Sodexo celebrates a year of outstanding achievements at its annual Spirit of Sodexo Awards #
On the 14th of December, Sodexo UK & Ireland hosted more than 550 colleagues at ACC Liverpool to celebrate its annual Spirit of Sodexo glittering awards dinner.
These awards, a highlight of the Sodexo calendar, celebrate service excellence across its business. This year, awards were given in 18 categories, including ‘Excellence in FM or Food Services’; ‘Rising Star’; ‘Growth and Retention’; ‘Positive Impact’; and ‘Spirit of Inclusion’. There are also three top tier awards each year. These are 'Employee of the Year’, ‘Manager of the Year’ and the CEO Award.
Joining UK&I CEO Sean Haley and Sodexo Ambassador, broadcaster and rugby world cup winner, Matt Dawson, on stage was guest host, Vernon Kay, who delighted the audience with his running commentary – and his commentary on his Ultramarathon Challenge running – throughout the evening.
Sodexo’s 2023 Employee of the Year went to Stuart Rose, Executive Chef at the Scottish Parliament. Stuart has been with Sodexo since 1999 when he started out as Chef de Partie, before moving up the ranks to Head Chef and then to his current position in 2019 where he oversees a team of 14 providing food services at six outlets and for around 360 meetings a year.
Over the years, Stuart and his team have catered for many VIP events but none as special and memorable as the royal ceremonial visit from King Charles III and the Queen Consort following Queen Elizabeth II’s passing. With extra stringent security in place, Stuart and his team overcame site access challenges to deliver a respectful and fitting event marking the historic occasion. Stuart is a valued member of Sodexo’s Government team and highly respected by colleagues, customers and clients.
Manager of the Year went to Sian Thompson, Account Director PFIs in Sodexo’s Schools and Universities division. The award was given in recognition of her aspirational, values-driven leadership style and people management skills brought to life by her team’s testimonials.
In an unusual move, highlighting what an extraordinary year this has been for Sodexo, the prestigious CEO Award was presented to three teams.
Sodexo Government, Cyprus operational team: for their unwavering professionalism supporting the military with the emergency evacuation from Sudan. The British Forces Base in Cyprus was used as the UK’s forward mounting base for the 2,450 evacuees. This not only required additional catering for those evacuated, but also for the additional 2,000 service personnel stationed on the island to support the evacuation.
Sodexo Government team: for the behind-the-scenes support for a number of historic events following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022 and the Coronation of King Charles III and the Queen Consort in May 2023. The team provided multi-faceted support across numerous locations to the huge cross-section and number of personnel involved in staging these events – from the Armed Forces and British Transport Police to government officials, the Metropolitan Police, Greater London Authority and Transport for London (TfL).
Sodexo Health & Care and Central Support: for exceptional behind the scenes work to ensure a seamless patient dining experience, despite supply chain disruption.
Hosted at the ACC Liverpool, where Sodexo Live! has been venue partner for 15 years, attendees were served a delicious three-course meal. This included locally sourced beef and bread rolls baked by apprenticeship students from the City of Liverpool College.
The ACC Liverpool team were winners on the night too, taking home the Team of the Year award after a busy 12 months which included supporting Eurovision and the Labour Party Conference.
Sean Haley, CEO Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “We have some truly inspiring individuals and teams working across our business. This year has been extraordinary, with colleagues involved in some undeniably historic events. It is so important that our colleagues – who work tirelessly every day, and so often behind the scenes – know that we see them, we value the amazing things they do, and we are humbled by their stories. These awards – the culmination of a year’s recognition – are the highlight of our calendar and I extend huge congratulations to all our winners and finalists.”
The day before the Spirit of Sodexo Awards, Sodexo celebrated its longest-serving colleagues at their own special event at the ACC Liverpool. Over 160 colleagues attended the event with two celebrating an amazing half century with the company. Others were celebrating 40, 30 and 20 years’ service. All recipients were invited to an informal lunch, before enjoying an afternoon at their choice of Liverpool’s famous sights, including the Tate Liverpool, Beatles Story tour, and the Maritime Museum. They then all gathered again at the ACC Liverpool for an evening of fine food provided by Sodexo Live! and entertainment.
