Members’ News

January 2022

Lexington appoints new Managing Director #

Starting on the 5th January 2022, Matt Wood will join Lexington as Managing Director (MD), leading the business into its next phase of innovation and growth. He will replace Julia Edmonds who has been promoted into the role of Corporate Business Development Director at Elior and is also Non-Executive Chair for Lexington.

Wood joins Lexington from his previous role as MD of Health Management Ltd – one of the UK’s largest occupational health and wellbeing companies. Prior to this, he was Head of Operations and then Head of Strategic Partnerships for Restaurant Associates, strategically managing and developing operations for high profile client catering services across London. Whilst there, he was awarded a prestigious “Catey” as regional manager of the year.

With food and service in his DNA, Wood studied Hotel Management at  the University of New Hampshire, US, and has held high profile operational roles at 5-star hotels, clubs and restaurants that include London’s Grosvenor House, and the Harbour Club, Chelsea.

In his new role at Lexington, Wood has exciting plans to transition the business into a new phase of growth which will harness the sector expertise of Lexington Catering; Lexington Independents and Lexington Reception Services to provide unparalleled levels of service.

Matt Wood, MD of Lexington says: “I can’t wait to re-join the industry I love and be at the helm of a business I have always admired. My passion is in people development and I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to engage with people in this role throughout my career. I’m looking forward to taking this agenda forward, moving Lexington onwards and upwards in its next stage of growth.”

Julia Edmonds, Non-Executive Chair of Lexington and Corporate Business Development Director at Elior, says, “I, along with the wider Lexington team am excited to welcome Matt who brings experience from his work in the hospitality sector and his most recent role working with clients who share a similar culture and values. As a real foodie he is determined to a make a positive impact in the midst of these difficult times and I know that Lexington will flourish under his leadership.”

Matt will report to Robin Givens, Elior MD of UK Contracts. Robin says: “Matt brings a wealth of experience and is the perfect fit for Lexington’s market leading catering arm and front of house services. Lexington is a great brand with an exciting future and I am certain that with Matt’s passion for understanding and delivering for customers, he will drive our next phase of growth. We are all looking forward to him joining our team.”

Country Range Group strengthens partnership with TWC #

Having already seen the benefits of its long-running partnership with TWC, Country Range Group has renewed and strengthened its relationship with the leading data and digital experts for a further three years in line with its progressive digital strategy.

Having invested in the TWC SmartView platform almost four years ago, Country Range Group was the first independent foodservice buying group to invest in a data platform and data partner to share insights with its suppliers. This early investment has resulted in a deep understanding of the customer, as well as product performance and emerging trends. Data now underpins all key processes within Country Range Group including compliance, forecasting and analysing business performance.

With data now firmly imbedded in Central Office, the Country Range Group is now looking to ‘take data to the next level’, with suppliers and buyers taking a data-led approach to drive joint business plans and ultimately to achieve incremental sales.  Access is also being rolled out to members so that they can take a forensic approach to local opportunities highlighted in the reporting. Following a successful collaboration with TWC over the past four years, Country Range Group has now re-committed to the partnership for another three years to drive its data vision forward.

Martin Ward, Commercial Director, Country Range Group, said:

As a business we have seen the benefits of the TWC SmartView platform.  It gives us a deep understanding of our customers and ensures we make decisions based on intelligence. The TWC system is easy to use which is imperative if we want the whole business to get behind data. Furthermore, TWC cleanses the data and makes sense of it for us, so we can rely on the reporting, without having to dedicate huge amounts of time to it.”

Tanya Pepin, Managing Director, TWC said:

It has been fantastic to witness the progress of CRG’s data journey through our partnership over the last four years and we are delighted that they want to continue and strengthen their relationship with TWC. This very much aligns to our mission of being a data partner rather than a data broker, supporting our clients as they develop a data-led strategy.

For further information on TWC’s SmartView proposition, please visit

Freemans Event Partners announces search for CSR leader #

Sustainability drive opens new opportunities

Freemans Event Partners, the Gloucester-based supplier of specialist services to the events industry, has announced its search for a new CSR leader.
For 2022 a major part of Freemans Event Partners business development strategy will be focused on further reducing the carbon impact of its operations and the events it supports. In a show of commitment to the future of greener events, Freemans Event Partners is now looking to make a permanent hire at senior level.
Freemans Event Partners operates at over 400 events each year, working in partnership with prestigious sporting and entertainment venues and events such as Silverstone Circuit, Twickenham Stadium, the European Tour and Victorious festival. It is a major employer in Gloucestershire with 112 permanent staff and a network of 2,500 temporary and seasonal staff.
The CSR position would offer the right individual the chance to develop and implement a robust and commercially viable sustainability strategy, as well as to manage all the operational health and safety processes, strategy and activities.
Freemans Event Partners’ CEO, Stephen Freeman, explains:
We recognise that, at this stage, we don’t have all the answers to the sustainability challenges that we face. But what we do know is that we need to be doing everything within our power to be able to make a difference.”
Stephen adds:
This is just the beginning of our pledge to prioritise sustainability in all we do. And to work with our clients and partners, we need to insist on practical, measurable changes, which reduce our impact on the planet. For this we need concrete action, which is what out new CSR lead will bring.”
For full details on the post, visit:

For further details regarding Freemans Event Partners, visit 

Sodexo contract director, Tony Eleftheriou, awarded MBE #

Sodexo is proud to announce that its contract director, Tony Eleftheriou has been awarded Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2022 New Year Honours list for services to the British military in Cyprus. 

