Members’ News

April 2023

Sodexo Live! achieve Gold for Green Meetings standard at Blackburn Rovers FC #

Sodexo Live! the venue partner at some of the UK and Ireland’s most iconic music, cultural and sporting events, has achieved the Green Meetings Gold Award, a new standard for sustainability in meeting and events spaces run by Green Tourism. 

The Sodexo Live! team deliver catering and hospitality at Ewood Park, the home of Blackburn Rovers FC.  The stadium is a versatile space which can be hired for a wide range of events from small business meetings to large corporate dinners for up to 400 guests. 

Sodexo Live! is committed to delivering excellence in food and dining experiences with a keen focus on sustainability. This focus is aligned to Green Meetings with its three pillars central to both organisations; caring for people, places and the planet. 

The Green Meetings’ independent assessors looked at a wide range of criteria from energy, water, and waste through to catering, procurement and travel, as well as awareness, communication and community involvement at Ewood Park. 

Rebecca Kane Burton, CEO Sodexo Live! UK&I said: “We are thrilled to have achieved gold, especially as this is the first time we have applied for the Green Meetings accreditation, so to get top marks is a great accolade. 

“Our team at Ewood Park is committed to delivering the best in food and hospitality for the fans and hospitality guests attending events there.  Our talented chefs develop innovative menus for all our customers using seasonal and local produce as much as they can. We work closely with the football club to support the local community from food bank drives through to fundraising. 

“Achieving gold standard reinforces our commitment to delivering memorable experiences, sustainably. We know how important sustainable excellence is for our venue partners, and this accreditation from Green Meetings is a highly credible endorsement, which allows people to book their event at Ewood Park with confidence

Blackburn Rovers’ Head of Operations, Lynsey Talbot, said: “Blackburn Rovers were thrilled to hear of Sodexo Live!’s Gold standard achievement in the Green Meetings accreditation. The club are working on their own sustainability standards in line with the EFL and it is great to see our partners leading the way in regard to the food and beverage operation.  

“Football can be a real driver in sustainability and environmental awareness and it is important that we lead from the front to preserve our clubs and the settings to which they belong for many years to come.

Feedback from the Green Meetings assessors included: “The team have displayed an excellent understanding of sustainability and awareness of opportunities and challenges associated with running a responsible business. They have demonstrated their commitment to sustainability and green issues throughout the assessment. I know that going forward they will strive not only to retain their gold award but to better their achievement with the same enthusiasm that they have shown with this first assessment.” 

For over 25 years Green Tourism has assessed and accredited the sustainable practices of businesses. In June 2021 it created a new standard specific to meetings and events venues, the Green Meetings standard.

Is it better to reduce pack size or increase price? #

Due to high inflation and the rising cost of doing business right through the supply chain, many suppliers are grappling with the value equation – should they hold their price and reduce the pack size, or is increasing the price an acceptable option?
New research from TWC, conducted in collaboration with the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) suggests that consumers’ preference is to avoid ‘shrinkflation’ and instead increase the price of the pack. In a survey of over 2,000 consumers, more than four in ten (42%) preferred this option, whilst 23% would prefer that the price point is maintained, and the pack size reduced. The remaining 35% said either option was fine, or they didn’t know.
Independent convenience retailers were more divided on their views. Just under half (49%) wanted the price to be maintained, whilst a slightly lower percentage (42%) thought it was better to keep the pack size to be the same, with a higher price point. When it came to price marked packs specifically, 80% of the retailers agreed that their shoppers would still buy PMP’s if suppliers increased the price.
Within independent convenience we also need to consider the issue of the shared margin, with both the wholesaler and the retailer needing a fair margin. An increase in price provides an opportunity to review the shared margin, which needs to reflect the increased cost of doing business right through the supply chain, in order to be sustainable for all parties.
In line with the retailers, the wholesalers approached as part of the project were largely in favour of maintaining price points and reducing the pack size. However one pointed out that “every product and category is different” and therefore there are no hard and fast rules.
Sarah Coleman, Director of Communications at TWC said:
It seems in general the consumer would rather pay a bit more for the same size product – we suspect that consumers have noticed decreasing pack sizes for some time to the point that many products are now disappointing them because they contain so much less than in the past. There is an acceptance that prices are rising across the board and therefore now is a good time to raise prices - within reason.”
“Of course, there will always be a tipping point where a price will become unacceptable to the consumer. With this in mind, we have developed a price elasticity solution using a combination of wholesale, retail and consumer data, given the critical importance of getting the trade price right
More information regarding TWC Consulting price elasticity solution can be found here

Innovation and sustainability thrive despite cost-of-living crisis, says industry leaders #

Industry leaders from wholesale, foodservice, catering and industry came together last week to discuss the cost-of-living crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.   

