Members’ News

July 2022

Sodexo Live! to deliver fabulous fine dining experiences at Henley Royal Regatta #

Sodexo Live! is set to have a jubilant June return to the world-renowned Henley Royal Regatta by serving around 3,000 hospitality guests.

The Regatta will be six days for the first time this year, starting on Tuesday 28 June, and is back in its traditional place in the summer season for the first time since 2019 after being cancelled in 2020 and moved to August last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Henley Royal Regatta attracts thousands of visitors over the week and spectators will be entertained by over 300 races of an international standard, which includes Olympic rowers as well as crews new to the event.

Since 2013, Sodexo Live! has worked with Henley Royal Regatta to provide world-class experiences in food and hospitality. This year, Sodexo will deliver all hospitality for the event across the Fawley Meadows Restaurant, Riverside Chalets, private dining in Temple Island and a brand-new hospitality experience at the Fawley Meadows Lounge.

The Fawley Meadows Lounge will be available for one day at the Regatta on Tuesday 28 June. Guests at the lounge, which has a relaxed atmosphere and informal seating, will be able to enjoy a grazing lunch menu of dishes which include chalk stream trout with celeriac remoulade and beetroot falafel with avocado aioli. Specialist mixologists and expert sommeliers will also be on hand to serve Moët & Chandon Champagne and botanical cocktails from the complimentary bar throughout the day.

The hospitality offering for the exclusive Fawley Meadows Enclosure and on Temple Island includes a five-course meal, a Moët & Chandon Champagne and canapé reception, and riverboat excursion - all set on the picturesque banks of the Henley Reach.

Guests can enjoy a five-course meal featuring local-sourced produce, with vegetarian and vegan options available, including scorched tsar salmon with goats curd, spinach and oregano parfait with heirloom tomato and caper salsa, as well as beef fillet with a bone marrow croquette.

Rebecca Kane Burton, CEO Sodexo Live! UK and Ireland, said:

Henley Royal Regatta is one of the most prestigious events in the sporting and social calendar and it’s great to be back at full-scale. As we celebrate the Platinum Jubilee this summer, we can’t wait to partner with Henley to deliver exceptional fine dining for this quintessentially British event.” 

Daniel Grist, Chief Executive, Henley Royal Regatta, added:  

We very look forward to welcoming guests back to Fawley Meadows this year. It’s wonderful to be hosting a full-scale event once again and with a record number of crew entries, it’s sure to be an incredible atmosphere on and off the river.” 

Sodexo Live! is behind several major events this summer, providing fantastic culinary experiences at Royal Ascot and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show as well as at amazing venues such as Newcastle United, Hampden Park in Glasgow, and the iconic River Thames cruise Bateaux London.

Mr. Crumb invests £700,000 in expanding facilities #

Family-owned food business Mr. Crumb is investing £700,000 in expanding its facilities as part of its growth strategy.

This year, on top of the continued growth of its Invisible Chef range, the company has added another 500 frozen pallet spaces, 400 ambient pallet spaces and an automated snack line for ‘hot to go’ products - increasing the capacity of its warehouse and distribution centre.

The investment follows a 39% increase in sales of Invisible Chef products, including ‘Big Fill Burritos’ and growing demand for Breakfast items such as ‘Egg & Cheese Muffins’.

Invisible Chef was launched in 2020 following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic to offer individually wrapped frozen food products that could be cooked and served to customers in pack – minimising handling, as well as offering foodservice businesses even with minimal kitchen facilities, or reduced workforces a safe and versatile ‘food to go’ option. Post-pandemic, the range continues to be popular among operators.

Based in the Irish village of Finea with UK based offices, warehousing and team, Mr. Crumb specialises in chilled and frozen value adding products such as fresh breadcrumb, stuffing, crust toppings, flavoured butters and cheese melts, as well as ready to cook snacks such as bruschetta, filled wraps, and paninis. 

The Great Taste Award-winning company works in partnership with retailers and food manufacturers in Ireland, the UK & France to create & manufacture products in small batches, which are either hand cooked or hand finished. 

Jason Coyle, managing director at Mr. Crumb, said: “Following the success of our Invisible Chef range over the last two years, we continue to invest in our facilities to ensure they can meet the needs of our growing customer base for both the Eat In (Café) market and the Hot Hold market in which we see ourselves “as one of the market leader.”

This expansion will help us better control costs which will allow us to offer competitive pricing & greater variety long term to our partners.

“We are also expanding our team both on-site and on the ground in the UK, primarily in sales and product development

FEA appoints Andrew Threlfall as Technical And Policy Director #

Andrew Threlfall is the new Technical and Policy Director of the Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA).  With over 36 years’ experience of the foodservice industry to offer in his new role, he is ideally placed to deliver the best possible advice in technical and regulatory issues to FEA members.

The role will cover UK and EU policy developments, standards committee membership and the operational technical matters affecting all types of foodservice equipment. 
This addition to the team as a full-time employee builds on the work which has been provided via consultancy services in the past. The FEA is grateful to Nick Oryino for his excellent work over the past five years, who took over from the late Bryan Whittaker when he retired.

 Andrew began his career as an apprentice service engineer at Acme Refrigeration back in 1985. He worked his way up to catering equipment service manager there, gaining experience across a range of specialist areas. In 2007 he moved to Pentland Wholesale Ltd where he helped to modify and streamline their service department, becoming its group technical & compliance manager and being appointed technical director in January 2020. He holds current qualifications relating to a range of areas relevant to the foodservice industry, including gas, refrigeration and electrical. This means he is uniquely placed to represent all product sectors within the FEA. 

 A natural communicator and skilled educator, Andrew has unparalleled experience in training employees, service and project management, and interpreting legislation and testing standards.  Alongside that he possesses an ever-growing list of professional qualifications. Most recently, in December 2021, he completed a CPD Certificate covering hydrogen and the role of engineering materials in achieving a safe carbon net zero.

 “I’m always on the hunt for ways to both use and expand my knowledge, and I’m always keen to get stuck into new challenges,” says Andrew. “I’m looking forward to joining FEA, both to contribute to the industry and to continue broadening my horizons.”

