Tag Archives: Catering business
We began 2017 with global uncertainty and sadly, we end the year in the same environment. Donald Trump was inaugurated at the 45th President of the United States and the world speculated. In the ensuing months, unease grew, particularly as the war of words with North Korea escalated. Twitter however, relished his appointment: never has the social medium seen so much attention. Theresa May fared little better with the Brexit shenanigans but at least she kept away from social media!
2016 was the Year of the Grim Reaper, but 2017 also took a few great names, from Fats Domino and Tom Petty to Hugh Heffner, Roger Moore and Cheggers. The creator of Paddington, Michael Bond died within days of the screening of the second film of the world’s favourite bear.
New words and phrases were added to the dictionary. Complicit was named word of the year and fake news and Meghan Markle became familiar to all. However, convefe holds the record as the most puzzling and incomprehensible virally released word of 2017.
In the world of food, Forbes has just released the year’s best food and restaurant trends, evaluated by an esteemed panel of culinary experts, which may find their way over the ocean to our shores.
This year’s trends are generalised around healthy eating, with emphasis on vegan and curative foods as well as sustainable practices. There is also a shift towards ethnic cooking, where second- and third-generation children of immigrant families are taking traditional ingredients and recipes into their own hands.
Activated charcoal powder has become favoured for two reasons: its benefits in detoxification and its ability to turn foods black. Black foods are “a social media darling, the Goth food answer to the recent rainbow and unicorn trend. It also helps that black food and drinks are very Instagrammable.”
Ashes and powders are increasingly being used mainly as relishes, decoration or taste. Various dehydrated substances (vegetables, meat, fruit etc.) are used to splash decoratively onto plates. They also enhance and intensify flavour.
Bring Back the Veg
Vegetables are making a mark in top cuisine with crudités becoming more sophisticated than just mange-tout and baby carrots. When combined with a healthy tasty dip, they have become extremely popular, as have exotic grains. The trend towards gluten free has seen the emergence of maranth, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, sorghum, teff, black and white quinoa, chia and flax seeds.
Finally, look out for zero-waste cooking. In the US, 40% of food goes to waste somewhere within the food chain. Increasingly, chefs and recipe writers are making a commitment to using all parts of the plant or animal to drastically cut down on waste.
All that is left is for us to wish you an extremely happy and safe Christmas with good company, good cheer and good food. If you need our services over the festive period, check out our opening times. We will see you in the New Year.
BREAKING NEWS! Mary Berry has been spotted chatting with Marcus Bean, Nadiya Hussain and a whole host of other top chefs. But rumours of a rival show to the Great British Bake Off have, were quashed as the chefs were united at the annual Good Food Show Birmingham NEC from 30 November – 3 December 2017.
With four days of live entertainment, shopping, innovative products and cooking demonstrations galore, over 450 exhibitors took part. They were joined by an exciting menu of top chefs and cookery experts. Mary Berry, Tom Kerridge, Michel Roux Jr, James Martin, The Hairy Bikers, Raymond Blanc, Anjula Devi and Nadiya Hussain were in attendance bringing demonstrations and advice to the masses who came through the halls.
The Big Kitchen super-theatre was the highlight of the Good Food Show Birmingham. Here the celebrity chefs cooked festive recipes and warming winter foods. This year brought a new element to the first day. Visitors who had booked the session, were able to enjoy a free Eat Like a Local session.
New for this year was the Friends and Family Festive Kitchen, hosted by Chris Bavin. Live cookery demonstrations and inspired recipe ideas gave plenty of thought for the Christmas period. These included ideas for a Caribbean Christmas and the perfect Christmas dessert.
There were plenty of other opportunities for the public to hone their cookery skills in the Skills School. On offer were masterclasses in Naked Cake Decorating with Sophie Godwin and a Sourdough Workshop with the BBC Good Food cookery team.
There was also the chance to learn a range of knife skills from the Zwilling professionals. This included different sharpening techniques, which type of knife should be used, how to use a knife for specific techniques and how to master the pinch grip.
