Members’ News

November 2022

Bestway Foundation wins Asian Business Charitable Foundation of the Year Award 2022 #

Further to its 2022 Pakistan Fund Raising Appeal, which has to date has raised more than $2.5million to help the victims of the terrible flooding in Pakistan, The Bestway Group with The Bestway Foundation has been awarded the coveted Charitable Foundation of the Year Award 2022 at this year’s Asian Business Awards (announced 23.11.22).

Since the Bestway Foundation was established in 1987 by Sir Anwar Pervez as the charitable arm of the Bestway Group, more than $46million has been donated to worthy causes.   
As part of the initial launch to its Pakistan Fundraising Appeal 2022, the last few weeks have seen The Bestway Foundation bringing aid and relief to the victims of the unprecedented flooding to hit Pakistan – a humanitarian disaster and the worst crisis that the country has faced in living memory that has displaced more than 33 million Pakistanis from their homes.
The floods had left one in seven people living without food and shelter and a third of the country is underwater.  Disease had become rife, and the humanitarian crisis is set to get worse as the country looks to rebuild infrastructure and livelihoods that had been destroyed.   
Under the umbrella of Bestway Foundation’s Hum Sahara Programme 13,000 ration bags comprising of dry food items; blankets; mosquito nets and water filtration units have been distributed in the worst affected areas of Southern Punjab, Baluchistan, and Sindh; with a further 7,000 ration bags being distributed by 20th December 2022.  
Thus, fulfilling Lord Choudrey’s commitment of provide usable and clean water for more than 100,000 individuals and providing food and medical supplies to 20,000 families made at the September fundraiser.  
In respect of building homes and shelters for 5,000 families the process has started – the temporary shelters and tents are being distributed with building materials being ordered so that reconstruction of homes can begin in earnest in the coming weeks.
This month  saw The Bestway Foundation join hands with Virgin Atlantic to fly out more than 20 tonnes of vital medicines, donated by Well Pharmacy, to Pakistan.  
Bestway Group’s Chief Financial Officer and Trustee of The Bestway Foundation, The Honourable Haider Choudrey, says:
We are very honoured to win this award as we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Pakistan through this terrible crisis. 

“It’s not just about the short-term relief, we are at the forefront of providing sustainable support to help Pakistan rebuild its infrastructure and livelihoods which have all been destroyed"

Haider Choudrey concludes:
Our founder Sir Anwar Pervez deeply cares about the plight of the people of Pakistan and will do whatever we can to help.
“Additionally, under the stewardship of Lord Choudrey we are proud of the incredible work that The Bestway Group undertakes and the impact it has had on literally thousands of people since its inception.
We truly believe that The Bestway Foundation is unique in its work, the extent and reach of its focus and commitment to social responsibility and are very proud to have been placed at the top of the Asian’ philanthropic community with judges citing the long-lasting and far-reaching impacts that it continues to achieve


The total food and drink market across eating in and out is forecast to finish this year at +6.6% vs 2021, with further growth for 2023 of +5%, according to new forecasts from IGD’s Eating In Vs. Eating Out report. However, when inflationary price increases are stripped out, the picture is very different – citing a -2% decline this year vs 2021. 

Highlights from the report include:
* This year eating in (retail) will account for 71% of the market with eating out (foodservice) at 29%
* This is a recovery for eating out from the 21% share in 2020 but still some way below its pre-pandemic share of 37%
* Retail channels will start to steal share of stomach from foodservice in 2023
* However, retail wins from foodservice will be mostly offset by down-trading by shoppers – cheaper products, buying less and switching to own label
* Growth will be driven by inflation. Real market value is set to decline in 2022 vs 2021.

Nicola Knight, Insight Manager and Eating Out sector expert at IGD, said: “In 2020 lockdowns forced a strong switch from eating out to eating in, with 2021 showing a gradual return as venues opened and consumer confidence and appetite for going out increased. However, from Q4 2022 and into 2023 there will be a halt to this trend as retail channels start to steal share of stomach from foodservice, reflecting the challenging economic landscape.”

Consumers are already trading down in retail
Retail has already been experiencing the impact of the increased cost of living on shoppers.

