s restaurants, cookery school and retail outlets based in Cornwall, core trade has a seasonal bias and implementation of Access Procure Wizard has been scheduled for the Autumn to provide a smooth transfer during the traditionally quieter winter months.  
Henry Seddon, Managing Director of Access Hospitality said “The Rick Stein Group has a clear strategy of diversification and expansion of its offer and the success of the Stein’s at Home food boxes demonstrates the importance of e-commerce to their plans. Access Procure Wizard will enable all aspects of purchase to pay and food and beverage control across the business to be managed through one system, reducing complexity and duplication but retaining the same high levels of quality and service that is associated with the brand.” 
David Lawley added “Our relationship with Access Hospitality has developed into a genuine partnership and their flexibility and support continues to assist our business growth. We expect the introduction of Access Procure Wizard to drive further efficiencies and believe that a return on our investment will be achieved through reclamation of credits alone. As we continue to review our business development, the integration capability of Access Hospitality’s software will enable us to grow with seamless technology driving efficiency and consolidation of different solutions.”

(Photo copywright James Murphy)

FEA Budget update: ‘Super deduction’ = 130% off your next commercial kitchen appliance #

FEA will push government for energy efficiency R&D incentive for manufacturers

The FEA has welcomed the Budget’s ‘super deduction’ tax incentive because it fully supports the Association’s Net Zero Carbon plans.  Emma Brooks, chair of FEA Net Zero Carbon Forum, confirmed that the Association had checked with government information and that it does apply to foodservice operators buying commercial catering equipment – so long as the appliance is new.  

In addition, a 50% first-year capital allowance will be available for qualifying special-rate assets, giving a further incentive to buy new, more efficient equipment – and helping to meet the industry’s carbon reduction targets.   

Meanwhile, the Chancellor announced a consultation on R&D tax credits for manufacturers.  FEA is hoping that this, too, can be used to back its Net Zero Carbon plan for the foodservice industry.  “One of our key points was to incentivise manufacturers to develop more energy efficient appliances,” says Brooks.  “We will be taking part in the consultation with a view to including energy efficiency as a key criterion in the R&D tax credit scheme.” 

One concern for FEA was that, with more second-hand equipment on the market, foodservice operators buying an appliance might opt for that rather than a new, energy efficient model.  “The super deduction incentive is great news for the Net Zero Carbon plan, because there is no incentive to choose second-hand when the buyer gets a 130% tax credit on new equipment,” says Brooks. 

Meeting the hospitality industry’s carbon reduction targets is a huge challenge,” she adds.  “The proposals outlined in the Budget are a big step forward and endorse key elements that the FEA has requested. This is very good news.” 

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