Finally in the Skill School was the Sipsmith Gin Tasting. Historically, alcoholic tipples were almost exclusively served warm as a cosy way to get through the long, cold nights. The Sipsmith masterclasses offered tips on serving the ideal hot G&T.
Whisky and Northern Ireland Highlights
There was special interest in The Whisky Blending Lab from The Whisky Lounge. Blended whisky has apparently been ignored for far too long. So the idea was for visitors to construct their very own blended whisky. Those who took part not only blended the whisky but named it and walked away with a labelled bottled miniature!
Our final highlight was the Taste the Greatness of Northern Ireland Sampling Theatre and Pavilion. This was hosted by chef, Paula McIntyre, alongside a selection of producers. According to the showguide “Northern Ireland is a place of greatness because of a deep down determination to make the best of everything they’ve got. That same determination has taken hold of producers, processors and restaurateurs alike and is winning awards and international acclaim by producing world class ingredients and causing an explosion of authentic producers.”
Perfect for getting us in the mood for Christmas, the Good Food Show Birmingham returns to the NEC at the same time next year.
The land use is mostly agricultural. The county is renowned for its fruit and cider production, and the Hereford cattle breed as well as its famous spring asparagus. Herefordshire stretches from Ross-on-Wye in the Wye Valley to Leominster and Mortimer Country, from Kington and the Golden Valley to Bromyard, Ledbury and the Malvern Hills.
Herefordshire food producers are recognised throughout the UK for quality and taste, as Trecorras Farm can testify. Last year the company showcased its charcuterie to London restaurants and chefs at The Tower of London including the new kid goat meat charcuterie range.
The company produces high quality kid goat meat as a passion. Rural Herefordshire provides the perfect environment for the young kid goats – currently one of the hottest food trends – to thrive. Trecorras supplies many chefs and restaurants locally and nationally with kid meat, charcuterie and merguez sausages.
Another company that has been acclaimed for its produce is Tigg’s. Tigg’s salad dressings and sauces are made in Bodenham by two brothers. They have added their own personalities to their former ‘Granny Tigg’s’ artisan-style labelling to make a more generic label, ‘Perfect Match’.
“We tweaked our brand to a play on dating amongst food, in which different all-purpose sauces and dressings might find their match with different foods as well as different customers,” said Jacob James of Tigg’s. The company produces naturally colourful, all-purpose dressings and sauces that can be used on salads and as ketchups, pasta sauces, marinades and even pizza bases! Flavours include Sweet Original, Bold Beetroot and Cool Basil & Pea.
Wye Valley Produce is grown by fourth-generation farmers, the Chinn family, in the Wye Valley. Having planted its first asparagus crop in 2003 it has since expanded to include rhubarb, blueberries and green beans.
According to the company, “the light, sandy soil and south-facing slopes of the meandering Wye Valley capture the earliest spring sunlight, and create a microclimate that is perfectly formed to produce some of the earliest, and the best, produce in the UK”.
Cider and perry are integral to the Herefordshire region. Gregg’s Pit was established in 1994. It makes real Herefordshire cider and perry using 100% juice of vintage varieties of apples and pears, harvested from traditional standard orchards. The company still uses traditional methods with an ancient stone press, which dates from the 18th century.
Herefordshire food producers also have global recognition, with beef perhaps the most familiar to most people. Companies like Heggies provide free-range Hereford beef, sourced from a farm in Leominster. All beef has been aged for 21 days. Then it is delivered to the customer in an insulated container to ensure optimum freshness and quality. The company also has a range of award winning sausages, with ten flavours made on the premises.
Herefordshire is in the heart of England and has been producing fine food and beverages for generations. With traditional methods marrying with modern technology, the county has much more to offer on a global scale. AC Services is pleased to support Herefordshire food producers and catering businesses.
Entering its 30th year of exhibiting, The Restaurant Show 2017 is an eminent trade event catering to those owning, operating and working in restaurants, hotels, bars, pubs and other hospitality establishments throughout the UK.
