Members’ News

October 2023

The Springboard Christmas Carols are back for 2023 #

The Springboard Carols have become a beloved annual tradition for many Springboard supporters and the best way to get in the Christmas mood! Set to be the social highlight of the holiday season, the evening promises to be filled with festive cheer, delightful carols, delectable canapés and warming drinks.
Date: Thursday 7th December 2023

Time: From 6:00PM

Location: St Mary-at-Hill Church, Billingsgate, London
This event is the perfect opportunity to bring your team together for a night of celebration, relaxation, and festive spirit. Strengthen workplace bonds, reward your hardworking staff, and make lasting memories.
Festive Carols: Get ready to sing your heart out to timeless Christmas classics! Our talented choir will lead us into a winter wonderland of music and merriment
Delectable Canapés: Savour mouth-watering bites that will tantalize your taste buds, served throughout the evening
Warming Drinks: Raise a glass and toast to the season with your favourite tipple, including a mulled wine, served in the candlelit courtyard, where you can bask in the cosy ambiance of the holiday season
Fundraising for a Great Cause: Your ticket price of just £30 goes directly towards supporting The Springboard Charity and there will be some playful fundraising activities to take part in, as well as prizes to win!

Book your tickets now:

Sodexo prevents food waste equivalent to over one million meals in the last 12 months #

In 2019, the 74th United Nations General assembly designated 29 September as the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction. To mark this day, Sodexo has released its latest food waste reduction figures.

Sodexo UK and Ireland has today announced that over the last 12 months (September 2022 to August 2023), the business has again stepped up its WasteWatch programme to prevent food waste equivalent to 1,011,713 meals. 

WasteWatch works by rapidly capturing food waste data and giving clear insights into what is being wasted and why. Teams can then bring in operational and behavioural changes to help end avoidable food waste, whether generated in the kitchen or by consumers.  

Claire Atkins Morris, Sustainability Director at Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: “Tackling food waste is a key lever in our commitment to reach net zero by 2040. The progress demonstrated over the last year is encouraging and reinforces our confidence that we will achieve our goal of halving our food waste by 50% by 2025. As one of the world’s leading food service providers, we would encourage other businesses in the industry to commit to reducing food waste. Only together can we stop feeding the climate crisis.” 

In 2021, Sodexo launched its Appetite for Action campaign with the aim of using the organisation’s scale and food industry expertise to convene and work alongside political and industry stakeholders, chefs, and customers to drive meaningful change in food service procurement to help cut food waste.

Jess Miller is named Compass Apprentice Chef of the Year #

Compass’ prestigious annual Apprentice Chef of the Year final took place this week. It saw eight Compass apprentices who were successfully selected to compete, show off the skills they have learnt so far, while gaining experience of a competition.
Held at the Compass Group headquarters in Chertsey, each finalist was presented with a box of mystery ingredients and then tasked with creating a two-course meal in just two hours.
The competition was incredibly close and saw Jess Miller – Apprentice Chef de Partie, Chartwells Independent, win the crown of Apprentice Chef of the Year. The winning menu was Chalk Stream Trout with braised fennel, tenderstem broccoli, confit leek, with a leek ash and a leek cream, served with tarragon and parsley oil. For dessert she created a stunning chocolate fondant with poached pears. Jess is studying a level 3 Chef de Partie qualification at Westminster Kingsway College.
In second place was Cameron Tullis – Professional Cookery Apprentice, Levy UK + Ireland and joint third was given to Mohamed Elhrabi – Apprentice Commis Chef, ESS and Diana Onyeka – Apprentice Commis Chef, Levy UK + Ireland.
The journey to the final included developing and submitting menus and concepts taking into consideration Net Zero, sustainability, seasonality and origin, followed by heats in the next round of the competition. All competitors will be part of the brigade of chefs to cook at the annual Apprentice Chef of the Year special dinner, where the winner of the competition gets to cook their own menu for over 100 VIP guests.
Jess Miller commented: “It was such a great experience to be involved in this competition. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me during this process and Compass, for the opportunity to take part. I am really looking forward to the celebratory dinner event, where I get to cook my own menu for a huge guestlist.”
The culinary competition was judged by celebrity Chef, Bryn Williams; Compass Group UK & Ireland Culinary Director, Nick Vadis; Development Chef for Chartwells Independent, Leanne Turk, plus Culinary Academy Vice Principal at HIT Training, Mark Belford.
Chef Bryn Williams, who is Compass Cymru’s Culinary Ambassador said of the competition: “These amazingly talented chefs are given a box of unknown ingredients before they start cooking in this competition. It really is great to see how their creative flair and skills have shone through, as they set to work making some fantastic dishes under pressure! The standard was brilliant, a huge congratulations to everyone who took part.”
The finalists were:
Cameron Coleman – Professional Cookery Apprentice, Levy UK + Ireland
Mohamed Elhrabi – Apprentice Commis Chef, ESS
Cian Evans – Apprentice Chef de Partie, Levy UK + Ireland
Jess Miller – Apprentice Chef de Partie, Chartwells Independent
Diana Onyeka – Apprentice Commis Chef, Levy UK + Ireland
Laura Smith – Senior Production Chef Apprentice, Chartwells
Connor Thomas – Apprentice Commis Chef, Levy UK + Ireland
Cameron Tullis – Professional Cookery Apprentice, Levy UK + Ireland

