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All Posts By Shawni Dunne

FDF Awards Honours Top Industry Performers

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Last week, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) awards recognised outstanding individuals, ambitious initiatives and growing food and drink businesses for their contribution to the economy, community and environment.

TV star Hardeep Singh Kohli took to the stage at a ceremony at The Brewery in London to present winners with their trophies in front of the leaders of the UK food and drink industry.

The Apprentice of the Year award was won by Omar Woodburn, a multi-skilled Engineering Apprentice at Mondelez International based in Birmingham. Head of Credit and Risk at General Mills, Peter O’Reilly won Community Champion.

London-based popcorn manufacturers Joe & Seph’s won Exporter of the Year and Campaign of the Year went to Premier Foods’ Bisto ‘Spare Chair Sunday’ campaign, encouraging older people to meet and share Sunday roast dinner with their neighbours.

Derbyshire-based Thorntons won Education Initiative award for its Factory Tours & Educational Projects programme which has been running for five years.

Frank Roberts, a Northwich-based bakery firm, won the Good Employer accolade for its programme to create a positive working environment for employees.

FDF’s Director General Ian Wright said: “The FDF Awards get bigger and more competitive year on year. They provide the perfect forum for outstanding companies across Britain’s diverse and dynamic food and drink industry to showcase their contribution to their communities, customers and economy.

“With so many talented, ambitious and successful companies and people making our sector what it is, FDF is proud to award the best and brightest for their innovative approaches, commitment to the community, and vital contribution to the economy.

“My congratulations go to the worthy winners and thanks to the judges and sponsors who made the event possible.”

The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “Our food and drink sector generates billions every year for the economy and is one of this country’s biggest success stories – so it’s quite right we celebrate the industry’s rising stars and entrepreneurial innovators.

“Across the globe, British food is renowned for being the best in quality, innovation and tradition. From our major manufacturers to up and coming food start-ups, last night’s winners and nominees show the kind of talent and forward-looking innovation this industry has, flying the flag for British food and drink at home and abroad.”

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Traidcraft Announces New Fairtrade Organic September Offers

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Traidcraft is supporting this years’ Organic September Initiative with a range of special fair trade and organic offers. The pioneering fair trade retailer and charity is promoting its wholesome, organic food, which, as well as being good for health and the environment, supports farmers, families and communities around the developing world.

Traidcraft’s Marketing Director, Larry Bush said: “Organic September is a great opportunity for people to enjoy the healthy, clean and green products we have on offer at discounted prices. As well as being delicious, our organic foods are produced using some of the best fair trade produce from around the world. In buying them, people are helping to support communities in some of the world’s poorest countries.

“This is particularly timely as we’ve re-launched our Show You Care campaign this month, which encourages consumers to shop with thought and love, buying fair trade products that really do change lives for the better.

“We hope lots of people will take advantage of the great offers we have running for the rest of this month and use Organic September as an opportunity to try something new, delicious, fair trade and environmentally friendly.”

Traidcraft’s organic, decaffeinated coffee will be on offer between 23rd and 29th September, while its organic coconut water promotion will run from 23rd to 26th September.

The coffee beans are hand-picked by small-scale Peruvian farmers, who are part of the CEPICAFE co-operative. By immersing the beans in water to extract the caffeine, the beans are naturally decaffeinated and no chemicals are used in the process.

Tiana 100% raw coconut water is tasty and refreshing and bottled within three hours of opening the fresh fruit. There are a range of fair trade flavours to choose from and the sale of the drink supports communities in the Philippines.

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The Clink Charity Returns from Fighting Food Wastage in Rio

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The Clink Charity joined nearly 50 remarkable chefs from across the world when they visited the revolutionary Refettorio Gastromotiva restaurant in Rio last week.  Chief executive of the charity Chris Moore and Paul Clarkson, head chef of the Clint Restaurant at HMP Brixton, were invited to cook alongside some of the biggest names in the industry as part of a social enterprise launching in the Brazilian capital.

The Clink Charity represents an opportunity for change. The charity offers training projects for inmates of many prisons across the country. Each prisoner who works in a Clint Restaurant studies for accredited NVQ’s in food preparation, food service and cleaning. Prisoners also gain vital experience within an exciting, operational business and receive detailed guidance to find employment within the hospitality industry upon release from prison.

