Members’ News

February 2022

Bidfood Education Team sets "24 in 24 Challenge" to raise money for charity Zarach #

During 2022 the Bidfood Education team will be supporting a small charity called Zarach, who provide mattresses, bedding and food for families living in poverty and children who do not have beds to actually sleep on.
There are 4.3 million children living in poverty in the UK and 10% of these children do not have a bed to sleep on and some are living on cold tile floors and some are unbelievably sleeping on bug infested cushions and going to school covered in insect bites.
The charity was set up by Bex Wilson who is an Assistant Deputy Headteacher at a primary school in Leeds and became more and more concerned about the welfare of children arriving to school with agitation, lack of energy and some with bites. After researching the reasoning behind this it was apparent that a number of children were not able to eat nor sleep sufficiently and hence why the charity was set up. It was originally set up in Leeds and now have hubs set up in the Midlands and the South of England.
Bex Wilson, Founder & Chair of Trustees commented: 

I’m an Assistant Head Teacher at an inner-city Primary School in Leeds. After a decade in the job, hungry children, poor living conditions and social care referrals has sadly become the norm. Children being hungry or not having a bed is unacceptable. We are better than this!

Whilst teaching an 11-year old boy, I noticed he was scratching his tummy. He told me he and his younger brother shared a cushion to sleep on. A cushion that had bed bugs which made his tummy itchy.

At the time I was in the middle of teaching a lesson on irregular tense verbs. I realised I had a choice; to be satisfied that I’m teaching him grammar because it’s what I’m paid to do, or to continue to be the best teacher I can be whilst also using my time and influence to make sure every child in our city has their basic needs met, gets a good night’s sleep and an equal opportunity to get the best education at school.

Gavin Squires, Business Development Controller – Education, Bidfood said
 “I was made aware of this charity after viewing an article on BBC Breakfast News between Christmas and New Year and was amazed of the work the charity completes on such low funding. 
Noting all of Bex's comments, I decided to call my team together the first day back into 2022 and brainstorm ideas to raise money for this small yet worthwhile charity and we have decided, for our sins, to take part in the “24 in 24 Challenge” which consists of the team taking part in 24 sports in 24 hours altogether as a team and have set ourselves an ambitious target of £10,000. This event will be taking part in March and we would be so so grateful if you would be able to support us in any form of donation you would be able to provide please."

The “24 in 24 Challenge” team consists of Gavin Squires, Mark Carr, Tom Emsley, Graham Macey, Greg Newcombe and Miguel Nunes. 
You can find out more about the Zarach Charity here - 

If you would like to donate to Gavin and his team’s fundraising initiative go to

Merlin Entertainments names Aramark as food and beverage partner #

Two global companies collaborate to deliver leading dining options for guests at seven venues spanning the UK and US

Merlin Entertainments, a global leader in location-based entertainment, announced today that it has named Aramark, a global leader in food, facilities management, and uniforms, as its food and beverage partner for five locations in the UK and two in the US. 

The locations for the multiyear contract include Alton Towers Resort, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Thorpe Park Resort, Warwick Castle and LEGOLAND Windsor Resort in the United Kingdom, and LEGOLAND California Resort and LEGOLAND Florida Resort in the United States. 

Building an innovative and high-quality food and beverage offering for our guests is part of our continued business strategy to deliver the very best guest days out and short breaks.” said Nick Varney, Chief Executive, Merlin Entertainments. “Aramark’s accomplishments in driving world-class hospitality programmes at many of the most prestigious sporting events, iconic locations, and leading destinations in the world makes them a great partner to elevate our food offering as part of the magic and memorable experiences we offer our guests.” 

At Merlin Entertainments’ resorts and hotels across the seven locations, Aramark will be introducing food and beverage programmes that offer family and guest favourites, fresh concepts, fun themes and engaging events, coupled with industry-leading technology solutions to make it easy and convenient for visitors to navigate the varied choices. Each resort and hotel will have its own unique portfolio of food and beverage offerings based on the personality of the location. 

In addition, Aramark and Merlin Entertainments are already collaborating closely to ensure that sustainable practices are core to the operations at all locations. 

We are proud to share our hospitality culture with Merlin Entertainments’ guests and families,” said John Zillmer, Aramark Chief Executive Officer. “We like to say that we’re ‘rooted in service’ and our scale, experience, and expertise as a global leader in foodservice innovation positions us to deliver world-class dining experiences at Merlin’s resorts and hotels, both in the UK and in the US.

Food and beverage operations at the respective attractions will begin to operate under Aramark from this March (2022) in the UK, with the transfer expected to complete by the end of March 2023 in the US. 

Merlin Entertainments and Aramark will work closely to ensure that food and beverage employees are supported as they transition to employment with Aramark. For the millions of visitors to Merlin’s attractions each year, the new partnership presents an exciting opportunity for future development of the guest experience, more details of which will be released in the coming months. 

Sodexo announces strategic health and wellbeing partnership with Spectrum.Life ​ #

Sodexo UK and Ireland have announced a strategic health and wellbeing partnership with Spectrum.Life to provide their Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to all colleagues with a comprehensive suite of health and wellbeing solutions to support their mental and physical health. 