Compass currently has 600 employees taking on apprenticeships, with qualifications varying from a Level 2 or 3 to a degree level higher apprenticeship, across subjects such as finance, culinary, events and leadership. This forms a critical part of Compass’ Our Social Promise 

Unitas Wholesale bolsters trading team with three key appointments to deliver market-leading strategy #

Unitas Wholesale is strengthening its trading team to improve member support, enhance supplier relationships and deliver collaborative initiatives.

Under the lead of Cheryl Hope, Trading Director, the new team now includes Lee Wharton as On-Trade Trading Controller, Alex Trotman as Licensed Trading Controller (Retail) and Martin Shears as Procurement Manager – Central Services.
John Kinney, Managing Director of Unitas Wholesale, said: “Lee, Alex and Martin bring an incredible depth of knowledge and experience that will be a real benefit to our members and their customers.
“As the UK’s biggest independent buying group, we pride ourselves on providing the best support and the most competitive trading terms and promotions in the industry. Our new team members will play an important role in delivering these to help our members grow their businesses.” 

Lee Wharton, On-Trade Trading Controller, joins with more than 20 years’ experience in the UK’s drinks industry, predominantly within the on-trade sector having worked with some of the biggest companies in the market including Heineken, Molson Coors and Suntory Beverage & Food GBI.
Lee said: “My experience on the supplier side will be a real benefit to our members and supplier partners. I have more than 20 years’ experience working across the channel including delivering new trade routes, working with national and local wholesale distributors and working with national on-trade retail groups. Unitas is a forward-thinking organisation that understands the power of collaboration, I love to see all my stakeholders succeed so this role was the perfect opportunity.”
Alex Trotman, Licensed Trading Controller (Retail), joins Unitas from Diageo where he was a key part of the account management team for the wholesale channel. He brings a valuable understanding of the opportunities for both Unitas members and suppliers.
“I’m delighted to be joining Unitas. This is a unique opportunity to not only interact with a range of brands but on behalf of leading independent wholesalers,” he said. “I’m looking forward to helping our members and suppliers grow their businesses with the UK’s biggest independent buying group.”
Martin Shears, Procurement Manager - Central Services brings more than 30 years’ procurement experience having worked with a range of businesses including wholesalers, foodservice operators and retailers to manage their spend.
Martin said: “My role will focus on ensuring our members and their customers can remain competitive on price. The combination of my category, sales, negotiation, strategy sourcing and supply management experience will ensure our members continue to get the best quality goods and services at the best value.”
The announcement follows the news that Unitas has added two new appointments to its MDM team. In total, the five recent appointments across the business add more than 90 years’ experience to the Unitas team.

Sodexo Live! delivers memorable experiences to more than 2.6 million guests during action-packed summer season #

This summer more than 2.6 million customers received memorable food and hospitality experiences from Sodexo Live! at some of the UK’s most iconic music, cultural and sporting moments. 

Sodexo Live! provided catering and hospitality services to eight high-profile events, mobilising over 7,000 employees during the summer months.   

Kicking off the season was Eurovision 2023, hosted on behalf of Ukraine by Sodexo Live!’s venue partner, the ACC Liverpool Group at the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool. Hospitality and catering were provided by Sodexo Live! at the nine live shows to the 60,000 attendees. In addition to creating a dedicated food offer with Ukrainian-inspired dishes, Sodexo Live! also worked with the Liverpool Zero Waste Community to deliver pallets of surplus food to families, schools, children’s groups and care homes across Liverpool and the Wirral. 

A partner to Ascot Racecourse since 1998, Sodexo Live! continued to push the boundaries of fine dining and food at this year’s Royal Ascot, the pinnacle of the British summer social calendar. The 300,000 racegoers were able to experience the best in hospitality and retail throughout the week, with exquisite menus crafted by Michelin-starred chefs, serving a total of 45,000 meals. 