 “We are excited to have attracted Andrew, with his exceptional skill set and knowledge, to join us,” says Stephen Hobbs, Chair of FEA.  “The appointment is part of our strategic plan to further strengthen our work and its value to members. Andrew brings unrivalled depth of expertise that will benefit our industry.  We’re looking forward to getting his insight on how best to help our members with the huge variety of technical issues they encounter.”

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 


ELIOR UK launches its Social Value Charter #

Leading contract caterer Elior UK has launched its Social Value Charter to build on the activities already embedded in its business and to activate a co-ordinated approach to taking account of the economic, social and environmental effects of its actions and ensure that all colleagues and those who work with Elior UK are making a conscious effort to create a positive impact wherever possible.
The Charter summarises Elior UK’s on-going approach to social value matters that are relevant to its business operations, policies and supply chain. Key performance indicators are measured alongside Elior UK’s corporate responsibility and sustainability strategy; its ‘Positive Footprint Plan’ and carbon reduction goals for 2025.
The company’s social values actions are spread across social, environmental and economic areas as follows:
Social – nurturing a culture of inclusivity, developing skills and giving back to society and local communities and includes:

Helping people – through partnerships and skills development – to access employment and upskilling colleagues through training, coaching and apprentice programmes such as supporting Springboard’s Ambassador Programme.

Driving charitable giving and activities including its target to raise £100,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society and acting to address malnutrition and poverty.

Developing a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion.

Creating safe places to work and providing healthy and nutritious food options.
Funding SMEs in the development of skills in healthcare, education and hospitality sectors.

Environmental – tackling climate change, respecting the environment and reducing waste including:

Instigating climate action through the company’s 2025 carbon reduction strategy – reducing waste, conserving energy and reducing the carbon footprint of menus; to date the company has reduced beef consumption across the business by 47% and introduced Chef’s Eye technology to help reduce its food waste.

Transferring to a totally electric or hybrid vehicle fleet by 2025; achieved 50% to date.

Reducing single use plastics and increasing the use of re-usables such as its new partnership with Bottle Up, a supplier of re-usable sugar cane water bottles.

Increasing recycling and collaborating with clients to improve recycling rates.

Promoting partnerships and working with charities and third sector organisations that are committed to improving environmental standards.Economic – driving a positive impact in local communities through an inclusive approach including:

Supporting the integration of SMEs and social enterprises into the business.
Selecting UK manufacturers and producers and promoting ethical procurement.
Prioritising certified suppliers and products that demonstrate strong environmental, social and economic standards such as working with the Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation.  

Catherine Roe, Chief Executive of Elior UK, said: “Social value is quite simply the value we can bring to society through our work. Holding social value at the heart of decision making has never been so important.
“For many years we have embedded activities to deliver social, environmental and economic benefits to local people and communities and our team’s commitment to driving social value initiatives makes me incredibly proud. We have implemented and continue to adopt many initiatives to support our commitment to social value and I look forward to realising these together with our clients, customers and supply partners
Elior will ensure that social value is managed through a policy framework that integrates its health, safety, wellbeing, environmental and social value commitments and objectives and ensures that defined organisational arrangements are in place. The Charter will be reviewed at least annually at board level and will be revised in accordance with Elior’s procedures and any changes in legislation.

Lexington celebrates 20 years in catering #

Leading UK caterer Lexington reaches significant 20-year milestone in contract catering. The contract caterer is marking this anniversary with a full programme of activities, from June to December, that encompass the brand’s commitment to ESG, and combines celebrations with raising funds for charity.
Lexington’s 20-year celebrations commence with its Casual Dining Competition final which is being held on 30th June at OKN1, a collaborative kitchen and dining space at New City College, Hackney, and the home of Lexington’s Chef School. Clients and guests will attend and sample the food concepts developed by six finalists and they can vote for their favourite brand; votes from the public will account for 50% of the final score.
The finalists, from across Lexington’s business, will cook a range of dishes ranging from Japanese with a Latin influence, modern British small plates and vegan junk food to Hawaiian poke bowls, Lebanese street food and Hungarian desserts with a British twist. A prestigious panel of judges – including MasterChef winner Dhruv Baker, ex Temper restaurants founder and founder of plant-based food company Symplicity, Neil Rankin, and Stevie Reece from Mr Pig Stuff - will choose the winner.
Lexington has been supporting food service at Refettorio Felix at St Cuthbert’s, a centre at the heart of supporting vulnerable people, by preparing shared meals of outstanding quality made with 100% surplus food; over the last four years, Lexington has served over 7,000 meals.  Lexington will host a supplier charity dinner at St Cuthberts, later in the year, where suppliers will be invited to dine and donate to the charity.
To demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, Lexington’s Green Force division will plant 20 trees in recognition of 20 years of catering. In further support of ‘giving back’, teams at each of Lexington’s sites will give 20 days of charity work or fundraising.
To further celebrate the contract caterer’s longevity in the industry, it will be creating Lex Cured Salmon, Lex Perfect Christmas Pudding and Lex 20 year Gin for retail with all profits being donated to Alzheimer’s Society.  
To celebrate with its employees, Lexington will be hosting a family fun event in August with a BBQ, street food stalls, games and music.
Matt Wood, managing director, Lexington, said: “As a business we are so proud to have been providing premium, best in class catering provision for 20 years. During that time the industry has experienced so many changes including riding the waves of a recession and a global pandemic. What hasn’t changed is Lexington’s unwavering commitment to providing exceptional quality food and service to our discerning clients.
“I’m immensely proud of everyone at Lexington that has contributed to maintaining our values and driving the business forward. It’s great to be able to celebrate and make a positive difference to people, the planet, and the charities that are so close to us.
“I’m looking forward to the next 20 years as we embark on a new chapter with a heightened focus on sustainability and commitment to managing the new world of work – I’m sure that the next two decades will look quite different

Sodexo becomes official Supporter of the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter #

Sodexo has today been announced as a Supporter of the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter, making it one of the scheme’s largest employers. The Charter’s goal is to raise employment standards throughout the city region and contribute to a thriving and productive economy. 