Sean added: “I love meeting our long service recipients, this special event is our chance to thank them for their years of hard work, dedication to service, and loyalty. Incredibly, we have two colleagues celebrating an amazing 50 years with Sodexo in 2023. Every year we bring together this special group of colleagues and it is wonderful to hear their stories from over the years. I say this a lot, but the success of our business stems from the hard work and dedication of all our colleagues, they are the beating heart of Sodexo, we couldn’t succeed without them.”
At Sodexo, people are at the heart of our business, and we remain committed to supporting them as much as we can. It is our belief that our people should feel they belong to a company where they can act with purpose and thrive in their own way. If you are interested in a career at Sodexo, please visit https://sodexouki.info/3TpXDsM
Compass celebrates ‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ programme at collaborative celebration event #
Compass Group UK & Ireland held a celebration event for its industry leading ‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ programme, in an end of year culmination that has shared learnings and showcased the journey of all cohorts so far.
Held at Twickenham stadium, and attended by over 70 people, the event was opened by Jon Davies, Managing Director of Levy UK + Ireland and Ryan Holmes, Culinary Director B&I – Compass Group UK & Ireland, who spoke on a panel with Marcus Wareing. They talked through the Forward manifesto, how the journey began and how the programme has evolved since launch in 2021.
The event audience heard from the first, second and third cohorts of participants, which was an opportunity to hear how they have used their leanings to continue to progress and develop. They talked through the academic aspects, practical workshops, but also the cross-sector collaboration that the course has enhanced and the relationship with the course mentor Marcus.
Lunch was created by cohort 2 and based on learnings from away days. The themes included Mood Food, Net Zero, Hunter Gather Cook and Ground Up Cookery School. Dishes included botanical blend focaccia, served with lacto fermented butter; ground up sausages, smashed roots and a delicious, spiced plum, smoked mushroom crumble.
Jonathon Foot, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers, Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “The event has been a celebration of supporting our senior culinary talent and taking their skills to the next level. The feedback we get from those that take part is so valuable and days like these are important in bringing us together, acknowledging the journey these participants have been on and celebrating their learnings.
“We are constantly innovative and evolve this programme and having heard from all three cohorts, it’s clear to see how we continue to make the experience different each time round. Thanks to all who attended.”
Marcus Wareing said: “Having all the Forward programme chefs in one place was so rewarding. It has been a pleasure to watch their talent develop and grow and I am very proud of them all.”
Sam Kent, Head Chef within Levy UK & I said: “What’s great about this programme is that we all work together to build each other up, which in turn builds Compass up and supports our customers and clients. There is no doubt that the programme has reignited our flair and creativity.”
The Forward with Marcus Wareing programme was masterminded by Marcus Wareing, alongside the Compass Apprenticeships team, its culinary leads and HIT training. It runs alongside a Level 4 Senior Culinary Chef or Level 5 Operations Departmental Manager apprenticeship standard.
Peter Patel opens tenth Costcutter store #
Bestway Retail, part of Bestway Wholesale, the UK’s largest independent food and drink wholesaler, has announced that Peter Patel, the entrepreneurial, multi-award-winning store owner has opened his tenth Costcutter store in Warley, Brentwood.
This latest store - formerly a Morrisons - has undergone a full refit representing an investment of £150k and been relaunched as Costcutter, part of the Bestway Retail family.
The official opening of the store, which took place last weekend, was attended by over 150 people throughout the day and was officially opened by Eastenders legends, Jake Wood and Ricky Norwood.
Peter Patel, who heads up the Zola Group, said:
“This is one of four stores that we have bought from Morrisons and will be converting to Costcutter to deliver great value and innovative product ranges to our customers.
“It’s incredibly exciting to see our Warley Store open its doors after an extensive refurbishment and the opening on Saturday was a huge success.
“Not only were we delighted to welcome Eastenders legends, Jake and Ricky to open the doors, but we wanted to donate all profits from our promotions on the day to Thurrock and Brentwood Mind , which is a charity that gives extraordinary support and campaigns for people living with mental health problems, and their families.
“Our partnership with Costcutter is very important to us giving us the service, insight, and support that helps us make possible for our customers”.
Jamie Davison, Retail Director at Bestway Retail said of the new Costcutter store:
“It’s great news that Peter is opening another store as part of our Costcutter family, as he adds to his already impressive portfolio.
“As with all of his other stores we know this one will be a huge success for him and his team and we’re looking forward to working with him to support his team in every way possible.”
