Members’ News

March 2021

Compass Group UK and Ireland unveils plan to close Opportunity Gap with former Education Secretary #

Compass Group UK and Ireland, the UK’s largest food and support services company, has unveiled an action plan to increase access to career opportunities across the UK, in partnership with former Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening. 

The plan sets out a series of ambitions that Compass will work towards in the wake of COVID-19 with the aim of ensuring that more people are able to progress in careers, unhindered by their background or lack of connections. 

The hospitality and foodservice industries are uniquely positioned to affect positive change because they don’t have the educational barriers of other industries. Compass has the scale and geographic breadth to help and offer thousands of opportunities across the country. 

Compass is one of a pioneering group of UK businesses and universities aiming to set a new and higher standard on boosting social mobility in Britain. As a Recognised Living Wage Service Provider, Compass has a strong advocacy position on pay in partnership with clients, and later this year they will become one of the first companies to begin measuring social mobility in the workforce.

The company was also among the early signatories to the Social Mobility Pledge, cofounded by Justine Greening in 2018, after she left the Government, alongside UK entrepreneur David Harrison, chair of the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility. The pledge is a commitment to levelling up Britain by partnering with local schools, offering apprenticeships and using open and fair recruitment practices. 

More than 550 organisations representing over seven million people have now signed the Social Mobility Pledge.

The launch of Compass’ Opportunity Action Plan, entitled ‘Essential Career Path Guarantee’, is the culmination of months of work with the Social Mobility Pledge team, who identified Compass as a trail blazer in social mobility. 

Rt Hon Justine Greening said: “True social mobility in Britain has been lacking for far too long. Levelling up our country is a challenge that needs a national effort and it’s one that businesses are increasingly rising to. Compass Group UK and Ireland has shown how to deliver essential worker careers, providing fantastic careers for people who were not necessarily even looking for one initially, and who may have started off their time with Compass with little confidence to pursue one. Through their approach, Compass has shown how a business can not only build the chance for careers and progress but make that reality by matching it up with ensuring employees get the support and confidence they need to make the most of those opportunities. Compass has shown that there are no dead-end jobs, only companies who haven’t thought through how to deliver a career path guarantee like this for their employees.

“By publishing this action plan, Compass is part of a coalition of businesses and universities working to deliver a set of levelling up goals that are raising the standard of the environment, social and corporate governance agenda. I look forward to working closely with them in the important months ahead for our country. I’d encourage many more businesses to follow their example and consider how they can go further, faster to make Britain a place where everyone gets the chance to thrive in fulfilling careers.

Donna Catley, Chief People Officer, Compass Group UK and Ireland commented: “At Compass Group UK and Ireland, we believe deeply that everyone must have the opportunity to develop and progress – regardless of where they grew up or what their parents did.

“We can offer the precious “First Rung” on the ladder – the first job that enables a colleague to gain confidence and skills – as well as the chance to progress through our ranks. Every day across thousands of sites we see people whose career has grown with us and our business. Every job is an opportunity to develop skills and confidence – there is no dead-end job. Our ‘Essential Career Path Guarantee’ action plan details steps we must take to help the UK to build back better from the effects of COVID-19

Heinz partners with What the Pitta! to launch The Doner Bap Special featuring Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo #

To celebrate the launch of Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo into foodservice, Heinz has partnered with leading vegan food specialist What the Pitta! to bring its great-tasting new mayo to branches nationwide, via a delicious co-branded new special.
Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo will feature in the operator’s new Doner Bap Special. The two-month tie-up, commencing this week, will see the special sold at What the Pitta! sites, which are currently open for delivery including Manchester, Brighton and Camden, London.
The Doner Bap Special sees Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo top fresh salad, vegan cheese and What the Pitta! signature vegan doner. 
Claire Traynor, Head of Foodservice at Kraft Heinz said: "We are excited to partner with What the Pitta! – a well-loved and truly exciting innovator when it comes to all things vegan. We know that more and more people are choosing to follow a plant based diet, with veganism and flexitarianism continuing steadily on the rise. This brings a fresh opportunity for operators to satisfy this emerging consumer need with vegan menu options that don’t compromise on taste.
“Here at Kraft Heinz, we recognise the importance of offering our customers a plant-based mayo alternative that is versatile, easy to use and most importantly, tastes delicious. The Doner Bap Special created in partnership with What the Pitta! demonstrates how simple it is to adapt menus to be vegan-friendly using Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo
What the Pitta! co-founder Cem Yildiz added: “We are really looking forward to this collaboration – Heinz is a well-loved household brand and it’s great to see them embracing the plant-based movement but also supporting small businesses. Their Vegan Mayo has already been really well received by the vegan community through their launch into retail and we’re excited to build on that.
We were really impressed with the taste, thickness and how well the mayo holds up under heat which has been a real challenge for vegan mayo’s. We can’t wait to add this to What The Pitta’s first ever doner bap!
The What The Pitta x Heinz Doner Bap is available for order via Deliveroo now.