As a major UK employer, with more than ten per cent of its 30,000-strong UK workforce operating in the city region, Sodexo have been working with Charter for over 12 months in order to gain Supporter status. 

To achieve Supporter status, Sodexo were able to evidence that the organisation fully supports the Charter’s seven characteristics of good employment, which set out what good employment practices, effective employee engagement, and good fair employment look like. 

secure work                                                      
flexible work
engagement and voice
people management
health and wellbeing 

Such examples include Sodexo’s commitment to the Living Wage Foundation; multiple channels of communication with Sodexo colleagues, ever expanding health and wellbeing programmes for support, award winning apprenticeship programmes; a 24/7 virtual GP service, and on-line learning platform available to all Sodexo colleagues. 

In addition to its head office near Media City, where colleagues working in areas such as HR, IT and finance are based, the majority of Sodexo’s Greater Manchester-based colleagues work in frontline roles on sites including Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust hospitals, HMP Forest Bank prison and Oasis Academy MediaCityUK. 

Sodexo’s Corporate Services business also has colleagues based at city region sites such as AstraZeneca, while its sports and leisure business, Sodexo Live! is the venue partner for Wigan Athletic FC. 

Sodexo has long been 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 from an offending background where appropriate. 

In the last year, Unity Radio was one of a number of Salford organisations that benefitted from Sodexo gifting a proportion of its apprenticeship levy, funding an employee taking a Senior Leader degree and employability and skills training for young people that the station supports.

Since 2015, Sodexo has been a Living Wage Foundation Recognised Service Provider and as such, commits to paying head office staff the real Living Wage and, when permitted, submitting a Living Wage alternative in its bids; and actively promoting its adoption to clients. 

Earlier this year, Sodexo also invested significantly in 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 mental and physical health. 

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

As a large Greater Manchester employer, we take great pride in joining a charter that champions responsible employment practices and supports sustainable growth. We have a shared ambition of creating good jobs for all, with real opportunities to help people belong and thrive in roles that provide service excellence, and contribute to the local community and economy.” 

Ian MacArthur, Director at The Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter, added:

It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome a major regional employer like Sodexo to the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter. Good employment must be at the heart of any effort to level up our places, improve conditions for employees and create better working environments. I would like to welcome employers of all sizes and in all sectors to join Sodexo and get involved.” 

The Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter was developed collectively by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Mayor of Greater Manchester – working alongside local councils, trade unions, employers, and employees. 

To learn more about Sodexo’s commitment to help its People thrive visit the Social Impact area of our website.

Toque d’Or® 2022 Winners enjoy gastronomic tour of the Persian Gulf #

A month after naming the winners of Toque d’Or® 2022, Nestlé Professional whisked them away last weekend for a once-in-a-lifetime gastronomic tour around the Persian Gulf. Visiting celebrated hotspots in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, winners enjoyed a packed schedule of activities, which included an Arabic BBQ under the stars in the Lahbab desert, fine dining in Dubai’s opulent L’Olivo at Al Mahara (in the opulent 7-star hotel Burj Al Arab), and also attending the Worldchefs Congress sponsored by Nestlé Professional,
The trip is a welcome reward to Samantha Watkins, Loughborough College (BOH Student), James Shuttleworth, The Tower Hotel (BOH Apprentice) and Tara Humphrey, City of Glasgow College (FOH Student), who’ve poured their hearts and souls into Toque d’Or® 2022 since its start in early February. Culminating with a week-long Grand Finals at the end of April, competitors studied regenerative agriculture, animal welfare, wildlife conservation and bee pollination as part of the competition’s ‘Balanced Diets and Sustainable Futures’ theme. And the winners excelled at bringing this learning - and sustainable ingredients sourced during supplier visits - to the table in the final task: a VIP three-course Fine Dining Challenge.
The winners had the chance to enjoy being on the other side of hospitality, being served Thai specialities in Thiptara, looking out over Downtown Dubai’s iconic water fountains, Peruvian dishes overlooking Dubai’s night skyline in Coya, and barbecued delicacies under beachside gazebos in Abu Dhabi’s Al QASR.
At the Worldchefs Congress, they watched the final 70 competitors battle it in the Global Chef’s Challenge. They also dined at the GARDEN GOURMET booth with the Nestlé Professional team and heard Nestlé Professional Global Head of Food, Cornel Krummenacher, explain how plant-based foods reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Alongside, the three winners gathered inspiration from Persian herbs and spices in Dubai’s Spice Souk and enjoyed cultural and tourist attractions including a trip to Emirates Palace, a camel caravan ride, boat trip, and fun parks.
Samantha Watkins, Back of House Student Winner says: “The Toque d’Or Winners Trip has been an incredible experience and I am so grateful to have been on such a trip!  The whole trip has been insane, and I can’t pick a favourite moment, it was all fantastic.  I really enjoyed the different food cuisines we experienced throughout the week, and it has given me a lot of inspiration for my future dishes.  It was a busy week full of exciting activities but also a time to relax and treat ourselves after a busy time in hospitality, although I did miss the service buzz.  The trip went so quick and now seems like a dream.”
James Shuttleworth, Back of House Apprentice Winner says: “Dubai to Abu Dhabi what a journey, an adventure I certainly will not forget.  A completely different world, it’s certainly a place that didn’t disappoint.  The views were incredible even among the hustle and bustle. Living the high life throughout our trip with the opportunity to explore and have a taster of the different cuisines on offer.  To top it all off we ended our trip with a visit to the World Chefs Congress, a real eye-opener.”
Tara Humphrey, Front of House Student Winner says: “The winner’s trip was completely unforgettable.  I never expected to do the activities that we did, to eat at the places and everything else in between, we were completely spoiled.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I feel so honoured to have experienced it.  A huge thank you to Nestlé Professional and Toque d’Or for such a wonderful trip, it has been incredible”.
Katya Simmons, Managing Director of Nestlé Professional UK&I, says:
All of our entrants put their hearts and souls into Toque d’Or® - this comes through in the quality of their dishes and their service. The winners really shone during the final challenge, so it’s a real pleasure to reward them with such a fabulous trip.
After months of hard work and dedication, we thought it would be good for them to experience first-hand some of the world’s finest food and hospitality. And for extra inspiration, to watch the world’s top chefs compete in the prestigious Worldchefs Congress. Who knows, perhaps we’ll get to see them compete there on the world stage one day!