Since 2015, Sodexo has provided an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to support colleagues with life’s challenges. However, the last two years, which have been trying for all, have demonstrated the growing need for the service, and the organisation has decided to invest significantly in a new strategic partnership with Spectrum.Life to offer market-leading health and wellbeing support. 

The EAP service, which is available 24/7 and 365 days a year, will start on 1 February and will provide colleagues and their immediate family members with confidential, free counselling and wellbeing support, which can be accessed through a freephone helpline, live chat, WhatsApp, SMS, and email. 

Ryan Candy, Head of Change, Employee Experience & People Performance at Sodexo, said: 

We are delighted to have partnered with Spectrum.Life to offer all colleagues access to a comprehensive suite of market-leading health, wellness, legal and financial support. The wellbeing of our people is critical to us and an integral part of our culture, and we understand balancing everyday life with the requirements of work, and personal life can create pressures for all.

“We have a laser focus on enhancing our colleagues’ health and wellbeing and one of the ways we do this is through partnerships with industry experts such as Spectrum.Life, and we see this as a positive step in our journey to make Sodexo a great place to work

In addition to counselling, Spectrum.Life will also offer support with trained and experienced experts on a wide range of topics through the EAP, including: 

Guidance on financial, legal, and medical issues
Life coaching         
Autism spectrum conditions
Infertility and pregnancy loss
Parent and elder care support
Career guidance
Cancer support       

Spectrum.Life will also offer an innovative digital support service to improve the general wellbeing of the user through their EAP, which provides access to: 

A digital gym with an extensive range of live gym classes each week and on-demand access to 500 fitness classes
A digital wellbeing seminar series, with a weekly schedule of live and on-demand events built around recognised wellbeing calendars and key events
Nutrition information with more than 200 recipes
Mental health e-learning with courses created by clinicians
Self-guided mindfulness and meditation courses, focussing on a range of topics 

As part of the agreement, Sodexo and Spectrum.Life have committed to delivering one fully funded Mental Health First Responder course for every five that Sodexo purchase, to SMEs, clients and partners of Sodexo, to expand the reach of mental health support and support social impact. 

Angela Halliday, Director of Social Impact at Sodexo, said: 

We are living through challenging times, and our commitment to the welfare of everybody in the organisation will be enhanced by the introduction of this support, which we encourage any colleague to use should they need it.

"Sodexo has a deep social commitment to its people, and we have put our core values into action by providing very concrete support to help our colleagues stay happy, healthy and fully focused on life

Dr. Sarah O’Neill, Chief Clinical Officer & Co-Founder at Spectrum.Life

Spectrum.Life is delighted to be working with Sodexo. Proactive employers know their organisation is only as strong as its people, so taking steps to encourage a holistic approach to wellbeing in the management of colleagues’ health is something businesses can’t afford to overlook. 

“We’re confident that our suite of services strengthens Sodexo’s employee wellbeing offering by providing supportive, clinician-led, early intervention methods for those who need it, whenever and wherever they need support.

Venues by CH&CO appointed catering partner for newly renovated Brewers’ Hall #

Venues by CH&CO has been appointed the catering partner for Brewers’ Hall, which reopens in April 2022 following the renovation of the eminent venue in the City of London.

The partnership, which is worth £2million over a period of five years from January 2022, continues a longstanding relationship of 20 years and will see Venues by CH&CO exclusively manage and deliver a wide range of events at the Hall – from private dining and corporate dinners, events, meetings and conferences to Livery events, parties and weddings.

Home to the Brewers’ Company, the heart of British brewing and beer industry for over 600 years, Brewers’ Hall has been sympathetically restored to honour the rich heritage and activity of the Company and grandeur of the historical venue, whilst offering a fresh, versatile event space with state-of-the-art AV facilities. It also remains a hub for inspiring research and education within the brewing industry.

Karen Poynter, Venues by CH&CO’s decorated company chef, is heading up the menu development and delivery for Brewers’ Hall’s relaunch, with menus specially designed to feature different types of beer. With 15 years’ experience in the Livery field and having received the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of her work, Karen’s expertise is unrivalled and highly respected.

As part of CH&CO, Venues by CH&CO will also introduce guest menus curated by members of CH&CO’s Gathered Table, an initiative that brings together the brightest experts in hospitality to inspire, develop and work in collaboration with its chefs. Guests will enjoy a Plant Based Tasting menu and a Health and Wellbeing breakfast, endorsed by Dr Rupi Aujila, plus bespoke menus from one of the most influential women in food, Ixta Belfrage, as well as José Pizarro, the Godfather of Spanish cooking in the UK, to name just a few.

Venues by CH&CO is also collaborating with Ale Hunters to offer clients a tutored tasting with an accredited beer sommelier, certified Cicerone and international beer judge – the perfect addition to an event at Brewers’ Hall.

CH&CO is the largest, most diverse contract caterer to hold the maximum three stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association and Venues by CH&CO will uphold the business’s sustainability objectives at Brewers’ Hall. Focusing, for example, on local and ethical sourcing, championing British produce and using technology to reduce food waste. Carbon reduction will also be front of mind, harnessing CH&CO’s progressive delivery modelling to reduce delivery frequency to the Hall and working with Foodsteps to communicate carbon values on menus for events to support the sustainability commitments of the Brewers’ Company and clients.

