Category Archives: Catering Business

05 
Jun

Russia World Cup Fever Begins

FIFA Russia World Cup LogoIt’s time to start trading Panini stickers! After the excitement of the FA Cup, the Champions League Final and the domestic playoffs, we can now sit back and look forward to the next great sporting event, the FIFA Russia World Cup.

There is a feeling that this year, the anticipation is somewhat muted. Perhaps it’s too soon after the Euros when the England team was humiliated by a bunch of Scandinavian part timers with their chilling Viking thunder clap. Whatever the reason, the Russia World Cup starts next week and the strains of Three Lions will surely be heard in pubs and homes around the country.

Harry Kane leads the team as captain, a position which has been bestowed on many but successfully fulfilled by few. And here’s a couple of pub quiz facts for you: the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ teams provide 17 of the 23 players chosen by Southgate and Manchester United holds the record as the only club represented in every England football tournament squad since 1950.

Teams that should have but didn’t qualify include Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Scotland, Turkey, United States and Wales.

Group Stages of Russia World Cup 2018

For those who want to organise their events and viewing in advance, here is the schedule.

  • Thursday June 14 Russia v Saudi Arabia (A) Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm
  • Friday June 15 Egypt v Uruguay (A) Ekaterinburg 1pm; Morocco v Iran (B) St Petersburg 4pm;  Portugal v Spain (B) Sochi 7pm
  • Saturday June 16 France v Australia (C) Kazan 11am;  Argentina v Iceland (D) Moscow (Spartak) 2pm;  Peru v Denmark (C) Saransk 5pm; Croatia v Nigeria (D) Kaliningrad 8pm
  • Sunday June 17 Costa Rica v Serbia (E) Samara 1pm; Germany v Mexico (F) Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm;  Brazil v Switzerland (E) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
  • Monday June 18 Sweden v South Korea (F) Nizhny Novgorod 1pm; Belgium v Panama (G) Sochi 4pm; Tunisia v England (G) Volgograd 7pm
  • Tuesday June 19 Poland v Senegal (H) Moscow (Spartak) 1pm;  Colombia v Japan (H) Saransk 4pm; Russia v Egypt (A) St Petersburg 7pm
  • Wednesday June 20 Portugal v Morocco (B) Moscow (Luzhniki) 1pm; Uruguay v Saudi Arabia (A) Rostov-on-Don 4pm; Iran v Spain (B) Kazan 7pm
  • Thursday June 21 France v Peru (C) Ekaterinburg 1pm;  Denmark v Australia (C) Samara 4pm; Argentina v Croatia (D) Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
  • Friday June 22 Brazil v Costa Rica (E) St Petersburg 1pm; Nigeria v Iceland (D) Volgograd 4pm; Serbia v Switzerland (E) Kaliningrad 7pm
  • Saturday June 23 Belgium v Tunisia (G) Moscow (Spartak) 1pm; Germany v Sweden (F) Sochi 4pm; South Korea v Mexico (F) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
  • Sunday June 24 England v Panama (G) Nizhny Novgorod 1pm; Japan v Senegal (H) Ekaterinburg 4pm; Poland v Colombia (H) Kazan 7pm
  • Monday June 25 Uruguay v Russia (A) Samara 3pm; Saudi Arabia v Egypt (A) Volgograd 3pm; Spain v Morocco (B) Kaliningrad 7pm; Iran v Portugal (B) Saransk 7pm
  • Tuesday June 26 Denmark v France (C) Moscow (Luzhniki) 3pm; Australia v Peru (C) Sochi 3pm; Nigeria v Argentina (D) St Petersburg 7pm;  Iceland v Croatia (D) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
  • Wednesday June 27 South Korea v Germany (F) Kazan 3pm; Mexico v Sweden (F) Ekaterinburg 3pm; Serbia v Brazil (E) Moscow (Spartak) 7pm; Switzerland v Costa Rica (E) Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
  • Thursday June 28 Japan v Poland (H) Volgograd 3pm; Senegal v Colombia (H) Samara 3pm; England v Belgium (G) Kaliningrad 7pm; Panama v Tunisia (G) Saransk 7pm