Steamplicity team celebrates Christmas with Herts Musical Memories charity #
Herts Musical Memories, celebrated Christmas early last year, with the support of Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Steamplicity team, with Christmas lunch at The Stanborough Centre, Watford.
Herts Musical Memories operates across Hertfordshire, delivering singing sessions for people living with dementia and their carers, aiming to create meetings that are fun and engaging. The group hope attendees that come along regularly will benefit from improved sociability, increased self-confidence and decreased anxiety, as well as creating a connection between familiar songs to stimulate their memories.
This is the second time this event has taken place and this year’s event saw 25 people being served a traditional Christmas dinner of roast turkey, served with trimmings including sage onion stuffing, a pork sausage, roast potatoes, root vegetable mash, Brussels sprouts and gravy. Each guest was also treated to a box of chocolates from the team.
The group came together to sing and celebrate this festive season, being served Steamplicity meals which use an innovative cooking system, to cook fresh and raw ingredients in minutes.
Kerry Brabant, CEO of Herts Musical Memories, commented: “We were delighted to welcome back Steamplicity to our Watford Singing Group. We would never be able to provide our members with a lovely, cooked Christmas Lunch – it means so much to our members making our Christmas session so much more festive and special. Thank you so much – I know the members had a fantastic time. “
John Harvey, National Accounts Manager, Steamplicity commented: “This was a wonderful event and we were proud to support the work of this very special group, who work tirelessly all year round to bring joy and memories through singing. Our donation of meals seemed to be enjoyed by all and we enjoyed the singing! We wish everyone a great Christmas.”
300 top chefs heading back to school to inspire the next generation of culinary talent #
Adam Handling, Ruth Hansom, Ben Murphy, Nieves Barragán Mohacho and Poppy O’Toole among those signed up as mentors and judges for this year’s Springboard FutureChef.
More than 225,000 students supported over past 25 years as school based cooking competition marks landmark anniversary.
More than 300 top industry chefs have signed up to head back to school to mentor and support the next generation of young chefs as part of Springboard’s FutureChef competition.
The chefs will mentor, judge and support more than 7,000 secondary school-aged students from more than 400 schools and colleges around the UK in the four-stage competition, which runs from October 2023 to March 2024.
They include Michelin starred chefs Adam Handling, Nieves Barragán Mohacho and Graham Cheevers, 2023 National Chef of the Year Ben Murphy, FutureChef Alumni Ruth Hansom, and April Patridge, and social media chef Poppy O’Toole, who has 4.3m TikTok followers.
Now in its 25th year, FutureChef, has supported more than 225,000 young individuals since its launch and been instrumental in providing aspiring young chefs with the necessary skills, guidance, and opportunities to realise their culinary dreams. With over 24% of those who take part in the competition going on to pursue a career in the hospitality industry.
Adam Handling, who chaired the judging panel at the 2023 FutureChef national final, said: “As chefs, we have a duty to nurture the passion and creativity of the next generation. We need to show them the way, ignite their love of food and inspire them to follow their dreams. The future of our industry depends on it.”
2023 winner Kirsten Nugent from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland was mentored by chef James Devine, who took part in Masterchef Professionals and Great British menu and was crowned National Chef of the Year in 2017.
Kirsten said: “It was a whirlwind experience competing in FutureChef. The support and guidance I have received from my mentor James was instrumental in my success. I am more passionate than ever about pursuing a career in hospitality and I cannot wait to see what the future holds and the opportunities this will unlock.”
Chris Gamm, CEO of the Springboard Charity, said: “This year, Springboard FutureChef is taking its mission to new heights with the invaluable support of 300 industry-leading chefs who are devoting their time and expertise to mentor and inspire the next generation of culinary talent in their schools and through to the local, regional and national finals. The incredible milestone of supporting more than 225,000 young people over the past 25 years highlights FutureChef’s unwavering commitment to shaping the future of the culinary industry.”
Sodexo Live! helps enhance the fan experience for Brighton & Hove Albion with new frictionless store #
Sodexo Live! the venue partner of Brighton & Hove Albion since 2013, has made a significant investment at the American Express Stadium, to further enhance the experience for fans and guests alike.
