Members’ News

September 2023

Pan’Artisan Launches NEW Mini Pizza Pala Margherita #

Pan’Artisan has just launched Mini Pizza Pala Margherita, addressing the demand for authentic, food-to-go convenience.

The UK food-to-go sector has bounced back from a difficult few years showing growth, with forecasted values for this sector at £22.2 billion for 2023*.  Pan’Artisan’s latest addition to its premium bakery range, the Mini Pizza Pala Margherita, offers a true Italian product made to an authentic Italian recipe, providing operators with a tasty, quick to serve product, great for on-the-go or dine in scenarios.
Chris Dickinson, Pan’Artisan’s Business Development Director: “Pizza accounts for one of the most popular menu items and industry statistics show product authenticity is a key factor to attract consumers: ‘63% of those that have eaten in or ordered pizza agree that it’s worth paying more for pizza/Italian dishes that are made traditionally.’**

“Consumer demand for high quality food-to-go options has increased, and our newly launched Mini Pizza Pala Margherita offers the ultimate in convenience; it’s a true taste of Italy made to an authentic Italian recipe.  It is stone-baked and ready topped with fine quality Italian tomato sauce and a blend of mozzarella and cheddar cheese, which is delicious as is, but also enables the operator to customise with additional toppings to extend choices on their menu.”

The Mini Pizza Pala Margherita is perfect for handheld eating as this tasty, rectangular shaped pizza measures 22cm by 10cm, offering a generously sized single portion of pizza to sate the hungriest of appetites.  Simply defrost the product at room temperature until fully thawed, it is suitable for all oven types.  Cook at 200-220°C for approximately 6 to 8 minutes (depending on oven type used) until the base is crisp and the cheese is melted.

Available in cases of 42 units.
*Lumina Intelligence Food to Go Report 2023
**Mintel ‘UK Pizza and Italian Restaurants Market Report 2022’
For more information on the Pan’Artisan range of products call 01730 811490 or visit

Sodexo retains contracts with two leading independent schools in Scotland #

Independents by Sodexo has secured contract extensions with two prestigious Scottish-based schools, Edinburgh Academy and Strathallan School, retaining catering, hospitality and cleaning services.
Following a formal tender process Sodexo has retained its thirty-year partnership with Edinburgh Academy for an additional five years, delivering catering and cleaning services for the 1,200 students at nursery, junior and senior schools. Cleaning will cover the entire school facilities, including the gym, classrooms, dining rooms and corridors.
Sodexo has also retained its catering contract with Strathallan School, a co-ed boarding and day school for more than 550 pupils aged 5 to 18, located in Perth, for a further seven years.
Future plans for both contracts include the renovation of the schools’ respective dining areas, in an effort to continuously improve students’ experience and modernise the dining rooms.
The dining room at Edinburgh Academy Junior school has been transformed and named ‘The Arboretum’, ready for the start of the new academic year with the refurbishment of the senior school dining room planned for later in the year.
Independents by Sodexo will introduce its new exciting food offer providing healthy, delicious, sustainable meal options which have been specifically designed by Sodexo’s experienced chefs, as a way to enhance shared dining experiences and bring the school community together.
The culinary teams will serve tasty dishes from our new destination counters: Market Fresh, Kitchen Favourites and World Tour.
Our World Tour counter will focus on regional cuisines where students can build their own dishes such as a grilled Moroccan spiced pollock, chickpea harissa tahini with chargrilled vegetables inspired by North African flavours In addition to featuring local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients throughout menus, The Kitchen Favourites counter includes the perfect roast dinner whether a Red Tractor Pork loin or a delicious Butternut Wellington with all the trimmings and mouth-watering classics such as locally produced sausages with red onion gravy and creamy potato and winter root mash as well as hand made super grain burgers loaded with mature cheddar cheese and caramelised onions.
To continue raising awareness around food and cooking, Sodexo will continue to provide students with nutritional know-how from its skilled chefs, through its ‘Chefs in the Classroom’ programme, linking health and wellbeing to the school curriculum.
Steve Hawkins, Managing Director, Schools, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “We’re thrilled to continue our long-standing partnership further with Edinburgh Academy and Strathallan School and to continue to support both schools in providing nutritious healthy experiences.
With the students back to school this month, the local teams are really looking froward in showcasing the new offers, initiatives, and working with the schools on transforming their dining spaces."

