Members’ News

January 2022

Heinz & Absurd Bird unveil plant-based Dhoom! burger for Veganuary #

Heinz and fried chicken chain, Absurd Bird, have teamed up to create the mouthwatering new DHOOM! vegan burger. Available only during Veganuary, the limited-edition burger combines plant-based classics - Heinz Tomato Ketchup and Heinz Beanz - with the distinctive, delicious flavours of Mumbai. Sure to delight vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians and carnivores alike, it is now available for dine-in and delivery across five Absurd Bird restaurants in the UK.
Translated as ‘explosion’ in Hindi, the DHOOM! Burger shows just one way to put a twist on Britain’s much-loved plant-based staples. Heinz Beanz are refried with a top-secret masala spice mix to pack a fiery punch, while traditional Heinz Tomato Ketchup made with sun-ripened tomatoes, gets a sizzling infusion of chillies and ginger to create a zingy tandoori-inspired sauce. Complete with Absurd Bird’s crispy vegan chick’n fillet, the burger is stacked high with chat pata pickles, coriander, and Maharashtrian shengdana peanut crumble, all nestled in a toasted brioche bun.

Asmita Singh, Marketing Lead, UK Foodservice at Kraft Heinz said: “Lashings of Heinz Tomato Ketchup make everything better – from burgers & fries to samosas & savoury snacks. Teaming up with Absurd Bird was an amazing way to take a new journey with the Unmistakeable Taste of Heinz. Here we showcase how you can elevate any dish by using our brilliantly simple products with a twist. We hope this burger lands with a DHOOM! and shows once again that plant-based can be packed with flavour and excites a variety of diners, from hardcore vegans to flexitarians and curious carnivores.”

Omar Romero, Global Culinary Director, Kbox Global said: “At Absurd Bird we are crazy about flavours, and our dedicated team draw inspiration from our native countries and beyond to develop unique combinations, always pushing boundaries and asking, ‘Why not?’. Our new vegan DHOOM! Burger is the result of this process. It’s an amalgamation of our classic American fried chicken and Heinz staples rethought to create a loaded plant-based burger, stuffed with textures and flavours found in the bazaars of Mumbai. And it worked – the DHOOM! Burger takes plant-based eating to another dimension. What makes it ‘absurd’? The size, the indulgence, the rollercoaster of textures and flavours in this Indian-American fusion that just so happens to be plant-based. From the freshness of the chat pickles to the sweet and sour of the mango slaw, the crunchiness of the chick’n and the kick of the ketchup, it’s a festival of flavours in every bite.’

Toni Vernelli, International Head of Comms & Marketing, Veganuary, concludes: ‘Each Veganuary, we hope to showcase the versatility of plant-based food, without compromising on flavour or quality, and the Absurd Bird x Heinz partnership is doing exactly that. The addition of world flavours is one of many ways we can simply, yet effectively, introduce new seasonings to challenge and excite tastebuds, inspiring vegans and non-vegans alike to enjoy plant-based meals more often.’

The DHOOM! burger is available until 31st January in Absurd Bird sites including Spitalfields and Soho in London, Exeter, Leeds, and Glasgow as well as via Just Eat and Uber Eats.

How automatic ventilation systems can save money and improve kitchen safety #

The FEA recommends treating recommendations “as if they were mandatory”

The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) is calling on the industry to take the recommendations of DW172, the specification for kitchen ventilation systems issued by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), into account when designing, refurbishing or looking to implement energy saving measures into kitchens to maximise the safety and efficiency benefits.

The FEA is specifically drawing attention to the recommendations regarding demand controlled kitchen ventilation (DCKV) systems.  This covers systems using a variety of methods for regulating the exhaust of kitchen appliances and replacing excess hot air in kitchens while bringing in fresh air without causing discomfort to staff, for example from strong drafts.

The need for this focus is because while DW172 is accepted as the industry standard, the fact the recommendations for DCKV are not mandatory can mean it is not seen as a priority at the design and specification stage. While manually controlled ventilation systems can help drive down the initial costs of creating a new commercial kitchen, those savings will quickly be outpaced by higher operating costs, along with increased risks for staff working in areas with potentially inadequate ventilation.

DCKV systems are defined by how they detect heat or cooking, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. The simplest uses a temperature sensor in the extraction canopy, which detects incremental increases/ decreases in temperature and adjust the extract/supply fans accordingly. More advanced systems add an opacity sensor which can detect the amount of steam within the canopy, which allows it to react faster to cooking operations.

Infra-red sensors can also be added to DCKV systems, which further speeds up the reaction time of the ventilation, for example by allowing it to detect the change in temperature when frozen food is added to hot oil without waiting for temperature or steam to rise into the canopy. Cooking activity systems like these can be precisely defined according to project-specific requirements.

