Members’ News

November 2022

Latest MealTrak Results – 12 w/e 3 October 2022 (wave 106) #

Wholesale experts TWC Group, in partnership with food-to-go and out-of-home tracking programme MealTrak, reports the latest food-to-go market performance to 12 w/e 3 October 2022.

Latest MealTrak results show the number of out-of-home eating occasions were +15% higher than the comparable period in 2021 on a 52 week/MAT basis.
In the latest 12 weeks, the number of out-of-home eating occasions were +1% higher than in 2021.  There were 813 million eating out of home occasions in the 12 w/e 3 October 2022. 
In the last 12 weeks, the ‘eating out’ channel (comprising pubs, restaurants and hotels) was in strong growth, +13% vs the previous year, however the growth rate continues to slow. Growth in ‘eating out’ is driven by pubs +45%, while restaurants are in decline (-7%).
Sandwich shops (-11%), coffee shops/cafes (-6%), fast food & takeaway (-22%), high street (-10%) and transportation (-18%) are all in decline.
The multiples, with their more affordable food-to-go offer, remain the clear winners, with steady and significant growth (+26% in the latest 12 weeks).
Other retail channels – convenience stores (+4%), discounters (+5%) and forecourts (+9%) are also all outperforming the total market. 

Value sales are up +30% on a 52 week/MAT basis and +15% on a 12-week ending basis versus 2021. As you’d expect in an inflationary market, ‘value’ growth remains significantly ahead of ‘occasions’ growth. 

Commenting on the results, Tom Fender, Development Director at TWC, said:
For the 12-week ending period to 3 October 2022, when compared with the same period in 2021, food-to-go occasions experienced a small decrease of -1%, although due to inflation, value sales increased by around +13% over the same time frame.”
“The multiples appear to have the right strategy for the current climate, reflected in their continued outperformance of the market, +26% growth in occasions and +48% in value terms for the latest 12-week period. Conversely, the decline in foodservice food-to-go outlets such as sandwich and speciality shops; coffee shops and cafes; and fast food and takeaways continues in both occasions and in real terms also in value, with the small value growth hiding the effect of inflation on these figures
As we continue to see an increase in consumer needs for something that’s not too expensive (+ 27%) and something that’s also quick and easy to eat (+19%), those with agile plans in place to react and provide exceptional value will do well at this moment in time. Meanwhile, “treats” are in decline, which somewhat goes against the much cited ‘lipstick effect’ during times of economic hardship.”
For more information on Mealtrak please contact Kim Reddick at TWC (


Elior UK endorses water unite impact investment vehicle at COP27 #

Elior UK joins the ‘Catalyzing Finance for Strengthened Water Resilience in African Cities’ session at COP27 and supports the Water Unite Impact investment vehicle which has been endorsed as one of the key solutions to tackling water security issues across Africa over the next 10 years. 
This session, hosted in Sharm El Sheikh, highlights the Water Unite Impact investment vehicle amongst other initiatives that are working towards building a water-resilient future for Africa’s cities. Developed by non-profit Water Unite, this investment vehicle invests in private sector water SMEs in the global south to transform lives and communities. Donations from international retailers act as Catalytic Capital to drive commercial capital and expertise towards water security solutions.
Elior UK, who has supported the Water Unite model since 2019, has raised tens of thousands of pounds each year to fund water security programmes. Donations have been raised through micro-levies on the sales of bottled water across over 1000 sites where Elior provides food and hospitality services and these donations are then distributed through non-profit partner Water Unite.
As a speaker at the COP27 session, Catherine Roe, CEO of Elior UK, commented:

We are so proud to support this Water Unite initiative and have adopted the micro-levy model which has enabled us to donate tens of thousands of pounds each year to Water Unite and who fund innovative solutions to help address water issues in developing countries across Africa and Asia. These donations allow local entrepreneurs to develop their social enterprises into thriving businesses which in turn provide employment opportunities and a positive impact on their local communities.
“Sustainability and projects such as the Water Unite initiative are very important to our colleagues, clients and their customers and we encourage more businesses to adopt the micro-levy model and drive much needed additional funding into the water sector
Water Unite is a global non-profit working to provide clean water for people and planet and to date Water Unite has supported nine projects in the water and circular economy sectors, directly benefiting over one million individuals in developing countries.

John Whitehouse wins 26th Outstanding Contribution award at FEA conference and Inaugural Chairman’s Award recipients 2022 #

John Whitehouse, Managing Director of First Choice Group, won the Outstanding Contribution to the Foodservice Industry award at the Foodservice Equipment Association’s conference. The award, now in its 27th year, is presented in association with The Caterer magazine and recognises those who have had a significant positive impact on the industry during their career.  The announcement was made during the gala dinner at the FEA Conference, on November 10th. 

John began working in the catering equipment sector in the early 90s. In 1999 he moved on from his role as General Manager at Electrolux Commercial Services and founded First Choice Group with Carl Bate. Since then the company has grown to become the UK’s largest stockist of genuine OEM spare parts, accessories and consumables, processing over 1000 orders a day and employing 160 staff.

