Category Archives: Blog

17 
Sep

Rugby World Cup Food & Drink

Rugby World Cup Logo

Rugby players and supporters love food and drink. And with the Rugby World Cup about to begin in Japan comes the opportunity for originality for caterers of all kinds.

Homebound supporters not only want to enjoy the games with a beer; but can also be tempted by finer dining as well as the more traditional delights.

When one thinks of rugby forwards, the delicacy and fine detail shown by Phil Vickery and Martin Bayfield on Masterchef isn’t the first thought. But given the importance of food in their training, it’s perhaps not surprising.

Food Glorious Food

As far as food goes, Japan is taking the competition very seriously. Rugby players have a regimented approach to their diet in order to keep themselves fighting fit and at the top of their performance levels. According to a number of top coaches, protein is vital to develop and maintain muscle mass. Some coaches insist that the players consume a daily amount of 2.5g of protein per kilo of body weight. This includes eggs, dairy, beef, turkey, chicken and fish, most of which are abundant in Japan.

Many adhere to four meals a day. An example would be porridge and poached eggs for breakfast; sweet potato, vegetables and salmon fillets; steak skewers with roasted root vegetables and coconut rice for a post-training meal; and a prawn or chicken stir fry for dinner.

In the 24 hours before a match players should consume high-carb meals based around slower-digesting carbs such as potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes and oats. These are complemented with sweeter sources such as fruit and smoothies. Japan’s Yaki udon will be especially popular, as the dish is thick and chewy noodles, made from wheat flour. Yaki soba uses the thinner soba noodles made from buckwheat flour.

The Japanese national delicacy, sushi, fits well into a rugby player’s diet as does a lot of everyday Japanese food. It can be beneficial from a fuelling and recovery perspective due to increased intakes of nutrients such as omega-3 and electrolytes. Fish, stir fries and shellfish will feature heavily in menu choices as will the meat selection such as Wagyu prime cut Japanese beef. The meat fat has a very low melting point so it can literally melt in your mouth. Rumour has it that the animals are fed beer and massaged with sake.

The England team however, might be short on condiments. Supplies of tomato ketchup and mayonnaise have supposedly been sent ahead because their favourite condiments are scarce and expensive in Japan.

Beer Galore

Japan has very good news for beer drinkers. Major Japanese sports keep spectators lubricated with vendors who patrol the stands dispensing beer into cups. These are called Uriko and they are crucial to meet the demand for beer. When Australia visited in 2017, bars were drunk dry before kick-off! So to ensure no embarrassment for the official sponsors, Heineken, the Japanese Heineken brewery has increased production by 80%.

One thing is clear, food plays an important part in the rugby world and with each country bringing their own nutritionists and food advisors, the right diet in Japan (a balance between East and West cuisine) may well go a long way in confirming the eventual winner.

The Rugby World Cup Final is on 2 November at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama; when the winner of the 20 competitor countries will be crowned. So plenty of time for catering businesses to work out their own game-plan to benefit.

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Published Date: 17th September 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events, News
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10 
Sep

Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2019 Show Report

Speciality & Fine Food logo 2019

The Speciality & Fine Food Fair celebrated a landmark birthday last week and the show provided a special 20th anniversary edition at Olympia, London. The event held between 1 and 3 September attracted over 10,000 visitors, food producers, exhibitors, speakers and VIPs.

The Fair has always had an excellent reputation as an environment to reach out and make connections with existing or potential new partners and customers. As a result, The Speciality & Fine Food Fair is eagerly anticipated by those involved in artisan and speciality produce. These include independent retailers, chefs, delicatessens, hoteliers, importers, restaurateurs, distributors and wholesalers. Each are given the unique opportunity to source, network and get up to date with the latest trends.