Talking at the Footprint Sustainability Bites: Cost of Living Crisis - Foodservice & Hospitality podcast, in association with Nestlé Professional, attendees highlighted how industry is collaborating to overcome economic pressures. Plus they agreed sustainability remains important across the industry, and that cost concerns have actually boosted innovation and creativity.  

Hosted by Amy Fetzer, Footprint Head of Research & Analysis, the podcast welcomed Katya Simmons, Managing Director, Nestlé Professional UK&I, Morag Freathy, Managing Director of B&I at Compass, Naz Haq, Head of Corporate Procurement at Bidfood UK, and Nick Attfield, Director of Hospitality & Retail at Adnams. Each provided their unique perspective on how consumers and operators are responding to rising costs and changing market dynamics.   

Explaining how the rising cost-of-living is affecting OOH eating habits, Freathy outlined how the hybrid workforce is changing consumer dining times and spend in the office, and Attfield addressed changing dining behaviours in foodservice and tourism. Haq and Freathy detailed how Bidfood and Compass are both working with customers to mitigate rising ingredient, product and energy prices through providing menu management tools and advice on adapting kitchen operations. Simmons explained how menus are evolving to meet consumer needs for health and sustainability, while continuing to offer quality and value. And attendees provided recommendations on how operators can continue to retain consumers, despite delivering with a reduced cost base.   

In spite of the challenges, podcast members agreed that sustainability continues to play a vital role for businesses, and that changing dynamics and industry pressures have, in fact, led to greater creativity and innovation. Job share and cross training is making employees more adventurous at Compass, according to Freathy, and menu innovation has led to a renewed vigour, according to Adnett,

Even my ‘old guard’ chefs are excited because there’s a new arm, a new element to what they can achieve in their careers.”  

Katya Simmons, MD of Nestlé Professional UK&I, says,  

Often the real action happens during difficult times, and the hospitality industry has been pulling together to overcome the challenges we’ve faced over the last few years.”   

“Fortunately, sustainability remains front of mind, with areas like food waste sitting in the ‘sweet spot’ between sustainable business and improved efficiency. It's fantastic to hear chefs are rising to the challenge, creating exciting new dishes, which check off operator needs for reduced costs while meeting demand for sustainable diets. This is something our development chefs are doubling down on with Nestlé Professional customers. There’s clearly appetite for more ideas and greater creativity in this exciting space!

The podcast has been released online today, and can be downloaded or streamed via: 

Casual Dining Brands Partner with Multiple Delivery Aggregators, Driving Growth in UK Foodservice Delivery Market #

According to the Lumina Intelligence UK Foodservice Delivery market report, the market is set to value £14.4 billion in 2023F, with a growth rate of +7.8%. The growth is underpinned by continued high inflation and increased fees across delivery platforms, as well as operators driving growth through upselling on third party platforms, rolling out further delivery services, and creating virtual and delivery-only brands.

The report also highlights that two in three foodservice channels have increased their share of the delivery market from 2017-2023F. Branded traditional fast food, branded restaurants, and pubs are expected to have led share growth in the market from small bases. Delivery has been crucial to brand strategies, with operators optimising site designs to maximise delivery revenue.

Deliveroo has increased its share of occasions year-on-year, driven by regional growth. Deliveroo’s growth of +1.1ppt to 17.2% has been driven by its new McDonald’s partnership, as well as the utilisation of data collected through its Editions business. Aggregators have increased profitability in 2022 through increasing fees, stacking, and streamlining head office operations.

Furthermore, four in five casual dining delivery brands work with multiple delivery aggregators. The majority of casual dining brands (77%) now offer a delivery service, with 82% partnering with more than one aggregator. As more operators add a delivery service, aggregators are increasing delivery fees and reducing minimum orders to allow for low ticket transactions.

The report concludes that foodservice delivery is set to continue to grow its share of the total eating out market, to 12.8% in 2026F. Channels including fast food, restaurants, coffee shops, and pubs are expected to see higher proportions of revenue coming through the delivery channel. Many growing channels are benefitting from relatively low-ticket offerings and growth opportunities across different day-parts. 