In real terms, the UK retail market for food and drink will shrink in 2022 and fall slightly in 2023. Consumers are expected to trade down to cheaper products and switch channels to control their spending.

Nicola Knight says: “Retailers are implementing a variety of initiatives to win and retain shoppers. These are mainly focused on promoting value and loyalty schemes. This looks set to continue into 2023 as shoppers remain very price sensitive.”

A challenging year ahead for eating out
The UK’s eating out market has had a buoyant first half of the year, with 2022 being the first year since the pandemic that operators across all sectors were fully open.
However, even consumers in higher income groups are starting to make changes to spending as fears over increasing energy bills and mortgage repayments start to impact behaviour.
Nicola Knight concludes: “How the year finishes will depend on how consumers celebrate over the festive season.  Next year the market is likely to see more spend switch to retail and recovery stall in many sectors.”

A free preview of the report can be downloaded here:

Go Green or Brits Go Home - 17M Brits more likely to choose environmentally friendly bars and restaurants #

New research by Foodprint from Nutritics, a leading food software (SaaS) company, proves that consumers want more guidance and information from hospitality brands to make more environmentally friendly menu choices.

Results from Foodprint from Nutritics’ Sustainability Sentiment Index show that British consumers actively want to make more sustainable choices when eating or drinking out and want more transparency from restaurants, pubs and bars on its menus to demonstrate the effects their choices have on the environment. The survey, which gauged the attitudes of 2,000 nationally representative respondents across the UK, assessed consumer attitudes and views relating to eating and drinking out.

Key findings of the report include:

Nearly two thirds (64%) of people surveyed think eating and drinking out venues/brands could do more to reduce their environmental impact
Almost half (45%) say that a venue’s commitment to sustainability is an important part of deciding where to go and spend money
Over a quarter (27%) of consumers would like to know the carbon footprint of a meal when eating out
Only one-third (35%) feel that they currently have the right information to make sustainable food choices when eating or drinking out

Commenting on the findings, Stephen Nolan, CEO of Foodprint from Nutritics, said:

It’s clear that there is strong public demand for hospitality venues and brands to be more transparent with their sustainability credentials and to demonstrate these efforts openly to consumers.

We know that many hospitality and food service operators are looking for ways to achieve Net-Zero, and we encourage them to implement strategies that will not only benefit the planet in the long-run, but also capitalise on consumer desire for understanding the environmental impact of their menu choices.

“It’s evident that a significant – and increasing - numbers of consumers are trying to make better choices to make the planet a greener place. Operators are in a powerful position to use their resources, including technology, not only accelerate their own journey to net zero but also in doing so to drive increased footfall from environmentally savvy diners

Consumers care about the impact going/eating out has on the environment and want to make more sustainable choices when eating out

Consumers value venues that care about their commitment to sustainability, with 57% saying it’s important to them that venues and brands make efforts to reduce their environmental impact.

Consumers would like venues to provide them with a variety of information to help them make more sustainable choices when eating out. For example, 40% of those surveyed would like to know whether the food has been locally sourced or not, 27% want to know the carbon footprint of the meal and 26% would like to know the how much restaurants contribute to food waste. Therefore, hospitality and food-service operators need to ensure they are communicating this information across menus and online, providing the credible information that some consumers require to make decisions that match their sustainability needs, and that may help to educate others to make more environmentally-conscious decisions.  

Consumers don’t believe hospitality venues are doing enough to reduce their environmental impact

A majority of UK hospitality businesses have made sustainability a higher priority in 2022, but are they doing as much as they think?

Research confirms that nearly two thirds (64%) of those surveyed think eating and drinking out venues or brands could be doing more to reduce their environmental impact, with almost a fifth (18%) saying they could do significantly more. As such, sustainability will be seen as the expectation, not the exception. The hospitality sector is under pressure from investors and staff to have a clear, executable and reportable strategy for achieving Net Zero and reducing water usage, and clearly, consumers are demanding the same.

Consumers don’t feel they have access to the right information and lack direction to make such decisions

Research shows that making environmentally-conscious food choices when eating or drinking out is genuinely important to nearly half of the population (44%). However, a substantial number of consumers feel they are ill-equipped to make those decisions, with over a third (35%) of those surveyed saying they do not have the right information to make sustainable food choices when eating or drinking out. This means that over 18 million diners in the UK could be making better environmental menu choices if they had the correct information.  