Incorporating Bar & Pub, Conscious Hospitality and Catering Equipment Expo, the Restaurant Show 2017 featured over 450 suppliers. All offering products, ideas and networking opportunities for anyone involved in the industry.
There was plenty to keep everyone entertained and informed. It included live events, with culinary demonstrations, premier competitions and seminars addressing key industry trends, innovations and new talent.
The Show provided a daily Business Insights session. Here leading industry experts discussed the latest industry news, trends and controversial issues. These included how pubs can continue to stay relevant in the face of changing consumer behaviour.
There were also talks on wine tasting, serving tea and coffee, food presentation and the rise of the flexitarian. This is a cross between veggie lovers and carnivores who choose vegetable-based dishes mid-week and save sustainably-produced high quality meat for special occasions.
Bar & Pub Show
The Bar & Pub Show also hosted seminars with the focus on getting the most profit from serving drinks. Topics ranged from sake to cocktails. Did you know that 9.2 million consumers regularly choose cocktails at the bar making it a £499m category?
There was also a discussion on raising the bar with premiumisation. This is catering for young people, who simply don’t drink like we used to. Thus they are looking for more than just a cheap pub or bar.
Rob Fink, Founder of Big Drop Brewing explained that “more and more adults are moderating their alcohol consumption… including the 18-24 age group, in which 1 in 5 are teetotal, so pubs and bars have to adapt to stay relevant. But whilst people…are also being more demanding about their choice of drink and craft beers have been instrumental in making people think differently and expect more from their beer.”
Restaurant Show 2017 Awards
The Restaurant Show also hosted the National Chef of the Year and The Young National Chef of the Year competition. These have been running since 1972 and are considered the UK’s most respected and sought-after culinary titles.
After a two-hour cook-off in front of a packed audience The National Chef of the Year 2018 was awarded to Luke Selby for his starter of sea vegetable minestrone, mussels and farfalle pasta with a poached scallop, British caviar and a lemongrass scented buttermilk sauce. His main course was roasted fallow deer, blackberry, celeriac, sprouts and bacon served with a venison sauce finished with chocolate. And for dessert warm walnut almondine, ginger infused bramley purée, caramelised cox apple filled with apple compote with cinnamon and ginger ice cream.
Other competitions included the UK Pastry Open and Kikkoman Masters. While three Compass Chef of the Year events focused on apprentice, junior and senior chefs.
The Restaurant Show 2017 lived up to all expectations. The industry is expanding and adapting constantly to changes in legislation, governmental policies and the impact of Brexit. This Show gave visitors and exhibitors the ideal opportunity to discuss issues relevant to the future of the hospitality industries under Olympia’s roof
It’s a veritable smorgasbord this week with events related to the food industry. lunch! 17 opened at ExCeL London for two days, welcoming visitors in their thousands. For those who missed the show, worry not, there’s another one, the Food Entrepreneur Show opening this Wednesday. And 5 other shows at Excel.
lunch! 17 offered up its biggest and best show yet, with a new venue, over 330 exhibitors, two education theatres, thousands of products and tons of tasty treats. Dedicated to the food-to-go sector, the show celebrated its 10th anniversary with a packed itinerary. This included a number of influential keynote speakers.
lunch! 2017 saw the return of the Innovation Challenge Awards, showcasing the most innovative products in the food-to-go sector. This year, there were 70 new products presented to the public.
In addition, the Start Up Zone presented a plethora of start-up companies from across the food-to-go sector. 24 companies not normally found at trade shows displayed giving visitors the opportunity to see, taste and source innovative products. New companies included 4SOME Health, C’go Drinks, Doughlicious Ltd, Iraw Healthy Habits and The Hangry Food Company Ltd.
The Café Life Awards 2017 organised by the Café Society took place at the end of the first day of lunch! This was acclaimed as celebrating the leading operators in the café industry, hosted by celebrity chef Theo Randall. The awards “highlighted those involved in the sector who are pioneering and leading the market, whether in the development of new products or the creation of excellence in the high street.”