Lexington Catering wins CSR award at Contract Catering Awards #

Lexington Catering is thrilled to have been awarded the CSR award at the Contract Catering Awards, held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel, Tower Bridge, on 27th March 2023.
Lexington is passionate about providing great food and service in a way that is trustworthy and sustainable – from responsible sourcing and reducing waste to redistributing food to those in need and supporting the local communities where it operates.
In recognition of its actions, Lexington has achieved the highest rating from The Sustainable Restaurant Association which defines sustainability for the sector, assesses behaviour, measures actions and celebrates progress.  
Lexington has carried out a range of initiatives to support its sustainable goals such as:

Introduced ‘Green Force Champions’ at every site to champion sustainability
Launched an Eco point scheme to encourage customers to choose low carbon dishes with greener choices resulting in over 200 trees being planted last year
Launched its energy reduction programme to ensure collaboration with clients to gather data to assess the carbon footprint per meal against key metrics which highlight the best practices and behaviours to drive down gas and electricity usage

Partnered with Change Please resulting in over 100 people being lifted out of homelessness; 46 trainees gaining employment and 23 people being employed as baristas at Lexington sites

Introduced Chef’s Eye at all sites to monitor and measure food waste and to identify where menus and food preparation methods can be adapted to reduce food waste

Supported Olio to reduce food waste and redistribute food to those in need, helping to feed 3,400 households across the UK

Partnered with Angry Monk and rescued 648kg of imperfect fruit and vegetables
Introduced its Trashed concept to create meals made out of surplus ingredients
Volunteered at Refettorio Felix – a charity that provides meals to the vulnerable made with 100% surplus ingredients – and prepared and served over 8,000 meals

Worked with New City College, Hackney, to provide training for the unemployed
Partnered with Bottle Up and Water Unite to support clean water projects.Matt Wood, Managing Director of Lexington Catering, said: “We are so proud to have won this award as CSR is critical to how we do business. It supports one of our core values, established when we were founded in 2002, to respect clients, colleagues, suppliers and the planet’.  I would like to thank all those in the team who work so hard to ensure that we are doing all we can to act responsibly and sustainably wherever we can.”
Lexington Catering is part of Elior UK which was awarded the CSR award at the Contract Catering Awards in 2022.

Bestway springs into Easter with key brands and first to market launches #

Bestway Wholesale, the market leaders in supporting retailers with best prices and best margins, is springing into Easter with its latest Easter campaign to support its customers.

Retailers will be greeted by something spectacular in depots this week … there will be eye-catching Easter archways leading to the Bestway Wholesale Easter Trail campaign.

The campaign, which has landed both in depots and online, will invite customers to follow the walkway to discover leading big brands at sharp prices, nestled in individual branded pallets decorated in foliage.

There will also be some exciting New Product Development launches with Red Bull and the latest Summer Edition flavour ‘Juneberry’, as well as the PMP launch of Monster Energy Juice, Aussie Style Lemonade flavour – first to be seen at Bestway Wholesale!

The four-week campaign will feature digital screens highlighting product promotions, amazing deals, and the campaign will be supported with gamification for customers offering them a chance to enter a series of competitions.

On the back of a hugely successful 2022, a year where Bestway ran four seasonal campaigns, the business continues to invest in price and lead the way in creating theatre and activations to enhance the customer journey. 

Easter is one of the biggest trading moments, and Bestway has looked to make it more interesting and enjoyable.  Throughout the campaign period depots will be running competitions, prize draws and incentives to give back to customers, including ££-thousands in depot credits!

Kenton Burchell, Bestway Wholesale Group Trading Director, says:

Bestway has led the Cash and Carry market over the past 18 months with best-in-class Seasonal campaigns, delivering market leading prices and margins for our customers. Our campaigns are focused on the key brands and first to market new product launches as well as exceptional theatre in branch to create an intervention in the normal customer journey of our Independent Retailers.
The Easter period is a key trading period for Convenience Retailers and at Bestway, we want to give back to both our Customers and their Shoppers by providing exceptional value and first to market product launches to springboard sales towards the Summer months.

Bestway Wholesale’s message remains simple and focussed … promising to make customers feel special, to enjoy amazing prices with great margins to help them grow their businesses’ and help their end shoppers. 

UK hospitality food and drink trends, under the microscope with leading foodservice consultancy, Egg Soldiers #

New wave Asian to revolutionise the UK street food scene over the next five years? Zero waste set menu opportunities to emerge amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis? Mouthnumbing mala an innovative seasoning option for operators looking to satisfy heat-hunting diners in 2024?