This demonstrates a clear demand for information about the environmental impact of hospitality offerings, and research shows that this would be welcomed by consumers: people are more likely (42%) than not (38%) to want to know the environmental impact of food and drink when eating and drinking out.

Operators should therefore see this as a key tool to drive footfall and recognise the commercial value of clearly documented environmental impact information to stand out in a competitive market.

Displaying sustainable credentials is an important ‘spend’ decision-making factor for consumers 

The public holds venues and brands to a high standard when it comes to communicating their environmental impact and commitment to sustainability; in fact, venues and brands that are not being transparent about this could potentially be putting their business’ success at risk. This is demonstrated in the fact that a third (33%) of Brits surveyed are more likely to eat or drink at a venue or brand which is transparent about its environmental impact or commitment to sustainability, over one which is not - the equivalent of over 17 million Brits.

With the rising cost-of-living and energy crisis, Operators are fighting ever harder to attract share of shrinking disposable spend. Tapping into this unmet need may be a smart weapon in this battle, and with 1 in 8 (12%) saying a venue’s commitment to sustainability is a very important factor when choosing where to eat or drink, this is certainly something for venues to take note of in a potentially more competitive landscape.

Sodexo extends contract with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for two years #

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has extended its soft FM services contract with Sodexo for a further two years. 

The contract, which has a value of £5 million a year, will see Sodexo’s 350 colleagues continue to deliver catering, cleaning, security, waste services and grounds maintenance services for the full SFRS estate ensuring a consistent level of service across Scotland. 

The 420 SFRS locations include wholetime and on call fire stations, offices and support locations. 

A key element of Sodexo’s social value strategy focuses on its commitment to enhancing the capabilities and capacity of its small, medium enterprises (SME) and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) network and suppliers. This group currently represents over half Sodexo’s spend delivering the soft FM services contract for the SFRS. 

Iain Morris, Acting Director of Asset Management at Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “It is a pleasure to announce that we are extending the current contract with Sodexo for a further two years.  The partnering approach between Sodexo and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has been exceptional and is being described by us as a high performing exemplar for all other contractors to follow. 

“The decision to extend the contract was relatively easy for SFRS to undertake as a direct result of the excellent services that the Sodexo teams have delivered across the entire SFRS estate in Scotland over the last four years. We are looking forward to another two years of working in partnership with Sodexo

Paul Anstey, CEO Government, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “We are delighted that our colleagues will continue to deliver services for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service which provides such an important service, helping to ensure the safety of local communities across Scotland.

Elior UK’s Justin Johnson named as HR Director of the Year at Personnel Today Awards 2022 #

Justin Johnson, HR Director of Elior UK, a leading UK caterer employing over 10,000 colleagues across 1,200 sites, was named HR Director of the Year at the Personnel Today Awards 2022.

Justin joined Elior UK in 2005 as HR Manager, progressing to Head of HR Operations and People Services before being promoted to HR Director in 2018.  He devised a HR strategy to support Elior’s Business plan reinforced by activities to drive output and engagement.  Justin created a HR Service desk to improve the speed of service for the business and implemented a Business Partnering model supported by Business Partner consultancy training to enhance capability in this area.

Other significant achievements include launching an engagement survey for all 10,000 plus colleagues, creating a network of mental health first aiders, and introducing ‘Celebrate Equality’ champions to focus across all aspects of equality, diversity and inclusion. He also created a ‘You Made a Difference’ scheme for colleague recognition. During the pandemic, Justin prioritised communication, engagement and wellbeing and during this difficult time, Elior UK’s engagement survey revealed that happiness of colleagues increased from 69% to 77% and overall enjoyment at work increased from 85% to 90%. Following the pandemic, Justin has pivoted the focus to the challenges of retention and resourcing and has set up a coaching programme to help create a coaching environment, improve performance and drive cultural change.

Catherine Roe, CEO of Elior UK, said: “This is a wonderful achievement and reflects the success that Justin has accomplished in developing and driving a winning HR strategy which has improved colleague engagement, labour productivity and resourcing.”