An active supporter of the FEA for many years, John joined the council in 2009, became vice chair in 2016 and, as chair in 2019, oversaw the rebrand from CESA to FEA. A committed family man, John is also a selfless fundraiser for charity and volunteers at his local food bank and hospice.

“It is not often that we come across someone who can truly be described as a game changer, but without question John is a true game changer in our industry,” says FEA chair Paul Anderson. “John’s passion, commitment, enthusiasm and energy has helped First Choice grow from a small Midlands-based export business to a global distributor that turns over in excess of £40m, and a stockholding valued at £9m.”

This year’s FEA awards also saw the launch of the Chairman’s Awards, which recognise those whose distinguished service and hard work has maintained and enhanced the the industry’s professionalism and integrity to  ensure a better future for the foodservice industry as a whole. Nine people were recognised for this inaugural event. The winners were Malcolm Harling, Peter Jarrett, Martin Keay, Phill Mills, David Riley, Iain Munro, Nick Oryino, Julie Barker and ex. Serviceline MD and FEA vice chair, Stephen Elliott.

The picture accompanying this PR shows John Whitehouse, centre, with Paul Anderson and Lisa Jenkins, managing editor of The Caterer. 

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 

Visionary chefs invited to compete in the prestigious Lumina Challenge #

Returning for its fifth year, the Lumina Challenge, run by Alliance – New Zealand’s only 100% farmer-owned red meat co-operative – has announced the launch of its 2023 competition.

From 1 December 2022 – 16 January 2023, chefs from across the UK and Ireland are invited to submit their most exciting lamb recipes, for a chance to scoop the top accolade and an all-expenses paid trip to New Zealand.

For a chance to reach the professional pinnacle to which many aspire, chefs of all levels can enter their award-worthy recipes via the Lumina website. Images of the chosen dish are also required to be shared on Instagram, using the hashtags #LuminaChallenge2023, #LuminaLamb and #PinnacleofTaste, for a chance to win.

Helping to pick the top 20 recipes will be a panel of industry-renowned experts, including head judge Matt Owens, Chairman of the Craft Guild of Chefs and development chef for Alliance; Mark Reynolds, Executive Head Chef at Tottenham Hotspur FC and Vice-chair of Craft Guild of Chefs; Ioannis Grammenos, Executive Chef at Heliot Steakhouse and the world’s first meatologist; and Kerth Gumbs, previous banquet finalist on Great British Menu and newest judge/co-host of MasterChef Juniors.

The judging panel will consider the presentation, innovation and creativity of each recipe, as well as the use of ingredients, taste, flavour and texture. And, the judges will be looking for chefs to highlight the outstanding quality of Lumina’s 100% free-range New Zealand grass-fed Lamb.

A two-stage semi-final will see finalists join the judges at a champagne and canapes networking event at Alliance HQ in February 2023 where they will receive samples of the Lumina product, learn more about the brand and speak directly with a Lumina farmer in New Zealand. Semi-finalists will then be asked to submit a short video about what makes Lumina Lamb stand out from the competition, their recipe and what makes their dish so special.

The judges will then select just eight chefs to move on to the live final which will take place at Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC) on 20 March 2023. An exhilarating one-hour live final will see contestants produce four dishes, with the winner announced in an Award Ceremony hosted exclusively at Chef HQ, the exciting HRC hub for Chef’s Magazine.

Revealing what the judges will be looking for from entries, head judge Matt Owens, Chairman, Craft Guild of Chefs, and development chef for Alliance, said: “Lumina is recognised globally for the world’s best and most succulent lamb – carefully curating the highest standard of excellence and care throughout the entire journey from farm to plate. This year’s challenge will invite chefs of all levels to match these high standards, let their creative juices flow and showcase their culinary skills and creativity to produce something both delicious and surprising. We’re excited to take the final to HRC 2023 for the first time, creating an exciting live final that will put our finalists through their paces, and treat attendees to an exciting display of culinary excellence.”

The winner of the Lumina Challenge 2023 will win an all-expenses paid trip to New Zealand in 2023, and be inducted into the Lumina Ambassador programme, joining the likes of Andrianos Poulis, Lee Ladislav Poustevnik, John Skotidas, and the illustrious Lumina Challenge judging panel.  Their exciting adventure to New Zealand will include a visit to Lumina Farms, a chance to try the product on premium menus in the country’s best restaurants, a chance to cook alongside the best Lumina chefs from around the world, and an opportunity to experience the local culture and lifestyle.

The Lumina Challenge will open for entries from 1 December until 16 January 2023. For more information, visit the Lumina website at

Game On! Football for Football - Bestway, the winning match for independent retailers! #

Bestway Wholesale, the UK’s largest independent wholesaler, has this week launched its World Cup campaign across all its nationwide depots representing over a quarter of a million £ of investment.