These are just some of the questions now being answered by Insights Lab, the new food trends & insights service from Egg Soldiers, one of the UK’s top foodservice development agencies.

Insights Lab was created following increasing client demand for a new, flexible take on the trends service concept – a take that blends the best of the UK food & drink insights scene with expert industry knowledge from both hospitality and retail to deliver clear, actionable analysis on key growth areas across UK hospitality.

Now, having launched its new trends arm at the turn of the year, Egg Soldiers’ team of expert chefs, experienced recipe developers and leading F&B trend experts are diving deep into the food and consumer trends shaping the industry today, delivering cutting-edge insight and bespoke reports that convert trends into concepts that really reach consumers.

Kateline Porritt, Head of Trends at Egg Soldiers, said:

Tapping into the right trends has never been more important for F&B brands, particularly considering the ongoing cost of living crisis gripping the UK.

“It’s changing businesses, changing consumer priorities, changing the way the entire country works. So, in the spirit of change, we've created an affordable, accessible, altogether fresh approach to trend forecasting and analysis, driven by hospitality heavy-hitters, trusted industry experts and implementation professionals.

“Our Insights Lab is on a mission to help food businesses of all sizes with trend-forward inspiration, development ideation, and bespoke support to create concepts that actually reach consumers, driving their businesses forward

Not only does Insights Lab channel the expertise of its dedicated trends team, which has been using now-trusted methodology to research, identify and validate trends since the launch of Egg Soldiers in 2018; it’s also fuelled by hands-on development insights from the consultancy’s hospitality experts, with Egg Soldiers having worked with some of the biggest names in UK foodservice over the past five years.

And, like evolving food & drink trends, the Egg Soldiers team is always on the move. Take co-founder Toph Ford’s almighty food tour across Vietnam last month to discover potential avenues for modern Vietnamese dish development – one of the many priceless trips Insights Lab is drawing unique intelligence from as part of its broadening array of bespoke trend services.

It’s clear that regional and lesser-known Asian cuisines are breaking new ground in the West, with opportunities for broader dish development fast emerging in line with evolving consumer palates,” said Ford.

For example, it was striking just how many brilliantly complex dipping sauces we had during our week's trip, from fermented and blended chilli options with sugar, garlic, fish sauce and vinegar, to 'bitty' lemongrass, chilli and garlic dips and the ubiquitous Chin-Su hot sauce – we came away with so many ideas.

"And, of course, there was Vietnamese coffee. A creative, vibrant arena powered by the Robusta bean and chock-full of different styles and ingredient combinations - it was a real area of interest for us before we'd even stepped foot on the plane.

“Ever heard of Quẩy? They’re deep-fried Vietnamese dough sticks perfectly designed for all manner of dipping scenarios, be it sweet or savoury. And how about Cơm Tấm, the traditional Vietnamese dish of 'broken rice'? We’re talking fragments of rice grains broken during the milling process, historically considered inferior, but nutritionally sound and a potential for the UK market from a sustainability aspect, namely the idea of choosing broken rice to save on food waste

Launching with a free whitepaper, ‘UK Hospitality Food & Drink Trends To Watch 2023/24’, which is downloadable from its homepage; Insights Lab produces a monthly food trends newsletter, often posts free deep dives on its website, and provides detailed reports and immersive workshops to inspire NPD teams and drive innovation for UK foodservice businesses, with the team ready to assist on both short- and long-term innovation strategies

Equal parental leave included in suite of new enhanced benefits announced by Sodexo #

Sodexo UK & Ireland has announced it is equalising and enhancing its maternity, adoption and paternity paid leave benefits for its salaried and frontline employees to provide time, flexibility and financial support for important life moments. 

These changes are part of a range of improvements Sodexo is introducing as part of its ambition to offer a flexible first culture to help all its employees, and not just those with caring responsibilities, to balance work and personal commitments in a way that suits them. 

The new enhanced benefits, many of which become available on the first day of employment, will see maternity, adoption and paternity pay and leave equalised to offer all employees with the equivalent of 18 weeks full pay. 

Also included in its plans are new or enhanced leave benefits for a variety of appointments including antenatal IVF, adoption or surrogacy. Neonatal leave and leave for family care givers and other carers such as grandparents, those with legal parental responsibility or special guardianship and foster carers are now also covered by the changes.