As ventilation systems account for roughly 18% of energy use in commercial kitchens, ensuring that those systems are as efficient as possible will have a significant impact on energy consumption, and in some cases savings up to 80% on fan savings alone.  A more efficient system will also improve working conditions by reducing temperature via space temperature technology and helping to remove excess carbon dioxide from the air via CO2/CO monitoring which can cause drowsiness in staff if not handled correctly.

The efficiencies offered by DCKV systems mean that the payback of their cost can take as little as two years, even for more complex systems. This efficiency also makes it a great choice for open plan theatre kitchens, as they do not adversely affect the overall temperature of the room.

Demand controlled systems can cover a wide range of vital functions within kitchens,” says Keith Warren, chief executive of FEA. “Extraction, air supply and heating – it can do it all, so it’s a worthwhile consideration for any new kitchen or existing kitchens. However, the fact that it is not mandatory means that it is often treated as a ‘nice to have’ rather than an ‘ought to have’ or, better still, a ‘must have.’. The FEA feels that while it is not mandatory it should be treated as if it is, and should be something that is planned and budgeted for at the beginning of planning and specifying kitchens.”
The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) is the independent, authoritative voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing nearly 200 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes.  For more information on FEA visit

Aramark Northern Europe appoints Jennifer Martin as Marketing and Innovation Director #

Aramark Northern Europe, the award-winning foodservice provider, is proud to announce the appointment of Jennifer Martin as Marketing and Innovation Director, Northern Europe. Jennifer takes over from Carolyn Hails, who has been promoted to the global role of Vice President of Marketing and Innovation for Aramark International, serving Aramark’s business across 20 markets outside the US.
Jennifer joins Aramark from her previous role as Chief Operating Officer at The Vet, a privately-owned group of veterinary centres, following a successful turnaround and sale. Prior to this, Jennifer worked within the hospitality sector gaining a wealth of experience at TGI Friday’s, Marston’s PLC, and The Restaurant Group PLC, where she developed a broad range of brands and concepts across high street bars, restaurants, pubs and hotels. Continuing an already impressive career, Jennifer joins Aramark at an exciting time of growth, with her role encompassing Marketing, Communications, and Dietetics and Wellbeing teams who work to support the organisation’s growth across the region.
Commenting on the appointment, CEO of Aramark Northern Europe, Frank Gleeson said, “This is an excellent appointment for our Northern Europe business. Jennifer brings an impressive skillset to our team, with a broad range of expertise and diverse experience from both the hospitality sector and other industries.
“Jennifer is a dynamic, thoughtful and strong female leader. It has been clear right through the selection process that Jennifer puts people at the heart of her decision making. We are excited for what she will bring to our team, our clients and our consumers.

On her new position as Marketing and Innovation Director, Jennifer Martin said, “I’m excited to take on the new challenges ahead as Aramark continues to grow from strength to strength in this region. I look forward to building on the Marketing and Innovation team’s excellent work which leverages strong consumer and customer insight to shape clients’ current and future needs.”
I was incredibly impressed with Aramark’s mission, rooted in a service mindset, and values which truly resonate with my own values and principles – for me, this alignment is absolutely imperative when leading such a high-performing team and an innovation agenda that fits our customers’ changing needs. I’m looking forward to applying my experience to grow and diversify our offer across the region through exciting concepts and impactful activation which surprises, delights and delivers time and again.”
With a degree in psychology, Jennifer has a keen interest in human behaviour and decision making, using consumer insights to ensure clients’ needs are not only met but exceeded. Jennifer will report directly to Frank Gleeson, CEO, and join our Executive Leadership Team for the region.

Risk aversion, caused by Omicron, sees eating out penetration and spend decline in December #

According to the latest data from Lumina Intelligence Eating & Drinking Out Panel, in the four weeks ending (4WE) 26/12/2021, eating out penetration fell -2ppts to 53%.

Average spend decreased by -30.7%. This was driven by a decline in share for both the dinner day-part and the restaurant channel, as consumers opted for smaller occasions including drink-only and typically faster occasions, with QSR seeing a boost in channel share.

Restaurants share decreased by -1.6ppts, driven by a decrease in dinner occasions (-1.7ppts). Catering and retail share also declined with advice to work from home being reintroduced in the middle of December.

Coffee and sandwich shops increased in share by +1.8ppts over the last 4 weeks. This is in line with an increase in snack, breakfast and brunch occasions. The purchasing of pastries has increased by +1.1ppts.

QSR gained +0.7ppts in share, representing more than one-in-four occasions with consumers opting to attend channels typically involving less social contact amid virus concerns.