Commodore Nick Tindal, Clerk and CEO of the Brewers’ Company, said: “It is brilliant to be able to welcome guests back to the historic home of the UK brewing industry and we are very excited to be doing that in partnership with the team at CH&CO.”

Katy Thompson, Managing Director for Venues by CH&CO, who was also awarded the Freedom of the City of London in November 2021, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be continuing our partnership with Brewers’ Hall and being part of the next chapter for the magnificent, historic venue. This is testament to the longstanding relationship we have with the Brewers’ Company and our understanding of the Hall, its heritage and versatility, and how the incredible venue can be used to create a variety of memorable events.   

“The newly renovated venue is exceptional. We specialise in bringing together unique, iconic spaces, great food and excellent, creative event management and we can’t wait to welcome guests to experience all that the successful combination of Brewers’ Hall and Venues by CH&CO has to offer

New TWC Report shows one in five younger consumers selecting eating out venues for their focus on sustainability and environmental issues #

A new report from data and digital experts TWC has revealed that more than two-thirds of UK consumers are concerned about the environment and sustainability issues – and this attitude is not limited to young people. The report also shows that this is a consideration when choosing venues for eating out.

The TWC Trends “Do good, feel good” report revealed that over 70% of consumers are concerned about environmental and sustainability issues. Whilst the youngest cohort, Gen Z (aged 18-24) were most likely to ‘strongly agree’ with this statement, overall agreement (‘agree’ + ‘strongly agree’) was highest amongst Boomers (aged 55+). Boomers were also more likely to consider themselves more concerned about environmental issues that they were three years ago, suggesting that older consumers are ‘catching up’ with their younger counterparts in terms of concerns about sustainability.

What is also clear from the report is that sustainability concerns are already affecting where consumers eat out with 12% of respondents identifying with ‘choosing places which are focusing on sustainability and environmental issues’ as a key driver of outlet choice when eating out. This increased to one in five 18–24-year-olds.
Sarah Coleman, Communications Director at TWC comments:

This is a really important issue for consumers and one that is going to rise in importance or possibly become an expectation”.

Coleman comments: “Given that sustainability is increasingly a concern for all age groups, we might expect this proportion to increase amongst older consumers as well. What is clear is that consumers are increasingly voting with their feet when it comes to supporting those businesses who demonstrate their sustainability credentials.

Key to this will be identifying which elements of sustainability are most relevant and important to their customers and aligning their communications accordingly. We suspect carbon offset programmes, such as those announced by Greene King and Daylesford, will rise in prominence.

This research on “Do good, feel good” is the fourth and final part 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.

The TWC Trends Autumn Edition 2021 can be found here:

Professional Assessment Limited appoints Speed #

Agency hired to support with brand awareness campaign

Speed Communications has been hired to support with an awareness raising programme for Professional Assessment Ltd (PAL), which provides services for training organisations and employers involved in the delivery of Apprenticeships and adult learning.
Established in 2017, the company was formed by a group of experts with vast experience of assessment and vocational training delivery. The team at PAL is passionate about inspiring and supporting people to achieve their potential, and about driving quality in learning, development and assessment.
PR and communications agency Speed has been chosen to ensure PAL’s key messages are effectively communicated to its target audience, drawing on their years of experience promoting and growing brands in the training sector. Speed’s sector specialists will deliver PR activity to boost awareness and leads.
Kelly Pepworth, Managing Director at Speed Communications, said: “We’re excited to be starting the year with this latest client win – building our strength in the training sector. PAL is on an exciting journey and we are thrilled to be on it with them and ensure they benefit from our extensive PR experience.”
Graham Knott, Business Operations Director at PAL, said: “We’re really looking forward to working with the team at Speed Communications. The team impressed us with their vast experience, knowledge and excellent contacts. Their successful track record of delivering growth in the sector made them the natural choice as our PR and communications partner.”
Speed has a long history of building innovative brands through creative consumer and trade PR activity, alongside a track record of successfully engaging audiences in innovative ways.

Springboard announces Awards for Excellence 2022 shortlist #

Springboard UK has announced the shortlist for its Awards for Excellence 2022, which will reward outstanding achievements in hospitality at a not-to-be-missed ceremony at the Science Museum on 7 April.
More than 40 leading restaurant, hotel, pub, bar and catering business have made the shortlist across 14 categories – recognising everything from employee health & wellbeing and career development initiatives, to best community engagement and business innovation.
The Springboard Awards for Excellence, in partnership with Smart Group, are an annual celebration of hospitality’s finest individuals and businesses, recognising and rewarding their hard work, innovation and dedication to developing talent and championing the industry.
This year’s event will be held in person and is taking place at the breath-taking Illuminate venue within the Science Museum. Illuminate is set across two floors and offers panoramic views of London.
Springboard CEO, Chris Gamm, says: “After having to host last year’s awards virtually, it’s going to be wonderful to finally bring everyone together in person again and celebrate these stars of the hospitality industry face-to-face.
“Our industry has gone above and beyond throughout the pandemic to support their communities and employees, bring in new talent, and succeed despite the odds. We’ve got a fitting ceremony at the capital’s landmark Science Museum to celebrate the shortlist and reveal the winners
The awards, in partnership with the Smart Group, will take place from 7.00pm-midnight on Thursday 7 April. Individual tickets are £200 (plus vat) or £1,900 (plus vat) for a table of 10. Tickets are available to buy at 

