Members’ News

March 2023

Speed plants the seed of gluten free goodness as it is appointed to PR Britain's purest oats for Glebe Farm #

Impact-driven PR agency Speed has been appointed by Glebe Farm to encourage trade and consumers to reappraise gluten free oats. Glebe Farm is a UK independent business, owned and run by the sister and brother team, Rebecca, and Philip Rayner, on their family farm in Cambridgeshire. They are the only farm in the UK growing and processing gluten free oats into porridge flakes, oat flour and the gluten free oat drink, PureOaty.
Following a competitive pitch process, Glebe Farm chose Speed as the team that matches its passion, energy, innovation, and determination for success.
The first step of Speed’s cohesive communications strategy is to position Glebe Farm as the only independent, gluten free oat provider in the UK, whilst serving the global market. Communications will primarily focus on trade including the foodservice, retail, and hot beverages markets.
Kelly Pepworth, Managing Director at Speed said: “Glebe Farm’s dedication and enthusiasm for pure produce is inspiring and matches our drive to provide pure and impactful comms. We have extensive experience in the food and hospitality sector and this exciting win is a credit to this depth of knowledge. It also allows us to expand our presence in the sector of plant-based produce as there is very much a shift in the market towards this trend, so it is a compelling time to be getting involved and pushing the ever-important issue of sustainability in food and hospitality.”

Tony Holmes, Chief Operating Officer at Glebe Farm added: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Speed on our PR and communications. Not only do we have a fantastic range of delicious products but also a strong industry-wide message on provenance, security, quality, and sustainability. We believe Speed are the right partners to help us spread the word.”

Lexington Catering and Pact Coffee announce project to promote gender equity #

Lexington Catering and Pact Coffee have today announced an exclusive partnership.

The project enables offices across the Lexington business to contribute directly to the development of coffee growing communities across nine countries through Pact’s direct-trade supply chain model.

Pact and Lexington’s exclusive collaboration will focus primarily on coffee grown by Cafeina, a collective of 1,868 women in Brazil that was formed in 2019 to empower, motivate and inspire women farmers and give them rightful visibility in an industry which is traditionally male dominated in Brazil.

Pact Coffee, one of the UK’s leading independent speciality coffee roasters, was founded in 2012 by Stephen Rapoport to bring the freshest speciality coffee directly to UK kitchens. Since then, it’s spent the decade championing sustainable farming practices, encouraging gender equity at source and paying farmers significantly more than the Fairtrade base price.

Will Corby, Pact Coffee’s director of coffee and social impact, said: “Removing the intermediaries in the supply chain and going directly to coffee farmers has allowed us to make a significant impact at source since day one, but this is typified through Cafeina.

“Every bean that we sell in the UK allows Cafeina to work with more women in Brazil and towards gender equity in an industry where they’re all too often ignored. I want to make it clear that this isn’t charity, because the coffee is genuinely some of the finest you’ll taste from Brazil

Once the Cafeina coffee is imported, Pact Coffee will roast it in its carbon-neutral roastery in Surrey and deliver it to Lexington offices days later.

Paul Turton, CEO of Pact Coffee, said: “I’m thrilled to work with Lexington on a partnership of this scale. Simply put, the more coffee we can get to UK offices, the more we can make a genuine difference abroad. While we thoroughly appreciate all our business-to-business relationships, this is a huge step for us”.

Jesse Bliss, Head of Partnerships at Lexington said: The cafeina blend is perfect for Lexington because our customers care about great tasting coffee, but they also care about making ethical choices that have a positive impact on the world. Cafeina gives us both of those things which is really exciting.”

Matt Wood, Managing Director of Lexington said: “All at Lexington are incredibly excited to announce this exclusive partnership with the amazing team at Pact. We have got to know the farmers, and we have been really impressed by the passion, skill, and dedication of this inspirational team of female coffee producers. The team at Pact are raising the bar in terms of coffee quality and social value.  We have been blown away, and we can’t wait to introduce Pact to our clients and customers very soon." 

Major UK Brewery launches new support service for independent venues #

Greene King Brewery and Bellhaven have launched a brand-new service, Value For Venues, which offers a unique package of product catalogue, logistics, business management and financial support services to independent venues. 

The launch of Value for Venues comes during a time when rising supplier costs and ever-changing consumer habits make running an independent venue extremely tough and isolating.

The service helps independent venues to add value to their business through three key pillars of service; range freedom, customer service and financial support/ business advice. 

By offering range freedom across an array of best-selling beers, ciders, wines, soft drinks and spirits, independent venues can avoid dealing with multiple suppliers, delivery slots and points of contact. Value For Venues makes things simple by offering an extensive range of drinks in one, reliable delivery. 

The premium customer service support offered within the package also helps businesses to run smoothly, with 363 days per year over-the-phone troubleshooting and cellar support, should anything go wrong. 

The third pillar of service available within the suite of assistance is financial support and business advice. Perhaps needed now more than ever during an unstable financial climate, Value For Venues can help to keep cash flows healthy and provide advice on lowering operating costs, ultimately making businesses more profitable. 

While Greene King is known for its brewing expertise and the operation of pubs across the UK, this new venture aims to support the wider hospitality sector amidst challenging times for independents. Scottish free trade venues will also see the service tailored from Belhaven Brewery, in Dunbar, which has been a part of Greene King since 2005.  

This new support package offers an all-round suite of services that can bolster profits for venues in a simple, cost-effective way, whilst also providing that guaranteed support to those running an independent venue. 

Paul Downing, Sales Director for Brewing and Brands at Greene King said: “We’re incredibly pleased to be announcing this launch, as our passion lies in championing and supporting the hospitality industry and sharing our knowledge. Value For Venues is an important, and unique, offering for independent venues because of how extensive the package of support is, and it’s backed with a wealth of experience.  

“Alongside offering excellent range freedom in one handy delivery and year-round customer support, the service also assists on a financial business level too. There is no other service quite like it on the market that provides so much for independent venues, all in one place.

For independent businesses looking for more information, head to and schedule a free consultation with one of the team. You will then be provided with a tailored support plan and a date to get up and running.

Freemans Event Partners receives AA+ rating for food safety and supply chain standards #

Freemans Event Partners has been awarded its ninth consecutive accreditation rating from the British Retail Consortium Global Standards, BRCGS.  

The Gloucester-based event specialist has been awarded the AA+ grade, in recognition of its impeccable food safety and supply chain standard. An AA+ rating means that Freemans Event Partners was subject to an unannounced audit, for which they received no ‘minors’ or ‘non-conformances’. The BRCGS Global Standard for Storage and Distribution is an industry leading organisation that drives the highest standards in food products safety, storage and distribution. The BRCGS accreditation is an internationally recognised certification and a seal of quality, recognised by retailers, manufacturers, food service organisations and raw materials processors worldwide.  As an event catering business, this recognition is of paramount importance to clients and partners alike.   

Tim Hobbs, Director of Wholesale & FMCG Retail at Freemans Event Partners, explains: “As a global indicator of quality assurance, the BRCGS is the gold standard, and it doesn’t get better than the AA+ rating.”  

Stephen Freeman, Chief Executive Officer at Freemans Event Partners, adds: 

This is a fantastic achievement and one that is testament to the ongoing work and commitment of the entire team within the wholesale and FMCG division. There’s really nobetter way of proving and showcasing these efforts, than with this accreditation.  

“Also, to have received a consistently high grade for nearly a decade is a brilliant achievement in and of itself. It’s this kind of ongoing commitment to quality and standard which we strive to achieve on a day-to-day basis

Freemans Event Partners is a family-owned business, established in 1975 by Stephen Freeman Senior. The company has grown from a single fish and chips outlet at Silverstone to now operating across a wide range of iconic events and venues, from sporting events and tournaments to music festivals and immersive experiences.  

Freemans Event Partners provides a multi-service offering bespoke to each event and venue. From building food and beverage villages to deploying payment solutions and brand activations, covering every aspect of the event delivery to enhance the customer’s experience.  

Over the past 45 years, the business has grown to reach over 15 million people at more than 400 events each year across the UK and Europe.

Compass chefs celebrate Salon Culinaire Awards success #

Compass chefs secure 12 Best in Class awards and 3 Best Overall awards, plus 6 Gold, 17 Silver, 17 Bronze, 16 Merit

Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK’s largest food and support services provider, is celebrating its chefs, having been awarded a trophy cabinet worth of awards at this year’s International Salon Culinaire competition. The event takes place as part of the three-day Hotel, Restaurant & Catering show (HRC) at ExCeL London, held between 20-22nd March.
With more than 100 live and static challenges across three days, Salon Culinaire is an opportunity for chefs to test their skills and creativity in a competition environment.
Talented chefs from across the Compass UK business took part in the event, travelling from as far as Scotland and Cornwall to compete, with representation from across its business including ESS, Levy UK + Ireland, Restaurant Associates, Eurest, 14Forty and Chartwells.
Competing in around 30 different competitions across the three elements: Salon Live – live cooking competitions; Salon Display – static exhibits; and Skills Theatre – live kitchen and service skills competitions for students; the Compass team of chefs achieved an impressive 12 Best in Class awards and 3 Best Overall awards, plus 6 Gold, 17 Silver, 17 Bronze, 16 Merit.
Chefs from ESS dominated the gold award positions with wins from:
Edward Perrett, ESS, Junior Starter Plate
Rachel Michie, ESS, Junior Starter Plate
Rachel Michie, ESS, Petite Fours
Izabela Ginter, ESS, Perfect Pasta
Dougal MacPherson, ESS, The Alaska Seafood Masters
Shona Sutherland, ESS, Table de Honour                                 

Nick Vadis, Culinary Director at Compass Group UK and Ireland, said: “I am very proud of our chefs and at competitions we see their talent, creativity and work shine bright. Our accolades have gone to our junior apprentices as well as more senior Exec chefs – demonstrating the importance of investing in our chef talent at all levels and the opportunities we create for them to progress and develop. Events like these are a great opportunity to challenge our chefs and for them to learn. A huge well done to everyone involved.”
Compass Group UK & Ireland is headline sponsor of Salon Culinaire at HRC and has supported the event for more than 25 years.
The HRC event also saw Ashleigh Taylor, Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Head of Environment join the food waste panel to talk about Stop Food Waste Day and Compass’ action on reducing waste and raising awareness of this issue. In addition, Kerry Crompton-Harris, Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Director of People and Resourcing, joined the talent retention panel, to discuss Compass’ work to nurture, develop and keep its people in line with its ‘Our Social Promise’ commitment.

Latest MealTrak Results – 12 w/e 20 February 2023 (wave 111) #

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 20 February 2023.
Latest results are as follows:

Latest MealTrak results show the number of out-of-home eating occasions were +2% higher than the comparable period in 2022, on a 52 week/MAT basis.  However, in the latest 12 weeks, the number of out-of-home eating occasions fell by -7% vs. the equivalent period in 2022.

In the last 12 weeks, occasions in the ‘eating out’ channel (comprising pubs, restaurants and hotels) declined by -8% vs. the previous year. Pubs continue to outperform the other sub-channels (-6%), ahead of restaurants (-8%) and hotels (-19%).

