Employee Development Prioritised in Hospitality and Retail Sector as The Access Group Acquires CPL Learning to Strengthen its Customer Proposition #
The Access Group has announced its acquisition of CPL Learning, the UK’s leading learning and development partner for the hospitality and retail sectors. CPL Learning will be incorporated into The Access Group’s sector specific Hospitality division, which partners with more than 1,500 customers in the UK, to deliver cost savings, improve productivity and give them the freedom to focus on guest experiences.
The addition of CPL Learning to the Access Hospitality Management Suite is the latest in a series of best-of-breed market-leading solutions that provide a fully integrated technology service for multiple operators within the hospitality and retail sectors. Jamie Campbell, Director of Learning – Hospitality, of CPL Learning will join Access Hospitality to support the integration of resources across the two businesses and a seamless transition for customers.
Henry Seddon, Managing Director of Access Hospitality commented, “The acquisition of CPL Learning 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 business operations. The addition of the UK’s market-leading learning and development platform to Access Hospitality’s existing product range of Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions and services designed specifically for the hospitality, retail and leisure industries enables clients to engage, educate and empower their teams through cutting-edge digital technology.
“The importance of well trained and motivated employees will be crucial for post pandemic recovery and subsequent business growth as they are the face and service of exceptional hospitality experiences. With uncertainty remaining about staff availability, potential skill gaps and measures to restrict operational freedom, ongoing training and development is essential for businesses to thrive as well as supporting recruitment and retention through provision of a clearly defined career path.
“Operators use CPL Learning to unlock the potential of their teams through pioneering learning and development solutions” continued Seddon “and they are recognised for working closely with clients to meet and exceed their learning and engagement needs. Specialising in digital tools, learning content and delivery methods that engage, inspire and deliver results, the CPL Learning expertise will complement Access Hospitality’s own commitment to unlocking the potential and support of teams. We are excited by the additional opportunities that integrating the CPL learning and development capability with Access Hospitality’s existing solutions, including HR & Workforce Management, EPoS, CRM, reservations and CRM, will provide for our customers as well as increasing the growth potential for their own client base.”
Jamie Campbell, Director of CPL Learning 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 CPL Learning holds dear. We are looking forward to CPL Learning continuing this journey with Access and becoming bigger, brighter, 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 Access Workspace and we are excited that CPL Learning 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 CPL Learning is a natural fit within our expanding technology solutions. We believe there will be particular benefit of integrating CPL Learning into Access Workspace, which powers the tools that increase engagement and share information across all business functions. Adding the capability of CPL Learning’s platform 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 receive.”
Heinz Fit 4 Future research reveals what parents and school children want for their lunch and the planet #
Heinz have released a new guide revealing how parents, teachers and schools can deliver nutritious and exciting meals to school children.
The guide, called Fit 4 Future, shows that under half (43%) of school children aged 6-16 ‘like’ their school lunches, 17% ‘love’ them and nearly one-third (32%) think they’re ‘OK’. Children are more interested in their food than ever before – they want to be kind, do good and look after our planet. And more than half (52%) of children would like their school to recycle more to help the planet.
The research which features a Onepoll survey of 1,000 parents of children aged 6-16 in the UK, highlights that there’s room for improvement with 47% who want more menu options, 33% want better quality food, 25% want to try new tastes and flavours from around the world and 20% want more veggie and vegan menu options.
Claire Traynor, Head of Foodservice UK&I at Kraft Heinz says: “The guide underlines the opportunity to meet the needs of parents and school children and in line with the National Food Strategy, now is the time to create a food system that restores our health and the environment and ensures all children get the nutrition they need.”
“Heinz is committed to partnering with educational institutes in ongoing research and supporting their food health objectives. The Fit 4 Future research findings will help parents, teachers, and catering decision-makers in schools provide nutritionally balanced and healthy options for children’s school menu choices.”
The study reaffirms parents’ and schoolchildren’s love of Heinz No Added Sugar Beanz and is set to remain an integral part of a balanced school lunch menu.
Beanz proved a clear favourite among school kids and they’re keen for fun, new ways to eat them – on pizza, in toasties and sausage bakes.