Following on from the success of previous campaigns (Your Home This Christmas, The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and The Summer of Freedom campaign), the World Cup campaign has been designed to disrupt and engage the retailer in their journey through the installations which provide a powerful backdrop to market leading deals driving shopper footfall throughout the World Cup tournament and also providing theatre, visual appeal and some fun!  

The campaign hosts suppliers and leading promotions in a world-class football stadium, complete with a football goal for retailers shopping in the depot to enjoy the atmosphere and join in the fun by showing off their own football skills.

Retailers can enjoy visiting the impressive World Cup stadium which provides the excitement and drama of football and showcases 23 major supplier brands and their World Cup products. There are two spectacular supplier branded players tunnels leading through onto the players pitch, which is surrounded by perimeter advertising boards and promotional product pallets.

Large digital screens will highlight special products, retailer promotions, supplier content to entice and engage retailers. The ‘top scoring’ promotions will help drive footfall for retailers for key lines including beer, soft drinks, and snacks.

The campaign is supported by a series of competitions, with prizes to the value of over £50k to be won. Participating retailers will have the chance to win prizes during the four-week campaign, ranging from World Cup branded footballs, high street vouchers, Xbox bundle, LED TVs and one lucky winner will have the chance to enter the ‘Win A Van’ competition.

Kenton Burchell, Trading Director for Bestway Wholesale, says:

The World Cup presents a huge sales opportunity as consumers will be looking to elevate their at-home viewing with drinks and snacks.  It’s a great opportunity for our retailers – we’ve created a destination for them to shop for our deals which have been carefully selected to provide the lowest prices across key lines for this occasion. Our deals reflect the shopper missions for this occasion, with a big focus on beer packs, soft drinks, and snacks.

The key is having the right product at the right price - reflecting the shopper missions and having the theatre to bring it to life. These things co-exist – one thing on its own is not going to optimise the opportunity.

“This is our fourth campaign installation in the last year after last Christmas, the Jubilee and the Summer and we are confident this one will be just as successful.  Our World Cup stadium encompasses theatre, is a perfect forum for suppliers to showcase their World Cup products and is the perfect backdrop to what is the world’s greatest sport and ‘the beautiful game

The World Cup campaign will be all over our digital platforms, replicating the in-depot experience, along with gamification and category advice tools to help retailers maximise this key sales window.

Burchell concludes:

We’ve devoted a significant sum to prizes and promotions to help retailers enjoy even more profitable trading over the World Cup. We hope the campaign will encourage our retailers to make Bestway their destination of choice ahead of this World Cup to buy their products and by doing so, be rewarded – our whole aim is helping our customers optimise this opportunity for their businesses and their customers this World Cup”.

To view the full details of the campaign, please visit

Spoonfed cements a year of growth in the Education sector with preferred supplier awards from APUC and Holroyd Howe. #

Spoonfed are enjoying considerable growth in the Education Sector. In October,  the hard work put in by their ever increasing development team saw Spoonfed win a tender with APUC (the procurement centre of expertise) making them the preferred supplier for catering software for all of Scotland's universities and colleges.

This appointment cemented Spoonfed’s position as the leading catering software in this sector, giving them the opportunity to continue to add to the number of further education sites they already support across the UK and US. 

It also came on hard on the heels of another impressive win in the sector. Holroyd Howe (part of WSH group) named Spoonfed as their preferred supplier for their Independent School accounts. Holroyd Howe, work exclusively with independent schools throughout England, Scotland and Wales, creating a uniquely tailored service to meet the needs of each school. Already being used by Holroyd Howe’s parent company, Baxter Storey in further education sites and B&I accounts, Spoonfed are now seeing their solutions fitting well into the diverse requirements of a number of Independent schools.

Willie Biggart (EVP) commented

We were delighted to be successful in these tenders - with Holroyd Howe for instance, their desire to be innovative and flexible from school to school dovetailed so well with what we had been working towards providing.  Of course, winning the tender with APUC keeps us on the right trajectory - we are already supporting a number of Universities and Colleges in the UK and it’s great to have what we have to offer recognised in this way. It tops off a great year for Spoonfed across this exciting sector - these accounts bring their challenges of course, and we can’t rest on our laurels -  we are actively looking to add to the development team in the Glasgow office in order to match the aspirations of the catering managers in these accounts. However, we wanted to celebrate our success too and it’s fair to say sponsoring last month’s Food Service Cateys Education Award was one of the easier decisions I have had to make this year.”

