Tag Archives: Food producers


Brexit Update

Brexit updateAt the time of this Brexit update, there is a great deal of uncertainty about the Brexit deal.

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.

Divorce Deal

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.

Food Workers

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.


Published Date: 11th July 2017
Category: Blog, News
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Wiltshire Food Suppliers

Wiltshire famous for Stonehenge and local food producersWiltshire boasts numerous attractions including Stonehenge and Salisbury Plain. It is a favourite for visitors through its pre-Roman archaeology and rolling hills as well as towns and cities that thrive on tourism.

Hospitality plays a key role for pubs, restaurants and hotels in Wiltshire and the region is proud of its culinary heritage. There are numerous food suppliers in Wiltshire who serve the catering industry and who provide excellent food and beverages, many of them sourced locally.

The Fine Food Company has been supplying speciality food to catering establishments for many years, delivering produce that is sourced fresh and picked by hand directly from speciality food markets and manufacturers.

The company runs monthly promotions on some delicious products, for example this month on offer is exotic flavours from Lovingtons Ice Cream and a Chutney of the Month from The Bay Tree Food Company. Regular food includes prepped vegetables, fresh mushrooms and truffles, fruit purees, charcuterie, terrines, pates and pies as well as speciality poultry and meat.

Personal Service

Offering a personal service and locally sourced produce, is Lovejoys. The company specialises in requests from chefs for specialist crops such as Pink Fir apple potatoes, Ruby Red chard or Stripy beetroot. A statement from the company says: “we are unique in the industry in our desire only to supply within 90 minutes from our base in West Wiltshire”.

Lovejoys also offers its own prep room for chefs with limited time. A large amount of the vegetables are grown exclusively in Bromham and the surrounding area, and all eggs are laid just three miles from the premises. In addition, all milk and cream come from farms in Wiltshire, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset.

Award-winning organic lamb and mutton can be found at Langley Chase Organic Farm.  It is reared on a small organic farm in the Wiltshire countryside from rare breed Manx Loaghtan. Langley Chase has already won 19 National Organic Food Awards including Best Organic Meat, Best Organic Lamb and Best Organic Mutton in the UK.

Manx Loaghtan is a distinguished rare breed that is high in flavour and greatly lower in fat and cholesterol than commercial breeds. According to the company, “each lamb and mutton is selected and butchered to each customer’s requirements and delivered direct to the door.” The company also makes chorizo salami, and uses the rest of the animals to make beautiful sheepskin rugs, wool and clothes.

Wiltshire Food & Drink

For food and drink look no further than Ashton Farms, with over 700 lines of fresh, chilled, frozen and ambient foods and an extensive range of soft drinks. This family business prides itself on its customer service, with little touches such as cheese and eggs being still packed on site. Time is spent sourcing the very best quality and time is also spent on building relationships with suppliers.

Wiltshire eateries have an enormous range of food suppliers that can cater for the traditional and the exotic. With the weather in the last week reaching record highs, summer has officially arrived and the great British public are heading outdoors. For catering establishments, offering a wider choice of food has to be an extra incentive to attract visitors!

Look out for the next in the series of AC Services Southern’s spotlight on local food suppliers with South Gloucestershire and Bristol in August.


Published Date: 27th June 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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Food & Drink Trade Show Malvern

Food & Drink Trade Show MalvernThere can be no better location for a trade show than the Three Counties Showground in rural Malvern. The town where CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein often met for a social pint (check out the Unicorn pub) is overshadowed by the  Malvern Hills. The showground lies at the foot of the hills and has a vast amount of space to host the annual Food & Drink Trade Show. The show was billed as a unique blend of inspirational speciality food and drink products and exhibitors ranged from small, regional suppliers to international traders.

Decision makers from the food service and hospitality, caterers, cafes, guest houses, hotels and restaurants, holiday parks, takeaways and pubs attended the event. Representatives from numerous retail outlets from delicatessens to farm shops and grocers, supermarkets to tourist attractions, garden centres and independent stores also came to see what was on new in food and drink.

Food & Drink Trade Show Offers

The show offers were a fantastic incentive for visitors, with price deductions and free tasters for anyone purchasing at the show. Boddington’s Berries offered 10% of any orders placed at the show. Ethical Addictions Coffee promised free delivery, installation and training on all Fracino espresso machines ordered or a free grinder. Particularly popular was When in Rome who offered free shipping and a wooden wine refill dispenser. While those ordering over 20 wine boxes also could get 20 free refillable bottles.