Total food to go occasions declined by -7% in the latest 12 weeks. This was driven by transportation sites (-54%), high street (-46%), forecourts (-22%), fast food & takeaway (-16%), sandwich shops and cafes (-11%), independent convenience stores (-11%) and workplace (-9%).

The multiples (+5%) and the discounters (+28%), with their more affordable food-to-go offer, remain the clear winners. Coffee shops and cafes also recorded modest growth in the latest 12 weeks period, at +3%.

Value sales are up +14% on a 52 week/MAT basis; with a more modest growth rate of +2% on a 12-week ending basis versus 2022.

Commenting on the results, Tom Fender, Development Director at TWC, said:
Whilst total out of home eating occasions fell by -7% in the latest 12 weeks, this decline is not as deep as the previous period (wave 110), when we reported occasions in decline by -12%. Value sales are in growth (just) on an annual basis, so there is room for cautious optimism.”
“As always, beneath the topline figures, there is a mixed picture. The discounters and multiples continue their long-standing outperformance, whilst coffee shops and cafes have emerged this month with +3% growth vs. the total food-to-go market at -7%, based on occasions in the latest 12 week period.”
“Whilst the out-of-home market continues to face many headwinds, we do see opportunities for those operators that really know their customer and are investing in relevant innovation that meets the needs of the post-pandemic, economically challenged consumer.”
“For instance, we’ve seen a shift in spending into the back end of the week, which represents more leisure-driven occasions, this could well be the driver of the coffee shop occasion, which is an affordable leisure mission.
Mealtrak is a vast data source so if you would like to know more of the detail behind these headlines, please contact Tom Fender at TWC ( for more information.

365 Retail Markets open new London premises #

Already established as leaders in unattended retail technology in the US, 365 Retail Markets’ intention to introduce their solutions to the UK has been cemented in the opening of new premises in London.

Alongside providing office space for their growing staff, the premises in Vauxhall will be used to showcase their one-of-a-kind solutions designed to maximize the performance of any retail environment.

This will include their point-of-service platform…a combination of MicroMarket, vending, and dining technologies. Alongside their Pico Coolers and Gen3 Kiosks there is also the opportunity to view Stockwell (smart-store technology and part of the 365-product ecosystem) all of which are found in breakrooms, cafes, warehouses, dining halls, apartments and transit locations all over the globe.

365 Retail Markets’s move to grow their footprint in Europe follows on from acquiring the UK based company Spoonfed in late 2021. Spoonfed’s catering management software solutions are seen as providing an additional tool for 365’s existing customers looking to extend their reach beyond their unattended retail business.

365’s UK & EU Director of International Business Development, Jeff Vere’s said, “We’ve got great momentum at the moment - new premises and growing our UK team is key as we introduce the concept of a ‘Connected Campus’ for caterers who want products to offer high quality unattended retail as well as software solutions to manage drop off catering.” 
CH&CO Catering directors and managers have been using Spoonfed catering software for a number of years – a range of tech solutions to give an enhanced ordering experience for the clients and efficiency, end to end, for the catering managers and teams. Now, Spoonfed as part of 365 Retail Markets, have supplemented this support with a range of unattended retail products.

The background is found in the acquiring of Spoonfed in late 2021 by 365 Retail Markets…their worldview could have been described as ‘joined up thinking with bells on’. Thankfully, they came up with the far slicker ‘Connected Campus’ to describe how they were able to impact a number of areas in unattended retail.  365 Retail Markets saw Spoonfed as the right piece to fit the gap in how they were going to support Caterers who wanted to do more! Many of their clients were already using 365 Retail Market units providing F & B for fridges, vending machines, kiosks across head offices and education sites etc…they saw Spoonfed as a way of putting the right tools in the hands of these Caterers in order for them to offer another level of service.

CH&CO’s catering teams now have the ability to confidently expand their reach, providing additional, convenient ways of serving their clients.

Supporting Hospitality customers who've got B££F with rising prices , Quorn launches new product innovation and cost crunching offers #

Quorn Professionals is launching an inflation busting range of initiatives to help hospitality overcome rising costs. Launching officially in April, Cost Crunchers has three main pillars:
Quorn is launching the very competitively priced Quorn Veggie Beef Burger (113g). The launch makes it easier and more cost efficient for operators to add delicious meat free burgers to their menus, that don’t compromise on taste or quality.
The Quorn Veggie Beef Burger is the perfect quarter pounder, ideal in the ultimate burger build but also incredibly versatile when used as an ingredient to enhance many different dishes.
Taste is still the key consideration for most when choosing where and what to eat,” says Phil Thornborrow, Foodservice Director at Quorn.
Diners and chefs shouldn’t have to compromise on taste, quality or texture when it comes to meat free menus. The Quorn Veggie Beef Burger delivers a succulent, savoury thick cut burger that looks, feels and tastes just like a beef burger.
“This type of offering is increasingly important in the current climate, when eating out is becoming much more of a luxury than in recent years. We’re seeing research that suggests up to a quarter of UK adults are cutting down on meat to help them get through the cost-of-living crisis, and we hear that some operators are doing the same as a cost saving measure when menu planning
The Quorn Veggie Beef Burger has a recommended supplier price of less than a £1 per burger. Prices are set at the discretion of individual wholesalers.
Prices that stack up
There’s no denying it’s a particularly challenging time for many people, diners and operators alike. Prices everywhere are rising and margins are being squeezed. That’s why we have taken the move to freeze our prices,” adds Phil.
We’re also introducing 50% extra free packs on Quorn Mince and Quorn Vegan Beef Pieces.”
The company is also relaunching Quorn Meat Balls as vegan making it easier for menu planners to cater to more diners.
Let’s Meat Halfway
A bit of meat. A bit of meat free protein. Quorn’s 50:50 approach is inspiring operators with tasty, healthy, low carbon dishes that save money and the planet.
People still want to eat more sustainably and reducing their meat intake is the easiest way. Over 70% of people want to eat at more sustainable restaurants and 60% want to eat less meat*1, so there is a huge opportunity for outlets to benefit from tapping into this market with the right menu.
Quorn’s culinary team has created a range of recipes that have been nutritionally analysed, carbon footprinted and are ready to help caterers save money.
Phil concludes: “Increased costs are having a serious impact on society. As the UK’s No. 1 meat free brand, we see it as our responsibility to play a part in helping address the challenges it is creating.
“We are incredibly proud to have created a range of initiatives in Cost Cruncher, that we believe provide excellent value and incredible taste, so that caterers do not need to compromise on quality, affordability, health or helping the planet

Tommy Banks joins Toque D'Or Judging panel for 35th Anniversay Edition #

Nestlé Professional today announced that award-winning chef and restaurateur, Tommy Banks will join the panel of judges for the 35th edition of Toque d’Or. With a wealth of experience in sustainability and farm to fork dining, Banks will bring unique perspective and skills to the six-strong team of industry experts. But with entries closing soon, Back and Front of house students on Level 2, 3 and 4 are being urged to complete their entries now, so they don’t miss the 31st March deadline.
Toque d’Or’s latest judge represents another coup for the prestigious competition. Three-time winner and veteran judge on BBC2’s The Great British Menu, Banks owns two Michelin-starred restaurants in North Yorkshire and a premium food box business and canned wine brand. Born and raised in the small village of Oldstead from a farming background, Banks has been involved in his family farm since his childhood. And as a staunch advocate of farm to fork dining, he has earned a prestigious Michelin green star for his continued pursuit of sustainability. As well as sharing expertise, he’ll welcome this year's finalists to his sustainable farm, where they’ll learn about farming techniques, and get the chance to forage, harvest fruits and vegetables, and see the livestock.
Banks joins long-term Toque d’Or collaborator, Louisa Ellis who won Masterchef: The Professionals title in its 2020 Festive Knockout. Educator and well-respected sommelier and wine expert, Raul Diaz, returns for another year on the Toque d’Or judging panel, along with 2021 FOH Toque d’Or winner, Sophie Taylor who has been taken on as chef de partie at the Gleneagles Townhouse since her win. These will sit alongside Nestlé Professional head of training for hot beverages, Ryan Burke, and Nestlé Professional development chef, Justin Clarke, offering competitors a broad array of skills and experience, representing the key areas and disciplines covered in the competition. 
Launched in 1989, Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or has played an important role in the hospitality industry, inspiring the next generation of food service professionals and providing up-to-the-minute knowledge on industry trends. Over the years, it has attracted judges, including Anton Mosimann OBE and food writer and influencer, Julie Jones. As a result, the competition has developed a strong network of supporters, judges and competitor-alumni, ranging from James Martin and Jamie Oliver, to Brian Turner, Paul Gayler, James Tanner and Simon Hulstone.
Tommy Banks says, “Toque d’Or is a unique opportunity for college students to explore different careers and to learn about the latest industry trends. I’m delighted to be involved in this year’s competition, and I'm looking forward to mentoring and meeting the industry’s finest young hospitality talent.”
Katya Simmons, managing director Nestlé Professional UK&I says, “We’re delighted to welcome Tommy to the Toque d’Or judging panel. He has outstanding experience and knowledge of foodservice and retail – sectors which are converging in many cases, showing the diverse opportunities available in hospitality careers. His farming background and Michelin green star underline Toque d’Or’s continued theme of sustainability, and we’re excited about bringing this knowledge and passion to the table.”
With Tommy on the judging team alongside such a diverse range of highly talented industry experts, this year’s Toque d’Or is set to be one to remember. But with time running out, students need to be in it to win it, so we’re urging lecturers to extend this learning opportunity to their students, registering budding hospitality superstars before time runs out.”
To register and find out more about the competition training, format and timeline, college lecturers, employers and apprentices should go to

Check out the latest episode of The Delivery Prophets #

The latest episode of The Delivery Prophets podcast features Peter Backman, Jon Borzacchiello of Aviko, and guest Eccie Newton, founder and CEO of Karma Kitchen. Eccie shares her insights on using dark kitchens to streamline infrastructure and improve delivery experiences. Learn about Karma Kitchen's local community-focused ‘Food Hubs’, virtual restaurants for local markets, and how dark kitchens can benefit small businesses. You’ll find the podcast on Spotify, Apple, Google or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts - or you can go to www.theDelivery.World/TheDeliveryProphets

From the impact of technology on delivery logistics to changing consumer demands and preferences, from the rise of dark kitchens to the opportunities from virtual brands, listeners to The Delivery Prophets gain a deep understanding of the forces shaping the delivery sector. Whether you're a supplier of food and drink, a delivery company, marketplace app, technology company, restaurant owner, or investor, The Delivery Prophets is the perfect way to stay informed and ahead of the curve in the world of food delivery. 

New Délifrance research reveals sustainability trends in the baked goods industry #

Leading baked goods manufacturer, Délifrance, today announced the launch of fresh research and insight on sustainability in the baked goods industry. Incorporating attitudes and opinions from 2,000 consumers across the UK, ‘Prove It: The sustainable future of baked goods’ is a deep dive on sustainability trends, the top sustainability credentials for consumers, and how these affect their buying decisions. It also highlights opportunities for food operators and retailers to adapt to meet the needs of this discerning but growing group of sustainability-aware consumers. 