Tony is the contract director for Sodexo in Cyprus. He joined the team there in 2003 as operations manager and has over the years held numerous positions before being appointed contract director in 2018. 

Tony is responsible for the delivery of a wide range of soft FM services by a team of around 800 Sodexo employees on behalf of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) supporting British Forces Cyprus (BFC) in the Sovereign Base Areas. 

Commenting on receiving the MBE Tony said: “I am honoured to receive an MBE. It is very much a team award as I could not have achieved it without the determination, commitment and hard work of all those that work with me.” 

Sodexo provides a range of services including catering, cleaning, waste services and logistics support at six military bases in Cyprus that are home to deployed troops and their families. 

Over the years, Tony and his team have provided valuable support with operations such as Op Shader and the provision of humanitarian aid of food, water and shelter to refugees who landed on beaches at RAF Akrotiri. 

More recently, Tony has led his team with considerable empathy throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Maintaining a careful balance of both service provision and safeguarding welfare for his team, sub-contractors and customers alike. 

Paul Anstey, CEO Government, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “We are immensely proud of Tony. He is an exceptional leader and has worked tirelessly over the years to provide excellence and compassion in sometimes challenging and unexpected situations. It is testament to the respect he has earned for his outstanding commitment and hard work that he’s been recognised with this honour.”

Chris Welham joins KAM as Non-Exec Chairman #

KAM has today announced that Chris Welham has joined the Hospitality & Grocery research consultancy's senior management team as a Non-Executive Chairman, effective immediately.  Welham brings over 25 years hospitality experience to the company having previously been CEO of Wadworth, divisional MD at Spirit and Operations Director at Greene King. He is currently MD at S4Labour.
KAM Media is a really innovative business with a very strong management team.  There is no doubt that the insight, creative content and bespoke research projects KAM undertake are hugely valued across hospitality and the grocery sector and I’m excited to be able to support the team with their plans for the future and the development of the business” comments Welham.
Katy Moses, MD of KAM: "We're absolutely delighted to start the year by welcoming Chris to the team. He brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the role, as well as great energy and vision. But I'm most excited about how Chris can challenge our thinking to provide a valuable and fresh perspective to support KAM in our next chapter. There are no doubt both exciting and challenging times ahead and we're thrilled to have Chris as part of the senior team."

Bisto celebrates vegan certification in foodservice channel #

Both Bisto Original and Reduced Salt Gravy Granules foodservice products have been certified vegan by The Vegan Society – both with the same, unchanged and much-loved Bisto recipes. The official certification comes as plant-based food sales have grown by 45% globally in the last two years alone – a trend showing no sign of slowing.
Bisto is now more accessible than ever, catering for both vegans and vegetarians, and making 25 litres per pack, while maintaining the great taste of the nation’s favourite gravy without a change of recipe.
Sarah Robb, Foodservice Marketing Manager at Premier Foods, comments: “At Premier Foodservice, we are committed to ensuring our products can be enjoyed by everyone. Chefs and caterers across all sectors up and down the country are facing increasing pressure to develop menus which cater for all dietary requirements and allergens.
“Bisto Original and Reduced Salt Gravy Granules deliver an all-in-one solution for those following a plant-based diet, without a recipe change which ensures the great taste of Bisto is maintained. Not only are vegans and vegetarians catered for with these two products, but Reduced Salt Gravy Granules are also suitable for gluten-free diets when made up
Whether in a roast dinner or in a hotpot, gravy is a staple on menus across the UK. Now that these two Bisto products have been officially certified as suitable for vegans within the foodservice channel, Bisto can be accessed by everyone when eating out of home.

Young award-winning retailer joins Bestway #

Bestway Wholesale, the UK’s largest independent food and drink wholesaler, is delighted to announce that award-winning retailer Anand Cheema has joined the Costcutter brand.

As the son of the current CEO of the Scottish Grocers Federation, Dr Peter Cheema OBE, retail is truly in Anand’s blood. At just 24 years old, Anand has already won multiple awards, including:

Impulse Retailer of the Year award at the 2021 Asian Trader awards,
Young Retailer of the Year at the 2021 Scottish Local Retailer Awards,
Refit of the Year at the Scottish Local Retailer Awards, and,
Best New Store at the Scottish Grocer Awards. 
Speaking of his move to Bestway, Anand Cheema said:

I’m delighted to join the Costcutter brand and am excited for the journey ahead, where I will be able to improve my business and its overall profitability.

We have a successful history with the Costcutter brand, having enjoyed tremendous success as a Costcutter store in the '90s through to the early 2000s. We still have a great relationship with members of the team

I was particularly impressed by the ambition of the Bestway Group and the successful direction the business is clearly heading in. For me, it’s all about teamwork and optimising the best possible opportunities. It’s important to be working with a symbol partner that has the same vision as I do and who is looking to grow together with its retailers.

“This is the next stage in our growth and development in a fast-changing market. We know that consumers’ shopping behaviours are changing fast right now, and we want to ensure we are at the forefront of that change. We’re here to serve our community and that is and will always be our number one priority
,” he added.

Anand’s store in Falkirk, Scotland has been rebranded to the Costcutter livery and a full refit of the store will take place in early 2022.

Jamie Davison, Head of New Business and Store Development at Bestway Retail said:

We are delighted that one of Scotland’s most exciting young retailers has joined our Costcutter brand as it’s a great time to join the Bestway family.