Creed Foodservice Announces Industry-Leading Sustainability Targets #

Wholesaler and catering provider Creed Foodservice has announced new industry-leading sustainability targets in a bid to champion commitment to braver, more robust action within the sector.
Creed, who supply to over 3,500 customers across the UK in a range of foodservice sectors, has committed to achieve Net Zero by 2035, following extensive planning and forecasting with specialist corporate climate action organisation, ClimatePartner. This target will be preceded by Creed’s commitment to becoming Carbon Neutral just three years from now, by 2025.
With its Net Zero target being as many as 10 years earlier than other key foodservice providers, Creed is moving at pace and is already implementing schemes to drive down its carbon emissions; the latest of which is the installation of 1,650 solar panels at its Ilkeston depot. With the installation due to be completed by the end of May 2022, it’s estimated 30% of the power used at the site will come from sunlight, whilst 181,000 kwh’s of renewable energy will be fed back into the grid to provide green energy to other users.
Creed’s Sustainability Director, Phillip Creed, comments:
We’ve stuck our neck out with these targets, something the entire team unequivocally agrees is essential if we’re serious about continuing with what we have already started, and to set a clear example for others in the industry.
“We’d be remiss to deny the huge challenges that reducing emissions so significantly presents, but with the support of ClimatePartner – who are part of the international CCS+ Initiative, championing technologies that are in line with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) guidance – we are absolutely committed to delivering what we’ve set out to.
“With this being our 50th year in business, we’ve seen a multitude of challenges face this sector over the years, but never have we been confronted with one so pressing which requires such rigorous and determined action. Not only will we continue to evolve the way we operate in line with these targets, but we’ll be working hard with our 380+ suppliers and thousands of customers to achieve this endeavour and support them in their own too
In addition to the solar panel installation, Creed continues to invest in technology across its sites which contribute to emissions reduction. This includes LED lighting systems being used across all warehouses, offices and yards, with voltage optimisation installed where it makes operational sense; a commitment to using suppliers of renewable energy where energy isn’t coming from solar panels installed on site; electric charging points at all sites for electric vehicles, and use of Euro 6 lorries, which feature the highest standard and cleanest engines on the market today.
What’s more, the business continues to tackle its waste management – maintaining a Landfill-Free status across all sites, with waste being collected and used for energy, or recycled. Creed also works with Olleco to provide food and oil waste collection services to its customers, and continues to partner with Too Good to Go to sell short-dated stock, alongside providing ongoing donations to local charity partners.
All of Creed’s emissions reduction projects sit under the ‘Believe in More for Tomorrow’ ethos which is integrated into all areas of its operations – People, Planet and Product, championing fairness, inclusion and opportunity for its employees, building business strategies that feature emissions reduction at the heart of everything, and a commitment to an ethical and sustainable supply chain which is not only better for the environment, but better for consumers and communities too.
To find out more about Creed’s sustainability targets and how it plans to achieve them visit

Sodexo’s positive impact on levelling up recognised in new report #

Sodexo has this week published a report by the Rt Hon Justine Greening’s Purpose Coalition which examines its current impact on levelling up and how it can go further in the future. 

The report, which follows last week’s launch of the government’s Levelling Up white paper, has been developed in partnership with Rt Hon Justine Greening and benchmarks Sodexo’s activities against her Purpose Coalition’s Levelling Up Goals.  It identifies the specific areas where the FM and food services provider is already making a positive impact, but also makes recommendations as to what more could be done.   

Launched in 2021, the Levelling Up Goals provide a framework for organisations to identify gaps in access to opportunity, as well as solutions to remove those barriers. They also provide the means to be able to benchmark progress going forward. 

As an employer of some 29,000 people in the UK, and a provider of a wide range of services including food and hospitality, cleaning, security and property management, Sodexo is an intrinsic part of many communities and is well-placed to make a positive, social impact on several of the Levelling Up Goals. 

The report highlights key strengths which see Sodexo leading the way on the levelling up agenda. These include: 

Goal 3: Positive destinations post 16+ and open recruitment – Sodexo is committed to creating employment opportunities and enabling colleagues to thrive through local career pathways, apprenticeships, kickstarting careers for students, and filling job vacancies with those with an offending background where appropriate

Goal 8: Good health and wellbeing – Sodexo is recognised for its mature wellbeing strategy. Use of its employee assistance programme is above industry average and colleagues are now, as a result, more comfortable talking about topics such as mental health and stress. The organisation has also recently enhanced its health and wellbeing programmes with such offers as a free will writing service and a health and wellbeing app which allows access to a 24-hour GP service. 

Goal 9: Extending enterprise – More than half of the organisations which make up Sodexo’s supply chain are Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The business works closely with them to support their integration into the supply chain whilst providing coaching and mentoring to senior leaders of SME and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs) across the country. Sodexo is also a signatory to the ‘Buy Social’ corporate challenge, meaning it will provide formal support to social enterprises going forward.   

