Members’ News

August 2021

Garden Gourmet launches series of plant-based activations with Manchester City Football Club #

Garden Gourmet Nestlé Professional’s plant-based food brand has announced a series of activations with the Premier League Champions, Manchester City.
Flexitarians are a large and growing part of the population with over 30% of British consumers adopting this approach to eating[1]. What’s more, 44% of consumers would like restaurants to offer more plant-based alternatives on their menu.[2] 
Manchester City has embraced a flexitarian approach both for fans and for their players and this latest activity will see Garden Gourmet and the club work together to promote the discovery of plant-based eating.
Two virtual events will kick off the series to show chefs and operators how to #FlexUpYourMenu and pull in the power of plant-based.
Virtual plant-based cook-along for chefs – Tuesday 31st August 2021. Intended for chefs, this virtual cook-along will be hosted by Garden Gourmet’s Development Chef, Darren Chapman alongside Leon Adnam-Downes, Executive Chef at the Etihad Stadium.  This free event will include a complimentary recipe pack, featuring Garden Gourmet products to trial. Click here to reserve your virtual seat. Spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Webinar: Flexible eating at Manchester City FC – Wednesday 1st September 2021 A chance for media and operators to find out more about the Flexitarian diet and the power of plant-based. Tom Parry, Manchester City’s Nutritionist and the club’s Head of Catering, Andrew Taylor will be leading the conversation on why the club has adopted the flexitarian diet, as well as to give the inside scoop on players’ diets and how feeding fans has changed over time. Click here to reserve your virtual seat.
Andrew Taylor, Head of Catering at City Football Group, said: “We’re delighted to launch this series of activations with Garden Gourmet, through our partnership with Nestle Professional.”
As a Club we work hard to ensure everyone, from fans to players, has the choice to take a flexitarian approach to their diet by providing a range of plant-based dining options.
“Collaborating with Garden Gourmet on these events and other activations is another positive step as we continue to explore the power of plant-based products
Nestlé Professional’s Savoury Food Category Manager, Rohini Alam, comments on the partnership:
This collaboration demonstrates Manchester City Football Club’s commitment to offering plant-based options to its fans and its forward-thinking approach to flexible eating – a significant positive step forward for the planet.
“The growing plant-based food market is a not only an opportunity, but a responsibility too, for operators to be on the front foot with the inclusion of quality plant-based choices which deliver on taste every time!

The wider partnership between Nestlé, Garden Gourmet and Manchester City will include match-day activations and a number of creative content releases. Garden Gourmet products will also be available for fans to enjoy on matchdays at the Etihad stadium.
For more information on GARDEN GOURMET, please visit: 

[2] alternatives (Nestlé Professional plant based menu, 2018), AND Global Data, 2018

‘Where’s your head at with SALARIES?’ asks Umbrella Insight #

Umbrella Insight are collaborating with Institute of Hospitality, Hit Training and PJ Search - focusing on salaries in the sector and the change in expectations. They’d like to hear from you … Click here to complete the 60 second survey.

Hospitality businesses already recognise that there are staff shortage issues, this is just one of the many challenges hitting the sector currently. ‘Freedom Day’ has enabled more reopening and it's busy, which is great, but we know these challenges still need to be overcome.

So, what is the mindset of employers and employees/apprentices on salaries in hospitality?

Now more than ever, especially with ‘stay-cations’ we want and need pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues to thrive – having the employees to support this is essential.

The insight will be extremely helpful to hospitality businesses so please give your views, via the short survey, and share it with all your colleagues to fill in too.
We'll publish results soon. Thanks for supporting this hospitality initiative.
If you'd like to gain further insights for your business and improve customer and employee engagement, please email, and find out more at
Survey URL:

New partnership on the menu at Blues #

Birmingham City FC is adding to its summer signings with a lucrative new five year partnership contract worth £13m with Elior UK, which will become the Club’s new catering partner.

The five-year deal will see Elior provide catering services for matchday fans, hospitality, general admission, and conference and event services at St. Andrew’s, starting from Thursday 1 July.

Elior brings a wealth of sporting experience to the Club, as well as award-winning customer service and expertise in stadium catering. Its pioneering approach to food and drink will bring the latest digital innovation to B9, launching a fully cashless service, click-and-collect ordering through its innovative, bespoke Breaz app, and upgrades to the hospitality suites.

Ian Dutton, Chief Commercial Officer at Birmingham City FC, said: “The new partnership with Elior will benefit every match-going fan, corporate partner and attendee at our events. Elior really impressed us during the tender process with the team’s forward-thinking approach to hospitality and the investment package that will upgrade our offering. We are really excited about working alongside Elior over the coming seasons.”

Kenny Finlayson, Managing Director at Elior said: “This is a fantastic partnership for Elior and we truly believe this will be a long and successful relationship. Our shared goal is to deliver exceptional food and drink experiences to all spectators and guests at the St. Andrew’s. This will be led by our investment in general admission and hospitality areas and a fresh and innovative approach to our catering offer. Exciting times ahead.” 

Birmingham City Football Club’s new catering partner will commence on 1 July 2021.

Leading the way in sports and stadia contract catering, Elior has won a number of prestigious awards in recent years. These include Stadia of the Year, Sports & Leisure Catering Awards. Elior UK Star Site, Best Specialist Entertainment Venue Awards, Best Bar None, National Champion, Best Bar None.