Life insurance is also being enhanced for salaried and frontline staff, the minimum level of life assurance will be a lump sum equal to the value of base salary as at date of death. Flexible working applications will be available from the first day they join Sodexo. Bereavement (including parental) leave is also being increased. Sodexo intends to implement the majority of these enhancements by September 2023. 

The organisation is also working towards becoming an accredited menopause friendly employer and has joined the endometriosis friendly employer scheme. 

Diana Gilmore, Relationship Manager, Working Families said: “It has been a pleasure to help Sodexo develop their family friendly policies this year and a joy to see them build on our advice.  They have succeeded in creating a progressive new portfolio of support for their staff with caring responsibilities and embedding a family friendly, flexible working culture that is central to their organisational values and strategies. I am delighted to be in the lucky position of tracking their progress, watching them grow as an inspirational employer, supported by their committed DEI team.” 

Raj Jones, head of diversity, equity and inclusion, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “We are committed to an inclusive, equitable workplace for all. By introducing these enhanced benefits, many as a day one right, we are making progress in this commitment and in our ambition to create a culture of flexibility and recognition of what all colleagues need to juggle outside of work. 

“We, as business leaders need to hold ourselves accountable for making change happen. This new suite of enhanced benefits, particularly those that equalise parental leave, is a part of our strategy to narrow our pay gaps by offering both parents the same flexibility and financial support to take time off for childcare.  This could enable more women to come back to work sooner

Sean Haley, CEO Sodexo UK & Ireland adds: “Our colleagues are at the heart of our business, and we remain committed to supporting them as much as we can. We are delighted to launch a wide range of enhanced benefits including for our frontline colleagues. It is our ambition that all our colleagues feel they belong to a company where they can act with purpose and thrive in their own way. We know there is a lot of work still to do and we are clear in our goal to create an inclusive and equitable workplace for all.” 

In February 2023 Sodexo Group announced Vita by Sodexo, a common foundation for employee benefits for eligible employees across the globe and with a minimum benefits package of parental and care leave, life insurance and an employee assistance phone line.   

These new benefits will bring Sodexo UK & Ireland into line with the Vita programme requirements and beyond.  Sodexo has recently written to every employee to ensure they know they can access its free confidential Employee Assistance Programme; ‘Spectrum.Life’ a suite of health and wellbeing solutions, and a range of employee discounts and financial management support tools. 

Hospitality businesses missing a trick on recruitment say KAM #

Despite continued rates of job vacancies within Hospitality, businesses are not maximising every tool in their armoury to attract and retain staff, according to hospitality research consultancy, KAM.
New research, in partnership with Growth Partners, has revealed that Hospitality businesses are not effectively communicating what they already offer; 75% of employees couldn’t find information about employee benefits while researching their hospitality job. 20% said they only found out during their interview and 15% had to wait until after they’d started in the role.
Hospitality employees say their current employers need to do a better job of communicating the services available to them; 79% would use employee engagement services more if they were made aware of what was available.
Katy Moses, MD at KAM: “Hospitality businesses are absolutely missing a trick when it comes to attracting new employees with very few effectively communicating the level of employee benefits. So many companies offer phenomenal employee engagement services but very few are using this to attract potential candidates. Even current employees say they’re not made aware of what is available to them despite the clear impact they can have on staff retention.
The research found that 55% of employees have (knowingly) worked in a Hospitality role which offered some kind of employee engagement services. Unsurprisingly this is much higher for those who have worked in larger multi-site businesses. Only 1-in-4 who work in single-site businesses say they have been offered employee engagement services. Across the board, those in a back-of-house role are least likely to say they have been offered employee engagement services.
But despite high numbers of employers offering Hospitality employee engagement services, the research found that many employees find them difficult to understand and access; 68% said they would use employee engagement services more if it was easier to access. The majority would find it easier if they were all accessible in one place, like an app (77%.)
The majority of employees (75%) say that offering employee engagement services makes the business a more attractive place to work and there is an expectation for businesses to offer services which look after their physical and mental well-being as well as their financial well-being.
In fact, offering certain benefits can have the power to encourage employees to switch jobs; 83% said their company offering a specific health and well-being benefit contributed to them deciding to switch jobs.

Scott Read, CEO of Employee Services, at Growth Partners: “We’ve been keen to understand the relationship between the awareness and usage of employee engagement services and the number of vacancies in the hospitality sector. The research has really highlighted a potential problem - businesses may have employee benefits in place but if they’re not easy to access or communicated effectively, they’re not having an impact - potentially adding to the problem rather than helping to resolve it.”