The Refettorio Gastromotiva is a collaboration between distinguished chefs Massimo Bottura and David Hertz, alongside journalist Ale Forbes. The restaurant has been brought to Rio de Janeiro to help fight against food wastage, malnutrition and social exclusion. The restaurant is a multi-functional space with seating for up to 105 diners.

Chris Moore said: “Considering a third of all food produced in the world goes to waste and yet millions of people the globe over go to bed hungry every night we were eager to support the restaurant in whichever way we could and were utterly delighted to be invited to help drive the initiative. It is a huge opportunity for us to learn from this incredible project, take the message of The Clink Charity transatlantic and experience first-hand the incredible skill of legendary chef Massimo Bottura. As a charity and as a hospitality business we always look to work in collaboration with other likeminded organisations and Refettorio Gastromotiva, like The Clink, works tirelessly to change lives for the better.”

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Food and Drink Producers’ Revenue Falls to 15 Year Low

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Great Britain’s top food and soft drink manufacturers saw revenue fall last year for the first time in 15 years. The 150 companies experienced the loss due to deflation and investor uncertainty, according to an OC&C Strategy Consultants’ report.

The report revealed that revenue growth of the UK’s top 150 food and drink producers declined by 0.1% in 2015. It also revealed a drop in profit margins for the top 150, including Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Unilever UK. Profit margins totalled at 5.3%, 1.1% below the 20 year average.

The result of the research is thought to be due to deflation and a decrease in investor confidence in the run up to the EU referendum in June this year.

Will Hayllar, author of the report and partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants said: “For years, the top 150 food and grocery companies in the UK have enjoyed revenue growth that has far outpaced overall grocery spending, driven by merger and acquisition activity and a focus on leading brands.

“That has now been turned on its head, and we’re facing the dawn of a new era for the industry. Small branded businesses are coming to the fore, boosted by the appetite for niche food and drink brands in the UK and are presenting the biggest source of revenue growth for the sector.”

Interestingly, small branded businesses posted a continued revenue growth of 1.2% in 2015 according to the report. It is thought that the growth could be due to the UK public’s excitement for new and innovative brands. The report suggested that smaller brands may become more attractive to investors as the sterling weakens in the wake of the Brexit vote.

According to Hayllar: “Brexit uncertainty can be turned into opportunity, but producers must be proactive if they are to do this. With sterling at historic lows, there’s no longer such a price premium for buying British and this opens up a market that has previously been facing stiff competition from cheaper overseas suppliers.”

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Class of ’92 Enlist Michelin Chef to open ‘Space-Age’ Restaurant in Manchester

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Class of ’92 stars Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville have enlisted the services of Michelin-starred chef Michael O’Hare in an aim to open a new ‘space-age Asian’ restaurant inside the National Football Museum in Manchester.

The iconic footballers appointed the Michellin chef as creative director of their GG Hospitality empire earlier this year. The boys already have plans in the pipeline for three restaurants inside Manchester’s historic Stock Exchange, and have now announced a partnership with the National Football Museum.

Manchester United legend Gary Neville said: “The National Football Museum is the ideal place for us to expand our hospitality portfolio. The museum is a massive draw for both football fans and tourists in Manchester and bringing the brands together feels like a natural partnership.

“To open our first restaurant with creative director Michael O’Hare and his team is a fantastic moment for GG Hospitality and Manchester. It is an exciting time for our business with further announcements imminent.”

The partnership will see the class of ’92 bring their innovative Café Football concept to the ground floor of the Urbis building as well as launching the new restaurant.

The restaurant, The Rabbit In The Moon, is named after an Asian fable and will be overseen by the expertise of O’Hare and his protégé Luke Cockerill. Cockerill will be joining the restaurant from his Leeds restaurant, The Man Behind the Curtain, and will be taking on the challenging role of head chef.

O’Hare said: “The Urbis Building is a phenomenal piece of architecture and I’m excited that as a company we can deliver a world class restaurant within it.

“On the inception of The Rabbit In The Moon, I am a success as a result of the people I surround myself with. Luke has been my right hand man since he was 17, he is the most creative, fun and dynamic chef I have ever known and it is amazing to see a guy so young set to achieve so much.”