Commenting on the results, Insight Director at Lumina Intelligence, Blonnie Whist, said: “Following a catastrophic festive period in 2020, hospitality operators were hopeful of a huge boost this time. Whilst restrictions were kept to a minimum in England, rapidly rising case numbers, caused by the Omicron variant, resulted in consumers becoming more risk averse to protect the plans they had to see family and friends over Christmas. This led to a slightly subdued December, as spend and participation declined versus November. With cases starting to ease, operators will be hoping that consumers re-book those plans.”

Find out more about Lumina Intelligence’s Eating & Drinking Out Panel here.

Still uncertain about Natasha’s Law? Bidfood has what you need to operate under the new legislation. #

With businesses still struggling to navigate Natasha’s Law, Bidfood, one of the UK’s leading foodservice providers, has highlighted several key support tools to help operators stay on track.

The legislation, which came into effect on 1st of October 2021, saw 8 out of 10 businesses still feeling unprepared. And with operators concerned that transitioning into Natasha’s Law will be expensive and time-consuming, many have been putting off implementing the new legislation in their sites. However, as the grace period ends and local council’s crackdown on the new law, those eateries affected need to be taking action.

Bidfood has been working hard on providing a range of support tools: MyRecipes, Menu Planning and the Matt85 labelling system, which will save customers time and money.

What is MyRecipes and Menu Planning?
MyRecipes and Menu Planning can be accessed via Bidfood’s online shop, Bidfood Direct. The tools allow customers to create their recipes and menus based on their agreed product range and pricing. One of the benefits of these tools is their clarity, offering clear and easy to understand allergy icons, nutritional data and front-of-pack nutrition traffic light labelling information, which can be used to create a label for your pre-packaged recipes.

Matt85 labelling system from DayMark
By teaming up with DayMark, Bidfood has given customers an all-in-one solution to labelling their pre-packaged foods: the Matt85 labelling system.

The Matt85 uses a cloud-based software to print labels at your convenience and uses heat technology so there’s no need to worry about ordering ink. You can have everything you need to sell your pre-packaged foods in just five simple steps.

Samantha Elliott, Nutrition and Allergen manager at Bidfood said: “Now that it has been a few months since Natasha’s Law was implemented, businesses are expected to be fully compliant and we wanted to reiterate the support that is available to our customers. These tools are a way to save customers time and money whilst providing them with the peace of mind they need.”

For more guidance, and to read through our brochures and guides, please visit:

Sodexo’s Mindful Active launched to serve the UK military with health and wellbeing support ​ #

Mindful Active, an educational tool that provides holistic health and wellbeing guidance, has been launched by Sodexo at Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) in Portsmouth.

Mindful Active reinforces Sodexo’s commitment to improving the lived experience as well as the health and wellbeing of UK military personnel.  It has been developed using Sodexo’s own client and customer insight and influenced by the MOD’s own insight, such as the UK Armed Forces Continuous Attitudes Survey (UKAFCA), to understand the challenges faced by the UK military community. 

Designed primarily for physically active personnel, the content is still relevant for what is considered to be the whole force; not only serving military personnel but also partners and civilians who live, work and visit the base. 

Mindful Active is accessible at home and at work and provides nutritional information, wellbeing signposting, recipes, and cooking advice. It has been built on four pillars. each designed for body and mind. 

Fuel: prepare the body for what lies ahead and sustain a healthy lifestyle
Focus: target body performance goals and power up brain training
Perform: boost energy levels and strengthen mental endurance
Restore: re-energise the body post-workout and re-set mental wellbeing 

Mindful Active forms the new approach to catering. Throughout the base Mindful Active messages, tips and guidance are communicated and made available online via a smart phone app, empowering customers to make informed lifestyle choices with ease. 

Holistic mental health guidance is also available with everything from simple tips through to links to professional advice and services, helping users learn how to manage stress and discover relaxation techniques. 

Paul Anstey, CEO, Government, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: 

We are committed to improving the lived experience of all those who live and work on military bases and are pleased to be able to launch Mindful Active at HMNB Portsmouth as part of our new contract.  

We know how important it is to ensure all our customers get the best possible experience and feel connected with and supported by the military, its partners and the wider community. This innovative new tool will undoubtedly have a positive impact and supports the Ministry of Defence’s key priorities to ensure all defence people enjoy a state of positive physical and mental health and wellbeing.”  

Sodexo was awarded the soft services contract for HMNB Portsmouth earlier this year as part of the Ministry of Defence’s Future Maritime Support Programme (FMSP). The contract, valued at around £54 million, will run until March 2026, replacing the previous Maritime Support Delivery Framework (MSDF). 

Commodore JJ Bailey RN, Naval Base Commander of HM Naval Base Portsmouth, added: 

Service people and their families are all exposed to various pressures and demands, physical and mental, due to the nature of their roles and the impact it can have on family life and on individuals.

