Tag Archives: Catering business

27 
Mar

Have I Got Food News for You

SW Food & Catering News Round-upFood has been in the regional and national press this week. Just in time for our new monthly food news round-up. With Easter looming, some unusual chocolate constructions have been unveiled. These include the mighty Creme Egg Yorkshire pudding which has been created by a Cardiff pub.

The Cedar Tree Farm has ingeniously combined sponge cakes with Crème Eggs, white and orange fondant inside a giant Yorkshire pudding. Claimed to be the first of its kind in the UK, the dessert is the latest Easter treat being served up in Wales, after The Cottage Coffee Shop & Lunch Bar launched cheesecake-filled Easter eggs.

Prison Food

Staying in Wales, it was announced this week that pies made by prisoners have been crowned champion at the renowned British Pie Awards. The Custodial Pie Corporation is a joint scheme between HMP Berwyn in Wrexham and Dylan’s restaurant company.

The hard work of the restaurant and a group of prisoners plus catering staff and three senior chefs from Dylan’s made the perfect pie and pasty recipe, using Welsh produce.

Nutrient Content of Food

Of course, this is not the only food news. KFC’s chicken crisis continues and a new debate has sparked up over the sugar content in fruit and vegetables. According to a recent analysis, different types of fruit and veg can contain up to twice as many nutrients.  While others have significantly lower levels of sugars and calories. Here’s a summary of some facts: 

  •  Purple cabbage is better than green with ten times more Vitamin A and twice the amount of iron. It also has 36 antioxidants that have been shown to ward off cancer and even improve memory.
  • Canned sweetcorn contains 44% more beta carotene than fresh. The canning processes breaks down corn’s tough cell walls, making it easier for the body to access this important nutrient.
  • Red dates contain about 60% fewer calories, 10% more fibre and half the sugar content than regular dates.
  • Red and black grapes as opposed to green grapes contain resveratrol, catechins and proanthocyanidins. These are all linked to the prevention of various cancers including breast, colon and lung.
  • A Granny Smith apple has around 6g less sugar than a Gala.

Long Lasting Ice Cream

And it’s good news for ice cream. Researchers are claiming this week that banana plant extract could be key to creamier, longer lasting ice cream.  “Adding tiny cellulose fibres extracted from banana plant waste to ice cream could slow melting, increase shelf life and potentially replace fats used to make the tasty treat,” say the scientists involved.

Insects and Yeast

A paper released last week explains how our understanding of insect-yeast ecology could inform the search for new yeasts. It looks specifically at insects that feed on sugars, such as beetles, wasps, bees and fruit flies.

The scientists are particularly interested in those yeasts that can produce fruity and floral aromas, which can add a new dimension to the food industry.

AC Services News

And finally at AC Services this March, we closed two days because of the Beast from the East part one. Fortunately the Beast from the East part two hit on the weekend and didn’t affect work, only a social activity that Helen had organised for our Service Engineers . But the Go Karting will be re-arranged for a warmer month.

Weather forecasters are now forecasting Beast from the East part three, but it’s looking like more northerly parts of the UK will be affected. Even if it does snow and we can’t get to you, we are always on the end of the phone on 01454 322 222 to help you with your Rational oven needs. Or to hear what you think about our monthly food news round-up.

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Published Date: 27th March 2018
Category: Blog, 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 
Feb

Brexit Update

Brexit updateIf, like me, you struggle to get your head around the plot of Doctor Who, then you’ll have your work cut out understanding Brexit. It’s not entirely sure whether the politicians themselves fully comprehend the process but in an attempt to bring you up to date with the latest events, here’s a brief Brexit update.

What do we know so far? The EU began after the Second World War to foster economic co-operation. The reasoning was that countries that trade together are less likely to fight each other. It evolved into a single market where goods and people are able to move around as if the member states were one country.

The UK has voted to leave the European Union with a scheduled departure of 11pm on Friday 29 March, 2019. There are three key “divorce” issues:

  • how much the UK owes the EU,
  • what happens to the border in Northern Ireland and
  • what happens to UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU and vice versa.

Agreement on these issues was reached on 8 December: the so-called Breakthrough Deal. There is also a plan to be finalised for a two-year transition period.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Prime Minister Theresa May was initially against Brexit, but now has no choice but to acquiesce to the British people. The day after the referendum, the pound slumped but it is now regaining its losses against the dollar, while remaining 15% down against the Euro. Indeed, the UK’s economy was estimated to have grown 1.8% in 2016, second only to Germany’s 1.9%.

The negotiating teams from both the UK and EU meet face-to-face for one week each month with the aim of getting the transition agreed in March, with a deal on permanent future relations hopefully agreed in the Autumn.

Article 50

We hear a lot about Article 50. Basically this is merely a plan for any country that wishes to exit the EU. It stipulates that any member state deciding to withdraw must notify the European Council and negotiate its withdrawal with the EU, with two years to reach an agreement. It also states that the state wishing to leave cannot take part in EU internal discussions about its departure.