Goal 13: Harness the energy transition – Through its Appetite for Action campaign, Sodexo is raising awareness of the significant, yet not well-recognised, link between food waste and carbon emissions. Food waste reduction plays a key role in the business’ roadmap to net zero and decarbonisation by 2045, which has so far been validated as far as 2030 by the Science Based Targets initiative. 

Goal 14: Achieve equality, through diversity and inclusion – Sodexo was the first organisation within the FM and hospitality sectors to voluntarily publish an ethnicity pay gap report. It has established diversity, equity and inclusion employee networks to support the agenda and drive frontline engagement – together these currently have around 1,600 members. 

As well as highlighting these key strengths, the report also outlines recommendations for further work Sodexo can do to play its role in driving the Levelling Up agenda forward. These areas include socio-economic background reporting and re-integrating those with Long Covid back into the workforce. 

Rt. Hon Justine Greening said:

Large organisations play a key role in levelling up communities and Sodexo is a great example of where they can make significant progress by having a community focus. The scale of the business and its reach into local communities, means that Sodexo has the opportunity to make a real difference.  

Sodexo’s report shows that through its social value strategy it is clearly leading the way in many areas to deliver activities with wider impact. Importantly, it also has ambitions to go further and increase its impact on a number of the Goals. 

“The Levelling Up White Paper launched last week was a step in the right direction, but progress can only truly be achieved by purposeful leaders and organisations. The work highlighted in this report should inspire other organisations to do more and make a real change

Sean Haley, Region Chair, Sodexo UK & Ireland said:

When the levelling up agenda was announced, the role the business community would need to play if the dial was truly to shift, was immediately apparent. 

"Sodexo’s purpose, throughout its more than 50-year history, has always been to contribute positively to the communities in which we live and work. This, combined with the scale of our operational footprint, puts us in the fortunate position of being able to support driving this extremely important agenda forward

You can read the full report here.

Chartwells Universities signs Swansea deal with revolutionary new model #

Chartwells Universities has signed a 10-year agreement valued at £58m to overhaul the catering facilities at Swansea University with a bold new operating model focused around ultimate convenience.

The contract, which was awarded following an extensive competitive dialogue process, represents a fundamental step change in university catering, driven by Chartwells Universities’ desire to innovate its offer to meet the ever-changing wants and needs of students.

The new operating model, which was informed by an extensive research project to understand how the behaviours of Gen Z consumers have evolved through the pandemic, is the culmination of a significant period of development.

The findings of the research revealed, amongst a number of other findings, that Gen Z had four key motivating factors when making food and drink purchases: taste, speed, convenience, and choice; all of which formed the basic principles behind the offer.

The agreement with Swansea University, which started in January 2022, provides a blend of Chartwells Universities’ own brands, such as Hollo Pollo, Bamboo, and Liberty Grill, alongside a number of high street favourites, including Subway, Greggs, and Tortilla, which will operate under franchise agreements.  

The extensive development plan will see the University’s Refectory space on Singleton Campus converted into a new social hub by the end of 2022, which will be renamed the Swansea Social Hideaway. A second social hub will be created on Bay Campus in place of the current Core catering outlet.  These will be multifunctional, tech-enabled social spaces, offering students and staff alike space to meet, work, socialise, eat, drink and dwell in a number of settings.

The format, which replicates progressive working spaces in cities across the UK, gives students the flexibility to adapt areas, either for study, socialising, or down-time. The areas have the dexterity to drive a range of functionalities, including the hosting of pop-up events, the broadcasting of live sports matches via big-screens, and the introduction of a low and no alcohol bar.

Chartwells Universities’ research also revealed that Gen Z spend, on average, four hours and 15 minutes on the phone each day. Furthermore, with the takeaway market experiencing a 46% increase throughout the pandemic, the ultimate convenience model taps into these macro trends with an omni-channel consumer experience, enabling students to benefit from multiple functionalities through its leading Uni Food Hub app.  

The app allows students and staff to place food and drink orders for collection or delivery at locations across campus, as well as offering loyalty points and a parent wallet top up option. In a move beyond the core provision of catering, students will also be able to access educational nutritional content, book in for cooking classes, give back to their local community via volunteering opportunities, and book tickets for events across campus.  Further brand partnerships mean students can also order cook-at-home food boxes to be delivered to their halls or accommodation, through partnerships with Pizza Pilgrims and Hello Fresh.

In addition, Chartwells Universities’ relationship with external delivery platforms also means that, in serviceable locations, the offer will also be available for delivery within the local area, providing a service to the local community, as well as students living off-campus.

Kerry Ford, Managing Director, Chartwells Universities said:

This tender submission was the culmination of a significant period of development that we believe will fundamentally change the way students view and engage with the food and beverage offer across Universities. Every element of the offer is deep-rooted in insight and has been specifically moulded around the wants and needs of students.

“We truly believe this is a significant evolution in University catering, moving away from trying to compete with the high street, and bringing in leading technology, brands and trends to create an attractive offer that meets the needs of today’s students

We’re passionate about providing a fantastic experience to support students’ time at university, but also investing in the communities we operate. This model allows us to provide employment and career opportunities, while also enriching the delivery options available to the surrounding community around campus.”