There were plenty of other goodies. Blacks Cheese showed off its range of award-winning cheese made allegedly, “with love, milk and some magic.” Celtic Vale’s Natural Mineral Water and Hatterrall Ridge Spring Water are bottled at source from two natural springs locally situated in the Herefordshire/Welsh borders.

Aagrah Foods exhibited its Kashmiri and Indian Tarka cooking sauces, handmade in Yorkshire. While local company Hamptons Sweet Cakes went down a treat! And Hay Wines revealed its exclusive range of Proseccos, including the UK’s only zero sugar Prosecco. The selection also included good-value organic, vegan, low-sulphite, natural wines featuring the only sparkling orange wine.

Demo Kitchen

The Demo Kitchen was very well populated, with chef demonstrations taking place on the Love Food Roadshow‘s demonstration kitchen. Hosted by celebrity chef, Felice Tocchini, the kitchen featured a range of exciting and informative cookery demonstrations.

Other chefs included Andy Link, chef patron at the acclaimed Riverside Inn at Aymestry, a finalist in the ‘Best Eating Out’ category at the Visit Herefordshire Awards for Excellence 2016. Local chef Matt Slocombe recently won the ‘Best Cider Pub’ in the Great British Pub awards. His pub, the Crown Inn at Woolhope was recognised for its Sunday lunches in the Best British Roast Dinner Awards. Yvette Farrell, Principal of Harts Barn Cookery School, demonstrated her signature Taste of Forest Menu. This comprised forest mushroom ravioli, griddled wild boar with wilted buttered garlic greens.

The Malvern Food & Drink Trade Show organisers were delighted with the turnout, the quality of visitors and welcoming a number of newcomers to the event.


Published Date: 9th May 2017
Category: Blog, Events, News
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Farm Shop and Deli Show 2017

Farm shop & deli show 2017Yet again, the NEC in Birmingham played host to a popular and exciting trade show, this time the Farm Shop & Deli Show from 24 to 26 April.

Now in its seventh year, the show returned triumphantly to the NEC with a multitude of speakers, stands and awards for food retailers. It was heralded as the biggest show to date with over 450 exhibitors on hand to showcase their food, beverage, gifts and equipment products.

This specialist retail event not only offered innovation but product sampling, informative sessions and of course, the annual Farm Shop & Deli Awards ceremony. Overall, there were 13 category winners and nine regional winners, recognising the best specialist independent UK retailers. The winners were selected from a plethora of entries and over 3,000 consumer votes.

South West Representation

The South West region was proudly represented and Hobbs House Bakery from Tetbury in Gloucestershire came away with Baker of the Year and South West regional winner. Winners of the first ever Newcomer of the Year Award, Brace of Butchers from Dorchester, also reached the finals in the Butcher of the Year category.

Apart from the awards, there were a number of sessions held by experienced and stimulating speakers. Topics covered learning how to maximise profits whilst embracing innovation, chaired by renowned chef, Richard Fox. Saira Khan hosted a talk on customer engagement. Paul Hargreaves CEO of Cotswold Fayre, showed visitors how to harness people power and how to build a workplace community to empower teams and enable retailers to retain their top talent.


The predominant theme of the show was innovation. The Farm Shop & Deli Show showcased concepts and creations in products, ingredients, drinks, equipment and digital tools. New Fori Bars, marketed as “the love child of premium jerky and a top-notch granola bar,” and proved popular with the visitors. These are meat-based snack protein-bars-with-a-twist combining high-quality meat with fruit and seeds available in Piri Piri Chicken, Moroccan Lamb and Chilli Beef varieties. Based in Llanelli South Wales, the company uses organic apricots and dates avoiding sulphites and sorbates.

Other innovative products included:

  • Low Sugar Brownies, Blondies, and Greenies from Adonis Smart Foods created in response to a lack of low sugar snacks and contain mainly nuts, seeds and fibres.
  • Raisthorpe Oak-Aged Yorkshire Gin which takes mineral water from an ancient spring in Raisthorpe and then distils this with watercress and fresh botanicals.

Dragon’s Pantry was held during the show and was an immediate success. Daring entrepreneurs braved a panel of industry ‘dragons’ to pitch new products and in return received professional (even brutal) advice on perfecting their pitch before braving the presentation sessions.

