Category Archives: News

14 
May

Are We Killing Biodiversity

Biodiversity is under threat

As a company focused on servicing and maintaining Rational ovens for all sorts of catering businesses; it’s not surprising we’re also interested in food sourcing and safeguarding the future. For many of our clients the choice of ingredients and being different is important. This is why the first UN study of biodiversity set our alarm bells ringing.

This warns of “humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity”. The Food and Agriculture Organisation issued the report and the findings are pretty stark. Over the past 20 years, around 20% of the vegetated surface of the earth has become less productive. In other words, our global capacity to produce food is weakening.

What do we mean by biodiversity ? According to definition it is the “variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part…diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems.” On the David Attenborough scale of climate-changing significance, it is way up there.

The Decline of Natural Assets

Scientists involved in the report found evidence the natural support systems underpinning the human diet are deteriorating around the world. Factories, farms and urban infrastructure in particular, are capturing land and pumping out chemicals. This is leading to a debilitating loss in natural assets. These include forests, coral reefs, soil biodiversity, grasslands, and genetic diversity in crop and livestock species.

There is a reduction in the amount of species indirectly involved in food production. Examples of these are crop-pest eating birds and water-purifying mangrove trees. Pollinators are at risk, and they provide essential services to three-quarters of the world’s crops.

But if we are producing more food than ever before, as we are, how is this possible? The sobering reality is that we are relying on ever-expanding monocultures. Incredibly, two-thirds of crop production comes from just nine species. These are maize, sugar cane, wheat, potatoes, rice, soybeans, oil-palm fruit, cassava and sugar beet.

There are at least 6,000 cultivated plant species categorised as being in decline. At the same time wild food sources are becoming harder to find. Agriculture and urbanisation are taking much of the blame with habitat loss, pesticides, pollution, invasive species, pathogens and climate change.

Are We In Danger?

Is this overdependence on a handful of products a problem? Seemingly so, as the report cited the potato famine in Ireland in the 1840s; the 20th century cereal crop failures in the US; and more recently the losses of taro production in Samoa in the 1990s as examples of when overdependence can have a brutal impact on humans.

Even the Lancett has joined the crusade, stating that “our diets are the largest cause of climate change and biodiversity loss is now overwhelming”. The global food system is responsible for around 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions, with the livestock sector on its own accounting for about 14.5% of that figure. Its solution? Halve global meat consumption, and more than double the volume of whole grains, pulses, nuts, fruit and vegetables.

If that’s too radical, in 2016, another report suggested an alternative solution. “Possible policy options include better protection of natural environments and ecosystems, limiting the scope of intensive agriculture, and finding alternatives to pesticides.”

Last word goes to Michael Higgins, Ireland’s president. “Around the world, the library of life that has evolved over billions of years – our biodiversity – is being destroyed, poisoned, polluted, invaded, fragmented, plundered, drained and burned at a rate not seen in human history. If we were coal miners we’d be up to our waists in dead canaries.”

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Published Date: 14th May 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
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07 
May

Food-to-go Trends 2019

Food-to-go trends 2019

In the past, fast food or food-to-go comprised a burger, chips, pizza, chicken or a sandwich grabbed from a supermarket. Today, the choice is immense and growing rapidly.

Food-to-go is defined as a product that is ordered, bought and collected (or delivered) over the counter usually a portable single portion, designed for out-of-home consumption and not served on a plate.

According to the HIM and MCA UK Food To Go Market Report 2019, the UK market is set to be worth £21.2bn in 2019. This is 3% up on the previous year.

Evolution of Taste

This evolution of the food-to-go requires innovation and diversity and the industry is responding fast. When searching for a snack, more than a third (34%) of consumers look for a healthy product; while almost half (49%) say they would chose a savoury snack over a sugary option (Mintel 2018).

Both food-to-go specialists and leading supermarkets have seen a strong recent focus on hot food with consumers preferring this over the traditional lunchtime sandwich and crisps. However, sandwiches still hold a massive market share. The traditional egg and cress or tuna and sweetcorn fillings are being challenged by more adventurous choices. These include chimichurri flatbread pockets, halloumi toasts and avocado with vegan dressing.