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‘On-the-Go’ Milk Bottles to Compete with Bottled Water and Fizzy Drinks

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According to experts, plain milk could become the next big drink craze to hit the UK, appealing to health-conscious Brits on-the-go. The announcement follows the news that milk bottles are now competing with the fizzy drinks and bottled water market.

Milk producer Cravendale has created a new 250ml bottle which is being sold in the chilled ‘on-the-go’ section of supermarkets and food stockists. The new bottles have appeared on the shelves of ASDA, Co-op, Nisa and Bestway, with Cravendale’s parent company, Arla, in talks with other large retailers that have picked up on the new trend.

Priced at 65p, the bottles are aimed at busy Britons as a healthy alternative to fizzy drinks that contain high levels of sugar. As well as being a rich source of calcium, milk is often fortified with vitamin D, which is also beneficial for maintaining healthy teeth and bones.

The smaller bottles will compete with other bottled drinks to capture the attention of the highly profitable lunch time market fuelled by people on their dinner breaks from work.

Adam Leyland, Grocer Magazine editor said: “some consumers may baulk at paying 65p for a 250ml bottle of milk. But attach to milk a cause, makes the bottles cool or functional, and promote its many properties carefully and cleverly, and milk could be a brand to be reckoned with, and even feared.”

Brand manager at Arla Cravendale, Jenna Heinz said: “Milk is widely recognised as being part of a balanced diet, and with consumers demanding greater on-the-go drink options we are responding with the launch of Arla Cravendale 250ml; a healthy, natural option to fizzy drinks and juices.

“People can be surprised at how pure and refreshing milk tastes, and now they can enjoy it alone as a refreshing beverage, rather than just on cereal or in tea.”

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Pizza Hut Shares its Recipe for Franchising Success

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Chief Development Officer of Pizza Hut UK & Ireland, John Aizlewood will be keynote speaker at this year’s National Franchise Exhibition.  John is responsible for more than 300 Pizza Hut stores in the UK and has over 20 years of experience in the franchising business. His keynote speech “Why passionate individual succeed in franchising,” will offer an insight into why personality is the strongest trait in business.

On 30th September, John will draw on his extensive experience to inspire thousands of prospective business owners at the UK’s largest franchise event.

“With 77 franchise entities in the UK, a portfolio of nearly 700 Huts and plans to open at least 200 more Huts in the next three years, we’re on a positive journey with our franchise network,” said John.

“My best advice for anyone who wants to grow a successful business would be to choose a business that you enjoy. It is always important to remember that it is people who make a business work and grow. There are many rewarding aspects to my role, but for me the most important thing is developing people and seeing them become successful – whilst also having fun with everything we do,” he said.

“While you need a strong support network, and good training and development opportunities, it is important to choose a franchise partner who is able to listen to what you want and need. Attending The National Franchise Exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to source the right franchise for you and allows face-to-face contact with potential franchising partners. The list of exhibitors at this event is impressive; it’s a great opportunity to meet some world-renowned brands.”

“It is really important to do your research when looking for a suitable franchise partner. The exhibition is ideal for those embarking on the first stages of their franchising career. Getting things right from the start can make all the difference,” he commented.

Free tickets for the National Franchise Exhibition at Birmingham’s NEC on the 30th September and 1st October are available online.

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Angelique Kerber Becomes Brand Ambassador for Generali Vitality

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Generali Deutschland AG and the current world number one in women’s tennis, Angelique Kerber, have signed a two year contract for an exclusive partnership. The agreement will see the global tennis star becoming the brand ambassador for Generali Vitality, the innovative health and wellness behavioural programme which launched in Germany earlier this year.

Generali Vitality introduces the new concept of shared-value insurance into Europe with the aim of encouraging people to lead healthier lifestyles.

Following her victory at the Australian Open at the beginning of 2016, Angelique Kerber has gone from strength to strength, winning a silver medal at the Rio Olympics and her participation in the finals of Wimbledon.

“I know as an athlete how important it is to move and eat healthily, no matter whether you are an amateur or professional athlete. During my career I’ve learned how important it is to believe in yourself and work on yourself, step by step. Then everything is possible. I fully support Generali Vitality’s goal to motivate people to live healthier lives and I am delighted to have the chance to help to achieve this,” said Kerber.

Kerber has been selected due to her commitment, endurance and hard work. Eating healthily and continuously working to improve her fitness are also a natural part of her everyday life.