Welsh Contingent

2019 saw nine Welsh artisan food and drink companies exhibiting under the Food & Drink Wales banner. The country has a long established status at the show for innovation and this year was no different. Halen Môn, the Anglesey Sea Salt Company launched DIY Brine kits for Christmas poultry. While Daioni Organic showcased its coffee range with 100% Fairtrade single-origin organic Arabica coffee beans from Mexico.

South Caernarfon Creameries featured its new handcrafted range of cheeses. These include Dragon Cavern Aged Cheddar with Penderyn Whiskey and Dragon Welsh Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar. The Parsnipship showcased its full range of vegetarian and vegan produce such as Glamorgan Crumble, stilton and spinach potato cake and tandoori mash-up.

The Welsh Government supported the nine companies to attend Speciality & Fine Food Fair in the dedicated Cymru/Wales Pavilion.

Seminars and Features

Elsewhere at the Fair, the Food for Thought speaker programme featured successful entrepreneurs and industry experts. Their topics covered sustainability, the reduction of food waste, customisation, plant-based food, fermentation and Made in Great Britain.

The Savour the Flavour live demonstration kitchen created dishes inspired by products from the show. The Fair’s portfolio director, Soraya Gadelrab commented: “Kitchens are so vibrant. It’s all about the taste and visual appeal of dishes so we’re delighted to translate this directly at the fair through the live demo kitchen…the Food for Thought programme offers an unrivalled insight into the latest trends set to influence menus, from fine to casual dining”.

In recognition of the expanding success of the booming drinks market, the Drinks Cabinet returned for its second year. This features luxury small and large batch spirits, beers, ales, wines and ciders, as well as the burgeoning low- and no-mixers and soft drinks sectors.

The Discovery Zone enabled visitors to find innovative brands created in the past three years. It included everything from antipasti to oils, seasonings, cheese and charcuterie, dairy and dairy alternatives and fish and seafood.

The Shop of the Year competition had a stand. It offers small independent retailers the opportunity to shine, with five main categories, namely delicatessen and grocer; specialist cheese shop; farmer owned farm shop; food hall; and specialist food or drink shop. There is also a Newcomer Award. Entries close on September 20th. So if you missed the Fair, there’s still time to enter the Awards to celebrate your success and generate more interest.

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Published Date: 10th September 2019
Category: Blog, Events, Local food, News
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03 
Sep

Time for Rational Cleaning

AC Services keeping chefs using Rational ovens happy

So you may have noticed how quickly this year has gone. Last week we were sweltering in the last rays of the summer; this week we’re starting to think ahead to winter. 31st October is gearing up to be an interesting date for many, and not just because it is national let’s-dress-up-in-silly-costumes day.

It’s impossible to make any predictions about the outcome of the Brexit deadline but as a precaution, it’s worth stocking up on various items. And from AC Services Southern’s point of view, it’s an ideal time to look at Rational cleaning products.

Fact: Christmas is galloping apace and will be upon us before we realise.

Fact: we have a politically uncertain time ahead of us with no idea about the impact on imports of foreign products or indeed, on the value of the pound.

Fact: your cleaning products may not be running low now, but there will soon be a traditional late rush on supplies so avoid the queues.

Act now to stay happy later

Now is the time to take advantage of our online store for Rational cleaning products. It takes no time at all to enter an order and wait for the despatch of the goods. So let’s look at what you could get in the on-line Rational oven cleaning range

  • Rational Oven Cleaner Tab (x100): highly concentrated tablets specially developed. A new complex set of active ingredients designed to guarantee maximum cleaning power.
  • Tablets for Rational Oven Care (x150) with special scale-dissolving ingredients contained to prevent limescale building up. They give reliability without a water softener and the need for time-consuming descaling.
  • Rational Rinse Tablets (x50) highly effective care products ensuring active protection.
  • Rational’s Grill Cleaner (10 litres) for use with a hand spray gun.
  • Rational Rinse Aid (10 litres).