Last week saw the launch of a new frictionless retail store, the West Stand Tap, which is fully automated and allows guests to walk up, scan their payment device (card or phone), grab what they want and then simply walk out to complete their purchase. The launch of the store was to provide fans with a quick service retail solution that offers key items on matchday. Items available include a selection of beer, lager, cider, soft drinks and pies and sausage rolls from local favourite Piglet’s Pantry. Watch the video to see the store in action: https://sodexouki.info/3Nz8xZA
Sodexo Live! is committed to putting its customers and fans at the heart of what it does, a fan event to test and trial the store was arranged and took place on 3rd December. This was made up of approximately 60 supporters who got to try out the facility and share their thoughts and feedback ahead of the opening last week.
Feedback from supporters from the event includes:
First impressions were really good – it’s going to speed things up on matchdays
People won’t have to wait in a queue, which is great!
The speed of it is what’s going to improve things for me as a fan
We can get what we want and go and watch the match – it will be great
Our first impressions were very smart, very modern, very clean looking. Quite sophisticated
I think it’s going to benefit fans. I think this could really make it easier for those people to just go in, get their simple pies and pints and leave very quickly
Working closely with the club, Sodexo Live! has partnered with AiFi to develop and deliver the frictionless store, due to the convenience, accessibility and personalised approach it offers. The new frictionless store and recently installed permanent fixed self-serve beer wall, (which was the first in Europe at a Premier League stadium) are a key part of the drive to provide fans with enhanced levels of experience, reduced queues and more time to enjoy their visits to the American Express Stadium.
Paul Barber OBE, Brighton & Hove Albion deputy chairman & chief executive, said: “At Brighton & Hove Albion we are always looking to innovate and ensure our fans have the best possible matchday experience when they come to the American Express Stadium. Working with our venue partner Sodexo Live! we are really excited to have introduced the frictionless kiosk in West Lower, with the sole aim is to simplify and speed up service times for our supporters enjoying their pre-match, half-time and post-match refreshments. It’s been really encouraging to hear the feedback so far, and fans are enjoying the benefits of this brilliant and innovative technology, as it cuts queue times on matchdays. As a new year beckons, we look forward to working with Sodexo Live! to see what else we can bring to the club to further enhance the fan experience.”
David Trotter, Divisional Managing Director (Sports & Stadia) at Sodexo Live! UK & Ireland, said: “Sodexo Live! is the global leader in the live industry, for good reason. We serve tens of thousands of customers each week and are always looking at new innovative ways to benefit our customers and venue partners.
“Our customers are at the heart of all we do, which is why we wanted to invite a selection of supporters to come and try the frictionless store ahead of a general opening. That way we could refine and ensure it meets their needs. Feedback so far has been great, and we cannot wait to look at other initiatives in the future to further benefit all our partners and customers.”
Steve Carlin, CEO at AiFi, said: “At AiFi, our goal is to use autonomous technology to enhance the fan experience, and we're honored to be able to provide Brighton & Hove Albion fans with convenient and seamless checkout options. Through our AI-powered solution, customers can quickly grab food and drinks without waiting in line, and then get back to their seats to enjoy the game. We've worked with Sodexo! many times, and are confident that American Express Stadium goers will love the ease and speed of the new concessions process.”
Nick Beeson, Managing Director, from EBar said: “We are very excited that Sodexo Live! has chosen EBar’s built-in Beerwall® solution for the American Express Stadium. This was the culmination of an extensive trial during which fans have praised both the fast service and keg-fresh taste of the EBar pints. We look forwards to working with Sodexo Live! as they bring pioneering self-service innovation to their guests and venue partners.”
The launch of the frictionless retail store is just one area of innovation Sodexo Live! has brought to Brighton & Hove Albion in recent months. In October it launched the first permanent self-serve fixed EBar Beerwall at a Premier League stadium, which automatically pours pints for fans in less than 30 seconds. The pioneering venue partner has also worked with Brighton & Hove Albion to deliver the Tunnel Club restaurant in the summer of 2023 and is working with the club on the plans to introduce a new exciting fan zone with more details to come in 2024.
Levy, QuornPro and Yorkshire Water Ramp Up Support For BioHub Farm #
Regenerative agriculture demonstrator farm celebrates 1st anniversary with long-term commitment from key commercial partners
In an exciting and dynamic year of education, collaboration, and sustainable agricultural achievements, the BioHub demonstrator farm in North Yorkshire has marked a significant milestone with its one year anniversary.