The Live Challenges this year included the Da Vinci Gourmet Speciality Drink Challenge, the Norseland Toasted Cheese Sandwich Challenge, the Florette Food to Go Challenge, New York Bakery Croll Challenge and the judging of the Café New Drink Innovation Award.
Food Entrepreneur Show and Five Others
Following lunch! 17 at ExCeL is the Food Entrepreneur Show 2017 on 26 and 27 September 2017. Exhibitors, suppliers, feature zones, live demos and talk shows are all on the menu. The show is the best opportunity for any entrepreneur striving for success in the food and drink industry.
The show runs alongside the Takeaway & Restaurant Innovation Expo, Restaurant Technology Live, Bar Technology Live, Hotel Technology Live, Restaurant Design Show and Street Food Live. So something for everybody!
The seminars and talks promise to be entertaining and informative, with subjects such as Marketing in 2017, Bear Traps, The Recipe For Future Takeaway Success, How Sustainable is Your Restaurant? And my particular favourite, Busy Fools, Honey Pots & Burgers.
Food & Drink Innovation Awards
The Food & Drink Innovation Awards at the Food Entrepreneur Show recognise the pioneers that have made an outstanding impact on the food industry in the last year. Four awards are up for grabs to those who have a product or service that is breaking boundaries in the food sector.
In addition, throughout both days of the show, the FoodTalk Radio Show will be interviewing new exhibitors, gaining insights into the concepts behind their products, services, and business. The event is completely free to attend and all of the seminars and features are free too.
Open only to the trade, the first show opened 17 years ago and since then, has expanded enormously to embrace all aspects of the speciality food market.
Kara Bowen, Event Manager, said “Speciality & Fine Food Fair has, without a doubt, been at the forefront of the UK’s gourmet food and drink industry for nearly 18 years. Buyers from retail, foodservice and wholesale rely on the Fair as it provides an exclusive opportunity for discovery and inspiration. It is also a fantastic platform for producers to grow their business.”
Debut and Returns
This year, more than 700 food and drink producers attended, including nearly 200 suppliers making their debut. Among a number of new features, the old favourites such as the Discovery Zone, the Great Taste Awards and the Chocolate Trail were eagerly awaited. The Discovery Zone unveiled the latest food and drink delights from new businesses. Its stands are exclusively reserved for companies who have only been trading in the UK for up to 36 months.
Despite the unpopular sugar tax, chocolate and confectionery are still firm favourites. The Speciality & Fine Food Fair is heralded as the UK’s finest trade showcase of luxury and gourmet chocolate. The Speciality Chocolate Trail did not disappoint and led visitors through the halls of Olympia to over 50 fine and artisan chocolate producers.
Savour the Flavour: Live Kitchen, also drew the crowds. It featured practical tips and advice from some of the industry’s best known chefs and personalities.
This demonstration was supplemented with Food for Thought which offered visitors workshops on trending topics, and Scale Up which provided in-depth round-table discussions on key business queries. Topics covered included Cooking Successfully with Allergies, Mastering Cheese and The Proof is the Provenance.
A company that attracted a lot of interest was Grub, which offered edible insects. Apparently, as well as being tasty, insects are nutritious and sustainable, high in protein, minerals like iron and calcium and containing essential amino acids like Omega 3 and 6!
The Speciality & Fine Food Fair offers a platform for artisan food and drink, from centuries old heritage brands to up-and-coming new food businesses. The success of the 2017 show is to be repeated next year from 2 to 4 September at the same venue.
The sudden currency depreciation triggered by the June 2016 decision brought sterling to its lowest level against the dollar for over 30 years. As a result, July 2016 was a record month for inbound visits from EU countries with 2.3 million visits, 3% up on last year. And the trend has continued.
According to forecasts, inbound tourism in Britain will continue to be the fastest growing tourism sector. International visitors are expected to grow by over 6% a year in comparison with domestic spending by UK residents at just over 3%.
In 2016, 37.6 million overseas visitors came to the UK in 2016 spending £22.5 billion. These record breaking figures represent a 4% increase in volume compared with 2015. It gets even better when compared with figures just released, that overseas residents made 3.7 million visits to the UK in April 2017, an increase of 19% when compared with April 2016.