Knock Out Rounds

LAST 16 (3pm and 7pm)
Saturday June 30: Sunday July 1: Monday July 2: Tuesday July 3
QUARTER-FINALS (3pm and 7pm)
Friday July 6: Saturday July 7
SEMI-FINALS (7pm)
Tuesday July 10: Wednesday July 11
THIRD-PLACE PLAY-OFF (3pm)
Saturday July 14
FINAL (4pm)
Sunday July 15

All that remains is to wish the England team the best of luck and please, no penalty shootouts. And for all of those in the catering businesses organising Russia World Cup related events good luck.

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Published Date: 5th June 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events
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15 
May

Yes But We Have No Bananas

Banana Crisis deepensBananas have been hitting the headlines recently in more ways than one.

Only last week, a leading supermarket charged a shopper more than £930 for just one banana, worth 11p. Computer error was blamed and a supermarket spokeswoman apologised profusely: “Whoops, looks like we’ve slipped up here.

Joking apart, there are very serious concerns about the future of the humble banana. This follows the spread of a deadly fungus which is feared may wipe out the fruit completely. Bananas rate among the most popular of fruits. They taste great and they are high in potassium and protein and can even help lower blood pressure.

The most-exported banana in the world was the Gros Michel (Big Mike). This enjoyed supremacy for many decades until a fungus known as Panama disease or banana wilt almost completely wiped them out in the 1950s. In fact the song, Yes but we have no bananas directly refers to the event.

Cavendish Heir

Today, a variety called the Cavendish, bred originally in Derbyshire, accounts for 99% of banana export. This breed was immune to the fungus, until now. The disease has resurfaced under a different name, Tropical Race 4 (TR4). It is believed to be even more virulent and a distinct threat to the yellow delicacy.

According to Dan Koeppel, author of the bestselling book Banana: The fate of the fruit that changed the world, the latest strain is caused by a common type of fungus called Fusarium.

A single clamp of contaminated dirt is enough to spread it like wildfire, and it can be transported by wind, cars, water,” he explains. “The pathogen works by invading a plant and infecting its roots, then moving up through the xylem – the tissue that transports water and nutrients – causing a blockage. The plant subsequently wilts and dies.”

Yellow Peril

Incidents of the fungus have been reported in Australia, South-east Asia and Africa, and experts  are already likening it to the potato famine in Ireland in the 1840s. Farmers then refused to diversify. They grew only a few breeds of potato.  This monoculture ultimately led to the global disaster, with millions dying directly from the potato shortage.

Now the banana industry is facing a similar problem. The demise of the sole heir to Big Mike, the Cavendish seems only a matter of time. Experts say that the only real solution would be to burn the plantations down and start over with a different crop.

However, all is not lost. Africa is currently undertaking a 12-month emergency project funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to tackle TR4. There are hopes that the disease can be contained to the areas where it has been found. This is very similar to the treatment of foot and mouth in the UK, where disinfectant baths and sprays helped contain the disease.

And recently, a strain of the Cavendish banana in Taiwan was discovered that might be resistant to the fungus. With promising results so far, with some of the plants still getting the disease, others seem to be stronger and able to fight it off.

We, at AC Services, hope that the banana industry survives and that the diversification works to restrict future outbreaks. Otherwise bananas will be another staple missing from the future UK catering menu.

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Published Date: 15th May 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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08 
May

Food & Drink Trade Show 2018

Food & Drink Trade Show 2018 logoThe sun was out and the town of Malvern was buzzing for the Food & Drink Trade Show 2018. The spectacular Three Counties Showground hosted the event, one of the most picturesque venues in the country, nestled at the bottom of the Malvern Hills.

The show was billed as a “unique blend of inspirational speciality food and drink products” with exhibitors coming from both the UK and internationally. There was plenty on show in all categories: fresh fish, patisserie, confectionery, the list was endless.