The trend for more interesting, nutritious, healthier food has been fuelled hugely by social media. In particular Instagram, which acts as a visual diet platform. Users are constantly posting images of their food. The key influencers are having a significant impact on food trends, especially among the younger generation. If it looks good in a photo, it’s good enough to eat!

Methods Adaptation

It’s not just menus that are being adapted – key catering companies are changing the way that they operate too. For instance, brewery S.A. Brain & Co has invested heavily in the development of chef talent with the launch of the Skills Hub and Creative Kitchen (SHACK). This is a state-of-the-art training concept set to benefit its own kitchens and those of the wider industry.

Based in Cardiff, SHACK includes equipment trials and training on food-specific creations, menu launches and essential kitchen techniques. This 24-week programme involves category management, recipe building, market research and capacity management.

The changes can also be seen in more traditional events such as the Iftar. This is the historic breaking-the-fast meal during the month of Ramadan. According to a report in Eastern Eye, plates of curry, biriani, samosas and pakoras are giving way to lighter and healthier options. More restaurants are now catering to the trend with small plates menus for sharing.

The report says there is less of an appetite for fried and fatty foods and a shift towards grilled meats, salads and sharing desserts. This is particularly among young Muslims after 19 hours each day of going without food and drink.

Many pop-up kitchens, fast food outlets and catering vans are embracing new food-to-go trends and challenges. Food festivals are on the rise in virtually every city in the UK at some point in the year. People are more willing than ever to experiment with new tastes, from vegan to meat-free to tastes from other continents.

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Published Date: 7th May 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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30 
Apr

Picking What’s in Season in May

Spring lamb and asparagus

Food is seasonal and spring is the time for new crops to be harvested. There is an abundance of all-year round produce which we enjoy as part of our staple diets, such as potatoes, onions, beef, bananas, chicken and cabbage.

But some food sparks great anticipation. Not least in this category is asparagus which is coming in to fruition as we speak.

Around the world, we herald the arrival of this humble vegetable with excitement and even festivals. The British Asparagus Festival, celebrates the start of the asparagus season where a fleet of vintage cars takes the crop to its final destination from the Vale of Evesham.

From Asparagus to Lamb

Asparagus is the young shoots of a cultivated lily plant. It is one of the delicacies of the vegetable world although it is notoriously labour intensive to grow. French asparagus is purple, the British and American varieties are green whereas in Spain and Holland, asparagus is white. And as far as nutrition goes, all types have high levels of vitamins A and C, potassium, iron and calcium.

Other food coming in May includes strawberries, gooseberries, carrots and tomatoes. At their very best are spring greens, sorrel, peas, new potatoes, halibut, crab, rhubarb and of course, spring lamb. Spring lamb, also called early or summer lamb, is three to five months old.

Also keep an eye out for aubergines, the fruit that thinks it’s a vegetable and which has gained new interest with the vegan and vegetarian options now readily available. Although it is native to South-East Asia, it now grows all over the world with a huge range of varieties from the bulbous, glossy, deep purple zeppelin-shaped version to the scarcely-bigger-than-a-pea variety.

Fruit Picker Shortage?

Last summer, the great British farming community began to raise concern about fruit pickers. The majority of pickers come from abroad on a seasonal basis. In fact, according to the National Farmers Union, only 1% of the annual 60,000 seasonal farm workers are British. The industry relies on overseas labour which they worry will be deeply affected by Brexit. The vast majority come from Eastern Europe, particularly Bulgaria and Romania. With a stay of execution until Halloween, the farmers might breathe a sigh of relief for this year, but the problem still looms.

Last year, labour shortages driven by economic shifts affected strawberry crops in particular; with produce left rotting in the fields and hydroponic poly-tunnels. At the time, there was also a reported 30 to 40% shortfall in labour.

Some are campaigning for a seasonal agricultural workers scheme that could include countries outside of the EU. This would allow pickers to come and work for a defined and limited period of time as a solution. Or some maintain that the best way to avoid a crisis is to entice more Brits to work the field. The early hours, long days, physical toll and seasonality are offset by the joy of working in the open air and earning as much as you can pick.

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Published Date: 30th April 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
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23 
Apr

Healthier School Catering

Healthier School Catering

How do we ensure healthier school catering? The staple menu of choice of pizza and chips or other fast food items is one that constantly worries nutritionists; but a landmark pilot scheme by Chartwells has revealed an interesting trend.

Chartwells specialises in providing catering services to the education sector, and recently carried out research, the Nudge Nudge initiative. This discovered if there were methods linked to menu presentation and guidance that could be used to drive healthier eating in secondary schools.

The pilot scheme saw an average increase of 8% in healthier choice take-up. This has led to a new customised menu to be introduced nationwide after Easter to Chartwells’ portfolio of 450 secondary schools.

Nudge Nudge

The scheme involved school menus being tailored to include a number of ‘nudging’ techniques such as:

  • red heart stickers next to the more nutritious menu options;
  • descriptive adjectives relating to texture, taste or smell;
  • as well as information given out in assemblies, workshops and health stalls.

The most successful nudge, achieved through using red heart stickers on grab-and-go items such as selected sandwiches, fruit pots and water, increased sales by 8%.

In addition, students at the three schools targeted enjoyed a huge uplift in their knowledge. They scored 85% post-trial when asked 10 questions on nutrition and healthy eating compared to 36% before.

Richard Taylor, Managing Director of Chartwells, commented: “The results of the trial have provided us with so much insight into what more we can do to encourage healthy eating. Findings from this compelling pilot have been used to create new menus across our secondary schools. We believe that by working together and continuing to educate students about choosing more nutritious meals, schools as well as their pupils, will reap the benefits.”

Better Menus

In 2005, Jamie Oliver won the war over Turkey Twizzlers. This was followed by a ban on crisps and a restriction on deep-fat fried food in schools. In 2014, the Universal Infant Free School Meals policy was introduced in primary schools. The Department of Education issued revised standards the following year dictating that meals should include at least one portion of vegetables or a salad.

However, there are now fears that cost may send this progression leaping backwards due to Brexit uncertainty. According to the Food for Life’s State of the Nation report, the cost of school-food staples such as pasta, cheese and yoghurt rose significantly in 2018. Caterers said the cost of some fruit and vegetables had increased by 20 per cent. This they attribute to Brexit uncertainty, specifically confusion over trading arrangements.

That being said, it may be worth taking a leaf out of Ashley Painter’s book. As a kitchen manager, he helps prepare over 1,200 healthy schools a day. He is a finalist for the BBC Cook of the Year in this year’s Food and Farming Awards. This recognises that “a good canteen kitchen serving nutritious, cleverly-budgeted food transforms lives and it celebrates the people who are creating change through food.”

He works for Local Food Links in Bridport, Dorset. This is a non-profit organisation which has been providing healthy dinners to school children for more than a decade, winning numerous awards. It was recently named as one of the best businesses in the South West. With a limited budget but a lot of imagination and frugality; he manages to provide healthy, inexpensive, nutritious food to thousands of hungry children.

So the answer is we can provide healthier school catering through focused initiatives.

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Published Date: 23rd April 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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16 
Apr

Farm Shop and Deli Show 2019 Report

Farm Shop and Deli Show 2019 logo

Yet again, the NEC surpassed all expectations with its five-in-one show, the Farm Shop and Deli Show 2019, incorporating Foodex, Food and Drink Expo, The Ingredients Show and the National Convenience Show. The event took place from 8 to 10 April. It returned for its ninth year as the sector’s leading event for delicatessens, garden centres, farm shops, restaurants, food halls, bakeries and butcheries.

This year saw more than 450 suppliers exhibiting. These encompassed all core food categories and contemporary trend categories; including candles, stationery, furniture and home goods, together with equipment, labelling and packaging.

2019 placed heavy emphasis on healthy and natural produce with exhibitors showcasing their products in the ‘Healthy & Natural’ area. There were plenty of natural, vegan-friendly snacks on display for this year’s hot trend.

Live competitions

Back by popular demand, the Show featured the British Baker’s Britain’s Best Loaf 2019. Over 150 bakers entered in a range of categories, including Best Sourdough, Best Wholegrain and Best Gluten Free Loaf. The overall winner was a wholemeal sourdough created by East Sussex’s Poppyseed Bakery.

The Dragon’s Pantry slot saw competitors presenting their best new product ideas in a 15-minute pitch in. The reward for successful pitchers was winning professional advice on the best route to market.

Of course, the renowned Farm Shop & Deli Awards were eagerly awaited. Back for their sixth year, they recognise the very best independent retailers. There were 12 category winners: baker, butcher, cheesemonger, delicatessen, farm shop large retailer of the year, farm shop small retailer of the year, fishmonger, food hall, greengrocer, local shop or village store, newcomer of the year and online business of the year. Overall winner was Cannon Hall Farm Shop from Barnsley.

New Trends

The Farm Shop & Deli Show 2019 Live stage witnessed a host of industry leaders sharing their thoughts and experience. These ranged from ethical eating, the rise of gin and tapping into the healthy appetite for the wellness market. Top of the bill was the ‘Plastic to palm oil’ discussion addressing consumers’ current eco-worries. The ‘Healthier beer’ discussion was another popular talk. This gave insight into the importance of burgeoning brews from gluten free to zero alcohol.

At the National Convenience Show, the Retailer Hub hosted a number of sessions including a discussion on ‘Success after Brexit: What’s next for food and grocery’. This highlighted the risks posed to the sector in a post-Brexit reality.

Farm Shop & Deli Show 2019 Commercial Director Mat Rose said: “The ongoing trend for artisan produce, provenance and entrepreneurial innovation has not slowed down in recent years and we are delighted to bring the Farm Shop & Deli Show back in 2019 to provide a platform for all the exciting companies and retailers who have devoted their careers to this sector.

Next year’s show is already recruiting; so if you want to exhibit or book tickets for the event, register your interest here.

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Published Date: 16th April 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events, Local food, News
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09 
Apr

Food Festivals Summer 2019

Food Festivals

The weather is changing and the nights are getting lighter, which can only mean one thing…summer. And with summer comes festivals, in particular food festivals, and we have gathered some of the best to consider.

Music or Not?

The Big Feastival is taking place on Alex James’ Farm in the Cotswolds from Friday 23 August to Monday 26. It will welcome some of the world’s top chefs. They will demonstrate their expertise in cooking skills live on The NEFF Big Kitchen stage. Raymond Blanc and Tom Brown are just two of the names who will headline, together with a host of music acts including the Zutons, Elbow and the Fun Lovin Criminals. Look out for the Collaboration Kitchen. Here special edition dishes will be served up with all proceeds going to Charity Partner, Action Against Hunger.

The Food Rocks festival will take place on 7-8 September 2019 in Lyme Regis. This presents some of the best food, producers and suppliers that Dorset and the South West has to offer. The festival brings together top chefs, exhibitors, locals. The main stage will showcase a diverse mix of interactive cookery demonstrations, talks and tastings across the weekend. Highlights include the Glenarm Estate beef supper club and the crab and mackerel supper club

Venue-based Food Festivals

Smoked & Uncut at THE PIG near Bath on 15 June features a line-up of handpicked classic and contemporary artists, including Imelda May and the Kaiser Chiefs, home-made festi-food, local ales and cocktails. Family style feasts will feature heavily with the focus on alfresco dining under canvas. While Mark’s ‘Ruby Murray House’ which will be dishing up indulgent home-style Indian curry.

24 and 25 August sees The River Cottage Festival taking place at River Cottage HQ, Axminster with food, music, talks, master-classes and a host of children’s activities. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free food will be available and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall himself will be in attendance.

Coming Together Locally in May

Moving across the border, the Caernarfon Food Festival is on May 11 2019. It promises to be “perfect for foodies to explore the food and drink producers from the local area.” The event will feature market stalls of food and drink, live cooking demonstrations and freshly cooked street food, celebrating local food and drink produce. There will also be live music from local bands, artists and choirs.

Also in May (18-19) is the Spring Tide Food Festival on Hive Beach near Bridport. This is a food festival jam-packed full of activities and things to eat and drink. The aim of the festival is to combine the network of artisan food and drink producers from Somerset, East Devon and Dorset to “welcome in the new season of food and ingredients in style, to celebrate the pleasure that can be had in the growing and cultivation, the production and cooking and consumption of tasty food and drink.”

Any Reason to Hold a Festival?

Finally, there must be a mention of the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling on May 27, 2019 when a 4kg cheese is thrown off a terrifyingly steep hill chased by people in Brockworth, Gloucester. In theory, the aim of cheese-rolling is to be the first person to catch the wheel of cheese; but nowadays, the majority of people participate in the event to raise money for local charities and other good causes.

Lots of food festivals this summer in the South West of England and South Wales. So if you’re a catering business, think what food festival could you hold this summer to boost trade? Or where you might go as a mobile caterer?

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Published Date: 9th April 2019
Category: Blog, Events, Local food, News
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02 
Apr

International Food and Drink Event Report

International Food and Drink Event logo 2019

17-20 March saw more than 27,000 visitors travelling to ExCeL London for The International Food & Drink Event (IFE) 2019. Over 1,350 drink and food brands were exhibited. Many new products showcased including healthy ketchup, meat-free burgers and charcoal infused beverages. Talking Trends and Tasting Trends were self explanatory sections of the show. The Hub provided a networking space for visitors and exhibitors and played host to the Festival of Food and Drink.

Brexit negotiations were on most people’s minds. There were plenty of discussions on the implications of Brexit; in particular, the import and export of food and drink produce. Key seminars from The Food and Drink Exporters Association and The Food and Drink Federation debated the core issues. Their key message to the sector is to focus on the need to protect the quality, diversity and range of food and beverages produced in the UK.

Improving Sustainability in Food and Drink

Sustainability was a theme high on the agenda. More than 50% of food and drink companies revealed that their biggest challenge regarding sustainability was the task of reducing their dependency on single-use plastic. The Campden BRI Conference focused on this theme with a debate on Sustainable Packaging: smart choices and shelf-life testing.

The environmental impact of the use of single use plastics in food and drink is a huge issue. Retailers and food manufacturers are committing to make the move to sustainable packaging wherever possible. But this needs to be done without compromising the safety and quality of food.

Speakers from many industries including academia and industry schemes talked on many topics. These included sustainable packaging options to maintain shelf life of foods; reframing the plastics debate: a use phase approach; the effect of shelf life extension on household waste; the case of packaged fresh foods; and the idea of packaging design for end of life.

One of the seminars explained how to make informed choices on plastics and waste. It increased understanding of waste management infrastructure and how the packaging supply chain can work together to increase packaging reuse or recycling. Experts from organisations such as Defra, WRAP, the Packaging Collective and the Soil Association, took part.

Dead Giveaway

As part of the sustainable theme, IFE partnered with City Harvest to redistribute food surplus from exhibitors at the end of the day. This resulted in the equivalent of five million meals delivered to 66 projects within London.

Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director, said: “As one of the biggest international food and drink events, IFE has to live up to high expectations and this year certainly delivered. The 2019 event was truly the best yet with boundary-pushing products being introduced to the market from a wide-range of innovative exhibitors; thought-provoking and insight-driven debates and presentations.”

IFE certainly gave us food for thought at AC Services.

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Published Date: 2nd April 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events, News
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26 
Mar

South West Food and Drink News Round-up

South West and Wales Food News

Sad news for all sweetie lovers as the demise of the Tootie Fruitie sweet was announced by Nestle. It will take its place alongside Spangles, Toffo and Cadbury Fry’s Five Centres as a defunct and sadly missed treat. But in other news, it’s been a good week for Wales . An additional £22 million has been promised to boost the Welsh food and drink industry.

The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths announced that the new investment will span the sector “offering new support to realise business growth opportunities and ambitions and to propel innovation forward. It will directly support the foundation sector in Wales respond to the challenges and opportunities of Brexit.

The Welsh food and drink sector has shown significant growth recently. The Food and Farming sector was worth £6.8 billion in 2018. Welsh food and drink exports were worth £539 million over the same timescale. This is up £10 million on the previous year.

Devon Delights

Moving away from Wales to the sunny Devon coast, a new vegan street food cafe is opening up in Teignmouth. Nourish Plant Based Cafe is being opened by Liz Perry. She will be bringing a selection of vegan street food as a cafe and takeaway that will serve pizzas, wraps, falafel and cakes. “Opening up my own cafe serving plant-based food is something I have always wanted to do,” Liz said. “So many people choose to be vegetarian or vegan now so I think there’s definitely a gap in the market for something like this in Teignmouth.

Another event to be held locally is Exeter’s huge food and drinks festival. This is heading back to the city in May with a new line-up of celebrity chefs including Mitch Tonks, Michael Caines, Gareth Howarth and Josh Eggleton. The food festival is to be held at Exeter Castle and Northernhay Gardens between 4 May and 6 May.

The event is supported by Visit Exeter and celebrates the start of the May season. Visitors will experience artisan produce, live music, chef demonstrations together with real ales and ciders. There will be two food and drink marquees and the Fresh at the Festival initiative will be launched, a new venture created to champion those who have been in business fewer than three years.

Go Vegan

Finally, if you are veggie or vegan, then Bristol is the place to be. The UK city was found to have the most Google searches related to the vegan movement than anywhere else in the entire world! Bristol came first, followed by Portland, Edinburgh, Vancouver and Seattle according to research from Chef’s Pencil. They used data from Google Trends to look up the number of vegan-related searches made in any language. Globally, Australia was found to be the most vegan country, with the UK coming a close second.

September 2018 saw the opening of the first fully plant-based restaurant in Bristol, Suncraft, and a vegan food market, House of Veg opened earlier this year. A spokesperson for Chef’s Pencil said “Bristol’s concentration of vegan-related searches on Google surpassed every other city in the world. There are lots of vegan restaurants, cafes, vegan hair and beauty salons and even an active Bristol vegan community.

So catering businesses in AC Services Southern’s region seem to be right on trend this month with a range of vegan news.

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Published Date: 26th March 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
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19 
Mar

Brexit for Catering Latest

Brexit for catering news update

When we set our six month’s blog rolling schedule, we hoped to be in final preparations for March 29th. This week’s blog would be final guidance on what to expect. Instead we are none the wiser on Brexit. Or on government advice on Brexit for catering businesses in the event of a no-deal exit.

I doubt that anyone in the country was expecting a miracle or even a viable resolution to the Brexit issues following the Government’s many recent debates. British MPs have opted for a three-month delay in the process. Unfortunately, it’s not up to the British Government to dictate a delay. The 27 other EU countries need to be convinced that there is a good reason why the deadline should be extended and then need to agree that this is the right approach.

Division

Parliament is divided, as are the main political parties internally. The main concerns about a no-deal Brexit is damage to the economy and shortages or price increases in food and medicine, with other consequences thrown into the mix.

The Government was given until this week to agree a deal that will enable a breathing space until 30 June. But effectively, the only deal proposed is the same one that MPs rejected last week. The EU is getting frustrated. But Donald Tusk, the European Council president says he would urge the EU member countries “to be open to a long extension if the UK finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus around it”.

No Deal, No Kidding & No Government Advice

In late 2018, the Government published 106 technical notices to ensure that citizens and businesses are furnished with the information to prepare for Brexit. There are over 100 pages of guidance for businesses in general. The Government claims to have contacted more than 145,000 businesses currently trading with the EU, advising them to start getting ready for no-deal customs procedures. However, the bottom line is summed up by this statement: “we recommend businesses now also ensure they are prepared and enact their own no-deal plans.”

We have looked across the guidance published by the Departments of Business, Energy and Industrial Policy (BEIS), Digital Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) and Defra. The bad news is we can’t find anything that is prepared directly on Brexit for catering businesses. Food manufacturers or marketing standards for fresh fruit and veg are in Defra but not catering. Nor anything in DCMS which usually covers tourism. Or you might want to use the BEIS tool to select the papers it thinks are relevant to your business. Your answers might turn up something as the good news is that advice is being added.

Our Advice

So what does this mean for the catering industry? A main worry is of course, the trading logistics. This includes the cost of importing as well as the sourcing of ingredients from overseas. Will trade be affected? Will we be able to get the produce that we need at the price we want? Let’s face it, we have had two years to source alternatives in the event of a worst-case scenario and ingenuity may be the key. The food industry is constantly evolving with new variations and combinations of food emerging all the time.

If you are in the catering industry, check out locally grown and sourced ingredients. Contact bigger food manufacturers who have been quietly stockpiling key ingredients for the last few months. Experiment with different combinations.

And as for kitchen equipment, get everything checked over. AC Services are increasing their stock levels. But some spare parts will have to be ordered from abroad and they may take longer to arrive. They may not but are you willing to take the chance?

In the meantime, the headache they call Brexit rumbles on. When and if a deal is concluded satisfactory to all parties, we will keep you updated on the potential impacts of Brexit for catering businesses.

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Published Date: 19th March 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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12 
Mar

Oxfordshire Food Service Suppliers

Oxfordshire food sources show that the university is not the only thing in the county

Oxfordshire is seen as a county of spires and students. But behind the iconic university are many excellent Oxfordshire food service companies supplying clients far and wide.

Philip Dennis, is a family-owned regional wholesaler, with clients from the Midlands to the South West. Fresh meat and fish are readily available. The company is proud to support caterers and business owners of all types and sizes to achieve their highest ambitions.

The business has been active for over a century, supplying thousands of pubs, schools, restaurants and hotels. It has gained a reputation for quality and excellence, boasting state-of-the-art facilities. The company is well-known as dedicated fish and butchery specialists.

Sweet Trends

Philip Dennis also advises on new trends, such as the current interest in cakes and biscuits. “We’re going to continue to see a rise in complex or eye-catching cake designs as consumers want cakes that look as good as they taste. This feeds into the need for ‘Instagram worthy’ desserts that will help cafes, coffee shops and restaurants to entice people in,” reads the company blog.

Bidfood is another food service company dedicated to the customers’ requirements with an Oxfordshire base. Its business philosophy is summed up by “the food and drinks trends of 2019 represent not just how and what consumers are wanting to eat and drink, but the context in which they consider the production, purchase and consumption of food and drink products.” So they supply the customer with the right ingredients so that caterers can create the ideal menu.

Bidfood provides a range of vegan food such as Kara’s vegan brioche style bun that does not contain dairy. This complements the Heck vegan burgers which are plant based and free from soya, wheat and gluten.

Local Oxfordshire Food Sources

Witney’s Evenlode Foods Limited was founded in 2005 as a specialist food ingredients supplier. It particularly emphasises powder forms of vegetable oils and fats, emulsifiers, dairy ingredients and cocoa products. The company also makes bespoke blends and finished products based on those ingredientswe sell. According to a spokesperson, “our vegetable fat powders, non dairy creamers, toppings, foamers and nutritional oils are used in bakery, soups, sports nutrition, beverages and savoury mixes.”

Finally, there is Carterton’s Jolly Foods, delivering high quality foods to Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. Locally-sourced meats, cheeses, fresh fish and deli items are all on offer from this “bespoke and friendly Oxfordshire company.”

Poultry, game, lamb, beef and pork are all locally farmed and complement the range of finest fish and frozen products. Jolly offers the finest branded beef as Windrush Meade. The free-range poultry offering is sourced from the Creedy Carver farm in Crediton, Devon. Jolly Foods also offer seasonal game. So from September grouse, partridge, venison, dice game meat and pigeons are available as well as snipe, mallard and woodcock.

From food service companies with depots to small local suppliers, Oxfordshire food has much to offer AC Services’ catering clients.

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Published Date: 12th March 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
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