Finally, one of the most attended events was the 2017 Britain’s Best Loaf competition, sponsored by Rank Hovis, which took place at the Farm Shop & Deli Show. There were five categories – sourdough, wholegrain, white, innovation and gluten-free and the competition was harsh!

Another show and another success from the NEC. The Farm Shop & Deli Show will return to the same venue next April.


Published Date: 2nd May 2017
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Somerset Food Producers

Somerset food producersSomerset is a county renowned for its sandy beaches, Cheddar cheese, music festivals and cider. But above all, it offers a multitude of options when it comes to food producers.

Organic is a trademark of certain suppliers in this region such as Langford Farm,  a family run beef and dairy farm. This has been run organically for over 20 years. Pedigree-sired cattle including Aberdeen Angus, Devon and Hereford provide meat that is grass-fed in natural clover-rich pastures and hay meadows, making the beef beautifully marbled and tender. Complying with the Soil Association and Red Tractor Farm Assurance, the beef is dry aged on the bone for at least 28 days.

Cheese All Round

Of course the region is famous for its cheese. A.J & R.G Barber Ltd is a long-established Somerset cheesemaker producing West Country Farmhouse Cheddar and other traditional cheeses. The Barber family have been making cheese in Somerset since the early 1800´s and currently has about 1700 dairy cows. The company is the sole guardians of the country’s last remaining traditional cheese starter cultures. These are the ‘friendly’ bacteria that begin the cheese-making process giving it the final aroma, texture and taste.

The flagship cheese is Barber’s 1833 Reserve Cheddar with a creamy texture and smooth finish, containing naturally occurring crystals for a crunchy texture. Barber’s Farmhouse Vintage Cheddar is matured for around 18 months, with the Barber’s Farmhouse Mellow Cheddar matured for around four months. The Barber’s Farmhouse Waxed Truckle Cheddar is matured for around 12 months then packaged in black wax for a rounded and rich flavour and creamy texture.

Another cheesemaker of repute is the Glastonbury Dairy. This is farmed by the Clapp family who can trace their roots in Somerset back to the 11th century. Now settled in the Brue Valley, the company is renowned for its cheese and especially its butter. Butter making is a natural part of any cheese dairy. The liquid draining off the curds is collected, and the butterfat separated from the whey as cream. After pasteurisation, the cream is used to make the butter.

Saucy Choice

Now we all love sauces and Rose Farms of Somerset have an extensive range to suit every palette. The small family-run business offers a wide range of jams and pickles handmade in open pans with no artificial additives. Delicious flavours are available such as honey & mustard and orange & rosemary dressing, mustard with Somerset cider, Harvest chutney, onion and pineapple chutney, and peach and pear jam. Try the range of pickles such as vegetables preserved in brine and spiced vinegar and good old fashioned pickled onions in Somerset cider.

Finally, there is Burns the Bread an award-winning family bakery based in Glastonbury making a wide range of loaves, using both organic and non-organic flour. The company produces a range of baked goods, from Christmas puddings to savoury pastries. Established in 1983 Burns the Bread has quickly become an integral part of Glastonbury’s rich heritage. It produces loaves such as multi seed, French grain, honey and spelt bread.

To find out about other regional food producers in AC Services Southern’s regular series please like us on Facebook or bookmark our site.


Published Date: 25th April 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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Hotel, Catering and Retail Show

Hotel, Catering and Retail ShowFrom now until the end of summer, the South Coast will be busy with tourists and visitors from far afield. All hoping to take advantage of the beaches and seaside events that the region offers. It started early in Bournemouth, with the International Centre hosting the Hotel, Catering and Retail Trade Show on 14-15th March.

Featuring innovative products, plentiful food and drink product tastings, and discussions on the latest trends and developments, the show was as always a chance for suppliers and key industry players to interact and exchange ideas and advice.

New Products

Over 100 exhibitors took centre stage with many launching new products and services. Curio Spirits Company launched its Cornish Cup, a drink inspired by the traditional punch used in the British Navy during the 17th century. The five main ingredients are all natural, and sourced locally: spirits, water, sugar, citrus and tea.

The Pampas Plains company was new to the show. It has just launched the flatiron steak to both trade customers and catering customers and sources meat from around the world.

Piddle Brewery introduced Dorset’s first Gluten-Free Beer. Independently tested and certified by Coeliac UK, the brewery has taken its existing 4.3% best seller, Cocky IPA and made it gluten free.