The Food Industry

According to a report issued last week, “Brexit risks increasing food prices, lowering safety and welfare standards, causing food shortages and worsening a public health crisis in the UK.”

A third of the food Britons eat currently comes from the EU. The UK already has a “catastrophic” £22.5bn trade deficit in food. The warning was issued to UK producers who will be under pressure to produce cheaper food after Brexit. The fear is that leaving the EU will lead to higher prices and a reduction in choice.

Named items that could increase significantly in price are beef, cheddar, tomatoes and broccoli but National Farmers Union director general, Terry Jones, called for a “well-regulated industry with short supply chains rather than adopting an ‘all-comers’ approach”. He believes this could act as a safeguard for standards and prevent food fraud.

The politicians have just over a year to smooth out the wrinkles in the deal.  The same applies to British food manufacturers.  They have the opportunity to take the bull by the horns and dictate the industry to their own high standards.

Finally, and for many people, most importantly, we will still be able to enter the Eurovision Song Contest. Participant countries need only to be a member of the European Broadcasting Union (which we are) which is independent of the EU.

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Published Date: 13th February 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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30 
Jan

Hotel Occupancy Flat, But Strong New Responses

Hotel industryThe unsteadiness created by Brexit and other external influences worked in the hotel industry’s favour at the beginning of 2017, with a record-breaking occupancy and room rate growth across UK hotels. Despite fears that this trend would diminish rapidly, news this week reveals that there’s still buoyancy in this market.

According to hotel data company STR, an influx of tourists from overseas and a boost in domestic tourism as overseas travel for UK residents became less affordable during the first half of 2017. This meant that hotels recorded a relatively flat occupancy increase 0.5%. The average room rate (ARR) and revenue per available room (revpar) were up by 3.6%.

Conference and banqueting was up 0.4%. But alarmingly for the industry, any growth was cancelled out by a 0.1% drop in food and beverage revenue.

Hoteliers Fight Back

So what must hoteliers do in 2018 to increase profitability? A recent conference (the 25th Master Innholders Annual General Managers’ Conference) made a few key suggestions.

Firstly, more young people should be encouraged into hospitality. Hoteliers were urged to spread the message that fulfilment and satisfaction in a job wasn’t always immediate. It came over time.  Similarly there was the potential for excellent rewards.

Tech-free time needed to be introduced into the hotel workplace to allow teams to build social skills and relationships.

In addition, the National Minimum Wage should be adhered to. The hospitality industry is being targeted by the taxman for not correctly paying staff. Six teams are now specifically devoted to the sector.

The Future is Green

However, one of the more interesting suggestions came from the food angle. It promotes focusing more on plant-based dining or as it is more commonly known, veganism. As an example, Selfridges has opened a vegan waffle bar and more hotels are urged to continue this trend.

New trends in food should also be adopted such as:

  • heme (a protein found in plants and meat used to mimic meat in vegan food);
  • timut (a Nepalese pepper with mouth-numbing qualities) and
  • hydrogen water (water into which hydrogen gas has been dissolved, said to have health benefits).

Selfridges was also singled out for praise for its ‘Wasted Event’, where chefs were challenged to create dishes from kitchen waste.

New Body

There is also good news for hotels with the merger of two main trade associations to “deliver a powerful new unified voice to support the dynamic hospitality sector to deliver its full growth potential”.

The BHA and the ALMR are to merge as UKHospitality, which will actively speak out for the UK’s third largest private sector employer. The new body will “champion the breadth of innovative and vibrant hospitality businesses across the UK, giving an authoritative voice to over 700 companies and 65,000 venues”.

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Published Date: 30th January 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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19 
Dec

2017 and All That

Happy Christmas 2017We 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.

Food Trends

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.

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Published Date: 19th December 2017
Category: Blog, News
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12 
Dec

Good Food Show Birmingham 2017

Good Food Show BirminghamBREAKING 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.

Big Kitchen

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.

Skills School

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.

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Published Date: 12th December 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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21 
Nov

Herefordshire Food Producers

Herefordshire Food ProducersWith a cathedral city, Herefordshire is one of the most rural and sparsely populated county in England.

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.

Saucy Solution

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 Not?

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.

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Published Date: 21st November 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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10 
Oct

The Restaurant Show 2017

Restaurant Show 2017 logoOne of the major exhibitions of the catering calendar took place at Olympia last week with visitors and attendees surpassing expectations.

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.

Live Events

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 

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Published Date: 10th October 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events, News
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26 
Sep

One down and six to go!

Lunch! 2017 logo food to goIt’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.

Awards Galore

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

Food Entrepreneur Show 2017Following 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.

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Published Date: 26th September 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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19 
Sep

Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2017

Speciality & fine foodAnother September, another Speciality & Fine Food Fair at Olympia. The venue opened its doors to the eager hordes of visitors and exhibitors to this prestigious event from 3 to 5 September.

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.

Flavoursome

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.

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Published Date: 19th September 2017
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