KP Snacks launches new aromatic Thai Chilli Coated Peanuts #

New range available in handy pub card format

KP Snacks, the no.1 supplier of Bagged Snacks in pubs and bars, has announced the launch of KP Aromatic Thai Chilli Coated Peanuts in a new pub card format. 
The delicious coated peanuts offer the perfect combination of explosive flavour and satisfying crunch, with the new pub card format optimised to drive impulse sales in pubs and bars. Designed to capitalise on the growing trend of flavoured and coated nuts, the new product delivers two delicious textures as consumers bite through a crispy outer shell to reveal a tasty peanut inside.
The new product adds to the market-leading KP Nuts range, which includes the classics, Original Salted and Dry Roasted Peanuts, as well as the flavoured Honey Roast and Salt & Vinegar, all perfectly paired with a cold beer or a glass of wine.
Matt Collins, Trading Director at KP Snacks says: “KP Nuts is a trusted and established brand which thrives in the Out Of Home channel, with 5 packs of KP Nuts sold every minute in pubs and bars. 86% of customers purchase bagged bar snacks, which represents an excellent commercial opportunity for pubs to encourage consumers to trade up for drinks-only visits.
“The launch of the new pub card format for our Thai Chilli Coated Peanuts reflects our commitment to driving sales of bagged snacks in pubs and bars, alongside other impulse retailers, whilst capitalising on our great taste credentials to excite customers

Launched nearly 70 years ago, KP Nuts is the UK’s leading nuts brand. It is worth £78.8m RSV, more than six times bigger than the nearest branded competitor, and is growing in value +15%.

Sodexo is top of the class for catering with 18 new academy schools added to its register #

Birmingham Diocesan Multi Academy Trust (BDMAT) has awarded Sodexo the £1.3m a year catering contract for its 18 academy schools.

The new three-year contract is from 1 August 2021 with an option to extend to a possible five years. 

BDMAT’s portfolio of 17 primary schools, within Birmingham and Warwickshire, currently caters for over 3,800 pupils. Sodexo’s contract also includes the trust’s brand-new purpose-built secondary school, Christ Church Secondary Academy, in Yardley Wood, Birmingham which opens in September for around 190 year 7 pupils in its first year. 

The new contract will see Sodexo transfer over 50 staff from multiple catering providers to create a one-team catering approach. Each school will be involved in Sodexo’s Food & Co makeover led by pupils themselves and will include the Five Foodie Days menu. 

Meals will comprise of a different theme for each day of the week: planet earth, street food, world food, originals and Friday favourites.  Dishes on the menu will reflect local pupil demographics and have been informed by research outcomes, emulating high street trends and food favourites which link to the five foodie themes.  

A menu pre-order and payment platform, ‘School Food United’, will also be implemented to assist busy families on the go and ensure pupils are able to eat their choice of lunch every single day. 

Matt Garner, managing director, government schools, Sodexo UK & Ireland said:

The award of this new contract demonstrates our continued commitment to providing healthy school meals while strengthening our position as a leading catering provider for state schools and academies in particular

We are looking forward to working in collaboration with the staff and pupils at each individual school to create a new, exciting school meals concept.” 

BDMAT is a West Midlands based multi-academy trust committed to providing high quality education for all the children in its schools through collaboration, challenge, and targeted support set within a Christian framework. 

Christopher Mansell, CEO, from Birmingham Diocesan Multi Academy Trust said:

We were really impressed with how the values and aspirations of Sodexo aligned with those of BDMAT and are excited about developing our new catering offer with Sodexo. 

“Our pupils deserve the very best; eating healthily and well is a key component of supporting pupils in their education and development and we are confident Sodexo is the perfect partner for us

Bouncing Back better: FEA Industry Conference to host business recovery session #

Heavyweight speakers to give comment and advice on maximising the upturn

FEA Industry Conference 2021, 15th and 16th September, Chesford Grange, Kenilworth. 

One of the most anticipated events at this year’s FEA Industry Conference will be the business recovery session, which features three heavyweights of the foodservice industry.  They’ll discuss, dissect and advise on how they see the recovery going, and how the industry can best maximise its potential. 

The panel consists of Paul Dickinson, director of food at Fuller’s, Mark Davies, managing director of ISS Foodservice, and Steve Coates, managing director of Advance Group.  FEA has brought together the three protagonists, with their very different areas of expertise, to spark debate that will give delegates exceptional insight into the current state of the market, as well as offering stimulating ideas for future growth. 

Paul Dickinson has transformed Fuller’s food offering and, in doing so, delivered in excess of 200% increase in food turnover, materially increased business profitability and consistently raised customer satisfaction. Paul will be the England team Head Coach for the Culinary World Cup Luxembourg in 2022. 

As board director for the education market at ISS Facility Service UK, Mark Davies concentrated on delivering profitable growth through strong leadership, sector expertise and customer focused service solutions.   In 2018 Davies became managing director of ISS UK Food Service, responsible for creating food service experiences for its customers.

Steve Coates is one of the most experienced and successful foodservice equipment industry professionals, as well as being a highly valued member of the FEA council.  He founded Advance Group in 1981, overseeing its continuing growth.  He led the Group through the extremely challenging pandemic, during which time he and the senior leadership team reinvented the business so successfully that it is already back in profit. 

We’re absolutely delighted to have such a strong panel for this vital part of Conference,” says Steve Hobbs, chair of FEA.  “Business recovery is going to be a focus for the foodservice industry for some time as we meet and overcome the complexities of Covid and Brexit.”   