"As a family-owned business, Bestway has been very clear about its focus since the 1970s: helping retailers thrive. 

“We are proud to be known in the industry as the most supportive brand in the sector and it is fantastic to see that we are becoming the symbol of choice for entrepreneurial retailers who are looking to take their stores to the next level. 

“Alongside what we believe to be the best support package in the business, we’re investing in new ground-breaking technology and services that will help our retailers understand and adjust to changing consumer behaviours.

“Anand has already had great success in his retail career, and we believe that together, we can help him grow his business even further

Veganuary: Sodexo reports a steady increase in uptake of vegan and vegetarian meals #

Marking Veganuary 2022, Sodexo has released food sales data showing the month-on-month increase in purchases of both vegan and vegetarian meals across its UK foodservice outlets at corporate client sites. 

*  In the twelve months to November 2021, the sale of vegan and vegetarian meal options formed on average 10% of all Sodexo’s food sales at corporate client sites 

*  Vegetarian and vegan meal sales, as a proportion of all meals sold, almost doubled between November 2020 and November 2021 going from 7% to 13%

*  In November 2021, 41% of all non-meat or non-fish meals purchased were vegan, up from 24% the same month the previous year

*  The figures were collated from 145 catering outlets across Sodexo’s corporate clients using their EPOS data 

Sodexo food sales data revealed today shows that, by the end of 2021, vegan and vegetarian meal options were forming 13% of all meal sales at offices and other corporate client sites where it provides catering. This marks a significant increase on the start of the year when these meals represented just 8% of all those sold. 

During November 2021, the most recent complete month of data, 41% of all the non-meat or non-fish meals sold were vegan. This was the highest proportion of vegan meals selected since Sodexo began tracking this data in September 2020.  

Vegan options offered by Sodexo include: Jackfruit Jalfrezi, No Chicken Enchiladas, Falafel Burger, Kentucky Fried Jackfruit, Vegan Tacos, Vegetable Pad Thai, Ratatouille Pasta, Aubergine and Pepper Balti, Korean Stir Fried Tofu, Quorn Jambalaya and many more. 

Claire Atkins-Morris, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Sodexo said: “As part of our Net Zero commitment, we understand that plant-based meals have a lower carbon impact. We have set ourselves the goal of increasing the number of plant-based meals and recipes we supply to 33% by 2025. “ 

The incremental increase in sales of vegan and vegetarian meals we are already seeing across our sites is hugely encouraging and reflective of a change in consumer awareness and increased choice. We are a proud supporter of Veganuary and want to highlight our support through raising awareness of the positive impact of plant-based meals and support consumers to choose sustainable dishes that are tasty and exciting.” 

Toni Vernelli, Head of Communication & Marketing at Veganuary said: “Whether driven by concerns for the planet, health improvements or animal welfare, one thing is certain - veganism is a trend that keeps on trending, and we’re thrilled to see Sodexo reporting such significant growth in sales on vegan and vegetarian meals. Veganuary is here to help everyone who wants to try vegan, but our job is made so much easier when companies like Sodexo are providing such delicious, accessible options in their corporate client sites.”  

For more information about Sodexo’s work to encourage sustainable diets, click here.

CH&CO strengthens Procurement Team with key promotion #

CH&CO has promoted its Head of Operational Procurement, Samantha Davis, to the new role of Group Procurement & Supply Chain Director.

The decisive move brings the diverse catering and hospitality business’s procurement and supply chain teams together under one strong leader and vision. This bolsters the important support function during continued challenging times and ensures CH&CO’s teams and clients are supported with a collaborative approach that delivers on objectives and has a strong focus on the business’s future strategy.

Samantha has been part of CH&CO for five years. Her promotion is in recognition of the amazing agility, innovation and leadership she has shown in helping the business overcome significant challenges throughout the pandemic and the supply chain crisis, as well as driving important supply chain projects that uphold CH&CO’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) objectives.

Samantha now leads the team supporting more than 900 sites across workplaces, education and healthcare, destinations, venues and events in UK and Ireland. The team ensures a sustainable supply chain across the business, forging long-term beneficial relationships with supply partners and managing and maintaining the ESG objectives for CH&CO and its clients.

Samantha comments: “The last 18 months have probably been the most challenging of my career, navigating Covid-19, Brexit, the current supply chain crisis and the soaring rate of inflation. Having said that, it’s also brought great highlights, such as launching our new supply chain model and winning a CIPS (Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply) award for Best Supply Chain Integration. I thank my amazing team for their hard work and contribution throughout these very difficult times.

“I’m thrilled to have been promoted to Group Procurement & Supply Chain Director and I look forward to working with the team and our supply partners to find innovative solutions that continue to drive both our culinary and ESG agendas.  ESG is such an important topic and I want to ensure we have a sustainable supply chain fit for the future that continues to meet the needs of our operators and our clients