Ben Lucas, Associate Director of Commercial Services at Swansea University, said:

The bid from Chartwells Universities really stood out due to its truly innovative format. Clearly, a lot of thinking has gone into understanding what trends are shaping consumer behaviours amongst Gen Z customers, before pulling together disparate trends and pieces of technology into one coherent operating model.

“Convenience, quality and value are clearly incredibly important to our students, but, what really stood out in the approach was the additional added value, educational and CSR initiatives, such as the digital cookery classes, regional procurement and cook-at-home delivery boxes, which will enrich the overall student experience and provide guidance and support during their time in Swansea

Sustainable Dining: 73% UK consumers think food service industry could do more #

Nestlé Professional research highlights how

Nestlé Professional research has revealed that almost three quarters of UK consumers think cafes, restaurants, pubs and fast-food chains could do more to support and promote sustainable diets on their menus. And with 71% saying they would be likely to choose sustainable options if they were available, this presents a big opportunity for food operators to adapt - to meet consumer needs and to make a lasting impact on the environment.

Surveying consumers across the UK who regularly eat out – at takeaways, restaurants, café and pubs – Nestlé Professional’s research provides a timely snapshot of rapidly changing attitudes towards sustainability in the food service industry.

The research highlights opportunities for food service sustainability, enabling operators to adapt in-line with consumer tastes and environmental legislation. Spanning key areas including plant-based diets, sustainable sourcing and responsible use of resources, consumers pinpoint opportunities for food operators to improve, outlining ways to encourage more sustainable meal choices.  They also talk about their expectations and buying decisions regarding sustainability, with more than half (63%) willing to pay a premium for sustainable options when dining out. 

Conscious consumers

82% of UK consumers now agree sustainability is important when they’re choosing what to eat and drink.  The top five areas where they consider sustainability when making food and drink choices are: minimising food waste (40%), local sourcing (39%), minimal and/or recyclable packaging (33%), reduced single-use plastics (31%), and lower carbon footprint (31%).

They’re happy to pay a premium for sustainable products too, with consumers saying that they would be prepared to pay slightly more for food and drink products that are locally sourced (31%), have reduced single-use plastics (30%), minimise food waste (29%), or have minimal and/or recyclable packaging (26%). 
Dining out, consumers expect a premium on sustainable options; however, 37% say that these choices shouldn’t be more expensive.  There’s hesitance around trying sustainable dishes too, with consumers asking for familiar recipes and a chance to try before they buy: 28% requested sustainable versions of popular dishes and 28% free samples or testing events. But there's a consensus that raising awareness of sustainable options through better communications and marketing could improve take-up.  Respondents requested improved  marketing for health (17%) and environmental (16%) benefits, cross-product promotions (17%), and more informed front of house staff (16%).

Plant-based diets

Consumer attitudes are shifting. Vegetables and legumes are becoming more popular, with 39% and 24% of consumers looking to up their intake over the coming months. Another 22% are looking to eat more plant-based meat alternatives, and 19% more plant-based dairy in the coming months.

Most are conscious about their menu choices and 58% choose plant-based or vegetarian options when they eat out: sometimes, often, or always. Dining out, however, they could be persuaded to eat more plant-based if they were offered dishes with: improved flavour and texture (30%), free samples or taste testing events (25%), more variety (23%), or plant-based alternatives to popular meat dishes (20%). For food operators, this translates into greater innovation, reworking classics with meat alternatives, and more promotion around plant-rich dining.

Despite the popularity of plant-based diets, only 55% think they’re more sustainable than meat and dairy products - and 35% said they’re the same or less sustainable. When asked, 71% of survey respondents said carbon footprint was important when choosing sustainable food and drinks. This represents a chance for food operators to sharpen up communications on the carbon footprint of meals – addressing poor knowledge and encouraging sustainable choices.

Sustainable sourcing / responsible use of resources

Minimising food waste is critical, with 82% considering this important when making choices. Packaging also continues to be a hot topic, with single-use plastics important in buying decisions for 74%, and minimal or recyclable packaging important for 79%.
Responsible sourcing and animal welfare are another key concern, with 77% of consumers concerned with animal welfare, and 76% agreeing that responsible production in farming, fishing and agriculture are of importance. Many of these would pay a premium too, and 31% agreed that they would pay slightly more when purchasing food and drink products that protect animal welfare.
Sourcing and seasonality are rising up the agenda, with local sourcing important to 72% of consumers, and seasonality important to 65% when choosing sustainable food and drinks.
Katya Simmons, Managing Director Nestlé Professional UK&I says, “These findings show a sizeable gap between what consumers want and what they're currently being served by the industry. Despite this, the areas highlighted for improvement can be easily implemented by food operators. And as well as injecting a welcome boost of creativity in their operations, the benefits are wide-ranging – improving staff morale as well as increasing customer loyalty.
Consumers are looking to the industry for change, and although 43% admitted culpability for making sure their diets are sustainable, almost a quarter (24%) said it is also the responsibility of food operators.
To help operators respond to this pressure, we’ve developed a knowledge base, which consolidates our expertise and consumer insight on sustainability issues impacting the industry right now. This research highlights the urgent need for the industry to get up to speed, and with advice spanning all of the key areas mentioned, we hope this plays a valuable part in that change
To access the knowledge hub, go to:

Sodexo Live! joins forces with Raymond Blanc to deliver apprenticeship academy #

Sodexo Live! has launched a culinary apprenticeship programme in collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc OBE. 