For the latest information on the FEA Industry Conference 2021, and to book places, visit

Compass Group UK & Ireland brings together climate experts to discuss the future of food #

Compass Group UK & Ireland hosted an event recently  featuring government representatives, business leaders and academics to discuss how we can build a sustainable food system.

The event comes after Compass Group UK & Ireland announced its climate commitments earlier this year, pledging to reach Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. 

On Tuesday 20th July, Compass Group UK & Ireland hosted a gathering of climate experts at London’s QEII Centre, as well as several hundred joining online, to discuss how we can build a sustainable food system.

Speakers at the conference included the UK’s Net Zero Business Champion, Andrew Griffith MP; 
renowned climate academic, Professor Sir Charles Godfray; and Diane Holdorf, Managing Director of Food & Nature for World Business Council for Sustainable Development, who joined by video link from Geneva.
Anna Taylor, Director of the Food Foundation and key adviser for the National Food Strategy also spoke at the event, along with Nicola Weir, Director of World Climate Deloitte; Dr Emma Keller, Head of Sustainability for Nestle; Christina Adane, Co-Chair, Bite Back 2030; and Christian Paynton, Managing Director, United Fresh Consortium.
Global Compass Group PLC CEO Dominic Blakemore and Carolyn Ball, Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Director of Net Zero Delivery highlighted how Compass Group were looking to tackle reducing climate emissions through the creation of a sustainable food system.
The event was hosted after the UK’s largest food and services provider announced its commitment to reach Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. As part of Our Climate Promise, its broader set of commitments, Compass committed to using its platform to drive discussion around solutions to tackle climate change.
After the talks, the food services company held a food tasting session, showcasing its delicious low-carbon menus including Lincolnshire cauliflower stalk and leaves, samphire alongside Chalk Stream River Trout with a watercress sauce and roasted Worcestershire beetroot, carrot and sundried tomato, with cherry vinegar dressing.

Reflecting on the event, Robin Mills, MD, Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “The world needs to feed a future population of 10 billion people a healthy diet within planetary boundaries. We can only achieve this by transforming eating habits, improving food production and reducing food waste. The scale of this requires historic levels of transformation representing the biggest challenge our industry has faced. As the UK’s largest foodservice business, we take our responsibility to transform the food system seriously and we’re lucky to have great clients, suppliers and partners to help us. This event was a brilliant opportunity to discuss how we can move towards a sustainable food system and how we can achieve that together.”
Andrew Griffith MP, the UK’s Net Zero Business Champion said: “Businesses can be global leaders in the fight against climate change and help make a real difference. With the G7 meeting in Cornwall concluded and COP26 just 100 days away, we have a huge opportunity to get this right. But we are nearing our last best chance to save our planet. I’d like to thank Compass Group UK & Ireland for joining the Race to Zero campaign and its leadership in driving the conversation around climate action. We hope that other businesses, small or large, will also join the initiative to help us to achieve our global targets.”
Diane Holdorf, Managing Director, Food & Nature, World Business Council for Sustainable Development said:
“Food plays a really powerful role in human health, productivity, economic growth and the health of our planet. It’s essential to culture and can be a profoundly personal source of creativity and enjoyment. But the food system that we’re all such a part of is also putting huge pressure on health and ecosystems. Nature, equity, nutrition and hunger are hugely important business issues and we are thrilled to see Compass using its scale and influence to help address these challenges.”

Food-to-Go Market recovering faster than expected according to IGD #

Market to return to pre-Covid levels in second half of 2022

In its latest channel forecasts for the food-to-go sector, IGD – providers of foresight and insight for the food and consumer goods industry – predicts that the channel will be worth £15.6bn at the end of 2021, which is 82.5% of its 2019 value.  It is forecast to return to its pre-Covid levels in the second half of 2022, six months earlier than expected.
Nicola Knight, Senior Analyst for Food-to-Go and author of the forecasts explains: “This is a better-than-expected result, so is really positive news for the sector; by 2026, the market will be worth £22.7bn which is 20.5% more than 2019. This will be the outcome of five years of growth at above pre-pandemic levels, following significant contraction in 2020, and will predominantly be driven by foodservice operators.” 

However, recovery is not consistent across sub-sectors. Foodservice food-to-go operators, (QSRs in particular) have been the main driver of the growth, increasing market share from 77% in 2019 to 79% in 2021. Covid restrictions have played a significant role, predominantly due to consumers suffering from cooking fatigue and opting for affordable treats, which has in-turn benefitted “destination” food-to-go sites.

Nicola continues: “To survive and meet new demand, operators have fast-forwarded innovation at an unprecedented speed. Delivery, digital and proposition development have placed survivors in a good position to maintain momentum as restrictions ease. But it’s important to note that QSRs, coffee shops and food-to-go outlets may experience a dip in sales growth in the second half of this year, as consumers have more choice on where and how to spend their money.”

In retail, the share of the food-to-go market is forecast to reduce to 21% in 2021 from 24% in 2019. This will gradually increase to 23% by 2026 as momentum starts to return to retail food-to-go.

Nicola explains: “In 2021, retailers have faced increased competition from foodservice operators who adapted quickly to changing consumer habits and demands. And, due to the decrease in demand and shift in shopping habits, retailers reallocated space to other categories. While larger stores have benefitted from consolidated shopping missions, smaller stores have experienced a greater dip in sales but, conversely, are likely to recover more quickly as some pre-pandemic behaviours return.

Whilst there have been some new product launches and major projects that were delayed due to the pandemic are now beginning to appear in stores, the challenge for retailers now is whether they can close the gap in market share. It will depend on how far consumers return to pre-COVID habits and how fast retailers adapt to changes in behaviour that stick.”