The Biohub is a regenerative agricultural project sited in the uplands of North Yorkshire. Developed by RegenFarmCo, supported by Yorkshire Water, and sponsored by Levy UK + Ireland and QuornPro, the scheme has spent the last 12-months designing, developing and showcasing regenerative approaches to farming on a 92-acre plot of previously fallow grazing land.
Under the stewardship of Dr Vincent Walsh, RegenFarmCo’s founder and Head of Innovation, over 24,000 trees, shrubs, cover crops, system plants, and herbs, have been planted. These includes 9,000 fruit saplings, 2,000 perennial crops, 4,000 system plants, and over1,000 hedgerow trees.
In addition, rows of crop alleys have been established, new water irrigation features have been dug, and beehives have been installed. Forty tonnes of ground calcium have been scattered, twenty tonnes of horse manure has been spread, and 100 kg of worms have been embedded in the soil.
This month, a further 8,000 coppice trees are being planted to support a new woodland development on the edge of the site.
Through a programme of regular educational and hands-on workshops, much of the digging, planting, and crop sowing at the BioHub has been undertaken by staff and associates from Levy and QuornPro.
Hundreds of senior hospitality and foodservice industry professionals, as well as industry leaders from across Yorkshire’s food and agriculture sector, have also attended discovery days at the farm.
In total, it has been calculated that over 800 people have visited the farm over the last year.
The benefits of the BioHub initiative to its sponsors and partners have already been immense.
Market-leading sports and entertainment caterers, Levy, have used the site to teach its culinary and operational teams, as well as clients, how precision agriculture, agroforestry, and regenerative farming techniques can help the company achieve its ambitious climate net zero 2027 goal.
QuornPro, the foodservice division of the pioneering meat-free brand Quorn, have used the BioHub site to help educate, enthuse and inspire its staff about innovative approaches to ingredient development and food production. The BioHub’s commitment to circular principles is also helping to inform and support QuornPro’s Sustainable Nutrition programme.
And Yorkshire Water have used their involvement in the BioHub project to promote their Beyond Nature programme; an environmental initiative which helps farmers on its land to take a more holistic, sustainable and biodiverse approach to land management and agriculture. Yorkshire Water activities have included inviting groups of local farmers to tour the BioHub, and facilitating discussions around how some of its systems and processes could potentially be applied to more traditional farming methods.
The success of the BioHub’s first year has seen Levy and QuornPro commit to long-term sponsorship to the project.
Both companies believe it not only offers great opportunities to engage with employees, suppliers and customers about sustainability issues across the food and farming supply chain – it also helps stimulate thinking around how the wider circular economy could be applied to other parts of the business.
Sustainability Director at Levy UK+I, Kevin Watson, reflects on the past year: “We are incredibly proud of what we've accomplished in our first year at the BioHub. The project stands as a testament to the potential of sustainable and innovation-driven farming practices. It is not only a source of inspiration for our partners and teams to the farm, but also a model for the industry as a whole.
“At Levy we are moving towards our produce coming from regenerative sources, and the BioHub is a tangible way to demonstrate how we’re putting that commitment into practice. Further, we’ve been able to show client teams what can be done if you really want to make a difference.”
Ellie Janes, Foodservice Lead for Nutrition and Sustainability, QuornPro, said: “We are driven by our pioneering spirit at QuornPro, aiming to become the best protein on the planet and always breaking new ground in the process. It’s been brilliant to be part of this pioneering project as part of that journey. Playing an active role in the development of the farm has been incredibly valuable to the whole QuornPro team and we look forward to watching it evolve in the coming year.”
Lisa Harrowsmith, Yorkshire Water’s Beyond Nature lead, said: “It’s exciting just how much progress has been made at the BioHub over the last year, and its great to see how the land and water elements are already underpinning a more sustainable approach to resource management. The fact we’ve been able to use the project to show other farmers how practical regenerative interventions can be adopted here in North Yorkshire is also helping start conversations about how circular approaches might be applied to more traditional agricultural practices.”
Dr Vincent Walsh, founder of RegenFarmCo, said: “A year ago we had a small patch of hilly North Yorkshire farmland, a handful of forward-looking partners, and a vision of what could be achieved by taking a more regenerative approach to farming. And while we’ve still got a long way to go, large parts of site have already been transformed from fallow grazing land into a series of structured, resilient and sustainable plots that are producing food, boosting soil health, capturing carbon, and promoting biodiversity.