New for 2018 was the opportunity for buyers to see a selection of products exclusively from the three counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. The producers from these regions showcased their regional products to the hordes of visitors who attended the show. Existing suppliers mingled with new exhibitors, with nine newcomers this year, who had never before exhibited at a trade show.

Newbies

One of the newcomers was Colcombe House Cider, an emerging craft producer founded by Kier Rogers using apples hand selected from single estate orchards. The company feeds the trees with organic seaweed to help encourage growth and minimise stress.

Healthy Recipes exhibited MezzeSoul, a fresh pomegranate juice sauce brand. MezzeSoul pomegranate products are based on the legacy of Lebanese cuisine and are made entirely from natural ingredients with no artificial colourants and no preservatives.

Moveena Nutrition  showcased healthy nutritious snacks handmade with 100% natural ingredients only, without any sugar, in a range of flavours such as Cranberrynutty, Walnutberry and Linseed fruity. Gluten and nut free and vegan options are available.

Finally, we must mention Welsh comapny Tast Natur . They create artisan botanical syrups from foraged and homegrown plants to add to food and drinks. The syrups use seasonal plants and are created in small batches, so new and exclusive products are continuously created throughout the year. Flavours include Lavender Latte, a Nettle G&T or a Rhubarb Prosecco.

Chef Demonstrations

In addition to the exhibitors, there was a range of chefs preparing dishes to delight the senses on the Love Food Roadshow‘s demonstration kitchen. Hosted by Celebrity Chef Felice Tocchini, the kitchen featured informative cookery demonstrations. These included “A Taste of the Three Counties – Belly of Gloucestershire old spot pig, Worcestershire honey, Hereford cider and The Taming of the Forest of Dean – Wild garlic gnocchi with roasted belly of pork, and wild garlic greens.”

For catering businesses in the north of the region served by AC Services, we recommend considering seeing whether next year’s show will build on the Food & Drink Trade Show 2018.

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Published Date: 8th May 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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01 
May

Royal Wedding and Other Summer Events

South West Summer EventsIt’s getting close to one of the biggest summer events of the year. Now people are deciding where they are going to be. In the pub? With friends? A street party? Yes, it’s the annual FA Cup Final on May 19. And apparently there’s the little matter of a Royal Wedding in London on the same day!

Hot on the heels of the birth of Prince Louis, the Royals will yet again be forced into the spotlight. Every aspect of the bride will be scrutinised from dress, shoes, hair and makeup to bridesmaids and family members. In parallel with the infamous Edward VIII, the global scrutiny will yet again be on an American divorcee’s influence on the Royal family. It will be a day to remember.

Festivals and Events

The wedding heralds the arrival of the summer entertainment season, with festivals and events happening all around the South West and Wales. There’s plenty to choose from.

If you are looking for something a bit different, try the Pop-up Pandas art installation at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park with over 100 painted pandas to discover. Each panda is hand-painted. Themes range from different artistic styles and elements of Chinese culture to English seasonal events and clothing traditions. The exhibition opens on 5 May.

How about celebrating Somerset Day? Held on May 11th, it honours King Alfred the Great’s routing of the Vikings from his Somerset stronghold in May 878? The day is actually more like a week. So there is plenty to do, from the Cheese and Cider Night at Wincanton Racecourse to the Great Somerset Tea Party

Food Lovers

The Foodies Festival, the UK’s biggest food festival returns to Durdham Downs, Bristol from May 11-13, featuring Great British Bake Off winners baking live in The Cake & Desserts Theatre and top local chefs cooking their signature recipes in the Stoves Chefs Theatre. There are workshops galore including Prosecco and parmesan tasting, beer and chocolate tasting. As well as talks on the power of plant-based proteins and Kombucha.

Since being founded in 2004 as part of the Cowbridge Charter Trust’s 750-year celebrations, Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival has grown from a one-day event to a whole weekend of foodie family fun. Now it has over 100 food and drink exhibitors, food demonstrations, musical entertainment. All spread around the town of Cowbridge.

