Members’ News

January 2023

Steamplicity team celebrate Christmas with Herts Musical Memories charity #

Herts Musical Memories, celebrated Christmas early this year, with the support of Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Steamplicity team - serving Christmas lunch at The Stanborough Centre, Watford.
Herts Musical Memories operates across Hertfordshire, delivering singing sessions for people living with dementia and their carers, aiming to create meetings that are fun and engaging. The group hope attendees that come along regularly will benefit from improved sociability, increased self-confidence and decreased anxiety, as well as creating a connection between familiar songs to stimulate their memories.
The event took place on Friday 9th December, with 30 people being served a traditional Christmas dinner of roast turkey, served with trimmings including sage and onion stuffing, pork sausage, roast potatoes, root vegetable mash, Brussels sprouts and gravy. Each guest was also treated to a box of chocolates from the team.
The group came together to sing and celebrate this festive season, being served Steamplicity meals which use an innovative cooking system, to cook fresh and raw ingredients in minutes.
Kerry Brabant, from Herts Musical Memories, commented: “We were so delighted Steamplicity and their fabulous team chose Herts Musical Memories to support, bringing their lovely meals to make our Christmas event so special. It was a fantastic day of singing, fun and food.”
John Harvey, National Accounts Manager, Steamplicity commented: “This was a wonderful event and we were proud to support the work of this very special group, who work tirelessly all year round to bring joy and memories through singing. Our donation of meals seemed to be enjoyed by all and we loved joining in the singing! We wish everyone a great Christmas.”

Omnichannel is a strategic move as operators face tough conditions #

There is appetite for omnichannel products as consumers reduce restaurant visits due to financial pressures.

The Lumina Omnichannel Foodservice Report 2022 has brought awareness to a decline of restaurant penetration –  -1.1ppt year-on-year, as the cost of living crisis has led to consumers reducing discretionary spending.

At the same time, restaurant operators face immense challenges including increasing business costs and reduced footfall, highlighting the importance of diversifying their portfolio of products and enhancing their brand image to remain profitable.

On a positive note, as consumers reduce restaurant visits due to financial pressures, there is appetite for omnichannel products, some of which have made their way into the consumer household permanently, such as Nando’s Perinaise sauce, or Pizza Express’ chilled pizzas.

A closer look has shown sauces and seasonings are popular, yet are less frequently purchased, whereas meal kits and ready meals promise high frequency purchasing following initial engagement, which Omnichannel has driven forward, alongside brand awareness, with 40% visiting a restaurant following trying its retail products.

The consumer appetite is there,” says Blonnie Whist, Insights Director at Lumina Intelligence, who presented the report recently at the Omnichannel Conference, as well as Lumina’s Food Strategy Forum on December 8th. “Two thirds of shoppers have bought a foodservice branded product in the past three months, highlighting the interest for these products. 46% have purchased a new foodservice branded product since lockdown, demonstrating a willingness for experimentation and an opportunity for further innovation.” 

CaterTrax Invests in Innovation with Kevin Jesse as New Chief Technology Officer #

Market-leading catering management software, CaterTrax, has appointed Kevin Jesse as its new Chief Technology Officer. Jesse joined CaterTrax in 2021 as Enterprise Architect, building technology infrastructure to maximize efficiency and advance innovation. He brings over a decade of technical and operational experience to the role and is well-positioned to lead CaterTrax into its next phase of growth.

"We are thrilled to welcome Kevin to the executive team,” shared Clint Tyler, Chief Executive Officer of CaterTrax. “He has already made significant contributions to our technology evolution, and we look forward to leveraging his technical leadership to build on our momentum.”
Since joining CaterTrax, Jesse has played a central role in the company’s technical advancements. CaterTrax has augmented its API integrations in the past year, supporting connections to an expanded list of applications that streamline reporting and workflow. The company also enriched its menu editing capabilities, prioritizing menu flexibility for enterprise portfolios to quickly adjust attributes such as products, pricing, and allergens in a rapidly evolving marketplace. With these developments in technology and leadership, CaterTrax continues to strengthen its infrastructure, enhance its solutions, and drive innovation.
I’m honored to step into the role of Chief Technology Officer and be a part of this company’s future,” said Jesse. “CaterTrax is well positioned as the leading provider of non-commercial catering solutions, and I’m excited to grow our platform capabilities and bring the latest technologies to our clients.”