Revealing that consumer consciousness is already significant, a third of the survey respondents claimed to be aware of the carbon footprint of their baked goods. Further, more than 1 in 7 (15%) said this affects whether or not they buy a product.  

The number of sustainability conscious consumers is likely to grow, however, with 71% of respondents saying they’d like to know more. Providing their top priorities on sustainability measures, and details on where they’d like to see more information, the report provides guidelines and examples for operators and retailers on where to prioritise activity and how best to promote this. 

Stéphanie Brillouet, Délifrance marketing director said: “Over the last few years, the food industry has faced a raft of new challenges - from supply issues through to skyrocketing energy prices. This has made it harder than ever to implement activities that bake in sustainability across the supply chain – from procurement to food waste.  And it’s the reason why we renewed our sustainability commitments last year, through launching our Baking Good BETTER CSR Strategy.” 

We carried out this research to make sure we’re moving the needle in the right direction, while discovering what sustainability means to baked goods consumers in the UK today. It appears we’re on the right track, and that sustainability is becoming less of a ‘nice to have’ and more of an ‘essential’ for food operators and retailers. Fortunately, many respondents also showed a strong understanding of shared responsibility and indicated that they’ll pay a premium, showing a willingness to support proactive operators. This is great news as we work together as an industry towards our common goal of carbon neutrality.” 

Food operators and retailers can download ‘Prove It: The sustainable future of baked goods’ from the Délifrance ‘Prove It’ content hub at 

The Nation's favourite gravy brand launches new Southern style #

With consumers increasingly seeking diverse and internationally inspired sauces and condiments, and 64%[1] saying that new food experiences enhance their dining experience, Bisto is launching NEW Southern Style Gravy Granules.
Consistently reliable and quick to prepare, the product gives operators a simple product to elevate dishes and capitalise on the growing demand for American-style dishes that is taking the QSR market by storm.  The flavour-packed gravy is the perfect partner for fried chicken dishes, meat sharing platters, plant-based alternatives, savoury biscuits, and fries.
Sarah Robb, foodservice marketing manager, Premier Foods Foodservice,
The UK’s love for sauces is well documented and over the last few years, we’ve seen even greater diversification, with trending cuisines introducing their own spicy varieties.
“Gravy will always hold a cherished place in the British psyche. And as the market leader, Bisto has maintained its foothold, adapting its popular formulation to incorporate exciting new flavours and cuisines. With Bisto Southern Style Gravy Granules caterers can offer diners an exciting flavour profile and a new way of partnering their meals with gravy – whether it’s meat, plant-based, or the classic favourites - chips and mash.

The versatile new gravy is low in fat and sugar, meets 2024 government salt requirements and is suitable for vegans.
Available from all main wholesalers, Bisto Southern Style Gravy Granules are available in 1.8kg drums, which are 100% recyclable. Each produces approximately 13 litres, or 275 portions, of rich, flavourful southern-style gravy.

Sodexo secures £7.5m contract extension at Sullom Voe Terminal #

Sodexo has been awarded a three-year extension to its catering and FM services contract at the Sullom Voe Terminal in the Shetland Islands.   

Sodexo’s new three-year contract has an option to extend a further two years and is worth around £2.5 million a year. Sodexo’s 25-strong team will continue to provide catering, cleaning, warehouse and logistics, garage services, and pest control for the 400-plus employees on site.   

Ed Morrow, Managing Director of Energy & Resources for Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “We are thrilled that our colleagues will continue to deliver services for this important contract as the Sullom Voe Terminal enters an exciting new phase.   

“We thank our client for their continued trust in extending our partnership together and thank our teams who are providing exceptional service and support to workers at the terminal, and we hope to build on what has already been accomplished so far in this partnership

With integrated services that support employee wellbeing and adapt to changing needs, Sodexo's Energy & Resources business provides a ‘home from home’ service to many people who work in often remote and complex environments, such as LNG (liquified natural gas) plants and refineries on land or offshore platforms in the North Sea. 

Local business leader claims top industry prize #

Stephen Freeman, Chief Executive Officer of Freemans Event Partners, has been named ‘Senior Executive of the Year’ at the 2023 Contract Catering Awards.
The ceremony, which took place at the Leonardo Royal Hotel, at London’s Tower Bridge, on March 27th, honours the best and brightest of the contract catering industry.
Leading from the front, Stephen has empowered incredible growth for the business, turning Freemans Event Partners into a multi-service event solutions partner for the biggest venues and events in the UK, managing revenues in excess of £100 million.

Under Stephen's leadership, Freemans Event Partners has grown from a traditional food and beverage partner into an end-to-end event solution, providing venues and events a BRCGS accredited foodservice, PCI compliant payment solutions and immersive activations on behalf of global brands, covering every aspect of the event delivery to enhance the customer’s experience.
Speaking of the award, Stephen commented:
"Last year was our first full year of events post-Covid during which time the future of our business had been uncertain. 

“I am really proud of what we have achieved as a team in the last 12 months, delivering our biggest event season yet, working with iconic clients & events such as Lord’s Cricket Ground & the MCC, the Commonwealth Games, the Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone and the NFL at Wembley Stadium to name a few! 

“This award is for the whole team at Freemans Event Partners who have worked tirelessly to make the customer experience at events the best it can be…

Iain Munro CFSP becomes General Secretary of EFCEM #

Iain Munro CFSP has been appointed the new General Secretary of EFCEM, the European Federation of Catering Equipment Manufacturers.  The prestigious role, at this highly influential federation, will see him complete a career spanning 35 years in foodservice equipment supply, preceded by 10 years in hospitality.  EFCEM represents manufacturers of commercial kitchen equipment and counts the key European trade associations in its membership, including the UK’s FEA (Foodservice Equipment Association). 

As well as representing members’ interests, EFCEM is directly involved in the formulation of standards for the industry and Munro will lead in the development and delivery of the federation’s strategies.  It’s a role that he has spent a career preparing for.  He’s held senior positions with some of the industry’s top brands, including Falcon, ScoMac and Rational.  For the last five years he has been with Hobart, as managing director of Hobart Cooking Solutions and, most recently, as Business Development Director for Hobart UK.  He’s actively participated in industry associations and has been a board member of both FEA and CEDA (the Catering Equipment Distributors’ Association), and is a member of the Institute of Hospitality.  He has also been involved in a number of important working groups, including Catering for a Sustainable Future Group (CFSG), CIBSE TM50 Energy Efficiency in Commercial Kitchens, and ITW Fragmented Sales Playbook. 

His industry awards and accolades include the Foodservice Order of Merit, Catering Insight Hot 100, Catering Insight Power List, and the CEDA Legacy Award. 

He’s the complete foodservice equipment professional,” says Phil Williams, chair of EFCEM.  “He’s 100% passionate about the industry and he’s the ideal candidate for the job.  I know he’ll be a huge success.”
Munro is looking forward to the next stage in his career.  “I’m really excited about the EFCEM role,” he says.  “Having been in hospitality and foodservice equipment for over 40 years I feel I am ready to take on this new challenge.  I’m delighted to remain within the industry I know and love – and I hope as General Secretary I can make a positive and lasting contribution.” 

This press release is issued by the Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) on behalf of EFCEM.  FEA is the independent, authoritative voice of the UK 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 
For more information on EFCEM visit

Bikes Against Bombs 2023 - Wholesale, convenience and foodservice sector cyclists raise over £1million for landmine clearance charity #

The annual wholesale, convenience and foodservice charity bike ride ‘Bikes Against Bombs’ ( is delighted to announce that it has now raised over £1million. The initiative was set up in 2015 by Neil Turton, Non-Executive Director at Alliance Stores and Tom Fender, Development Director of TWC, to raise money for the Manchester-based landmine clearance charity and Nobel Peace Prize winning charity, Mines Advisory Group (MAG).
The 2023 ride, which is sponsored by TWC, Suntory and ITS, started on Sunday 26 March and comprised five tough days of cycling over 400km from Chiang Rai in Thailand to Luang Prabang in Laos. This year’s event alone has raised in excess of £200k.  and is the seventh international ride – the previous six challenges have raised an incredible £830,000 for MAG and have taken place in regions including Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Cambodia, all of which are impacted by the legacy of conflict.
Landmines and unexploded bombs can remain in the ground for decades after a conflict has ended. Every day, 15 people are killed or injured by these indiscriminate weapons. Almost half of civilian casualties are children. MAG finds and clears landmines, cluster munitions, and unexploded bombs and returns safe land to communities, enabling them to build a safer and more sustainable future.
Alongside Tom Fender and Neil Turton, this year’s ride saw over 35 industry executives take part including Andrew Selley, Chief Executive Officer at Bidcorp UK; Mark Aylwin, Non-Exec Chairman at Unitas Wholesale; Matthew Gouldsmith, Channel Director Route to Market and On Trade at Suntory; Debbie Robinson, Chief Executive at Central England Co-op; and Aoife Kenny, Commercial Director at Unitas Wholesale, to mention just a few.
Neil Turton said: "We are absolutely delighted to be able to announce that we have raised £1million since Tom and I founded the charity bike ride back in 2015. We’re so proud to be able to raise this much needed money for MAG which is a truly fantastic UK-based humanitarian charity.”
Tom Fender added:
It’s been a very hot and humid ride and the hills have been incredibly challenging, its been tough! But we have a clear purpose, to smash our target and we are blown away with the support we’ve received – thanks to the generosity of everyone, we have hit £1 million – something we never dreamed would be possible when we started out 8 years ago.”
Darren Cormack, CEO of MAG, commented:
"Despite the bombing ending more than 50 years ago, cluster bomb contamination continues to kill, injure, and hinder development in Laos.  Working across Xieng Khouang and Khammouane provinces, we clear community land from unexploded bombs.
“The Bikes against Bombs initiative raises vital funds for MAG’s work around the world. With their support, our teams can clear even more landmines and unexploded bombs helping conflict-affected communities to live free from fear of death and injury, enabling them to rebuild their lives and livelihoods 
“On behalf of everyone at MAG around the world, thanks so much for all the support – it’s truly incredible that the bike rides have now raised a staggering £1million since 2015
To find out more about MAG please visit:

Dr.Oetker Professional launches new professional standard chocolate chips #

The UK’s leading food service baking and pizza brand, Dr. Oetker Professional, extends its baking collection, with the launch of its brand-new Dr. Oetker Professional Chocolate Chips. 

The perfect addition for a business’s baking supplies, these bake stable chocolate chips are specifically formulated for use within cakes and desserts. 

Targeting a key gap in the market, Dr. Oetker Professional recognised that whilst there are many types of compound or real chocolate chips already on the market, they are primarily focused on their melting properties as opposed to being used as an inclusion within cakes and desserts. Many out of home operators are now adding premium desserts to their menus and these new real chocolate chips play a key role in adding indulgence to a chocolatey dessert. 

Available in Dark, Milk and White and created using real chocolate, whether its 50% cocoa for the dark or 25% cocoa for the milk, these tasty chocolate chips are developed to hold their shape when baked, making them the perfect ingredient for cookies, brownies, muffins and more. 