“But even though having fruit on the trees, and water in the swales, is fantastic, what you can’t see is the complex layering and integrated activities which we’ve engineered below the surface. As a result of getting those ecosystem building blocks in place, we can now push on with more planting and land management interventions, which will help to broaden the range of produce and steadily increase yields.
“However, none of this could have been achieved without the sponsorship and support of partners such as Levy, QuornPro, and Yorkshire Water, so I’m delighted that they have all committed to continue to back the BioHub going forward.”
Dr Walsh, who recently spoke at COP28 about the importance of regenerative food ecosystems, is also in discussions with both Levy and QuornPro about developing a network of upcycling facilities which would transform their food waste into high-quality compost to use on the BioHub and other RegenFarmCo projects.
Sodexo Health & Care donates 100,000 meals to The Bread and Butter Thing #
Sodexo Health & Care has donated 100,000 frozen meals to support food redistribution charity, The Bread and Butter Thing, provide much-needed food to those in need of support at Christmas.
Working with Sodexo’s Stop Hunger Foundation and its supply partners Brakes and Lineage Logistics the frozen meals have been delivered to The Bread & Butter Thing so they can use them to provide nutritious hot meals to families across the UK over the Christmas and New Year period.
The meals include a range of traditional favourites such as shepherd’s and cottage pie, chicken in gravy, liver and onions, sausage and mash, chicken goujons, cheese and tomato pizza, salmon fish cakes and chicken korma, including vegetarian chili, sausages and shepherd’s pie. The stock also includes side dishes such as mashed potato, cauliflower cheese and boiled rice.
Philip Leigh, CEO Health & Care, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “Food insecurity is a huge issue in the UK today so as Christmas approached we have worked with the Stop Hunger team, our supply management teams, Lineage Logistics and Brakes to provide The Bread and Butter Thing with meals to support the local communities in which they operate. Knowing that the meals have gone to those who need some extra support this Christmas is fantastic, and I thank everyone involved who has helped make this happen.”
The Bread & Butter Thing is one of Sodexo’s Stop Hunger Foundation’s charity partners. Partners since February 2021 the Foundation has been providing financial support as well as providing regular volunteering slots for Sodexo colleagues at its Manchester warehouse and community hubs.
Mark Game, Founder, The Bread and Butter Thing added: “It’s like Christmas has come early for us! Sodexo and its Stop Hunger team have consistently been one of our biggest and most thoughtful partners. We’re extremely grateful to them for working with their teams at Brakes and Lineage to supply these amazing meals. Together we’re adding an extra sparkle to the festive period for thousands of families who are making tough choices between heating and eating. These 100,000+ meals will make the world of difference.”
The Bread and Butter Thing is an award-winning food redistribution charity. It runs over 110 mobile food clubs, taking affordable food into some of the UK’s most impoverished communities. But food is just the start. The charity uses surplus food as a catalyst to have a transformative effect on people’s lives. It aims to empower people, to enable them to better manage limited funds, connect with their neighbours and reduce loneliness – with the added bonus of encouraging them to eat better.
Simon Pilbin, Corporate Account Director, Brakes said: “For many people Christmas can be an incredibly challenging time, so we’re delighted to be able to support this initiative to support local communities by providing tasty meals. Hopefully, we’ll help to spread a little Christmas cheer to those in need of some extra support over the festive period. This initiative fits perfectly to our wider company purpose of connecting the world to share food and care for one another.”
Sodexo is the founding partner of the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation. In the UK & Ireland, the Foundation (a UK registered charity) works with national and local charity partners to donate time, skills and money to tackle food insecurity and its root causes and help empower women – who represent the biggest opportunity in eliminating hunger.
Stop Hunger is an employee-led Sodexo initiative active in over 40 countries around the world. Thanks to the financial support of Sodexo, 100% of the donations made to Stop Hunger go directly to financing activities and sustainable solutions for disadvantaged communities to exit food insecurity.