Independents by Sodexo is Sodexo’s dedicated team to support some of the most reputable institutions across the country, providing catering, hospitality, cleaning and facilities management services that truly make a difference for students, teaching staff and the wider school community.

Hospitality leaders call for unity and collaboration from the industry to improve the perception of hospitality careers and attract more young people #

Senior leaders from the hospitality and foodservice industry came together at the Arena Summer Event for a roundtable, hosted by Nestlé Professional, to discuss one of the most pressing issues facing the industry – youth employment.
10 experts in the fields of HR, operations and food and beverage were in attendance representing companies with a combined UK workforce of more than 130,000, including the likes of BaxterStorey, Greene King and Compass Group UK&I.
Chaired by William Murray CEO, Anita Murray, the roundtable opened with Nestlé Professional highlighting the industry's perception challenge – a key finding from its own research. Negative stereotypes perpetuated by parents (47%), friends (35%), and teachers (34%) were identified as the main barriers preventing young people from considering a career in hospitality.  Experts delved into the misconceptions to gain a better understanding of how to tackle them. These included being labelled as ‘unskilled’ roles and the lack visibility of the range of careers that exist to ‘limited’ progression opportunities, which are all familiar misconceptions of working in hospitality.
Before looking at potential solutions, the roundtable highlighted a key benefit of attracting young talent to the industry. Louise Gallant, Head of Publican and MP Recruitment at Punch Pubs, emphasised the fresh thinking that young workers bring. She stated, "They're naturally curious and want to question things," highlighting their potential to embrace new technologies for smarter and more efficient processes."
However, it was agreed early on the industry needs to redefine how it presents itself, before realising the benefits of a younger workforce. “There's a clear disparity between what we know, as people who live and breathe the industry, and what the wider perception is”, said Graham Briggs, Head of Apprenticeships at Greene King. Whilst referring to hospitality as a “superpower” and “contagious”, BaxterStorey's Director of Food, Greg Bramwell, urged the industry “to do a better job at promoting the skillset that young people can develop, from multi-tasking, problem solving and teamwork to communication, customer service and attention to detail.”
Experts also highlighted the need for transparent communication about routes into the industry – with no requirements to do A-levels or get a degree – as well as the opportunities available to fast-track career development and the monetary rewards at different levels.
Business leaders were all in agreement the industry must work together to give a unified voice, adding credibility to the industry.  Katya Simmons, managing director at Nestle Professional UK&I said: “Hospitality needs to deliver consistent messages about hospitality careers to young people.  We all need a clear focus on topics we know are key drivers for young people such as culture and career progression.” 
One initiative already uniting the industry to inspire young people is the Choose Hospitality Pledge. Co-founded by Nestlé Professional, Choose Hospitality, and Springboard CareerScope – the Choose Hospitality Pledge aims to educate secondary school students about the industry’s wide range of entry-level roles and training opportunities, the breadth of roles available – dispelling the ‘only chef or waiter’ myth – as well the many career pathways on offer.
The roundtable concluded with a shared agreement on the challenges and potential solutions to improve the perception of hospitality as an aspirational career choice for young people. The key takeaway, and a theme that cropped up throughout the discussion, was how does the industry take a more unified and collaborative approach. The panel agreed to join forces to create an open and honest dialogue with an industry body to kickstart the process of addressing the key issues raised.
Roundtable attendees:
Anita Murray, CEO, William Murray (Chair)
Frank Coughlan, Executive Head Chef, BaxterStorey
Amanda Scott, Director of Talent, Learning and D&I, Compass Group UK&I
Greg Bramwell, Director of Food, BaxterStorey
Louise Gallant, Head of Publican and MP Recruitment, Punch Pubs
Cheryl Hope, Trading Director, Unitas
Ross Baxter, Senior HR Business Partner, Greene King
Graham Briggs, Head of Apprenticeships & EP – People and Culture, Greene King
Anthony Piercey, Head of Food Deployment, ISS
Katya Simmons, MD, Nestlé Professional
Katrina Harrison, Brand and Activation Lead, Nestlé Professional