Contrasting to other chocolate chips currently available on the Professional market, which are created for melting rather than maintaining a solid chocolate drop form, this new offering from Dr. Oetker Professional offers a tasty chocolate chip in every bite, regardless of the recipe they are added to. 

Whilst the Milk and White are suitable for vegetarians and the Dark is vegan, they are all fully Rainforest Alliance Certified and these chips come in a recyclable packaging, reinforcing Dr. Oetker’s dedication to ethically and sustainably sourced products and packaging. 

Dr. Oetker Professional Chocolate Chips (MRRP: £9.99) will be available in Bidfood & Brakes from 24th March. Available in Milk, Dark and White, 750g x 10. 

Richard Cooper, Senior Brand Manager at Dr. Oetker Professional said: “As the newest addition to our baking category, these new professional chocolate chips are sure to be a big hit with food service baking businesses and their customers. 

“The fact that they’re made from real chocolate, as opposed to a compound, offers businesses a simple way to add chocolate to their bakes without melting. 

“With our already extensive out of home baking offering there is something for all businesses who create their own baked goods to utilise and we can’t wait for our baking partners to try these new choc chips for themselves

For more information on how to get this new product for your business, please visit the Dr. Oetker Professional website.

Company of Cooks and Venues by CH&CO merge under re-imagined Company of Cooks brand #

Company of Cooks has merged with Venues by CH&CO. The two successful CH&CO leisure catering and hospitality businesses have been brought together under the Company of Cooks brand to create a £70million business boasting a portfolio of 30 renowned venues and destinations.

Company of Cooks now offers specialism in catering and hospitality for the visitor attraction and cultural sectors, and catering, event and sales expertise for venues. The Royal Opera House, Royal Academy of Arts, Southbank Centre, RSA House, Old Royal Naval College, Royal College of Physicians, Historic Royal Palaces and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are just some of the famous and well-loved names in the Company of Cooks’ impressive collection.

eve – CH&CO’s full-service venue and events solution – will be the sales platform for Company of Cooks, giving eve customers access to an even broader portfolio of venues.

The merger has brought about a reimagining of the Company of Cooks brand to reflect the values and approach of the new business, putting craft, creativity and community at the centre of every action and interaction made by the team.

Craft reflects the handmade techniques used to create exceptional food, drink and service experiences. Creativity captures the attention to detail and new and exciting ways innovation is applied at all touchpoints, from the food on the plate to design and architecture. Finally, community brings together Company of Cooks’ sustainability commitments and the duty of care it has for the people it works with, the places it works in, and for the planet.

The Company of Cook’s food agenda focuses on quality, local and seasonal produce. For example, its London Larder that champions local produce and suppliers will play an important role in menu development, only MSC certified fish, British cheese and British meat will be served, and a commitment has been made to nil by airfreight.

Exquisite food is perfectly complemented by exceptional service and to ensure the front-of-house team can consistently deliver the Company of Cooks ‘house style’, the Company of Cooks Service School will launch in the second quarter of 2023. This extensive training programme will give team members the skills and confidence for service excellence, whilst also creating development opportunities.

Rob Fredrickson, Managing Director, Company of Cooks, said: “The bringing together of Company of Cooks and Venues by CH&CO makes perfect sense. Both businesses have a reputation for brilliant food, drink and service and uniting them is the obvious next step in creating a leisure catering and hospitality brand that reflects our shared focus and strong values. Uniting the team and reimagining the brand has been incredibly exciting. Our teams are enthusiastic, professional yet personal, with an amazing eye for detail. We look forward to delighting our clients and customers across our portfolio of wonderful venues.”

Jamie Davison appointed to Retail Director at Bestway #

Bestway has announced the appointment of Jamie Davison to the role of Retail Director.  Jamie will lead Bestway’s Central Retail Operations Team, Symbol Team, Franchise Team as well as overall accountability for the New Business and Store Development Teams.

The appointment to promote Jamie to this role is a mark of the commitment and values Bestway has to develop their internal talent team.  

Davison will be replacing Mike Hollis, who in turn is relocating to Australia, and who has been an integral member of the Bestway’ Executive Team since the company acquired Costcutter (Costcutter Supermarkets Group) in early 2021. 

Davison will be transitioning into the role as Hollis hands over prior to his departure and will formally joining Bestway’s Executive Team on the 1st July 2023.

Davison joined the Costcutter business 28 years ago, progressing through the business from merchandiser to ultimately be part of the Costcutter’ Board leading the Field Team and Central Support Team. Since 2020 he has been focused on new business and the store development side of the organisation and additionally has also owned and operated his own convenience store bringing invaluable knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing retailers.

Speaking of the appointment, Managing Director for Bestway Wholesale, Dawood Pervez said:

Firstly, I would like to thank Mike for his exceptional dedication and contribution to the business.  He joined us alongside the acquisition of Costcutter, where he had been leading the retail teams since 2018.  He brought us immense experience from his impressive career spanning 36 years in retail, across senior roles in Australia, Southeast Asia and the UK. 

“Mike has delivered excellent leadership over the last 2 years, and I would also like to thank him for developing the next generation of leaders in Bestway Retail.

“We are delighted that Jamie is stepping into his shoes as he also has immense experience within retail and proven efficacy and understanding within our business.  Jamie has demonstrated his ability to work strategically and will be highly important to accelerate our positive momentum and continue our growth trajectory.  We will be strengthening Jamie’s leadership team in the months ahead and look forward to making further announcements in due course

I am also pleased to announce that Naser Khan will take over accountability and Clive Binks Head of Corporate Stores will move to report into him as from Monday 27th March. 

“I am confident that as Mike hands over during the coming months and Naser and Jamie take up their new accountabilities, we are in an excellent position to build on our success. I am excited and confident about what the future will bring for our colleagues, customers and for the communities we serve as we continue to grow

These moves follow a strong start to the year for our stores, with the business reporting its strongest results for 2022.

Man City players connect over a NESCAFÉ coffee on International Day of Happiness #

To mark International Day of Happiness, NESCAFÉ and Manchester City have today released a video of men’s first team players Ilkay Gundogan, Nathan Ake and Rodri connecting over coffee as part of the ‘Make Chat Work’ campaign.

Recent NESCAFÉ research reveals that coffee breaks are not just a ‘nice to have’, but an important part of the day for employees, particularly those experiencing feelings of loneliness. The leading coffee brand launched the Make Chat work campaign to improve workplace wellbeing and, in the content released today, the Man City players tell us how coffee breaks help to bring the team together.

With more than 240,000 cups of coffee consumed across the Etihad Stadium during the partnership, the globally loved beverage is an important connector within Manchester City, with both the men’s and women’s teams bonding over their shared love of the beverage – midfielder Bernardo Silva even brings Riyad Mahrez a coffee before every game!

Explaining how coffee helps them connect as a team, City captain Ilkay Gundogan says, “Sometimes you’re at a coffee station – you’re making yourself an espresso, you have different people coming up, people from the coaching staff, you have a quick chat, so it can help.”

Nadia Roberts, Brand Manager at NESCAFÉ, said: “Coffee is an internationally renowned beverage, enjoyed in different ways by people from all over the world. Given its potential to unite people from different countries and backgrounds, we wanted to leverage our successful relationship with Manchester City to highlight the importance of bringing teams together over a coffee on International Day of Happiness.

We also realise, however, that the day has a more profound meaning, around the importance of happiness for our own personal wellbeing. And after learning about the value of a coffee break, in particular for employees who are feeling isolated, we’re keen to equip businesses with useful resources and information, so they can give their teams the support and connection they need to thrive.

For further information on the NESCAFÉ Make Chat Work campaign or to download the free Make Chat Work Guide visit

Compass Group UK & Ireland reaffirms support to armed forces community at Armed Forces Covenant re-signing #

Robin Mills, Managing Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland and the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Ben Key KCB CBE, Royal Navy co-signed the Armed Forces Covenant at a celebratory event held at The Oval, to mark the company’s ongoing support to the Armed Forces community.
Compass has already held the Gold Employer Recognition Scheme award for 5 years for its work in this area, having signed the covenant as the 1000th signatory in 2016 and being awarded gold in 2018. The business has expanded their pledges over this time to widen support to military spouses and partners (with the introduction of a specific policy) and Compass military dependants (introducing a series of dependants’ days for military families).
Attendees at the re-signing event included the Defence Relationship Management Team, as well as senior members of Compass leadership team, alongside some of the company’s veterans, reservists, spouses and cadet force adult volunteers from across the business.
It is estimated that over 1000 of Compass’ employees are part of the Armed Forces community and this number continues to grow. Additionally, the business also directly supports members of the Armed Forces community through its work in its defence business, ESS, at over 250 sites across the country.
As a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant, the updated pledges the company has made include:
Spouses – enhanced support through the commitment to endeavour to redeploy military spouses to an alternative role internally on notification of posting; providing an additional day leave to support with pre-post deployments

Military Families – introduction of military dependant’s days – working in partnership with clients providing families with days out at high profile venues

Recruitment of veterans – enhancing support for those leaving the military, through access to webinars, guidance and work placements
Ongoing support to its Reservists through the provision of 10 days leave to support with the training

Widening partnerships with key military charities and recruitment partners – Forces Families Jobs, Career Transition Partnership, Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, Naval Families Federation, The White Ensign and SSAFA 

Commenting on the re-signing Robin Mills, Managing Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland said:

Supporting our employees who are part of the Armed Forces community is a real honour and we are proud to have so many veterans, reservists, cadets and spouses in our business. I am delighted that we have re-signed the Armed Forces Covenant today, which sees us strengthen our commitments to the Armed Forces community both within and outside of our business.”
Admiral Sir Ben Key KCB CBE, Royal Navy added:

Thank you to Compass for all that you do for the serving community. It has been a real privilege to be here today and I am delighted to see that Compass is not only continuing to support the Armed Forces Covenant but increasing its commitment even further.

Foodbuy announce retention of NHS Supply Chain food category #

Foodbuy - a leading food and beverage procurement company, has retained a major contract with NHS Supply Chain. The contract will commence in July 2023, and we will be responsible for providing the central resource for food procurement across the NHS.

The contract was awarded to Foodbuy as part of the NHS Supply Chain ‘Operating Model implementation’ programme which sets out the design of a new NHS Supply Chain service as it looks to deliver greater value for the NHS.

Since 2018, Foodbuy has been responsible as Category Tower Provider for food for NHS Supply Chain with a dedicated team operating under the NHS Supply Chain: Food. During this time, we have optimised its supply base and leveraged the scale and purchasing power of the NHS to deliver quality products and added services. Since our partnership began, we have delivered over £10 million in savings for the NHS.

In 2020, the Chef’s Academy was established by our culinary experts, Nick Vadis and Stephen England, on behalf of NHS Supply Chain: Food after recognising a gap in training and resources for NHS chefs. The award-winning Chef’s Academy has helped develop the skills and culinary knowledge of chefs, offering an opportunity to feel a sense of community and pride within their roles, and acting as a way of attracting and retaining staff through continued professional development.

Food is an important aspect of patient recovery and wellbeing, and we’re proud to play a part in helping the NHS procure fresh, high-quality ingredients as well as deliver savings which all goes back into the NHS to fund hospitals where they need it.