There’s more: when was the last time your Rational oven was serviced? It’s probably longer than you think so pick up the phone and book a service now, not in December when we’re both rushed off our feet. Prevention is always better than cure.

To order your Rational cleaning products simply go to our online shop. To book a service call AC Services Southern on 01454 322222 for more advice and a time that suits.

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Published Date: 3rd September 2019
Category: Blog, Cleaning, Cleaning Products, News
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27 
Aug

Bristol Food Producers

Marsh Fritillary supported by Bristol food producer

The summer is coming to an end and although we’ve had a blistering Bank Holiday, thoughts will soon be turning to the next major event in our calendar, the Big C. There’s even a Christmas tree up in my local heralding the start of the party season. Too soon, far too soon!

Meanwhile, the food industry is as busy as ever and more Bristol food producers are springing up offering alternative and sustainable produce. Farm Wilder is an excellent example of producers taking sustainability to another level. The company was set up in January 2019 in Bristol. It selects and labels the highest quality produce from the most wildlife-friendly farms. The rapid decline of the wildlife in the UK led the company to source the best produce from SW farms. It supports “farmers’ restoration of biodiversity and sequestration of carbon back into the soil.”

What’s in a Name?

The farmers producing Fritillary butterfly beef help protect Marsh Fritillary butterflies in Devon. These cattle are slower growing than modern breeds, but produce the tastiest and healthiest meat. Farmers producing Cuckoo beef help Devon’s cuckoos in Devon with native hardy cattle thriving on the meadows and moors.

Cuckoo lamb is also available, with the same aim as the beef. Grazing native sheep like Scottish Blackface, Welsh Black Mountain and Dorsets, maintain the habitat needed by cuckoos to thrive. All of the animals are pasture-fed feeding on a natural diet of pasture and forage such as hay in winter. They are less likely to suffer from disease and require little veterinary attention or antibiotics.

Bristol Community Producers

Once upon a time, Elm Tree Farm was used as an occupational therapy resource hospital farm. It now offers adults with learning disabilities and autism gain work skills such as animal husbandry, market garden, nursery or woodwork. With around four acres of growing land, including several polytunnels and an orchard; the farm produces fruit, vegetables, chickens and other livestock using native breeds. As the behaviour of the animals suits the landscape and the quality of the meat is higher. The meat is all slaughtered and butchered locally, then kept frozen and sold from the on-site farm shop.

Edible Futures was set up as a Community Interest Company, seven years ago. With almost 1.5 acres here and two 90ft polytunnels, fruit, herbs and vegetables are grown. The company sells around 50% of their produce directly to local restaurants. The rest is sold through a Community Supported Agriculture model called Salad Drop, where members get a small, medium or large share of salad once a week, delivered to one of three drop off points around Bristol.

Finally, if you are ever in need of goat, then Troopers Hill in East Bristol offers Street Group. This is a group of people who keep goats in the city. As well as female milking goats, the group have also raised male offspring; initially using them to clear overgrown allotments, then buying castrated males goats for conservation grazing on overgrown land to restore important habitat for wildlife. The male goats are then sold for meat.

Bristol food producers consistently offer variety and the new. Ideal for the catering businesses that AC Services Southern serves locally.

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Published Date: 27th August 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
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21 
Aug

Hotel Industry Update 2019

Hotel industry update

The hotel industry as a whole is doing quite well in 2019. Europe’s hospitality industry is reporting positive results with an ever-increasing number of hotels being constructed. 1,504 projects accounting for 192,352 rooms were in construction as of July 2019. This is a 52.4% year-on-year increase in the number of rooms in the final phase of the development pipeline.

Germany leads the European table with 52,704 rooms, equal to 7.9% of the country’s existing supply. It is followed by the UK, Spain and France.

Expanding Rooms

In the UK, London is set to add 11,600 rooms to its hotel market by 2020. It holds its place as a world class destination for both business and leisure with a number of different styles of establishments opening across a range of price bands. The weakness of the pound has attracted numerous overseas hotel operators and investors to invest in hotel real estate.