This initiative focussed on catering and the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is a very welcome one for all my people

I absolutely agree that good nutrition is crucial to their health and wellbeing and being able to perform at their best and so Sodexo’s Mindful Active is a really great tool to enable this. It has already had some very positive feedback and I look forward to working with Sodexo to continue to ensure that anyone working or living on our base experiences the best lived experience we can offer.”

David's Kitchen appoints TWC for Foodservice Consultancy Project #

Leading data and digital experts, TWC, has announced a new TWC Consultancy project with David’s Kitchen, the convenience retail / foodservice hybrid offer set up by the highly influential Scottish retailer, David Sands.
David’s Kitchen offers customers all the usual convenience products seen across the world but with a full foodservice proposition too.  Each store has its own chef who creates a vast array of hot and cold meals every day, resulting in a concept that is highly innovative in the UK convenience store market.
David’s Kitchen engaged TWC towards the end of 2021 to conduct a consumer research project to better understand how customers perceive the company’s foodservice proposition.
Commenting on the project, David’s Kitchen founder David Sands said:

As we strive to increase the share of foodservice sales across our business, we wanted to understand what our customers think of the proposition and how we can make sure we are delivering on their needs. We also needed to make sure that our customers are fully aware of our full proposition. One of the things we found out is that our customers are keen for David’s Kitchen to offer a wider range of healthy or healthier meals and that is something we are now developing with our chefs.”
TWC’s Development Director, Tom Fender, said:

TWC is delighted to be working with such influential businesses to help shape their strategy. Consumer research is now an important part of our proposition, in addition to our technology and consulting divisions. We launched TWC trends in 2021 to complement the sales data we manage on behalf of our clients. Sales data reports WHAT is happening, but consumer insight helps to explain WHY sales occur. Businesses need expert support in both areas to understand the total picture, which TWC is well placed to provide.”
For further details on TWC Consulting please visit
Our latest TWC Trends consumer research can be found here:

ARAMARK hosts ‘Meet the Buyer’ Event at IFE 2022 #

Aramark’s Producer Showcase comes to IFE with a call for exhibiting businesses to pitch their product to a panel of expert directors and buyers

Aramark UK, the award-winning food service provider, is scouting for innovative, high quality products and services to procure for its network of sites across the UK. 
Food producers, distributors, and wholesalers are being invited to showcase and pitch their products to a panel of Aramark’s expert directors, buyers, operations, and culinary teams at IFE, International Food & Drink Event, taking place on 21-23 March 2022 at ExCeL London. The successful organisations will be in with the chance to agree a supply partnership with one of the most prominent buyers in the UK foodservice sector.
The Aramark Producer Showcase has proven a successful format in both Ireland and Scotland, and offers companies the opportunity to present their products to a judging panel in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style format. It will also provide producers with the opportunity to network with Aramark contacts and one another; providing a unique opportunity to create and develop long-term relationships.
Previous winners include Le Patissier, Redmond Fine Foods, Goodness Grains, The Penny Loaf Company and Wildberry Bakery.
Stephen Brennan, Supply Chain Director, Aramark Northern Europe said “As a business we’re eager to meet the freshest, most innovative and best quality businesses, wherever they may be. More than ever, we’re looking to partner with diverse businesses and to forge business relationships with social enterprise-focused suppliers.”
Helen Milligan-Smith, Managing Director for Aramark UK and one of the experts on Aramark’s panel of judges, also commented: “IFE is a must-attend event, not only for the wide range of unique and diverse food and drink suppliers on offer but also for the opportunities the show presents to build meaningful, long-lasting working partnerships. I am delighted we are bringing Aramark’s Producer Showcase to IFE 2022 and look forward to meeting all of the talented exhibitors and seeing what opportunities may arise for Aramark to build relationships with a diverse range of suppliers.”
IFE Event Director Philippa Christer added: “This is an unmissable opportunity for food and drink businesses to pitch directly to top industry buyers and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Aramark, a hugely respected name in the world of food and drink. This is a chance to demonstrate your value proposition, stand out from the competition and take your business to the next level, so get entering!
The opportunity to pitch at IFE comes after Aramark Northern Europe has announced their commitment to become a Net Zero company by 2050, seeking to build relationships with regional, diverse businesses, SMEs and social enterprise-focused suppliers in so doing support our goal of Carbon reduction.

To enter simply head to the IFE Website. Deadline for entries is 2nd March 2022. Entry is limited to IFE exhibitors

Survival tips for employers in the ever-changing workplace #

Nestlé Coffee Partners brings together world-leading experts to help employers adapt working environments to reduce staff turnover and improve productivity

The days of full-time office working are gone and a hybrid model of ‘office-home working’ is now on trend presenting employers with a new set of challenges. As employees start leaving their jobs in droves in the ‘Great Resignation’, businesses are urgently seeking ways to raise staff morale and reduce turnover within this new working paradigm.