The Sodexo Live! Academy with Raymond Blanc is a structured culinary programme that will give six apprentices the chance to achieve either a Commis Chef Level 2 or Level 3 Chef de Partie qualification. The programme comprises multiple practical experiences with the aim of attracting future culinary talent, who will be eligible for permanent culinary roles within Sodexo Live! upon competition of the Academy.    

The Academy will provide apprentices with opportunities to take part in major events - such as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Royal Ascot - as well as rotation around four London venues including the Royal Academy of Arts, the Wallace Collection, RAF Museum at Hendon, and Sodexo Live!’s own river cruise dining experience, Bateaux London.   

Blanc, who has two Michelin stars and his own television series ‘Simply Raymond Blanc’ on ITV, has collaborated with Sodexo Live! to devise the course. Topics to be studied include plant-based eating, patisserie, game and offal, food safety and menu planning. The programme also involves a two-month stage placement at Blanc’s acclaimed hotel and restaurant in Oxfordshire, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, a Belmond Hotel, to develop their skills in fine dining.   

Raymond Blanc OBE, said:   

I’m delighted to work in partnership with Sodexo Live! to launch the Academy. Our programme has been designed to give apprentices a unique and enriched development experience, which will hopefully take their careers to extraordinary places.     

“The apprentices will be able to explore not only how a Michelin star restaurant works but also how to hone their fine dining and event skills with guidance from myself.

No two days will be the same at the Academy, with duties including mise en place preparation for service, planting and food presentation, and reducing wastage within the kitchen, with sustainability being a key initiative for both Blanc and Sodexo.   

Ben Dutson, Food Innovation Director at Sodexo Live! said:     

We are thrilled to launch our Academy during National Apprentice Week, and hope this experience will lead to a new generation of chefs at Sodexo Live! delivering fantastic food which will delight our customers.”   

Sue Davison, Head of Apprenticeships at Sodexo UK & Ireland, adds:    

The new Academy will undoubtedly inspire and nurture the next culinary talent, with the lucky six apprentices learning directly from one of the most acclaimed and innovative chefs. Helping people to thrive is the Sodexo way, and this programme will give apprentices the chance to learn from Raymond and our expert chefs to gain experience to boost their culinary careers.”  

Get the inside track on foodservice equipment at HRC #

FEA's ‘Ask the Experts' initiative offers specialist answers to every equipment question

FEA will be promoting its ‘Ask the Experts' initiative at HRC 2022.  Visitors to the show will be able to speak to foodservice equipment professionals on the Association's stand, P143, in the Professional Kitchen Show.  For drilled-down, specialist advice on specific areas, they'll be able to scan a QR code that will take them to a list of equipment companies who have expertise in the area they are interested in, and who are exhibiting at HRC. 

"‘Ask the experts' is all about offering foodservice operators the opportunity to access FEA's resources," says Stephen Hobbs, chair of FEA.  "The stand will be set up as a go-to point of reference for everything foodservice equipment related.  Each area of equipment specialisation will have its own QR code, so visitors will quickly be able to find experts to talk to." 

As part of the initiative, the Association has been leading the online HRC Connects expert panels in the run up to the show.  These have covered everything from how operators can benefit from the super deduction tax benefit to energy labelling and the latest developments in refrigeration. 

"Combining HRC with IFE and the London Produce Show will attract many visitors," says Hobbs.  "This is the UK's largest foodservice equipment showcase, letting operators and dealers experience the latest innovations."   


Training is a key part of FEA's remit and the stand will be promoting the CFSP (Certified Food Service Professional) programme, along with its junior sibling, PFS (Principles of Food Service), the nine-module short course aimed at newcomers to the industry.  Meanwhile FEA's Light Equipment and Tableware Professional (LETP) training scheme will draw those seeking to enhance their professionalism in LET. 


HRC Tuesday is Awards Day on FEA's stand, when the latest CFSP students will be given their graduation certificate.  FEA will also award the 2022 Orders of Merit to people nominated for their voluntary work within the foodservice and hospitality industries.  The awards ceremonies start at 4pm and take place on the Tech X stage.   

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 

Introducing the Sales and Marketing Academy by eve #

CH&CO has launched the Sales and Marketing Academy by eve to exclusively support the development and growth of team members in its Venues by CH&CO and eve businesses.

Launched during National Apprenticeship Week 2022, the Sales and Marketing Academy by eve embodies the business’s commitment to and investment in the professional and personal development of the venue sales team at every stage of their careers – from entry to senior roles – to recognise, retain and attract top talent.
Created in partnership with Umbrella Training, the inclusive, bespoke training plans provide formal, recognised development and training opportunities for all levels and abilities. It also supports those wanting to cross over into the venue sales team from other roles. Key modules include presentation and negotiation skills, sales team leadership and communication, marketing strategy, finance, and DISC profiling.
The Sales and Marketing Academy by eve apprenticeship pathways include:

Grow with eve (Events Assistant Level 3) – an immersive apprenticeship programme that supports entry level positions and helps people excel in their role, whilst taking pride in their contribution.