For more information on Nestlé Toque d’Or® 2022, please click here.

Publicans set to leverage a massive summer of sport #

Ahead of a major summer of sport, KAM and Sky have partnered to gain insight around the value of live sport to pubs; the opportunities available to them by showing it, and what pub goers are looking for when it comes to live sport in pubs.

KAM’s The Summer of Sport 2022 White Paper which launched today (27 June), states that 76% of operators are looking forward to the upcoming summer of sport with 82% of them saying that a profitable summer trading is important to the future success of their pub. Two thirds of operators said that live sport on TV will have a direct influence on attracting customers to their venue, making them stay longer and spend more when they are there.

Katy Moses, MD at KAM said “There's nothing quite like live sport when it comes to bringing people together. Whether your customers are hard core sports fans, follow an individual team or player, or just casually watch from time to time, watching live sport in a pub plays a key role in creating a great atmosphere and connecting people from all walks of life.”

“Those pubs which can deliver on the atmosphere and the experience of live sport will be the ones which can realise the biggest opportunity which this summer promises. Driving both footfall, dwell time and spend (on both food and drinks) are all key 'wins' that pubs can benefit from, if they can get their offer right

Encouragingly, the research suggests that consumers are going to deliver on operators’ expectations with two in three customers saying that live sport on TV will make them visit more and spend more in a pub this summer.  And, of those operators asked, they expect an incremental increase of over £13 per head per customer on big sporting occasions.

Natalie Coleshill from The Milford Arms in Isleworth said: “There is no doubt that sports drive a lot of our footfall – it gives people a reason to get out and go to the pub. Spend is much greater around sporting events for us, we also see dwell time increase as customers come in earlier to ensure they get the best seats.”

With live sport including Summer Rugby Internationals, Wimbledon, fast paced action in Formula 1, international cricket with every England home Test match, ODI and T20 from the men’s and women’s games, the 150th Open Championship and the return of domestic football at the end of July, there’s plenty of sporting content to deliver the excitement, glory and of course, the heartbreak that pub going sports fans are looking for.

There’s also an opportunity for pubs to attract a new and diverse customer base with the Women’s Euros taking place at the start of July and the Commonwealth Games commencing at the end of July, creating even more of trading opportunity, especially for hospitality premises based in Birmingham.

Damian Saunders, Managing Director of Sky Business said: “It's clear from KAM’s research that 2022 is shaping up to be both a big summer for sport and the hospitality sector. Pubs, clubs and bars were sorely missed by customers during Covid and there is a real desire from customers to get out and support their local in 2022.

“Sport can give people a reason to leave their homes and head to the pub. And it has the power to bring us together.

As we look ahead to the summer and beyond, it’s great to see there is an array of sport that will attract consumers from their homes and into licensed premises, so it’s about supercharging those moments and getting the most out of them to help to deliver a boost to the sector.

To read KAM’s The Summer of Sport 2022 White Paper, please click here.
Watch a video of what publicans and customers say about the upcoming summer of sport here.

Half of Consumers find rapid delivery of groceries appealing #

New research from digital and data experts TWC has revealed that half of consumers find the idea of delivery of groceries in half an hour - or less - appealing. Interest was highest amongst those living in London and younger consumers.
The TWC Trends research was conducted in June 2022 and showed that 51% of consumers found the idea of rapid grocery delivery appealing, rising to 69% of those living in London. This over-index coincides with the greater presence of the quick commerce tech start-ups such as Gorillas, Getir, GoPuff and Zapp, but also relates to the demographic make-up of the capital, for example London has the highest proportion of people working, who are more likely to need rapid delivery solutions.
Awareness of the individual operators was highest for Getir and Gorillas at 17% (total GB). Within London, Gorillas was best known (46% awareness), followed by Getir at 41%.
The primary reasons consumers cited for using rapid delivery firms were that the shops are too far away (42% agreement); the shops are closed (35%); not having to wait long for delivery (35%); and bad weather preventing me from leaving the house (28%).
Consumers reported typical spends of over £20 on each occasion, with over half exceeding this level of spend. This is over double the typical instore convenience basket and reflects the willingness to pay a premium for the convenience of delivery as well as the premium selection of goods on offer via some of the apps, including fine wines and electronics.
Sarah Coleman, Communications Director at TWC shared some of the findings from the research at the Federation of Wholesale Distribution (FWD) conference on 30 June. She comments:
We are seeing really high levels of consumer interest in rapid delivery of grocery and there is strong evidence that these services attract a different consumer to traditional convenience stores, as well as driving bigger baskets.”
That said, these services boomed during the pandemic when demand was incredibly high, with many people isolating and lots of shops and services unable to open. Now the world is opening up again, plus the macro-economic climate is challenging, which means investors in rapid delivery and looking for sustainable, long-term business models and consequently we are seeing consolidation and scaling back of some operations.”
The TWC Trends Summer Edition 2022 series is based on the views and sentiments of over 1,000 consumers across the UK. The research was conducted 14-18 June 2022.
For a free download of some of the slides from the conference, please visit:

ELIOR UK introduces use of robotic technology into health, care and retirement living sector to increase efficiency and enhance customer service #