Karl Atkins, Managing Director of Foodbuy commented:

I am delighted that Foodbuy have been awarded the NHS Supply Chain: Food contract, this is a significant retention for us, and we are proud of what we have delivered during our first five-year term. The contract was won based on our passion for healthy, nutritious, and sustainable food in the NHS and our ambition to build on the strong base we have developed so far ensuring that patients, visitors, and staff remain at the heart of all our decisions.

We are excited to continue the award-winning Chef’s Academy program, offering training to develop skills and culinary knowledge which to date has seen 200 chefs take part. We are looking forward to supporting the NHS Supply Chain as they implement their new Operating Model, and we are dedicated to continuing to bring insight, innovation and great value to the NHS moving forward

How are independent convenience stores competing? #

New research from TWC, in collaboration with The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) has shown that independent c-stores are aligned to the convenience multiples on base pricing, but deep discount loyalty card promotions are making it increasingly difficult for the indies to compete on price.

Audits conducted by TWC show that prices have increased by +11% in independents, +13% in Tesco Express and +17% in Tesco Supermarkets in January 2023 vs. November 2021 (based on a list of more than 70 products sold in all 3 outlets). The price differential between the independents and Tesco Express has fallen because prices have risen more at the multiples, and at the time of the audit in January 2023, there was price parity between the two.

However, Tesco are using their ‘Clubcard Prices’ within their convenience format to offer discounts of up to 35%, making it hard for independent convenience stores to compete with the multiples on price.

Independent retailers are not resting on their laurels, they are fighting for their share of local trade and pulling a number of levers to do this. Phone interviews with 150 independent and symbol retailers revealed that 93% were trying to offer superior customer service and 89% were supporting local charities and initiatives. Many are also trying to compete on price, whether that’s by offering a wider range of cheaper products (78%), more Own Label (65%) or price matching vs. the competition (39%).

Tom Fender, Development Director at TWC said:

We have a hypothesis at TWC that independent retailers believe the PMP is the promoted price. Base pricing in our audit shows that PMPs are working to create a parity on price, however encouraging tactical promotional activity as well could be a big win for the retailers who are not already doing this.”

“Promotions can encourage a number of behaviours – from driving footfall; increasing spend once shoppers are in store; trialling categories they didn’t intend to purchase; and encouraging trade up to better and best tiers.”

“Our research evidences who is shopping in the independent convenience channel and it is not necessarily driven by cheapest on display – the shopper is NOT lower affluence and therefore these stores do not need to be the cheapest all of the time. Indeed, the most cash strapped consumers may well be avoiding the convenience channel altogether in favour of the discounters. We also know that households shopping at these stores are likely to be time pressed. We believe there must be a strong EDLP offer to drive loyalty and encourage shoppers to visit habitually, together with tactical promotions with clear objectives

More detail about the research, conducted on behalf of the FWD, can be found here:

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust renews its partnership with Sodexo to 2027 #

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust has extended Sodexo Health & Care’s catering and soft FM services contract for a further four years to 2027.  

The new contract starts in October 2023 and is worth in excess of £240 million. Sodexo’s 1,900 employees will continue to deliver services at Wythenshawe Hospital as well as the Trust’s Oxford Road Campus (ORC) which includes Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, University Dental Hospital of Manchester, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, and Saint Mary’s Hospital for Women and Neonates.  

Services include, patient dining, retail catering, portering, domestic services, receipt and distribution, helpdesk and transport. 

As part of the new contract Sodexo will be introducing a number of infection prevention initiatives including the introduction of SureWash hand hygiene training technology, a system that can teach and assess hand hygiene technique and deliver Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) education as well as black light testing to aid in detecting hidden pathogens on surfaces such as walls, furniture and high-touch areas. 

Sodexo has operated at Wythenshawe Hospital since 1999 and the Oxford Road Campus since 2008.   

On all sites, Sodexo manages a number of food outlets including Subway, Costa and Starbucks and will continue to deliver its Kithen Works by Sodexo offer at the staff and visitor restaurants at both sites.  

Philip Leigh, CEO of Sodexo Health & Care UK & Ireland, said: “Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust is a long-standing partner and we are delighted to continue our partnership for a further four years. The health, safety and wellbeing of those we serve and our own people is always a top priority and we are looking forward to introducing new solutions that will help improve patient outcomes and the employee experience of all those working in the hospitals.”  

Rob Jepson, Group Director of Estates and Facilities for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is our vision for our hospitals to be the best place for patient quality and experience and the best place to work and we rely on our partners such as Sodexo to deliver this.  Sodexo has been a valued partner for many years and we are confident their dedicated team will support us in our vision and we look forward to working in partnership for another four years.”

UK Foodservice Delivery Market Set to Reach £14.4 Billion in 2023 #

The UK foodservice delivery market is expected to reach a total value of £14.4 billion in 2023, according to Lumina Intelligence's recently released Foodservice Delivery Report 2023. The market is projected to grow by +7.8% in 2023, driven by wide-reaching investment in delivery services, including the development of aggregator platforms, optimization of brand sites and prominent marketing activity.

Whilst high inflation and increases in fees will contribute to the market's growth, the report highlights that volumes may suffer as cost-conscious consumers reduce market penetration and frequency in 2023. In fact, 57% of those not ordering delivery are doing so to save money. As such, value scrutiny is a crucial consideration in 2023, and delivery operators must prioritize value messaging, reward schemes, and subscription models to attract and retain cost-conscious consumers.

The report also indicates that most market channels are continuing to grow share as the market matures and becomes more segmented. Channels including restaurants, fast food, coffee shops/sandwiches, bakeries and pubs are seeing delivery command a higher share of revenue as availability increases and demand endures.

Moreover, the report highlights that wider availability on the supply side has been met with increased consumer demand, as dinner now accounts for less than two in three delivery occasions. Breakfast, lunch, and drink-only occasions increase share year-on-year, with coffee emerging as a key opportunity. With a wider variety of delivery players contributing to growth at different day-parts, the market's future growth will hinge on consumers moving away from treat-led ordering to habitual spending.

Consistent growth at a CAGR of +5.3% from 2023 to 2026 is forecast to see the market reach a total value of £17.0 billion in 2026. The report suggests that the market is expected to continue its pre-pandemic trend of total eating out market share growth, as operators continue to invest in delivery propositions as a revenue stream. Further technological advancements will provide increased efficiencies for aggregators and operators alike, with current efficiencies including stacking.

The UK foodservice delivery market is set to reach £14.4 billion in 2023, driven by wide-reaching investment in delivery services, but delivery operators must prioritize value messaging, reward schemes, and subscription models to maintain growth and attract cost-conscious consumers,” commented Senior Insight Manager Katherine Prowse.

John Cudmore wins Aramark UK’s Chef of the Year 2023 #

After a day of outstanding culinary performances and fantastic food, Head Chef John Cudmore was announced as the winner of Aramark UK’s Chef of the Year 2023. The annual competition which recognises the exceptional culinary talent within Aramark across the UK, saw seven Aramark chefs compete for the prestigious prize through a series of cooking challenges.
The final took place across two days from 21st to 22nd February in Aramark’s Development Kitchen at Farnborough Headquarters. The competition featured a day of delicious meals and exceptionally high levels of culinary talent, where the independently chosen national finalists were invited to create a two-course meal.
Aramark Head Chef, John Cudmore, was acknowledged as the winner after impressing the judging panel with his outstanding dishes. For his main course, John created a delicious beetroot sea trout brandade with sweet pepper chilli coulis which was followed by caramelised rum pineapple, kiwi lime caviar and marshmallow sabayon for dessert.
Second place was awarded to Liam Davidson who is Chef Manager at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Both John and Liam were rewarded for demonstrating an outstanding understanding of texture, flavour, layers, and colour to deliver culinary excellence.
John and Liam will travel to Chile, South America to represent Aramark UK at the Aramark International Chefs Cup in April. This competition is open to chefs who are currently employed by Aramark Corporate Catering services, who are the organisers of the competition.  
Speaking about the competition, Paul Bloxham, Culinary Director, Aramark UK commented: “The Aramark Chef of the Year competition celebrates much more than fantastic food- it demonstrates the amazing capabilities of our colleagues. I am so proud that we are able to gather together as an organisation and share these experiences. I want to congratulate John and Liam and all the other finalists on their amazing creations.”
Following the announcement, winner of Aramark UK Chef of the Year John Cudmore commented: “I am honoured to have been awarded the title Aramark UK Chef of the Year 2023. As a chef, I am always looking for opportunities to be creative and I would like to thank the team at Aramark UK and Paul Bloxham for coordinating such an amazing event. Congratulations to all involved in this wonderful day of food showmanship. I'm looking forward to the next step of the competition!

Haven Holidays appoints new PR Agency Speed Communications to deliver creative brand awareness campaigns #

Speed Communications has been appointed as the partner PR agency for Haven Holidays to deliver consumer campaigns for the much-loved UK holiday provider.  Following an extensive pitch process, Speed has been tasked with kickstarting a proactive consumer PR programme to engage target audiences, drive consideration and generate bookings. Speed’s work on the account will draw on its experience of supporting brands that enrich family life, delivering impact and PR with power for consumer and lifestyle brands.
Having just opened its doors for the 2023 season, Haven have now added exciting new activities and facilities for holidaymakers to enjoy. This enhances Haven’s existing infrastructure, which has strengthened local economies and supported the growing demand for staycations in the UK since 1964.

Speed’s experience in travel and engagement of family audiences coupled with the team’s energy, creativity and determination resulted in the win.
Kelly Pepworth, Managing Director at Speed Communications, said: “Everyone has heard of Haven Holidays and we’re so excited to work with the team to invigorate the proactive PR approach. Our long-standing consumer PR division is well equipped to help build Haven’s profile as a leading UK holiday destination.”
Sarah Chapman, Chief Customer Officer at Haven, said: “Speed has already shown its value as a hands-on PR agency, by delivering results and always offering creative solutions. Haven is inspired by Speed’s insight and recommendations, leading into an exciting 2023.
Speed has a long history of building innovative brands through creative consumer PR activity, alongside a track record of successfully engaging audiences in innovative ways.
For more information on Speed Communications and its award-winning campaigns, please visit:

Adam Smith named Sodexo Chef of the Year 2023 #

Hospitality chef Adam Smith has been named Sodexo Chef of the Year 2023 following a live cook-off at Hotel, Restaurant, and Catering (HRC) event held at ExCel London.  

On 20 March, Adam Smith a hospitality chef for Independents by Sodexo competed in the final of the annual chef of the year competition which saw eight of Sodexo’s finest chefs go head to head in a nail-biting 90 minute live cook off final.  

The competition once again concentrated on sustainable eating with chefs tasked to create three dishes each with a different criteria, one vegetarian/vegan dish using two or more ingredients from Future 50 Foods; a main dish comprising British/Irish chicken suitable for a chef’s special or brasserie style and a classic fruit crumble with a twist using fresh rhubarb. The chefs we also tasked with creating their dishes with the minimal amount of food wasted.  