Claire Traynor, Head of Foodservice UK&I at Kraft Heinz says: “We think it’s important to make sure schools have the right products in the right format and size so that pupils can enjoy delicious and nutritious meals every day. We’re proud to help schools serve up meals that kids love, whether it’s our No Added Sugar Beanz or Tomato Ketchup with 50% less sugar and salt.”
The Fit 4 Future guide features advice and top tips for schools, plus lots of great recipe ideas to eat healthy with Heinz.
FEA launches Foodservice Top 100 Social Media Influencers award #
Awards celebrate efforts of individuals who are boosting the hospitality sectors’ recovery
FEA has announced a new awards scheme that celebrates all the great work that has taken place within the industry and the invaluable information that has been shared throughout one of the toughest periods ever experienced. The FEA Foodservice Top 100 Social Media Influencers is an opportunity to recognise those who inspire, innovate and educate our sector, and to highlight the impact of those people whose work has encouraged the industry through the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“These individuals continue to play a vital role in supporting the foodservice equipment and hospitality sectors to build back better, and social media has been key to reaching so many people across the board,” says Steve Hobbs, chair of FEA. “The awards are the opportunity to acknowledge and applaud their efforts and their successes.”
Anyone can nominate individuals who they think are the most influential people within the industry across their respective digital platforms. They can enter as many people as they wish, and FEA is encouraging nominators to share their involvement on social media, using #FEAFoodService100. The closing date for nominations is 30 June 2021.
On July 1, the top 250 nominees will form an initial longlist. The longlist will then be independently evaluated, based on expert appraisal of their real world industry impact and digital media influence. Following the evaluation, the list will then be scaled down to a ranked list of 100 people.
The FEA Foodservice Top 100 Social Media Influencers will be announced at an awards ceremony on 15 September, as part of the FEA Industry Conference 2021. People can nominate their top influencers by filling in the quick-form here.
For the latest news on the FEA Foodservice Top 100 Social Media Influencers, check out the Association’s social media channels, using #FEAFoodService100.
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 www.fea.org.uk
M&S launch new range of RSPCA Assured products #
We’re so pleased to announce that Marks & Spencer is now expanding its RSPCA Assured range to include all fresh eggs, pork, farmed salmon and farmed trout,Oakham Gold chicken and milk.
In 2017, M&S become the first retailer to offer RSPCA Assured milk and is still the only retailer to offer 100% RSPCA Assured milk to customers. Our Head of Farming, Joe Bailey, states:“We’re delighted that M&S is leading the way in committing to stocking the widest range of RSPCA Assured products of any UK retailer. We know customers recognise and trust the RSPCA Assured logo and standards as it helps them to make better choices on their weekly shop.
Following on from milk, there are now hundreds of higher welfare options available to M&S customers – from eggs and sausages to salmon. And not only is it good news for shoppers but animals as well. M&S' commitment to RSPCA Assured means many millions of farm animals will benefit from being cared for to strict RSPCA welfare standards.”
Tilda Chef Team of the Year Returns for 2021! #
Tilda Chef Team of the Year 2021 is officially open for entries, with the live chef final due to take place in London, this June.
As part of Salon Culinaire and in conjunction with the Craft Guild of Chefs, one of foodservice’s hotly anticipated chef competitions is back with the chance to win the famous blue trophy and bank a gastro trip to Italy, for when restrictions allow.
The top prize consists of a two-night trip to Vercelli and the Piedmont region for the winning team. You’ll visit the spectacular rice paddies and mills responsible for the world-famous Tilda rice and explore one of Italy’s oldest cities whilst enjoying Vercelli’s best, local produce and food festivals.
But that’s not all, three chef teams will place as runners-up and will be given Tilda Rice Goody Hampers for their kitchen, and the chance to experience the fantastic taste of Tilda in their dishes. In addition to this, the hamper will include aprons, mouse mats, Huski cups and tote bags to celebrate Tilda’s 50th anniversary.
Speaking about the competition, Annette Coggins, Head of Foodservice, Tilda UK says:
“The events of the past year have been challenging for us all and hospitality has had it quite tough. But if we know chefs, and I think we do, they’re a resilient bunch and are keen to get back into the kitchen doing what they love the most! We are so excited to be bringing Tilda Chef Team of the Year back and to see some first-class cooking on show this summer!”
Chefs can register for the competition now by visiting https://internationalsalonculinaire.co.uk/salon-live/ by 21st May 2021, with the live final taking place on Wednesday 9th June, at the University of West London.