The annual Food-to-Go forecast report from IGD examines in detail the outlook by sector for: QSR, coffee shops, food-to-go specialists, supermarkets/hypermarkets, and convenience, forecourts & other retailers. 

lunch! draws record number of new exhibitors for comeback “supershow” #

As the café, coffee shop & food-to-go sector looks forward to the return of lunch!, on 23-24 September, the show’s organisers have revealed a preview of the exciting brands exhibiting at this year’s show. 

lunch! 2021 will be showcasing more new and emerging brands than ever before, with first-time exhibitors making up an impressive 30% of the list. Among them are Luxuryshakes Ltd, OmniPork, Unrooted Drinks, Driver's Pickles, HiP, Mindful Snacker, The Vurger Co and Peter's Yard. 

The show has also announced the return of many big-name brands including Hippeas, UCC Coffee UK Ltd, Rombouts Coffee, Soho Sandwich Company Limited, Chapter Coffee, Cawston Press, Around Noon, NOBL Thirst Ltd, Delice de France, Proper, Tony's Chocolonely, Innocent and Magrini (who will again be sponsoring the VIP lounge). Speaking of the last lunch! show, Magrini’s Amanda Grove said “the quality of visitors was exceptional…it was our best show to date with so much genuine interest from the food-to-go sector.” 

The year’s show also boasts a huge range of exclusive product launches and its biggest ever Start Up Zone. Now in its 14th year, lunch! continues to exceed expectations among industry leaders, with itsu and Pret a Manger Founder, Julian Metcalfe, saying: “lunch! gets better every year, it’s the best show around and puts innovation right at the heart of our sector.” 

Group Event Director Chris Brazier has commented upon the number of new products coming to the show, saying: “We love the fact that companies recognise lunch! as the perfect place to showcase their most exciting new products. This year is no exception and quality buyers are going to see a huge number of exclusive product launches. We’re delighted to be back and to be connecting to suppliers and operators when they need it most. A huge thank you to all our supporters.” 

Among the many brands exclusively launching products at lunch! are Delice de France, Driver’s Pickles, Luker Chocolate, Ruby's Food Products, Sigma Alimentos Europe, Waterbomb Ltd and Zess. 

In addition, hundreds of brands are bringing new products to the show, including Barebells, Boka Food, Flower and White, Food Connections Ltd, GATO, GFT Retail UK, Glebe Farm Foods, The Good Till Co Ltd, NOCCO, ONOFF My Thai Taste, Plamil Foods, Rombouts Coffee, Soreen, Source of the Earth, Veg of Lund and Zumex. Returning exhibitor Soreen described the last lunch! show as “The best show we have ever done, it was busy but more importantly it was full of quality buyers.” (James Platt, Senior National Account Manager). 

Alongside the 300 exhibiting brands, visitors can discover and vote for their favourite new food-to-go products in the Innovation Challenge Gallery. This prestigious competition showcases products launched within the last 12 months, with finalists taking part in lively on-stage pitches to a judging panel of industry buyers. 

The response to the Innovation Challenge, which has already received a remarkable number of entries, reflects just how vibrant this industry is. This year’s nominations so far come from Brite Drinks, Cano Drinks Ltd, Cocabana, GATO & Co, Itsu grocery ltd, Luker Chocolate, Simply Lunch, St Michel Biscuits, Upbeat Drinks, Quick Crepes, Nourish.growcookenjoy Ltd, Gimber, The Gut Stuff, Ballymaloe, FUL Foods BV, Waterbomb, LunchMate, The Good Till Co., Re:Nourish, The Collective, Celebration Packaging, Organix, Nuttalls, Dairy Concepts and Brezelbackerei Ditsch. 

The full, ever-expanding exhibitor list is available to view online, and promises to showcase the latest innovations in food, drink, packaging and equipment products. In addition, this year’s lunch! is co-located with sister shows Casual Dining and Commercial Kitchen, making it an unmissable two days for retail, foodservice and hospitality buyers. 

Neil Lake, Managing Director of Costa and lunch! 2021 Keynote Speaker, recently emphasised the importance this year’s show, saying: “I’m really excited to be attending lunch! and to have the industry come back together, which is critical as we collectively focus on safely emerging stronger from this pandemic.” 

lunch! 2021 takes place on 23-24 September at ExCeL London; registration is free and strictly for members of the trade only. 

For more information and to register for your free trade pass, please visit and use priority code VLU1 (alternately, use direct link:

Nestlé Professional unites industry to put sharper focus on sustainable procurement #

Nestlé Professional roundtable: the future of sustainable procurement

Nestlé Professional has gathered key industry players together to discuss the importance of improving public sector procurement of food and drink, as it aims to unite the industry in building a more sustainable future.
As part of a round table discussion, Robin Sundaram, Responsible Sourcing Manager at Nestlé UK&I, outlined the need for the industry to makes lasting changes.
Sundaram was joined by top industry professionals including Jayne Nightingale, Head of Responsible Sourcing, Supply Management, Sodexo; Sally Leigh, Strategic Purchasing & Logistics Director, Elior UK; and Kirstin Morris, NHS Supply Chain. The panel discussed the future of procurement as part of the forthcoming National Food Strategy. 
Nestlé’s ‘Procurement for Good’ approach aims to embed diversity into its operations and make sustainability the focus every step of the way.
Robin Sundaram, Responsible Sourcing Manager, Nestlé UK&I, said: “The term we use at Nestlé is ‘procurement for good’ and in procurement, we’re at the forefront because we are working with suppliers and farmers from all around the world. Procurement is changing – it’s no longer good enough to just look to cost savings. Traditional CSR was all about ‘how can we do no harm’ – businesses now need to look at how they can do good.
“In procurement, there’s a huge amount we can do from both a social and an environmental perspective and it doesn’t have to cost more. We can do more, and we can create value at the same time.