Marking the 25-year partnership with Ascot Racecourse, this year’s event also commemorated Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and celebrated the reign of His Majesty King Charles III. It was one of their most successful yet with a record-breaking 15,500 fine dining covers delivered on the Thursday of Royal Ascot week. 

For the 184th edition of the Henley Royal Regatta, Sodexo Live! served over 2,500 guests across some of the most iconic hospitality venues overlooking the River Thames, such as the picturesque yet relaxed Fawley Meadows lounge and restaurant, the picnic enclosure, riverside chalets and Temple Island. 

Summer didn’t stop there for Sodexo Live!, at Headingley Stadium in Leeds, 89,000 guests were catered for at events including the England vs. Australia third test match of the Ashes. This was followed by the 16th edition of Rugby Football League’s Magic Weekend held at St. James’ Park, home to Newcastle United FC, gathering some 60,000 fans to enjoy magic sporting moments. 

Music lovers also received memorable experiences thanks to Sodexo Live!’s talented teams, serving 50,000 concertgoers at St James’ Park again during chart-topping star Sam Fender’s concert in June. Across the border, Hampden Park hosted legendary band the Red Hot Chili Peppers at Scotland’s national stadium in July. 

August also saw the start of the football season, with teams coming into action across the stadia Sodexo Live! is a venue partner for. 

In its North West clubs, it saw the introduction of some classic British dishes with a modern twist at Blackburn Rovers FC, Preston North End and the DW Stadium Wigan, while at Brighton and Hove Albion Sodexo Live! launched its Tunnel Club, allowing fans to experience matchday activity up close. September saw the highly anticipated friendly with the 150th anniversary match of England vs Scotland at Hampden Park. Sodexo Live!’s team of experience makers provided hospitality and catering for the sell out 50,000 crowd. 

So far more than 1.5 million football fans have enjoyed some Sodexo Live! hospitality with many months of the season still to come. 

To deliver all of these events Sodexo Live! employed an additional 1,500 staff this year with roles ranging from chefs to bar managers, cleaners and front of house staff, kitchen porters and supervisors. It also launched its new People Ambition, committing to providing employees with a high level of support, purpose and inclusion, as well as allowing each and every one to thrive in their career. 

Rebecca Kane Burton, CEO at Sodexo Live! UK&I, said: "This summer has been incredible for all of us in Sodexo Live! where the team have helped deliver some of the most high profile events in the UK’s enviable social calendar. From Royal Ascot to music royalty and the Ashes to Eurovision, the moments we create are magical - and the sheer variety and range of events allows our teams to demonstrate their flair & creativity. 

"I’m incredibly grateful to our teams who continue to go above and beyond, delivering lifelong memories for all of our guests whether they are partaking in a live show, sporting event or simply indulging in a foodie moment. 

"As autumn beckons and we continue to plan for a busy Christmas events season, I look forward to seeing the teams in action as they lead the charge to a momentous end to 2023. Hospitality is back with aplomb!" 

Sodexo Live! continuously delivers unforgettable experiences for thousands of customers throughout the year, across a total of 47 venues. 

Compass event celebrates the importance of diversity and inclusion #

Compass Group UK & Ireland has been recognising National Inclusion Week (25th September – 1st October 2023) with a range of listening and sharing activities and resources available. The highlight of the week was an event held at Twickenham, attended by around 100 people.
The theme of National Inclusion Week is 'Take Action, Make Impact'. Activity across Compass has been led by its employee networks - Within; Pride in Food; YouMatter, Ability and Women in Food and have included webinars, InclusiviTEAs, case studies and opportunities to hear and share experiences. The ‘Inclusioneers’ event, was informative and collaborative, recognising achievements and successes and focussing on forward-facing initiatives.
Attendees heard from guest speaker Paralympian, Aaron Phipps MBE who is the Levy UK + Ireland Disability Employment Ambassador, advising teams on supporting disability in the workplace. He was joined by Ebony Rainford-Brent MBE, a former English cricketer who is now a commentator for the BBC and Sky, she is also the Levy UK + Ireland Ethnicity Employment Ambassador. They shared their personal stories with Ebony describing what it was like being the first black woman to play for the England cricket team. Aaron spoke about his journey to becoming a gold medal winning Paralympic champion and the first disabled person to scale Mount Kilimanjaro unassisted. Robin Mills, Compass Group UK & Ireland Managing Director also spoke to guests, emphasising the importance of this agenda within Compass. 
Aaron Phipps MBE commented; “It’s great to work with Levy UK + Ireland to support how they approach disability within their organisation. So, attending this event and speaking to the wider audience of Compass colleagues was brilliant. They have clearly made inroads on their D&I journey, but it’s high on their agenda and the momentum is building.”
Ebony Rainford-Brent MBE agreed: “This was such a fantastic event – to see so many engaged people working for an organisation like Compass, who clearly want to continue to drive the inclusion agenda. National Inclusion Week, is just one week, but we’ve been talking about work that goes on all year round and how this can continue for the years ahead. It’s been a great opportunity to share and learn.”
Amanda Scott, Talent, Learning and D&I Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland: “Our networks are run by our colleagues, for colleagues, with the aim of creating welcoming and inclusive environments for all. Importantly the networks are led by people from all kinds of jobs, from all parts of the business and from different backgrounds, some from the communities they represent, some allies. All groups are safe spaces focused on making a difference and it’s been brilliant having everyone together.”
Last year, Compass launched Our Social Promise, which includes the Mission to a Million commitment, to provide support to one million people by 2030 through jobs, training, community engagement and development. It also outlined targets to improve diversity across the company. The commitments include ambitious gender, ethnicity (with specific targets on Black representation) and the industry’s first socio-economic representation targets. These targets are set for the executive and leadership team, middle management, junior management and frontline workers.   