Compass reaches 300 well milestone to help people access clean water #

Compass Group UK & Ireland, alongside it’s procurement business, Foodbuy, has supported the Drop4Drop charity to fund 300 clean drinking water projects through sales of Life Water products.
Having originally collaborated with Life Water and its charity, Drop4Drop in 2014, the partnership sees every Life Water product sold across the organisation go towards funding the installation of wells, alongside infrastructure for communities in developing countries. The charity supports accountable, effective and efficient provision of clean water, which transforms lives, creates opportunities and lays the foundations to a brighter future. Drop4Drop also commit to employing local labourers and heavily involving the community through training, maintenance and hygiene. This means the benefits to the community are far-reaching and long-term.
The landmark 300th well has now been opened and celebrated as part of the partnership, with the milestone dedicated to Compass’ Retail sector, for their support. The well is in Kanlur SC village, Tamil Nadu in India – which has a population of nearly 800 people. It is estimated that 322, 351 people now have access to clean drinking water thanks to the overall Compass partnership.
J.Bujjamma, community member in the village said: “The new water project in our village is a great support to all the members of our Kanlur SC village. We had been in great suffering by bringing the water from distant areas and also on our foreheads with great struggle. Now, the water is at our nearby streets and we are able to bring the water to our home without much difficulty, which we never thought would be possible.
Andy Jones, Managing Director, Compass Retail said: “This is a cause that is very close to my heart, having been fortunate enough to visit a project we helped fund several years ago. I was able to see and experience the difference clean water can make to a community and I am very proud that we continue this crucial partnership, that helps make a difference to so many lives.”
Simon Konecki, Life Water & Drop4Drop Founder, said: “We are so proud of our partnership with Compass Group UK & Ireland and Foodbuy. Reaching 300 clean drinking water projects is an absolutely incredible milestone, we are so grateful for Compass’ and Foodbuy’s ongoing support and the hundreds of thousands of lives changed over the years! We are excited to continue this journey together and to keep providing clean water to those who need it across the globe, thank you to Compass and Foodbuy for their dedication to ending the World Water Crisis.”

Sodexo Live! celebrates official launch of VIP lounge at M&S Bank Arena Liverpool #

Sodexo Live! has officially launched its Sodexo Live! Lounge at the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool this month. 

Never satisfied with the status quo, the company is focused on disrupting the live marketplace through the continued innovation of its services, outstanding food initiatives, and cutting-edge technology while leveraging the strength of the wonderful people Sodexo Live! works with. The creation and launch of the Sodexo Live! Lounge is just one example of a venue partnership that signifies the group’s ambitions for 2023. 

To mark the launch of the Lounge, senior business leaders, along with trade and local media from Merseyside, came together to celebrate the official opening. The night saw multi-award-winning band The Kaiser Chiefs perform for the guests and fans at the arena. 

Sodexo Live! has venue partnered with the ACC Liverpool team since 2008 and their relationship has evolved and strengthened over the years. Sodexo Live! prides itself on creating memorable experiences for every customer at the venues, from convention and exhibition attendees to guests attending gigs at the M&S Bank Arena. The launch of the VIP lounge demonstrates a significant commitment to this partnership and raises the bar even higher. 

Rebecca Kane Burton, CEO of Sodexo Live! UK&I said: 

Our partnership with ACC Liverpool has grown ever stronger over the past 14 years, and we are delighted to be able to celebrate this so visibly with the launch of the Sodexo Live! Lounge. We are looking forward to the future with fantastic times ahead with the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023 and a host of exciting artists coming to the venue.

"Our mission is to use the Lounge to make the incredible events at the Arena even more special for our guests, giving them an experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives.  

“The launch of the Sodexo Live! Lounge is just one of the many exciting initiatives we have planned, which plays into our strategy of engaging differently in the live marketplace

Ben Williams, commercial director of M&S Bank Arena parent company The ACC Liverpool Group, added: 

It’s been great to officially launch the Lounge and showcase what it offers guests. We have no doubt that the partnership between ACC Liverpool and Sodexo Live! will continue to be a great success and will make use of both our combined expertise as the region’s leading arena and Sodexo Live's world-class hospitality offer.” 

During the launch event, guests were treated to a grazing menu including honey-glazed chorizo, buttermilk chicken and mac ‘n’ cheese bites. They also enjoyed an acoustic music set by talented local musician Sam Cooke while sampling signature cocktails and other drinks with a distinctly local flavour. 

The Sodexo Live! Lounge has a maximum capacity of up to 110 guests and offers a menu curated for each event, along with a selection of premium drinks. The mezzanine bar has spectacular views of the Mersey waterfront, providing guests with luxurious surroundings to add a touch of glamour to their evening. Before and after arena performances, up-and-coming local music artists make guest appearances. 

The stylish bar also features stunning décor, including a light installation that takes inspiration from the ebbs and flows of the River Mersey. The walls feature portraits of musicians who have performed at the Arena, including Katy Perry, Beyonce and Paul McCartney by artist Peter Barber and the rear wall of the bar is illuminated in white neon with lyrics from the legendary Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. 

Sodexo Live! is a global leader in hospitality and live events, dedicated to making unforgettable experiences and enduring memories. In the UK, Sodexo Live! manages several top UK stadia and venues, including Fulham FC, Newcastle United, Royal Ascot, Bateaux London and Hampden Park. 

For more information on the Sodexo Live! Lounge click here. 

For more information on Sodexo Live! click here.

Unwrap more food to go sales this Christmas with Urban Eat's festive editions #

Leading UK sandwich brand, Urban Eat, is bringing the festive cheer this Christmas with three limited-edition seasonal SKUs, available in out of home and convenience from now until 30th  December 2022.