Elior appoints Claire Small to head up new innovation team #

Leading contract caterer, Elior, has appointed Claire Small to take on its newly created Director of Innovation role. Industry acclaimed with commercial acumen and a strong digital focus, Claire leads Elior’s new eight-strong innovation team. Transforming insight into opportunities, they are responsible for delivering digital, concept development, photography and menu management across its UK business.
Prior to Elior, Claire held senior roles with hospitality brands including SSP UK, The Restaurant Group PLC and ETM Group, helping translate consumer trends into creative commercial solutions. Some of Claire’s career highlights include bringing sporting elements like ticketing and vertical dining to key venues, boosting profile and customer spend through immersive experiential dining.
Claire’s achievements and contributions in the hospitality industry have also been recognised, notably with her listing in the ‘Women in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure’ Index (2021), and being tipped as a Future Leader on the 30 Under 30 Restaurant & Marketer Innovator list (2018).
At Elior, Claire is responsible for digital strategy across the company, including the rollout and optimisation of its proprietary Breaz mobile ordering app, Scan & Go technology and digital kiosk ordering. Using consumer insights from these, she will be driving concept development in branding and menus – for new and existing food concepts, pop-ups and standalone brands across Elior’s sectors. Her role also involves forging partnerships with brands, chefs and suppliers, ensuring Elior’s offer is the most innovative and food-led in the market.
Since starting, Claire and the innovation team have been bringing to market Elior’s new health-focused ‘Grab & Go’ concept, Wildgreen, which is soon to be piloted in B&I locations across the UK.  The Wildgreen menu is 50% plant-based, providing nutritionally-balanced boxed meals, which customers can order digitally and collect in minutes.
Catherine Roe, Chief Executive Officer at Elior, says,
Our new innovation team along with Claire’s appointment, represent an exciting new direction for Elior. Our Customers’ needs changed significantly as a result of the pandemic and we adapted to these. Given the speed of change, we realised that, as a leading contract caterer, we can spearhead new innovation in the foodservice industry.
The team are working on several inspiring new projects which will spur the business on for sustained growth over the coming years
Claire Small, Director of Innovation, Elior says,
Elior operates across a wide range of sectors and I’m incredibly excited about the opportunities we have to innovate across the business, especially as we emerge from an extremely tough period and adapt to new customer habits and expectations.
As well as using market insight and information on consumer trends, our Breaz app is a powerful source of data. We’ve also got the perfect opportunity to pilot new menus and services, with a plenty of customers across each sector.
We’ve got a handful of creative concepts on the go, fusing consumer trends with evolving technologies – from Wildgreen’s healthy ‘Grab & Go’ concept, to digital screens and mobile ordering kiosks. The last few years have driven widespread adoption of new technologies. It’s fantastic to be working at the cutting edge; identifying opportunities in the business and then bringing them to life!

Aramark Northern Europe commits to net zero by 2050 #

This is the first region within Aramark to share a Net Zero Carbon Reduction plan, in support of Aramark Corporation’s commitment to SBTi’s new Net Zero Standard

Aramark Northern Europe has announced its commitment to become a net zero carbon organisation by 2050, making it the first region in Aramark’s global operations to set a reduction glide path.
The clearly defined carbon reduction target, based on a 2019 assessment baseline, encompasses all of Aramark Northern Europe’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 foodservice, workplace solutions, facilities management, as well as property and estate management services in the UK and Ireland, as well as a rigorous set of Scope 3 emissions categories. As part of the Aramark Northern Europe operational business, both the baseline and commitment include the Aberdeen-headquartered Aramark Global Offshore oil and gas operations.
Combined, the Northern Europe region is set to meet the targets set by current legislation for all relevant jurisdictions. Aramark Northern Europe has also expressly committed to align with the global business’ commitment to set science-based targets following the Science Based Target Initiative’s new Net-Zero Standard over the next 24 months.
To deliver this ambitious global target, the regional organisation is committing to transform the carbon-intensive areas of operations, as well as working with suppliers to change contributing factors within the Scope 3 Supply Chain.
This is a challenge that Frank Gleeson, CEO of Aramark Northern Europe, says the company is both excited about and determined to achieve: “I’m proud to launch the Aramark Northern Europe commitment to Net Zero by 2050. We are taking a collaborative approach to solving this global challenge, we are working to tackle climate change so that we can make a difference across all the sites and communities in which we operate. Aramark Northern Europe, including our UK, Ireland and Global offshore business, has worked diligently, to understand, interrogate, and improve upon the impact of our operations; all the while ensuring that we also improve our services for clients and customers alike.”
“The urgency of the climate crisis has renewed our focus on innovation, collaboration, and competition on a scale that we have never seen before. There is no sustainability practice or effort too small, nor too insignificant, once it is firmly rooted in the intent to do right. With that in mind, everyone in our organisation is committed to playing their part in ensuring we meet our Net Zero Roadmap and Commitments for the region
Aramark Northern Europe’s Net Zero commitments are built around areas where it can have the most impact:
Transport: Replacing the existing fleet of diesel and petrol owned and leased vehicles to electric vehicles (EV) as soon as is practical. Drivers will be provided training on how to drive more efficiently to reduce emissions, which will be monitored and captured by telematics.

Energy Efficiency: All electricity contracts will be procured from renewable or low carbon sources. Green champions at each site will gather up monthly energy performance data to provide feedback that will be are incorporated into capex decisions. Our Business Excellence, Facilities and Property Management Teams will also collaborate and integrate service lines, where appropriate, to provide multi-faceted reduction solutions across our workplace footprint.

Goods and services: In Northern Europe, Aramark has already been moving towards a higher percentage of plant-based meals along with the development of a science-based climate friendly menu proposition. With this, we are changing recipes, increasing the mix of delicious, plant-based, and environmentally sustainable dishes, that are based on 50 key ingredients.