Matt Wood joins Elior’s UK Leadership Team #

Leading contract caterer Elior UK has announced the appointment of Matt Wood to its UK leadership team.

Wood is managing director of Lexington Catering, Elior UK’s corporate catering specialist which provides premium catering and hospitality services for organisations and independent schools predominately in London.

Matt Wood said: “It is a privilege to be appointed to the leadership team and I look forward to sharing my experience and the successes of Lexington with my fellow directors and hope to inspire new ideas for the company. Lexington will remain my priority area of focus and, I hope to continue to grow the business with the support of my excellent team.”

Catherine Roe, CEO, Elior UK said: “Since late last year, Matt has reported directly to me and I have witnessed his skill and knowledge first-hand. I have seen how he has developed Lexington in terms of growth, innovation and the personal development of his team and it feels like a natural transition for Matt to join the executive team. I look forward to the new perspectives and insights he will bring to the wider company as we enter our new financial year.” 

A decade of serving excellence on every plate! #

Education caterer Pabulum has been accredited the Soil Association’s Food for Life Served Here Award across its entire portfolio for the tenth year running.

The Food for Life Served Here Award recognises caterers who are serving meals that go beyond meeting the School Food Standards and ensure children are benefiting from dishes that are not only delicious but also good for health, nature and the climate.

For over 25 years, Pabulum has been at the forefront of creating healthy and sustainable food choices for schools across the South East of England. Their recipe for success is working closely with suppliers to buy fresh, seasonal British ingredients that the catering teams use to produce tasty, healthy and appetising meals for pupils every day.

Nelson Williams, Managing Director of Pabulum, says: “We’re very proud to have achieved the Soil Association accreditation for the tenth year running across our portfolio of schools. This accolade is testament to the hard work and dedication of our teams to continually do the right thing and always serve exciting menus of a very high standard. To have our best practice recognised in this way also provides additional confidence for our clients and school communities in our quality food offer.” 

Food for life is an accreditation from the Soil Association, the UK’s leading food and farming charity.

Bryn Hamer, Head of Business Development at Food for Life, said: “Achieving a Food for Life Served Here Award is a fantastic accomplishment and a true reflection of a commitment to serving school meals that are nutritious as well as tasty. We know that good food is a crucial part of the school day and with fresh, healthy meals being served, students are equipped with the fuel they need for their learning and development.” 