Calling all pizza afficiona-doughs #

The UK’s leading food service baking and pizza brand, Dr. Oetker Professional, has announced the expansion of its out of home pizza offering, and vegan pizza just got even saucier with the latest addition to its vegan range – The Saucy Vegan Stuffed Crust Pepper-no-ni!
The Vegan Stuffed Crust Pepper-no-ni offers a first for frozen plant-based pizza, with its vegan garlic and herb sauce stuffed crust.
The pizza is topped with vegan-style pepperoni, vegan mozzarella, vegan gouda, green peppers and red onion and is the perfect flavour-filled plant-based alternative for all pizza lovers.  

This latest addition to the Chicago Town Takeaway range boasts soft rising dough for a freshly baked taste, taking a classic pizza flavour and adding a contemporary twist to make it vegan friendly, meaning it is the ideal addition to your business’ vegan offering.
Veganism and vegetarianism remain big trends, with 39% of people eating less meat than they did a year ago*1 and over 30% of consumers identifying as flexitarian*1. As a result, it is crucial for operators to have both offerings within their menu to tap into this market sector.

Chicago Town Vegan Stuffed Crust Pepper-no-ni – Available in leading national wholesalers including Bidfood and Brakes. Launching in October.

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

Bank of Dave’ founder to inspire wholesalers at Unitas conference #

The keynote speaker at next month’s Unitas Conference in Athens is a self-made multi-millionaire entrepreneur who rose from humble beginnings to take on the establishment by setting up a community bank with his own money. He’s Dave Fishwick, the inspiration for the Netflix movie Bank of Dave.
Born and raised in Burnley, Dave left school aged 16 with no qualifications and used his natural charm and business skills to become a successful businessman. Determinedly independent and proud of his roots, he realised after the economic crisis in 2008/09 that high street banks were no longer giving loans to his customers, so he decided to lend them the money himself.  
In 2012 he was the focus of the Channel 4 documentary series Bank of Dave, which followed him as he set out to create his bank and send it into profit in 180 days. A movie with the same name starred Rory Kinnear as Dave, and a sequel has already been commissioned. His book ‘Bank of Dave: How I Took on the Banks’ was described by The Times as “A wonderful tale of David and Goliath”.
Unitas MD John Kinney said: “Dave is the perfect speaker to close our conference business sessions. His story will resonate with our wholesaler members who are following the same path of building big businesses with small business community values. His community lending scheme reflects our belief that independent businesses are stronger together when they share resources and expertise.”
Expert speakers presenting on the first day of business sessions include the noted economist Paul Johnson of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, and Katherine Morgan, director of public affairs consultancy Dentons Global Advisors. They and others will look at the challenges and opportunities for the wholesale channel in five areas: Economy, Legislation, People, Technology and Sustainability.
The following two days are devoted to deep dives into retail, foodservice and on trade, with presentations, panels and discussion sessions. More than 20 Unitas wholesalers will be contributing on stage and screen.
The conference, from 15-19 September, also includes face-to-face Meet the Member sessions, sight-seeing excursions and evening entertainment including a gala dinner.

Lexington Catering pastry chefs compete in Bake Off: The Professionals 2023 #

Leading caterer, Lexington Catering, was proud to see two of its pastry chefs, Margo Kujawa and Ally Walker, compete in this year’s Bake Off: The Professionals, broadcast on Channel 4.
Back for an eighth series, this year’s competition was again hosted by Liam Charles, a former contestant on The Great British Bake Off, and took place at Firle Place in East Sussex. Liam was joined, as a co-host, by comedian, actress and writer Ellie Taylor. Benoit Blin, Chef Pâtissier at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, and Cherish Finden, formerly Executive Pastry Chef of the Pan Pacific London Hotel, returned as judges of the competition.

Competing twosomes came from across the UK and included teams from luxury hotels such as The Dorchester, The Landmark and St. James’ Court in London and Glenapp Castle in Ayrshire. There were patisserie pairs from Manchester’s Bisou Bisou, Wigan’s Harwoods and London’s Meraki Baking Studio.