Stop Hunger's mission, including fundraising and volunteering efforts, form part of Sodexo's Social Impact strategy, its ethical manifesto for leading the way to improve quality of life for society and our planet. The Foundation's work contributes to Sodexo’s global corporate responsibility commitment, Better Tomorrow 2025 which aligns to the Sustainable Development Goals designed by the UN to make the world a fairer and more equal place.
Lumina Intelligence UK Menu & Food Trends Report 2023 reveals operators are adapting menus to drive spend while retaining value perceptions #
Latest research from Lumina Intelligence UK Menu & Food Trends Report 2023 shows that mainstream chain and pub & bar operators are using menu engineering tactics to both drive average spend and keep perceptions of value in consumers’ minds.
Higher-priced new dishes
High levels of inflation persisted through 2023, seeing chain restaurant and pub operators raise the prices of same-line dishes by +8.5% and +6.7% in spring and summer respectively.
Operators are encouraging consumers to spend more by introducing higher-priced new dishes, which are aligned with the current trends towards more premium and sharing options. Chain restaurants have, however, kept entry price points at the same level to boost value perceptions, whilst focusing their more significant increases on the highest-priced lines.
Boosting the variety of dishes
Mega-trends are being reflected on mainstream menus as operators widen the variety of dishes available. Healthier, more sustainable and experience-led items ‒ including veg-centric and Asian-inspired dishes ‒ are growing on menus. There are more meat-free main dishes in chain restaurants: up by +8ppts this year. Garlic, pickle and mushroom are emerging as the vegetables being most featured, whilst ‘spiced’ and ‘pickled’ are top of the list of adjectives most used in menu descriptions.
Value leads the mega-trends
Value scrutiny was the most important mega-trend in 2023, highlighted by both customers and businesses as shaping their needs and priorities. Frugality was central to many product trends in 2023, with interest in cheaper cuts of meat, veg-centric and affordable cuisines growing as many consumers adjusted to financial challenges by becoming thriftier – although wage growth is starting to pick up. Product trends include tinned meat and fish, zero-waste and pea protein.
Lifestyles are changing
Lifestyle shifts are helping the growth of party dining, with more consumers seeking atmospheric, social media-worthy experiences. People are going out earlier and coming home earlier as a result is increased home working, however, the decline of the late-night sector – also influenced by rail strikes, hotter summers and the pandemic – has seen the emergence of late-night entertainment in premium restaurants. Luxurious and differentiated interiors, live DJs and immersive elements are key features of party dining venues, influenced by the rise of social media and the revival of unused spaces – such as Bacchanalia Mayfair with its opulent décor, created in a former Porsche showroom.
Priorities for businesses in 2024
Finally, the Lumina Intelligence UK Menu & Food Trends Report 2023 predicts that social corporate responsibility and streamlining operations are top business priorities for the coming year with the economy set to stabilise. The total eating out market is forecast to be worth £102.4 billion by 2026F, underpinned by higher inflation post-Covid and the predicted strengthening of consumer spending power. Sustainability, workforce diversity and digitalisation are the top three initiatives being prioritised by businesses. Digitalisation and artificial intelligence will be central to streamlining operational costs and boosting customer satisfaction.
Sodexo UK & Ireland reports it is ahead of schedule on Net Zero 2040 roadmap #
Sodexo UK & Ireland today announced that it has achieved a 37% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across scopes 1, 2 and 3, compared to its baseline year of 2017. This reduction represents the removal of approximately 400,000 tonnes of carbon (tCO2e) from its footprint at 31 May 2023.
Publishing its annual net zero progress report today, Sodexo UK & Ireland has announced it is now ahead of schedule on its journey to Net Zero 2040.
The facilities management and food services business – which was one of the first organisations to have a Science Based Targets initiative approved net zero target – had shown in its net zero transition plan that, to remain on track, it would have needed to achieve at least a 25.5% reduction in absolute GHG emissions by the end of FY23, arriving at 810,886 tCO2e. Instead, the business achieved a 37% reduction and recorded a footprint of 689,172 tCO2e.
The comprehensive report which covers the period 1 June 2022 to 31 May 2023, highlights key achievements including:
Scope 1 & 2 emissions: In the UK and Ireland, Sodexo reduced emissions in its direct control by 50%, through initiatives such as membership in the Climate Group’s RE100; commitment to 100% renewable energy purchases; and a progressive transition to hybrid and electric vehicles. In the last financial year, Sodexo purchased 96% renewable energy.