In the final, there will be 45 minutes to prepare four portions of a main and dessert. The winning chef team will need to put Tilda rice at the heart of their dishes. With the judges looking for creativity, and an entry that celebrates all the amazing global cuisines, trends and flavours that are inspiring today’s menus, from plant-based to street food.
To help chefs get ready, Tilda is offering exclusive one-to-one sessions in May. From choosing the right rice for the right dish with Tilda’s extensive speciality rice range, to tips and advice on the criteria and how to secure those all-important bonus points in the final. Chefs can register their interest by contacting the Tilda team by emailing FoodserviceEnquiries@tilda.com.
“Our rice is so versatile and choosing the right rice for your dish is half the fun! We’re proud to have such an extensive range that can cater for every need and cuisine. We’re so looking forward to seeing what chef teams will come up with in this year’s competition - be adventurous with your entries and don’t be afraid to take risks to impress the judges!”
Endorsed by the Craft Guild of Chefs, Tilda’s specialty range hosts a wide variety of delicious rice, starting with chef favourite - Easy Cook Basmati with its elegant and natural appeal. The range also includes the nutty and aromatic Easy Cook Basmati and Wild, the naturally Fragrant Jasmine Rice and the deliciously creamy Arborio from Po Valley. The extensive selection offers great tasting rice every time, with the natural ability to absorb and enhance the flavour of a dish.
Tilda’s independent research has found that three quarters of consumers would pay more when seeing a named rice on the menu, versus a non-named variety. To learn more about elevating your plate, visit https://www.tilda.com/professionals/article/make-menu-work/.
Access Collins Reports Record-Breaking Bookings With Four Reservations Made Every Second #
Access Collins and DesignMyNight have witnessed a never-seen-before spike in bookings and reservation enquiries as the software received four bookings per second on 12th April
After being closed since December 2020 due to another national lockdown, hospitality has bounced back with record-breaking numbers under its belt. Across DesignMyNight, the UK’s leading nightlife and discovery platform, and Access Collins, the leading booking and enquiry management software dominating the hospitality market, it has been recorded that four bookings were made every second on 12th April across the B2C website and the software which has over 6,000 clients.
DesignMyNight had over 1,500 users on the site per second on 12th April and recorded a 1,021% increase in searches for outdoor areas compared to 12th March (18 days after the public were addressed by the Prime Minister about the reopening plan), alongside a 755% increase in users visiting beer garden channels.
Katie Kirwan, Head of Content and Website, commented “While it's been a turbulent 12 months of reorganising content, keeping our users entertained with lockdown inspiration and being there for every whiff of reopening news, positive or not, we're so excited to see our website thrive with the positive return of hospitality. We can't wait to share more outdoor content, restaurant reopening’s and get back to the all-important business of drinking at the pub.”
Sarah Groves, Sales and Events Manager of Youngs, stated that “pubs with large outside spaces and gardens were in high demand after the roadmap announcement on the 22nd February with many SW London pub gardens booking up within 24 hours for the first weekend.” To put this into perspective, a weekday at The Ship in Wandsworth would usually have around 50 to 70 covers booked. On April 12th they had 687 which was similar to their sister pub, The Leather Bottle in Earlsfield, which secured 637 covers. The coming weekend, being the first out of lockdown, is also completely booked out at the two award-winning pubs with 807 covers booked for The Ship and 902 for The Leather Bottle.
Sarah has also reported “a large increase for large garden bookings for 17th May onwards (up to 30ppl) as well as party occasions due to guests wanting to celebrate missed occasions, birthdays and so on”.
DesignMyNight’s Concierge & Venue-Sourcing Service have seen private event enquiries for the summer months and beyond rise by 386% since the Prime Minister’s roadmap announcement in February 2021. The team have also seen a 470% increase in party planning requests compared to this time last year. Moving forward, the concierge team will be re-branding to ‘Premium Concierge’; providing an exclusive one-on-one service for corporate parties and special events with budgets of £10,000+ whilst also working to improve the private hire pages across DesignMyNight so that smaller groups and lower budgets can easily source their own venues.
There is also a guide put together by Katie Kirwan, Head of content and website at DesignMyNight, which looks at how hospitality operators can get the most out of their website and social accounts to maximise SEO and footfall for their customers. Click here to access the guide.