The tastebud-tantalising range will bring “season’s treatings” to consumers with two sumptuous sarnies; classic Turkey Feast and indulgent Brie & Cranberry, and a Turkey, Stuffing and Cranberry panini, with the latter designed to be enjoyed hot.
The Turkey Feast sandwich is a tasty combination of turkey breast and sage and onion stuffing in malted bread, while the panini offers three classic flavours of Christmas in each toasty bite. The Brie & Cranberry sandwich – creamy Brie, tart cranberry sauce and nutritious spinach in malted bread – will help food-to-go outlets and retailers tap into growing demand for seasonal vegetarian options.

The limited editions for Christmas 2022 will be supported by at-fixture POS, store posters and social media activity.

Abigail Nelson-Ehoff, Brand Manager, Urban Eat said: “Our Christmas sandwiches always prove a huge hit, and the 2022 range is set to carry on the tradition. We’ve designed a winning combo that will help food-to-go outlets meet a range of customer needs – a classic turkey Christmas Dinner favourite in both a sandwich and hot panini format, and an equally festive and tasty vegetarian option with delicious soft Brie and tart Cranberry sauce.

“As Brits settle into the new normal and people either return to their offices fulltime or flexi work, we’re seeing sales in food-to-go continuing to grow. We expect this to increase over the Christmas period as people treat themselves to festive lunches and snacks, and our Urban Eat seasonal range is the perfect choice to meet that demand. Stock up on our limited-edition range and see your customers’ joy as they unwrap a Brie & Cranberry, get proper stuffed with our Turkey Feast or warm up a winter lunch with our Turkey, Stuffing and Cranberry Panini

Operators can stock up on the Urban Eat Christmas range by contacting the Fresh Food For Now Company sales team on 0116 236 1640 or email Alternatively, submit a request via the Urban Eat website:

NFL at Wembley Stadium - a success for Freemans Event Partners #

Sunday 30th October saw the return of the NFL at Wembley Stadium, marking the 10th year of Gridiron in the heart of London and a major success story for Freemans Event Partners.
On the field, the Jacksonville Jaguars took on the Denver Broncos, with the Broncos stealing a 21-17 victory over the Jaguars, in their honorary home ground of Wembley Stadium.
But off the field Freemans Event Partners, Wembley Stadiums F&B delivery partner, provided an incredible NFL tailgating experience for 90,000 visiting fans working closely with Delaware North. 
Wembley’s East Fan Concourse was turned into a Tailgate Fanzone park for Jaguars fans, with the famous Jacksonville Roar cheerleading squad making a special guest appearance.  Tailgating is the ultimate pre-match party, and a uniquely American cultural experience. 
The team at Freemans Event Partners dressed the stadium’s vendor outlets with Jaguars branding, complete with flags and fascias. With a menu of American-inspired favourites, fans could enjoy loaded dogs, pulled pork, wings, tenders, tacos and more before the kick-off. 
Stephen Freeman, CEO, Freemans Event Partners, said “The NFL at Wembley is truly a sight to behold.  The American way of pre-sports rituals, the tailgating and the fanzones is something rarely seen here in the UK. It’s so unique, but it’s an amazing experience for everyone involved.  The Jacksonville Jaguars will be returning to Wembley in 2023 and again in 2025. We can’t wait to welcome a capacity crowd again.”

Sodexo shines a light on its stars at glittering awards ceremony #

Sodexo UK & Ireland welcomed 600 colleagues to a glittering awards ceremony at the ACC Liverpool last night to celebrate excellence at its annual Spirit of Sodexo Awards 2022 and tonight will be celebrating an amazing 4,320 years with 191 of its long service recipients. 

The Spirit of Sodexo Awards, the first in-person awards dinner since 2019, was held at the ACC Liverpool, with guests served a delicious three-course meal by the venue’s catering and hospitality team Sodexo Live! 

Guest host, Sue Perkins, was joined on stage by Sodexo’s Region CEO, Sean Haley and Sodexo ambassador, broadcaster and rugby world cup winner, Matt Dawson, to present the awards. Three special awards were handed out on the night these were:

Employee of the Year: John McAllister. John, store manager for Sodexo’s energy & resources business. John is responsible for the warehousing, stores and logistics for Sodexo’s offshore teams, he ensures everything the teams need offshore get to them and has a rapidly changing environment to contend with as transportation is reliant on the tides, weather, hauliers, vessels and helicopters.

Manager of the Year: Lorraine Thomas. Lorraine is deputy business director for Sodexo Health & Care at Queen's Hospital Romford, she joined the team in December 2020. The hospital was one of the busiest covid hospitals at the time. Lorraine, who joined from Sodexo’s corporate services business, has impacted on all areas of the business, she has greatly impressed the client and cemented Sodexo’s high employee engagement score at the hospital. 

Region CEO special award: Steve Jones, deputy security and car-parking manager at Queen's Hospital Romford and the security team at the hospital.  Over the last couple of years, Steve and the security team have ensured the health, safety and wellbeing of the staff and patients at one of the busiest covid hospitals. The Trust has commended their collaborative approach and ability to challenge when needed. 