Amazon Fresh ‘Just Walk Out’ Stores: The point most people seem to forget by TWC's Tom Fender #

Those of us who have visited Amazon’s new Fresh store in Ealing (it has now also opened a second store near Wembley) have been impressed by the technology.
Some have commented on the fact that the ‘just walk out’ concept reduces the number of jobs. However, I believe the number of staff deployed in these stores is significantly higher than the average 2.2k sq. feet store – they’re just deployed ‘front of house’ in customer service roles rather than on the tills.

At a time when Nasa has put a probe on Mars, it does make you wonder why we still patiently (or impatiently) queue up to pay for things in stores. Literally hundreds of customer research studies over many years have consistently shown that the biggest customer frustration when shopping (or in hospitality
venues) is the paying part. Why wouldn’t technology make lives easier in this department, when technology makes so many other things easier?  And foodservice has had ‘pay and go’ technology for a while (admittedly it is an easier technical solution than Amazon’s….but the point here is, consumers are getting used to this TYPE of pay and go technology).

Convenience shopping is meant to be quick. This brings ‘frictionless’ – usually used in reference to ecommerce – into physical retail. It gives back time to consumers.

But the biggest advantage Amazon has is not necessarily the technology. They have that now. And it will improve. No, the biggest advantage Amazon has now – and is only going to grow with each customer transaction – is DATA.

While conventional wisdom has held that customer service is Amazon’s secret sauce, Bezos’s core innovation was to place data at the centre of his corporate culture’ David Sellinger wrote in 2014. We have had 7 years to understand and replicate this. How many businesses have?

So here are my thoughts on Amazon Fresh in the UK.
Amazon wants to know everything about you – what you buy, what you listen to, what you’re spending money on. The one major gap in their knowledge bank is ‘food’, despite their purchase of Whole Foods (not exactly a main stream retailer) and Morrison’s (mainly focused on large supermarkets). Will Amazon
need to open up hundreds of ‘Fresh’ stores to get the intelligence/knowledge they need to understand the principles of convenience shopping? Probably not.

You need to be an Amazon Prime customer to get access to the store (although the website suggests other ‘guests’ will be invited). There are over 10 million Amazon Prime customers in the UK. Future store openings will obviously be in places with a high density of Prime customers. Those 10 million Prime customers have made life very easy for Amazon – they have very helpfully given Amazon their precise address. Maybe those clever people at Amazon will send offers direct to those people living close to a new Fresh store, I am one of those customers, what does this mean for me? …….

Amazon can link my food purchases to non-food purchases I make on the Amazon website, building up an even better understanding of me.  Here are some examples: 

 I buy a BBQ on a Monday for delivery on the Thursday – Amazon sends me incentives to buy burgers, beer, sausages
 I buy gym equipment/sports equipment.  They ping me offers on healthy foods too.
 I buy toys or items for a pet – they send me offers for dog / cat food.
 I suddenly start buying items for new born babies (clothes etc) – Amazon starts sending me offers for nappies, baby food etc
Amazon has all transactions logged to a specific individual - their name, address, email address, telephone number (offers can come through multiple sources), interests, hobbies and a pretty good guess at their age. KNOWLEDGE and DATA becomes the BIGGEST COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE in the FOOD
INDUSTRY, not price, not range, not NPD, not promotions, not home delivery.