Scope 3 emissions: The business also achieved a 36% reduction in scope 3 GHG emissions – those outside its direct control. Initiatives such as Sodexo’s net zero supply chain engagement strategy; a commitment to sustainable food options; and a robust food waste prevention programme have contributed significantly to this reduction.
Flag Targets: Sodexo has now set forest, land and agriculture (FLAG) science-based targets – 40% absolute GHG emissions reduction by 2030 and a 72% reduction by 2040.
Sean Haley, CEO of Sodexo UK & Ireland, says: "While there is still a long way to go, it is important to take a moment to reflect on quite how much has been achieved since 2010, when we first started working with WWF on our scope 1 and 2 calculations. Today’s announcement is encouraging and will, I am sure, build confidence in our ability to achieve our near and long-term targets to achieve net zero 2040.”
Claire Atkins Morris, Sustainability Director, Sodexo UK & Ireland, says: "Working towards net zero is complex and can be an overwhelming challenge. With multiple data sets and action levers across business activities, it isn't easy. There are many opportunities for learning, refining and improving as we go. This, naturally, means that we need to be agile to the fast pace of change informed by external factors. This year, for example, we chose to move away from our 2025 carbon neutral target and reallocate funds to decarbonisation projects. We should all expect to see and be comfortable with changes in our journey, rebaselining and the influences of the external landscape.”
For more information on Sodexo’s net zero journey in the UK and Ireland, and to read the annual net zero progress report visit: https://sodexouki.info/3RuiFDR
Nestlé Professional makes last call for Toque d’Or competition registrations Deadline extended to 19 January #
Nestlé Professional has called for final registrations to its Toque d’Or competition, extending the deadline to 19 January 2024.
Katya Simmons, managing director Nestlé Professional UK&I, says: “We want to give as many students as possible the chance to take part in 2024’s competition where they’ll be given a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to push the boundaries of the culinary world through a series of exciting challenges.
“It’s quick and easy to enter. Lecturers with star students simply need to visit the website, register their college details, plus the names of the students they’d like to put forward before 19 January.”
The competition is open to all back and front of house Level 2, 3 or 4 students. To register and find out more about the competition’s format and timeline, college lecturers should visit: https://t.co/s9cgKfzn6h.
Premier Foods Foodservice launches School Chef of the Year recipe book to inspire new 2024 cohort #
To mark the launch of School Chef of the Year’s competition (SCOTY’s) 30th anniversary, headline sponsor Bisto – from Premier Foods Foodservice – has unveiled a new recipe book to showcase the incredible talent of the 2023 regional finalists and inspire a new cohort to enter this year’s highly anticipated event.
Featuring 22 exceptional main and dessert dishes produced at last year’s finals, Premier Foods Foodservice hopes the new book will encourage other talented school chefs to register before the entry deadline of Friday 26th January 2024.
Sarah Robb, foodservice marketing manager at Premier Foods Foodservice, said: “We’re inviting school chefs to enter SCOTY 2024 – an amazing national competition to showcase their culinary skills and the incredibly high standard of their school food.
“Our new recipe book is a celebration of the passion, dedication and talent school chefs bring to their kitchens every day. As the competition reaches such a special milestone, it’s the perfect opportunity to share these recipes to inspire other school chefs across the UK to embrace the unique challenges of SCOTY which – as we know from previous years – offers so many benefits from both a personal and professional perspective.”
The recipe collection highlights the passion and skill these chefs bring, to consistently provide nutritious, high quality and well-balanced meals for children. It also showcases the diversity of food that can be found in school kitchens nationwide.
From British classics such as beef casserole with Yorkshire pudding and summer berry dessert; to the Asian-inspired crispy fishcake created by 2023 SCOTY winner Raheem Morgan; as well as tropical delights including Caribbean-infused crispy fried chicken in jerk sauce and pineapple and toasted coconut mousse. Each dish incorporated at least one product from the following Premier Foods Foodservice brands: Bisto, McDougalls, Sharwoods, Smash, Batchelors, Angel Delight, Bird’s and Ambrosia.
The new recipe book is available for school caterers to download here: https://bit.ly/47mmD7z.
To enter SCOTY 2024, school chefs can register their details here: https://www.laca.co.uk/form/scoty-registration-form. The entry deadline is Friday 26th January 2024.