Margo and Ally work for Lexington Catering, at a prestigious London law firm, where they create the desserts for the restaurant, hospitality functions and for all fine dining events. As well as training apprentices in foundation pastry skills, they also provide support to other Lexington chefs across the company and are planning to set up a pastry mentoring scheme to share their expertise further.
Commenting on their experience, Margo said: “It was thrilling to get through the initial rounds and be part of this fun and exciting televised competition. The standard was exceptionally high and it was such a great experience to compete against so many talented chefs and to undertake some real baking challenges.”

Matt Wood, Managing Director of Lexington Catering, said: “We are so proud of Margo and Ally for this amazing achievement. Their participation in this show is testament to their incredible expertise and patisserie skills as well as the delicious creations they craft for our clients and customers. It was wonderful to see them receive this wider recognition.”
Margo and Ally participated in the first two rounds. In week one, they had to create 36 Opera aux Fruits and a chocolate amenity. Then, the duos were tasked with reinventing a traditional favourite - banoffee pie - in a stunning showpiece; Margo and Ally made a chocolate pirate ship – reflecting Ally’s love for everything pirate-related - with the banoffee pies as the treasure. In round two, they had to create 24 reimagined tarts with a twist and 24 peach melbas. For the showstopper they were challenged to undertake a piece montee, inspired by the theme of Mad Science.

Margo moved to London from Poland in 2014 and trained at Le Cordon Bleu and initially worked at London’s Balthazar restaurant. Ally has been a chef for over 10 years and discovered their love for pastry after meeting Margo two years ago.

Insights Lab by Egg Soldiers: Innovation thought-starters for Halloween 2024 product development #

While the ongoing cost-of-living crisis might well be scary enough, Halloween 2023 will provide a much-needed dose of escapism for many UK consumers, with both retail and foodservice operators primed to unleash myriad spooky specials for the season.

Yes, there’s still a month to go before October hits, but there can be no rest for food development teams up and down the land, with early-stage inspiration for Halloween 2024 already well under way.

Due to popular demand, Insights Lab by Egg Soldiers is now examining potential hot spots for Halloween F&B innovation in 2024, with its development chef vantage point and food trend expertise combining to deliver unique direction for clients both big and small.

In a dedicated article, which can be accessed here for free; Insights Lab’s team spotlights flavour riffs from Southeast Asia, next-level edible cocktail garnishes, and Day of the Dead season extenders as ones-to-watch for next year.

Kateline Porritt, Head of Trends at Egg Soldiers, says: “The rise (and rise) of street food in the UK has only increased consumer awareness as to the possibilities with global food flavours (and new fusion genres), with Halloween baked goods an emerging hot spot for innovators delivering colourful Southeast Asian riffs on seasonal classics.
“Both ube and the green-hued pandan, which delivers a floral, vanilla-like flavour, should be ones-to-watch for developers in this space, with mainstream UK awareness primed to rise during Halloween 2023.”

During Halloween, mixologists can really ramp up the theatrics to draw in the crowds. As such, the creativity bar is set pretty high for seasonal cocktails, with sensory elevating smoke infusions and startling colours just the tip of the iceberg.

For Halloween 2023, Insights Lab predicts that many cocktail makers will continue to push boundaries with garish garnishes, eschewing inedible additions to minimise waste while increasing value perceptions, delivering on novelty, and broadening the overall sensory experience.

Finally, Insights Lab spotlights the annual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, which has been attracting interest far beyond its Mexican roots, opening up new seasonal opportunities with a number of traditional options.

“Falling on November 2nd this year; Day of the Dead specials allow foodservice operators to 'extend' the Halloween season with festival-inspired offerings, such as pan de muerto (bread of the dead), and tamales – a traditional Mexican street food and Día de los Muertos mainstay,” says Porritt.

“Beverages such as Atole (a warming corn, cinnamon, and vanilla drink), and Horchata (a sweet, white rice-based drink) also come into play around Day of the Dead, with cocktail bars regularly offering limited-edition showstoppers with a range of Mexican spirits.”

Insights Lab by Egg Soldiers produces a bi-monthly food trends newsletter, regularly 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.