With regards to ‘health and lifestyle’ the most popular benefits among Hospitality employees are gym discounts, flexible shifts, healthy eating programmes and medical healthcare (no surprise that this is particularly popular among older employees.) The most sought-after financial benefits are 24/7 online access to pay documents, the ability to receive their pay earlier than pay day and an online chat service to query / sort out issues with their pay slip.
The study also looks at happiness level among current employees and found that 88% of people currently working in hospitality are happy in their role, this decreases to 78% for those working specifically in pubs and bars and is even lower for those working back-of-house (73%.)
You can download the full report here:

Defining the future of Wholesale winning formula as Bestway set for another record #

Bestway Wholesale, the UK’s largest family-owned food and drink wholesaler that defined modern day wholesaling since inception nearly five decades ago, has shared its winning formula to support customers and stay ahead of competition as it continues to lead the way across wholesale and independent retail with ambitious plans for the year ahead.

According to Managing Director of Bestway Wholesale, Dawood Pervez, the Bestway’ promise is all about consistently stocking the right products, in the right locations to meet shopper demographics – and at better prices - to ensure retailers can make more margin, whilst investing all profits back into the business to grow and provide long-term stability.

It’s for good reason that the business has maintained its leading edge since the highly entrepreneurial, Sir Anwar Pervez, founded the business in 1976.   Bestway attributes a large part of this to being independently owned, giving it the ability to mirror independent retailers own needs and respond with agility to market conditions.

Our businesses was created BY independent retailers FOR independent retailers” says Dawood Pervez. “Bestway’s approach to the wholesale market was a massive change to the sector in the 1970s and 1980s and it enabled thousands of convenience stores to thrive. Nothing has changed.”

We understand wholesaling and retailing. For us it’s all about the customer, hence our investment is deep rooted into improving the customer experience. 
“That means lower prices and helping them make better margins, allowing them to pass sharper prices on to the consumer.  And add into this, a best-in-class range along with the right offer for every type of retailer including unaffiliated, symbol and franchise – collect or delivered – epos, web or app ordered. Our depots remain the kings of theatre and activation while managed in a way that retailers would expect – to ensure value is passed on to our customers.

How do we do it?  This last year it has been through delivering leading promotions, keeping supplies consistently available, and helping customers navigate extraordinary economic conditions.  And yes, it’s all about price and margins but there are value-adds which we provide here at Bestway, which have seen massive investment and have set the bar high for any competitor to follow. We run our business as efficiently as we can so that we are better able to invest in price.

“For example, consumer mapping aligned to stores, providing unique forward insight and sharing of market trends, and making new tech available to customers in line with fast-changing use of ‘smart’ tech, and digital enhancement

2023 is set to look like a year of further market leadership from Bestway.  With its 57 depots across the country, accommodating a total selling space of just under 6million square feet (that’s the equivalent of 89 football stadiums), Pervez has promised that the year ahead will   see Bestway continuing to invest in forward reserves of stock to counter forward inevitable price increases from suppliers and protect its customers for longer, saying:

The year ahead will see us maintain the best prices in the business.  In fact, our obsession with price has been applied to the KVIs that drive 80% of our business, leading us to benchmark these key SKUs with interrogation – looking at price elasticity and now feeding this into our promotional build.

“Our customers have confidence to shop these key lines from us, the lines are monitored and benchmarked ongoing – we’ve taken the legwork out for them.
“In addition for 2023, we have further homed in on data and insight to shape our strategy and share with retailers’ insights into shopper behaviours, changing missions and how our category performance indexes versus the market. We can now pinpoint changes across categories and move fast to support the changing missions.

“For our stores, this has culminated in the development of the industry’s most respected business growth programme (Shopper First: Drive Five To Thrive) which includes location mapping and store audits for POS development to drive uplift in footfall to stores and pin-pointing individuality of stores and shoppers”.
Bestway’s investment into the technology of the future has also included the launch of WhatsApp for Business, for all customer types ensuring retailers receive up-to-the-minute promotion and pricing information.  And it’s working well – already in little over a month, Bestway is reporting that customers are making a 9% extra spend through this platform.

Pervez concludes:

We believe in listening to our customers and responding. 
“Hence, a big part of what we do across our stores is shaped by our ‘Galactico’ team of well recognised retailers who meet to discuss business and share ideas that we take on board for future development, the team are advocates for our offer and work closely with our management team. 

