Members’ News

May 2024

EnviroTech50 features food supply chain software supplier for second consecutive year #

Celebrating innovative start-ups and scale-ups creating original technology to protect the environment and boost sustainability, BusinessCloud has recently released the EnviroTech50 list for 2024.

As a leading supply chain sustainability and compliance technology provider, and new Arena corporate member, Authenticate is thrilled to be included for a consecutive year following a reader vote and an expert judging panel review of a 117-strong shortlist. Moving from position 31 in 2023 to number 18 in 2024, appearing in the final ranking demonstrates a clear appreciation of the work Authenticate is doing to empower food businesses to build more sustainable supply chains.

Speaking of Authenticate’s appearance in the EnviroTech50, Alex Walters, CEO at Authenticate said:

“It’s an honour to be recognised by BusinessCloud and listed in the EnviroTech50 for a second year. As a leading supply chain transparency provider, we’re proud of the work we’re doing with leading brands including Burger King, Greggs and CH&CO to improve the ESG credentials of their operations. Passionate about protecting people and the planet through the tiers, without true visibility, it’s impossible to truly make a positive impact, but we’re here to change that.”

Want to understand and improve ESG performance across your foodservice supply chains? Explore the technology at

Sodexo appoints new marketing director to support accelerated growth in UK and Ireland #

Sodexo UK & Ireland has appointed Hayley Miller as regional marketing director – reporting to chief growth officer, Dan Weiss.
Hayley joins Sodexo from CH&Co. She joined the company in 2017 as marketing director and led its strategic rebranding and repositioning following extensive M&A activity. Hayley’s role at CH&Co also included the strategic development and execution of marketing plans for all its brands and driving its social media and digital marketing strategy. 
Hayley has almost over 25 years’ experience in the foodservice sector including previous marketing roles at both Aramark and Elior.
In this new role Hayley will drive Sodexo’s marketing activities with the development of a marketing hub to support its UK and Ireland marketing professional family. Hayley will focus on brand-led marketing strategies across its Corporate Services; Energy & Resources; Government; Health & Care and Schools & Universities businesses.
Dan Weiss, chief growth officer, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “Hayley’s extensive experience in the food industry will enable us to develop a dynamic marketing strategy that supports our collective ambition to become the market leader in the delivery of sustainable food services and valued experiences in the UK and Ireland.”

Levy UK Raises over £50,000 for ParalympicsGB through its 1,000-Mile Relay Challenge #

Link to Levy 1,000-Mile Relay Highlights Video here.

Leading sports and entertainment hospitality provider, Levy UK, proudly announced that it has surpassed its £50,000 fundraising target for charity partner, ParalympicsGB. The total currently stands at £52,384.

This comes after almost 250 Levy employees took part in a 5-week, 43-leg, 1,000-mile relay visiting 50 Levy-catered partner venues spanning Scotland, England and Wales. Collectively, the various Levy teams travelled a massive 6,351 miles – 3,185 miles covered by bike, 139 miles running, and 3,027 miles completed walking!

Levy embarked on this ambitious journey to support its long-term official charity partner, ParalympicsGB, aiming to raise vital funds and awareness, supporting their mission to provide opportunities for disabled athletes to excel in their chosen sports.

"We are thrilled and extremely proud to have completed this unbelievable journey and to have surpassed our £50,000 fundraising target," said Jane Byrd, Levy lead in Wales and Levy ParalympicsGB charity lead. "From the starting line to the finish, our Levy teams demonstrated extraordinary commitment, passion, and teamwork, embodying the spirit of unity and solidarity that defines both Levy UK and ParalympicsGB.”

David Clarke OBE, ParalympicsGB CEO said: “On behalf of ParalympicsGB, we thank the whole Levy UK team for raising more than an incredible £50,000, plus £10,000 of gift aid, to support our work. To raise such an amount of money and cover such a distance in a really short period of time is an amazing achievement and has engaged so many people.

“We are absolutely determined to inspire a better world for disabled people through sport and the incredible efforts of Levy and the money raised through the 1,000-mile relay will help us realise this goal.”

Levy UK remains steadfast in its commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of ParalympicsGB athletes and sporting communities nationwide and looks forward to continuing its partnership with ParalympicsGB in the future.

People can still show their support by donating to ParalympicsGB here or go to

Nutritics harnesses AI to transform Hospitality Kitchens #

Major platform update means recipe creation, planning and reformulation take seconds not hours

Market leader in food service technology, Nutritics, is revolutionising kitchen operations with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to streamline recipe creation, planning, management and reformulation.

With hospitality operators navigating ongoing financial pressures, as well at the increasing cost of food and food waste, this new food technology promises to save chefs, food and menu developers not only significant time but also reduce costs, setting a new standard in efficiency and sustainability in the sector.