Amazon will know what food products I buy on a regular basis. Amazon can send me offers to keep me loyal…or to encourage me to ‘trade up’, creating premiumisation on an industrial scale. It also knows what products are typically bought with other products. If I buy product A, but not product B, when most people like me buy Product B with A, then send me an offer to try Product B. This offer voucher will obviously be paid for by the manufacturer of Product B (not by Amazon). The vouchers will be digital, which are much cheaper than paper vouchers. But they also have a far higher ROI for suppliers because they are targeting the right people with the right product – it brings an end to blanket ‘carpet-bombing’ of paper vouchers.

If I suddenly stop shopping at the Amazon Fresh store it can check if I am ok (although the team will know I am heading off on my hols, because I will have bought new shades and sun cream from Amazon in the last few weeks)…. that I am not bedridden (let us send you some paracetamol in a courier: yes Amazon is
getting into UK Pharmacy too) or not annoyed for any reason.  Incentives are sent to re-engage me. So far in this customer journey, Tesco can do a lot of this via its Club Card (as long as a customer remembers to have it into store with them), but let’s consider how much more Amazon can do.
It can link meal occasions to events - so if you download a movie, Amazon can offer linked deals of food and drinks. Amazon can even offer food and drinks based on the type of movie downloaded – certain types of movie are likely to be watched by certain types of people, who will want certain types of food and
drinks (date night, romcom, action, documentary). Amazon will get it occasionally wrong, but machine learning will mean it will learn from mistakes. Of course, a lot of those movies are on Amazon prime so suppliers will be encouraged to sponsor around the movies which are likely to generate the interest in the
products viewers will want to eat/drink.

Amazon also knows what music subscribers listen to and what genre it is, so someone who regularly listens to running playlists, can be targeted with sports products (protein shakes, energy bars) along with gym equipment and clothing.

Amazon knows what its customers are reading too so if a customer buys cookery books, it can offer a discount on food and kitchen equipment.... buy an Indian cookery book - receive an offer for a pestle and mortar and a blender. And some basmati rice, cumin, coriander, turmeric and garam.

Remember, Amazon also has Alexa sitting in many homes so when families start to talk about going a new pair of Nike trainers or the latest tech – who is going to hear about it first and be front of the queue with relevant offers?

It ‘saves’ your purchases so that you can ‘repeat purchase’ again in one easy click. How many purchases in UK c-stores are repeat/regular? 50%? That’s £20bn pa of repeat purchasing in UK c-stores – with almost no effort made by retailers to remind customers and/or simplify the process for them. This might be
called ‘low hanging fruit’ in the corridors of Amazon towers.

Amazon could be capturing so much of a household’s shopping that it could reach a stage where consumers pay a subscription direct debit of £150 pcm and it covers music, food, TV/movies, reading material/books. It is the ultimate in subscription lifestyles - you pay a fixed fee, and Amazon delivers everything. By opening up a chain of physical stores, Amazon is setting up a distribution network for click- and-collect and returns which they can control – ‘the last mile’ is always the most difficult and costly for a distributor. And I suspect there could be quite a few empty commercial premises available for cheap rent (or purchase) following the pandemic.

Don't forget you can also use Amazon as a bank now as well or at least a payment service so if customers shop somewhere else, rather than register payment can be made by Amazon Pay - so the team knows what IS being spent even when it is not with them directly.

Finally, Amazon’s offering helps attract a younger shopper….UK c-stores are predominantly used by older consumers. The opportunities are endless. But it all comes down to DATA. If the word ‘data’ scares you, put it another way – it’s about knowing your customers better than your competitors know their customers and, sometimes, even knowing what your customers want to purchase before they know themselves.

Access Hospitality creates technology suite for operators of 1-3 hospitality sites #