If you are looking for somewhere later in the summer, make your way to Wales for the Big Cheese 27 to 29 July. Set in one of Europe’s largest castles, Caerphilly hosts an extravaganza of street entertainers, living history encampments, music, dance, traditional funfair, folk dancing, falconry, fire eating, minstrels, and troubadours. Attracting over 80,000 people annually, the Big Cheese weekend is a free event.

Catering’s Opportunity?

So what do all these summer events have in common (apart from the wedding!)? Each took a local interest, turned it into a reason to celebrate and then into an annual event. Often it’s a group of businesses coming together for mutual benefit.

Yes summer events might be hassle to organise. But much like Christmas they provide valuable revenue and profit for the catering trade.

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Published Date: 1st May 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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24 
Apr

Five Shows in One

Farm Shop & Deli Show 2018The Farm Shop & Deli Show 2018 took place last week at the NEC and was co-located with four other events – The Food & Drink Expo, The Ingredients Show, Foodex, and National Convenience Show.

A total of over 1500 exhibitors attended the whole event. They represented the whole spectrum of the food and drink supply chain, from retailers to manufacturers.

There is an increase in demand for locally farmed and sourced produce. According to one report, retail sales are expected to rise to £4.2bn from £3.6bn by 2021. Therefore, the popularity of the Farm Shop & Deli Show 2018 was extremely high with visitors already relishing the idea of artisan products. And the show did not disappoint.

The Farm Shop & Deli Show is the sector’s leading event for delicatessens, farm shops, garden centres, restaurants, food halls, butcheries and bakeries. Hence hundreds of companies showcased their best wares.

Live Events

The Farm Shop & Deli Live stage offered an all-star speaker line up. Each session was curated to cover relevant trends within the sector, such as the importance in terms of adding value of sourcing local produce and stocking identifiable brands. Topics ranged from food waste to the booming trend of free-from foods.

The Dragon’s Pantry offered daring entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their best ideas to a panel of industry experts. New products and ideas were pitched. In return, experts offered professional advice on the best way to market and refine the offerings.

According to Farm Shop & Deli Show 2018 Commercial Manager, Dan Eversfield, “artisan food continues to be one of the success stories of the UK food and drink industry, driving growth in this sector. British food and drink exports grew by 8.3% year-on-year to £4.9bn, with international retailers looking to take advantage of the UK’s food and drink manufacturing expertise. When you also take into account the weaker pound, products from these shores are in demand and we expect this year’s event to be a hive of activity with buyers joining from around the globe.

Cross country representation

This year, 25 countries were exhibiting in the overall Food and Drink Expo. They were from Canada, China, Cyprus to Iceland, India and Iran with nine featured pavilions. These include Taste of Nova Scotia; Taste Cork; Food & Drink Wales; Scotland Food & Drink; the Italian Trade Commission; Orkney Quality Food; and Chambre D’Agriculture De Dordogne, as well as Dadao TONGTU (Beijing Expo) and Iran International Exhibitions Co.

The 5 shows return in two years time at the same venue to offer unparalleled networking opportunities as suppliers, retailers and manufacturers from across the industry gather in the heart of Birmingham. 

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Published Date: 24th April 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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10 
Apr

Free School Meals Change

School meals fundingThere is really only one subject dominating the news at the moment and that is the issue of free school meals. School lunches have been offered for decades. Those in primary education in the 1960s and 1970s will probably still recall the trays of overboiled cabbage and swede, and solid pastry mince beef pies.

The great British school lunch menu has come a long way since then, with a choice of much healthier and more nutritious meals. The last week or so however, has seen a storm brewing over the axing of free school lunches due to Government budget pressures.

The Education Department has revealed that it does not think that “a free school lunch for every child in the first three years of primary school… is a sensible use of public money”.

Free school lunches came into effect in September 2014 and at the time, the introduction caused a great deal of consternation within schools as 2,700 primary schools had to install new catering facilities before they could even think about offering free meals.

However, the majority rose to the challenge and adapted their kitchens for the provision required. And the policy has shown results, with many schools reporting an increase in the uptake of cooked school lunches, not only by those entitled to free lunches.