Forward with Marcus Wareing’ programme evolves at Compass #

Compass Group UK & Ireland has announced the next 15 chefs that will embark on the prestigious ‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ programme, as part of its third cohort of participants.
‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ is an enhanced programme, which runs alongside a Level 4 Senior Culinary Chef or Level 5 Operations Departmental Manager apprenticeship standard - delivered in partnership with national hospitality training provider, HIT Training. The best-in-class apprenticeship equips chefs with exceptional culinary skills and is brought to life through added value enrichment activities, delivering practical experiences to the group.
Originally launching in August 2021, the first Forward with Marcus Wareing cohort have now achieved their Senior Culinary Level 4 Apprenticeship – all have achieved a distinction grade. While cohort 2 are mid-way on their journey – having been mentored by cohort 1, they will now become mentors for the newest participants. 
The programme continues to evolve - following an in-depth review of the manifesto, Compass has decided to add new content to the programme to reflect key business and industry developments. One new focus will be using culinary skills to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of technology use within the business. To continue to grow culinary talent in line with Compass’ Climate Net Zero ambitions, Chefs on this programme will now have direct access to thought leaders (both within Compass and external experts) who are advising the business, with the aim of growing their knowledge in this space. In addition, some of the sessions will take place at regenerative farming projects, learning about agroforestry systems and cooking outdoors with sustainable British ingredients. Plus, chefs will be committed to working with community groups, passing on culinary skills and knowledge to deliver social value. 
Marcus Wareing said: “The last two years have been a great experience and I am so pleased to see our committed participants development. This industry never stands still, so it is good to see the programme continually updated, so that it remains forward thinking. Congratulations to our newest cohort, I am looking forward to working with them all.”
Jonathon Foot, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers, Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “We have continued to build on the programme with sustainability, technology and of course culinary trends at its heart. I love to see the confidence and skill of each person grow and that’s why it is particularly important to emphasise mentoring, from Marcus and Compass chefs, but also previous and current participants who are passing on their knowledge.”
The full list of chefs selected to take part in cohort 3:
Richard Abbott, ESS
Sam Atkins, Levy UK & I
Stephen Avison, ESS
David Bell, Levy UK & I (Compass Scotland)
Carl Chappell, Chartwells
Alistair Coe, Levy UK & I
Rob Dant, Chartwells HEFE
Madeleine Dowdy, Business and Industry
Gemma Evans-Hurley, Business and Industry
Dominic Honeysett, Chartwells
Julie Morfett, ESS
Alexander Smith, Chartwells
Lyndsey Turvey, ESS
Bence Viczian, Levy UK & I
Paul Whiting, Business and Industry

New from AiP – Kitcheneers - bringing school communities together through food #

Alliance in Partnership (AiP) has launched Kitcheneers, its new approach to school meals, created in collaboration with secondary school pupils.

Kitcheneers reimagines school food and dining rooms, creating a focal point for school communities. 

AiP commissioned leading strategic design agency Without to reinvigorate its school meals brand.  Collaborating with the children themselves to workshop and develop not only dishes that appeal to their tastes but a whole new look and feel to the dining experience.

Kitcheneers includes a brand new menu, engineered to include the usual crowd-pleasers with healthy twists, easy customisation and lots of variety. It offers a blend of on-the-go and traditional plated meal options from a variety of food stations. A new Kitcheneers app enables students to pre-order their food similar to how they would with high street outlets, helping to alleviate long queues at lunchtimes.

The main event, the lunch menu, includes the traditional favourites of pizza, burgers, katsu curry, peri peri chicken as well as fish and chips, and instead of offering the one complete dish will enable personal tastes, allergies or beliefs to be accommodated with a choice of sides and garnishes available to be selected, not compulsory. By offering a core main dish with optional accompaniments and sides will encourage experimentation and help reduce food waste.

The new food offer also includes a new approach to breakfast and mid-morning snacks.  Hot and cold breakfast items include powerballs, savoury muffins (egg, bacon, vegan sausage), porridge bar, bagels, yoghurt and granola. For those wanting a snack, or early lunch at breaktime will be offered wedges, pizza, soup, loaded nachos, dirty jackets, hummus bar, sandwiches.

Most of the dishes on the new menu represent two of the recommended five a day and in some instances, even two, with all dishes approved by AiP’s team of expert nutritionists. 

James Mundy, Marketing Director for Schools, Sodexo UK & Ireland says: “Kitcheneers is here to raise the bar and provide students with the level of care they deserve. A combination of fresh ingredients and regular menu rotations ensures the highest standard of food quality is delivered consistently. 

“All our food is prepared fresh daily and in accordance with government school food standards, providing healthy, nutritious, quality food at an affordable price. Each dish is bursting with fresh ingredients, vitamins, goodness and most importantly, flavour. Through Kitcheneers, we combine great value with promotions, well-balanced portions, quality ingredients, excellent service and choice.” 

The new visual identity of Kitcheneers was influenced by research showing that today’s students are motivated by high street brands that make life simple; who take their mission seriously, but not themselves. 

Once-empty walls now feature posters with new messaging and inspirational food menus influenced by the students’ favourite high street brands and their interests such as the environment and ethical ingredients, in a contemporary and relatable way. 

Likewise, the typography was chosen to be hard-to-ignore and easy-to-digest, helping students make decisions ahead of time and reducing queues and congestion. 

Roly Grant, founder, Without: “This was a chance to help solve a really important problem. Most school food is commissioned by the grown-ups. By starting with students – inviting them into the kitchen and asking what and how they wanted to eat – we began to understand barriers and opportunities. Combining this with our experience of highstreet brands, we were able to create a simple, modular offer that allows students to balance exploration with personal preference, communicated with opinion and positivity.”

AiP will be introducing Kitcheneers into 50 secondary schools across the UK by the end of 2024. 