Commenting on this award, Justin Johnson said: “I am thrilled to have received this recognition – the last couple of years have not been easy for the hospitality industry and it has been so rewarding to develop a strategy that enhances the service that HR can provide for the business but also improves the lives of our colleagues at work.”

The Personnel Today Awards were held on 15th November 2022 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London and celebrate the very best achievements and innovations in HR and Learning & Development.

Vital Aid leaves UK for Pakistan Virgin Atlantic joins hands with Bestway Group to deliver medicines to the victims of humanitarian crisis #

Over 20 tonnes of vital medicines, has left the UK heading for Pakistan where it will be distributed to victims of the recent flooding disaster and resulting humanitarian disaster.

The medicines, donated by Bestway Group is being flown to Islamabad by Virgin Atlantic Cargo who is transporting the medication. 

The medicines will be landing on the ground tomorrow (24.11.22), to help the 3.2million people who have lost their homes and livelihoods and been displaced by the flooding which left more than a third of the country under water, and damaged more than 4million acres of crops.  Ongoing heavy rains are continuing to complicate rescue and recovery efforts and disease has been widespread as the humanitarian disaster increases.

Bestway Group is one of the largest privately owned businesses in the UK and the leading overseas investor in Pakistan. Haider Choudrey, Chief Financial Officer of Bestway Group, says:

Our teams are on the ground in Pakistan and are seeing first-hand how desperately these medicines are needed to help combat disease that has taken hold where fresh water supplies have been destroyed and families have lost their homes along with everything they own. 

“We would like to thank the team at Virgin Atlantic Cargo who has helped us make this happen and are transporting what is a sizeable cargo of medicines out to where it is needed the mos

Virgin Atlantic Cargo is one of the leading players in the global cargo industry and played a vital role in the airline’s survival following the Covid-19 pandemic, keeping global supply chains running and transporting essential goods around the world. On 21st March 2020, the first ever cargo only flight in Virgin Atlantic’s history took to the skies and over the next 12 months, the airline’s cargo business went from strength to strength operating over 5,000 cargo-only sectors, launching 12 new routes as well as carrying over 8.5 million kilos of PPE and essential equipment for the NHS.

Now, the airline’s essential assistance will facilitate the delivery of the much-needed aid to the most vulnerable with the onset of the winter season in Pakistan.

Virgin Atlantic dedicated special climate control vehicles for the collection and delivery of the medicines to its cargo handling facility at London Heathrow.
Phil Wardlaw, Managing Director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo says:

We are deeply saddened by the humanitarian disaster that has unfolded in Pakistan following the recent flooding.

“We are so grateful to have been able to partner with The Bestway Foundation and Well Pharmacy to ensure these important medicines reach those in need and will continue to use our business as a force for good in these devastating times

Ben Crump, Head of Cargo Operations at Virgin Atlantic Cargo, added:  

We couldn’t be more thankful to be able to support in delivering these vital medicines to the victims of the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan and would like to take the opportunity to thank the Bestway Group for their donation.”

Bestway Group continues the efforts of its Pakistan Flood Relief Appeal, for which it has raised over $2.5 million. Through its charitable arm, Bestway Foundation, it is overseeing the distribution of ration bags, blankets, mosquito nets and water filtration units to over 20,000 families in the worst affected areas of southern Pakistan provinces of Baluchistan and Sindh.

The Bestway Foundation has donated more than $46million to notable causes since its formation in 1987.  It operates in the UK and in Pakistan and is focused predominantly in the areas of education and healthcare as having the great impact on social mobility and advancement. 

jellybean Scoops Gold at B2B ‘Oscars’ #

Leading food and drink agency jellybean has followed up its summer awards success by scooping a coveted Gold B2B Marketing award.
The agency collected the Best Use of Insight gong in person at a glittering ceremony held last week, for the You Don’t Know Philly campaign on behalf of Philadelphia Professional. The same campaign – grounded in strong insight with stand-out creative execution and compelling results – also won ‘Best B2B Campaign’ at July’s Alliance of Independent Agencies Wing Awards, making it a sensational double for agency and client.
MD Susan Wickes, who accepted the award, said: “The remit of the You Don’t Know Philly campaign was to change the way chefs think about Philadelphia. Proprietary insight with working chefs helped sharpen our thinking, giving us a clear direction to take, resulting in its now double-award-winning status. Thank you to the fantastic judges who really saw this campaign for what it is – bold, fun, highly effective at engaging chefs and of course built – as all good campaigns should be – on a bedrock of solid insight.”
To find out more about jellybean’s award-winning campaign click here: and to start a conversation about how jellybean can use 
insight to bring your brand to life, email or call 01372 227950 today.