To address this, Nestlé Coffee Partners, part of Nestlé Professional, has been talking with world-leading experts to identify key focus areas for employers, enabling them to rapidly adapt working environments and engage and enthuse their workforce, while at the same time boosting productivity.

According to productivity experts such as Despina Katsikakis, to boost productivity, employees need a combination of autonomy, mastery and purpose. Remote working may have given the workforce greater autonomy in most cases, but the office environment has become more important than ever as a place for enabling mastery and instilling purpose. A shared physical space gives employees the chance to collaborate and connect to learn from each other,  as well as inspire one another and creatively brainstorm while at the same time tuning in to their organisation’s overarching objectives and goals.

Despite this, employers are struggling to keep up, repeatedly adapting working environments to meet workforce needs in the ‘new normal’. This could explain why almost a quarter of workers plan to change employers in 3 - 6 months.

To help businesses adapt and thrive in this new way of working, Nestlé Coffee Partners has been talking with world-leading experts in its Smart Coffee podcast series. So far, the podcast has interviewed Despina Katsikakis, Global Lead at Total Workplace, Cushman & Wakefield; Dr Fiona Kerr, Founder & CEO at the NeuroTech Institute, and Simon French, workplace and design director at Glaxo SmithKline’s Worldwide Real Estate & Facilities.

From this insight, the series has identified five ways in which businesses can adapt. The resulting office spaces will enable businesses to boost creativity and morale through improved connection with colleagues, while at the same time, enhancing productivity and stimulating flow states through smart design.

Make sure employees feel trusted and have choice.Organisational leaders play a critical role communicating this through encouraging greater autonomy – whether this is through working from home, or devolved decision making.

A leader who shows respect, high trust, allows decision making, gives resources and invites people to be intuitive around what they think, brings wisdom to the fore; such support, open communication and understanding shown makes people flourish”, says Dr Fiona Kerr.

Despina Katsikakis adds, “A lot of factors around productivity are around management behaviour, the ability to motivate and inspire people at work.”
Understand that this is a change journey.It is not just about changing physical space but also changing behaviours. “Organisations need to adapt to how people will work differently to align the space to those new behaviours and to focus on creating dynamic ways to reinforce serendipitous connection as this is a key reason to go to the office - the powerful cognitive and chemical synchronization of physically sharing space that humans are built for, that creates profound positive impacts on how we think, work and feel”, says Dr Fiona Kerr.
Entice employees into the office with compelling experiences.This might be training to encourage mastery, collaborative teamwork, stimulating events or simply great coffee bringing people together.

Community, mentorship, knowledge-sharing and wellbeing have suffered significantly because of remote working. Younger generations are struggling the most, and the realisation of the office’s role in providing these is coming to light. Autonomy has held up throughout the pandemic, but interaction has struggled. The future office needs to be a social place of interaction and connectivity”, says Despina Katsikakis.

Despina continues: “Buildings are at the heart of the wellbeing solution. We spend 90% of our time indoors. Natural light, quality of air, sensory and acoustic controls and environmental factors are critical to our performance as well as operational policies such as amenities and services, and how we move through the day.”
Encourage breaks from technology.Poor productivity and distraction often result from too much time looking at devices. In fact, Nestlé Coffee Partners research revealed that the average employee wastes three hours on unproductive online behaviour during the working week, chatting with friends and family, consuming content and even shopping.

The survey also found that almost one in four (24%) employees spend time staring into space. This isn’t necessarily wasted time; it can be vital for helping them process information and to achieve a flow state: heightened concentration and enjoyment for specific tasks. Breaks are good for productivity, but there are other ways to encourage these – for teams and for individual activities.

When you do look out the window or go for a walk it’s a key part of flow – it allows your brain to relax, pick out bits you want to focus on and put it all together”, says Dr Fiona Kerr.

Having a coffee is another way to take a break and boost that flow. Seven out of ten employees (70%) agree that after a coffee they feel they have better work ideas and are more productive. In fact, when asked what makes internal work meetings with colleagues more productive, three out of ten (30%) employees said having access to refreshments e.g., coffee or tea.
Inspire serendipitous connection through workplace attractors.Also known as the water cooler effect, workplace attractors encourage innovation and productivity through sparking cross-functional conversations and connections. Whether they are break rooms, water coolers or coffee areas, they curate and facilitate the flow of people by encouraging movement through a space.