Sean Haley, Region CEO, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “What an amazing night, and so great to be able to do this in person again. We had over 1,000 nominations for this year’s awards and the judges had a tough job choosing our winners. I am exceptionally proud of all our nominees, finalists and winners.

“At Sodexo we have three core values: team spirit, service spirit and spirit of progress – this is the essence of who we are. It is not just about what we do, it’s how we do it, and these awards enable us to recognise and celebrate our people and to say thank you for all they do, every day for our clients, our colleagues and for the communities in which we live and work

The 15 other Spirit of Sodexo award winners were:

Team of the year: Colchester Garrison, government
Lifetime achievement: Andy Bamford, energy & resources
Rising star: Jake Hayman, service operations
Positive impact: Sodexo Live! Blackburn Rovers team
Spirit of inclusion: Lynne Gilchrist, client retention team
Quality of life: Jean Emralino, The Good Care Group
Spirit of progress: Paul Hughes, brand & communications
Excellence in health and safety: Aiden Chambers, energy & resources
Excellence in food services: Lizzie Arber, Sodexo Live!
Excellence in FM: 1HQ team from corporate services
Excellence in Customer service: Samantha Holden. schools & universities
Excellence in Operational efficiency: UCL team, schools & universities
Nurturing talent; Lea Eastman-Thompson, schools & universities
Growth & retention: Matthew Gawthrop, government
Living our values: Julie Whitelock, schools & universities 

Sodexo’s annual Long Service Awards (10 Nov) was also held at the ACC Liverpool. 151 colleagues celebrating 20 years’ service, 31, 30 years, 8, 40 years and one colleague celebrating an amazing 50 years’ long service are set to enjoy a fun-filled day marking the occasion includes a special lunch followed by an activity of their choice at either the Tate Liverpool, Beatles Story tour, Maritime Museum or Junkyard Golf, followed by dinner and evening entertainment at the ACC Liverpool. 

Sean added: “We are humbled to have so many colleagues who have chosen to stay with us for so many years. Our annual long service awards event gives us the chance to say thank you for their hard work, loyalty and commitment. 

"This year we are celebrating colleagues who have been with us 20, 30 and 40 years and we even have a colleague celebrating an amazing 50 years’ service. Our teams work every day to deliver excellent services for our clients and are the heart of our business. Each has their own Sodexo story to tell and I look forward every year to meeting with them and hearing these stories

Operators keeping total food menu inflation low through menu management #

Total food menu inflation from June to September was +0.9%, well below CPI. Chain and pub and bar restaurants are focusing menu inflation on new dishes, with new dish inflation higher than same-line dish inflation across both channels.

These market developments have been captured by the latest Menu Tracker Report by Lumina Intelligence. The research has also registered coffee & sandwich and restaurant inflation as the highest at +3.3% and +2.4%, respectively.
New starters, sides and desserts priced higher than existing dishes
Menus overall have experienced an increase from June to September 2022, with a total number of 137 items on average by the end of this period, +1.8% more than what was observed in June 2022.

Sides, starters and desserts that were new in September 2022 are +23%, +14% and +8%, respectively more expensive than the average dish.
Operators are introducing more sharing dishes across discretionary courses including starter and dessert dishes, to encourage spend as consumers cut back on non-core dishes.

Sharing items have increased in share of starter, main and dessert from June to September 2022, accounting for 7% of total restaurant menus, increasing to 14% of desserts.

There is scope for operators to increase the price of sharing starter, side, and dessert items, with these dishes currently just +47%, +39% and +13%more expensive than non-sharing dishes.
Same-line dish price inflation is highest for starters, sides, and snacks
Starters, sides, and snacks registered +1.7% from June to September, meaning that operators have increased the prices of existing dishes, with starters ranking the highest surge, most at +2.8%. 

In this way, operators are finding a way to pass on unavoidable cost increases, though not at the rate of inflation, but by managing menus by adding/removing dishes instead.   
So far, operators have been able to avoid increasing food and drink price points in-line with CPI and food inflation.  Instead managing menus through changes in proteins used, the types of dishes offered, and clever NPD has enabled operators to avoid alarming price rises,” commented Katherine Prowse, Senior Insight Manager at Lumina. 

Compass apprentice wins at Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards #

Compass Group UK & I is celebrating after talented Chef, Dylan Patel won the Apprentice of the Year 2022 at the Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards in the Retail, Hospitality and Tourism category.

The awards aim to showcase the range of talent and hard work within multicultural communities that is made possible with the contribution and support of employers and learning providers.

Dylan is currently in the role of Chef De Partie, for Restaurant Associates based at Compass’ head office in Chertsey, whilst working towards a Level 3 qualification with Westminster Kingsway College.

Dylan said: “I am so humbled and proud to being named the winner of this award. Taking on this apprenticeship has allowed me to follow my passion, balancing learning with practical work whilst getting paid. I love being part of the team here and learning from others around me. There is always something new to uncover and that’s what I enjoy most about being a chef and I hope to build my knowledge further, as I continue this exciting journey.”