Nutritics estimates that the switch to AI will mean that the creation of a fully-specified commercial recipe with all ingredients and costings will take 15 seconds.  

Stephen Nolan, CEO of Nutritics, said; “The launch of this new technology marks a major milestone in Nutritics’ commitment to streamlining operations and saving time for hospitality and foodservice businesses. 

“Our genuinely unique software enhancements mean that whole new menus can now be formulated seamlessly and with unparalleled speed, from new recipe uploads in seconds right through to final approval. Operators can trust in accurate data at lightning speed, whether that’s nutritional data, environmental data or the validity of health claims.” 

The recipe AI wizard simplifies recipe creation, generating menu items in seconds, along with each dish’s nutritional and sustainability profile. Production planning is quick, easy and robust, with many manual tasks now removed. This frees up more time to enable teams to focus on delivering first-class hospitality to their guests. 

Operators using the Nutritics platform can now save hours each week by accelerating the recipe generation with instant, tailored menu creation in seconds. For example, in one year it could save one month of labour, while the granular recipe creation features also help minimise waste through precise portioning. 

The single platform seamlessly integrates supply chain data, recipe management, label design and printing, menu engineering, waste tracking, sustainability, cost analysis, menu publishing and ordering, optimising performance and minimising costs. 

Combining industry-leading AI technology with an unrivalled, ever-evolving database holding over 1.5m foods, Nutritics delivers not only the fastest, but also the most nutritionally accurate results. 

Soft drinks: life and soul of the licensed channel - Putting an extra £61.6m through operators’ tills in 2023 #

Soft drinks are playing a vital role in driving revenues and profitability for the UK’s licensed operators, reports Britvic, growing by +1.3% and putting an extra £61.6m through outlet tills last year alone.

Britvic's Soft Drinks Review 2024 reveals that despite the difficulties of the past few years, the UK’s pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants still play a crucial role in our national culture, with 70% of people saying that going out for food and drinks is the treat they look forward to most.

The latest report from Britvic highlights the ongoing need for licensed operators to adapt to rapidly evolving consumer needs, balancing demands for value, indulgence as well as a healthier and more sustainable way of living.
Licensed venues operating in Britain need to adapt to consumers’ evolving priorities in order to thrive.  That’s according to Britvic's Soft Drinks Review 2024, which has revealed the latest challenges and trends shaping the industry. Britvic says that operators can unlock new growth by fully embracing the surge in popularity for soft drinks, which is not set to dissipate any time soon.
Operators are having to juggle a lot of consumer demands: one in three visits to the on-trade is now alcohol-free, and three in four people (75%) describe themselves as “value-conscious”, a year-on-year rise of 4% pts. Combined with the growing demands for indulgence, as well as healthier and more sustainable ways of living, and you’ve got yourself a perfect storm.
Despite these challenges, Britvic's Soft Drinks Review 2024 highlights the huge opportunities for licensed venues who are able to tap into those insights and re-evaluate their approach to soft drinks and the way they serve alcohol-free options.
“Some might see the falling numbers of people who drink alcohol and the high proportion of people that identify as “value conscious” as a challenge to long-term prospects of the licensed trade,” comments Dino Labbate, Britvic’s commercial director for hospitality in Great Britain. “Not us. We see these trends as opportunities to drive growth for our business and those of our partners, while encouraging healthier and more sustainable habits for society.”

The good news is that more people are eating and drinking in the UK’s licensed venues during the day, with breakfast, brunch and lunch occasions all increasing over the past year. This presents a wealth of opportunities for operators to increase spend and encourage repeat visits by offering a wider range of low and no alcohol alternatives throughout the day and paying closer attention to how they are served. Serving snacks with drinks throughout the day is another key opportunity for operators, particularly as many are still feeling the pinch financially. Almost half of people (47%) who say they spend under £20 when they visit a pub, say they would be interested in seeing a snack menu.

Britvic’s report also highlights that the number of people visiting pubs and restaurants at least once a week remains flat, as does trip frequency, indicating that people are cutting back on spend inside venues.

Labbate continues, “Despite growing price sensitivity among consumers, quality is still as crucial as ever. That’s why we’ve launched the Mix with Britvic online platform - to make every drink (whether it contains alcohol or not) more memorable. This enables our mixologists to help bar staff stay ahead of trends and give them the skills to mix the perfect drink every time, using some of our best-loved brands such as London Essence Company, Teisseire, Pepsi, R. White’s and Britvic. We calculate that by adding extra flair to long mixed drinks, this can raise their value to as much as 40% of outlets’ revenues. The rewards for operators are higher margins and elevated experiences for their guests.”
He concludes, “Our latest Soft Drinks Review indicates that the new generation of drinkers see sobriety as something worth celebrating and we’re seeing this reflected in the rise of sober events such as Dry Disco and Club Soda. As a result, we’re urging operators to rethink sobriety. There’s no denying that soft drinks are playing an increasingly important role in helping people choose certain venues over others.  Therefore, your soft drinks offering shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be your secret weapon that helps you stand out from the competition, attract younger drinkers to your premises and increase soft drinks revenues and profits.”
Top tips to help licensed operators tap into the key trends that are shaping soft drinks and hospitality right now:
Staff knowledge: Make sure your staff know your soft drinks range inside out like they would your wine selection – so they can advise on how they’re best served, food pairings etc.