Steve Hawkins, managing director for schools at Sodexo UK & Ireland adds: “School meals are an essential part of the school day and we know how important a balanced nutritious lunch is for many children. We have enjoyed long and close partnerships with schools, and our hard-working talented teams take pride in their work and deliver with flair and a smile each and every day.” 

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

FEA is officially one of the Best Trade Associations #

Memcom recognises FEA's leadership in difficult times.

The Foodservice Equipment Association, FEA, was highly commended in the Best Trade Association of the Year category in the recent Memcom awards. 

Memcom is the community connecting senior leaders in membership organisations, trade associations and the wider not-for-profit sector.  FEA was praised for its leadership especially in supporting members negotiating the tricky conditions created by Brexit.  These ranged from assisting individual members - such as the refrigeration importer whose products were held up in customs due to non-compliance of paperwork - to collaborating with the UK government and EFECM (the European Federation of Catering Equipment manufacturers) to ensure F-gas regulations were realigned. 

Over the past year FEA has also led by example in the campaign to reduce carbon emissions.  It collaborated with Climate Action for Associations to develop and launch a guided carbon management programme and, through the FEA Forest Initiative, helped FEA members offset their carbon emissions by pledging to plant trees. FEA itself has reduced its carbon emissions to virtually zero, for example by reducing time in the office, moving the majority of committee meetings online, and running a paper free annual conference by hosting all material digitally.

The Memcom Awards recognise the creativity and hard work which goes into driving up the standards of the membership sector and shine a light on the organisations that increase value for their profession and contribute to a better society.

Paul Anderson, chair of FEA, was delighted by the award.  He said, "Memcom's recognition underlines the important work FEA is doing.  It also highlights the achievements of our chief executive and his team, and I would like to thank them sincerely for their commitment and dedication." 

The photo with this release shows the FEA secretariat team with the award, from left: Sarah-Jane Campbell, Jocelyn Shawyer, Keith Warren, Adam Lawrence, John Cunningham and Andy Threlfall. 

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 

Tom Neville Appointed President & CEO for Aramark Ireland #

Aramark has announced the appointment of Tom Neville as President and CEO of Aramark Ireland, overseeing all operations for the business, inclusive of AVOCA.
As President and CEO, Tom will be responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of all food and facilities management services across the organisation. He will lead the Aramark Ireland executive team with a key focus on delivering profitable growth, excellence, innovation, and customer satisfaction, building on the exceptional standards that have become synonymous with the brand in Ireland.
He will be dedicated to a customer centric approach to accelerating growth and managing productivity across Aramark Ireland. Tom is also committed to building a company culture that develops colleagues, fosters creativity, collaboration, and excellence.
Tom joined Aramark in 2019 as Chief Financial Officer for Aramark Northern Europe, where he was responsible for the financial operations of the entire organisation, providing strategic guidance to support the company’s overall business objectives.
“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Tom Neville as CEO and President of Aramark Ireland,” said Carl Mittleman, Chief Operating Officer, Aramark International. “We are confident in Tom’s extensive experience and expertise to lead this important market.”
“Since joining Aramark, I have been fortunate to work with a talented and dynamic team of industry leaders,” said Neville. “I’m focused on leading this exceptional team towards delivering continued growth across all our services, while continuing to deliver excellence, innovation, and customer satisfaction.”

Bidfood unveils the food and drink trends set to hit the out of home market in 2024 #

One of the UK’s leading foodservice providers, Bidfood, has announced the latest food and drink trends set to dominate the out of home market in 2024.

This year it’s all about creating a sense of adventure and providing consumers with the opportunity to try something new, as well as focusing on authenticity and provenance. From interesting flavour pairings, to creative, playfully presented dishes, a twist on British cult-classics and an increased focus on health and wellbeing – this year’s trends are tipped to be more exciting than ever!

To support with the unveiling of these trends, Bidfood has launched its 2024 interactive guide, designed to help operators navigate the changing market and consumer behaviours, adapt their menus and fully explore the latest cuisines and flavours taking hold of the industry.

The report also comes with a range of useful support tools, including new additions to the trends video series, expanded web content, tasty new recipes and much more. 

Bidfood’s 2024 Trends:

Flavours Less Travelled: Authenticity is one of the key drivers behind this year’s report with 56% of consumers saying they would pay more for a dish if they perceive it as more authentic. This is heavily reinforced in our Flavours Less Travelled trend, giving consumers the opportunity to feed their sense of adventure by exploring global cuisines in their most original format. Research has shown that the three global cuisines gaining momentum are:

Authentic Caribbean – Expanding across UK cities in the form of restaurants, pop ups and food stalls, there is growing demand for Caribbean comfort dishes like rich, spicy stews that feature seafood, indigenous vegetables and meats such as goat.