Bally Purewal, Operations Director for Compass’ 14Forty, was also Highly Commended in the same category. He is working towards a Level 7 Senior Leadership Apprenticeship, in partnership with Aston University. He took on this opportunity having been with Compass for 24 years, to further develop his skills.

Bally commented: “I want to develop my skills, knowledge and behaviours to be able to obtain a senior leadership role and this apprenticeship is supporting my development in the right direction. One of the things I love most about the course, is the empowerment to have conversations through the networking opportunities, to express myself and draw on other people’s experiences.”

Jonathan Foot, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers at Compass Group UK & Ireland, commented: “This is a wonderful achievement and I am very proud of Dylan and Bally for their phenomenal efforts as they progress in their careers. They are great role models for others that want to take on an apprenticeship, showing the breadth of qualifications that can be achieved. Congratulations to them both for their success at the Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards.”

Levy UK announces move to Real Living Wage for all employees #

Levy UK, the UK’s leading sports and leisure business, is marking Real Living Wage week with the announcement that it will be paying all its UK employees – including variable hours workers – the Real Living Wage or above from 1 January 2023.
Levy employs over a thousand full-time workers and has a 14,500 strong variable hour workforce to support their clients from sports stadia, arenas and conference centres across the country. Levy has worked closely with clients to move to this positive position, many of which are also RLW employers, such as Chelsea Football Club and Edgbaston.
The Real Living Wage Foundation announced in September that the new Living Wages rates would increase by 10.1% rise to the UK rate and an 8.1% rise to reflect current inflation. The new Real Living Wage rate is £10.90, and the London Living Wage rate will rise to £11.95.
Levy is part of food services giant Compass Group UK & Ireland, which became a Real Living Wage accredited service provider in November 2022. Over the past two years Compass has worked with over 300 clients to move to RLW. In 2022, this resulted in over 60% of employees being paid RLW and above. Compass Group UK & Ireland announced it was paying the new Real Living Wage uplift to those employees it directly employs from 1 November. The business is currently supporting clients to move to the new rates over the coming months.
Jon Davies, Managing Director, Levy UK said: “Our people are the lifeblood of our business, so paying a fair wage, especially in light of the cost-of-living crisis, is absolutely the right thing to do. We have been working in partnership with our clients over the past two years to move to the position of paying 100% of our workers in the UK the Real Living Wage. We value and care for our people and know that paying the Real Living Wage can make a big difference, allowing them to enjoy a more balanced life.”
Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: "As the cost of living continues to rise, it's fantastic to see Levy's leadership and hard-work over the past two years in moving to pay all employees a real Living Wage. The benefits the Living Wage brings to workers and business alike and has never been more important.”
Earlier this year, Compass Group announced its Social Promise, where through its “Mission to a Million” campaign it is looking to support a million people with opportunities through from both within and outside the organisation, by 2030. It aims to enhance opportunities and change lives through job creation, education, training, community and charitable engagement.  A key part of this activity is its commitment to the Real Living Wage.

Reynolds announces investment partnership with Select Butchery #

Reynolds, the UK’s leading independent fresh fruit and vegetable supplier, has joined forces with Select Butchery, a prominent meat and poultry supplier to the catering industry.

The new arrangement will see Reynolds strengthen their meat capabilities, with the catering butchery expertise of James George and the Select Butchery team. Reynolds’ customers can now enjoy traditional and rare-breed beef, reared with care to give consistently satisfying flavour, as well as meadow-grown lamb, pork that is 100% British outdoor bred and free-range poultry, all raised to ultimately deliver the very best flavour and texture. The businesses will continue to operate from their two sites in Waltham Cross and Hainault, less than 11 miles apart.

Tony Reynolds, Founder and Managing Director of Reynolds, said, ‘Both Reynolds and Select Butchery share similar family values and take enormous pride in their product. I’ve no doubt that we have a great future together. This strategic partnership will enable Reynolds to offer a wider variety of bespoke, freshly cut meats to clients and I would like to welcome the team at Select to the Reynolds’ family.’ Tony goes on to say, ‘This new partnership reinforces Reynolds’ ambition of becoming ‘The UK’s go-to-solution for all types of fresh food, most admired for our great people, strategic partnerships and unrivalled quality and service. Combining with our other speciality businesses, Shoal for fish, Davin Foods for prepared foods, Solstice for speciality produce and Carnivore for added-value meat products, we are even closer to offering customers all the benefits of a speciality “Food Town” on one single delivery’.

James George, Founder and Managing Director of Select Butchery adds ‘Synergies between the two companies will undoubtably offer huge benefits for everyone concerned. For Select, accessing Reynolds’ distribution network and operational capabilities means we will become a nationally available brand overnight. I am also delighted to announce that we will be developing a new range of premium, sustainable and ethical meat products under the Turner & George brand, which will shortly be available to the foodservice market for the first time”.