This rise of hotel investment is a result of the increase in demand for operational and alternative property types. Several novel hotel ideas are springing up around the world. Some of these are spectacular and unique. Such as the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, labelled the world’s first underground five-star resort with the bottom two floors underwater. There is also the Game of Thrones themed hotel in Finland, which is attracting much attention.

UK Apprentice Recruitment

While some chains are concentrating on design; others such as the independent hotel group Elite Hotels are looking closer to home. It is calling on the hotel industry to change its view on apprenticeships. Working with local schools, colleges and charities, Elite Hotels has embedded apprenticeships into their business structure to create a “unique” form of training in five-star hospitality service.

Paul Coley, group personnel and development manager at Elite Hotels, said: “…we knew just how valuable apprenticeships can be – creating a pipeline of talent is key to our recruitment strategy and apprenticeships offer a great opportunity to welcome young people into the world of hospitality and help develop talent to combat the skills gap in our industry.”

Similarly, Travelodge launched a new recruitment scheme in May . It offers students a permanent job with flexible working hours designed around their study programme in their university and home locations. The brand looking to fill 3,000 jobs this summer.

Maximising Space Use

Another novel idea is Spacemize. This enables guests access to book hot desking space across designated areas within high-end partner venues. At the moment it’s only available in London. Hotels turn their empty tables into a work area from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. While users get complimentary tea and coffee as well as discounts on food and beverage at the locations.

Spacemize provides a solution to entrepreneurs with a flexible place to work from in luxury venues; and it offers hotels an additional revenue stream and increased customer loyalty to the venues.

The hotel industry is not sitting on its laurels but is attempting to expand for the future, by adopting new ideas and pushing forward to provide value as well as quality accommodation.

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Published Date: 21st August 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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13 
Aug

The Big Numbers of the UK Events Industry

UK events big and small

The events sector is worth £42.3B the UK economy. This is the direct spend by event delegates, attendees and organisers. While the spend by those accompanying attendees at business events is worth an additional £7.7B.

This why the cancellation of events like Boardmasters at the weekend can have a significant impact locally. Most amply shown by the 200,000 unneeded toilet rolls offered for sale by the toilet suppliers!

Breakdown of UK Events Spend

Conferences and meetings are worth £19.9B, with exhibitions and trade fairs amounting to £11B. Corporate hospitality and corporate events are worth £1.2B. While outdoor events and festivals and cultural events each bringing in £1.1B. Unsurprisingly, sporting events are worth £2.3B.

The events sector employs over 25,000 businesses that sustain 570,000 full-time jobs. Over 7,000 major outdoor events are held each year. Following the success of the 2012 Olympics; the UK has become a world leader in outdoor events with UK expertise sought globally.

There are a number of events coming up that the UK government is aiming to capitalise upon, including:

  • 2020 UEFA European Championships,
  • 2020 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower voyage,
  • 2021 Rugby League World Cup and
  • 2022 Commonwealth Games and Festival of Britain.

The UK government published in June a comprehensive International Business Events Action Plan 2019 – 2025. This outlines in detail how the UK government policy will “support the business events industry in attracting, growing, creating and retaining international business events”.

Events Industry Impact on Catering

Which brings us to the impact on the catering industry. For those who have attended events in the past, whether sporting, music or entertainment, there has been a significant rise in the scope and quality of food available. In the past, there were three options: hot dog, burger or fish and chips but sophistication has entered the mobile catering market big time. Today, there is a bewildering choice of street food available at any worthwhile event.

Event catering can be a high-risk business, but with high risk comes the opportunity for huge rewards. The profitability of corporate catering has been highlighted recently by the acquisition by food delivery giant Just Eat of City Pantry . City Pantry works with suppliers to provide thousands of meals for corporate events and business meetings.