Quality matters: Opt for premium brands to create drinks that cause a stir, whether they contain alcohol or not – everything from coffees and sodas to milkshakes and non-alcoholic cocktails can be elevated by adding exciting new flavours and dialling up the pizazz in their presentation.

Elevating hot drinks with shots of Teisseire flavoured syrups and toppings can boost margins by around 50p per serve.

Making house sodas more sophisticated with garnishes and quality glassware can add around £1 per serve.

Giving your cocktails a makeover could add a further £2 per serve. Head to Mix with Britvic for inspiration for serves such as the Pink Grapefruit Paloma – a heady blend of tequila, pink grapefruit and lime juice, agave and London Essence Pink Grapefruit Crafted Soda.

Crowd-pulling drinks and events: Operators can attract younger drinkers to their premises and increase soft drinks revenues and profits by hosting sober events such as Dry Disco and Club Soda.

Provide attractive alternatives to tap water to avoid losing sales: Still and sparkling water solutions from Aqua Libra and cordials and flavoured syrups from Robinsons and Teisseire help encourage tap water drinkers to trade up, as does developing a range of house sodas (soda and cordial served in attractive glassware and garnished).  
The Britvic Licensed Soft Drinks Review is available to download on

Nestlé Professional reveals ‘inside scoop’ on ice cream market #

New research from Nestlé Professional offers a deep dive into the ever-evolving landscape of ice cream preferences. With ice cream being the UK’s second favourite dessert when eating out and a current market value of £605 million in out of home, 'The Inside Scoop’ report offers invaluable consumer insights. It highlights emerging trends and provides operators with top tips to help maximise their presence in the category. 
Based on a survey of 1,007 consumers, this report delves into the current state of the ice cream market, uncovers what's driving growth and what consumers are eating and where. 
A key takeaway reveals that consumers want personalisation. 9 out of 10 (89%) say they like to embellish their ice cream, with flavoured sauces (45%) and chocolate pieces (34%) being the most popular choices. 
These preferences align with how people prefer their ice cream served. The classic choices of ice cream in a cone (52%) or scooped into a bowl (47%) rank as the top favourite serving styles. Moreover, vanilla (39%), strawberry (29%), and chocolate (29%) emerge as the top flavours chosen by consumers. This indicates a preference for these classic options as they serve as versatile bases for adding personal toppings and flavours. 
Danielle Griffiths, Dessert's Category Lead at Nestlé Professional, says: 
“The influence of brand power is undeniable in the ice cream category, with 63% of Brits expressing a willingness to purchase a familiar brand. We're dedicated to infusing our iconic confectionery brands into out of home desserts. Given the popularity of ice cream among consumers, we sought to delve deeper into how operators can optimise this category, pushing the boundaries to create innovative and exciting experiences with popular brands like KITKAT and AERO. 
“Ice cream isn't just about the treat; it's about the shared moments it creates. With group consumption surpassing solo indulgence, ice cream has become the catalyst for social connections. This emphasises the importance for operators to provide customers with the option to customise their frozen treats. By offering a diverse selection of toppings and sauces alongside classic flavours, operators can ensure that there's something for everyone. 
“Toppings provide a great option to delight consumers and to charge a premium. In fact, we found that the main reasons that people would pay more for an ice cream when eating 
out is if it’s something they can’t create at home (30%), and its presentation/appearance (29%). 
“Our report findings align perfectly with the product launch of our new KITKAT Sauce with wafer pieces. With a delicious combination of chocolate and wafer, two popular ice cream toppings, the squeezable sauce allows operators to effortlessly enhance a variety of desserts on their menus.” 

‘The Inside Scoop’ report is available for operators to download here.   
Food operators can also buy the new KITKAT Sauce with wafer pieces here

Speed names 1625 Independent People as its charity of 2024 #

Speed Communications has named Bristol-based, 1625 Independent People, as its new charity partner to support the charity’s efforts to reduce youth homelessness in the South West of England.

Over the past 40 years, 1625 has supported young people aged 16 to 25 who are struggling with homelessness across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset. With 32 specialist services including mentoring and volunteering, they pave clear pathways for employment and education.

The partnership  will see Speed support 1625 in its mission to tackle the issue of rising homelessness.  Speed will provide pro bono PR support to drive awareness of the charity and increase local support, alongside fundraising, and volunteering for several initiatives including the ‘Make a House a Home’ project.