Compass partners with The Ladder for Greater Birmingham #

Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK’s largest foodservice company, is joining forces with The Ladder for Greater Birmingham with the aim of supporting and promoting apprenticeships across the region.
The Ladder initiative was born 10 years ago in London, to bring together partners and showcase apprenticeships and the value they can bring to individuals, employers, and communities. The local Birmingham campaign, launched in 2018 - aiming to create thousands of new apprenticeships. It supports employers and training providers to improve skills and employment opportunities to help tackle youth unemployment.
Compass is now an ‘Employer Partner’ and will support their ‘Have a Go’ sessions, offered to young people aged 16 – 29 in the new Ladder for Greater Birmingham Skills Academy, which opened in February this year. These sessions are hands on, showing what different industries and job roles would entail.
To kick start the partnership, Compass supported the Summer Skills Programme event with Christopher Alexander an Executive Chef and Jon Kapa, Chef De Partie, from its Restaurant Associates sector. They were doing culinary demonstrations, including creating a healthy jerk chicken salad and giving out goodie bags to those attending, which included a recipe card for a simple plant forward recipe. In addition, the partnership will see the organisations work collaboratively to enable The Ladder to utilise Compass’ Regional Community Skills Hub in Edgbaston, due to open early next year.
Compass has a longstanding commitment to training and development, through its Our Social Promise commitment. Launched last year, it promises to provide support to one million people, from both within and outside the organisation by 2030. It aims to enhance opportunities and change lives through job creation, education, training, community, and charitable engagement.
Apprenticeships play an important role within this commitment, the organisation currently has 600 people on programmes, ranging from a Level 2 to a degree level higher apprenticeship, across subjects such as finance, culinary, Front of House, events and leadership.
Jonathan Foot, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers at Compass Group UK & Ireland, commented: “The Ladder has the platform to help tell the stories of different career options for young people and I would always advocate that the hospitality and service industry is an exciting one to enter with endless opportunities. I am really looking forward to working together to show local people what we can offer them.”
Kevin Davis, Chair of The Ladder Foundation: “As Chair of The Ladder, I’m so pleased to welcome Compass Group UK & Ireland to The Ladder family. As one of the leading catering, cleaning and facilities management service companies, they demonstrate the breadth of vocations, that can inspire apprentices, and those seeking to recruit them. I look forward to working with them.”
As an Employer Partner, Compass will also be one of the sponsors at The Ladder for the Black Country Apprenticeship Awards this November.

No-one gets 98% engagement from a non-mandatory staff survey, but Gather do! #

Gather is striving ahead in the staff engagement and retention area. A recent success story shows a response rate of 98% - which is incredible and rarely heard of – especially from employees when it’s not a mandatory survey. This was from just one of the franchised locations.
From this success, Gather’s now talking with the client’s franchisor head office to look at deploying the platform across all franchisees.
We’re unable to share the client details for the moment, but they have quoted: “Our August Staff survey was a huge success 98% engagement rate! As you can appreciate, we are over the moon with the engagement.”
You hear staff recruitment and retention is high on the agenda of the hospitality sector, but it’s not easy to find the right tools and technology to really make a big impact on engagement.
This hurdle can be overcome with the Gather platform, which was recently launched by it’s parent company Umbrella Insight.
Gaining feedback from staff is so important in order to gain the real feelings of employees which can then be reviewed and proactive support put in place to retain the team member going forward. The cost involved in hiring, onboarding and training staff is immense so this gives a huge saving to the business.
Staff engagement is just one of the focal areas which Gather can help any company with. If you’re interested in a solution that provides a huge array of services and capabilities, as well as staff surveys, then Gather is definitely a platform you should take a look at. provide the Gather platform and have excellent after sales support to ensure you are kept up with the latest trends in question sets, engagement and support for your business.
Gather caters for staff and customer engagement, on-premise and home-delivery feedback, event feedback and much more …
Click here to get in touch with the Gather team for a 20-minute demo and free trial.
Or email Team@WeGather.Info and one of the team will be happy to have a chat.
We’re Gather ing Momentum and we want you to be part of the journey
“Gather provide a high ROI insight and engagement platform, enabling not only your customers and staff to provide feedback, but for the business to see this in an operational way.  It’s exceptionally easy for you to understand your strengths as well as know where to focus your efforts to better improve - Resulting in a stronger business as well as giving you a competitive advantage.”