David Basson, Head of Beverages at Nestlé Professional, says his team is often asked to advise on the optimal placement for coffee machines. “We now work in a multichannel environment – home, office, co-working – and have to make the office attractive to make people want to go there. We need to bring teams together and promote face-to-face interaction while they are in the office, and this is something we help businesses with through the strategic placement of coffee points”.

Dr Fiona Kerr adds, “The water cooler or coffee point in the office is the place that create serendipitous connection. This creates a recipe for high-trust, high-collaboration and high-creativity.”  

To listen to the world productivity experts’ interviews, visit the Smart Coffee Break podcast:  

Employee experience, sustainability and smart buildings the focus for Sodexo Accelerators #

With the launch of a dedicated online platform, Sodexo UK and Ireland is now accepting applications from start-ups with innovative solutions that improve the workplace experience. 

Sodexo has teamed up with L Marks, an innovation specialist, to launch a global scouting campaign for new and innovative start-ups to collaborate through its innovation programme, Sodexo Accelerators. 

The foodservice and facilities management company is seeking applications across three categories which align with its Vital Spaces value proposition, which focuses on workspace and work-life services:

Employee experience – personalisation of services through data, developed solutions for manufacturing environments and hybrid workers, and innovations that put the person at the centre of their work-life.

Sustainability – creating greener and more local supply chains, supporting organisations to meet their scope three carbon emission targets, and helping consumers’ choices through analysis, insights and communication.

Smart buildings – technology to inform and optimise the internal environment – from air quality to hygiene to energy management - connecting and analysing building assets in real-time. 

Sodexo has also included the opportunity for a wildcard entry to encourage applications for a left-field innovation that will impress the judges and gain access to be tested in a live consumer setting. 

Start-ups can apply though the company’s website. The platform will close on 3 March 2022 and selected applicants will be invited to a pitch day in early April. 

Successful start-ups will then be offered the chance to work with mentors from Sodexo’s subject matter experts and business leaders over a ten-week period to fine-tune their solutions in a live customer environment. 

Julie Ennis, CEO Corporate Services, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “I am excited to launch Sodexo Accelerators here in the UK and Ireland. The world has changed, and the scope of our services has become richer and more varied, as shown through our Vital Spaces proposition, which puts employee experience at the heart of what we do. We are hugely excited to begin working with start-ups to further support our clients’ needs.” 

Belen Moscoso del Prado, Chief Digital & Innovation Officer, Sodexo Group, said: “Our Accelerators represent our global initiative to strengthen ties with start-ups to fast-track innovation across Sodexo. Entrants bring their latest solutions to our service offer, while we share our industry knowledge and expertise to aid their development. I am delighted to see the programme begin in the UK and Ireland, and I can’t wait to meet the applicants.”

Harry Potter and the Guide to Planning Bespoke Events #

Here at Freemans Event Partners, we have a rich history of working with some of the most esteemed and illustrious venue partners in the UK.
Year-on-year we deliver services to clients such as Silverstone, Twickenham, the European Tour, Lords Cricket Ground and the Jockey Club. These events and venues are engrained in Freemans Event Partners’ DNA.  With long term relationships, there comes a point in time where a deep understanding develops, and the partnership becomes almost symbiotic.
In addition to our annual event calendar, our expertise also extends to one-off international sporting events including the Ryder Cup which we have delivered across Europe, the Rugby World Cup, London Olympics and specialist events such as the inaugural Harry Potter: a Forbidden Forest Experience which we have just wrapped up in Cheshire’s Arley Hall & Gardens.  
Events like the Harry Potter Forbidden Forest Experience require a very different skillset and approach, than that of our traditional venue partners.
With a one-off specialist event, everything needs to be right from the get-go. There is no dry run and the key to this is planning.  First, it is crucial to understand the client’s strategic objectives and the scope of work. Our dedicated operational team then initiates a staged approach, taking an early look at the issues and variables surrounding the context of the event:
Audience: An audience and demographic assessment forms the basis of our entire planning process. At Harry Potter, hot chocolate and Butterbeer are top selling products whilst traditional events will see burgers as their bestseller.
Local Environment: Everything from linguistic needs, signage requirements and payment facilities. Climate is a major factor too, as this will impact our storage options.
Infrastructure: We need to have a good understanding of transport links beyond that of the visitor routes. We need to factor in staff travel, logistics for equipment and food supply.
Event Dynamics: The Harry Potter experience has a vastly different crowd dynamic to the Ryder Cup or Victorious Festival. Whatever the dynamic, we need to anticipate and understand it.
Brand requirements: Trademarks, theming of product offering and menus, outlet facias, sign-off process, etc.
Compliance: Local compliance has a huge amount of variance. We need to be on top of legislation governing working hours, sustainability best practices, health and safety and supplier requirements. 
These principles form the basis of everything we do and this means starting from scratch on a greenfield site. It also requires a more holistic event management approach as everyone involved needs to have a complete operational understanding of the principles of event planning and management.
This presents its own set of challenges as we need to get a thorough understanding of the traffic flow. At Harry Potter, a Forbidden Forest Experience our Food & Beverage villages were tailored to the magic trail highlights and its duration. At the Ryder Cup, our Food & Beverage offering needed to flex up and down easily depending on the tournament schedule as major players would attract bigger (hungry & thirsty) crowds.
These are many of our considerations when planning each event…
With the Harry Potter Forbidden Forest Experience, as is the case with many of our bespoke events, we worked very closely with our client so that our knowledge went above and beyond the initial scope of work… A collaborative approach is key to a successful event and to enhancing the consumer experience.