Helen Collingborn, Head of Food & Hospitality Speed, comments: “At Speed, we believe in the power of communication to make positive change happen. We have a responsibility to support young people in our community and we’re delighted to announce 1625 as our charity partner. We are strongly aligned with 1625’s vision and look forward to working together to help empower young people to realise their dreams and aspirations.”

Dom Wood, CEO at 1625, comments: “1625 has been working for over 40 years to tackle the issue of homelessness amongst young people, which has become increasingly prevalent in the last few years due to rising rents and increased  cost-of-living . Working with Speed will allow us to raise awareness of what we do to ensure that we can support more young people across the South West. This is a very exciting opportunity for us and we are thrilled to partner with a company that is as passionate about making a difference to young people.”

For more information about award-winning agency, Speed or 1625, please visit or

Sodexo volunteers chalk up over 1,400 reading sessions through platinum partnership with Chapter One #

The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation is a platinum partner to Chapter One, a charity aimed at improving educational outcomes, addressing a root cause of food insecurity. This National Volunteers Week (3-9 June) Sodexo is recognising around 140 employees and young family members who have supported Chapter One this academic year. 

Since September 2023, 105 of Sodexo’s employees have chalked up over 1,400 30-minute reading sessions with children aged 5-8 across 15 schools in: Bradford, Doncaster, East Sussex, Glasgow, London, Manchester and Middlesbrough. By the end of the academic year this will rise to over 2,000 sessions. 

In addition to this, 34, including young family members, took the time to participate in a story competition run in conjunction with Chapter One and Sodexo’s Parents and Carers employee network. 

With more than 30,0000 employees Sodexo’s operations are intrinsic to many communities across the UK and Ireland, and as a purpose-led business Sodexo is committed to ensuring its operations positively impact all those within those communities. 

The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, a UK-registered charity, is an employee-led initiative and a key enabler of Sodexo’s Social Impact Pledge, delivering impact for the most disadvantaged communities. 

Sodexo’s volunteering policy enables its employees to take three paid volunteering days each year supporting those who need in the most in our communities. 

Chapter One has been a charity partner with the Stop Hunger Foundation since 2021. In September 2023 Stop Hunger became a platinum partner increasing the number of volunteering opportunities and expanding its support. In addition to the ongoing volunteering, Stop Hunger’s grant of £33,380 has enabled Chapter One to support over 3,000 children. 

Sean Haley, CEO Sodexo UK & Ireland and Stop Hunger Foundation trustee said: “We are committed to improving the communities where we work, serve and live. By providing a diverse range of volunteering opportunities we empower our colleagues to directly contribute to combating food insecurity in their local community. The Chapter One reading programme is an excellent example of this and has been very popular. By volunteering to spend just 30 minutes a week our colleagues are making a significant and measurable impact on literacy development, creating educational opportunities and future success.”   

In November 2023, in conjunction with Sodexo’s Parents and Carers employee network Stop Hunger and Chapter One launched a story-writing competition for Sodexo employees and their families. 

The competition attracted 21 entries, with stories co-authored by young people from employees’ families. Stories followed the theme of ‘bringing people together through food’.  Entries were initially judged by a panel of Sodexo volunteers, deciding on a shortlist.  The shortlisted stories were then judged by a panel of children. 

On the International Day of Families (May 15) 95 school children were invited (online and in person) to a special story-telling event at Sodexo’s London head office where the winning story was revealed and read aloud to the children by Sodexo’s chief finance officer Jean Renton.    

Authored by Victoria Eames from Sodexo’s procurement arm, Entegra, the winning story, Cooking Pot Woods, has been professionally illustrated and a small number of copies published. The story is now available on Chapter One’s reading platform, which is used by 4,700 children, and on Chapter One’s free global online library. 

Sean added: “Well done to Victoria and our two runners up. Thousands of children will now be able to enjoy the story of Badger who, with the help of the animals of Cooking Pot Woods, create a delicious soup with foods they each brought – a story that truly conveys the message of the role food plays in bringing people together and the benefits of having a strong community spirit.” 

Emma Bell, CEO Chapter One UK, said: “It’s been an absolute delight working with Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation and the Sodexo Parents & Carers network on the story competition. We love their engagement, inspiration and the way they have involved young people in all aspects of the contest. Huge congratulations to everyone involved - we can’t wait to share the story with the world on the Chapter One Global Free Library.” 

Charities like Chapter One are key in helping break the cycle of food insecurity, through means beyond food aid. In 2023, 40% of 11-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds in England left primary school unable to read at the expected level (Department for Education). Research has shown that children who are eligible for free school meals do significantly worse at every stage of school. Chapter One’s online reading volunteers programme challenges this by working with schools that have a higher-than average number of pupils receiving Free School Meals. 