Contract caterer Elior UK, is excited to announce that it has begun trialling the use of robotic food delivery, aligned closely with its strategy of delivering innovative solutions through the use of technology. BellaBot, an autonomous delivery robot supplied by GW Projects Ltd, has joined the team at a retirement village, where Elior provides catering services, to assist with the day-to-day restaurant service.
BellaBot works in the restaurant at the retirement village and delivers trays of food to the tables and assists with clearing the tables, freeing up the Elior team to spend more time interacting with the residents. BellaBot can deliver four 10 kg trays at once – twice the load capacity of manual delivery – and can deliver up to 400 dishes a day.
As well as helping to deliver food, BellaBot can also sing and tell jokes and interact with the residents and their guests.  Over the Queen’s Jubilee weekend, BellaBot delighted grandchildren and great grandchildren by entertaining them with jokes and songs including singing the National Anthem and by purring when they petted her.
Laura Tighe, Managing Director of Health, Care & Retirement Living for Elior UK, said: “We are delighted to welcome BellaBot to our team which supports Elior’s strategy to introduce new and innovative technology to enhance its service and the customer experience. BellaBot has been very well received by the residents and their guests.  The main benefit we have seen is that resident engagement has stepped up as BellaBot’s assistance with delivering food has enabled our staff to spend more time chatting with the residents.  At a time when it is challenging to recruit staff, it is amazing to be able to provide our colleagues – through the adoption of robotic technology - with some additional support so that they can focus on customer service.
A resident in the retirement village, commented: “It is great fun having BellaBot in the restaurant – I have booked my birthday celebrations in the restaurant so Bella can sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me.”
Recognising that the use of robotics has the potential to enhance the customer experience and transform the operations, Elior is exploring other opportunities where robotics can be deployed both in the retirement living sector and in other parts of the business, including cleaning services.

Bestway welcomes retailers back for 'Drinks at Home' Conference #

On behalf of Bestway Wholesale, the UK’s largest independent food and drink wholesaler, Bestway Retail welcomed retailers back to Liverpool Exhibition Centre last week for the 6th Annual Drinks at Home Live Exhibition.

Over 350 Bargain Booze, Select Convenience, Costcutter and best-one retailers attended the event alongside over 100 key supplier partners and many key Bestway Retail stakeholders.

Dawood Pervez, Managing Director at Bestway Wholesale, who welcomed retailers to the event and delivered an update on the business, said,

We were delighted to welcome all of our retailers to, what we believe, was the best Drinks at Home tradeshow yet. Our suppliers certainly pulled out all the stops with show-stopping stands and great content for our retailers.

“A key highlight of the day was showcasing our innovative ‘store within a store’ concept.

“These dual branded Bargain Booze within a Costcutter stores have been launched at Meopham and Whiston and seen strong outcomes. Jamie Davison, our Head of New Business and Store Development at Bestway Retail shared with our retailers how this pioneering concept aims to meet the needs of our customers, enabling them to buy everything they need across a full day. 

“This is an exciting milestone for us as a business – and there is more to come.

Mike Hollis, Retail Director at Bestway Retail and Head of Bargain Booze & Coop Franchise at Bestway Retail, Duncan Jelfs, took to the stage to talk to highlight how franchisees and retailers can successfully drive sales and margin in their stores. This was followed by a lively Q&A session.

There were presentations from suppliers including: Pernod Richard on a Summer Cocktail Masterclass and SHS Drinks on WKD - The Original Challenger Brand.
As well as the main presentations throughout the day the 100 key supplier partners had stands where they shared best practice, gave retailers an update on new product developments and an opportunity to sample their products, as well as offering retailers exclusive show deals. In addition, there were seven premier stands from Diageo, AU, Halewood, Molson Coors, Coke, NZO and Phoenix rentals.
There was a Booze Bar where the Bestway Retail marketing team showcased its summer advert and offered retailers digital advice and guidance.

Mike Hollis, Retail Director at Bestway Retail, added:

The Drinks at Home event is the perfect opportunity for our retailers to engage with suppliers and Bestway stakeholders. This year is particularly special as it’s the first time that our Costcutter retailers have been able to join us.

“The focus for the event was to ensure our retailers are set up for the summer and that they were able to take advantage of the exclusive show deals on offer from our suppliers.

£35k donation from Sodexo helps SSAFA’s life-changing work tackling homelessness continue #

Since 2008, funding from Sodexo’s Stop Hunger Foundation has provided urgent welfare provision to those most in need from the Armed Forces community, particularly veterans and their families across all the three services (army, navy and RAF). Sodexo’s support has enabled the rapid delivery of financial assistance, help with the purchase of vital white goods, and distributing emergency food supplies.

Commenting, Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity said: “SSAFA is delighted to maintain its long-standing relationship with Sodexo, a relationship that makes a real and practical difference to those in our Armed Forces community who need support.

And that help from Sodexo, which includes its Stop Hunger initiative that provides financial assistance to SSAFA’s Homelessness Fund, is as vital today as it has ever been. Perhaps, sadly, it is more vital now.

“Anecdotally, our Forcesline team of support workers are reporting a change in the tone of calls received since the cost-of-living crisis began to bite this year, with callers demonstrating increased levels of anxiety and stress, and – worryingly – deteriorating levels of mental health.

“This is a situation that is not going to end or even improve soon, but with the four-square support of Sodexo for our military community – from WWII veterans to more recent conflicts, not forgetting those who served in the Falklands – SSAFA will continue to provide compassionate and real help whenever, wherever, and however needed just as it has for 137 years.

In total, Sodexo has given more than £400,000 to SSAFA in those 15 years, allowing the UK’s oldest tri-service charity to help serving personnel, veterans, and their families with support when, where, and how they need it, and grants from the fund are also a vital resource for volunteer caseworkers to find a swift resolution to urgent cases.

Paul Anstey, Sodexo’s CEO Government, Sodexo UK & Ireland and Stop Hunger Trustee added: “I am incredibly proud to support SSAFA, it is a fantastic charity that’s particularly close to our hearts, and the brilliant work it does to support the serving military, veterans and their families is inspiring. Creating a positive impact plays a key part in our social impact pledge and in supporting SSAFA’s Homelessness Fund, we’re able to see a positive, tangible impact on the military community.  Our longstanding partnership with SSAFA also enables our people to use their skills to help the communities in which we operate through employee fundraising, volunteering and mentoring.”