Heinz dials up partnership with What the Pitta! to create The VFC Burger #
Following the launch in March of Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo into foodservice, Heinz is continuing its partnership with leading vegan food specialist What the Pitta! to bring its great-tasting new mayo to branches nationwide via another delicious co-branded special.
Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo will feature in the operator’s new VFC Burger Special. The month-long tie-up, commencing this week, will see the tasty new special sold at What the Pitta! sites, including Manchester, Brighton and Camden, London.
The VFC Burger Special sees Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo top a mouth-watering vegan fillet from the recently launched VFC brand together with sliced dill pickles, tomatoes, red cabbage and shredded lettuce all encased in a popular vegan brioche bun.
Claire Traynor, Head of Foodservice at Kraft Heinz said: “We are delighted to be continuing our successful partnership with What the Pitta! and have no doubt that the specially created VFC Burger Special will be just as popular as the Doner Bap Special. Also featuring Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo, the Doner Bap Special has been available since March and has proved to be a real success with What the Pitta! customers.
“With veganism and flexitarianism now firmly on the food map due to more and more people choosing to follow a plant-based diet, it is important that operators are able to satisfy this growing consumer need with vegan menu options that leave happy customers coming back for more. Heinz [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo is there to help as it is versatile, easy to use and, of course, utterly delicious.”
What the Pitta! co-founder Cem Yildiz added: “We are really excited to be continuing our collaboration with Heinz and their delicious vegan mayo. Their vegan mayo for foodservice is helping restaurants to embrace the growing plant-based movement without compromising on taste and quality. It ticked all the boxes for us – tasty, super thick and able to hold up under heat. Can’t wait to see how customers react to bringing it together with VFC’s delicious chick*n fillets!”
VFC co-founder Matthew Glover concluded: “Having launched our Vegan Fried Chick*n company only in December 2020, we are thrilled to now be in partnership with Heinz and What the Pitta!. This three-way collaboration is taking plant-based eating to the next level, offering consumers products that complement each other perfectly to create what I see as the ultimate burger!”
The What The Pitta! x Heinz [Seriously] Good VFC Burger is available at What The Pitta! Manchester, Brighton and Camden, London sites and for order via Deliveroo now.
ARAMARK UK appoints Brakes as new distributor for the next five years #
Aramark Northern Europe, the award-winning food service provider, has signed a five-year contract with Brakes, a Sysco company, as the new distributor for their UK business.
At the beginning of April Brakes took responsibility for Aramark UK’s entire distribution network across all sectors in England, Scotland, and Wales.
Aramark’s carefully coordinated transition to Brakes is part of a shared commitment for operational efficiency, cost effectiveness, and sustainability. The partnership will seek to remove supply chain complexity and deliver a simple, transparent, and customer-first approach to operations, while ensuring no adverse impact to clients and customers. It is the perfect marriage of a commitment to service excellence and sustainability with a passion for great food at its core.
Stephen Brennan, Supply Chain Director for Aramark Northern Europe, commented on the partnership saying: “We are delighted to grow and expand our partnership with Brakes. Aramark has always had a positive, professional relationship with Sysco distributors around the world, and we look forward to bringing the best of this partnership to the UK.”
Whilst Helen Milligan-Smith, Aramark UK Managing Director, added “We are excited about the expertise, stability, and supply certainty that Brakes will bring to our operations. Both companies share a passion for innovative practices, positive impacts and sustainability and we look forward to doing the right thing for our customers, people and planet.”
Sysco and Aramark already have existing relationships in the U.S., Canada, and Ireland, including Northern Ireland. This partnership commences as Aramark’s 10-year contract with Chef Direct comes to an end in March 2021.
30,000 Miles To Hell and Back #
Trade charity Hospitality Action is calling all cyclists, joggers, runners and walkers regardless of age or ability to collectively cycle, jog, run or walk 30,693 miles…all the way To Hell and Back for a week in June to raise much-needed funds to help hospitality people in crisis.
The event builds on Hospitality Action’s inaugural virtual fundraiser, last year’s 20,000 Mile Hospitality Challenge, which saw over 500 participants combine to travel the coastline of the United Kingdom - and raise over £75,000 in the process.