Entitlement to Free Meals

With the old scheme, all children in reception, Years 1 and 2 automatically qualified for free school meals in England and Scotland. In Year 3, free meal eligibility is linked to benefits.

Now, parents earning up to £7,400 a year are entitled to a free school meal. The average cost of a lunch is £2.30, which equals £46 per month per child. Multiply that by two or three or four children at school and the cost rises to £92, £138 and £184 per month respectively.

Perhaps it is understandable why the National Union of Teachers general secretary Kevin Courtney said cancelling the universal offer of a hot meal in the day “mean-spirited and wrong-headed”.

Valentine Mulholland, head of policy at the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “after the nightmare of bringing this policy in at breakneck speed and all the capital funding spent to upgrade kitchens and dining facilities, it’s pretty sad to see this U-turn.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “we continue to support the country’s most disadvantaged children through free school meals, the £2.5bn funding given to schools through the Pupil Premium to support their education and the recently announced £26m investment to kick-start or improve breakfast clubs in at least 1,700 schools.

Best Meal of the Day

The only alternative on the table so far is free breakfasts, which are vastly cheaper at a 10th of the price, and if this is the case, then the catering staff may have to change the menus so that children get maximum nutritional value from the first meal of the day.

A sugar tax on fizzy drinks has just been announced and it is believed that the revenue from that (expected to be £200m+) could be reinvested in breakfasts. The days of the full English breakfast may be returning, with the most nutritional meals being served up to provide energy for the rest of the day.

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Published Date: 10th April 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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04 
Apr

Gloucestershire Food Producers

Gloucestershire Food ProducersProducers across the country are embracing local and organic ingredients and eco-friendly manufacturing methods, and Gloucestershire food producers are no different. Snuggled in the heart of England, Gloucestershire boasts a food heritage that goes back centuries.

Simon Weaver’s Cotswold Organic Dairy  produces some amazingly creamy and award-winning cheeses. The company farms organically in the Cotswolds at Kirkham Farm where Fresian cows feed on organically grown grass. The milk travels a mere five metres to the creamery every morning where expert cheesemakers turn it into a delicious range of artisan products.

Choose from Organic Cotswold Brie, Blue-Veined Brie or Herb Brie. Importantly, the farm encourages and promotes wildlife with no artificial fertilisers or chemicals used to grow crops, and the creamery itself is powered using renewable energy sources.

Jess’s Ladies  produces milk, cream and yoghurt and is run by the Vaughan family who milk 80 cows on a farm. The cows (the Ladies) produce un-homogenised, pasteurised milk on site. This is taken straight to local shelves to ensure the best possible flavour. Each lady is known by name and milked personally. As the milk is not homogenised, the milk retains its natural composition. The most recent addition to the menu is luxurious natural yoghurt, made by hand.

Gloucestershire Pork

The Cotswold Farmer has been part of the local food community since the 1970s, priding itself on environmental responsibility. The company has sustained a well-deserved reputation for its sausages, using a mixture of ingredients and recipes. Toulouse Style pork sausages, Italian Style, Spicy Spanish Style, Cotswold Herb Garden Style are all on the menu. Their ingredients include red wine, garlic, toasted fennel seeds and traditional Italian and Spanish herbs and spices.

Also on offer are Cotswold Gluten Free pork sausages and as alternatives to pork, venison sausages and St Georges beef sausages. The pigs are bred and reared on the family farm in the North Cotswolds.

Acres of Orchards

Another of Gloucestershire food producers is Day’s Cottage. It has over 20 acres of orchards to help the company produce award-winning apple juice for more than 20 years. Pure apple juice, cider and perry are all manufactured using traditional methods and apples from traditional, mature orchards in Gloucestershire.

No additives or preservatives are used in manufacture. The juice of over 1kg of fresh fruit fills each 75cl bottle.  The orchards are all free from sprays, chemicals or artificial fertilisers. The ciders and perry are fermented and matured in oak barrels. Only old varieties are used, such as Morgan Sweet and Foxwhelp apples and Brown Bess and Blakeney Red pears.