Aramark Introduces Edible Straws to Promote Sustainability at Merlin Sites #

Aramark UK is delighted to partner with Edible Straws to offer a sustainable solution to single-use straws. This innovative step reinforces Aramark's unwavering commitment to the environment and sustainability across Merlin sites in the UK, such as Chessington World of Adventure Resort, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort and Alton Towers Resort.
Edible Straws emerged as a sustainable alternative by a group of enthusiastic individuals united with a common goal to develop an enjoyable substitute for plastic and paper straws. Fuelled by an unyielding commitment to address the urgent global challenge of disposable straws, the company is steadfast in its mission to offer an extraordinary, tasty, and eco-friendly option.
Crafted to delight taste buds and the environment, Edible Straws are made from 100 per cent natural sugars and come in various delicious flavours. From fruity bursts to chocolaty indulgences, the straws enhance the beverage experience while providing a sustainable alternative.
Edible Straws align seamlessly with Aramark's broader Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy, reflecting the company's dedication to minimising its ecological footprint.
Visitors to Dragon Delights at Chessington World of Adventure Resort, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort’s Wizards Frozen Wonders and Alton Towers Resort’s Coach House Confectionery can now indulge in delightful Edible Straws with their Freakshake milkshakes, offering a unique and eco-friendly experience. The straws are included free of charge with each milkshake.
Daniel Clark, Aramark Merlin Account Director, commented, "By introducing Edible Straws across our sites, we are taking a significant step forward in reducing plastic waste and promoting sustainable choices for our valued clients. With Edible Straws now available at iconic Merlin, we aim to inspire visitors of all ages to contribute to a more sustainable planet."
“We’re thrilled to partner with Aramark UK in this remarkable journey towards sustainability. Our collaboration signifies a significant step in raising awareness about eco-friendly choices and empowering individuals to positively impact the environment without compromising on taste and quality,” said Keith Wearing, Director of Edible Straws.

Springboard’s futurechef competition celebrates 25 years of inspiring the chefs of tomorrow #

Springboard FutureChef, one of the UK’s most prestigious culinary competitions, is marking its 25th anniversary with a celebration of the former participants who used the competition to kickstart inspirational careers in the hospitality industry.
Over the past quarter of a century, the annual school-based competition to find the UK’s best young chefs and industry stars of the future has been a beacon of inspiration for young talent, fostering their culinary dreams and propelling them towards successful careers in the culinary world.
Since its inception in 1999, Springboard FutureChef has captivated the hearts and minds of thousands of young aspiring chefs from schools across the country. This annual culinary challenge has provided a platform for them to showcase their skills, creativity, and passion for the culinary arts. To date, an impressive 214,000 school children aged 12-16 have taken part, demonstrating the competition's tremendous impact on the nation's culinary landscape.
The competition has served as a launchpad for culinary superstars, such as April Partridge, who won in 2009. April has since become the highest-ever ranking female chef in The Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year in 2020 and was also the Roux Scholarship winner for 2023. Currently serving as chef de partie at The Ivy London, April’s journey exemplifies the potential the competition can unlock for participants.
Other former FutureChef competitors include Michelin Star restaurateur Graeme Cheevers, social media influencer and our latest Springboard FutureChef Champion, Poppy O'Toole, who will be sharing content, videos and supporting the programme in its 25th Anniversary year and beyond, and Ruth Hansom, a Roux Scholarship finalist, winner of a Caterer Acorn Award, finalist of the 'Great British Menu' and regular guest on 'James Martin's Saturday Morning' and 'Saturday Kitchen Live'.
Meanwhile, top chefs including Clare Smyth, Michel Roux Jr, Monica Galetti and Tom Kerridge have all contributed their expertise and passion to nurture the next generation of culinary stars.
Brian Turner Honoured with New Annual Prize
In celebration of the 25th anniversary, Springboard’s FutureChef is thrilled to welcome David Mulcahy as its new chairman, with chef Brian Turner CBE, who has been involved with the competition since the beginning, becoming FutureChef Life Ambassador. Meanwhile, a new annual award - the Brian Turner Best Taste Prize, sponsored by Wellocks– will be handed out for the first time this year, in recognition of Turner’s 25 years of support for the competition.
Discussing the 25th anniversary, David Mulcahy said, "It is truly an honour to become Chairman of Springboard FutureChef, as we celebrate its 25th anniversary. Throughout the years, this competition has played a vital role in shaping the careers of countless budding chefs, and I am looking forward to contributing to its legacy of culinary excellence. Together, with the support of Brian Turner and our other renowned chefs and partners, we aim to inspire and empower even more young people to pursue their culinary aspirations."
The competition is supported by leading industry names including Savoy Educational Trust, Hilton, Sodexo, Worshipful Company of Cooks, CH&CO, BaxterStorey, Compass and Nestle. The 25th anniversary celebrations promise to be a remarkable milestone for the Springboard FutureChef competition, reflecting on the profound impact it has had on the culinary world and the bright prospects it continues to offer for future generations of chefs.
For more information about Springboard FutureChef and its 25th anniversary celebrations, please visit 