Where Do They Come From?
France, USA and Germany were the top three countries in terms of number of visits to the UK accounting for 39% of visits. Inbound visitor spend was highest in London with 53%, the rest of England 35%, Scotland 8% and Wales 2%.
Visitors from the USA spent £3bn in Britain for the first time, while visits from China, the world’s largest outbound market, increased by 46%, with spending up 18%. According to a report in the Guardian, “UK hotel chains have reported a leap in tourist spending since the vote, while the home lettings website Airbnb said its UK-listed properties welcomed 1.6 million guests between June and August .”
Where Do They Go?
For the tenth year in a row, the most popular British tourism attraction was the British Museum with 6,420,395 visitors in 2016. Outside of London, the most popular attraction last year has surprised many, with Chester Zoo attracting more visitors than the likes of Stonehenge and Edinburgh Castle.
The Tate Modern increased its popularity, due mainly to the new 10-storey extension which was opened in 2016, leading to an increase of 24% of visitors on the previous year. In 2016, 1.38 million people visited Stonehenge.
In employment terms, tourism has consistently been the fastest growing sector in the UK, and forecasts indicate that by 2025, the industry will be worth over £257 billion. It supports almost 3.8 million jobs, which is around 11% of the total UK number. This is excellent news for an industry that has been beset with difficulties, not least the terrorism acts that have threatened to destabilise travel and tourism.
The UK has always had a massive tourism potential, and has been exploiting this potential overseas. Post Brexit and the decline of the pound, it is now cheaper to come to the UK than ever before and people are taking advantage. For those businesses involved in tourism in Britain, there has never been a better time to capitalise on an enthusiastic and lucrative market.
While for the food industry, there is grave concern over the final negotiations and the impact on this sector of industry.
Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector. It contributes over £28bn a year to the economy. As a nation, we produce just over half of what we eat and we depend on European imports for 25% of our consumption. These are uncomfortable figures for the government when trying to negotiate a fair deal for everyone.
Under the terms of Article 50, a divorce deal has to be reached by the end of March 2019. There is no deadline for a longer-term trade and partnership deal so there are indications that the latter will be thrashed out endlessly.
One of the most important issues for the food industry is that of harmonisation. There are over 4,500 EU regulations regarding farming, food and environmental standards that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have to deal with.
UK exports currently depend on this sort of harmonisation of rules. These range from the size of tins to the amount of sugar in a jam. The latter was introduced to respond to market trends for less sugary food. It was initiated to bring the UK in line with Europe so it could develop export markets in Europe.
Another major cause for concern is migrant workers. Currently, farmers, food processors and food manufacturers employ 500,000 foreign workers. The government has already made clear its commitment to curb immigration but the food industry recognises that the end of the freedom of movement created by Brexit will lead to the requirement for UK permits and visas. If workers cannot afford these permits, the traditional seasonal workforce is under threat.
Defra, Agriculture and Food Legislation
And then we come to the role of Mr Gove, the new secretary of state at Defra. One of his first tasks is drafting the agriculture bill promised in last week’s Queen’s speech. This bill will take the UK out of the common agricultural policy, which the UK has been part of for the last 40 years.
The bill gives £3 billion subsidies to farmers to keep them sustainable and competitive to compete in globalised commodity markets. However, the problem is the replacement policy as 40% of all European legislation relates to food and agriculture and 80% of all UK food legislation has been negotiated in the EU. Mr Gove has promised better trade deals and cheaper food when Brexit occurs. Only time will tell.
Finally, there is the issue of the European Union’s single market. This is different from the EU. This is what Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein belong to. As well as eliminating tariffs, quotas or taxes on trade, it includes the free movement of goods, services, capital and people. It also aims to remove “non-tariff barriers” which include differing rules on packaging, safety and standards.
Whatever happens, there are unchartered waters ahead. The food industry and the catering businesses closely allied to it must be prepared for any changes. So look out for our next Brexit update.