Exotic Additions

Ethical Addictions based in Kingsholm, Gloucester, is a small family company that sources high quality coffee buying direct from the growers. The coffee comes from villages in Brazil and Tanzania. Products include the Grizzly Bear Ethical Coffee Blend and shade grown coffee.

Finally if you’re after raw coconut oil why not try out Bula Batiki which works with Fijian islanders directly to ensure their communities benefit.

Proving once again that there are some unusual as well as mainstream food producers in the counties served by AC Services (Southern).

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Published Date: 4th April 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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21 
Mar

Dried Fruit Crisis 2018

Dried Fruit CrisisSo much scaremongering has been going on over the past few months that we don’t know where the next crisis might come from.

Will it be Brexit, the Beast from the East, nerve gas poisoning, or Donald Trump?

No, what we are currently facing is a global shortage of currants, raisins and sultanas. This dried fruit crisis is not short term.

The dried fruit crisis is raising concern around the world and especially in the UK. All are concerned about the ready availability of this foodstuff in the future.

Britain is the world’s biggest importer of dried fruit. Since September last year, the price of raisins and sultanas has seen an exponential rise of up to 42%. Consider what the impact could be on hot cross buns and Christmas puddings.

One a Penny…?

There are a number of factors that have contributed to this price increase. Falling numbers of raisins in California and the reduction by Greek farmers in producing currants are the main culprits.

According to the BBC, California produces most of the raisins destined for the UK. But farmers in the region have decided that there are more lucrative crops than dried fruit. The forecast is for 275,000 tonnes of raisins to be produced in 2017-18 in California. This is an 8% reduction from the previous year and 15% below the five-year average. Also, land and labour costs have risen in the USA.

Turkey and Greece have become the go-to places. But Greece’s declining production is now forcing buyers to seek out other markets, notably Australia and South Africa.

Unfortunately, Australia’s harvesting of the sultana crop seems to be running slow due to an unprecedented heatwave. The good news is that Turkey is still producing large amounts of dried fruit.

The industry itself is reassuring worried fans of hot cross buns that a shortage is highly unlikely. But some cannot rule out traditional Christmas baking being affected unless a viable solution is found. Gordon Polson, director of the Federation of Bakers, said anybody who is making hot cross buns for Easter will “already have the supplies in place”. Andrew Ciclitira, director of UK dried fruit supplier Demos, urged manufacturers to be “more creative” and look to Australia and South Africa as alternative suppliers of raisins and sultanas.

Bake-Off

Whatever the outcome of the current (!) situation, at least it gives bakers an excellent opportunity to expand their menu and use other ingredients, such as dried exotic fruits including mango or coconut and, of course, there is always the fallback of chocolate! For example, Turkey will have a bumper crop of apricots in 2018 which can be dried and stored for several years.

The reality is the world is changing and dried fruit are not the only British basics under threat. So the dried fruit crisis is just one of many to come.

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Published Date: 21st March 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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13 
Mar

Hotelympia 2018 Show Report

Hotelympia 2018Hotelympia 2018 took place at ExCeL London last week (5-8 March). The Show has the accolade of being one of the oldest; being at the forefront of the industry for over 83 years. This year, Hotelympia brought together four new shows. This created an umbrella platform for all those involved in the pub, hotel, restaurant, casual dining and contract caterers.

The four shows are:

  • Interiors and Tableware Show,
  • Hospitality Tech Show,
  • Foodservice Show and
  • The Professional Kitchen Show, 

The Professional Kitchen

This Show displayed the very latest catering equipment, with key senior buyers viewing the goods on offer, from kitchen designers to operations managers, executive chefs to managing directors and distributors. The equipment ranged from appliances for large mass catering kitchens to the newer trend of micro size kitchens.

On the Rational stand, Rational‘s expert chefs prepared different meal occasions with the SelfCookingCenter and VarioCookingCenter,  offering samples and live cooking demonstrations. The company also showcased its specialist accessories including the Multibaker, the grill and pizza tray and the cross and stripe grill grate.

Foodservice and Hospitality Tech

The Foodservice Show was extremely well attended. Visitors were presented with hard-to-find speciality ingredients and craft drinks as well as leading food brands and franchises. In fact, the Foodservice Show had more food and drink exhibiting companies than any other UK hospitality event.

The Hospitality Tech Show revealed how technology is revolutionising the hospitality sector. It showcased solutions and latest innovations to improve all aspects of the industry from back-room operations to enhancing the customer experience.

The Interiors and Tableware Show

Interiors and Tableware catered for every front-of-house need for a wide range of establishments from restaurant groups, bars, cafes and spas to holiday parks, schools and offices with the latest designs and products.

Another popular section was the Salon Culinaire which offered four days of sculpting and cooking.  Categories here included wedding cake design, sugarcraft showpiece, sculpted novelty cake and best decorated Easter Egg! There was also a category for best sugarcraft on a hat which attracted some amazing entries and lots of attention.

Hotelympia 2018

Along with a host of headline speakers holding seminars on a variety of relevant subjects, Hotelympia 2018 also hosted The World Food Innovation Awards. These are designed to celebrate excellence and innovation across every category of the global food industry. As the longest and most established awards scheme in the industry, these awards were gratefully received by the eventual winners.

Finally, the Women in Hospitality day was a huge hit. This celebrated the successes and the challenges and opportunities facing women in the hospitality industry. As well as discussions on the contribution made by female hospitality entrepreneurs it also introduced some potential future stars.

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Published Date: 13th March 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events, News
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27 
Feb

2018 Source Trade Show

2018 Source Trade ShowThe Westpoint Exhibition Centre in Exeter was the setting for the 2018 Source Trade Show which took place on 6 and 7 February. This prestigious show gave visitors the opportunity to escape the big cities, where the majority of trade shows take place, and travel to the beautiful West Country and the historic city of Exeter.

The 2018 Source Trade Show was exactly as described. A venue that allows owners and managers the opportunity to source whatever they need for their premises, whether it be food ingredients, staff or equipment. As with previous shows, representatives from the pub and bar industry, the public sector including schools and hospitals, supermarkets, hotels and farm shops attended the Show.

Food and Other Stuff

Over 250 exhibitors from Taste of the West, the South West, and beyond also attended the show. 17 newcomers all from the South West exhibited at a trade show for the very first time. 83 companies also braved Source for the first time. Exhibitors comprised key South West, UK and international food and drink producers, as well as service providers.

Newcomers are more than welcome at the Source Show as the organisers explain. “We offer them special rates, or a leg up as it were…one of the biggest challenges new companies have is actually getting their products to market and the Source also connects them with distributors, who in turn get the chance to add exiting new products to their ranges.”

Visitors were able to source more unusual local products and meet face-to-face with local producers and learn the provenance of their products. The organisers wanted to present the show on all sensory platforms – taste, smell, presentation, packaging, a feat they managed admirably. Food was not the only attraction. Visitors also took advantage of other goods on display from kitchen equipment, EPoS systems, uniforms and tableware.

The Demonstration Kitchen was a huge and popular success, boasting “inspirational chefs, masterclasses, talks and more!” Perhaps the most popular area was the artisan section. But there was a massive presence from local, regional and national manufacturers and regional food and drink producers.

Key Exhibitors

Some of the most popular producers included ice-cream makers, Dartington Dairy . It uses sustainable farming practices and innovation to produce their range of goats’ milk ice-creams. Their latest offering is Kefir, a super tasty cultured goats’ milk drink.

Healthy Recipes Ltd introduced MezzeSoul, a fresh pomegranate juice sauce brand which brings the heat, warmth and soul of the Mediterranean into the UK. JEAM Super Mixes is a range of award-winning, nutrient rich organic bread mixes, organic, nutrient rich and delicious. The chosen ingredients are sourced extremely carefully and are all tested thoroughly before committing to production.

And of course we should mention Rational UK. They were showing off the latest advances in their Rational oven range at the 2018 Source Trade Show.

The next year’s show is already under planning. To book your place, visit the Source Trade Show website

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Published Date: 27th February 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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