Adam’s winning dishes were: 

Hawaij spiced cauliflower, pickled red cabbage, red lentil dahl, smoked paprika onion fritter 

Beer-glazed chicken breast, confit onion chicken ragu, smoked garlic mash, sweetcorn puree, charred hispi cabbage 

Custard tart, rhubarb compote, caramelised white chocolate crumble, rhubarb sorbet  

Adam’s prize includes an all expenses trip to Venice courtesy of sponsors UNOX and an exclusive fine dining experience in London courtesy of sponsors Lockhart.  

The two runner ups were Anthony Dye and Ashley Bax, both chefs in Sodexo’s Corporate Services business. Ashley was also awarded the safety award for demonstrating safe working practices.  

In preparation for the event, finalists attended a mentor day where the team of judges got a first look at the finalists’ dishes and provided constructive feedback for the finalists to take away and use for the live cook off. The day is a great chance for competitors to practice and familiarise themselves with the logistics and equipment required as well as working in a kitchen they're not used to.  

The competition judges included top culinary names: Steve Scuffell; Martyn Nail; Henry Bosi; Adam Smith (Coworth Park, Ascot); Paul Gayler; Yolanda Stanley and Sarah Hartnett.  

The other finalists were:  

David Barnett, Schools & Universities, Scotland 

Jessie Thomas, Corporate Services 

Ross Hamilton, Government, Scotland 

Colin Smith, Sodexo Live! 

Gordon Carberry, Corporate Services  

All eight finalists received a year’s membership to the Craft Guild of Chefs in addition to a special finalists’ chef jacket and certificate.   

David Mulcahy, Food Innovation & Sustainability Director at Sodexo UK and Ireland, said:   

Every year our chefs put their all into the competition and we want to thank them all for the time and effort they took to enter. Judging all the entries is always difficult when you have such a high calibre of chefs across the business.  The eight finalists did exceptionally well to reach the final and they all excelled on the day.   
“The pressure of a live cook off at an industry event where they have to perform at their best in front of not only some highly skilled and successful chef judges but in front of their peers too is something that will put them in good stead for future competitions as well as their day-to-day jobs. We are proud of all our finalists but huge congratulations to Adam for taking the title of Sodexo of the Year 2023.

The Sodexo Chef of the Year 2023 competition was kindly supported by UNOX, Lockhart and the Craft Guild of Chefs. 

KAM unveils hidden value of mid-week sport #

As the UEFA Champions league kicks off again, new research from KAM, in partnership with BT Sport, has found that showing live sport can be a more important driver of footfall for pubs during weekdays than at weekends.
The research showed that 43% of sports fans say watching live sport is the main reason they go to a pub mid-week whereas at the weekend there are many other factors at play. Although still a significant reason to visit, with 35% saying live sport was the biggest driver at the weekend. 92% of sports fans said that showing live sport during the week positively influences their visit frequency to a pub.

Katy Moses, Founder/MD KAM: “Midweek trading has made the headlines recently, as operators explore options to reduce opening hours and therefore associated costs, and understandably so. But If operators are looking at ways to pull people off their sofas and into venues in the week, then the opportunities to attract sport fans and associated spend during traditionally quiet mid-week times is huge. The research highlights that showing mid-week live sport should be looked at as a vehicle for driving true incrementality and also loyalty.”

Phillip Thorley Director of Thorley Taverns: “Sport during the week gives customers a reason to come out and visit. It gives our customers a compelling reason definitely helps.”

Alasdair Collis, Director of Commercial Customers, BT Sport said “In tough economic times every penny spent counts. The more insight we have and that we can offer into consumer behaviour, the better we are able to help our customers keep the drinks coming and the tills ringing. This report illustrates just how key live sport is to driving footfall and incremental spend for pubs during what can be, quieter midweek evenings.”

The KAM research suggests these mid-week visits aren’t cannibalising weekend visits either – that they are additional visits as opposed to the repurposing of social spend, with 74% saying visiting the pub for sport midweek doesn’t affect visits at other times during the week. And sport fans are very valuable customers, 85% said they spend more on drinks in pubs when watching sport.

Research shows midweek sports drives footfall into venues in both city centre and local settings particularly following the increase in numbers of people working remotely. 85% of office workers said live sport influences the time they spend in town/city centre pubs as it attracts them to visit as part of the after-work occasion and 91% said the same for local/community pubs as an opportunity to get out the house after working from home.

Showing live sport can also play a part in driving loyalty and repeat visits; 73% of respondents said if they have a positive experience watching sport in a pub then they are likely to re-visit for non-sport occasions. 75% said they’d stop going to their local if it stopped showing sport.

The research suggests that football is by far the biggest footfall driving sport to pubs, of those who watch sport in a pub, 89% do so to watch football. Rugby is the second most popular at 32%. 62% say they support a 'Big 6' football team hence why the Premier League and UEFA competitions are key to attracting fans.

Matt Jagger, Marketing & Guest Experience Manager, Punch Pubs: “Sport is one of our key drivers as part of our rhythm of the week. Premier League football is a really big draw to our pubs, and outperforms other major sporting competitions, including international tournaments like The World Cup & The Euros. Add to that the midweek fixtures in The Champions League & Europa League, and there is almost wall to wall sports for fans to enjoy in the comfort of their local.”

Katy Moses, Founder/MD, KAM: “It’s not news that the hospitality sector is facing unprecedented challenges from all angles at the moment, but despite pressures on the bottom line there is a great opportunity to look to grow the top line. With sport driving additional custom over the season as well as the halo effect of repeat visits and loyalty, live sport can be a game changer for many pubs, especially during the quieter mid-week days.”

The full whitepaper can be downloaded here:

Sodexo encourages employees to get on their bikes with enhanced cycle to work scheme #

Sodexo is celebrating the first day of spring 2023 with news that it has increased the amount eligible employees can apply for in its Cycle to Work salary sacrifice scheme to £3,000 to help them buy a new bike, accessories and safety equipment tax-free. 

As the weather improves, Sodexo is keen to encourage its employees to get on their bikes and boost their health and wellbeing by cycling to work. 

Cycling to work not only provides regular exercise, it is often a faster, cheaper and greener way to travel. 

Sodexo has been offering its employees a salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme for a number of years and recently took the decision to enhance the benefit by increasing the allowance from £1,000 to £3,000 to encourage more to get on their bikes. 

To date 1,888 applications have been made to the scheme. With the increased financial support, Sodexo hopes to see more of its people take up cycling.

Mark Goodyer, HR director, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “The first day of spring is a great time to start thinking about cycling to work, as the weather starts to improve the flowers and trees start blooming and bird song increases. Not only is it good for your physical and mental health but it also reduces other costs such as public transport, fuel, parking as well as gym membership. Not to mention the time you'll save from not having to wait for buses, trams or trains or rush hour traffic or roadworks.

“Cycling has minimal impact on the environment too so by encouraging as many people as we can to get on their bikes, we will be helping to protect our planet from harmful emissions

For those who already own a bike the scheme can be used to purchase accessories and safety equipment only. They can also donate their bike to Sodexo’s provider which collects unwanted bikes to send to Africa to provide a lifeline to people living in rural communities, enabling them to travel to work, school and to carry goods to sell.

One Retail’s M&S at King’s College Hospital first to secure M&S Academy Status #

In recognition of the exceptional work of the M&S franchise team at King’s College Hospital, operated by One Retail, a division of Compass Group UK&I, M&S has announced the site has been selected as its first Academy site. The first Franchise Academy outside of M&S high street stores.
Academy site status, means that M&S King’s College Hospital will become a regional centre for learning, supporting inductions, training and development for other M&S franchisee employees. The site is identified as the “Best in Town” and used to demonstrate the processes and practices that others should be following – with a focus on the digital environment centred around the customer. The delivery of daily excellence and standards, along with service is critical, as well as the ability to foster a culture of innovation and inclusion.
The M&S King’s College Hospital will be the role model for all surrounding stores. Additionally, it will road test processes and new initiatives before wider roll out. The onsite team will also benefit from additional training.
M&S is rolling out its Academy programme over the coming months. The M&S site at King’s College Hospital was selected out of 480 stores across the country and Compass’ Royal Derby team now has the status at the M&S store on site too.
M&S approached One Retail, as its leading partner in M&S stores. The business already has a proven track record in achieving great results and training above all other Brand partners, making Compass M&S stores the perfect partner to deliver this new programme.
Commenting on the Academy accreditation, Andy Jones, Managing Director, One Retail said: “It’s a huge honour for our King’s College Team to be the first of the M&S Academy Accreditation Programme, shortly followed by Royal Derby. We are really proud to be a M&S partner and delighted that our teams are going to be the role model for the wider M&S franchisees.

jellybean Soars to New Heights for DEBRA UK #

Leading food and drink agency jellybean is soaring to new heights to help raise money for DEBRA UK.
DEBRA UK provides essential patient support for people living with the rare, and extremely painful, genetic skin blistering condition, Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), also known as ‘Butterfly Skin’.
Supporting the pioneering charity’s £5m ‘A Life Free of Pain’ appeal, jellybean has set a fundraising goal of £2,000, with employees Abi Fraser and Liv Martin bravely participating in a thrilling wing walk this June. The ‘Flight to Fight EB’ will see the volunteers amount a plane, ascend into the sky and soar at speeds of up to 120mph.
Speaking about jellybean’s latest fundraising initiative, Managing Director Susan Wickes said;

jellybean has been a supporter of Debra UK for more than a decade. Their vital work raises awareness of a very painful condition and provides crucial support to those who need life changing treatment. We’re very proud of Abi and Liv, who are doing it for the brave hearted people living through EB. With the help of our network we hope to hit our fundraising target between now and the summer.”
The ‘Flight to Fight EB’ will take off on Sunday 11th June 2023 at Headcorn Airfield, Shenley Road, Kent, TN27 9HX, everyone is welcome to join jellybean and cheer on Abi and Liv. 
To help jellybean raise £2,000 for DEBRA UK, please donate to the agency’s Just Giving Page
DEBRA UK is a national charity that is advocating to stop the pain of EB. As of this year they have launched ‘A Life Free of Pain’ appeal that aims to raise £5m by the end of 2023 and will help to fund the life changing treatments to enable those with EB to live a life free of pain. In addition to their valiant fundraising efforts, DEBRA UK has also set out to raise awareness of this relatively unknown and indiscriminate skin disorder. In the latest YouGov study, only 7% of the UK population were aware of Epidermolysis Bullosa/EB and only 15% aware of DEBRA.  
To learn more about DEBRA UK visit

Feel Good this national nutrition month with The Good Baker Pizzas #

March marks National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign focusing on the importance of making more informed choices towards a balance diet and better physical health.Making healthier choices doesn’t have to be tasteless, and with Dr. Oetker’s The Good Baker range, you can enjoy the great taste of pizza and still feel good! The range comprises of three feel-good varieties; choose from the Meat-Free Chicken Style, the Veggie Mix or the Vegan Spinach and Pumpkin Seed Pizza. 

Each mouth-watering pizza is a source of protein or fibre, with no artificial flavours and no added sugar*. They additionally include long fermented, stretched and stonebaked crusts made from different types of flour, grains, seeds or sourdough. What’s more, the ingredients include a variety of colourful vegetables, plant-based proteins, sea salt, olive oil and of course cheese, or a vegan cheese alternative.