Source locally: Aramark prides itself on a long-standing commitment to identify, partner with, and support local producers. The organisation takes care to operate with a detailed understanding of our product, transport logistics, and food waste categories as we manage our impact on the planet. As the organisation continues to deliver on this ambition, a preference for locally sourced will be given in instances where carbon reduction can be achieved.

Minimising waste and maximise recycling: Aramark will trial software that tracks and manages food wastage, indicating possible changes to menus and portion sizes. In addition, staff training programmes will minimise waste and maximise recycling with food waste sent to anaerobic digestion plants.

Travel: Aramark will encourage our staff to embrace technology to limit travel. Where travel is required, it will prioritise carbon reducing travel modes, such as rail over air and cars.

Engage Employees: Aramark will encourage employees to join its sustainable journey by putting in place and extending initiatives such as cycle to work schemes, encouraging carpool arrangements, providing information on public transport alternatives, installing EV charge points and paying favourable mileage reclaim rates to EV vehicles.The Net Zero 2050 Commitment is just the beginning for Aramark Northern Europe, with the business acknowledging that there is still more to do as part of a wide-ranging effort to have a positive impact on people and the planet – the essence of the company’s Be Well. Do Well. sustainability plan.
This Net Zero milestone also combined with wider ESG efforts for Northern Europe, ranging from mandatory Sustainability e-learning for all 15,000 employees in the region, along with operational training and tools on plastic packaging, waste management, energy saving, and food waste prevention, with much more to come.

The full report can be accessed here.

jellybean Launches ‘The’ Report for Brands Targeting Chefs #

Hot on the heels of their recent Chefs and Social Media Report, leading foodie agency jellybean, has kicked-off 2022 with the launch of their new ‘Chefs & Brands Report’, shining a light on how foodservice brands can best connect with chefs.
Based on independent insight with 300 UK chefs from across the industry (all with buying power), the report includes key insights such as where chefs look for inspiration, what content they prefer, how they have been introduced to brands, and even what drives them mad about brand marketing.
The report is essential reading for all companies looking to reach chefs in 2022, the infographic report can be requested via jellybean’s website at
Brand managers and marketeers will be able to find out about the impact of home use within the professional kitchen, what action chefs take after seeing a product they are interested in and what where they go for recipe inspiration.
Talking about the latest chef findings, Susan Bolam, jellybean MD said:

We had an incredible response to last year’s Chefs and Social Media Report, so we are extremely excited to be able to share the next report in our insight series looking at  Chefs and Brands. From content preferences to bugbears, we’ve lifted the lid on what makes chefs tick, and the associated dos and don’ts  when it comes to marketing to chefs. For more than 30 years jellybean has been passionate about supporting hospitality suppliers and ensuring that their chef comms – and budgets – are focused and effective – we hope our latest report provides food for thought when it comes to 2022 brand planning.”
The Chefs and Brands report is available now from,
To find out more visit

Birds Eye on A Mission #

Mission forms partnership with the Birds Eye Green Cuisine range to offer foodservice solutions

This month, Mission Foodservice and Birds Eye’s “Green Cuisine” meat-free range are arranging a long-term partnership set to inspire and help customers across the education and hospitality sectors following what has been a challenging 18+ months for the whole industry.  

The partnership will be communicated via digital platforms, including LinkedIn and Instagram, as well as a selection of key media and customer partnerships with visibility at leading trade shows, such as LACA & Casual Dining, across 2022.

The focus of the partnership will explore ways in which the brands can collaborate to offer creative and compelling foodservice solutions to help grow the business of their customers with meat-free options as the market continues to grow reaching an estimated value of £1.1bn by 2024.

The recipes are being created specifically for the education caterer and hospitality operator by Kim Hartley, executive development chef at Mission Foodservice, with both chefs and the end consumer in mind.  The recipes are designed to inspire customers to be creative with the food they are offering and remaining on-trend whilst delivering menus at the right price points in every channel. 

Creator Kim Hartley, Executive Development Chef, Mission Foodservice, says: “The collection of recipes we have created are all practical and timely. They cater to a diverse range of different customers, giving chefs and operators inspiration to make their food offering that much more appealing.

“By partnering with the Birds Eye Green Cuisine product range, we can also ensure that we are providing our customers with recipe solutions that meet the expanding and important plant-based occasion in every channel

Victoria Westwood, Senior Brand Manager on Birds Eye Green Cuisine, says: “We know that flexitarian, vegan and vegetarian diets are all on the rise, and at least one person in every five households is already actively looking to reduce their meat intake2. The Birds Eye Green Cuisine range offers great tasting meat-free alternatives from a brand that consumers love and trust.

42% of shoppers would consider plant-based food as part of their diet making it a must-have for menus as well[1]. Our partnership with Mission Foodservice allows us to provide our customers with food that not only delivers on the ‘meat free’ trend, but also tastes great too!

It’s predicted that 13 million Brits will live a plant-based lifestyle by the end of 2021 and while plant-based diets are increasing across all age groups, its prevalent adoption is from pre-families and young families. Making plant-based options on the menu is a necessary step for hospitality operators looking to capitalise on this growing demographic, as well as the education sector looking to cater for children of all ages.

ESS and DIO Win Institute for Collaborative Working Award #

ESS Defence, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) have won the Institute for Collaborative Working Service Sector Award.

The award recognises teams that excel in improving service delivery through a collaborative approach. It marks the successful relationship between ESS and DIO in the delivery of three large Defence Soft FM contracts in the East, South West and Wales & West Midlands. The contracts, awarded under the MOD’s Hestia programme, cover 240 military establishments and 100+ services, ranging from catering, retail and leisure through to waste, cleaning and laundry. The objective for both organisations is to enhance the lived experience for service personnel in the sites where they live and work.