HRC welcomes industry support for 2022 event #

Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC) has welcomed the enthusiastic support from the hospitality industry as the event prepares to return to ExCeL London on 21-23 March.  
HRC was one of the last industry trade shows to take place before the March 2020 lockdown and it will be the first major trade event to gather the hospitality and foodservice community together in 2022.  
Event Manager Ronda Annesley commented: “Like hospitality, the events industry has been unable to operate for much of the past two years, and as such we understand many of the challenges and obstacles that our audiences have been facing.  
“We’ve been thrilled with the support shown to the show and with the engagement from top industry speakers and well-known supplier brands as we prepare for March 2022. I can confidently say this will be a storming reunion for the hospitality and foodservice community!”  
The event’s Foodservice section will be welcoming back exhibitors such as Britvic, Essential Cuisine and Major, plus new additions to the show such as Quorn Professional, Pact Coffee, UCC Coffee, Edmunds Cocktails and RSPCA Assured.  
A number of past exhibitors have invested in the event’s Professional Kitchen section for 2022, including Unox, First Choice Group, Euro Catering and Grande Cuisine, led by FEA Chairman Stephen Hobbs.  
New exhibiting companies for 2022 include Quintex, LLK, Rational-Tech, and Fagor. Giuseppe Monti, Fagor’s European commercial director, commented: “Fagor are really excited to be entering the UK market. We have worked very closely with a selected partner in the UK over the past three years, not only supporting our brand in key accounts but also helping us to improve the technology and quality of our core product ranges. We are excited to be showcasing our products at HRC and will be welcoming visitors to our stand.” 
The newly rebranded Design & Décor section of the show will be hosting returning exhibitors such as King of Cotton, Typhoon, T&G Woodware and Elia International in addition to welcoming new suppliers including Geberit, Villeroy & Boch, Bolsius, Play Shufl, Intent Productions and Drinkstuff.  
Over in Hospitality Tech, new exhibitors include Sunday,, Seven Rooms, Slerp and Fourth, and the show is pleased to welcome back leading tech businesses including Kobas, Planday, Tevalis and pointOne. 
The show has brought on board exciting new partners for 2022, including EXP101, who have curated the seminar programme for the Vision Stage and Tried & Supplied who will be bringing the first live edition of the Better Hospitality Conference to HRC. Additionally, the event is renewing a valued partnership with Hospitality Jobs UK, who will be running the Hospitality's Talent Conundrum conference.  
Long-standing partners supporting the show in 2022 include the Foodservice Equipment Association (The FEA), the Craft Guild of Chefs, Compass Group and The Staff Canteen, who will once again be hosting The Staff Canteen Live, where some of the UK’s top chefs demonstrate their dishes and visitors can learn from the best in the business.  
In registering to attend HRC 2022, visitors will also have access to partner events The Pub Show, IFE – International Food & Drink Event, IFE Manufacturing and London Produce Show, forming the UK’s largest gathering of food, drink and hospitality professionals, with over 30,000 visitors and 1,500 suppliers. Find out more at  