Access Juice launched for small business owners

Leading sector technology provider Access Hospitality, a division of The Access Group, has launched a software package specifically created for independent operators running between one and three hospitality sites. Access Juice is a comprehensive solution that provides affordable, proven technology for smaller operations that can be upgraded as a business develops. For operators looking to open a new pub, bar or restaurant or when replacing several outdated systems, the Access Juice solution will maximise efficiency gains. 
Explaining the development of Access Juice, Henry Seddon, Managing Director of Access Hospitality said “At the start of last year Access Hospitality commissioned a survey to understand the hopes and aspirations of hospitality operators and how technology might help them achieve their goals. More than a third of those running fewer than five sites identified that the tools and technology they would use to build customer loyalty included ease of booking (37.8%), enhanced employee engagement (36.5%) and cashless payment options (36.3%).   
“With this insight added to the greater pressures on small businesses caused by lockdown and trading restrictions, the need to adopt effective and responsive tech has increased even further. It is important that Access Hospitality’s products are available to everyone in a format that is appropriate to their business and meets their needs, particularly by providing the level of detail necessary to operate efficiently and optimise revenue. Access Juice is our response for operators of a single venue or a handful of sites, who want to improve their agility to increase customer and staff engagement, reduce manual processes and receive real time, accurate reporting
At an uncertain time when everyone is preparing to face real operational pressures as they prepare to reopen, the launch of Access Juice gives operators of three or fewer sites the opportunity to align with a market leading provider to futureproof their business through technology” added Henry Seddon. “Giving them, a perfect combination of the tools they need to manage reservations, transactions and stock, schedules and absenteeism at an affordable budget equips them for what will, undoubtedly, be another turbulent few months. Access Hospitality will continue to listen to, and work with, hospitality operators as technology solutions become ever more accepted and common in our society.” 

For more information contact 0845 345 3300 or visit

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse Délifrance sets out bold new sustainability strategy committing to 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by the end of 2025 #

Leading bakery supplier, Délifrance, has ramped up its sustainability strategy as it pledges to reduce, recycle and reuse using only 100% recyclable packaging by the end of 2025.   

Packaging concerns are top of the agenda not only within foodservice and retail but for consumers too. Délifrance recognises the growing need for manufacturers to take action to lead positive change and has set out a roadmap for putting sustainability front and centre of its business objectives.  

The ambitious objective is underpinned by three key pillars:  

·       Reduce – Reducing the weight of each packaging component and the number of components in their packaging system. Adapting product and packaging sizes to reduce the impact of transport. 

·       Recycle – Improve recyclability of Délifrance packaging including plastic colour, type and material combination. Actively switch from plastic to cardboard (or paper-based material). 

·       Reuse – Foster the use of recycled materials and increase reusable packaging within the Délifrance supply chain.  

Stéphanie Brillouet, marketing director for Northern Europe and North America at Délifrance, said: “We know how much of a challenge packaging sustainability is for the food industry. We are also mindful of changing consumer expectations. While the pandemic saw consumers preference to buy products with packaging for hygiene reasons, there is a grave reluctance to make single-use plastic firm fixture in the longer term. Meeting these expectations and minimising our waste footprint is at the heart of our sustainability vision and the work we’re doing with our customers. The continuous innovation in packaging means we can now offer more practical alternatives.  

“We’ve been working behind the scenes for some time to set out a robust roadmap that offers a quality solution for customers as we commit to driving eco-change within the business. And what progress we have made already! 98% of packaging is recyclable and 83% of our packaging is based on recycled materials. Delightfully we are on track to meet our 2025 goal as we increase the use of recycled plastics as food safety and hygiene allows

Délifrance’s sustainability approach is enhanced by the wider business commitment to greener practices across the board. It follows the successful roll out of two initiatives; Go Clean is a pledge to delivering simpler recipes with more sustainable ingredients while No Waste All Taste is designed to support customers in upcycling bakery products to limit food waste.    

To find out more about Délifrance UK and see its full range of bread, viennoiserie, savoury and patisserie products, visit its website at  

21 delegates attend FEA’s free CFSP course for recently unemployed foodservice professionals #

I took the course because I want to work within the foodservice sector for years to come.”

21 delegates recently completed the CFSP Open to Work course organised by the FEA.  The Association offered it for free to people who had been made redundant from the hospitality industry as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The delegates were drawn from every part of the industry, including chefs, managers, kitchen designers and equipment sales professionals, among many other jobs.

Because of lockdown, the course seminars had to be delivered remotely via Zoom. Graham Veal MBA FCIM CFSP, founder and managing partner of GCA Management, lead the course. “Graham did an outstanding job,” says Simon Frost, chair of the FEA’s Education Advisory Group. “Keeping experienced and motivated employees in the foodservice industry is vital, and the expertise afforded by the CFSP course will help the delegates stand out from the crowd. We’re so grateful to him for giving his time to this worthy cause.”