The Hestia programme brings together multiple ESS, DIO and military stakeholders. A structured approach to collaboration at the highest level has enabled ESS and DIO to develop and instil shared objectives, ways of working and behaviours that filter through the contracts.

Both organisations have achieved ISO 44001 certification for the relationship which is managed by a joint ESS and DIO partnering board. The systems and processes required by the standard facilitate a consistent approach which is key to successful collaboration.

Benefits delivered through the relationship include:

*  Ensuring colleague and customer safety through the joint development of safe operating procedures during COVID-19
*  Enhancing the lived experience through investment in food service and retail facilities, including the first fully self-service convenience store on the UK Defence estate
*  Embracing digitalisation to improve access to services through implementation of the ESS App designed specifically for Defence and Government customers
*  Focusing on sustainability across all service streams, including increasing plant-forward meal options, introducing chemical free cleaning, eliminating the top ten single use plastic products, delivering zero waste to landfill from contract start and consistently improving recycling rates
*  Supporting personal wellbeing through a detailed wellness programme designed for ESS, DIO and military colleagues.

Mark Webster, Managing Director – ESS Defence, Energy and Government Services, commented: 

We are delighted that our relationship with DIO has been recognised by the Institute for Collaborative Working. Both organisations are committed to working closely together for the benefit of service personnel and we have put structures in place to drive effective collaboration at all levels, from our senior leadership teams to our frontline colleagues. The partnership has delivered great things during the first four years of the Hestia programme and there is much more to come.”   

Richard McKinney, Regional Delivery Director – DIO, commented:  

Recognition by the Institute for Collaborative Working is a great achievement. We are committed to working together and collaborating; which means that we solve problems quicker, we learn from each other, and ultimately our customers get better outcomes.”

Hotel, Restaurant & Catering unveils content partners for 2022 #

Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC) has partnered with B2B hospitality services agency EXP101, speciality food & drink database Tried & Supplied and Hospitality Jobs UK to curate a wide range of content for the show’s hospitality and foodservice audience.  
EXP101 Co-Founders Keiron Bailey and Chris Fletcher will be making use of their comprehensive knowledge of the sector and strong connections in the industry to bring the show’s Vision Stage, designed by Harp Commercial Interiors, to life for 2022.  
Chris added: “We’re thrilled to be curating the seminar programme for the Vision Stage at HRC and bringing together a fantastic line-up of hospitality industry leaders to share their hard-earned insights at the show. The past two years have seen business owners face unprecedented challenges and HRC is a fantastic opportunity to come together as an industry, share key learnings and plan for the future of the sector.”   
The event’s Tech X Stage will take a deep dive into the world of hospitality technology, with insightful case studies from leading pubs, restaurant chains and hotels in addition to in-depth research and analysis from agencies including KAM Media and Verse. 
To highlight some of the key challenges and opportunities facing the hospitality and foodservice sector, HRC will be partnering with Hospitality Jobs UK for Hospitality’s Talent Conundrum, a special one-off conference examining the issues of staff recruitment and retention.  
Hospitality Jobs UK Founder Dawn Bowstead described the reasons for launching the conference, saying: “The staffing issue is a real conundrum for the hospitality sector and is at the forefront of everything we do in hospitality, from customer face to face, back of house and operational roles.  
“At the Hospitality’s Talent Conundrum conference, we will be offering innovative solutions for hospitality businesses to attract and retain candidates. Expect leading industry figures discussing their journeys, their solutions, and the successes they’ve had with attracting talented employees. We will also be sharing government incentives, apprenticeship opportunities and how industry charities are supporting the sector
The show will also be hosting the first live edition of the Better Hospitality Conference in partnership with Tried & Supplied.  
"We're excited to be holding the Better Hospitality Conference as a live in-person event for the first time as part of HRC in March this year,” commented Domini Hogg, Founder of Tried & Supplied. “Bringing together experts, operators, chefs and farmers from a wide range of business types, the conference discusses key challenges and opportunities for the sector in developing better practices across sustainability, nutrition, people, and business resilience." 
Hotel, Restaurant & Catering takes place on 21-23 March 2022 at ExCeL London. Register to attend HRC, along with its partner events The Pub Show, IFE, International Food & Drink Event, IFE Manufacturing and London Produce Show, at  

Bike Bosnia 2022: Wholesale & Convenience Sector Cyclists take to the Western Balkans to support UK Landmine Clearance Charity #

The annual grocery wholesale & convenience retail charity bike ride, set up in 2015 by Neil Turton, MD of Sugro, and Tom Fender, Development Director of TWC to raise money for the Manchester based landmine clearance charity, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), will return as an overseas trip in 2022.
The 2022 ride will take place across the Western Balkans, starting in Dubrovnik on June 10th 2022 and finishing in Sarajevo on the 15th June.
Bike Bosnia 2022 will be the sixth international ride – the previous five challenges have taken place in regions which, like Bosnia, are impacted by the legacy of conflict (including Laos, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Cambodia). To date, the rides have raised an immense £730,000 for the charity.
Neil Turton says: "After a challenging 2021, we are delighted to be able to return to an international bike ride for 2022. We managed to hold seven individual day rides in the UK last year, which were fantastic, but we’re excited to head overseas again, to one of the countries where MAG is making a huge difference to the people living there
Tom Fender adds: "The devastating conflict in the Western Balkans ended in 1995. The war claimed an estimated 100,000 lives and displaced another 2.2 million people. Many people will recall seeing the horrific images on the news. ‘Bike Bosnia’ will allow riders to learn more about the deadly legacy of the war — the most deadly European conflict since World War II — whilst raising funds for a fantastic cause."
Darren Cormack, CEO of MAG, in welcoming the Bike Bosnia event, commented: "More than twenty-five years after the end of the conflict, Bosnia and Herzegovina is still one of the most heavily mined countries in Europe, with these deadly, indiscriminate items trapping as many as half a million women, girls, boys and men in fear.”