Twc signs up first three clients to new independent convenience market read #

Data consultancy TWC Group has signed up three clients to its brand-new independent convenience market read, SmartView Convenience. Campari Group, the owner of leading brands such as Aperol, Campari and Skyy Vodka; Nestle’s Coffee division; and spirit distributor Hi-Spirits are the first three businesses to sign up to the new service.
Following months of work building and refining the store sample, TWC believes that SmartView Convenience provides the most representative EPOS market read covering independent retail and wholesaler-supplied symbol stores in GB. The read comprises a sample of more than 5,000 stores which have been cherry-picked to be representative of total GB, with a plan to reach 6,500 by the end of the year.
Tom Fender, Development Director at TWC comments:
“We are delighted with the level of interest there has been for SmartView Convenience – which demonstrates the gap there has been for a reliable, truly representative market read for this part of the market. We have done lots of demos in the last couple of months and the feedback has been outstanding, especially with regards to our market leading dashboards which provide quick access to the data and fantastic visualisation.”
“In addition to the three businesses that have already signed up, we are actively talking to many other businesses and hope to be in a position to make further announcements soon.” 
To find out more about SmartView Convenience and to book a demo, please head to:

Sodexo partners with NHS England to provide wellbeing support and educational content to NHS chef competition #

Sodexo Health & Care is delighted to support the 2023 NHS Chef of the Year competition, providing competing chef teams with access to Sodexo’s Circles service as well as bespoke best practice videos for competitors produced using experts from across the organisation including dietitians, highly skilled chefs and sustainability experts.
The special video series is being created to share the learning and development experience of the participating chefs with the wider NHS culinary community.  The series will cover a range of subjects which the chefs have to consider as part of the competition such as allergen management, creating children’s menus and minimising waste.
The NHS Chef of the Year competition was launched in 2021 following recommendations in the Independent Review of NHS Hospital Food to support and develop hospital chefs.
Run by NHS England, the annual competition, supports the aims and objectives of the new National Healthcare Food & Drink Standards. It aims to raise the profile of NHS chefs by giving them a platform to showcase their talent, skills and creativity and enhance healthcare catering excellence by sharing the learnings from the competition with the wider NHS culinary community. 
Having contributed to the new standards, Sodexo Health & Care recognises their importance and how, by working in partnership across the health system, we can make a real difference to a patient’s nutrition and hydration.
The competition which runs from June to November is open to two-person teams from NHS hospitals across the country.
Each team has been tasked with creating healthy, nutritious meals within a budget of £5 and £6. Their chosen meals must be suitable for generic NHS patients, with an emphasis on Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services (GBSF), The Department of Health’s Obesity Strategy and be nutritionally balanced, in accordance with the British Dietetic Association (BDA) guidance.
Phil Shelley, Senior Operational & Policy Manager and Chair of the NHS Review of Hospital Food said: “This competition highlights the best of NHS catering, chefs’ skills, catering knowledge and menu engineering. We are delighted to have Sodexo on board to support the competition. As NHS Trusts and providers work towards achieving the standards and make progress, new and exciting initiatives continue to emerge which not only enhance the food and drink available but also the experience of patients, visitors and staff. Our intention is to run this programme annually and with the support of organisations such as Sodexo we will be able to do this. 
“The new food standards for healthcare address the broad aspects of hospital food provision such as governance, workforce development, food waste as well as the choice and quality of the provision available, our aim is to continue to elevate hospital nutrition and hydration to board level accountability.”