Spoonfed in the mix more than ever post-Covid #

Glasgow based hospitality software company continues to add to their Development Team as their strategic shift mid-pandemic pays off.

The multivarious fallouts from Covid will no doubt be the focus of many books, lectures and PhD studies in the years to come.  Were the reactions to the pandemic too restrictive, too slow, quite cruel for some, and just plain ridiculous at times?
And further studies will be in the differing outcomes for businesses. Who were the winners in the cultural shifts and change of habits? The developers of ‘Zoom’ are obvious contenders - online meetings are now standard, ‘You’re on mute’ having become an accepted form of greeting in the business world.

Back in 2020, as the effects of the pandemic were still very much being felt, Spoonfed had a decision to make. A global leader in the catering sector, their software was already being used extensively across the UK and US by contract and independent caterers who were delivering food to meetings and events in Business & Industry, Healthcare, and Education settings… and then Covid came and there were no meetings of anyone, anywhere…at all!! 

Spoonfed founders Willie Biggart and Murray McNicol had already made the tough decision of placing staff on furlough…however, they then made the bolder shift in strategy of bringing  back the development team early from furlough and adding to their number.

Two and half years later they are still adding to that team (four added to the Glasgow office alone in the last 12 month) and are looking to add more.  What happened?
Willie Biggart (EVP) commented: “We took the view that our software needed to react to what was happening in the catering world and be ready for the other side of the pandemic. Mothballing everything had been suggested but we weren't prepared to just ‘wait and see’. The impact of the restrictions to caterers was brutal and first of all we wanted to support these caterers with solutions to help them survive. We did that with a number of additional features and business use cases.

And of course, we recognised that the catering landscape was going to have new challenges. It was key that our development team produced a range of solutions which took seriously the changed circumstances - for instance, they focussed on tools that allowed caterers to be more flexible in order to take up more opportunities, deal with their customer base (who had  evolved into the ‘hybrid’ workforce), and cope with smaller teams  - these were, and continue to be, issues that caterers are working through.

That bold decision, made two months into the pandemic, has been vindicated. The extended Development Team can take much of the plaudits as during the summer of 2022 Spoonfed saw 50+ implementations in 8 weeks.  Caterers were welcoming back (gradually) the workforce and were looking for the tools to make this welcome a warm one.

And the future looks bright for Spoonfed - being bought by 365 Retail Markets (the global leader in unattended retail technology) in late 2021, they can now grow further and faster as part of an incredibly comprehensive solution for caterers.

Lexington Catering partners with acclaimed independent food platform Sessions #

Lexington Catering is excited to announce that it has signed a partnership agreement with Sessions, who collaborate with influential chefs to deliver brands that encompass a diverse range of flavours, cooking techniques and international cuisines. 

This partnership will provide Lexington’s clients with access to a stable of exciting, independent food brands led by founders who are passionate about quality and all aspects of their self-created concepts. The brands include a variety of popular and original food choices ranging from sustainably sourced burgers, homemade bao buns, and bold Korean dishes to Mediterranean fusion and robata grilled BBQ food.  

Matt Wood, Managing Director of Lexington Catering, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Sessions who have a truly dynamic portfolio of brands, aligning with our strategy to offer our clients the latest and best in authentic street food from around the world.

“Sessions provides access to the most innovative, delicious brands and we are delighted to provide our clients and customers with these truly authentic street food concepts

Catherine Ainsley from Sessions said: “We’re all about turning the spotlight on the most talented chefs in the industry right now and we’re thrilled to have a new channel to showcase them. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to partner with Lexington Catering who share our enthusiasm to support market leading SMEs. It enables our brands to reach a wider audience and their clients and customers to access some outstanding food concepts.”