“I am very pleased to welcome Angelique Kerber, into our Generali Vitality Community. One of the most successful sportswomen of our time, an international star and rightly the number one in the world of tennis, Angelique is both ambitious and humble. Angelique Kerber is down-to-earth and modest despite her sporting success. We are incredibly excited to work together to inspire people to achieve their own personal best” said Giovanni Liverani, CEO of Generali Deutschland AG.

The Generali Vitality programme is available in combination with term life and disability insurance and offers the prospect to change lifestyles on a personalised basis as well as many incentives to achieve personal health objectives.

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Wetherspoons and Pret A Manger Among Winner of PETA’s 2016 Vegan Food Awards

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The number of British people choosing a vegan lifestyle is on the rise, and has this year reached over half a million. This has led to an increased demand for tasty and innovative vegan foods.

PETA is celebrating some of the most well regarded vegan products available on the high street at its fourth annual Vegan Food Awards. This year, the group expanded this year’s award to include 24 categories.

Heading up the Best Dairy-Free Cheese is Nutcrafter Creamery’s Extra Aged Gomasio Chedder Style which is made using the same process as dairy-based cheese except it contains animal-friendly nut milk instead of cow’s milk.

The Best Vegan Sandwich can be found at Pret A Manger. Chana Chaat Flat Bread is an Indian-inspired wrap featuring chickpeas, fruity mango compote and tangy coconut yoghurt. The company also opened up its first all-veggie store this year.

Zizzi won the award for Best Vegan Pizza. The chain offers vegan cheese on all of its pizzas as well as selling refreshing vegan gelatos.

Other winners include JD Wetherspoon (Best Vegan Curry), Linda McCartney Foods (Best Vegan Burger), Club Mexicana (Best Vegan Street Food), LEON (Best Vegan Salad), Le Pain Quotidien (Best Vegan Cake), and Koko Dairy Free (Best Dairy-Free Milk).

PETA’s Dawn Carr said: “From the corner shop to luxury restaurants, businesses are jumping to feed the public’s hunger for healthy, humane plant-based food. Since winners include all-vegan bacon, eggs, aged cheddar, and even caviar, PETA’s Vegan Food Awards show that ethical fare is more diverse and exciting than ever – all without harming a single animal.”

Interest in vegan living has increased significantly, with Google Trends reporting that UK residents are searching ‘vegan’ in record numbers. Celebrities such as David Haye, Joaquin Phoenix, Ellie Goulding and Alan Cumming have praised the benefits of a vegan lifestyle.

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Lyme Bay adds Chardonnay to Award-Winning Range of English Still Wines

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Lyme Bay Winery has announced the addition of a 2015 vintage Chardonnay to its highly acclaimed range of English still wines. The Devon-based winery is well-known for its award-winning English wines and ciders and believes that the recent success of the Chardonnay will further enrich its portfolio.

Lyme Bay Winery’s Chardonnay is a dry white wine enriched with subtle buttery and stone fruit flavours and mouth-watering aromas of peach turnover and honey. The wine also boasts a unique blend of Chardonnay and Bacchus grapes, which adds distinctive layers of flowers and pineapple to this full-bodied white.

Lyme Bay Winery’s Head Winemaker, Liam Idzikowski said: “The Chardonnay grape is recognised around the world for its high quality and versatility. English still wine Chardonnay is something of a rarity, so we were keen to show what we could do with this noblest of grapes. We started off with the best grapes we could find and have created a truly English Chardonnay with exceptional depth of character.”

Managing Director James Lambert added: “We have seen growing demand for premium English wines and are delighted to be adding Chardonnay to our award-winning range of English still wines. Still wines have always been a point-of-focus for us at Lyme Bay Winery, and our Chardonnay demonstrates the ability of English-made still wines to compete on the world stage.”

English wine has risen significantly in popularity in recent years due to warmer weather, an increase interest in local produce and an influx of experienced vintners coming to work in the UK.

Recent award successes, including winning Silver at the UK Vineyards Association’s Wine of the Year Competition 2016 for the new Chardonnay, have elevated Lyme Bay to become one of the most celebrated wineries in the country. Lyme Bay Winery’s wines are inspired by traditional recipes and created using modern production techniques.

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