Working with City Pantry to accelerate its mission to improve and modernize the workplace dining experience is a great opportunity… it’s the right time for us to enter the corporate market and expand our offering.” Said Peter Duffy, Interim CEO of Just Eat.

Event Opportunities

Venue catering is a growing and expanding industry. It has many opportunities for start-ups and established caterers to capitalise on. Variety, quality and value are the key aspects for customers. With events drawing in more and more visitors every year, this sector of the industry has great potential.

Bob Fox, director, The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) offers some advice to those providing for outdoor events. “Experienced caterers can take five figure sums in only a few days. Before committing to any event, caterers need to ensure that the organiser knows what they are doing, that the event is well marketed and that the occasion is going to be a success. After all, the best stall in the world will make no money if there is nobody there to buy the product.”

While even the best marketing in the world can do nothing against the British weather if it decides to be bad; not planning events at all is the worst gamble given how lucrative it is for all kinds of catering businesses.

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Published Date: 13th August 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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06 
Aug

Theme Park And Attractions Update

Theme Park and attraction update

The weather, the political climate and worry about travelling abroad are all factors that help British attractions. The staycation ethos has led to more Brits staying at home and enjoying some homegrown comforts. These include visits to some of the many attractions to be found around the UK.

Brits are choosing leisure activities over holidays abroad in 2019. Spending was on average £90 a month in 2018 on leisure activities based on Office of National Statistics’ data. This is expected to jump to £163 a month this year, equating to £8.2 billion in total across the UK. Part of that increase will be spent on catering.

Legoland in Windsor emerged as the most visited amusement park in the UK in 2018; recording an attendance of 2.32 million. It was followed closely by Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures. The four dominate the list as the most visited theme parks in the UK.

But as far as other attractions go, there are plenty around the country. According to a report in March, visitor numbers at UK attractions such as museums, galleries, zoos, castles and country houses rose in this period by 9% despite fewer overseas tourists. So positive news for catering businesses able to reach this potential market.

More and Less Visitors

Tate Modern knocked the British Museum off the top spot which it held for 11 years. Statistically, Scotland outperformed the rest of the UK for the seventh year running. It had a 19.07% increase due in part to more flights to the country, investment by the Scottish government and lottery into the sector and an increase in film and TV tourism.

However, the climate, including the hot summer and Beast from the East storms played a major role in decreasing numbers for some outdoor attractions. Attendance at Bristol Zoo was down 8.6% and Whipsnade Zoo down 7.6%. The most-visited attraction outside London in England was Chester Zoo and the most-visited heritage site was Stonehenge.

Food as Part of the Attraction

Tourism is the UK’s fifth-biggest industry and third-biggest employer. Some attractions are using their imagination to entice visitors in, such as Alton Towers with its Rollercoaster Restaurant. Food arrives by rollercoaster, with the décor reflecting the roller coaster ride.

Food is part of the experience. This is shown by the success of a very unusual theme park a bit further afield. In South Korea there is a theme park dedicated entirely to cheese. The Imsil Cheese Park offers 32 acres of trails and attractions, all of which offer various tributes and nods to cheese. There is a notable absence of rollercoasters; but visitors can enjoy themed walking trails, mini cheese-themed rides, cheese-making classes, and buildings that look like blocks of cheese.

And this theme is filtering into the UK with a new restaurant under proposal in London with DC Entertainment. The application states: “the restaurant will be rooted within the DC Multiverse, taking visitors on a culinary adventure through the many fictional Universes famous for their superhero residents such as Batman, Superman and Wonderwoman. The restaurant will not be a ‘theme park’ with literal sets and costumes from the franchise, but it has the intention to invite guests to experience the DC Universe.”

All this goes to show that fast, scary rides are not necessarily the main attraction and incorporating a culinary experience with a theme may be the way forward for some enterprising food entrepreneur. Or perhaps the linking of current venues outside of theme parks for mutual benefit which worked well for Ludlow.