Stop Hunger’s work goes beyond immediate food aid activities. It is focused on changing lives by addressing the root causes of food insecurity with a focus on women’s empowerment. Thanks to the financial support of Sodexo, donations made to Stop Hunger go directly to financing activities and sustainable solutions for disadvantaged communities to exit food insecurity.

Virgin mojitos and plug and play: FEA’s Light Equipment and Tableware Forum #

Delegates and exhibitors share optimistic outlook despite challenging market conditions.

Virgin mojitos, pea sorbet and plug and play were prominent at the FEA Light Equipment and Tableware Forum 2024, held at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire on May 14 and 15.  This is the annual event where suppliers showcase their latest launches to an audience of customers, distributors and media.  The Forum has been steadily growing over the years and the 2024 edition attracted a record number of delegates. 

While many exhibitors and delegates acknowledged that the market had been challenging, there was also plenty of optimism about the future – despite fears that prices may have to rise towards the end of the year due to increasing shipping costs.  Although price is an increasingly influential factor for buyers, operators are looking for new ideas, and for many businesses supplying the LET sector the year has gone well so far.  While some operators are holding back, there are encouraging areas of growth – the fast food sector for one. 

A major change at the Forum was that Steve Goodliff has stepped down as chair and spokesperson for the LET Group.  His successor, Paula Sherlock, opened proceedings alongside FEA chair Paul Anderson.  They welcomed delegates and introduced some of the new features for 2024 – including ‘plug and play’, with exhibitors being encouraged to demonstrate their latest gadgets and gizmos.  That meant delegates were treated to a variety of  sights, sounds and tastes as they met the suppliers… popular offerings included pea sorbet and a virgin mojito. 

Paula Sherlock commented, “This was a great Forum and there was a really good buzz in the room.  The variety of new products and the introduction of the plug and play demonstrations certainly stimulated lots of interest.  Feedback has been brilliant, from both exhibitors and delegates.” 

One of the delegates was Rob Priest of Parsley In Time.  He said, “The organisation is great, it’s a very successful format. It’s also a brilliant networking event, for both seeing colleagues and suppliers and meeting new people.”

Seema Grantham of BHETA, the trade association for manufacturers, importers, and distributors operating in the DIY, garden, housewares and small electrical sectors, attended the Forum on a fact finding mission for her members.  She was impressed, too, saying, “It’s really well organised, well attended, lively, informative and everyone is very engaged.” 

Lisa Munden of Lifetime Brands said, “It’s brilliant to have all these customers speaking to us – and they are very engaged.  To see this many normally would take forever… we’ve attracted new distributors here – hopefully we’ll sign them up!”

LET Award winners

The LET Forum’s awards dinner saw Steve Goodliff win the Donald Bird Award, which recognises an individual who has gone the extra mile and had a significant impact on the light equipment and tableware industry.  Steve had been chair of FEA’s LET Group for eighteen years and received his award to a standing ovation.  Meanwhile, the Sales Professional of the Year award was won by Jeff Wood from United UK and the Distributor Cup went to Alliance – for the seventh year in a row!

The Forum by numbers

·         16 exhibitors
·         81 delegates from..
·         21 distributor companies
·         £1,200 raised for St. John Ambulance at the Awards Dinner (another new record).
·         3 music channels at the Awards Dinner silent disco

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 

Over 800 retailers attend Bestway's Retail Showcase 2024 #

Bestway celebrated a hugely successful trade show with over 800 retailers and all key suppliers attending the Bestway Retail Showcase held at Coventry Building Society Arena.
As the only symbol retailer in the industry with a store format for all retailer types and customer personas, the Retail Showcase 2024 is arguably the largest of its kind. 
The Showcase saw the gathering of Bestway’s retail customers from Costcutter, best-one, Bargain Booze and Extra Local symbols and fascias, alongside the Bestway Retail specialist Retail team and supply partners, as well as interested parties and prospective retailers who are considering joining the Bestway Retail family.
The Showcase, which is in its second year, saw retailers come together with the Bestway Retail team and supply partners to showcase the very best of how the Bestway Retail offer comes together and how the team can collectively collaborate to drive further growth and margin for its retailers.

Bestway welcomed the industry media for a press briefing and exclusive interviews to share its latest news on new store formats and the latest launch of its innovative own label range ‘Best-in’. 

2024 also welcomed a brand-new Innovation Zone, introduced to help retailers improve sales and margin, increase profit and reduce costs plus see the latest innovations. Here, retailers were able to experience a virtual reality walk-round its ‘best-in-class’, including its new Costcutter and Wine Rack store, its latest Best One and Bargain Booze stores as well as blueprints for the next generation of Best One and Bargain Booze stores.

The Pop-Up Shop designed to minimize closure periods during refits (which is available for hire for public/corporate events) was on display for retailers to view.  