As an early signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant, Sodexo is committed to the continual support in the employment of ex-armed forces personnel and their families as well as those employees who are members of the Reserves.

In 2017 Sodexo was awarded the Gold Employer Recognition Award by the Ministry of Defence in recognition of the company’s commitment and efforts to support the entire Armed Force community through its strong policies which include:

the positive recruitment of ex-military personnel
the provision of employment opportunities for the spouses of service personnel posted into areas where Sodexo holds a contract
a flexible approach to granting leave for employees which are members of the Reserves
a partnership approach to supporting service charities such as SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

Sharwood’s and Homepride fortify six classic sauces for school caterers #

Premier Foods today released new insight into the attitudes of UK parents and children towards nutrition, coinciding with the re-launch of its new range of fortified Sharwood’s and Homepride sauces.
The report, Talking Nutrition, was developed using nationwide research, which asked 1,000 parents and 500 primary school children about vitamins, nutrition and their importance in their everyday lives. Analysed alongside government guidelines by leading nutritionist Juliette Kellow, with tips from culinary advisor Louise Wagstaffe, the report provides insight on parental concerns, children’s food preferences, and nutritional focus areas for primary school children.
The findings revealed 76% of parents worry their child’s diet isn’t healthy enough, with 40% concerned their child doesn’t get enough vitamin C, and 45% insufficient vitamin D. Alongside this, many of the children that responded said they disliked foods rich in these vitamins – such as oily fish (60%), which is rich in vitamin D, and spinach (55%) and cabbage (52%), both rich in vitamin C.
Juliette Kellow, Registered Dietitian says,
Fruit and vegetables are the main sources of vitamin C in the diet, so if children eat their 5-a-day, chances are they’ll get enough of this nutrient. But we know from our research that getting children to eat enough fruit and veg is a struggle for many parents – in fact, 72% said they sometimes struggle or find it virtually impossible. Foods fortified with vitamin C can help ensure children who are low consumers of fruit and veg get enough.”
Kellow continues:
A lack of vitamin D in babies and children can cause rickets, where bones become painful, soft and weak, leading to deformities of the skeleton such as bowed legs. The condition mostly disappeared during the early 20th century, but according to the NHS, there’s been an increase in cases in the UK in recent years.
Earlier this year, the government launched a consultation, seeking views on how to improve the vitamin D status of people in England. One of the areas being looked at is improving this through diet, including fortified foods and biofortification
Although national studies report that 86% of 4-10 years olds are not getting enough fibre, parental understanding of benefits were low, with 70% being unaware it helps to fill us up. In addition, many children who responded said they disliked high fibre foods such as brown rice (47%), lentils (46%) and brown pasta (44%).
The first to market to be fortified with vitamins C and D, Premier Foods has re-launched six classic sauces from its Sharwood’s and Homepride ranges. Easy to use, plant-based and delicious, the sauces contain added fibre and are ideal for gluten-free and vegetarian diets. Available from September 2022, the range includes Sharwood’s Korma, Tikka Masala and Sweet and Sour; and Homepride Tomato & Basil, Bolognese and Chargrilled Vegetables.
Sarah Robb, MCIM, Foodservice Marketing Manager, Premier Foods says,
Our new Sharwood’s and Homepride sauces fit within school nutritional guidelines and are loved by kids. But on top of providing delicious products that meet caterer needs when it comes to flavour, consistency and ease of use, we’re passionate about making a positive impact on health.
In the current cost-of-living crisis, school meals have become more vital than ever, representing a crucial source of nutrition for school children. Furthermore, expert consensus is that many school children are now deficient in certain key nutrients.
We know it’s tough, making sure that children get the right amount of nutrients in their food. By adding nutrients that are particularly difficult to incorporate in tasty Theschool meals – such as fibre and vitamin D – our aim is to help caterers serve school children daily nutrients in an easy, consistent, tasty way
The new range of fortified sauces will be available for school caterers from September 2022 in 2.25kg fully recyclable bottles and lids.
The research was conducted by 3Gem and surveyed 1000 parents and 500 primary school children between 6th-12th June 2022, across the UK

e-foods partner with Hovis; the team visit the factory #

Our team recently had a tour around the Hovis manufacturing and distribution centre in Nottingham, to visit the site and see first-hand how the bread that we supply to our clients is made. We partner with Hovis to directly source their products, ensuring best value for our clients.

Attending the day was Thomas Pook, National Account Manager at Hovis, joined by e-f group’s Category Manager Kris McKay, Rob Henry Head of Food Safety and Compliance, and Rebecca St Clair BI Analyst.

Hovis has been a household name since 1886 with several manufacturing and distribution sites across the UK, from Glasgow all the way down to Avonmouth, and still use some of the original machinery today to get their signature taste.

It was great to meet the team and get a tour of the factory which has dedicated stations for supermarket own-brand products and Hovis brand staples. From mixing to weighing, proving, baking cooling, and packing the bread, the production lines are a well-oiled machine. They manage to churn out over two and a half million bread products per day.

It is clear when walking around the factory that everyone works together to ensure a smooth operation with minimum product wastage. The bakery runs 24/7 and can have 250 people working in it at any one time, making sure that the production line is running as it should. Whilst focussing on their own areas, the team comes together to fix any issues that may occur, which, if not dealt with in a timely manner, affects the output of the products resulting in wastage.

With tradition being a huge part of the business, they are continually looking ahead to the future with new and innovative products in the pipeline. They have experienced growth over the past five years, focussing on taste and shelf life of their products to appeal to consumers.

Their most recent ‘Baked Since 1886’ range offers premium style products, including burger buns, hotdog rolls, English muffins with sourdough, Half Cobs with White, Seeded and Granary variants. When developing new products, they are thinking ahead to ensure their products are compliant under the HFSS regulations which will be coming into effect in the next year. They are also developing new products that will result in them being seen as a bakery rather than solely bread.