Jesse is a technology leader with a strong track record of transformation and growth from more than 17 years of experience. Previously, he served as the Chief Architect at the University of Rochester, developing strategies and scaling technical solutions for a leading research university and medical center. Jesse has extensive expertise in cloud service models, business intelligence, and applications. He also advises in a variety of technical areas including information security and enterprise architecture.
CaterTrax, a business unit of Volaris Group, is an industry-leading catering management software company. Primarily serving the non-commercial foodservice industry, CaterTrax provides flexible solutions to multi-unit contractors, streamlining enterprise management for the largest contract catering enterprises. 

Veganuary: Sales of vegetarian and vegan dishes up again in 2022, says Sodexo #

To mark Veganuary 2023, Sodexo has published its food sales data showing a year-on-year increase in the proportion of vegetarian and vegan meals sold across 476 of its UK and Ireland client sites. 

During 2022 (January to November), 10% of all meals sold were vegetarian or vegan, compared to 8% during the same period in 2021.

The data shows that the highest proportion of vegetarian and vegan meals were sold by Sodexo in the East Midlands, where these accounted for more than one in five (21%) of all meals.

When analysed by sector, Sodexo’s research showed that its Health & Care client sites sold the highest proportion of vegetarian and vegan meals, with an average of 17%. 

The figures are based on EPOS data sales of over 240,000 meals across Sodexo's UK & Ireland business between Jan and Nov 2022) 

Sodexo food sales data released today shows that the demand for vegan and vegetarian meals climbed year-on-year across its UK and Ireland sites from 8% of meals sold in 2021 to 10% in 2022.  The organisation continues to develop and expand its plant-based meal options to enable its customers to make more sustainable food choices. 

The food sales data also revealed that the East Midlands, which accounted for an average of 21% of all meals sold by Sodexo from January to November 2022, was the region that sold the most vegetarian and vegan meals. The same period saw vegetarian and vegan meal sales of 15% in both the North West and Wales, 11% in London, 10% in Scotland, and 8% in Ireland. 

Sodexo’s diverse range of client sites all reported strong sales of vegan and vegetarian meals. While Health & Care sites sold the highest proportion (17%), Corporate Services client sites followed closely with 13%, a notable increase on 2021 when an average 10% vegan and vegetarian lunch options were sold. 

From selling just 2% vegan and vegetarian meals in 2021, Sodexo's Energy and Resources client sites experienced the highest increase of all its businesses, accelerating to 12% in 2022. Schools and universities remained constant at 5%, while government sites experienced a moderate increase from 5% to 7%. 

Sodexo has long been committed to providing more vegan and vegetarian meal options to suit the changing demands of its customers. As part of its Social Impact Pledge, the organisation is focused on increasing the uptake of sustainable meal options by promoting and raising awareness of sustainable plant based choices to its clients. 

Vegan options offered by Sodexo include lentil celeriac chestnut pie, potato mixed bean chilli, tofu summer tart, Southern Indian vegan chickpea curry, vegan mushroom burger, vegan chicken nuggets, aubergine masala and many more. 

Claire Atkins-Morris, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Sodexo, said: “Whether people are vegan, vegetarian, or just want to try something new, it's great to see that more and more customers are trying plant-based meals across our sites. This really demonstrates a shift in consumer awareness, a wider range of options and a marketplace responding. 

“We are a proud supporter of Veganuary, and our community of chefs are encouraging more customers to try our plant-based meals by developing delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes that show the variety of meal options people have at our client sites. As part of our Net Zero commitment, we have set ourselves the goal of increasing the number of plant-based meals and recipes our clients choose from   to 33% by 2025

Toni Vernelli, Head of Communication & Marketing at Veganuary added: “We're delighted to see Sodexo reporting an increase in sales of vegan and vegetarian meals across their UK and Ireland client sites. Veganuary is here to support anyone who wants to try being vegan, but it makes our job a lot simpler when organisations like Sodexo are offering delicious, nutritious, and easily accessible options.”