Managing Director of Bestway Wholesale, Dawood Pervez said:
“This year’s Showcase has exceeded our expectations. To have our retailers engaged alongside our supplier partners and industry colleagues, was hugely extremely valuable for all parties.
It’s often hard for independent retailers to find time to discover the latest trends and insights to support their business but the Showcase enables them to do this and make the time really count. 
“The vision behind this year’s Showcase was all about innovation and progression.  We wanted to help our retailers look ahead and identify great new products and services from suppliers, whilst sharing ideas with like-minded independent business owners, who inevitably face the same challenges.
“It’s not just about new products, it also about creating leading edge for our retailers.  As digital platforms grow in importance, we were keen to highlight and showcase the latest equipment and technology to help them reduce costs (e.g. labour, energy and environmental), as well as the latest security technology”.

Retailers enjoyed interactive events, live demos, experiential zones and food tastings, incorporating ‘perfect serve’ masterclasses, cocktail-making and pairing sessions as well as engaging in networking events to help them learn share and grow!

The Showcase saw Bestway give retailers the chance to win £1,000 credit with two runner- up prizes of £500, whilst offering exclusive show deals to be taken advantage of on the day, leading to record numbers of orders taken.

Dawood Pervez concluded:
“It was an immensely exciting and stimulating day, and I would like to extend a sincere thank you to our retailers and supply partners who helped make the day such a huge success.”
The Retail Showcase was followed by a festival themed after-party where retailers enjoyed food, drinks, and entertainment as well as a retailer raffle and further networking opportunities.

Royal Ascot menu to include social impact and sustainable culinary experiences, says Sodexo Live! #

With just two weeks to go, Sodexo Live! the official catering supplier to Ascot Racecourse, has revealed what guests at Royal Ascot will experience when they attend the prestigious event. 

The long-standing partnership has seen Sodexo Live! provide catering and hospitality services at the racecourse since 1998 and, it takes utmost pride in creating exceptional experiences for racegoers all year round. 

With a commitment to social impact and sustainability at its core, Sodexo Live! will build on its 25-plus years’ experience of delivering the finest food and hospitality at this impressive event. 

A team of more than 3,500 staff will be employed for the five-day race meeting with many of its casual workforce returning year after year to work there or joining the company to continue their career. 

Sodexo Live! is passionate about nurturing and developing talent and this year will build on its educational outreach with 40 student chefs from colleges, including Cambridge and Reading, joining its team, where they will gain valuable experience of working at a large-scale major event.   

Sustainable food plays a huge part in its operations across the world, and Royal Ascot is no different. For the third year Sodexo Live! will partner with Full Circle Farms. This unique regenerative farming initiative takes appropriate food waste from venues and events to create fertiliser to grow the next round of produce, without using any pesticide or herbicides. The resulting crops then go back to venues and are used across a range of dishes. Not only does this minimise food waste, but it also protects the environment, ensuring we can still grow and eat plants in 50 years’ time. 

Neutro, a net zero dining concept, which launched in the Village Enclosure at Royal Ascot in 2022 will return this year with a twist. This year it will be back featuring a plant-based grab and go loaded hash browns menu. 

Furthermore, the Ledbury’s three Michelin starred chef Brett Graham has created a hot dog using meat from his sustainable pig farm in Shropshire. 

The brigade of Royal Ascot ‘Chefs in Residence’ collectively boast 12 Michelin stars and includes newcomers Tom Shepherd, who will join the team in The Sandringham restaurant in the Royal Enclosure Gardens, and Lisa Goodwin-Allen joins the award-winning ON 5, located in the Queen Anne Enclosure. 

Also in the Queen Anne Enclosure, there will be a new stylish restaurant, The Deck. Ascot regulars and TV chef James Tanner and his brother Chris have curated a specially designed three-course menu to perfectly complement a summer day of sport and socialising. The Deck will offer diners a relaxed experience in an elegant, raised space evocative of an English country garden. An elevated private balcony will afford guests clear views of the Royal Procession and racing action on the track. 

Claire Morris, CEO, Sodexo Live! UK & Ireland said: “It’s great to be back delivering our 26th Royal Ascot and with just two weeks to go until the main event it’s the perfect opportunity to share a glimpse of what we have in store for the more than 250,000 guests attending the 2024 Royal Meeting. 

“Social impact and benefiting the communities we serve are at the heart of what we do, it is therefore incredibly pleasing to see the array of things we are doing in this space. For the next generation of talent that we bring into Royal Ascot, it is an excellent way to showcase the different jobs you can have in hospitality and what a highlight it is for them to be in such a world-famous setting so early in their careers. 

“Royal Ascot would not be Royal Ascot without a sumptuous food offering and this year is like no other. Through our culinary prowess and desire to create exceptional moments for all our guests, racegoers are in for a treat with the myriad of options available.”