Since the first lockdown, in March 2020, hospitality workers have experienced unimaginable hardship: lives and livelihoods have been lost; mental health has been challenged; businesses have closed. The past year has been nothing short of hellish, in short, this past year, they’ve been through hell. That’s why Hospitality Action is encouraging supporters to head To Hell and Back for their virtual fundraising challenge, for nine days in June.
Sponsored by Caterer.com, CH&Co, jellybean, Umbrella Training and supported by Champagne Taittinger, Hospitality Action is asking participants to combine their sporting activities to cover an epic 30,693 miles to virtually visit four actual hells on earth: towns called Hell in California, Michigan and Norway; and Hell Creek in Montana. Crucially, this is a return journey. Yes, we’re heading to Hell – but we’re coming back again as a team, just as the UK’s resilient hospitality industry will be back in full attack, in the coming months.
As an incentive for taking part each participant who raises over £150 in sponsorship will automatically be entered into a Prize Draw to win one of 15 bottles of Taittinger Brut Réserve. In addition, a bottle of Taittinger Brut Réserve will be provided to the first 15 participants to raise over £350. The top fundraiser will also be invited to Champagne Taittinger in Reims when we are all able to travel safely, as a personal thank you from the Taittinger family.
The challenge will start at 9am sharp on Thursday 10th June at the virtual starting point of Hospitality Action’s London office. Participants have until 2pm on Friday 18th June to return to the Hospitality Action headquarters finish line having clocked up over 30,000 miles between them. The funds raised will help to support the employees of our much-loved hotels, coffee shops, pubs and cafes who have been some of the worst hit by the outbreak of Covid-19.
Mark Lewis, Chief Executive, Hospitality Action said: “Our industry has been through inconceivable adversity, hospitality folk are struggling like never before. And too many people have struggled in isolation with their mental health. Together, we can and will recover. It’s our collaboration and care for each other that will see us through. Yes, we’ve been to hell this last year, but together we’ll come back from it stronger than ever”.
Harry Murray MBE, Chairman, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa said: “I was proud to be the individual top fundraiser of last year’s virtual challenge, especially as I was the oldest participant. If I can do it you can do it and I hope you will be motivated to join me knowing that funds raised will help many of our hospitality family who have suffered hardship during the Covid crisis”.
Like all good sporting events there will be a pasta supper the night before taking place on Instagram Live. Participants are also encouraged to post snaps of their route and their endeavours to share across social media tagging friends using #ToHellandBack and @hospaction.
By logging your exercise, donating to Hospitality Action and cajoling others to sponsor you and join in, you’ll help make a fundamental difference to hospitality people across the UK. If you can travel To Hell and Back simply follow the instructions and sign up here . All fundraising must be in accordance with government guidelines: https://bit.ly/2SWxly1
As Hospitality opens up - TWC Trends Spring 2021 Report asks will 'Retailtainment' be the buzz word of the future...? #
As Hospitality establishments open their doors, 72% of consumers say they are ‘excited’ to be able to enjoy the experience and atmosphere of eating out again. The pent-up demand for new experience is indisputable.
People have been trapped at home, eating the same meals with the same people and many are desperate to see new people and have new consumption experiences.
Launching its inaugural TWC Trends Spring 2021 Report, published today (15.4.21) available for purchase (https://twcgroup.net/register-twc-trends-1/), leading intelligence and technology consultancy, TWC, has highlighted that there are five key themes for operators and restaurateurs to consider across Foodservice and Hospitality in the months ahead in order to adapt and thrive:
1. Online Explosion - The Digitalisation and Delivery of Food and Drink and the impact on Foodservice (and Convenience)
2. Experiential Hospitality & ‘Retailtainment’- Re-thinking the role of bricks and mortar as customers seek personalised, engaging experiences out of home.
3. Do Good Feel Good - Working for a Better World. Social Impact and wellbeing influences consumer choices whether eating in – or eating out!
4. Data & Personalisation - Data is the new oil - one size does not fit all. Are Hospitality establishments using data to really keep ahead of their customers.
5. Save v Splurge - Balancing value as well as premiumisation to meet divergent customer needs.
According to TWC’s Tom Fender, the TWC Trends Spring 2021 study has shown that whilst safety and social awkwardness may play a part in some people’s journey out of lockdown - with 39% of people saying they will return to eating out once they have had their second vaccination - everyone will ultimately want to eat something different, experience something new and enjoy the stimulation of a new environment.