Darren adds “The Bikes against Bombs initiative raises vital funds for MAG’s work around the world. With their support, our teams are able to clear even more landmines and unexploded bombs helping conflict-affected communities to live free from fear of death and injury and to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
"On behalf of everyone at MAG around the world, thanks so much for all the support - the team have raised an extraordinary £730,000 since 2015, and we are thrilled that Bike Bosnia is taking place in 2022! The team there are excited to welcome them and I hope to join them for a few days in June to show my support for the team — let the training begin!
Places are still available for the Bike Bosnia event and Tom and Neil are calling for more riders to get involved: "The ride is open to anyone working in the sector. It is an ideal opportunity for people to network while raising money for a fantastic cause. Places are limited and filling up fast. Please contact us soon if you would like to join us or find out more information." 
The dates are 10th-15th June 2022 inclusive.  Anyone wanting more information about the ride, or about sponsorship opportunities, should speak to Neil, Tom or Sarah Tavener (

Promotions are a key driver for eating out as younger consumers feel the pinch #

A new report from data and digital experts TWC confirms that promotions are an important driver for meals out, to keep costs down, particularly for younger consumers.

The TWC Trends – Savvy Shopping report evidences the much talked about ‘k’ shaped economic recovery, with 4 in 10 shoppers agreeing they are struggling to make ends meet financially. Younger shoppers, particularly Millennials (aged 25-44) were most likely to agree with this statement, which is a challenge for the hospitality industry with this cohort eating out more than older age groups.

Promotions came out as the top driver for outlet choice across all age groups (38% agreement), but was particularly high amongst younger consumers, aligning to the greater likelihood of finances being under pressure for these consumers.
Sarah Coleman, Communications Director at TWC comments:

Consumer demand for promotions isn’t going to go away with looming high inflation so operators need to ensure that there is a clear benefit from running any deal, whether that is to drive footfall, increase transaction spend or collect customers’ details. Our research showed that over half of UK adults are happy for businesses to collect data about their spending and purchasing habits in exchange for better personalisation of offers. This is particularly true of younger consumers, with two-thirds of 18–34-year-olds agreeing with this statement.” 

The report also highlighted the importance of reviews when looking for hospitality venues. Again, this was particularly important to younger consumers. Coleman explains: “This also came through in TWC Trends Online Explosion (, which showed reviews and ratings from other customers as an online ordering ‘must have’. This data suggests that the importance of reviews is not limited to the online world but is an important consideration for physical venue selection too.”

Other criteria determining venue choice included looking for healthy or healthier options, child-friendly hospitality venues, availability of plant based/meat-free alternatives and the opportunity to try new food types or genres.

Around one in five consumers said they are happy to spend a bit more on meals out compared to pre-pandemic. This was highest amongst Gen Z (consumers aged 18-24) at 30%.

Coleman explains: “Whilst 37% of this cohort say they are struggling financially, it seems that others are wanting to make up for lost time and are therefore prioritising socialising within their spending.”

This research on “Savvy shopping: Balancing value as well as premiumisation to meet divergent consumer needs” is the third in a series of new mini reports from TWC Trends.  The TWC Trends Autumn Edition 2021 series is based on the views and sentiments of over 1,000 consumers across the UK. The research was conducted between 5-8 November 2021.

Aramark acquires Wilson Vale #

Just before Christmas, Aramark,  announced the acquisition of the independent foodservice company, Wilson Vale. Wilson Vale joins the Aramark UK business, part of Aramark Northern Europe operations, as a key driver of high-quality growth and service delivery for small, premium Business and Industry (B&I) clients and Independent Schools.

Co-founded and run by established industry leaders, Andrew Wilson and Carolyne Vale, the independent caterer has long operated with seasonality, ingredient quality, and local sourcing at the core. Owing to the strength of brand alignment and a shared vision for growth, Wilson Vale will operate as an autonomous brand within Aramark’s expanding UK portfolio. It will retain its existing leadership team, employees, clients, suppliers, and well-served customers, ensuring business as usual.

Aramark is delighted to wholly acquire the Wilson Vale business in the UK,” said Helen Milligan-Smith, Managing Director of Aramark UK. “This authentic, well run, high-quality business fits perfectly with the culture, values, and growth ambition for Aramark here.”

This is an extremely rare opportunity to become part of a larger family where the values and principles of our business can be fully retained,” said Andrew Wilson, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Wilson Vale. “Without doubt, one of the most pleasing things over the last two decades has been the way in which our people have developed, and in turn, how they have evolved the services we provide to our clients. These have always been the most important things to us, and they will continue to be as we embark on the next generation of growth with the benefit and support of Aramark’s ownership.”