Jonathan Parker, Managing Director of 1711 by Ascot, said: “At Royal Ascot, dining is an ever-evolving masterpiece and this year we're not just aiming to surpass expectations. I believe Royal Ascot to be the single biggest collection of stars – both on and off the track – of any British sporting event and this year’s line-up demonstrates the breadth of innovation and style found across the UK’s culinary scene. 

“This year, we’re immensely proud of the continued work through the partnership we have with Sodexo Live! to make our food offering more sustainable than ever with plant-based innovations and a network of British suppliers that champion best practice.” 

Globally Sodexo Live! supports some of the most well-known and high-profile sports clubs, events, and stadia. In the UK it partners with Fulham FC, Brighton and Hove Albion FC, Newcastle FC and the home of Scottish football, Hampden Park, to name a few. Internationally it delivers events such as Roland Garros, the Tour de France, the Miami Open and Formula One, Indian Wells Open in California, plus stadiums in the USA including the Hard Rock Stadium (home to the Miami Dolphins) and the Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, home to Super Bowl LIX in 2025.

Economic Improvements Drive Growth in Coffee Shop Market, Lumina Intelligence Reveals #

Recent data from the Lumina Intelligence Eating and Drinking Out Panel indicates that economic improvements are positively impacting the coffee shop sector. The report highlights key market trends driven by eased cost of living pressures and increased consumer confidence.

The latest market insights reveal a significant uptick in market penetration for coffee shops, increasing by 4.6% to 59.0% for the total market. This growth is attributed to a year-on-year decline in inflation and rising consumer confidence. High interest rates have kept the frequency of visits stable at 1.4, as consumers continue to be selective with their spending.

The increase in market penetration has led to a notable rise in drink-only occasions, which have grown by 1.3%. This trend reflects the growing number of consumers seeking necessity-driven visits. Coffee and sandwich shops have benefitted the most, with their share increasing by 2.2%, indicating a preference for drink-only occasions within this channel.

In contrast, pubs and bars have experienced a decline, with their share dropping by 1.0%. This downturn is linked to a reduction in dinner occasions (-0.5%) and adverse weather conditions, which have deterred consumers from visiting beer gardens and terraces. Traditional pub fare such as chips, wedges, fries, burgers, and pizza has lost share, while cake has gained 2.0% in popularity, driven by the coffee shop trend.

Sodexo builds on Oasis partnership with food services contract at UK’s first secure school #

Sodexo has been selected to provide catering services at Oasis Restore, the UK's first purpose-built Secure School, marking an expansion of its long-standing partnership with Oasis. 

In addition to serving a range of balanced and nutritious meals for the students Sodexo will also support the school’s aim to improve the life chances of young people (aged 12-18) in custody offering valuable culinary skills training to provide future employment opportunities. 

The school’s students will also benefit from lessons in budget management and using the culinary skills they learn, the opportunity to prepare meals independently in their living quarters. 

Steve Hawkins, Sodexo’s Managing Director for Schools, said: “We are incredibly proud to extend our partnership with Oasis to serve the students at Oasis Restore. This is a unique opportunity to create a positive impact on the lives of young people who are in need of support. We believe that providing nutritious meals, culinary training and life skills education can make a real difference in their journey toward a brighter future." 

Oasis Restore will welcome its first students in the coming weeks. Earlier this month, it hosted a ministerial visit from the Justice Minister Edward Argar. 

Steve Chalke MBE, founder of Oasis, added: "We are delighted to have Sodexo on board as our catering partner at Oasis Restore. We have worked with them for over 13 years and their expertise in providing nutritious and appetising meals, combined with their commitment to culinary education, is completely aligned with our vision for Oasis Restore. 

“This partnership will play a crucial role in supporting our students' personal and professional development.” 

Sodexo has been a trusted school meals partner of Oasis Community Learning for over 13 years, currently serving breakfast, morning break and lunch to over 28,000 students across 49 schools. 

The ‘Trends Top Ten’ in light equipment and tableware #

What’s hot at the FEA’s 2024 LET Forum

FEA’s Light Equipment and Tableware Forum is the setting for suppliers to bring their latest products and ideas to show to their customers.  It’s also the place to discover the latest trends in this fast-moving sector, where innovation is the driving force as foodservice operators seek that elusive point of difference, on the table and in the kitchen. 

Here are the 2024 LET Forum’s top ten trends:

Colour: white is taking a back seat, but as we all know it’s a cyclic thing.  Meanwhile, colour is everywhere FOH – from cutlery to buffet displays, from server ware to glassware.   (But come 2025 white may be back!)