Throughout the competition Sodexo will provide the competing teams with access to its Circles service which it already provides to a number of its NHS hospital clients staff and patients. With the chefs balancing their work, personal lives and the pressure of the competition the service will support the chefs’ wellbeing, enabling them to seek personal and professional support while balancing work, home and competition commitments.
Circles will be on the end of a phone to help with everyday tasks – being that finding a local plumber, arranging last minute childcare, finding that elusive event ticket, helping save money on everyday costs, arranging holidays – as well as offering discounts from national partner offers. 
Simon Lilley, Director of Strategy and Marketing for Sodexo Health & Care said: “NHS England’s Chef of the Year programme identifies and highlights the very best practice and expertise across the NHS. At Sodexo patient and staff nutritional food is a key service we provide to many hospitals across the UK and the world, but being able to support NHS England, Phil Shelley and his team by supporting with other aspects from the Sodexo portfolio gives us great pleasure; and hopefully adds value to the wonderful chefs taking part.
“We have had lots of interest from our chefs from right across our organisation including those working at prestigious events and venues or working for global organisations, all of them keen to support and passionate about helping improve the standards of food services delivered in the healthcare sector.  We are proud to have their support and to be a part of this exciting and important competition.”

In 2022, Sodexo Health & Care’s team from Hereford County Hospital made it to the final.  Head chef Les Beare and chef Josh Banner were runner ups last year and the only contract catering team to make it to the final stage last year. Les and Josh are supporting the 2023 competition by sharing their experience and tips for this year’s competitors.

Insolvencies are growing in the foodservice sector #

Insolvencies are growing in the foodservice sector, yet managers do not see the risk. The latest Monthly Briefing Report from Peter Backman investigates the reality behind the current increase in corporate failures and company births in the sector. The report also features a revamped Tracker Tracker with the very latest post-covid data and provides an ‘at a glance’ view of the current trajectory of the foodservice market. This is the latest report in the Premium Briefing Report series – which accompanies Peter’s acclaimed free Weekly Briefing Report. Premium Briefing Reports include updated forecasts every quarter plus full reviews of what is happening in each sector. Read by managers across the foodservice sector – and used to inform stakeholders, board members, colleagues, customers, and suppliers  – Premium Briefing reports are available on subscription on the Shop page at

Keeping electrical work safe with the FEA and IOSH #

FEA highlight electrical safety guidance material designed by the IOSH

As part of its ongoing efforts to highlight the importance of strengthening the culture of safety around electrical equipment in the foodservice industry, the Foodservice Equipment Association has made guidance material created by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health available to download from its website.

This includes documents designed to provide operators, managers and electricians with a concise yet authoritative summary explaining the standards that need to be reached for the safe installation and maintenance of electrical equipment and their individual rights and responsibilities in relation to how those standards are met. As well as documents you can find links to training videos created by IOSH which presents the information in a simple to digest way, packed with prompts for further discussion and training opportunities.

Also featured are quizzes designed specifically for electricians and managers to help understand their level of knowledge of the issues, as well as helpful posters highlighting common issues as well as the actions that need to be taken when they are identified.

The IOSH is the world’s largest membership body for health and safety professionals, and provides advice and training in issues relating to this area for a wide range of industries at all levels, as well as providing guidance to governments, policymakers and NGOs.

“Finding ways to improve the safety of employees working on electrical equipment has been a priority for the FEA over the last few years,” says John Cunningham, chief executive of the FEA. “The material the IOSH has produced give relevant employees a solid grounding in best practice about ensuring that any electrical work is carried out in safety.”

The information can be accessed on the Electrical Safety Hub on the FEA’s website.

The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) is the independent, authoritative voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing nearly 200 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes.  For more information on FEA visit