Five university teams win funding from Sodexo to tackle food insecurity #

A Dragon's Den-style competition involving 85 students from 26 universities throughout the UK was held by the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation in partnership with social enterprise and educational charity Enactus UK. 

Three of the teams included students from Sodexo client universities; Coventry, Northumbria, and University College London (UCL). 

For the fourth time, Stop Hunger and Enactus partnered on its 2022 Incubator Competition. The competition, which was held in October, aimed to encourage innovation and entrepreneurial actions for students that creates a better world by empowering women and fighting food security in the UK and Ireland. 

To kickstart the competition, each team was invited to a virtual learning session joined by Stop Hunger charity partner, FareShare. The session was designed to help the student’s innovative design process and maximise their creativity to yield the biggest social impact. 15 Sodexo colleagues volunteered their time and expertise to serve as the students' mentors during the session. 

In the end, five Enactus student teams from universities including Northumbria, Sheffield, Southampton, York and the London School of Economics and Political Science were selected to participate in an entrepreneurial-style pitch event at Sodexo's UK head office. The event saw each of the five teams present to a select panel of judges, including the Stop Hunger Foundation’s trustees, to secure funding for their project. 

The students were expected to demonstrate how their project supports Stop Hunger's mission, what impact it would have to beneficiaries, and how they plan to progress moving forwards. The event’s judges and attendees also had an opportunity to offer advice to any challenges facing the projects. 

Laura Brimacombe, Business Development Director for Schools & Universities and the competition’s organiser, commented: 

To say I was impressed by the Enactus university team entries is an understatement! The students really spent time understanding their target beneficiary groups’ needs and exploring interventions which give people a hand-up rather than a hand-out. It’s incredibly refreshing to see, and they couldn’t have got there without the coaching of the Sodexo volunteers.” 

The event concluded with all five projects receiving some funding from Stop Hunger from a pot of £3,750. The projects all had a lot of potential for addressing food insecurity and promoting women's empowerment. 

Gareth John, Chair of Stop Hunger for the UK and Ireland and European Director of Legal, was a judge at the pitch event and added: 

Each of the final teams showed true entrepreneurial spirit by finding ways to reduce their impact on the environment, as well as tackle food insecurity and the wider barriers to escaping poverty. The Stop Hunger trustees, and I are very much looking forward to seeing how the funding and mentoring we’ve invested enables the student’s projects to make a positive difference.” 

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

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

The Enactus programme uses experiential learning to support and develop the next generation of responsible leaders through the development of socially minded enterprise opportunities. Our mission alongside our partners is to be recognised as a leader in developing a national network of sustainability minded young leaders who will go on to have a head for business and a heart for the world."  

Stop Hunger will continue to guide each of the projects over the coming months and will check in to see how things are going. The goal is to scale up the programmes and have a beneficial effect on local communities across the UK. Sodexo volunteers will continue to mentor the university students in the future. 

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

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

TWC NEWS STATEMENT: Foodservice Wholesalers and Buying Group Execs join forces and sign up to the MAG charity bike ride in 2023 #

The annual wholesale sector charity bike ride for the Manchester based landmine clearance charity, MAG (Mines Advisory Group), has seen a raft of senior foodservice wholesale executives sign up for the 2023 cycle challenge.
Organised by Tom Fender, TWC’s Development Director and Neil Turton, NED at Alliance Retail and Ty Nant Water, the ride will see the group cycle from Chiang Rai in northern Thailand to Luang Prabang in Laos in late March 2023.
First to sign up was Andrew Selley, CEO of Bidfood, followed quickly by other senior executives from the world of foodservice wholesaling putting their names down to cycle over 400 kms in South East Asia next Spring, including:
Jess Douglas (HR & Marketing Director, Confex) and Kirsty Winkel (Business Development Manager, Confex) 
Gary Mullineux (MD of Caterforce)
Steve Whitwam (Commercial Director at Harvest Fine Foods
Martin Ward (CEO, Country Range Group)
Cathal Geoghegan (MD Henderson Foodservice) 
Co-Organiser Tom Fender said:
This will be our 7th international ride and we hope to get close to the £1m raised in total for MAG, across all these rides, in 2023.  It’s fantastic that the wholesale sector continues to support these life affirming (often life changing!) rides - to support the lifesaving work MAG does repairing communities after war and conflict.
“It’s heart-breaking that 19 people are killed or seriously injured by landmines every day and half of all casualties are children.  MAG works around the world and is setting up a programme right now in the Ukraine where over 25% of land will need to be cleared of landmines and other explosive remnants of war
Co-Organiser Neil Turton added:
We have a fantastic group of cyclists getting excited by the ride.  There are only five places left and there is still time for people to sign up. 
“Whether you are working for a wholesaler or a supplier - who’d not want to spend a week in the saddle in some of the most amazing countryside on this planet raising money for a UK based, Nobel Peace Prize winning charity which does incredible humanitarian work in war torn countries around the world?
If you would like to sponsor the team taking on this incredible challenge visit