Their eponymously named showcase venue, Sessions, brings the most exciting brands in their portfolio to Islington for limited-time residencies. Their brands are also available at their seafront venue, Shelter Hall, which is Brighton’s first and only food hall. Opening in a Victorian seafront building in 2020, Shelter Hall was named as one of the 25 best places to eat in Brighton by Time Out and received a rave review in the Guardian in 2022.

Sodexo takeovers Aurora Foxes to help students get ready for work in the hospitality industry #

A Sodexo takeover of Aurora Foxes, a training hotel and catering college for young people with learning disabilities, took place last month to help develop students’ knowledge and skills and prepare them for work in the hospitality industry. 

Over the course of the two-day takeover, Sodexo offered interactive learning experiences, such as participating in a practical baking session to create cakes that could be decorated and served as part of an afternoon tea service. The winners of the baking session won an afternoon tea cruise at Sodexo Live! venue, Bateaux London. 

The practical sessions helped to teach the students valuable skills such as identifying workplace hazards, differentiating between recycling, reusing, and reducing, and how to help protect the environment by reducing waste. The students also learned how to identify healthy food options based on their calories and sugar content. 

With a maximum of five students per session, the two-day programme had 30 one-hour sessions.12 Sodexo employees, including chefs from Sodexo Live! and the relevant experts from Sodexo's government business, took part in the various sessions, ensuring that students received plenty of assistance and instruction from the professionals. 

Following the two-day takeover, Sodexo will continue to work with Aurora Foxes by supporting them with mock interview sessions, assistance with CV writing, and Q&A sessions about working for Sodexo. 

Mike Taylor, Learning and Development Manager at Sodexo Government, said: “We are delighted with how the takeover went. Working with the amazing young adults during their two days at Aurora Foxes was a highlight for the Sodexo team. We hope the sessions were enjoyable for the students and help to launch their careers in the hospitality sector.”

Emma Cobley MBE, Aurora Foxes Principal, added: "The Aurora Foxes takeover was a huge success. The students seemed to really enjoy it, and we hope that the experience will help them to apply the skills they learned to the hospitality industry, leading to sustainable employment when they leave. We look forward to collaborating with Sodexo again." 

Sodexo has worked with Aurora Foxes for over seven years and through the charity, Springboard. The organisations have supported each other at charitable events, and students from Aurora Foxes have gained employment and work experience at Sodexo client sites. 

In September 2021, Sodexo had its Leader status in the UK Government's Disability Confident scheme re-accredited for a further three years. The organisation first achieved Leader status in June 2018. 

The accreditation is an external validation of Sodexo’s commitment to promoting the recruitment, engagement and development of people with disabilities.

Aramark UK Launches Food and Beverage Services at Alton Towers & Warwick Castle #

Aramark UK has announced the latest phase in its partnership with Merlin Entertainments. Aramark’s high-quality food and beverage offering has been rolled out across Alton Towers Resort and Warwick Castle and sees 450 staff employed by Aramark across the two locations.    

In January 2022, Merlin Entertainments announced a multiyear contract with Aramark in five locations in the UK – initially Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Thorpe Park Resort, LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort and now the addition of Alton Towers Resort and Warwick Castle.    

Both Alton Towers Resort and Warwick castle have their own unique portfolio of food and beverage offerings. Aramark provides food and beverage programmes that offer family and guest favourites, fresh concepts and fun themes coupled with industry-leading technology solutions to make it easy and convenient for visitors to navigate the varied choices.    

Alton Towers Resort and Warwick Castle are two of the most iconic visitor attractions in the UK and we’re so proud to be bringing our world class food and beverage programme to visitors. We are committed to offering a food and beverage experience that complements the memorable occasions Merlin delivers for our guests everyday” said Daniel Clark, Merlin Global Account Director at Aramark UK.

The launch of our food and catering services at Alton Towers Resort and Warwick Castle is a further step in our ongoing growth in the UK market, a key focus area for us.”   

Neil Crittenden, Commercial Director at Alton Towers Resort, said: “We are really excited about this new chapter in our food and beverage offering at Alton Towers Resort. The partnership will provide guests with some fantastic new options when visiting and staying at the Resort.”    