While the seminars were delivered remotely, the exam had to be held ‘physically’.  In order to reduce the distances delegates had to travel, the exam was held in three locations on Wednesday 17th March, at First Choice Group in Cannock, in Central London and at Nisbet’s National Catering Equipment Centre in Bristol.

I made the switch to hospitality due to wanting to move away from the healthcare sector,” says Sebastian Hallett, one of the delegates who took the course. “And I’ve not looked back! I took the course because I want to work within the foodservice and hospitality sector for years to come.”

The successful delegates join the ranks of the over 600 people in the UK who have previously passed the course and become accredited.  The Certified Food Service Professional scheme is internationally recognised and is designed to support, develop and increase levels of knowledge within the industry by giving foodservice professionals a complete understanding of how catering businesses and commercial kitchens work.

The Open for Work had the same content, benefits and cachet as the standard CFSP course, and involved a comprehensive study guide that students were expected to read and absorb in advance of the two half-day seminars, which were followed by an exam. The UK CFSP programme is run by FEA, accredited by Highfield Qualifications and the University of West London and certified by the CPD Certification Service.  The FEA is currently assessing whether it will be able to run another Open for Work CFSP course. 

The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) is the authoritative voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing over 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 


Hospitality superstars of 2020 Celebrated at the Springboard Virtual Awards for Excellence #

Springboard UK has announced the winners of this year’s Awards for Excellence, following its much-anticipated virtual event. Celebrating the outstanding achievements in hospitality last year, the winners were selected across 17 categories.

The virtual awards included categories to showcase businesses and individuals who have gone above and beyond, demonstrating the ability to quickly adapt and implement new, successful initiatives to support their employees, communities, key workers and the NHS during the pandemic.
Hosted by British comedian and television presenter, Paul Sinha, the event featured appearances from some of the industry’s biggest names, including Paul Ainsworth, Andi Oliver, Michel Roux Jr and Clare Smyth and was watched by almost 450 industry professionals, media and supporters of Springboard. 
With hundreds of entries, over 40 businesses made the shortlist, with the winners recognised for everything from employee health & wellbeing and staff communication, to the best dine at home experience and most innovative alcohol strategy.
Springboard CEO, Chris Gamm, says: “Despite being faced with such adversary in 2020, the hospitality industry went above and beyond and deserves to be celebrated. All the winners have undertaken amazing work, achieving incredible results, despite the circumstances the sector has been faced with. Springboard are thrilled to be recognising them”.

The event also saw the launch of Springboard’s new fundraising initiative – ‘Virtual Race to Nicaragua’. A trek to Nicaragua was set to take place in Central America itself in March 2020, to raise vital funds for Springboard, but the trip was postponed due to COVID-19.
Marketing and Event Partner, Amy-Jane Cahalane says: “The Virtual Race to Nicaragua will take place wherever you are in the UK and your miles will be tracked online, contributing to your team’s progress. We’re giving everybody the opportunity to get involved, get fit, have fun and raise money for Springboard!” 
Teams of 30 people will be encouraged to cover a mere 5,300 miles throughout May 2021, the challenge is sure to excite walkers, runners and cyclists from the hospitality industry and beyond. Find out more about the virtual race to Nicaragua, here


Premier Foods is expanding its popular Marvel dried skimmed milk range with the addition of the industry’s first fortified instant hot chocolate, perfect for the healthcare and education sectors.
Hot chocolate and malt drinks are popular choices within healthcare and education, worth almost £5 million, as a tasty, convenient and relatively inexpensive solution. Naturally a good source of calcium, Marvel provides an instant hot chocolate with added benefits to help improve the micronutrient intake of all consumers.
Susannah Gilpin, Brand Nutritionist, at Premier Foods, comments: “Marvel has fantastic effects on both macro and micro-nutrient replenishment, boasting significant levels of protein and calcium. In addition, the range has been fortified with vitamins A and D, helping to ensure the normal function of the immune system. As a product that has a source of protein and low in fat, the new instant hot chocolate is the ideal solution for a nutritious and tasty drink that can be provided at snack and mealtimes in care homes, hospitals and secondary education.”
With clear on-pack claims, its selling point of fortification, superior chocolate taste, and less than 1% fat as prepared, Marvel Instant Hot Chocolate will help to offer caterers solutions to provide their residents and pupils with good nutritious options throughout the day.
With strong demand across both healthcare and education, we expect to see new customers buying into the brand, as we’re offering a vegetarian, gluten-free, hot chocolate option with added functional benefits,” continues Gilpin.
Marvel Instant Hot Chocolate is available for healthcare and education customers now (2 x 2kg).

Foodbuy and Chartwells Universities & Colleges Winners at Footprint Awards #

Leading procurement arm of Compass Group UK & Ireland, Foodbuy, won the ‘Social Impact and Diversity’ award; and Chartwells Universities & Colleges took home the ‘Sustainability in Education’ award at the long-awaited Footprint Awards 2020.

Celebrating its 10th year, the Footprint Awards remains the first and only initiative to honour the achievements of companies in the area of sustainability and responsible business practice in the out of home sector and its supply chain.

The ‘Social Impact and Diversity’ award celebrates businesses that have delivered a step change to profitability, whilst also delivering meaningful social impact. Foodbuy claimed the award for its work pioneering social value and procurement with purpose across its supply chain, most notably with social enterprises. In 2020 alone, Foodbuy worked with over 20 different social enterprises, including Change Please – an award-winning coffee company that provides employment to the homeless.

Ian Murphy, Managing Director, Foodbuy UK said: “At Foodbuy, we put sustainability at the heart of everything we do and it’s great to see our work being recognised. Winning a Footprint Award is a testament to our hard work and commitment to source more sustainably and socially across our supply chains. We’re proud to be using our spend, scale and influence to deliver social value for communities, people and the planet.”

Chartwells secured the ‘Sustainability in Education’ award because of the significant impact across its Brunel University site championing sustainable operations, health, wellbeing, and mental health. Sustainability is fundamental to Chartwells’ offer and they actively work with the university, supply chain and local community to drive change, influence choice and help students and staff make informed decisions around catering and sustainability across campus. Resulting in reduced food waste and sustained healthy catering operations for the benefit of all customers.

Kerry Ford, Managing Director, Chartwells Universities & Colleges commented: “We’re extremely proud to have won this award – Brunel University is a shining example of what can be achieved in partnership with our clients. We were challenged to implement and create a culture of sustainable catering operations at the university and once we made operational changes needed to achieve this, we then worked with the University Global Challenge team to help influence and educate students around sustainability to encourage action and change behaviours.”

FEA Industry Conference 2021: new dates, new venue #

Key industry event to run in September

FEA has announced that the annual Industry Conference will run on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16thSeptember 2021, at Chesford Grange, Kenilworth, Covid-19 restrictions permitting. 

The 2020 Conference had to be cancelled and in previous years the event has happened in November. Steve Hobbs, chair of FEA, says, “The Conference is the most important annual forum for the foodservice equipment industry.  As a result of the pandemic many companies are in a state of flux so we felt it was important to run it earlier.  Conference is an opportunity for the industry to exchange ideas as we all look to jump-start the market and rebuild our businesses.” 

Given the unprecedented events of the past 12 months – not to mention Brexit – this year’s Industry Conference will have some noteworthy issues to address.  Several of the topics on the agenda will have been selected by FEA members, following a poll of their views and wishes. 

Numbers are likely to be restricted, but the 2021 event promises to be as thought-provoking and industry-relevant as its predecessors, as well as giving delegates a long-awaited and welcome opportunity to network face to face. 

The FEA AGM will take place on 15th September, followed by the informal dinner.  The next day sees the main conference day, exhibition and awards dinner.  Plans are currently being drawn up for other networking activities, depending on restrictions. 

Chesford Grange offers a superb conference venue, while the hotel combines the character of a historic manor house with modern facilities including a spa.  Surrounded by 17 acres of countryside, it’s easily accessible by motorway and is a short cab ride from Kenilworth or Warwick railway stations. 

We’ll be announcing further details soon,” says Hobbs.  “For now, we wanted to make sure everyone was aware of the dates for 2021.”

For the latest information on the Industry Conference 2021, visit


Nestlé Professional has announced the shortlist of rising industry talent set to compete in the heats of the 2021 Toque d’Or competition. Despite the current climate, this year saw a record-breaking 956 entries from 40 individual colleges and 40 businesses looking to take part in the competition.