“So whilst supporting our fundamental position of best prices and great margins for retailers, we really do understand the struggles and opportunities to support where it’s needed and have invested 100% in this space to deliver more to customers than any other wholesale in the sector

Alliance in Partnership win over £3 million in new business #

Alliance in Partnership (AiP), specialists in education catering, has secured £3.6miliion in new and retained contracts since the beginning of the academic year. 

AiP is committed to serving quality, fresh, locally sourced and seasonal meals at an affordable price and offers a solution for its clients regardless of their circumstances. The new and retained contracts include 28 schools: 

Seven schools within the Creative Learning Partnership Trust in Staffordshire
Emmaus Catholic MAC in Worcestershire, AiP has extended its contract from one school within the MAC to nine.

Great Learners Trust in Aylesbury, extending its contract from two to six schools.
Two schools in the Innsworth Schools Partnership in Gloucester
King Edward VI High School in Stafford
Believe Academy Trust in Derby, extending its contract from one school to three schools 

Inspired by research with students and schools, AiP’s school meal offer includes daily menu rotations to ensure freshness and variety and dinner hall favourites such as spiced cauliflower, chickpea, potato traybake and no chicken tikka naan. These new, innovative dishes focus on sustainability and encouraging plant-rich diets. All dishes have been developed by AiP’s skilled chefs and approved by its expert nutritionists. 

AiP is committed to delivering healthy and nutritious food with an enhanced school dinner experience to over 400 primary and secondary schools, helping to fuel school children and students through a long day of learning. 

Steve Hawkins, managing director for schools at Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “The AiP team has had a fantastic year so far and we look forward to seeing them build on this success further. School meals are an essential part of the school day and we know how important a balanced nutritious lunch is for many children. AiP has enjoyed long and close partnerships with the schools they work with and we are delighted to see more choose AiP as their school meals partner.” 

Established in 1998, the AiP group of companies, including The Contract Dining Company and Class Catering Services joined Sodexo in December 2018.

Elior UK wins sports, leisure and events catering award #

Leading Caterer, Elior UK, is proud to have been awarded the Sports, Leisure and Events Catering Award at the Contract Catering Awards held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel, Tower Bridge, on 27th March 2023.
This award was presented to Avneesh Sinha, Elior’s General Manager at BT Murrayfield, Scotland’s largest stadium and home of Scottish Rugby, in recognition of his achievements relating to finance, innovation, sales success, social responsibility, leadership and delivering change.
Avneesh and his team have faced considerable challenges over the last three years ranging from the impact of the pandemic – involving an imposed 18 months’ closure and then the implementation of strict Covid-19 restrictions – to significant labour and supply chain issues. Through his collaborative approach he worked closely with the client, suppliers and his team to successfully overcome these obstacles and develop the business.
Avneesh has continued to innovate, leading to record breaking sales successes, and took a leading role in delivering a range of sustainability commitments. Commenting on the win, Avneesh Singha said:
The last few years have been extremely tough for our industry and I am immensely proud to have been recognised for the part I have played. The team that supports me on a daily basis deserve huge recognition too for their support and loyalty in delivering world class events at BT Murrayfield Stadium
Kenny Finlayson, Managing Director for Stadia & Leisure for Elior UK, said: “We are thrilled to win this award which is testament to the dedication of Avneesh to overcome obstacles and successfully develop our stadia business.  It is wonderful to see the wide range of colleague and client testimonials and for his hard work and commitment to be recognised in this way.”
Elior UK has significant experience operating retail catering contracts across a varied stadia and leisure portfolio and provides services across several sporting stadia, including Scottish Premiership, English Championship and League One football grounds, and stadiums hosting Rugby Union and Rugby League matches.

The Delivery Prophets with Jamie Barber #

British restaurateur Jamie Barber, CEO of Hush, the high-end restaurant in London's Mayfair, has launched his latest venture – My Supper Hero, a finish-at-home meal kit, together with Myleene Klass. The meal kit was launched at the end of the Omicron lockdowns, and it offers a variety of dishes that customers can cook in their own homes.
Jamie has become a delivery expert, as he approaches "delivery" from several angles, such as an additional channel for his bricks and mortar business, as an operator in a dark kitchen, and creating an innovative model based on the meal kit solution.