Several factors have influenced the growing need for sustainable procurement, including climate change, growing populations and rapid urbanisation.
As demand for commodities continues to increase, we need to make sure our supply chains, and the people who work within them, are protected and sustainable in order to safeguard the supply of quality raw materials on which our businesses depend,” added Sundaram.
The need for industry collaboration was highlighted throughout the discussion, with Jayne Nightingale, Head of Responsible Sourcing, Supply Management, Sodexo, saying that not only is it important to collaborate across the supply chain but also with other companies across the industry.
Meanwhile, Kirstin Morris, NHS Supply Chain, and Steve Norris, Sales Director, Nestlé Professional, both emphasised the need for sustainable procurement to be understandable within a business. Norris said this means educating employees in order to give them the tools to talk about sustainable procurement in a meaningful way.
The roundtable conversation about the future of procurement took place shortly after Nestlé announced it has partnered with Social Enterprise UK. Nestlé is the latest signatory to the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, the initiative which sees high-profile businesses use their everyday spending to transform lives.
Sundaram added: “As a procurement team, we’ve identified that just by working with Social Enterprises, we can make a difference on the ground, and this has helped to change mindsets within the team.”
Going forward, Nestlé Professional hopes to foster a lasting platform for sharing best practice, discussing the biggest challenges and working collectively to overcome them.
The roundtable was hosted by David Foad, Managing Editor, Dewberry Redpoint.
If you’re looking for more sustainability insights, check out our article on the latest trends in food waste and sustainability in restaurants and discover the top findings from our 2021 Footprint Sustainability Index on sustainable diets.

Zest Food Partners is working with Birds Eye Foodservice #

Zest Food Partners announces it is working with Birds Eye Foodservice to help grow its range of products in the foodservice market.
Birds Eye, part of Nomad Foods, is the No 1 Frozen Food Company in Great Britain and has a portfolio of iconic brands including Aunt Bessie’s and Goodfella’s, as well as the Green Cuisine meat-free range. Zest will work as an extension of the Birds Eye team to drive their strategy and support foodservice customers with a full and diverse range of products such as the iconic fish finger and peas, Yorkshire puddings and new meat-free and vegetarian range.
Gerard Purnell, Business Development Controller for Foodservice, Birds Eye said, “We are thrilled to be working with the team at Zest for the next phase of our journey. We have ambitious growth plans, and I am extremely confident that by working together we will unlock the full potential and deliver some great results.”
A key area of focus will be Green Cuisine, Birds Eye’s new meat-free and vegetarian range which launched in foodservice at the start of the year. From meat-free sausages and burgers to chicken-less dippers and fish-less fingers, this range of products is made from plant-based proteins that are perfect for meat-free options on menus.
Kelly Burke, Commercial Director, Zest Food Partners said, “The team at Zest are delighted to be working with Birds Eye. It is such an iconic brand with an impressive portfolio of products that are trusted for their quality and great taste. There is a huge opportunity for the Green Cuisine range in foodservice and we’re excited to be part of this journey and add to its success.”
Zest Food Partners is a team of strategy, sales, marketing, and procurement experts working with ambitious brands that are looking to expand and grow within the foodservice market. Working with brand owners to understand their business, they help develop and execute successful foodservice strategies to get products into the right channels and in front of the right people.
For more information visit

Caterplus creates Food Cards to help dementia residents make informed food choices #

Caterplus – the specialist care catering arm of leading contract caterer Elior UK – has introduced an extensive new range of Food Cards that have been specifically developed to help dementia residents in care homes make informed food choices at mealtimes.
Historically, Food Cards have not represented food as it would appear on the plate, rather images have been snapshots of food choices – typically with neither plates nor cutlery in evidence. Such images are not easily recognised by dementia sufferers, who consequently find them difficult to comprehend. The new Food Cards being rolled out by Caterplus takes the concept to a new level. Each card portrays a different meal choice, exactly how it would appear on a plate and is shown to dementia residents before mealtimes to help them decide what they would like to eat.
Laura Tighe, Managing Director, Caterplus says: “It was important for us to create a range of cards that was as accessible as possible for dementia residents in care homes in order to provide them with a dignified dining experience.
“We’ve closely collaborated with care homes and residents to ensure the Cards provide the best support by providing context and ease of use to streamline mealtimes.