Authentic Mexican – Although 44% of consumers have already tried Mexican cuisine, they now want to elevate their passion with traditional flavours and ingredients. Familiar TexMex dishes will continue to be popular, but operators should look towards authentic classics like marinated pork belly tacos or charred corn elotes with chicken.

Eastern European – From hearty stews to delicious cakes, Eastern European food is becoming more well-known and appreciated. With their array of flavours and familiar UK formats, these dishes offer countless culinary opportunities and unique experiences.

British Fusion: More and more restaurants are starting to merge different cuisines with each other, but although consumers are becoming more adventurous with new flavours, they are still reluctant to spend money on cuisines they are unfamiliar with. In fact, 68% of consumers find British fusion appealing with over a third (35%) feeling this is because it bridges the gap between the exciting flavours of global cuisines and the familiarity of British classics. Try mixing up your Sunday roasts, English breakfasts and even desserts such as crumble with interesting global flavours.

Mind, Mood and Body: This trend centres around consumers shifting priorities when it comes to their health and wellbeing, focusing not just on their physical health but also their mental health and state of mind. Almost half (48%) of consumers are looking for foods that directly impact their physical wellbeing, and 71% feel the aroma of food and drink can help boost their mood. Take consumers on a sensory journey with appealing and colourful products to enrich their healthy lifestyle experience, but be mindful when it comes to making specific health claims on your menu.

Rustic and Rural: Consumers are making more mindful choices about where and what they eat when out of home. Farm to fork concepts, provenance and menu stories are becoming increasingly popular. Cosy decor, handmade pasta and bakery products, garden salads, heritage produce and open flame cooking are ways operators can tap into this trend.

Let’s Play: During a cost of living crisis, consumers are looking for something to cheer them up, and provide them with something exciting and out of the ordinary. Colour, playful presentation, novel styling and a touch of theatre will certainly tick the boxes to offer the experience desired. Mixing flavours is another way of adding novelty and can really elevate a dish. In fact, 70% of consumers find the idea of flavour contrasts appealing, with sweet and sour being the most popular.

Playful Drinks: With social media taking the world by storm, consumers can’t resist taking a picture of their cocktail to post on their accounts, with 43% of 18-35 year olds doing this every/almost every time. To leverage this trend, operators are starting to take their cocktail offerings to the next level, creating imaginative, theatrical and themed serves. Incorporating dry ice, colour-changing ingredients and even sparklers will really give it that wow factor! 
Catherine Hinchcliff, Head of Corporate Marketing and Insight at Bidfood said:
“This year we’re excited to see that the trends and flavours surfacing are around adventure and trying something new, as well as comfort, authenticity and provenance. All of which will allow chefs to be creative and have fun when planning their menus for 2024.
“Sustainability remains a prominent factor to us as a business, and continues to influence consumer decision-making. This year, instead of being a standalone trend, we’ve incorporated it into all our trends which reflects the way many chefs weave sustainability into everyday ways of working.

“Once again we worked with CGA by NIQ to conduct our own bespoke survey and exclusive research. We also worked with a semiotician and futurist, Dr Rachel Lawes, to get a steer on how food and drink trends will evolve over the next two to three years, as well as visiting and interviewing restaurant operators in London and Manchester to see how they are manifesting on the high street.”

Check out our dedicated webpage for all things trends here:

Best ever lunch! Casual Dining & Commercial Kitchen enjoy record breaking 11% increase in attendance #

ExCeL London set the stage last week for Casual Dining, lunch! and Commercial Kitchen. The highly anticipated shows for the hospitality and food retail sector took place on 27-28 September and received an overwhelming number of attendees through its doors – 9129 in total.
Senior decision makers from Sainsburys, Center Parcs, Pret A Manger, PizzaExpress, Tesco, Starbucks, John Lewis, Bill’s, Leon, JD Wetherspoon, Hilton UK Hotels, wagamama, Nando’s, Wahaca, Big Table Group, Mowgli, Asda, Co-op, Amazon UK, Greggs, GAIL’s Bakery, WHSmith, BP, Marks & Spencer – and others – visited over the two days. These buyers took every opportunity to connect with the show’s 600 exhibitors, hear from 165+ expert speakers across 7 theatres and network with other professionals in the industry.
Reflecting on the resounding success of the shows, Group Event Director Chris Brazier expressed gratitude to participants, exhibitors, and sponsors for their enthusiastic involvement.
He comments, “lunch!, Casual Dining and Commercial Kitchen have once again demonstrated their indisputable position as the premier showcase for the hospitality and food retail industry. We are grateful for the overwhelming support and dedication from everyone involved. The industry’s collective commitment to driving innovation continues to shine through, and this year was no exception. The theatres were packed with standing room only sessions and the aisles were buzzing with quality buyers doing business from start to finish. Thank you to our supporters, partners, speakers, exhibitors and visitors. As many people have commented, these were our best shows yet. We can’t wait to do it again, even bigger and better, next year!”
“Most important shows for our industry”