The Good Baker also helps to make the planet smile; the packaging is eco-friendly; with the cardboard box itself being made from 100% recycled material, and certified by FSC®, 

Paula Wyatt, Head of Marketing at Dr. Oetker commented: “There are so many healthier alternatives to the foods we love, meaning we don’t have to compromise on the tastes and flavours that make us feel good. 

“With The Good Baker brand, we are proud to provide people with the option to make a healthier choice with our pizza range

Aramark UK Launches Loch & Larder, Exciting New Food Collective at Eastgate Centre, Inverness #

Aramark UK has recently launched an exciting new food collective, Loch & Larder, at Eastgate Shopping Centre in Inverness. Loch & Larder hosts some of the most innovative food and drink brands Inverness has to offer, while showcasing high quality local produce and creating an inviting, enjoyable atmosphere.
The centrepiece of the new food and beverage offering comes from Scotland’s National Chef, Gary Maclean, with his restaurant, Scottish Kitchen. Gary is a multi-award-winning chef who was crowned Master Chef: The Professionals champion in 2016. At Scottish Kitchen, he will be producing his own twist on traditional Scottish cuisine.
Loch & Larder hosts six delicious food concepts within one area of the centre. In addition to Scottish Kitchen, the collective features:
Cluck, renowned for both tasty buttermilk chicken and vegan options,
SweetNess, a mouth-watering dessert destination,
Inver Mercato, an Italian deli with a variety of pizzas and salads,
Ness n Korma, a modern fusion take on authentic Indian street food,
Fairground Café, who will join the mix when it opens later this month 
At the opening of the collective, Gary Maclean commented: “We are absolutely delighted to be part of the new food collective in the heart of Eastgate. It is with this passion for celebrating Scotland’s larder that I am honoured to partner with Aramark in delivering something truly exceptional at Eastgate. We’re proud to champion homegrown produce and support small and independent suppliers.”
Aramark has partnered with the owners of Eastgate Centre to run the operation in its entirety. The leading service provider was chosen following a competitive tender process. Aramark was awarded the contract thanks to their wealth of experience in the catering industry and the freshness of their concept and ideas.
Commenting on the launch of Loch & Larder, Janet Wigley, Business & Industry Director at Aramark UK noted the importance of the centre. She said: “This is a wonderful and truly innovative development. We look forward to delivering a culinary experience for every lifestyle which will showcase the best of Scottish cuisine. Loch & Larder will become a place to meet, to socialise and, to enjoy fantastic food. We look forward to the food collective becoming a go-to destination for the Inverness community, as it boosts both the local economy and local appetites.” 
Eastgate Centre Manager, Chris Kershaw added: “We are so excited to see our vision for the revamped Inverness Eastgate Shopping Centre food court come to life. Our customers are always at the forefront of our strategy, and we believe the new Loch & Larder food collective will really add to the visitor experience of the centre. The Aramark team really understood what we wanted to achieve and have brought their innovative and creative concepts to the new eating facilities.”
Loch & Larder is open seven days a week at Falcon Gallery, Eastgate Centre, Inverness.

More than three quarters of employers in the hospitality industry set to hire ex-offenders in 2023 #

New research reveals how recruitment challenges are encouraging employers to consider ex-offenders. The findings mark the launch of Sodexo’s new campaign, ‘Starting Fresh’, which will encourage, and provide guidance to businesses on proactively hiring ex-offenders.
65% of hospitality businesses polled said they were struggling to fill job vacancies, with 51% reporting in excess of 10 open roles that need filling in their organisation

Just 18% say they do not believe they currently employ any ex-offenders

As such, hospitality appears to be the sector most open to hiring those with a criminal record with 76% keen to consider ex-offenders, however almost half of those report that while they’re interested, they don’t know where to look. 

Just 18% of UK hospitality businesses (considerably fewer than the UK private sector average of 30%) say they do not currently employ any ex-offenders. This is according to a new study commissioned by Sodexo, the food services and facilities management business which runs six UK prisons on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and Scottish Prison Service.
The study sought to understand the extent to which prison-leavers and ex-offenders who have not served custodial sentences have the same employment opportunities as other job seekers.
Launching the campaign ‘Starting Fresh’ today, the organisation is collaborating with partners including New Futures Network, The Oswin Project, Clean Sheet and Novus Works to help remove the perceived barriers associated with the employment of ex-offenders, which hold back the reintegration of people into communities.
Kate Nicholls OBE, CEO UK Hospitality said: “Most hospitality businesses cannot currently operate at full capacity due to ongoing labour shortages. Collectively, the industry is turning away £25 billion of potential revenue a year, with huge consequences for the Treasury. As such, hospitality employers cannot afford to turn their back on any talent pipeline that could provide vital resource.
“The issue is that employers don’t know how to access at scale the volume of recruits – prison leavers and other ex-offenders - potentially available to them. It’s great, therefore, to see Sodexo launch Starting Fresh which will really help demystify the process.
When it comes to the hospitality industry, as part of this campaign, Sodexo is keen to ensure employers understand the training facilities and qualifications available in some of its prisons. In HMP Peterborough, for example, prisoners are able to train in an Ofsted-checked environment for their City & Guilds Level 1 and Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Food Production & Catering, which is externally assessed.
Sodexo, which itself is a Ban the Box employer, commissioned research of 1,000 owners and senior leaders with hiring responsibilities across British businesses, finding nearly two thirds (61%) will be hiring ex-offenders in 2023, while 21% say they will not.
When asked about their greatest concerns, one quarter (25%) agreed they were worried employees would re-offend, and the same proportion agreed they feared for the safety of the rest of their workforce (25%). More than one in five (23%) agreed that they wouldn’t trust them to behave appropriately at work.
Support on further progress
When respondents were asked what might encourage them to hire ex-offenders, 22% across all industries suggested there should be a government initiative which incentivises businesses (the proportion of hospitality industry respondents who agreed with this matched the national average). Nationally, a fifth (20%) suggested an initiative giving businesses a target for hiring ex-offenders, and 20% said a need to fill crucial skills gaps would force them to look at individuals with criminal records.
According to the UK government, though the proportion of prison-leavers who were employed at six months from their release rose by almost two thirds between April 2021 and March 2022 to 23%, this must improve.
Sodexo is itself committed to filling 5% of appropriate job opportunities with ex-offenders. During 2021 and 2022, the business had 162 DBS applications return as positive, 133 (82%) of these went on to gain employment.
The facilities management and food services company, which employs more than 30,000 people in the UK and Ireland, knows both from its own experience looking after a prison population of over 6,000 people across six prisons, with a commitment to rehabilitation, and as a proactive employer of ex-offenders, how critically important it is for both the individual and the wider community to support those with a criminal history.
Statistically, ex-offenders who get a job are less likely to re-offend, while 81% of consumers believe businesses employing ex-offenders are making a positive contribution to society.
Commenting on the findings and launch of Starting Fresh Tony Simpson, Justice Operations Director at Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “While not all ex-offenders are prison-leavers, an important aspect of this campaign is to help employers understand the quality of learning which takes place in prison. Nearly 50,000 people leave prison every year, many emerging with formal qualifications they didn’t have before.
“Prisoners at the sites we manage are prepared to be job-ready for the opportunities in the outside world, whether that be in IT support, cleaning, catering, hospitality or hairdressing and beauty. It can be a win-win situation because there is a huge skills shortage in many UK sectors, and we believe ex-offenders could absolutely help to plug some of these gaps, while providing a more stable and secure income, and a better future, for the individual.
“It’s positive to see the majority of businesses suggesting that they will employ from this largely untapped talent pool in 2023. Starting Fresh is not just about helping employers understand the valued contribution ex-offenders can make to their business, but to also encourage them to proactively engage with our prisons and our partners to start the hiring process with prison-leavers. We have more to do, and we want to start new conversations about how we share our experience and learn from others as part of this campaign
To help businesses with the employment of ex-offenders, Sodexo has launched Starting Fresh, an online hub with resources for employers seeking to discover the underutilised community of people with criminal backgrounds and support them in the workplace, as well as case studies of what impact this has had on the companies and individuals involved.
Sodexo is also using this campaign to let employers know they are welcome to visit their prisons if they are interested in offering opportunities on release. Organisations with multiple job opportunities can even run employer days in the prisons.

Supporting community retailing… Plunkett announces new partnership with Bestway Wholesale #

he Plunkett Foundation is delighted to announce a new charity partnership with Bestway Wholesale, the UK's largest independently owned national wholesaler of food and beverage goods.

Bestway has pledged to partner with Plunkett in recognition of their shared commitment to supporting rural community retail businesses. Bestway recognises the important role community retail plays in the day to day lives of the customers they serve, and not just by providing fair access to food for all, but also in recognition of the social and wellbeing benefits created.  The partnership will celebrate the far reaching impact of the community business model, while also helping resource Plunkett’s much needed business support service through fundraising activities and by sharing their retail expertise with Plunkett members.

The partnership is being launched at incredibly important time as rural retailers struggle amidst a background of rising food, fuel and energy costs, which is leaving an estimated 1 in 5 community businesses vulnerable to closure or a reduction in service.

Bestway’s support will include participation in a dedicated advisory panel that will allow Plunkett’s members to access expert business advice from Bestway team members, fundraising activities at key events such as the Bestway Retail Development Awards and joint campaigns that celebrate the role retail and hospitality plays in local rural community life.

Harriet English, Head of Engagement at Plunkett said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Bestway, their funding and expertise in the retail sector will offer much needed support to the communities that we support throughout the UK. Bestway have long been advocates of the community retail sector and it is wonderful to formalise their support through this new collaboration

Speaking on behalf of Bestway, Managing Director Dawood Pervez, said:

The value of shopping local within communities has never been evidenced as strongly as in today’s cost of living crisis and we are pleased to be working closely with the Plunkett Foundation in supporting community businesses as they meet ongoing supply chain issues. 

“We have supported the Foundation’s Christmas campaigns in 2021 and 2022 and this new collaboration will include joint promotional campaigns together with access for the Foundation to tap into our retail team’s vast experience to gain valuable advice to help mentor community stores.
“We will also be supporting fundraising activities to support the range of services that Plunkett provides to over 700 communities in the setting up and running of community businesses

The Plunkett Foundation is a national charity that supports communities across the UK to set up and run community businesses – this includes community led shops, where the community has often rallied together to save their village shop from permanent closure. 

What’s new in the kitchen? What’s trending in tableware? The LET Forum has the answers #

Calling all foodservice distributors and specifiers of light equipment and tableware – FEA’s LET Forum is back to reveal the very latest design trends.   The event sees a host of leading suppliers bring their latest concepts and launches for delegates to check out and get their hands on.  It’s the opportunity to experience the shape, feel and performance of things to come in the kitchen, at the bar and on the table. 

In 2022 the big trends included melamine and polycarbonate, organic designs, buffet, and hygiene and safety.  Will they still dominate?  Sustainability was another big driver, and is likely to be even more so this year.  Exhibitors include suppliers and manufacturers of all types of light kitchen equipment, barware, glassware and tableware.  