The Caterplus Food Cards have been carefully curated to be visually engaging and easy to follow for dementia residents. To avoid any confusion and to encourage food choices, the Cards dish images are consistent and include cutlery.
Each A5 image is accompanied by information detailing where the food sits on the IDDSI framework giving carers a quick reference as to its suitability for each resident. There is also guidance on how the dish can be adapted to make them suitable for IDDSI levels.
Mandy Davies, Head of Dietetics and Nutrition, Elior says: “Improving people’s health and wellbeing through food is a key part of our business. We are very aware that catering for dementia residents can be particularly challenging due to their very specific needs.
“These Food Cards have been created with residents and carers in mind. Residents have a clear representation of their food, while carers have guidance on how to ensure that each resident is served only what is appropriate for them

Leading Data and Insights specialists, TWC, opens the doors for new best tech award at Scottish Wholesale Achievers Awards 2022 #

As wholesalers increasingly look to follow what the data is telling them and act on relevant and valuable insight, leading data and insight specialists, TWC, has partnered with the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) to sponsor a new award within its Scottish Wholesale Achievers Awards 2022 - The Best Technology Initiative.
The Scottish Wholesale Achievers Awards 2022 Best Technology Initiative will reflect the way in which wholesalers are investing in digital and tech systems from online ordering and data capture systems through to systems that improve picking and business efficiencies.
Wholesalers will be invited to highlight their investment, innovation, and implementation through to best practice outcomes.  They will be asked to give key performance indicators against the particular challenges they looked to solve through the mobilisation of technology and evidence how this has helped their business meet the challenges of today’s market. 
Managing Director for TWC, Tanya Pepin, says:
Scotland is renowned as a beacon when it comes to leading in innovation and technology having invented the telephone, television, penicillin, insulin and the steam engine!
“And, we know that in the last two years, wholesalers in Scotland have increasingly woken up to the power of data and digital and are now breathing fresh innovation into their digital strategies alongside investment into new platforms and technical expertise.
“We are inviting them to showcase features that are supporting best practice and talk about their innovation in this arena, as to how it is helping their businesses move with agility in the fast-changing and competitive marketplace that we are seeing today
Entries for the Scottish Wholesale Achievers Awards 2022 are now open – this well respected and long-established programme looks to reward outstanding performance across the wholesale trade in Scotland.
TWC's services are imbedded in the wholesale sector across the UK, including in Scotland, working with leading names across the industry whilst supporting their data and digital programmes with consultancy and personalised technical platforms
The company’s data and digital services are based on deep knowledge and understanding of the sector and its ability to reflect individual needs and challenges in its products.  TWC also supports and sponsors Women in Wholesale and partners with the FWD.
Pepin concludes:
Our partnership with the SWA is very important to us and we feel that this new award reflects the growing importance that the industry and the supply chain are putting on technology and digital platforms in enabling them to get ahead and support trends and build growth”.
To enter the Scottish Wholesale Achievers Awards 2022, please click here:  Scottish Wholesale Association’s Achievers Awards open for entries

Casual Dining close to selling out as exhibitor list announced #

As the restaurant, pub and bar sector looks forward to “the most important Casual Dining show yet” (Steve Holmes, CEO, Azzurri Group), the organisers have revealed an exhibitor list to match.

With over 95% of stands already sold, the show has confirmed an impressive list of brands who have signed up to exhibit for the first time, including Brioche Pasquier, Fourth, GCL Food Ingredients, iiko UK & Europe, Kepak Foodservice, Nespresso Professional, The Sausage Man UK, The Vegetarian Butcher, THIS, Treasury Wine Estates, Twinings, Unilever Food Solutions and Mondelez with two of their brands Cadbury and Philadelphia. 

Industry-leading companies returning to the show include AAK Foodservice, Arla Pro, Ascentia FSE, Coca-Cola European Partners, Diageo, Harri, McCain Foodservice Solutions, Meatless Farm, Molson Coors Beverage Company, Moving Mountains, Panasonic, Rude Health, Tevalis and Yumpingo. 

Alongside innovations from first-time and return exhibitors, visitors can also look forward to new products in the Innovation Challenge, which is set to be the biggest to date. Response to the show’s return suggests that brands and buyers alike are seeing it as key to getting back to business, with Nicola Mills of Billington Foodservice saying that “Casual Dining 2021 will be more important than ever to reunite with our customers and industry, we can’t wait to exhibit.” 

A bumper year for alcohol and no & low products

This year Casual Dining will host three dedicated alcohol pavilions, including a new area for 2021, The Vineyard, featuring brands including HUNWines, The Emissary Prosecco, Unity Wines and Kiss of Wine. Exhibitors in The Artisan Spirits Lounge include Pinkster Gin, The Spirit of Manchester Distillery, Conker Spirit, Pure Vodka, Tarsier Spirit, Sweet Potato Spirit Company, Faith & Sons. Among the many product innovations coming out of this sector are Strawbar, who are showcasing a unique Eau De Vie produced from single-origin strawberries sourced in Greece. 

The Taphouse, dedicated to the best independent beer and cider brands in the industry, features Big Smoke Brew Co., Orbit Beers, Hop Kettle Brew Co., Celtic Marches Beverages, Wild Beer, The Five Points Brewing Co. and ShinDigger Craft Beer. As in previous years, one exhibitor in this zone will be crowned Taphouse Champion in a competition judged by VIP visitors. The last winner, Big Drop Brewing Co., won for its Citra Four Hop (0.5%) Pale Ale, and they are returning for Casual Dining 2021. 

Reflecting the vibrancy of this ever-evolving market, visitors can expect to find a healthy offering of no and low alcohol brands across these three areas, including Sea Arch Not Gin, Caleño Drinks, LUXLO Spirits, Lucky Saint, Freestar, Big Drop Brewing Co, Small Beer Brew Co and Binary Botanical. 

A comeback supershow for the industry

This year’s Casual Dining is co-located with its sister shows lunch! and Commercial Kitchen, making it an unmissable industry event, set to be “the most important catalyst of the year, bringing ideas and people together, making our industry as strong as ever” (Duncan McEwan, Executive Development Chef, The Big Table Group). 

Mia Perese from Yumpingo, who are sponsoring the show’s three Keynote Theatres, recently said: “We’re so excited to be exhibiting at the Casual Dining show again! Getting face-to-face with key buyers from across the industry is more important than ever before. We want to show our support and help the industry get back on its feet, and to do so we all need to pull together.” 

The ever-expanding exhibitor list also features 3S POS, Belvoir Fruit Farms, Biff's Kitchen, Bloody Drinks, Britvic, Canopies UK, Carlsberg UK, Cawston Press, Craftis , Dalston's Soda Co, Delice de France , Deliverect, Dr Oetker Professional, Essential Cuisine, La Tua Pasta, LavAzza Coffee, Lemonaid & ChariTea, Love Oggs, LoveSeitan, Lutosa, Major, Mast-Jaegermeister UK, Molson Coors Beverage Company, Nix & Kix, Northern Bloc, Notes Coffee, OpenTable, Pip Organic, Sauce Shop, Sea Products International, Trail App and Yapster. You can view the full exhibitor list online. 

Casual Dining takes place on 23-24 September at ExCeL London and is co-located with lunch! and Commercial Kitchen. Registration is free and strictly for members of the trade only. 

For further information and to register for a free trade ticket, please visit and use priority code VCD1. Alternatively, use direct link:


WSH and Stonegate Group join the Zero Carbon Forum’s roadmap to net zero #

Westbury Street Holdings (WSH) and Stonegate Group are the latest members to join the Zero Carbon Forum to radically reduce emissions and achieve net zero.  

A non-profit organisation with 27 of the UK's leading restaurants, pubs and breweries as members, the Zero Carbon Forum is a collaborative action group dedicated to creating a space to help the hospitality sector achieve net zero emissions.

BaxterStorey, part of the WSH family, is the first independent hospitality food service provider to become part of the Forum along with all WSH brands, which include Benugo, Searcys, Caterlink and Holroyd Howe.  

WSH achieved carbon neutrality status in 2007 and has a commitment to 100% renewable electricity. It operates a carbon neutral transport fleet and business travel policy, and its award-winning food waste management system is believed to have saved over 61,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions since 2014.

In June the company signed a landmark pledge, committing to the Business Ambition for 1.5°C. To support this, the organisation plans to join the UN Race to Zero, to set a science-based target in line with the Paris Agreement and make a critical contribution to limiting the impacts of climate change. 

Mike Hanson, Director of Sustainable Business across WSH, said: “The Zero Carbon Forum makes working together as an industry possible. WSH has committed to the highest level of ambition in the short and long-term to reach net zero. We welcome the collaboration of the Forum and its members to help us to deliver a roadmap to be net zero and achieve this, at speed, together.” 

Ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26), the Zero Carbon Forum will publish a publicly available net zero roadmap to set consistent and credible milestones to an ambitious net zero target ahead of the Paris Agreement.

Reducing its impact on the environment is important for Stonegate. The group has implemented a number of efficiencies in collaboration with partners, including installing smart meters across its sites, recycling waste oil for conversion to industrial oils and renewable fuels, and addressing its waste disposal and recycling. 

Spencer Bloomberg, Director of Risk at Stonegate, said: “We’re committed to reducing energy consumption and our carbon footprint. The Forum represents power and knowledge in numbers, and we look forward to sharing and learning best practices from fellow industry Forum members.” 

Mark Chapman, founder and CEO of the Zero Carbon Forum, added: “We’re thrilled that these collective industry powerhouses, driven by highly inspiring and experienced leaders, have joined the Zero Carbon Forum.

“The Forum is on a journey to enable the hospitality sector to reach net zero at pace and avert a catastrophe. With the backing and collaborative action of our members and industry trade associations, UK Hospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association, we will deliver on our objectives, and achieve decarbonisation of hospitality.

Toque d’Or 2021 Competition Winners announced #

Nestlé Professional is delighted to announce this year’s Toque d’Or Competition winners. First launched in 1989, this year the competition’s judges included former Toque d’Or winner turned food writer and influencer, Julie Jones, and MasterChef: The Professionals winner, Louisa Ellis. As a result, almost 1,000 BOH and FOH superstars registered to compete, representing 40 colleges and 40 businesses from across the UK.

With safety at the forefront, this year’s competition
retained its trademark prestige and excitement
through adopting a hybrid format. And during the
gripping Grand Finals, 12 finalists went head-to-
head in a week of challenges – performed both
virtually and in a Covid-safe environment at the
Nestlé Professional Gatwick HQ.

Each day offered a new challenge, encouraging finalists to develop new and hone existing skills, before putting them to use to impress the judges. All challenges focused on creating a high quality Toque d’Or20 21 recipe book, Taste the Future. Finalists received world-class tuition from judges on all aspects including, recipe writing and creation, engaging personal biographies, food photography and social media. Competitors were asked to post about the
experience using #Toquedor2021.

Judges gave tips and support over Zoom and parts of the challenges were completed virtually by finalists in their homes. At the Nestlé Professional HQ, they met fellow finalists and got the chance to showcase their skills – preparing and serving a balanced two-course
meal as well as coffee and tea inspired drinks to VIP guests which included the Toque d’Or judges.