This year’s Heats will welcome 112 students, apprentices, and young professionals from a wide range of colleges and employers across the country. Each candidate, lecturer and employer will receive an email from Nestlé Professional to indicate whether they have been successful.

Katya Simmons, Managing Director of Nestlé Professional UK&I, says: “In what has been a challenging year for hospitality, I am delighted with the standard of entries we have received.”

The passion and dedication of each competitor is a credit to our industry, and I
am excited to welcome them to the heats. We are proud to support the next generation and provide them with the opportunity to learn and grow in their career. Good luck to all of the 2021 competitors.

The tasks for the heats have also been announced today. For Back of House, recently crowned winner of MasterChef: The Professionals, The Festive Knockout Louisa Ellis has challenged competitors to create their own vegetarian sauce to accompany her gnocchi dish and demonstrate why it is vegetarian, nutritional, and sustainable. Front of House competitors will need to create a non-alcoholic, mixed drink based on a high-quality Jasmine Green Tea. Educator and drinks expert Alison Taffs will be looking for competitors to consider the nutritional content in their drinks by keeping sugar levels to a minimum. With
the increasing importance of the role of digital in the industry, all competitors will be asked to bring their  dishes and drinks to life via a digital challenge. This will consist of creating a video, a series of stories and a post to present and promote their creations.

All competitors will partake in a virtual cooking / drinks challenge on 15 th April. Once complete, they will package their dishes / drinks for distribution through OLIO, the online platform that connects neighbours and businesses with each other to reduce food waste.

Finalists will be announced on 30 April 2021.

 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

For more information and to see the full list of shortlisted competitors, please click here

Sodexo progresses on its plastic commitments by replacing five items with more sustainable options ​ #

Sodexo has strengthened its commitment to remove single-use plastic items from its operations by making available only wood, paper, cardboard or fibre-based take-away bags, straws, plates, cutlery and stirrers.  

Sodexo becomes the largest foodservice provider to implement such a commitment in Europe, going beyond the upcoming European Union Single-Use Plastic Directive taking effect July 1st, 2021. 

This marks a significant milestone in the company’s commitment to prioritise alternatives to plastic for single-use items in its operations and sees the phasing out of remaining stock of plastic items at concerned sites across Europe. 

From 1 March 2021 Sodexo UK and Ireland has stopped the use of these five items as well as single use polystyrene at all appropriate foodservice sites. Exceptions are currently being made for its justice and healthcare sites where alternative-material options are not always adequate for medical reasons inline with guidance or for security concerns, at these sites Sodexo will keep the use of single-use plastic items to a minimum. 

Simon Mussett, head of waste management at Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “We understand the role we play in the global efforts to reduce the use of plastics in our daily lives. We are embedding circular economy approaches in our offers to clients and our operations to ensure all waste streams have a beneficial use and nothing goes to waste

In the UK and Ireland we began the phasing out of these products in May 2018 with the removal of plastic straws and stirrers, this was followed in January 2020 with the banning of purchasing polystyrene and single use plastic bags. Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic the purchase of some polystyrene items was permitted, but we are pleased that from the beginning of this month we have renewed our commitment and focus on eliminating the use of these products at all sites where we can

This is a positive step for Sodexo in our fight to tackle unnecessary waste and by eliminating the use of single use plastic versions of these five items and single use polystyrene we will remove some 38 million single use plastic items.” 

Sodexo is also working with local authorities, suppliers and partners towards reusable options and increased recycling rates at our sites. For remaining plastic items used in its foodservice sites such as central kitchen containers, take-away food containers, cups and lids, Sodexo continues to evaluate sustainable alternatives. 

Reducing our reliance on single-use plastic is part of the positive impact of doing business with Sodexo. Last month Sodexo UK and Ireland published its latest Social Impact Pledge, an ethical manifesto setting out its commitments in four impact pathways, People, Planet, Places and Partners.  

Sodexo’s responsibility to protect the Planet remains, as it has always been, at the forefront of its business strategy.  It conducts its business in such a way that it brings positive impact to the world, drives progress, and respects the resources on which our future depends. 

This means implementing a strategy of reducing, recovering, and repurposing to minimise or eliminate waste and to reduce unnecessary energy consumption. These activities will enable us to help cut carbon, not only at Sodexo, but also in partnership with our clients and supply chain.