And what TWC calls ‘retailtainment’ in other words ’Experiential Hospitality’ is going to become more and more important as the lines blur between Retail and Hospitality and the sectors consider the implications of the overheads of bricks and mortar and look to cover their costs through offering new services.
He says: “Whether like many of our European counterparts you buy products in a restaurant – or eat out in a convenience store, these lines are blurring and it is all about new experiences which in turn lead to new opportunities for those operators who are prepared to adapt to thrive.
“Furthermore, our data shows that consumers are likely to expect amped up experiences from they can create at home. If they can make a Cappuccino at home, the one they buy out of home will need to be better. If their home cooking is OK, they will want ‘awesome’ when dining out.
Fender also believes that with a significant number of hospitality businesses sadly unlikely to re-open and consumers unable to go out since 2020, everything is up for grabs.
“For those that have made it through and are on the brink of re-opening, summer 2021 is the time to build new customer relationships, focus on the offer and understand how it is resonating. People are likely to be more forgiving initially but perhaps this is the time to take a fresh look at customer experience – what worked before for the old crowd might need tweaking.
“Simple, easy to execute food/beverage solutions that will heighten customer experience are essential right now. Hospitality owner/managers are stressed and stretched – innovative but cost-effective solutions are key”.
The TWC Trends Spring Report 2021 shows that one of the biggest areas of evolution throughout Covid is that of “dark kitchens”. As consumers have turned to ‘take-aways’ over the past year in increasing droves, restaurant kitchens have expanded, taking a share of consumer spend and gaining greater margin due to lower operating costs.
Fender concludes: "This report deliberately focusses on the long-term impacts on consumer behaviour. We believe that the immediate after-shocks of Covid-19 have been copiously covered and the Hospitality Industry has a firm grasp of the likely sales patterns for 2021.
“Meanwhile, there is a paucity of analysis of the seismic shifts that are taking place beneath the surface that will fundamentally and irrevocably change our sector."
To purchase the full TWC Trends report or if you would like TWC to present its findings at your business board/team meetings, please email Sandy MacEwen email@example.com A further report will be published in October 2021 as part of TWC Trends twice yearly tracker study.
The facts behind the stats: FEA members facing serious supply chain challenges #
Companies facing increased price of imports and exports and shortages of raw materials
The Foodservice Equipment Association is highlighting the seriousness of the issues facing its members due to the ongoing and increasing delays in the supply of products and components, caused by both Covid-19 and Brexit.
The last year has already seen significant challenges in the import and export of components and equipment, as the pandemic and the changing regulatory regime both impacted business operations. Before the introduction of new, stricter import controls in April, which were subsequently extended by Government, the FEA asked its members for the facts behind the stats. Members gave feedback about the situation, as lockdown eases and the changes being brought by Brexit begin to bite.
All responding companies noted delays and price increases, causing varying degrees of impact. One said, "We are seeing significant delays and price increases across all commodities. The increases are ranging from 8 to 35%, with almost all commodities seeing double digit increases. The average delays we are seeing on imported commodities is around 6 weeks, with some products hitting 12 weeks."
Sourcing products from the continent is a particular issue now. "Lead-in times are now being quoted at 10-12 weeks, which is nearly double what it was pre-Covid/Brexit," said one respondent. Many companies report adding extra stock to cover for possible delays caused by, amongst other things, the requirement for paperwork to be 100% correct. "Prior to the Brexit deadline we added an additional six week's stock to our normal four," one company reported.
Other members highlighted shortages for raw materials including laminates, stainless and mild steel and castings.
Similarly, the cost of exporting to the continent has risen. "It's costing five times more to ship. Freight and duties of over 20% of the cost of the product are having to be picked up by the receiver. It's adding more headaches into the process."
The recent blockage of the Suez Canal has added yet more delays into the system. Meanwhile, some companies are seeing increases in lead in times as contractors who reduced their workforce during the pandemic aren't able to respond to the increase in new orders as lockdown begins easing.
"The last year has been particularly challenging for many of our members," says Steve Hobbs, chair of FEA. "They have been having to make many tough decisions in order to survive, but the increasing effects of the post-Brexit costs and paperwork is having a huge impact throughout the supply chain.