Bad weather and rising Covid cases drive demand for foodservice delivery #

According to the latest update to the Lumina Intelligence UK Foodservice Delivery Market Report 2021, in the 12 weeks ending (12WE) 28/11/2021, delivery occasions increased by +2ppts. There was a small increase in the number of delivery occasions at the start of October, due to the increase in offers available in the build up to Halloween.

In November, delivery’s share of total eating out occasions peaked at 19%, having dropped as low as 15% during October. This increase is likely due to the recent bad weather - Storm Arwen - causing people to stay inside as well as concerns for the Omicron variant.

McDonald’s continue to dominate foodservice delivery, accounting for 19% of total foodservice delivery occasions during the 12 week period. Five Guys has appeared in the leading brands by share of occasions for the first time, with the brand putting a greater focus on its delivery service as a result of strong delivery sales throughout the pandemic.

Older consumers aged 45-65+ have grown share of delivery occasions by +4ppts, however it remains that younger consumers are the driving force behind the growth of foodservice delivery, with one-in-two delivery consumers aged 18-34.

Share of total occasions by age:

18-24     20%
25-34     31%
35-44     23%
45-54     16%
55-64      7%
65+         5%
Didn’t want to cook (24%), Treat (18%) and To spend time with family (9%) are the three most common reasons for consumers ordering foodservice delivery.
The top three reasons for choosing a particular establishment are I’ve been there before, It’s good value for money and Quality of ingredients.

Commenting on the report findings, Blonnie Whist, Insight Director at Lumina Intelligence said, “With the weather turning colder, we expect to see an uptick in delivery over the Winter months. However, with the volume of Covid cases rising rapidly and the potential for tougher restrictions, delivery could become critical to operators once again over the coming weeks and months. Consumers are likely to become more selective on how they spend their free time, opting to stay in with friends rather than go to busy pubs or restaurants in order to limit risks and ensure festive plans don’t have to change last minute due to isolation.”

University teams win funding from Sodexo for community projects #

Students from 10 universities across the UK have participated in a Dragon’s Den-style competition organised by Sodexo’s Stop Hunger Foundation in partnership with social enterprise and education charity, Enactus UK. 

The first competition, which ran from January to July 2021, required each team to devise community projects to support Sodexo’s Stop Hunger Foundation’s mission to alleviate hunger, promote good nutrition and improve wellbeing.  

The projects needed to have clear aims and objectives which included long-term sustainability and a clear impact on beneficiaries and project reach. Each team was required to prepare a 6–12-month business plan including ways in which funding from Sodexo could help accelerate the project impact. 

Each of the Enactus student teams, from universities including Cardiff Met, Birmingham City, Durham, St Andrew’s, Hull, and Sheffield Hallam, pitched for a share of £6,000 funding. 

With all ten teams devising strong projects the Sodexo panel of judges awarded funding ranging from £500 up £650 to all teams. Two of the strongest initiatives came from teams from Portsmouth University and the University of Hull, who each received £650 funding for their projects. 

Portsmouth’s Eco Ratio project aims to help alleviate food shortages and improve nutrition for children and low-income households in the city, all while attempting to reduce food waste by creating meal kits to sell to the community at a reduced price, with the proceeds supplying more free meals to school children.
Hull’s Undivided Food Co delivers hampers of fresh produce and nutritious recipes to local beneficiaries so they can begin to improve their diets. The project team has partnered with Hull organisation Rooted, who run an open garden where they educate people on how to grow their own fresh produce. 

Hull’s project leader, student Lois Nash said: “The funding from Sodexo will help us to expand to reach more families. Sodexo will also be mentoring us in areas we need support with, like accounting and finance. How do we capitalise on the money we’ve been given and make the Undivided Food Co more sustainable for the future? Having advice from people in such a big business will steer us.” 

Sodexo is committed to supporting student employability and success in higher education and has partnered with Enactus UK which engages with around 3,000 students across 60 universities every year, linking with large business organisations such as Sodexo to help encourage young social entrepreneurs. 

Gareth John, Sodexo’s European Director of Sodexo Legal Affairs and Chair of the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation said: “We have been completely blown away by the creativity and commitment of the students who presented to us. All the projects we heard about were focused on tackling food poverty which aligns perfectly with our Stop Hunger ambitions. There were some great concepts around delivering meal packs within their communities; reducing food waste and creating affordable meal kits for distribution to low-income families.” 

Sodexo’s partnership with Enactus UK began in 2019 and reinforces its Social Impact Pledge and commitments to offer mentoring, career advice, internships and job opportunities to students. 

Amy Brereton, Chief Operating Officer for Enactus UK, said:

The Enactus programme challenges our socially-responsible future leaders to work together and develop their business skills to identify real community needs and deliver lasting impact.” 

In September 2021 Sodexo contributed a further £12,000 which will enable Enactus to hold a week for Enactus students from across the UK where they can spend time with business leaders and subject matter experts from Sodexo to help progress their social action projects. 

Simon McCluskey, CEO for Sodexo Schools & Universities UK, and Stop Hunger trustee, said:
This partnership allows us to provide students with valuable business mentoring and coaching from Sodexo experts, which supports our social value agenda.” 

Sodexo’s Stop Hunger Foundation is active in 40 countries around the world. In the UK and Ireland, Sodexo volunteers work alongside charities and organisations, donating time, skills and money to tackle hunger; support good nutrition, and promote life skills in local communities. 

Since 2010, the Stop Hunger Foundation has donated more than £3.4 million to charities tackling hunger and malnutrition.