We’re delighted to be partnering with Aramark on delivering food and beverage services at Warwick Castle, a high-quality food and beverage experience is an essential part of any guest visit and Aramark have a fantastic track record. With such an incredible year of events coming up, we’re very pleased to be working with Aramark at this exciting time” commented Liam Bartlett, Senior Operations Director at Warwick Castle.    

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

Nestlé Professional report reveals evolving attitudes towards sustainable diets and the hottest new approaches in the food industry #

Nestlé Professional has launched today its latest report, 10 Key Insights on Sustainable Diets, which reveals that 70% of consumers now think a diet change is important to tackle the climate crisis, and over half (62%) say they’d be more likely to choose a restaurant with sustainable menu choices. Outlining six transformative trends, leading industry tools, and ten of the hottest sustainable diets topics rising to prominence over the last year, the report is designed to help foodservice operators stay on top of the rapidly evolving sustainable diets arena, incorporating innovative approaches within their strategies as needed.   
Developed in collaboration with Footprint Intelligence, the report comprises in-depth, interviews with industry experts, original consumer research, desk-based research, involvement in industry events and forums, and comments and insights from industry opinion leaders. Designed to address all the critical issues the industry has faced over the last year, 10 Key Insights on Sustainable Diets provides fresh insight on regenerative agriculture, strategic best practice, promoting sustainable diets, and waste reduction. It also outlines and reviews six of the industry’s most transformative trends, ranging from cultured meat and insect protein, to vertical farming. 
Katya Simmons, managing director Nestlé Professional UK&I says:  
Sustainable diets will become critical in the coming years if we’re to avoid environmental crises. It’s important, therefore, that our industry understands what these mean - to consumers as well as the environment.  
“Attitudes are evolving. And our report reveals more than half of UK consumers are reducing meat consumption, choosing restaurants based on sustainable menu choices, and want to know how food operators are tackling food waste. Furthermore, 59% are willing to pay more for a meal or snack produced with sustainable ingredients, indicating the potential for food operators to continue making changes, without affecting margins. 
“As ever, we’re laser focused on inspiring action, and our ultimate aim is for these insights to enrich and inform the strategies of foodservice operators. This will enable our industry to continue evolving, aligning the desires of consumers with those of the planet
To view and download the Sustainable Diets report, food operators can go to  

Recession threat drives negative sentiment, despite some recovery #

Lumina Intelligence’s Wholesale Market report showcases that the majority of business leaders across the grocery retail (54%) and eating out market (58%) are expecting trading conditions to deteriorate to July 2023, with many wholesale customers seeking out support from businesses and government as consumer discretionary spend will be hard fought for across the next 6 months.

The squeeze on household budgets has been highlighted by business leaders as the most important long-term consumer trend impacting eating out and grocery this year. Consumer confidence plunged to a new low of –49 in September 2022, boosted by +2 points in October following the announcement of an energy price cap. 
Weaker confidence is likely to see consumers reducing discretionary spend on commodities including food and drink out of home, prompting operators across the market to implement initiatives to aid in the cost-of-living crisis, such as Brakes’ Simply Steak range, aimed at helping foodservice operators retain beef across menus. Adding to these initiatives, Cold Chain Federation has launched a guide to support its members in reducing energy, to lower costs and meet Government targets. The definitive guide offers operators details on temperature-controlled facilities, including to create an energy strategy and what investments can reduce usage.
Despite the hit on overall confidence, there are indicatives of recovery, and as of today, two thirds of foodservice have not postponed business planning and investment. Sector players Brakes and Bidfood are set to see growth of over +20% in 2022, contributing to overall combined turnover growth of +9.7% among the leading nine wholesalers.

There is optimism among surveyed professionals in the grocery market too, with belief that there will be opportunities for convenience stores going forward, because of the current economic outlook.  “An improving outlook due to challenges surrounding covid easing” were cited in one in four positive responses.

Women represent two thirds of Elior UK’s board following the appointment of Jo-Anne Robertson as its new Managing Director for Education & Healthcare #

Jo-Anne Robertson has been promoted to Managing Director Education & Healthcare for leading contract caterer Elior UK, increasing female representation of its board to almost 70%.