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Published Date: 6th August 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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30 
Jul

Peanuts and Hummus at Risk

Peanuts and other food threats from sun and rain

In a week that saw the highest temperatures ever recorded in July not only in the UK but in other parts of Europe, talk has turned to peanuts and other crops that might be at risk.

Global peanuts consumption has grown at the rate of 2.53% and expected to grow further during 2019-2024. China and India are the largest consumer and exporters of peanuts in the world, accounting for more than 36% of the global consumption.

But according to reports, peanuts might be extinct by 2030. The reason is that peanuts are considered “fairly fussy plants”, and need five months of consistent warm weather, along with 20 to 40 inches of rain. If there is not enough rain, the pods won’t germinate. If there is too much rain, the plants will wilt making the peanuts inedible. We know from America’s peanut production that droughts and heat waves can destroy entire peanut crops. With the weather getting record-breakingly warmer, this is a worry.

Record Temperatures

Last week, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands recorded their highest ever temperatures. Several cities in France broke previous temperature records with Bordeaux and Paris exceeding 40 degrees. Here’s the science: the latest heatwave has been caused by an omega block which is a high-pressure pattern that blocks and diverts the jet stream, allowing a mass of hot air to flow up from northern Africa and the Iberian peninsula.

All of this climate change is putting crops at risk in harvest yields worldwide. It’s not just the heat however, crops are affected by unusually cold nights, weeks with no rainfall and storm-driven precipitation. All of which account for up to 49% of yield losses for maize, rice, spring wheat and soy beans.

Extensive studies have been carried out in Europe, the US and Africa to measure the cost to the grains, pulses and tubers that feed 7.7 billion people. These now have the aim of isolating the factors within climate change that might affect harvests.

Researchers have found that the maize yield in Africa is in a dire situation. Africa’s share of global maize production is not large, but the largest part of that production goes to human consumption. When compared to just 3% in North America, it is clear why maize is critical here for food security. Consider also that in the UK and Europe, maize is a key foodstock for cows, milk and beef and so indirectly human consumption.

Crops at Risk

The climate is crucial to most growth with food items such as avocados and chickpeas needing an awful lot of water to be produced. 72 gallons in fact to make just one pound of avocados. More than 80% of America’s avocados are grown in California, where there’s a drought. Similarly, chickpeas need almost the same amount of water. Global production of these legumes has gone down 40-50% due to worldwide droughts.

And what about coffee? The unimaginable could happen. Most coffee comes from Arabica beans, which grow best between 64 F and 70 F. If the temperature rises above that, the plants ripen too quickly, which affects the quality of the yield.

The bottom line is that climate change is happening and will affect the food we grow and eat. The extremes of British weather over the last week emphasises our vulnerability and allows us to reflect.

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Published Date: 30th July 2019
Category: Blog, Food Sourcing, News
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17 
Jul

UK Tourism on the Move

UK Tourism

According to statistics from the ONS, visitor numbers to the UK are slightly down year on year by about 2%; with 2.9 million overseas visits in March 2019.

However, 2018 was a record-breaking year in terms of tourists so the figures are not in any way alarming.

Between January and March 2019, there were 7.8 million inbound visits to the UK. This is just 1% below the inbound visits in the same period in 2018. Overall, overseas visitors to the UK spent £22.7 B in the twelve months to March 2019. This is down a more worrying 8% compared to the previous twelve-month period.

Cricket Fever

In June and July, tourism gave a huge boost to the economy with the hosting of the Cricket World Cup. Hampshire County Cricket Club hosted five matches in the long-awaited tournament. This brought a total of £18.3 million to Southampton alone. While Birmingham is predicted to generate a staggering £32.1 million from the tournament.

Many of the fans have travelled from Pakistan and India to watch the cricket. The recent India versus Pakistan match witnessing a staggering 750,000 applications for the 26,000-seat stadium. The importance of sporting global events in terms of boosting the economy cannot be underestimated.