Our Category Manager Kris commented, “We enjoyed a fantastic day being shown round the Hovis factory in Nottingham. It was very interesting to see the process from start to finish and understand everything that goes into making their products.

This was also a great opportunity to meet up face-to-face with the team at Hovis, who we have been dealing with since our relationship began last year, to discuss how we are going to further strengthen our partnership to support our existing customers and the new ones we will be bringing on board. Many thanks to Tom and his team for a great day!

We aim to develop our mutually beneficial partnership further, and following the success of our partnership with Hovis, we are looking to build new relationships and deal directly with other manufactures to continue to offer the most competitive range and deals for our clients and suppliers.

Rama Social - new food concept with Japanese Flavour and Latin Soul - wins Lexington’s Casual Dining Competition #

At the finals of Lexington’s Casual Dining Competition, the team that created Rama Social, a new Japanese food concept with Latin influence, was crowned as 2022’s winner.  The winning team will see their concept introduced across the business and will also enjoy a dinner at a top London restaurant and a masterclass with Dhruv Baker, winner of 2010 MasterChef and one of the competition judges.
The winning concept was based on Nikkei food which is all about fusion cooking and the winning team experimented with different cooking techniques – from Japanese cooking to Hibachi grilling on flavoured wood, marinading and preserving South American ingredients. The team further developed the Nikkei style of food by introducing flavours from Brazil and Mexico and applying them not just to savoury dishes but also to cocktails and desserts.
The competition is a team event and open to all sites across Lexington’s Business & Industry business. Each participating team is briefed to create a new casual dining/street food pop up concept which could be implemented at their own site or across the wider business.
In total 27 teams entered – and submitted written entries – and 10 teams were chosen to showcase their concepts to the judges. Six finalists were chosen to attend the final at OKN1, a collaborative kitchen and dining space at New City College, Hackney, and the home of Lexington’s Chef School.  Over 150 clients and guests attended and sampled the food concepts developed by the six finalists and voted for their favourite brand which accounted for 50% of the final score.
A prestigious panel of industry experts – including MasterChef winner Dhruv Baker, ex Temper restaurants founder and founder of plant-based food company Symplicity, Neil Rankin, Stevie Reece from Mr Pig Stuff and Michal Seal, Marketing Director for Elior – chose the winning concept.   
Matt Wood, Managing Director of Lexington, said; “This competition highlights the passion and creativity that exists across our business. Not only was it impressive that 27 teams participated in the competition but it was extremely exciting to witness such high levels of innovation and talent. It was thrilling to experience such a delicious range of food options and know that Lexington teams had created these amazing concepts.”
MasterChef winner and Tempus Foods founder Dhruv Baker, said: “What an honour to be asked to be a judge for a truly spectacular event. The Lexington Casual Dining Competition was a showcase of the width and breadth of the immense talent that Lexington Catering has. Stunning food, beautifully conceived and perfected executed.  I was blown away by the sheer brilliance of it all.  Such passionate people exhibiting immense talent - it was a treat to witness.
Neil Rankin, chef and restaurateur, said: “Everyone was brilliant but the worthy winners fed me one of the best tacos I’ve eaten and I’ve eaten a few!
Each entry had to include the following:
Food cost of £3 per head
Marketing plan including promotional material, banners, menus and uniforms
Mobilisation plan
Description of equipment from food stands to display materials
Recipes for all menu items
Supporting photos, materials and ideas.The other five finalists created diverse concepts ranging from modern British small plates and vegan junk food to Hawaiian poke bowls, Lebanese street food and Hungarian desserts with a British twist.

Sodexo awarded new 7 year contract with Abingdon School #

Independents by Sodexo marks its 15-year partnership with Abingdon School, a leading independent day and boarding school located near Oxford with the award of a new seven year contract. 

Sodexo has been Abingdon School’s catering partner since 2007. The new seven year contract starts in September 2022 and will see the enhancement of the prep school kitchen servery and a new dining facility added to the current catering facilities. 

Sodexo provides breakfast, lunch and supper for both the senior school which has 1,000 students and the 250 pupils at the prep school located a few miles away. The Sodexo team also provides hospitality for all events including sports teas. 

Sodexo has rolled out its evidence-based Powering Performance programme for independent schools which earlier this year was enhanced through the Healthy Futures Partnership, a collaboration between Sodexo and the British Nutrition Foundation. 

The new improved programme uses the results of research undertaken by the British Nutrition Foundation with seven schools and frames the programme under four pillars: sustain, focus, strength and replenish. The pillars help to frame and communicate healthy eating messages. Each of the pillars has their own ‘hero’ ingredients that provide essential nutrients which support young people’s health and wellbeing. 

Steve Hawkins, managing director, Sodexo Schools, UK & Ireland said: “We are delighted that Abingdon has chosen to continue our relationship as their catering partner. Our Powering Performance programme has been developed to inspire young people to make informed, healthier and more sustainable food and drink choices and is empowering our chefs to support good nutrition across the school day with healthier recipe guidelines, bespoke training and school-based engagement activities.” 

“We have thoroughly enjoyed working and growing with the school over the last 15 years and are proud of all we have achieved together. This next contractual term brings with it some incredibly exciting times and we look forward to continuing to work in a strategic and trusted partnership.

Justin Hodges Director of Finance and Operations at Abingdon School said: "It is of great importance to us that our students enjoy healthy, sustainable and tasty school meals every day.  Over the past 15 years, the Sodexo team has demonstrated a commitment to the continuous improvement and innovation of our catering provision.  They have become a trusted partner and we are looking forward to further building upon this relationship in the years to come."

Leading UK chefs join Commercial Kitchen’s stella seminar line-up #

Tom Aikens, Anna Haugh, Romy Gill, Ruth Hansom, Cherish Finden & James Golding announced in first line-up of speakers

The organisers of Commercial Kitchen, the essential industry event for kitchen innovations, are delighted to welcome an eclectic line-up of leading chefs to its 2022 Keynote programme. These include Tom Aikens, Anna Haugh, Romy Gill, Ruth Hansom, Cherish Finden, James Golding and the return of Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL. The two-day trade show returns to ExCeL London on 14-15 September.    