The event takes place on 15 and 16 May at Whittlebury Hall in Towcester.  Delegate places are free, and include an overnight stay at the hotel, a seat at the LET Awards dinner, plus breakfast and lunch on both days.  Numbers are limited so FEA is encouraging anyone interested to book soon, via (search FEA Light Equipment), or got to, or click here.   

The Forum has become more and more popular over the years, both with delegates and exhibitors,” says Steve Goodliff, chair of FEA’s LET Group.  “It allows dealers and specifiers to cram in a lot of product knowledge in just a day and a half – in terms of time management, it’s a huge bonus for buyers and suppliers.” 

The feedback each year is always very positive.  In 2022, Diane Kinkead of Bunzl Catering Supplies said, “I think it’s a brilliant forum, both for people who are experienced in the industry and those who are new.”

Meanwhile Jo Pethard of United UK LLP described it as ‘enjoyable and educational’, adding, “I am sure we can generate more sales from the knowledge we learnt at the event.

For advice and information on the LET Forum, contact FEA via the website or email 

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 

Sodexo builds on 12-year partnership with Oasis with three year extension #

Sodexo first partnered with Oasis Community Learning over 12 years ago, and today Sodexo’s Food & Co offer - which comprises a modern and fresh menu - provides breakfast, morning break and lunch to 28,000 Oasis pupils, as well as hospitality services. 

The new contract which starts in September 2023 will see the deployment of Sodexo’s digital pre-ordering system, School Food United (SFU), at all Oasis academy schools in time for the 2023-24 academic year. 

Sodexo has also partnered with Rethink Food’s Futures programme to provide Oasis academy pupils with exciting learning opportunities with tower gardens introduced. The soil-free tower gardens enable the children to grow fresh produce from seed to salad in 60 days. 

Tower gardens use aeroponic technology which is the process of growing plants in the air or mist environment without soil or an aggregate medium. Compared to soil gardening, aeroponic technology has been shown to increase yields by as much as 30% and triple the speed of plant growth, while using only 10% of the water and space.  According to Rethink Food, research shows that children who grow their own food are five times more likely to eat it. 

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has always been a key focus for the partnership, in June 2022 Sodexo appointed Elizabeth Axon as social responsibility and engagement manager specifically to help maximise Sodexo’s initiatives across Oasis academy schools.  Read more about the role from Elizabeth:

Initiatives include:

Agents for Change programme which invites pupils to have a say in the school meals provision from menu through to dining hall design 

Carbon menu labelling at secondary academy schools. Sodexo has partnered with Klimato to raise awareness amongst pupils and staff on the impact their food choices have on the planet through CO2 labelling

WasteWatch. Sodexo teams have been using the WasteWatch food waste reduction programme, powered by LeanPath at Oasis schools since April 2021. The amount of food waste reduced has helped prevent almost 80 metric tons of CO2. That is the equivalent to 20,847 meals saved.

Steve Hawkins, managing director, schools, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “We are delighted to continue our long-term partnership with Oasis Community Learning. Together we are committed to working together to ensure pupils enjoy tasty, nutritious school meals every day, and to help raise awareness of not only the importance of a well-balanced diet but how small changes can make a big difference on the impact food has on the planet, whether that is choosing a low-carbon meal or ensuring that food waste is kept to a minimum.

“We have enjoyed engaging Oasis pupils on sustainability issues over the last 12 years and with Elizabeth’s help we will continue to do this and support Oasis on its net zero journey as we too navigate ours

John Barneby, chief operating officer of Oasis Community Learning added, “We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Sodexo. We believe that having access to good, healthy food is important to help our students learn. 

“We have been impressed by Sodexo’s passion for delivering sustainable and nutritious school meal options and are confident that together we can continue to encourage the uptake of school meals whilst educating the next generation about how a change in behaviour or diet can have a positive impact on the planet

Bestway Wholesale donates the equivalent of over 7000 meals to The Felix Project in 2022 #

As part of its ongoing commitment to community outreach, Bestway Wholesale donated over 2941kg of UHT potato plant-based milk – the equivalent to over 7,000 meals - to the Felix Project in 2022, a charity that uses surplus food to help people in poverty and need, living in London.

The Felix Project is London’s largest food redistribution charity; it rescues food that would otherwise have gone to waste and distributes it to around 1,000 community organisations and schools throughout London. They have four depots including Park Royal, close to Bestway Wholesale’s head office.

The meals will help various disadvantaged groups including refugees, the homeless, the elderly, the youth as well as families with children on low incomes, those suffering from addiction and those who are socially isolated.

The UHT potato plant-based milk has been sent to hundreds of charities across London.

Dawood Pervez, Managing Director at Bestway Wholesale said:
We continue to support to this wonderful charity because as we know it will help many other charities across London right in the communities that Bestway serves. Frighteningly, 400,000 children go hungry every day and we need to do everything we can to help make this change.”

Charlotte Hill, CEO at the Felix Project, said: "2022 was a tough year for a lot of the organisations we serve. Many saw demand for their services double and all of them are asking for more food. We hear time and time again how food from The Felix Project is a lifeline and many charities would not be able to do what they do without our help. In turn we could not do it without our suppliers like Bestway, we are hugely grateful for their support. Bestway’s donation has been brilliant for the charities and communities we support.

The Felix Project encourages any organisation with surplus food to get in touch and don't let it go to waste.

Bestway Wholesale donated over 2.69 tonnes of food in 2020 and 70.23 tonnes of food in 2021.

Sodexo first to launch 24/7 automated deli solution for UK Hospitals #

Sodexo has partnered with unattended retail experts, SV365 Technologies, to be the first provider in the UK to offer the ground-breaking automated retail solution, the 24/7 Deli, enabling frontline healthcare workers and visitors access to fresh, nutritious hot and cold food options throughout the day and night. 

The announcement comes in Nutrition and Hydration Week 2023, an annual event to focus energies and create activity and engagement to promote nutrition and hydration as a fundamental element to maintaining health and wellbeing within health and social care. This innovative solution will help to boost staff morale, improve their wellbeing, and ultimately enhance the quality of patient care. 

This new solution available from Sodexo and SV365 Technologies will enable hospitals to meet the nutrition and hydration needs of staff and visitors no matter what time, day or night. A vast array of food and drink will be available providing on demand, fresh smoothies and soups, a healthy hot meal range including curries, paella, jerk chicken, stews, alongside Italian stone baked pizzas, sweet and savoury bakery goods and delicious ice desserts. Dishes include allergen-free, healthy choices, vegetarian and vegan options and can be tailored to suit the site population and particular dietary requirements. 

Simon Lilley, Director of Strategy & Marketing, Health & Care Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “We were honoured to have been part of the working group which developed the new National Healthcare Food & Drink Standards and although the focus is rightly on improving the wellbeing and recovery of patients it is just as important to do the same for those caring for them. 

“As NHS providers work towards achieving the final eight standards, as a strategic partner to many we know how important it is for us to continue to innovate and to provide new and exciting initiatives such as the 24/7 Deli.  Nutrition is a key part of our expertise, and this new automated retail solution will ensure we can play our part every day, by serving a selection of hot and cold food around the clock for frontline teams, visitors and patients. 

“The first 24/7 Deli is expected to go live in a major acute hospital in the coming month

The hot drinks system offered has been developed in partnership with Change Please, a social enterprise which invests all its profits to provide homeless people with housing, training and a living wage. 

SV365 Technologies’ automated retail solution not only enhances customer choice and improves the food options available throughout the day, but it supports the requirement for hospitals to provide 24 hours access to nutritious food and drink as mandated in the new National Healthcare Food & Drink Standards published in November 2022. 

Walter Gill, Co-Founder of SV 365 Technologies, said: “We are thrilled to introduce our latest product, the 24/7 Deli, our first to be rolled out in the healthcare sector in 2023. Over the years we have scoured the world finding the newest, most exciting technologies to deliver the best quality automated food solutions for our partners. Our team has worked tirelessly to ensure that it is the market leader in automated retail technology, providing customers with a convenient and accessible way to purchase fresh food & drinks. The 24/7 Deli provides nutritionally balanced food choices which meet or exceed NHS nutritional standards whilst tasting great.

Sodexo’s Simon Lilley recently spoke to Phil Shelley, Senior Operational & Policy Manager at NHS England and Chair of the Food Review, about the new standards, why they’re important and how they’ll be measured. Watch the interview here:  

Sodexo Health & Care provides some 5.2 million meals a year across 53 hospitals.  It continuously reviews and evolve its offers to support NHS Trusts and other healthcare providers meet the new standards.

Compass Group UK publishes its first ethnicity pay gap report #

Compass Group UK, the UK’s largest food and support services company, has published its first ethnicity pay gap report, as part of a combined gender and ethnic minority pay gap report. The negative ethnicity median pay gap of -7.9% reflects a higher representation of ethnic minorities working in locations and roles which are paid higher wages.  Its median gender pay gap has continued to reduce, from 16.6% to 12.6% - which is lower than the UK national average of 14.9%.
Compass employs approximately 45,000 people across the UK and the report covers all UK entities including Compass Group PLC UK employees. Last year Compass launched “Our Social Promise”, a commitment to support one million people from less advantaged and under-represented backgrounds. The company has set a target to be representative of society* at all levels of the organisation, from a gender, ethnicity and socio-economic perspective by 2030.
The company has put in place a roadmap to help achieve greater equality and improve representation – providing its employees with development tools and progression opportunities, offering the first rung on the ladder to many thousands of people, supporting the communities in which it works, helping the next generation and advocating fairer pay for all.
Some of the programmes which seek to improve equity and inclusion comprise of: investment in D&I programmes, development of talent and enhanced training, mentoring and apprenticeship programmes, graduate schemes and further support for career progression through its industry leading “Career Pathways”. The Group is already seeing some positive impacts from these measures and its recent employee survey indicates that the vast majority of its colleagues believe that they have equal opportunities to develop their career at Compass.
Report highlights include:
Ethnicity median pay gap is -7.9%. This reflects that a higher representation of ethnic minorities are working in locations and roles which are higher paid.
29% of our graduates come from minority backgrounds
20% of apprentices coming from ethnic minority backgrounds 
Representation of women at management levels has increased by 7% since 2019.
The current cohort of graduates is 73% female and apprentices are over 50% female including in culinary (which historically is under-represented)
The median gender pay gap has reduced by a quarter from 16.4% to 12.6%, which is below the national average of 14.9%. In addition, the median bonus gap has dropped by three quarters from 29.4% to 7.1%.  

Robin Mills, Managing Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland said:
Publishing our first ethnicity pay gap report is a positive first step. Transparency and accountability are essential as we seek to increase our representation among our senior management in relation to ethnicity and gender. We are really encouraged by the insights from our first set of ethnicity pay gap data and look forward to measuring our progress going forward. We are also pleased to see the progress we have made in relation to our gender pay and female representation in our senior management teams.
“We are very clear on the actions we need to take to keep increasing representation in relation to ethnicity, gender and socio-economic backgrounds at all levels of our business. We are passionate about providing opportunities for everybody and the food and services industry is ideally placed for people to have fulfilling careers, whatever their background. This report provides a good foundation for us to continue to build upon.