Lead with eve (Sales Executive Level 4) – creating confident sales executives of the future, proficient in sales, marketing, PR and social media.

Emerge with eve (Operations / Department Manager Level 5) – developing effective leaders to inspire and lead teams, manage projects, deliver business strategy and exceed expectations.Each level of apprenticeship will be enhanced by masterclasses and programmes delivered by CH&CO experts and supply partners.

These include, for example, food and wine pairing, supplier partner trips, operational experiences, marketing masterclass, effective business writing, upselling, networking and mental health first aid, and more.

Every apprenticeship journey features on- and off-job training and mentoring, including virtual learning environments, plus apprenticeship clubs, workshops and events to create a supportive peer network for the apprentices.

The Sales and Marketing Academy by eve has created a lot of excitement and interest within the business, with Rupi Sander, Business Development Manager for eve, the first team member to sign up. Rupi said: “I am so excited about joining this Academy and having the opportunity to develop myself both professionally and personally. It’s great how the courses have been created to intertwine on-the-job learning with online and classroom activities. We even get to experience other roles in different parts of the business, including visiting some of our amazing suppliers!”

Katy Thompson, Managing Director of Venues by CH&CO and eve, said: “The Sales and Marketing Academy by eve is a very exciting initiative and we’re delighted to be able to launch it for our current and future team members. The sales and marketing teams in our venue business are expanding and it’s important that we give all our people the right support, tools and opportunities to grow with the eve and Venues by CH&CO brands. The Academy shows our people how much we value them by investing in their development and giving them a clear pathway to gain the qualifications, confidence and experience to become best in class and fulfil their career ambitions. This is fantastic news for our people, our business and our clients.
“Our partnership with Umbrella Training has created an exceptional Academy and we can’t wait for our team members to get started and fully unleash their talents.

Liam Hatcher, Head of Learning & Development, CH&CO, adds: “The Sales and Marketing Academy by eve is a brilliant example of the versatility and value of apprenticeships. We’ve been able to diversify the standard apprenticeship programme and tailor it to support a specific pool of talent to develop their skills, knowledge and behaviours in a way that is truly reflective of their roles and responsibilities.

“Our partnership with Umbrella Training has been fundamental in achieving this and we look forward to further collaboration as we continue to enhance our support of our people

Five Key Trends to Shape Food to Go Recovery #

As the food-to-go market continues through a period of innovation and evolution, IGD identifies the five key trends that are driving its recovery, in its latest trends report.

Nicola Knight, Senior analyst from IGD – providers of insight and foresight - and author of Food-to-go Trends 2022 explains: “Technology, delivery, format innovation and product development have all played a significant role in the sector’s recovery. With many of the new consumer behaviours, such as hybrid working, showing evidence of sticking, operators and retailers will now build on existing innovation to take a more planned and strategic approach to developing their businesses. 

We can expect to see a ‘test and learn’ approach as brands continue to navigate the new and evolving ways in which consumers buy food-to-go. Our latest report identifies the key trends that are shaping the innovation and moving the sector into recovery.

The five trends predicted to shape food-to-go:

Consumer needs driving formats
With hybrid working looking set to become a social norm, investment in suburban locations will increase and operators will continue to adapt their offers to meet new opportunities such as vending and micro-markets.  Formats are also being adapted to processes, such as delivery orders being dispatched away from walk-in customers, delivery and takeaway-only formats, and the next generation of drive-thrus.

Price vs Premium
Price will be a key focus, driven by varying household budgets and frequency of spending.  Whilst some consumers look for affordable everyday treats, others trade up to a more premium offer.  Meal deals are increasingly popular at both the lower and higher end of the scale, giving consumers the reassurance of knowing what they are paying, regardless of their budget.

Digital at the heart
Data is being used more intelligently, to develop new products and formats but also to automate processes, such as customer ordering via screens, to free up staff to deliver more added value activities that enhance the customer experience. The ‘omnichannel’ approach is becoming increasingly prevalent, enabling customers to move seamlessly between in-store, takeaway and delivery service for a consistent brand experience.

Innovation and evaluation
The agile mindset will continue but innovation will be more incremental than disruptive as operators take time to review initiatives.  The sector can expect to see more trialing of concepts and partnerships to assess viability and profitability before wider roll-out.  Operators in particular are likely to expand insight teams and increase research budgets to assess the results of new initiatives before deciding where to invest.

Healthy menus, healthy planet
Health continues to be a growing priority, as does sustainability, which are being driven by both consumers and the government, particularly in the case of health in the retail sector with HFSS. Health and wellbeing are front of mind, which translates into all channels of the food and drink market.

Nicola continues: “2022 will be a year for reflection, innovation, concept development and new ways of doing business, as the market moves forward to adapt to the changing needs of the consumer.  With household finances under increasing pressure, the market faces new uncertainty and challenges, so the adaptability and agility demonstrated during Covid will need to remain.”