Robertson joined Elior UK in 2008 as the operational and business lead for the defence multi-activity contracts in the south of England and was promoted in 2018 to Managing Director for Elior UK’s business and industry division. In her new role, Robertson has joined the UK leadership team with responsibility for developing and directing strategy, business development, and growth across the education and healthcare divisions.

Commenting on her new role, Jo-Anne Robertson said: “I am excited to join Elior UK’s executive leadership team and to have the opportunity to develop its education and healthcare business. It is wonderful to work for a company that takes such pride in the services it provides for its clients and customers but also values its people and strives to create a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Catherine Roe, CEO of Elior UK, said: “I am delighted that Jo-Anne has been appointed Managing Director Education & Healthcare as she has extensive strategic and tactical experience across diverse business segments in both the private and public sector and has successfully developed our business and industry business over the last four years.

“At Elior UK, we are passionate about diversity and inclusion and I am proud that we have such strong female representation on our board. Like her fellow executive team members, Jo-Anne is committed to championing diversity and the development of all those who are part of her team

Elior UK’s board consists of nine members of which six are female including the CEO.

Could 2023 be the year of the bottomless dinner? #

Insight from leading discovery and booking platform DesignMyNight reports that appetite for ‘bottomless’ deals is on the rise as they note a 74% jump for the search term ‘bottomless dinners’ in 2022 which they recommend operators take into consideration for the New Year. 
As the cost of living starts to bite, DesignMyNight reports that customers are looking for even greater value for out-of-home visits and that site queries for ‘bottomless’ deals are no longer restricted to the UK staple that is brunch. 
Whilst general ‘bottomless’ searches are up 13% year on year, the more precise search for bottomless dinners is up 74% compared to 2021 and a whopping 123% from 2019.  
DesignMyNight Senior Marketing Manager Leighanne Bent explained “The all-inclusive model of bottomless brunches has increasingly gained in popularity over the last three to four years but it has become apparent that consumers are looking for the concept to be extended, with the notable rise in interest surrounding bottomless dinners proving that the attraction of unlimited get-togethers is no longer restricted to brunch sittings or experiences. 
“So far this year, visits to channels and event pages relating to the ‘bottomless’ phenomenon on DesignMyNight have hit over 1.5million. This is up 83% in comparison to pre-pandemic and could provide a valuable signpost for hospitality venues who want to do something different in the New Year to boost a traditionally quieter trading period. As venues and customers face more uncertainty amid rising costs, running bottomless dinners could provide both groups with a cost-effective option of hospitality at its best. Operators can budget, order stock and provide staff resource very precisely for a bottomless event, whilst guests know in advance what the experience will cost them and can plan accordingly
The figures from DesignMyNight show that interest in bottomless meals is widespread around the country, with searches for events in Birmingham up 481% compared to 2019; in Liverpool they are up 735% year on year with appetite in Leeds up by over 1,500% for the same period. 
Based on the evidence of searches and bookings on DesignMyNight, bottomless brunches, lunches and dinners could be an option for more operators to explore as the sector continues to look for ways to increase sales and carefully monitor costs” added Leighanne Bent. “With guests also mindful about how much they drink in the New Year, having an alcohol-free bottomless offer is also worth considering. This could draw on the increasing range of delicious alcohol-free drinks that are available to ensure that anyone who has given up or cutting back on alcohol doesn’t have to miss out on the enjoyment of spending time with family and friends. It would also help ensure that any promotions are run responsibly and are not dependent on alcohol consumption.” 
Commenting on the popularity of bottomless offers, Prue Freeman, owner and director of the Daisy Green Collection said ‘Since 2013 we have been at the forefront of providing sharing / bottomless experiences for our amazing customers who love the chance to relax in our spaces over lazy catch ups. We find the sociable element where customers can enjoy a lengthy catch up with friends to be the biggest draw.  
“Over the years our food-led bottomless brunches have become incredibly popular as an affordable luxury that is aspirational yet firmly affordable. In our Soho site (Scarlett) and newly opened Paradise Green in the City we have launched bottomless dinners which are incredibly popular and something a bit different on the London food scene
DesignMyNight lists over nearly 3,500 bottomless experiences and has a range of supporting material and articles on the site.