The Delivery Prophets, a podcast dedicated to exploring the future of restaurant delivery, has invited Jamie to talk about the market for restaurant meals served at home, using a dark kitchen as a production facility, serving customers in rural areas, subscription opportunities, and envisioning a high-street space to promote the business.
Jamie's latest venture offers insights into the changing consumer demands and preferences, from the impact of technology on delivery logistics to the rise of dark kitchens and opportunities from virtual brands. The Delivery Prophets offer insights, interviews, and analysis to keep listeners ahead of the game in the ever-evolving industry. Listen to the latest episode of The Delivery Prophets here: https://www.theDelivery.World/TheDeliveryProphets.
TheDelivery.World, a brand new platform and podcast created by Peter Backman, provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about restaurant delivery, exploring the viability of the restaurant delivery model and the future prospects for the businesses involved in stitching together the services required by marketplace aggregators, delivery companies, gig riders, food suppliers, consumers, foodservice companies, restaurants, landlords, dark kitchen operators, and more.

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.

Bestway announces its inspirational new retail showcase a platform for discovery for retailers #

In a first of its kind in the sector Bestway has announced the launch of its inspirational new event – The Bestway Retail Showcase 2023 - which will take place at the Liverpool Exhibition Centre on the 25 May 2023.

The Bestway Retail Showcase 2023 will stage the biggest gathering of its retail customers and supply partners alongside its specialist retail team to collectively support and help drive further growth and margin for its retailers. Over 1000 retailers will attend the Showcase alongside 140 suppliers who will be exhibiting and participating across the categories.

As the only symbol retailer in the industry with a store format for all retailer types, and a forward-thinking approach to convenience retail, Bestway has promised that The Bestway Retail Showcase 2023 will be a huge event and arguably the largest of its kind, setting a new benchmark for the industry. 

The new larger, more spectacular event will incorporate elements of the renowned regional Retail Development Shows and the Drinks at Home events (hosted by Bargain Booze) which have proven to be market-leading over many years.   

Retailers will be able to enjoy interactive events, experiential zones and food tastings which will incorporate ‘perfect serve’ masterclasses, cocktail making and pairing sessions to help them drive customer engagement.  For example, the Marketing Zone will have a drop-in session for advice and a host of industry insights from marketing leader insight company, Lumina.

There will be live demos, presentations on best practice and opportunity for retailers to participate in workshops, as well as engaging in networking events with other independent retailers (helping them connect learn and grow), as well as suppliers and Bestway colleagues.

And this is in addition to a host of impactful branded stands, and exclusive Show deals to help drive more profit, as well as live ‘mock stores’ for convenience and licensed exemplars which will showcase the very latest from Bestway’s store development team alongside product giveaways, competitions, and prize draws.
The Bestway Retail Showcase 2023 will provide an exclusive opportunity for retailers to enter the Bestway Retail Development Awards 2023.

In a further exciting move, Bestway’s market-leading Retail Development Awards (RDA’s) will be relaunching in May as Bestway Performance Awards being hosted at the end of the year.  The awards celebrate outstanding achievements and businesses successes as part of Bestway’s ethos of continuous development and helping retailers drive growth.

Speaking of the new initiative, Bestway Wholesale’s managing director, Dawood Pervez says:

We are delighted and proud to be launching The Bestway Retail Showcase, which is a major investment into our retailers, and takes our Retail Development Programme to a whole new level, launching as unique new trade show hand-in-hand with a new media partner.  

“We’re there together to share ideas, learn from each other and build new relationships in a friendly, community and convivial atmosphere.   This is just one example of the value add that Bestway Retail offers retailers as being the true champion of the independent retailer.

“We see this event as a journey of discovery for our retailers.  It’s often hard for independent retailers to find time to discover the latest trends and insights to support their business but here is the opportunity for them to discover the latest and great new products and services from suppliers, as well as share ideas from meeting like-minded independent business owners, often with the same challenges.

“All this is geared towards supporting their business to be more successful – driving sales, margin, and profit!

“Undoubtedly, this will be one of the most exciting events in the industry calendar.  We are always humbled by the sheer talent, commitment and determination of our retailers and nowhere will this be evidenced more strongly than at the new Bestway Retail Showcase 2023 and the subsequent Retail Development Awards which will take place at the end of 2023

Bestway’s new media partner will be following the journey of the retailers in their stores as they apply their learnings to help grow category sales and grow their business who enter the awards. The stores will be filmed and form part of the award entry and played out at the awards.

Since Bestway established its unique Retail Development Programme showcasing regional trade shows some 22 years ago, the programme is now seen as the ‘exemplar of best practice’ across the industry.  The business has grown its portfolio of leading convenience brands to its current position where it leads the symbol sector.