New Nestlé Professional report celebrates and inspires sustainability heroe #

As food operators face an uncertain start to the year, Nestlé Professional celebrates and inspires sustainability superstars from across the industry in its new report: Empowering Sustainability Heroes. Proving that everyone in the business can make a difference, there’s expert advice for every business role and function as well as frameworks, tools and easy-to-action tips. All are aimed at galvanising the industry during challenging times with the goal of making 2022 as sustainable as possible.
Developed in collaboration with Footprint Intelligence, the wide-ranging guide to sustainability is packed with inspiring stories that cut across business roles and seniority: from chef to front of house, CEO to procurement. Detailing how businesses large and small from across the industry are reducing their carbon impact, it gives employees inspiration and ideas on driving forward similar initiatives in their workplace.
To drive action, sustainability experts at Footprint Intelligence have consolidated targeted industry insight, statistics and strategic frameworks for procurement, marketing, HR, health and safety, IT, facilities management and catering teams. In addition, there are details of valuable accreditations, tools and organisations for each business area – all devised to help organisations reduce their carbon impact.
Katya Simmons, managing director Nestlé Professional UK&I says: 
Food now accounts for 15% of humanity’s daily carbon impact and we need to cut this by at least one fifth in order to meet the UK’s reduction targets for 2030. The hospitality industry plays a key role when it comes to carbon impact, serving the 1 in 6 meals eaten outside the home. A concerted effort is absolutely vital if we’re to achieve these targets.”
We realise we’re all in this together, so we designed this report to inspire and inform every business function and job level. In fact, the one job title we didn’t include was sustainability manager, because it’s important for everyone to champion this role, regardless of where they work in the business.”
Embedding sustainability across the business isn’t just good for the environment. As stories in Empowering Sustainability Heroes show, there’s a raft of other benefits. If food waste costs the average foodservice outlet £10K a year[3], imagine the cost-savings your business could achieve if every member of staff put their brainpower into finding sustainable solutions.
What’s more, with tools now available, helping businesses to easily repurpose leftovers and divert uneaten food to people who need it – it’s great for staff morale and workforce.

development too. In fact, there’s a myriad of reasons to be sustainable: from brand loyalty to supply chain resilience. We’ve provided guidance on achieving each in the report.
We realise that times are hard and sustainability may be slipping off the radar for many food operators. But there’s all the more reason to dig in and re-evaluate systems during periods of adversity. This is where the breakthroughs happen. We’re looking forward to hearing about these and the successes that they bring – for businesses and for our wider industry over the coming year
To view and download the Empowering Sustainability Heroes report, food operators can go to 
To watch the virtual launch of Empowering Sustainability Heroes and panel discussion go to

Compass makes progress towards its commitment to Climate Net Zero in support of clients’ and suppliers’ sustainability goals #

Air freight ban introduced for all fruit and vegetables*

Compass Group UK & Ireland has announced a number of systemic changes - which demonstrate progress on its journey to Climate Net Zero by 2030. These include –
Banning air freight of fresh fruit and vegetable produce. The ban will see a focus on further increasing the use of local and seasonal products. Compass chefs have been focussing on reworking menus to accommodate these changes.

Using free range eggs (shell and liquid) in the UK and introducing white eggs into the supply chain. This move exceeds the previous target of committing to cage free eggs by 2025.*

Removing Marine Conservation Society rated 4 and 5 seafood, from its UK supply chain.These measures have been led by Compass’ procurement division – Foodbuy. It now has a dedicated sustainability team who are reviewing its supply chain and looking at how Compass can support suppliers to become more sustainable, with a focus on regenerative agriculture and a switch from animal to plant-based proteins, as well as further enhancing local and seasonal sourcing.
Anne Simonnet, Head of Sustainability and Compliance at Foodbuy, commented; “Fruit and vegetable produce is our second biggest buying category, so to have none of these items air freighted is significant. We have worked hard to find suppliers that are closer to home - with no compromise on quality. The actions we have taken on eggs and fish are also important steps and we will continue to engage with our partners and suppliers to reduce emissions and focus on animal welfare.”
Making progress towards its Climate Net Zero commitment Compass has:

Received a commendation of best practice for Net Zero targets, from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Encouraged chefs to reformulate menus; creating low carbon options that draw on local, seasonal and plant-based ingredients and consciously look to reduce food waste. The success of this approach was highlighted by Compass’ QEII Future of Food event menu, which saw a reduction from 11.8kg of CO2e per portion to 4.02kg of CO2e per portion (66%).

Launched a milk pilot to support engagement with over 500 farmers; dairy representing 10% of Compass Group UK&I’s footprint.

On track to switch to 100% renewable electricity within managed sites.
Launched electric vehicle policy to reach 100% electric fleet cars by 2024 at the latest.

Partnered with Oxford University’s LEAP programme to introduce eco-labelling.

Removed around 142 million items of single-use plastics.

Partnered with Incredible Edible to support its work with communities.
Launched an apprenticeship programme alongside Marcus Wareing, with a bespoke sustainability module.

Catered and cleaned for COP26, with a clear food strategy, footprinted menus and a commitment to using learnings as a legacy for positive change.

Engaged with hundreds of clients, stakeholders, suppliers and employees to share ideas, knowledge and best practice. 

Carolyn Ball, Director for Delivery of Net Zero, Compass Group UK & Ireland, commented: “We must match our intent with the urgency to act and we would like to thank our partners, suppliers, colleagues and clients for supporting us on the journey so far. Together we will, and we must, continue to be a catalyst for transformative change.”   
Watch the Net Zero update here - Carolyn Ball – Compass Group UK & Ireland Climate Net Zero Journey (