Tom Aikens, Chef Owner of Muse by Tom Aikens is one of the UK’s most acclaimed and inspirational British chefs. His remarkable career has taken him to David Cavalier’s in Battersea, Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire, Pied-à-Terre and Joel Robuchon in Paris to name a few. At 26, Tom became the youngest British chef ever to be awarded two Michelin stars.   

Ruth Hansom, Head Chef at The Princess of Shoreditch will join the female chef panel at the show. Along with Executive Pastry Chef Cherish Finden, who is host of Bake Off: The Professionals and has launched her first patisserie at the Pan Pacific Hotel in London – which she joined ahead of opening in 2021. Called Shiok! – pronounced “Shook” – the new venture in Devonshire House next door to the hotel has 25 covers open for breakfast and pastries all day every day.   

Anna Haugh, Chef Owner of Myrtle Restaurant in Chelsea London has previously worked for great chefs such as Philip Howard and Gordon Ramsay. Dedicating her restaurant name Myrtle Allen to her Irish heritage, Anna was the first Irish woman to win a Michelin star back in 1975. She will be joining the Kitchen Culture panel alongside Romy Gill, Chef Consultant, to discuss wellness and sustainability.   

Romy Gill, Chef Romy Gill MBE is a British/Indian chef, food/travel writer and broadcaster based in the south-west of England. She was the owner and head chef at Romy’s Kitchen. In 2016 she was appointed an MBE in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list. Romy is one of the regular chefs on BBC1's Ready Steady Cook and has appeared on many other TV programmes, including Sunday Brunch, BBC's The One Show, Country Life, Celebrity MasterChef, The Hairy Bikers’ Comfort Food and James Martin’s Saturday Morning.  

James Golding, Group Chef Director of THE PIG hotel group started his career at the Savoy, later working for Caprice Holdings and then moving to Soho House New York. When he returned to the UK James’ passion for sustainability grew. James will be joining the seminar line-up talking about food trends and his love of local produce.  

Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL (Chef Patron, Café Spice Namaste and Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen) joined the Commercial Kitchen line-up for the first-time last year. Cyrus is a staunch advocate of education and training; Café Spice Namasté was the first ever restaurant in the UK to win a National Training Award.  

Commenting on the importance of the event for the sector, Cyrus Todiwala says “Visiting such a show is extremely important for operators, because it helps professionals keep abreast of changes and advances in technology and new equipment on the market. I’m excited to see product development and Commercial Kitchen is the show to find it all under one roof!” 
Pizza Pilgrims & Peach Pubs also confirmed 

Over 70 leading chefs and industry experts will be taking to the Commercial Kitchen Keynote stages for exclusive interviews, live talks and panel discussions. The star-studded line-up also includes Alice Bowyer, Head of Food at The Liberation Group, Thom Elliott, Founder of Pizza Pilgrims, Hamish Stoddart, MD and Founder of Peach Pubs, and Nick Vadis, Culinary Director at Compass Group UK & Ireland.  

More big-name speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.  
Over 85% sold out  

As well as providing key insights and inspiration, Commercial Kitchen will feature a bustling central exhibition with over 100 brands. With the show nearly sold out, brands to join the 2022 line-up include Inomak, Wearesdi, Instock Group, Forest UK, Adventsy UK, Fagor Professional UK, RSS Hereford, and Nationwide Ventilation. They join returning big industry names including UNOX UK, Meiko UK, True Refrigeration, Jestic Food Service Solutions, Synergy Grill, Rexmatins, Quintex, Carpigiani, Filta  Environmental, Regale Microwave Ovens, Welbilt, MKN, and Gamble.   
Registration is now open   

Commercial Kitchen will return to ExCeL London on 14-15 September 2022. The show will co-locate with Casual Dining – the definitive trade event for the restaurant, pub and bar sector and lunch! – the definitive event for the café, coffee shop & food-to-go sector. Tickets will allow free access to all three events for members of the trade only. To register, visit Quote VCK26 to save the £20 entry fee. 

How to save time and improve efficiency by streamlining your kitchen processes #

Moving from manual menu management and ordering, to always having your recipes and stock information on hand from any device, is invaluable for busy chefs. Using an online menu management system such as CaterCloud provides you access to your menu planner tool to plan meals for the weeks ahead, improving efficiency.

The interface is intuitive which makes moving recipes within the planner easy and can be done across multiple sites. You can allow or restrict access to the platform as necessary, so everyone has a specific role whether it’s ‘view only’ or they gain full editing rights- the choice is yours. This feature offers the whole team access to view the daily/weekly menus and change their days accordingly.

When combining CaterCloud with the purchasing power of Freshmarkets you have an invaluable set of tools that allow you to manage stock, allergens, cost, and nutritional value per portion, giving chefs full visibility of the food they’re providing. This helps to ensure you are providing nutritionally balanced meals with the correct portion size, as well as helping to cater for customers with individual nutritional and allergenic needs.

Many clients of ours, especially care homes, have strict budgets to adhere to, with some working towards CPRD (cost per resident per day). CaterCloud offers recipe, dish, and menu costing based on the products they purchase themselves or through our Freshmarkets system, allowing our clients to easily calculate the cost of recipes and portions within the system.

CaterCloud also allows users to calculate and control their profit margins by setting targets and alerts, to ensure they remain on track to meet gross profit targets. The system is intuitive; it provides system-generated buying lists based on number of portions required, to ensure your stock remains replenished.

Another great way of reducing waste is by planning recipes according to what needs to be used within a specific time frame. If a bulk product needs to be used within three days of being opened, planning recipes across two or three days that utilises that ingredient can prevent unnecessary wastage. Reducing your menu to a manageable range will also ensure that you do not have too much fresh food lying around waiting for it to be sold.

With Catercloud you can edit recipes, dishes, and labels at the click of a button without expensive reprints. This allows you to change dishes on your menus as often as you need to, using items from your fridge or store, rather than throw unused ingredients away.