The use of apps has helped to ease the way people order food. Recent research shows that the use of restaurant apps has increased across all age categories. Now about a third of all customers use apps to order and pay for food.
The way food is delivered has also changed over the past few years, with companies such as Deliveroo, Just Eat and Hello Fresh recruiting madly in order to fulfil demand. It is now easier than ever to order food to go.
In 2016, fast food registered a current foodservice value growth of 3%. This was thanks to affordable prices, the growing popularity of food to go and the wide range of products now available to cater for different dietary requirements. Last year, McDonald’s was at the top of the fast food chain with 6% of foodservice value sales.
According to the Cardlytics Spending Index, spending in fast food, quick service restaurants leapt by 34.1% in the past year. There are a number of reasons for this rise, including the pricing war between supermarkets. Their cheaper price means we have more money to treat ourselves. Another reason is the increasing popularity of paying via contactless card.
“The average spend in QSR outlets is generally under £10,” said Smith of Cardlytics. “It is possible that people previously paid for their meals in cash, but are now using contactless, meaning the transactions are captured by our data.”
There are also more choices when it comes to fast food. This has traditionally been associated with burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and in general food that has been deemed as not nutritionally valuable.
However, fast food is getting healthier and bolder. Pret A Manger recently made permanent its 40-item Veggie Pret pop-up experiment in London, with plans for expansion. Sushi shops have become a particular favourite. Major chains have been promising to source fresher ingredients with fewer additives and free-range chicken is showing up on more menus.
The fast food industry is booming. More and more drive-thrus and pop-up restaurants are being set up and the choice is far broader than ever before. The nature of the industry means that many operators are open for longer than traditional restaurants and cafes. There is therefore more wear and tear on ovens and cookers. At AC Services (Southern), we advise fast food outlets to regularly check and service their ovens. This includes having a daily cleaning regime in order to maintain optimum performance.
Commercial Kitchen is the multi-award nominated trade show for the UK’s catering equipment industry and attracts over 2,000 visitors.
Visitors and exhibitors
Exhibitors came from all parts of the industry, with over 80 leading industry suppliers showcasing innovative catering equipment, devices and services. The show attracted representatives from big names like EAT, Pret, Costa, Sainsbury’s, Subway, Tesco, Debenhams, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Casual Dining Group, ASK Italian, Mitchells & Butlers, Zizzi, Greene King, Thwaites, Whitbread, Gate Gourmet, Merlin Entertainment Sodexo, Brakes, National Trust and Bourne Leisure.
In addition there were visitors from the widest range of public and private sector industries from independent restaurants, schools and universities, to local authorities and attractions.
There were plenty of people to see and hear at the show. Conversation sessions included Vivek Singh, executive chef and founder of The Cinnamon Collection, Claire Clark MBE and Robert Quehan, head chef at The Redwood Bistro, Bishopstoke Park.
Panel discussions covered pub kitchens, sustainability, kitchen design, the important role of equipment distributors, multi-site restaurant innovation, foodservice consultants, hospital kitchens and prison kitchens.
Rational Oven Award
The show also featured the Commercial Kitchen Innovation Challenge Awards where the top ten exhibitors to have secured the most visitor votes were invited to pitch their new innovations. The results saw four companies receiving gold awards, four being awarded silver and two taking home bronze. The Rational SelfCookingCenter XL was awarded silver.
AC Services (Southern) was delighted to see the Rational appliance recognised and appreciated for its reliability, performance and innovation.
A Show to Attend?
For those in the catering business, it’s worth considering whether to attend next year’s Catering Equipment Show. Perhaps the words of two key attendees may help.
. “We are always looking for the latest in technology to improve our kitchens’ efficiency and food quality. Commercial Kitchen is the perfect event to identify tomorrow’s technology today and network with industry experts,” Kumour Uddin, executive group chef at Anglian Country Inns .
“As someone who wants the best equipment for our teams and customers, Commercial Kitchen and the Catering Equipment Show is a good and very relevant show for me. I look forward to attending again and watching this important event grow over the coming years.” Dirk Wissmann, senior equipment buyer at Pret A Manger.