Start the Year Any Which Way a Bix #

The UK’s favourite breakfast cereal, Weetabix, is showcasing value through versatility in a new take on its ever popular ‘Any Which Way A Bix’ campaign. Weetabix has created a free digital recipe book to inspire the nation with healthy, affordable meals and snacks for breakfast and beyond.
With costs rising in almost every part of our daily lives, there has never been more demand not only for affordable meal solutions, but also advice on how to make household budgets stretch further. Every recipe in the book costs around 80p per serve and has been specially developed by experts to build a range of simple to prepare dishes that can be enjoyed around the clock. From starting the day with a Weetabix Smoothie and a post-run Weetabix protein ball, to Weetabix Breaded Chicken at lunch and indulging with some Weetabix Tiramisu after dinner. This inspirational guide aims to show consumers that their breakfast favourite could very easily become one of the family’s favourite teatime snacks or mid-week meals.
This latest innovative expansion of the ‘Any Which Way a Bix’ campaign will be supported by a £2million investment including a new broadcast creative airing from 3rd January 2023 and amplified across YouTube and Video on Demand. The end frame of the new film features a scannable QR code to directly link and download the Weetabix recipe book. Additional consumer activity includes high profile in-store media and POS investment, as well as activity across Facebook, Instagram and TikTok where a select team of social influencer ‘Bixers’ will demonstrate selected recipes from the cookbook throughout the month of January.
Lorraine Rothwell, Head of Marketing at Weetabix Food Company, said: “As we all face into tough times, we want to remind consumers not only that we’re on their side but also that Weetabix is central to starting the day right. Consumers trust us to provide a healthy, nutritious breakfast and now we’re looking to help at other times. Our recipe book offers consumers affordable and versatile inspiration, helping them to reconsider the role that Weetabix plays in their routine by catering well beyond traditional breakfast occasions.”
One large box of Weetabix can feed a family for four for nine days. It is one of the most nutritionally dense cereals on the market, and this campaign will remind consumers of those credentials and give them even more Bang For Their Buck A Bix. Have you had yours?”


Data and digital consultancy TWC Group is launching a convenience market read – branded ‘SmartView Convenience’. It claims to be the most representative EPOS market read covering independent retail and wholesaler-supplied symbol stores in GB.
The read comprises a sample of around 6,500 stores, with a combined turnover of £5.6 billion, which have been cherry-picked to be representative of total GB. The analytics platform contains algorithms to extrapolate this sample to represent total GB independent convenience, which will be continuously updated to rebalance the read to ensure consistency and accuracy.
Data reporting will be available in value and volume for the following time periods: MAT, YTD, 13 weeks, 4 weeks, weekly; and will be accessed via TWC’s incredibly popular SmartView online reporting platform. Regional reporting will also be available.
The service will allow organisations to understand sector and category performance and trends as a benchmark for their own performance; identify growth drivers; understand the true ‘top sellers’ in a category and quickly identify range gaps.
Tom Fender, Development Director at TWC said:
We believe SmartView Convenience provides a balanced and representative sample of stores to truly understand what is happening in the independent convenience sector.”
“This market read will identify WHAT is selling in UK independent and symbol c-stores. TWC can conduct additional complementary consumer, shopper or retailer research to understand WHY products are selling (or not), meaning we are now even better placed to provide a full suite of route-to-market insight solutions
To find out more about SmartView Convenience and to register your interest in receiving further updates, please head to:

Sodexo wins 10-year HMP Altcourse contract #

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has awarded Sodexo the £260 million contract to manage HMP Altcourse from 1 June 2023 following a competitive bid. 

The new 10-year contract will see Sodexo’s government business take over the management, operation and maintenance of the prison which is situated in the Fazakerley area of Liverpool with the 400-strong workforce transferring to Sodexo. 

HMP Altcourse, which opened in 1997, was the first privately designed, constructed, managed and financed prison in the UK.  It is a category B local prison, receiving sentenced and remand adult male prisoners as well as young offenders, from the Cheshire and Merseyside courts. The prison can accommodate up to 1,164 men, across seven house blocks. 

Sodexo is committed to the rehabilitation of offenders and has a focus on reducing reoffending by helping prisoners to develop new skills to support them in re-integration into society on their release. 

Sodexo has worked with UK governments since 1993 and currently manages five prisons, four in the UK and one in Scotland. From February 2023 Sodexo will also take over management of HMP Lowdham Grange in Nottingham. 

It manages three male prisons, HMP Addiewell in Scotland, HMP Forest Bank and HMP Northumberland. Sodexo also deliver total operation of HMP Peterborough, the only dual purpose-built prison in the UK holding male and female prisoners, and HMP & YOI Bronzefield which holds female prisoners.

Paul Anstey, CEO, Government, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “The award of HMP Altcourse reinforces our significant track record in the management of prisons and our commitment to provide secure and safe environments which supports the reduction of reoffending.  We are delighted to have won the HMP Altcourse contract and will use our expertise and experience to work with the existing team there to build on what has already been achieved.”

For more information on Sodexo’s justice services business visit: