Members’ News

June 2023

Record numbers attend Bestway's new retail showcase #

Record numbers of retailers attended the very FIRST Bestway Retail Showcase (Thursday 25th May), held at Liverpool Exhibition Centre.
The new innovative event comes on the back of the incredible success of the retail Drinks at Home events and RDA seminars, bringing together the strength of both, and much more.
It was the biggest gathering of Bestway’s symbol customers from brands Costcutter, Bargain Booze and Best-one – alongside the wholesale Xtra Local retail club members to showcase the very best of how the Bestway Retail offer comes together.
With more than 1,000 retailers registered to attend, the day was described as “one of the most useful and inclusive events we’ve ever experienced” by one retailer, who continued “we’re going back energised with fresh ideas, learnings and a raft of valuable insights as to the future of dynamic retailing”. 
More than 140 supply partners engaged with retailers, sharing market insights and product opportunities, inviting retailers to feedback on NPD lines they are looking to bring to market.  There were over 100 special Retail Showcase offers extended to attendees on the day, giving powerful opportunities to make more margin and capitalise on sales opportunities.
Best-one, Bargain Booze, and Costcutter all brought their market leading propositions alive in the real-time mock stores and giving snapshots of the future, sharing the latest merchandising techniques, and highlighting opportunities for retailers to sell more, helping them open up greater margin potential. The event also presented an opportunity for retailers to see the newly launched Best-one store branding, standing proud next to the other brand propositions.
The exhibition space was divided into key zones for business hub, category zones, retail mock stores, alongside a Show ‘deals hub’ and marketing services, which included tool kits for retailers to take away across social media and marketing.  In addition to these services Bestway made available the GroceryAid tools to ensure all retailers had access to the wider support available from the industry. 
Bestway’s managing director, Dawood Pervez, presented to a packed auditorium, thanking retailers and supply partners for their unswerving support over the past year, reinforcing that Bestway’s aim is ‘frictionless retailing’ – making it easier for retailers to do business through delivering service, products, category support and rebates in the way that meets retailer needs.   
He also reiterated the ‘true value of local’ as being enormously important to the way consumers see their local convenience stores saying: 
Increasingly consumers are aware that it’s not just the price on the tin, but they have woken up to the fact that there is so much more to community stores.  They are saving time, cost, energy and reducing emissions by shopping local, as well as reducing waste by not buying products they don’t actually want. 
“90% of consumers shopping in local stores walk to the store, helping health and wellness and reducing obesity, and that’s before we consider the local business benefits of putting revenues back into the community
Bestway’s new Retail Director, Jamie Davison, emphasised that Bestway is an entrepreneurial wholesaler that wants to collaborate and partner with its retailers saying: 
We will never be a faceless, transactional, wholesaler – the very heart and soul of our business is about collaborative retailing, getting to know our customers and helping them grow their businesses through providing the right products, the right service, and the right environment for them to thrive. 
“Just one example is in today’s increasingly digital environment - we are leading the way in time-saving retailer tech and making platforms available to help them optimise margins, and help their shoppers buy goods in the way they want to shop
Other presentations included “10 Top Ways to Excite your Shopper”, from Lumina and “Big Issues Facing the Convenience Market” from Aidan Fortune, editor of C-Store, as well as “How to Grow Sales with Best in Class Off-License Proposition” by Diageo, AB Inbev, Accolade and “The Importance of NPD to Category Growth” from Mondelez, Ferrero.  There was a market update in Vape, alongside trends and opportunities in this category from Imperial Tobacco / Juul, and a look at the Soft Drinks category with a presentation from CCEP, Red Bull and Danone on ‘Getting the Right Mix to Drive Sales and Footfall”.
Bestway further partnered with FareShare to ensure any food waste from the day itself was managed responsibly.  As the UK’s biggest charity, fighting hunger and food waste, FareShare collected surplus food that was still within date to pass on to its network of charities and community groups.
Speaking of the day, Dawood Pervez, concluded:
As our first Retail Showcase, the day far exceeded our expectations.  To have over 1,000 retailers engaged alongside our supplier partners and industry guests, was enormously valuable.
“A key aim for us was to ‘share’ and help our retailers ‘learn and grow’ alongside deepening our own team’s understanding of current market needs.  It gave us all the opportunity to engage and discuss current challenges and how we all work together to help our customers capitalise on market opportunities.
“There is no question that this aim was met and the combination of our brands, and partners shows that we are ‘stronger together, as one’ - which enables us all to move forward as a united force!
“I would also like to extend a sincere thank you to our supply partners who helped make the day such a success

Pat Mills Announced Aramark Healthcare Chef of the Year 2023 #

Aramark is delighted to announce that Pat Mills, Chef at University Hospital Galway has been named Aramark’s Healthcare Chef of the Year 2023.
Aramark’s annual Healthcare Chef of the Year challenges the finest healthcare chefs across the country to an exciting live cook-off where they must showcase their culinary skills in front of four industry experts.
The competition is open to all Aramark healthcare chefs in Ireland and this year’s contest saw seven talented chefs competing against each other to be crowned Aramark Healthcare Chef of the Year 2023.
The winning dish, created by Pat, was vegan scallops with courgette and basil purée, confit tomato, and stuffed courgette with roasted aubergine and olive crumb.
The competition required the chefs to prepare, cook and present two portions of a main course dish in sixty minutes. This year, 75% of the dish needed to be entirely plant-based, with a focus on Irish seasonal fruit and vegetables. The final quarter of the dish could contain organic chicken, organic turkey or fish authorised by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) or the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
Pat’s meal impressed the expert judging panel made up of Amanda Courtney, Senior Dietitian at Aramark Ireland who judged the nutritional content of the meals prepared; Derek Reilly Culinary Director for Aramark and Sustainability Chef, Justin Moorehouse. The competition was chaired by Audrey Crone, Executive chef with Unilever Food Solutions.
Speaking about the competition, Culinary Director for Aramark Ireland, Derek Reilly said: “Aramark Ireland’s Healthcare Chef of the Year competition is a fantastic exhibition of some of the finest chefs across the country. Not only do chefs in the healthcare industry have to prepare delicious meals, but they must also keep the nutritional values of the food front of mind - modifying dishes to specific dietary requirements on a daily basis. We were blown away by the incredibly high standards across the board, the passion for food and the diligence to hygiene shown by the finalists. Well done to all involved!
Following the announcement, Aramark Chef of the Year Pat Mills said: “I am delighted to have been named Aramark Healthcare Chef of the Year. As a chef in the healthcare sector, we are continuously striving to create delicious meals that are nutritionally balanced and in line with health requirements. This competition was a wonderful way to show my creativity and try something new. I’d like to congratulate all other finalists who took part and thank Aramark for a fantastic day!

Direct Seafoods commits to training the next generation of fishmongers with new apprenticeship scheme. #

Recognised in October with the Marine Stewardship Council Award for Fresh Fish Foodservice Supplier of the Year, Direct Seafoods has turned its attention to offering up support and further skill development for its new and more experienced fishmongers’, with a dedicated apprenticeship scheme.

Developed with Crosby Training, the bespoke fishmonger apprenticeship scheme aims to further enhance the skills and knowledge of wholesale fishmongers to take their career development to the next level - so far taking on several apprentices across three of its UK sites.

Launched in March this year, the course is carried out over 12 months and covers modules in the key areas involved in wholesale fishmonger operations. These include:

Food safety
Health and safety
Picking and packing
Knife skills

Each of these modules contribute to the qualification of a Level Two Diploma upon completion of an assessment. With each module tailored to the apprentice’s level of ability, whether that be a beginner, to someone who has some experience already in fishmonger knife skills.

Extra support is also available for candidates to achieve their Level 1 and 2 Maths and English qualifications if they have not already done so.

Neil Poxon, Operational Support Manager at Bidfresh commented: “I’m delighted that Direct Seafoods is utilising this great initiative. It’s something I’m thrilled to be able to offer our current and future employees and am incredibly passionate in seeing it succeed.

“This fresh approach to recruitment will help us not only in achieving our ambitious growth plans but also providing sustainable, progressive careers for those involved in the scheme moving forward, helping us to retain and develop the fantastic talent we have within our business.

“The skills and knowledge gained will help them to develop and progress as well as being directly linked to the operations of our business, allowing them to enhance the current excellent service we offer to customers

Lindsay Bennett, who is currently enrolled on the apprenticeship added: “The training we have received so far has been extremely beneficial. Having a trainer go through the course in person rather than online has made it much easier to take things in and has improved my confidence enormously.

“The course is also giving me the opportunity to obtain my Maths and English L1 qualifications which, along with the skills I’m acquiring, will be extremely valuable throughout my career.

This scheme has made me excited about the future and I hope that soon it’ll be me teaching the next wave of apprentices!

There are currently five students, across three Direct Seafoods sites, enrolled on the course, ranging in age, location and gender. 

Elior UK launches Street Kitchen Collective #

Leading contract caterer Elior UK launches Street Kitchen Collective, a dynamic collection of own-brand concepts and street food partners bringing together flavours from around the globe: from Aegean-inspired health bowls to West African chicken stews.

The Street Kitchen Collective concept is a collaborative effort between Elior’s food development team, operations team and client partners, created to meet the demands for more exciting world flavours and better flexibility in the food offering.

The Street Kitchen Collective has launched with six Elior concepts and five independent partners including: Jollof Mama, Nigeria’s finest dishes; Makes Miso Hungry, home-cooked Japanese food; Urban Rajah, Indian street food; Nina Parker, chef and international food writer specialising in Mediterranean food; and Shu Han Lee, food writer and creator of Southeast Asian cuisine.

Market insights informed the team that consumers are looking for dining experiences that are about more than just the food itself – they seek shared experiences built around exciting variety in cuisines and formats. This rise in customer demand has therefore paved the way for Elior to introduce its new flexible street food offer following extensive research and trend analyses to identify successful and premium independent food providers.

With plans to rapidly scale up the concept, Elior continues to develop more appetising concepts while constantly on the lookout for new partners across the UK who are passionate about developing boundary-pushing food and help bring new tastes and flavours to customers in the workplace, universities and beyond. Consequently, the Collective will see constant evolution in line with food and hospitality market trends.
Street Kitchen Collective will introduce brand partners and their authentic offer to clients in a variety of ways: a street food pop-up where the partners visit a client site and run sessions about the brand and menu, or via menu events where sites are able to use the menus and branding of their chosen brand partner.

The Street Kitchen Collective will be rolled out across Elior’s stadia, education, university, and B&I sectors. Pilot schemes with a B&I client in the finance sector witnessed increased footfall and a 16% uplift in sales on a street food pop-up day and created an attractive incentive to come into the office.

The Street Kitchen Collective brand was carefully curated to be fun, bright, and colourful with global influences woven into the design.

Yoko Nakada, founder of Makes Miso Hungry, said: “I am honoured to be one of the partners chosen for Elior’s Street Kitchen Collective. This concept is so exciting. It is great that Elior is supporting local food businesses and customers can experience authentic Japanese food such as mine. It’s clear consumers are excited by new culinary experiences and flavours!”

Michal Seal, Marketing & Commercial Director, Elior said: “We’re incredibly proud of the Street Kitchen Collective. It injects fun and a world of international flavours into our catering service offering, whilst supporting local businesses. The Street Kitchen Collective adds excitement to the lunch calendar and gives our customers a chance to enjoy flavoursome foods in a relaxed, casual environment.

Sodexo Live! set to launch new matchday experience at Hampden Park #

Sodexo Live! is set to officially launch The Terrace, a new matchday bar experience at Hampden Park, when Scotland’s national football team play Georgia on 20 June 2023 in a much-anticipated EURO 2024 qualifier.   

Named in honour of the national stadium’s iconic terraces and nestled in the heart of Hampden Park. The Terrace will provide supporters with live entertainment, an exclusive bar and great seats.   

Supporters can expect live DJ sets, engaging Q&A sessions with former Scotland football players, mesmerising football freestyler performances, delicious bistro bar food options, and some of the best seats in the house to watch the national team in action.  

Sodexo Live! has been a long-term partner of Hampden Park since 1999. In March 2021, the company secured a new ten-year contract as the venue partner, covering catering, retail, hospitality, conferences, events, marketing, and sales.  

Demonstrating commitment to elevating the fan experience, Sodexo Live! has invested £1.7 million in upgrading the hospitality facilities and reengineering the venue to introduce an innovative product mix. This transformation was also accompanied by the addition of new sales and marketing roles, further enhancing the offerings and services available to fans.   

Sodexo Live! is also the exclusive sales agent for hospitality and premium seating, including concerts.   

Rebecca Kane Burton, CEO of Sodexo Live! UK & Ireland said: “We are thrilled to be launching The Terrace at Hampden Park, giving supporters even more first-class matchday experiences.  

"As a long-standing partner of the Scottish FA and Hampden Park, we are committed to giving fans unforgettable moments and enhancing the overall experience. With our investment in upgraded facilities and a carefully curated mix of entertainment and delicious food offerings, we are confident that The Terrace will become a must-visit destination for fans at Hampden Park

Mike Paterson Head of Marketing and Partnerships at Scottish FA, added: “We are constantly seeking ways to improve the supporter experience at the national stadium and this new initiative from Sodexo Live! will help to make our showpiece occasions even more memorable for supporters.   

“It is an exciting time for Scottish Football, with the national stadium set to play host to some huge games in men’s and women’s football in the coming years and we are excited to see how The Terrace helps to enhance the already-enjoyable experience supporters enjoy at Hampden Park

Hampden Park stages some of the biggest fixtures in the Scottish football calendar, as well as spectacular concerts featuring renowned artists such as Coldplay, Calvin Harris, Ed Sheeran, Liam Gallagher, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.       

Insights Lab by Egg Soldiers: Sandwich innovation thought-starters for 2023/24 food-to-go development #

Following on from the Sandwich & Food to Go Awards 2023 in May, Insights Lab by Egg Soldiers, the pioneering food trends service from one of the UK’s top foodservice development agencies, has revealed five artisan sandwich creations from across the UK that have caught its eye in terms of future development opportunities, with globally-inspired flavour riffs, groundbreaking ingredient combinations, and next-level bread all featured.

What with it also being British Sandwich Week last month, we got to thinking about emerging UK sandwich trends for 2023/24, particularly in foodservice, and the innovative flavours, fillings and formats being used to great effect as food-to-go's post-Covid recovery continues,” said Egg Soldiers’ Creative Director, Toph Ford.

In a dedicated article, which can be accessed here for free; Insights Lab highlights creative sandwich offerings from UK innovators, discussing consumer drivers, new development opportunities and trend trajectories for 2023/24.

Indulgent, comforting, Insta-worthy 'super-sandwiches' fairly toe the line between on-the-go accessibility and sit-down decadence,” Toph says.

They can also seriously deliver on the perception of quality and, if priced right, value for money. Within the UK artisan sandwich arena, XXL sandwiches are becoming something of a norm, mirroring US trends and establishing new levels of food-to-go indulgence among hungry consumers.

“But, regardless of size, choosing the right bread for your sandwich NPD is just as important as the development of flavour-forward fillings. From potato rolls to kaiser rolls, milk bread to rotis; there are certainly plenty of options, with wraps and flatbreads currently in-vogue among high street chain operators.

“Regeneratively farmed wheat, pioneered by suppliers such as Wildfarmed, could add an appealing, altogether-sustainable differential to applicable bread options in this space

Meanwhile, amid the ongoing UK cost-of-living crisis, Egg Soldiers continues to prioritise reactive, dynamic tactics for clients both big and small, delivered across its expanding suite of hospitality business services, to ensure effective, fleet-footed operational pivots designed to safeguard profitability and keep business models sustainable.

Engineering a balanced food menu to minimise ‘bill shock’ among diners come the end of a meal was one of many talking points for the team this month, with Egg Soldiers’ Head of Trends Kateline Porritt telling The Times newspaper that while menu innovation is key in times of economic crisis, with 'snacks' and/or 'bites' emerging as a way of offering something different to diners other than the standard 'starter'; tapas-esque options can still lead to a bit of a shock come the bill.

It’s about trying to offer them something else," Kateline said of restaurants adding snacks and bites to menus. "But maybe that’s where you see the bill creep. They are not a full starter, but you end up ordering them because you get excited and get loads to share.”
Also discussed was the fact that restaurants are increasingly offering set-price menus to avoid customer confusion as to what they were expecting to pay come the end of the experience.

“There are people in the industry who really want to avoid that bill shock — because they want repeat customers,” Kateline said.
“And it [set menu offerings] is great for the restaurant because they are buying higher volumes of a smaller number of ingredients and they can streamline their labour.

Insights Lab by Egg Soldiers produces a bi-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.

Discover more with its whitepaper, ‘UK Hospitality Food & Drink Trends to Watch 2023/24’, which is free to download here.

Wafflemeister partners with Butlin's at new food destination #

Wafflemeister, the UK’s leading waffle brand, has today announced a new partnership with Butlin’s at Skyline Eats, a brand-new food destination in Bognor Regis.   

As part of the deal, Wafflemeister has developed an exclusive range of new signature waffles to sit within Scoop, Butlin's dessert parlour.   

Baked fresh and on-site every day, Wafflemeister’s Liege waffles which are handmade in Belgium and baked fresh in store, will be offered with a variety of toppings and a wide selection of ice cream flavours.    

Butlin’s and the Wafflemeister product development teams worked closely together to develop unique and exclusive recipes. With the Butlin’s guests in mind, the teams created five original recipes which will be available all day everyday only at Scoop.     

The new menu items include Strawberry & Chocolate Sensation, Cookie Overload and Caramel Crunch. Butlin’s guests will also be free to create their own waffle experience by choosing any of wide array of scoops ice creams and toppings.   

The £3million Butlin’s Skyline Eats project has five different dining options all under one roof, and brings numerous high street brands to the Bognor Regis resort. These also include Subway® and Chopstix, who will join Costa Coffee and Burger King.    

Wafflemeister already operates at numerous leisure and tourist attractions across the UK. The company provides products and services at more than 35 locations including Alton Towers, Legoland, and Thorpe Park.   

Rikos Leong-Son, co-ceo, Wafflemeister, said: “We’re very excited about being part of the opening of this incredible new food space. As a progressive business, we are always keen to work with organisations who want to continue to evolve and enhance their services to their customers.   

“As the UK’s favourite waffle brand, we’ve been creating waffles from our secret recipes for years so we know our new Butlin’s range of waffles are going to be incredibly popular with Butlin’s guests. We are looking forward to getting started.

Nikki Ratcliffe, resort director at Butlin’s Bognor Regis said: “We are delighted to have opened Skyline Eats in time for the busy half term holidays. We know that food plays an important part of the holiday experience and with Skyline Eats we have brought some of the biggest names on the high street to Bognor.    

Ratcliffe added: “We are really pleased to be able to partner with the Wafflemeister team. Holidays and sweet treats go hand in hand, so we’re sure our guests will love the new range.”  

Sodexo Live! retained as official caterer of Ascot Racecourse for another decade #

Sodexo Live! and Ascot Racecourse have extended their successful venue partnership for a further 11 years. 

Since 1998, Sodexo Live! has provided catering and hospitality services at the racecourse and has taken pride in creating exceptional experiences for racegoers all year round. 

As part of the new contract, Sodexo Live will be introducing several exciting new initiatives. These are focused around several key pillars that are close to both organisations, including empowering their people, protecting the planet and innovation in food. 

The initiatives include:

Ascot Hospitality Academy – The industry leading hospitality academy will allow colleagues at Ascot the opportunity to improve their technical, service, and operating skills. The structured training programme will support career development and progression while also attaining industry recognised certifications across a range of disciplines. 

Royal Ascot pop ups and lounge menu - Sodexo Live! will support Ascot in the growth, development, and expansion of its Royal Ascot brand by showcasing Royal Ascot’s signature food and drink offering in Sodexo Live! venues and airport lounges in key global markets through a range of pop up offers and Royal Ascot items on menus. 

Sustainability - As a committed partner of Ascot’s sustainability initiatives, Sodexo Live! has pledged to support a wide range of projects, including reviewing all food and drink offers to mitigate impacts on the planet, support biodiversity and habitats, and continue to manage waste and recycling as a 0% to landfill venue. 

Food and Wine Festival – Sodexo Live! and Ascot are working together to develop a leading food and wine festival to support a race weekend within the annual racing calendar. Programming for the event will include food pop-ups for national and international restaurants, masterclasses hosted by celebrity chefs, artisan food producers, and sustainable product lines. 

One of the highlights of the venue partnership between Sodexo Live! and Ascot Racecourse is Royal Ascot which has been the pinnacle of the British summer social calendar for centuries. 

Each year, the Sodexo Live! team pushes the boundaries of fine dining and food to deliver the best in hospitality and retail, with Royal Ascot racegoers able to dine on exquisite menus from Michelin-starred chefs. Royal Ascot 2023 offers a truly stellar line-up with a collective 10 Michelin stars, 2 Green Michelin stars and 28 AA Rosettes. 

With thousands of racegoers each day at Royal Ascot, Sodexo Live! recruits and manages over 3,000 team members and maintains high service standards through its award-winning training academy. 

Royal Ascot 2023 - which runs from 20-24 June - is set to be one of the most special yet. It will both celebrate and remember Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's immense love of horse racing and welcome the reign of His Majesty King Charles III. 

Rebecca Kane Burton, CEO of Sodexo Live! UK&I said: “Renewing a contract of this scale with one of the world’s most prestigious sporting venues is huge testament to the commitment and passion that the teams bring to this enduring partnership.  

“We are delighted to be embarking on the next leg of our journey towards true innovation and forward-thinking delivery with the team at Ascot Racecourse. 

“With Royal Ascot just round the corner, we are excited to launch fresh concepts and welcome new partners in fine dining. We aim to always push the boundaries in food and create memories that will last a lifetime. 

“All credit to the Sodexo Live! and Ascot teams who will once again collaborate to create best-in-class moments around the hallowed race track. Each and every one of us are also proud to be working on the first Royal Ascot for our new monarch King Charles III

Sodexo Live! operates at Ascot under the 1711 By Ascot brand as the dedicated in-house catering division of the racecourse, the 1711 By Ascot team delivers world-class food, beverage and service across both racedays and events throughout the year. 

Jonathan Parker, Managing Director of 1711 By Ascot, said: “Sodexo Live! has been providing catering services at Ascot since 1998 and has once again demonstrated that it remains best equipped to provide the unique quality and range of hospitality expected by visitors to Ascot. 

"I want to express my gratitude to the Sodexo Live! team for everything they have delivered to date. We are excited to continue working in partnership in this new long term joint venture.

Sodexo Live! is behind other major events this summer, providing fantastic culinary experiences such as the Henley Regatta as well as at amazing venues such as Newcastle United, Hampden Park in Glasgow and the iconic Thames river cruise Bateaux London.

Compass chefs honoured at Craft Guild of Chefs Awards #

Four Compass Group UK & Ireland chefs have been honoured at this year’s prestigious Craft Guild of Chefs Awards - known as the culinary world's equivalent of the Oscars. The Compass winners were -

Scott Freeman, Culinary Director for ESS Defence, Marine & Aerospace - Public Sector Catering Chef Award
Wayne Corbett, an Executive Chef for 14forty - Contract Catering Chef Award
Ian Page, Executive Chef for Payne & Gunter - Banqueting & Events Chef Award
Darren Passmore, Executive Head Chef within Restaurant Associates – Culinary Hero 

The event took place on 1st June at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London. The highly coveted awards celebrate and honour exceptional talent spanning the entire industry.

The Public Sector Catering Chef Award went to Scott Freeman. After cooking his way round the world in his early career, Scott later went on to teach in hospitality education. He started working with Compass to develop its Chef Apprenticeship Academy and has since taken on a role as Executive Chef for ESS Government Services, going on to be promoted to Culinary Director for ESS Defence, Marine & Aerospace. He was recognised for not only leading the culinary direction of this sector, but also his notable charity work and supporting more junior chefs through apprenticeships.

The Contract Catering Chef Award was handed to Wayne Corbett, an Executive Chef for 14forty. Starting out as an apprentice, Wayne’s 20-year career has seen him progress through the ranks. Wayne has been overseeing catering services across six client sites, managing menu planning, foodservice presentation, ordering, waste management and team training. Wayne truly shone during the pandemic, when despite the challenges posed, he adapted operations to provide 24/7 catering to his client.

Payne and Gunter’s, Ian Page, was awarded the Banqueting & Events Chef Award. When he first joined P&G in 2022, he hit the ground running, working on a £1.6 million event alongside Jason Atherton within his first ten days. Since then, he hasn’t stopped delivering outstanding food and service to customers at stand out events – even catering for the Royal family. Ian also acts as the Young Chef Ambassador for the Craft Guild of Chefs, mentoring others to help them thrive.

Darren Passmore, an Executive Head Chef within Restaurant Associates was named Culinary Hero – an award voted for by peers within the industry. Having been in the army for 27 years, Darren has cooked all over the world in some of the most challenging environments. He then moved to Compass to take on a role within healthcare and is now working in Restaurant Associates. He is passionate about the transformative power of food and uses it to improve lives. Darren also runs Rustic Rhubarb and teaches cookery skills to people with learning difficulties in his spare time. 

Nick Vadis, Culinary Director of Compass Group UK & Ireland and chef ambassador to the NHS Supply chain: “Our chefs are what makes us special and we are lucky to have so many within our business that demonstrate quality, experience, dedication and passion. These awards have recognised four of our very best – a huge congratulations to Scott, Wayne, Darren and Ian. They work tirelessly each day and are a true inspiration to our sector.”

Compass Group UK & Ireland also had several others shortlisted for the awards –

David Hearn, Chef Manager - ESS Energy– Contract Catering Chef Award
Ben Crocker, Pastry Chef - Levy UK+I – Pastry Chef Award
Tony Murphy, Executive Chef – ESS Government Services – Public Sector Catering Chef Award 

FEA survey highlights importance of engineer training in improving electrical safety #

Majority of engineers are qualified, but room for improvement remains

The safety of foodservice equipment engineers has been in the spotlight recently as a result of tragic events.  Now the Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) has published the results of its timely survey of foodservice engineers.  It aims to understand the electrical training, certification and competence of engineers in various disciplines related to electrical installations and appliances.

The power supply to commercial appliances requires specialist knowledge to work with safely and can pose significant risks to technicians and engineers. While it is a legal requirement that anyone working with gas appliances must be suitably qualified, there is no similar mandatory requirement for electrical engineers, nor do they need to be a member of a professional body. Many electricians are registered with trade organisations, which encourage compliance with relevant standards and maintain those standards through regular audits.

There are also laws which employers and employees must adhere to, such as the Electricity at Work Regulation and the Health and Safety at Work Act.  However, even with regulations and the work of these organisations, there have sadly been several fatalities of technicians working in the foodservice sector.

The survey received over 100 responses from engineers working in various equipment sectors including refrigeration, warewashing and commercial catering.

Over 80% of the respondents reported having undertaken electrical training within the last five years, and nearly 70% reported having a documented safe system of working with electrical equipment. Over 60% expressed an interest in further training, and a majority of respondents considered themselves to have a good working knowledge of the Electricity at Work Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Act.

While these results are positive, around 20% of correspondents reported having no formal electrical qualifications or a documented safe system for working with electrical equipment.

"The report shows that the majority of electrical engineers are working hard to meet high standards and maintain a safe working environment," says Paul Anderson, chair of FEA.   "However it also underlines the importance that, as a minimum, anyone working with electrical equipment should undertake a recognised training and competence course, such as the City & Guilds accredited Commercial Catering Equipment Electrical Competency Course, which has been specifically developed for technicians. Furthermore, further training should take place regularly to align the engineer with updated standards."

FEA is encouraging any businesses that employ technicians with no formal electrical certification to provide formal training, and to ensure they understand the importance of promoting safe working practices.

Full survey results and further information about training can be found on FEA's website, 

jellybean Celebrates Awards Shortlisting #

Leading food and drink agency, jellybean is celebrating being shortlisted for the third consecutive year for ‘Best B2B Campaign’ in the Alliance of Independent Agencies’, Wing Awards. With jellybean having won both previous years, the integrated specialist is hoping for a hattrick.
The campaign, ‘Pep Up Your Menu!’, a route to market foodservice campaign for PEPPADEW® UK - has been shortlisted as one of the outstanding campaigns in the B2B category. The integrated campaign was developed to help the foodservice supplier achieve national listings for its latest innovation, PEPPADEW® Bites. Combining strong strategy, bespoke insight and impactful creative, the campaign engaged wholesale buyers and influencers , helping to secure national listings for the product.
Speaking about jellybean’s latest shortlisting, MD of jellybean, Susan Wickes, said : “We’re thrilled to see the ‘Pep Up Your Menu!’ campaign recognised by The Independent Agency Wing Awards. Thank you PEPPADEW® UK, for believing in us and being an incredible client.  Our talented team pulled out all the stops to activate this campaign and I’m incredibly proud that their hard work has been recognised amongst the best B2B campaigns of the year. 
“This is jellybean’s third consecutive year being recognised in the competitive ‘Best B2B Campaign’ category. Having won in 2021 and 2022 with our campaigns for Sarson’s and Philadelphia, it would be fabulous to make it a hattrick. With 36 years in the food and drink industry, we continue to bring a fresh, integrated approach and a team of amazing experts to help our clients succeed. To receive external validation from awards such as the hotly contended Wing Awards, means a great deal.

To find out more about the Pep Up Your Menu campaign click here.
To start a conversation about how jellybean can help your business

RMBI Care Co. appoints Caterplus as catering partner with £25m contract #

Caterplus, a leading caterer specialising in the care and retirement living sector, has been awarded a 5-year contract by RMBI Care Co. to provide catering services for 13 of its care homes across England and Wales. The contract is valued at £25m in total turnover with services commencing from July 2023.
Employing and managing a team of over 120 catering staff across  RMBI Care Co.’s Homes, which support older people with residential care, nursing and residential dementia support, Caterplus will deliver a bespoke mealtime service to around 1,000 residents daily, serving some 235,000 meals, beverages, and grazing snacks each year.
Fresh, seasonable ingredients will be used to prepare nutritious meals, creating a selection of familiar, traditional favourites and exciting new dishes for residents to enjoy, including for residents requiring texture modified and specialist diets - all aimed at meeting the dietary, nutritional, and cultural needs of residents.
Together the catering team also will plan, manage and deliver regular themed events working closely with the managers at each Home to arrange special events for the residents. Meals and snacks will be served throughout the Homes including the dining areas, communal lounges and in residents’ own rooms. 
Laura Tighe, Managing Director of Caterplus, said: “We are thrilled to have won this contract and to have the opportunity to create delicious and healthy food choices for the residents at 13 RMBI Care Co. Homes. Our menus will change seasonally to reflect fresh British produce at its best. Our experience in this sector provides us with the expertise and knowledge to provide a wide range of appetising food choices that support older people’s different and individual needs.”
Mark LLoyd, Managing Director, RMBI Care Co. said: ‘We are delighted to confirm Caterplus as our new catering provider for 13 of our care homes. We are looking forward to embarking on this new partnership with Caterplus who brings considerable expertise and has a strong reputation as an experienced provider for the care sector. Mealtimes are an important part of the day for our residents, and we believe this new appointment will bring multiple benefits to the dining experience and enhance the food service quality throughout the day for our residents.

Bisto launches a series of free guides to help publicans and pub chefs maximise on key trading days #

Bisto has launched a Father’s Day Weekend Guide to help support publicans and pub chefs in making the most of this special occasion with inspirational insight, tips, and recipes. 

The first of a series of guides, which includes expert-led advice from award winning chef and patron of The Cricketer’s Arms, Harry Kodagoda. The Father’s Day Weekend Guide gives fascinating insight into consumer dining habits, plus, senior culinary advisor at Premier Foods, Louise Wagstaffe gives her tips on creating the perfect gravy to elevate Sunday Roasts – with research reporting 79% of diners preferring gravy served in a jug! * 

The digital booklet also includes four flavour-packed recipes that pub chefs can replicate in their own professional kitchens, including a vegan Bisto beetroot and falafel and spiced onion burger with wedges and a modern twist on the pub classic bangers and mash.

With roasts being one of the hero dishes over Father’s Day Weekend and UK consumers continuing its love affair with gravy, with 65% of people say the quality of the gravy is a consideration when rebooking/returning to a venue. Bisto’s Father’s Day Weekend Guide also showcases how gravy is an instrumental ingredient in the kitchen and can help drive profit margins during special occasions.

Harry Kodagoda, chef/patron of The Cricketer’s Arms in Essex explains how chefs can add their own touches to Bisto gravy to make it their own.

Key occasions, such as Father’s Day, are a prime opportunity to maximise footfall and an opportunity to showcase your pub’s hospitality and food and drinks offer. Bisto Original Gravy Granules are so versatile. Add some freshly grated horseradish to the gravy granules to complement your roast beef. Or, for that extra richness and decadence mix in reduced red wine with a spoonful of redcurrant jelly and fresh thyme.” 

Sarah Robb, foodservice marketing manager, Premier Foods Foodservice

This Father’s Day Weekend Guide is the first in a series of practical guides, to help support pub operators to maximise the business opportunity around key trading dates, which will not only hopefully see them grow profits on these big calendar dates, but also help to drive impressed customers to keep returning.”

To download a copy of The Father’s Day Weekend Guide, click here.

Levy UK + Ireland Proud to Add Burnley’s Turf Moor to Stadia Portfolio #

Leading sports and entertainment caterer, Levy UK + Ireland, announces partnership with EFL Champions, Burnley Football Club. Levy will deliver matchday concourse catering, hospitality, plus conferencing and events – starting for the 2023/24 season, which sees the Clarets back in the Premier League at the first time of asking.

The collaboration will see the middle tier of Turf Moor’s Jimmy McIlroy stand, redeveloped into a revolutionary new matchday experience. Boasting a Super Box, which is an open-plan premium dining space, a pitch facing sports bar with street food stations, complete with table football and a state-of-the art Gaming Lounge.

In addition to the Jimmy McIlroy Stand renovation, technology will be introduced throughout the concourses to improve the customer experience. Self-order units will replace traditional bar service with supporters able to order from the terminals and collect from a dedicated collection point. This new technology allows fans to order and pay for their half-time refreshments upon entry, meaning a quicker service.

The Levy culinary team are busy working with existing local suppliers, businesses, and their produce to develop menu items to delight supporters upon their return to Turf Moor. This includes local family-run butchers, Penny’s Meats, who have been supplying Burnley FC for 10 years; and Ribble Farm Fare, another family-run business, just 20 miles away, committed to sourcing the best local produce, who supply the football club with fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy.

People development is a shared vision between both Levy and Burnley FC, so creating clear career pathways for existing employees is planned, alongside reviewing apprenticeship opportunities and working with local colleges and schools. 

Jon Davies, Managing Director, Levy UK + Ireland comments: “We love the community spirit which surrounds Burnley Football Club, and we identify with it. Levy is a Real Living Wage employer, and we work hard to support the communities of all the clubs we partner with. We develop our workforce, forge relationships with regional suppliers, and support local charities.

“Burnley invested wisely on the pitch over the last 12 months, and we’re excited to partner with them to translate this onto the concourse and enhance the supporter matchday experience. The club is at the heart of the community, many of which are part of a fantastic catering and hospitality team, who we can’t wait to work alongside to take this great club to the next level

Stuart Hunt, Co-Owner, Burnley Football Club said: “We’re delighted to partner with Levy to transform hospitality and catering at Turf Moor.

“We have seen fantastic success on the pitch this past season and I’m excited that through this partnership we can continue to take great strides forward off the pitch too, with the renovations and improved technology allowing us to offer supporters an exceptional premium football experience.

“Enhancing our matchday offering has been of key importance to us from the outset and I’m very much looking forward to welcoming supporters to enjoy Premier League football in a premier league environment next season

Going into the 2023/24 season, Levy UK+I will be working with eight Premier League clubs.