With 76 BOH and 36 FOH students at the Heats, there was a remarkable array of talent on display. Once these had been whittled down to the 12 finalists, four winners were chosen in four separate categories.
Back of House Student winner Sarah Morton, New City College London, commented:

"Being in Toque d'Or, at any level, is such a worthwhile experience. Having my food scrutinised by the judges was nerve wracking but it also felt like a privilege I didn't come into the competition thinking I'd win at all. I'm excited to see where it leads me".
Back of House Apprentice winner Kenny Markham, Burnt Lemmon, commented:

Taking part has been a massive confidence boost. The competition not only improved my culinary talent, but it has also nurtured other important attributes such as public speaking and food photography which are all beneficial in furthering my career".
Front of House Student winner Sophie Taylor, Edinburgh College, commented:

"This was the second time I'd entered. Last year the finals were virtual, which was still amazing given the circumstances, but this year it was so great to be back all together for the final. It really is unlike any other competition – it's such a bonding experience and everyone is so welcoming and helpful. I'd encourage anyone considering entering to go for it. Taking
part has opened doors and introduced me to people I’d never have imagined

Front of House Apprentice winner Georgia Wheatley, University College Birmingham, commented:

It’s such a prestigious competition; to know that I’m up there in the Nestle Hall of Fame is
really nice. The other competitors were lovely too. There’s a good couple of friendships that
will last me for a long, long time
Katya Simmons, Managing Director of Nestlé Professional UK&I, says:

A huge, heartfelt congratulations to the winners! We are so proud of all the contestants who
took part: the standard has never been so high. It’s more important than ever to support
young talent within the hospitality industry, equipping them with the experience and skills to
succeed in their careers. We are delighted to be able to do exactly that with Toque d’Or.
And we are ever grateful to our fantastic panel of judges. As well as giving our finalists solid
skills based on real-world experience, they’ve served as an inspiration to competitors

Alongside Julie Jones and Louisa Ellis, this year’s competition judges included educator and
drinks expert Alison Taffs, Robert Smith from Shuttersmith, and training specialists Aaron
Dunn and Ryan Burke from Nestlé Azera.

A virtual awards ceremony, presented by TV personality Mark Durden-Smith, took place on
30 July and was streamed live via Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or’s YouTube channel. If you
missed it, you can watch the big reveal here.

To hear about the competitors, and to experience the competition buzz on Instagram, Twitter
and Facebook, check out the #Toquedor2021 hashtag.

Download a copy of Taste the Future, Toque d’Or recipe book 2021, here

For more information on Nestlé Toque d’Or® 2021, please click here.

Compass Group UK & Ireland appoints Chris Chidley as Chief Growth Officer #

Chris Chidley has been appointed as Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Chief Growth Officer, following a successful 12 months overseeing sales while also running the Compass Group Ireland business. Chris has returned to the UK full-time and will remain Chair of Compass Ireland.
Despite the challenges that Covid has brought, under Chris’ leadership Compass Group UK & Ireland has achieved exponential growth. Chris has been in the Compass business for over 9 years, with a strong track record in sales as well as operations. Following Chris’ successful 3 year tenure in Ireland where he brought a great passion for driving community engagement and local sourcing, Chris will be focused on building strategic partnerships to deliver for communities, alongside his growth agenda.
The business has had to transform significantly to support its broad range of clients as it faced into the impact of the pandemic. This has seen a change in food service delivery models – moving away from traditional practices, with a great focus on innovation and the use of technology. Chris has been working with the global Compass network to identify best practice and new ways of working.
Commenting on his appointment Chris said: “We have a compelling offer for clients that enables us to support them across all sectors, whatever their size. Our business is no longer just about food on the plate - it’s about the wider eco-system from farm to fork.
“We are prioritising our commitments to Net Zero, diversity and inclusion, as well digital capability and are aligned to what our clients care about, all while working to achieve a best in class customer experience. We have a market leading proposition and the ability to effect real change through the work that we do.

“Heading up the Ireland business was an enormous privilege and I learnt a lot - in particular how the Irish passion for food plays such an important role within the community – with a strong focus on local sourcing. I am excited by the opportunities that exist for our UK & I business
Robin Mills, Managing Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland added: “I am delighted to appoint Chris to this new role. Having worked in both sales and operations he is well placed to understand how to deliver great results for clients and also identify new market opportunities. He has had a really positive impact on the Irish business, and in his role as Chair of Compass Ireland will continue to support the team and build on what he has achieved to date.”
Compass Group UK & Ireland recently launched its plans to achieve Climate Net Zero by 2030. Additionally, its people focused agenda has seen it put social mobility at the heart of its operations, recently launching its career pathways - supporting colleagues with learning and development and progression routes, regardless of the level they join within the organisation.
Chris was recently awarded Irish-UK Business Person of the Year by The Register of Irish Business Excellence (TRIBE). The accreditation celebrates Chris’ outstanding contribution to industry and commerce between Ireland and the UK. The honour was created by the AIBF to pay homage to the ex-pat community's positive impact towards business in Ireland.

HRC Connects, the digital platform for Hotel, Restaurant & Catering #

HRC Connects, the digital platform for Hotel, Restaurant & Catering is the one-stop shop for foodservice and hospitality buyers to easily search and source the suppliers they need.

From food & drink products to a wide range of goods suppliers, to business services including NPD support, marketing, research and design, the platform has an ever-growing database of suppliers to suit every need.
Not only is the database easy to search and filter, HRC Connects users can also reach out directly to supplier and arrange meetings – cutting out the challenge of tracking down the correct contact information.

Suppliers on the platform include: Twinings, WorldPay from FIS, Ice Cool Limited, Goodtill by Sumup, Accanto Interiors, houseof, Kobas, Mieko, Major, Tevalis & The Denby Pottery Co Ltd.
Join the community today for free to access all of these suppliers, source products and explore the wealth of on-demand content, reports and webinars on the platform.