Government Boost

At the end of June, the government announced a deal to prepare Britain for an extra 9 million visitors per year. This is heralded as a major boost for the pub and hospitality sectors in particular. A Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board will be created to promote and market hospitality jobs as viable career options. A three-year industry led skills and recruitment campaign will also be funded.

In addition, local tourism zones will be created alongside a new business events strategy and more investment in infrastructure. The deal will also support the creation of 10,000 new apprenticeships for anyone building a career in tourism or hospitality.

Hospitality sector trade body UK Hospitality hailed it as a landmark moment as chief executive, Kate Nicholls explains. “This sector deal marks a tremendous moment for all of us in the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries. The move will be absolutely critical in changing the perception of the sector within Government and the wider public opinion, and acknowledges hospitality is key to the country’s economic growth.”

The Rise of Chinese Visitors

Finally, China’s rising wealth has resulted in a huge growth of tourism abroad, making Chinese people the world’s most abundant tourists. A new travel trends study by TripAdvisor reveals that travellers from China have shown one of the biggest increases in views of UK destinations, with an increase of 133% in Chinese travellers.

Overall, these results are great news for the UK hospitality industry – we’re seeing real growth in interest from many countries and resoundingly good reviews from travellers,” said Fabrizio Orlando, industry relations manager, TripAdvisor.

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Published Date: 17th July 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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09 
Jul

Restaurant Food Trends This Summer

aquafaba chocolate mousse restaurant food trends 2019

Summer is well and truly upon us with the seasonal sporting tournaments reaching their conclusions and the temperatures finally rising. This means that eateries are eagerly anticipating a rising number of visitors; and with competition fierce, new restaurant food trends are emerging to give restaurants the edge over their competitors.

As expected, due to the barbeque season, there have been price increases in home-produced lamb, beef and poultry. France has shown unexpected interest in UK lamb and imported beef is in shorter supply. As a result, suppliers are advising alternative cuts. These not only make use of the whole animal but are representing better value.

With crab prices high, due in part to a high demand from China, native lobsters are being perceived as at an interesting alternative. Native king scallops have taken over from queen scallops, which should be avoided due to sustainability issues.

Berry Successful

The berry season in Britain has got off to a flying start with excellent growing conditions. With the tradition of Wimbledon, strawberries have come into their own followed by raspberries, blueberries and blackberries as crops ripen. Some restaurants are using fresh berries to flavour and garnish cocktails and other fancy drinks as well as incorporating them into desserts.

As far as vegetables are concerned, Jersey Royal potatoes are extremely good quality and value this year. This is a relief after the weather adversely affected last year’s overall potato crop.

Mushrooms have, well, mushroomed in popularity with a range of varieties available across the summer. Morels, St George’s and puffballs are joined by the Scottish-grown girolle mushrooms which are due in season in August, bringing a fresh and fruity tang to dishes.

Vegan Tops All

Millennials introduced us to the term influencers and as a genre, they are responsible for a change in tastes. Compared with a year ago, customers are looking for healthier options, driven by millennials.

One restaurant chain that has seen this change is Greene King, with boss Nick Mackenzie explaining that veganism is becoming increasingly popular in his pubs. He says: “it isn’t just millennials but on a wider basis consumer trends are shifting. Most of our menus have vegan options and healthy eating is a big part of it. The trend in veganism is one that will continue.”

On the theme of veganism, a few hitherto unknown items are hitting the headlines. Watch out for aquafaba, the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas that used to go down the drain and is now whipped into an egg replacer for baked goods and sauces. Or in the chocolate mousse pictured.

Meanwhile America is going nuts over the health benefits of tea made from avocado leaves. Whether or not this will take off over here remains to be seen; but the beauty spotting potential restaurant foods trends is some never get beyond a fad.

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Published Date: 9th July 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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