"It's vital that the government acts to support the work these companies do and ensure that the movement of goods is as seamless as possible to avoid damaging economic recovery."
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 www.fea.org.uk
Six Month Countdown to Natasha’s Law - What Food Operators Need to Do #
With six months to go between now and the implementation of Natasha’s Law, Nutritics, founders of the UK Food Labelling Resource and the only provider of a one-stop solution for Natasha’s Law share their top tips for food operators who need to meet the obligations.
From 1st October 2021, Natasha’s Law (the UK Food Information Amendment Act 2019) will require all food that is pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) to display a label with a full ingredients list including the 14 allergens. PPDS products are sold every day across the country in outlets including in cafes, restaurants, hospitals, schools, gyms, hotels, workplaces and many more locations.
Stephen Nolan, Managing Director of Nutritics, summarised what businesses need to look at over the next six months: “Between now and October, we’d suggest food operators break down what they need to look at and take a different focus each month. By starting now, there is enough time to identify any changes that
need to be made without danger of missing the 1st October 2021 deadline.”
April: Focus on Suppliers and Stock
The first indication of how long it will take you to get ready for Natasha’s Law is to look at how many different suppliers you may have. Make a list of all the suppliers you use and audit all of your
ingredients and products being delivered to you.
● What information do you receive from your suppliers and what format is it currently in?
● Can you ensure this information is accurately retained and transferred to labels?
● How are changes to ingredients being managed?
Make sure any global suppliers are fully aware of the 14 allergens and the need to have each ingredient clearly labelled. As part of this process, consider seasonal recipes such as Christmas sandwiches or seasonal baked goods and any additional suppliers that might be involved in providing seasonal ingredients.
May: Focus on Software & Hardware
Software and hardware developed specifically for the field of food labelling to improve, automate and make time-consuming analysis more efficient and less susceptible to accidental human error, is
● Is the system you have in place suitable for complying with Natasha’s Law and minimising the risks of inaccuracies or human error?
● Does it capture supplier information or do you have to input this manually?
● If there is a change to an ingredient, does it automatically update or do you have to go through each stage of the recipe management process and manually make a change?
● If you have a printer, is it suitable for the volume of labels you will now need for PPDS products and is it freezer and heatproof to account for how your products might be stored or cooked?
All of this can be automated by using systems such as Nutritics. If you need to order a new or upgrade your existing system, get in touch with Nutritics for your software and hardware needs here.
June: Focus on Staff Education & Training
Staff training and education should be ongoing but use this month to step back and take an overall look at integrating allergen awareness training across your food production process. Appoint an allergen champion that has a deeper understanding and can provide more detailed information to consumers and additional training to staff. Ensure all staff are fully aware of Natasha’s Law, whether they are involved in ordering ingredients, managing software, producing PPDS food or selling to consumers. For allergen management to be fully successful, it needs to be the responsibility of all members of your team.
July: Trial Run
Make sure to organise a trial run of your setup once you have trained your staff, added your supplier information recipes and created labels in your chosen software system. Decide on one location and stress test all essential aspects of your supply chain for compliance with Natasha’s Law.
August & September: Review, Refinement and Readiness
Use these two months prior to the regulations being enforced to make sure the process is as smooth and risk-free in your business as it can be. Review all suppliers and add on any new information.
Check the deliveries you receive and identify how best to manage substitutions and changes and check the label generation process.
● Are the fonts correct, is the information clear and legible to consumers?
● Are your staff clear on why these changes are being introduced and what to do if consumers ask questions regarding Natasha’s Law and PPDS?
Stephen added, “Over the last three months we have participated in education webinars with over 2,000 businesses planning for Natasha’s Law. Our advice to all food operators is to access the
excellent resources and education supports available through the FSA www.fsa.org and sites like the one we support as part of the UK Food Labelling Resource Initiative at www.natashas-law.com. Then look at the solutions available in the market that will reduce the risks of inaccurate ingredient and allergen information appearing on labels. Automating as much of this process will lead to reduced risk of errors as well as saving time and money.”
Nutritics is hosting a free-to-attend webinar on 27th April on the topic of “Is Your Software Compliant with Natasha’s Law?”. Companies can register at https://natashas-law.com/events/