As well as a bustling show floor, there were standing room only Keynotes with Nisha Katona, CEO and Founder of Mowgli; James Brown, CEO of BrewDog Bars; Guy Meakin, UK Shops & Franchise Director of Pret A Manger; Brian Trollip, Managing Director of Dishoom; James & Thom Elliot, Co-Founders of Pizza Pilgrims; and Marta Pogroszewska, Managing Director of GAIL’s.
Other packed sessions took place, which included discussions with CEO, founders, chefs and directors from Baxter Storey, Wahaca, WatchHouse Heartwood Collection, Las Iguanas, Honest Burgers, Marugame Udon (Europe), Slug & Lettuce, Tossed, Chopstix, Sketch London, PizzaExpress, BP, wagagmama, BloomsYard, Wingstop and many other new and established brands.
“lunch, Casual Dining and Commercial Kitchen are THE most important shows for our industry. Together, it’s the only event that is dedicated to hospitality and food retail, and an event at which you will see every single category - from premium to casual dining to QSR. This event is the national treasure of our industry and it's so important to attend!” says Shereen Ritchie, COO of buns from home.
“What is so heartfelt about this show is that you get to meet so many people who are so important to your business. I’ve met people from one site to multiples and we’re all one big family and are all very useful to each other. I would highly recommend a visit,” says Nisha Katona, CEO and Founder of Mowgli Street Food.
“It’s great to be back at lunch! It's always a highlight of the Autumn season and so many brands are kicking off their activity for next year. Brilliant to see old faces and meet new challenger brands that are emerging on the food-to-go scene,”
says Rachel Chatterton, Head of Food & Drink Development at Holland & Barrett.
“It’s so important for me and my team to come to events like this because we like to see innovation and the exciting products coming to market. It's also the perfect place to speak to other great operators that we admire so much in the industry. We really love this show and it’s getting bigger every year which is great to see,”
says James Brown, CEO of Brewdog.
Innovation Challenge – Results
The three Innovation Challenges celebrated new products launched in the last 12 months. The shortlisted finalists were decided by a popular vote at the Innovation Challenge Galleries on the show’s opening day and then a panel of judges decided if the innovation was worth a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award based on some exciting live pitches.
To see the full results for each show, please visit:
Casual Dining – 
Commercial kitchen –
lunch! – 

The co-located events return to ExCeL London on 18-19 September 2024. To keep up to date with the show news, please visit, and

Unitas announces Kirsty Cooper as Commercial Director #

Unitas Wholesale has announced that Aoife Kenny, Commercial Director has left the company and will be stepping down from the Unitas board.
Aoife joined Unitas in May 2022 to focus on the strategic direction for the UK’s largest independent wholesale buying group.
Aoife Kenny says: “After 18 enjoyable months, the time is now right for me to move onto new challenges. It’s been a pleasure to work alongside John and the team as we’ve reviewed many different areas of the business including central services, own brand and digital transformation.
“It’s been brilliant getting to know the members and suppliers, and after a successful conference, where we delivered the new strategic vision for Unitas, it feels like a good time to leave the rollout of the strategies in the very capable hands of John and team. I wish them all the very best for the future.”
John Kinney, Unitas Managing Director, said: “Aoife has been instrumental in the formation of the Unitas strategy and has been a great asset to our business. I thank her for all her hard work, and we wish her every success in her next career move.”
Unitas is pleased to also announce the appointment of Kirsty Cooper as its new Commercial Director. Kirsty will be joining the Executive Team as Commercial Director on the 13th November. Kirsty is currently Commercial Director at Acosta Europe and prior to this has held senior roles at Capri-Sun, Britvic, CCEP, Red Bull, Greene King and Ramsden International. 
John Kinney Unitas Managing Director stated: “I am delighted that Kirsty has accepted the offer to be our Commercial Director, I am really looking forward to working with Kirsty at this exciting time for Unitas. We have ambitious plans for Unitas and Kirsty will be instrumental in helping to deliver on these.”  
Kirsty Cooper commented: “I am looking forward to joining the team at Unitas, this is a great business with some of the UK’s biggest and best wholesalers and I can’t wait to support them to deliver their strategic objectives.”