Sustainability: just about every exhibitor was showing products designed to save energy or reduce waste.  Reusable labels for plastic containers, induction hobs, hot air chafers, portioners, cutlery with recycled plastic handles, multiple alternatives to single use plastic. 
And it’s not just the products: companies are investing in sustainable and recyclable packaging and looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of their distribution systems, too. 

Matt: gloss may be more practical, but matt is absolutely bang on trend, especially when it comes to tableware.  It’s everywhere and everyone seems to love it…. for now….

Stonewash: we all thought it would be a brief fad, but it’s becoming a long term trend.  Cutlery with a stonewash finish (there’s that matt again!) is set to stay, at least for a while.  It comes in all sorts of colours, such as black, copper, stainless steel, champagne, etc.. 

Alongside stonewash there’s sandblasting for a slightly different matt effect (generally smoother and lighter), while brushed cutlery gives a satin-like finish.  They all look cool, but there’s a practical element to this trend, too, which may explain its longevity: the finish doesn’t show scratches, so it lasts longer, which saves money, and it doesn’t show fingerprints, so there’s no need to polish it, which saves staff time – and that’s a big plus at a time of staff shortages. 

Allergens: the hospitality industry is still coming to grips with the issue of allergens, and lots of companies are developing products to assist in this important work.  Purple is the colour, and there was a huge range of utensils, storage systems, boards and suchlike on show at the Forum.
Melamine: the unstoppable rise…...  You might think that it’s only a matter of time before melamine tableware gets accepted in even top class restaurants, but you’d only be half-right, as it already is.  Maybe not generally, but at least one exhibitor had a special piece of server ware, made of melamine, that had been developed for a top chef.  In the USA it’s already big in the upscale and casual dining sectors, so it’s probably a matter of time till it becomes more accepted here.  Meanwhile there was a huge range of different melamine products on display, including quite a few with a matt finish! 

Cost cutting: in today’s economic climate, it’s no surprise that operators are looking more keenly than ever at prices.  It means the search for that elusive point of difference is relying more and more on buying clever.  Suppliers are well aware of the issue and are trying to find lower cost solutions to the conundrum.  Sadly shipping and transport costs are rising, so it’s likely that product prices will rise again towards the end of the year.  

Retro: there’s always a touch of retro in the air and the 2024 Forum’s take on it had a distinct whiff of the 70s about it… specifically sizzle ‘n cheese.  Sizzle platters, fondu sets and raclette are all reported to be making comebacks.  It’s table theatre to enhance the dining experience and grab that elusive point of difference. 

Equipment that does the job: this is all about saving staff time by finding kitchen gadgets that can either do the job by themselves, or at least help staff do it more quickly.  For example, as ice cream and gelato become more popular, machines that make them automatically are on the rise.  Fill them up, turn them on and let them do their job while you go off and get on with other tasks.  
Sharing: Covid may have briefly halted the trend for sharing platters, but it’s back with a bang now.  It’s not just about the social thing, there’s also the fact that consumers want to try new foods and, by sharing it, they spread the risk – if they don’t like a dish, hopefully their friends will! 

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 

Volunteering on the menu for Compass #

Compass Group UK & Ireland is continuing to deliver social value to the communities it operates in, with teams of colleagues going above and beyond to volunteer in doing good.

Compass enabled a team of helpers to volunteer at Church Farm Bungalow, a residential care home providing support for people with learning and physical disabilities. Based in Chertsey, near the Compass headquarters, the day was a true demonstration of supporting the local community.

Led by Carol Sommerville, Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Chief People Officer and Laura Neville, Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Head of Social Value, the team worked hard to help refresh the residents’ garden for them to enjoy this summer. Tasks ranged from tidying the outdoor area, planting flowers and herbs and upcycling garden furniture. To finish the day the residents and volunteers enjoyed games and refreshments together.

Foodbuy UK&I’s team recently took on the task of a beach clean and Compass’ Finance team had 30 volunteers supporting a Scout Camp, by gardening, clearing paths and painting.

This Volunteering Week (3rd – 9th June), examples of activity include Compass One taking on a beach clean on Ogmore-by-Sea in partnership with Marine Conservation Society and the team at Compass Scotland will continue their partnership with The Larder by launching a bespoke volunteer programme.

This activity supports Compass’ Mission to a Million pledge, which aims to positively impact one million lives by 2030. The volunteering delivers social value, as well as helping colleagues and benefiting their own wellbeing.

Laura Neville, Head of Social Value for Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “Through Our Social Promise we have committed to improving the lives of one million people by 2030. A key element of this is supporting local communities through initiatives such as volunteering. Giving time will make a huge difference to the charities we support and communities we live and work in, generate social value and gives the opportunity to have fun and team build along the way.”

Karl Atkins, Managing Director at Foodbuy UK&I said: “Participating in the beach clean was an eye-opening experience. This volunteering initiative not only highlights our support within local communities, but also reinforces our commitment to sustainability and educating others."