New for 2017, the Purbeck Ice Cream  team has introduced three new flavours of ice cream – Dorset Truffle, Salted Maple and Chai Latte and an incredible new Pineapple sorbet. All made on the farm in Dorset. Not to be outdone New Forest Ice Cream unveiled two brand new, wonderfully indulgent ice creams, Choc Chip Cookie Dough and the Berry & Apple Crumble Ice Cream.

Demos Galore

However the show was not all about products. Leading chefs demonstrated their favourite signature dishes and culinary skills in the Demo Kitchen. Mixologists sprang into action in the Liquid Hall. Artisan Producers from Dorset and Hampshire exhibited in both halls, bringing some local flavours which appealed to both retail and food service buyers.

Seminars included a Food Allergen Masterclass. This was an introductory session on how to ensure that providing for the free-from customer is not an afterthought. An excellent talk on Food and Culture, Heritage and Tradition focusing on the iconic cream tea. How we see it today, tomorrow and potentially how we will see it in 20 years time.

Other talks included how surplus food can help change lives from FareShare UK. Every day eight million people in the UK struggle to feed themselves. FareShare depots nationwide help to tackle this problem, providing a positive solution for surplus food.

There was something for everyone at the Hotel, Catering and Retail Show which will return to the same venue next year. Not just a product platform, the show encourages anyone involved in the industry to network and exchange information. This helps the catering corps provide the best to the public. And the importance of those information exchanges is why AC Services Southern shares these show reports.


Published Date: 21st March 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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Spotlight on Local Food Producers in Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire Local Food ProducersFrom beer to fish to fruit and meat (not forgetting cheese of course), Gloucestershire has it all when it comes to local food producers. Uniquely situated in the heart of England, the county is renowned for its fine food and beverages and suppliers are plentiful.

Let’s start with cheese. Gloucestershire has a well earned reputation for excellent cheeses, ranging from the conservative cheddar to more exotic varieties, such as chilli and smoked. One of the most popular suppliers is Godsells Cheese, who makes handmade cheeses at Church Farm, in the Gloucestershire village of Leonard Stanley. The company uses milk from its own herd of cows, producing such delights as Double Gloucester, Single Gloucester, Hooded Monk, Leonard Stanley, Three Virgins, Holy Smoked, Singing Granny, Nympsfield and Scary Mary Cheeses.

The company is one of only four cheesemakers in Gloucestershire able to make Single Gloucester cheese with a Protected Designated Origin. This means it can only be made in Gloucestershire. The Cheddar is aged for a minimum of seven months, while Scary Mary is a Nympsfield (a fresh soft cheese) left to go mouldy!

Mighty Meat

Moving onto meat and Macaroni Farm supplies a range of organic meat to suit all tastes. The farm dates back to the late 1600’s, and has been in the Phillips family since 1891. The farm supplies extensively and traditionally reared organic beef, slaughtered locally to keep ‘food miles’ to a minimum. It is hung for 28 days to allow the meat to tenderise and reach maturity. Its award winning organic lamb is available as whole or half lambs direct from the farm. Pheasant and partridges are available throughout the shooting season.

If its venison you are after, look no further than the Withington Estate for Withington Wild Venison, which is hunted from the estate’s managed woodland. All of the venison (roe and fallow) is truly wild, neither farmed nor from a deer park.

Fruit and Veg

Gloucestershire is also famous for its many varieties of fruit and at Bentleys Castle Fruit Farm you are assured of a huge range. Plum varieties include Herman, Opal, Reeves Seedling, Avalon, Victoria, Valor and Marjorie Seedling. There over 12 seasonal varieties of apples, two varieties of pears and seven varieties of cherries. There are a range of juices, sauces, syrups and relishes all made from freshly pressed apples, pears and plums .

For farm grown fruit and vegetables, Over Farm grows more than 20 different crops throughout the year which are sold in its farm shop, from asparagus in spring, strawberries in the summer, pumpkins and squash in autumn and sprouts in the winter.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning Cheltenham’s David’s Chilli Oil “created with passion and a commitment to enliven food with delicious heat.” Perfect for drizzling over hot or cold food, marinating, cooking and dipping. The heat of the chilli comes from the capsaicin oil which is present in the chilli found mostly in the seeds and the ribs of chilli peppers. Here’s a little known tip: drinking water to cure a burning mouth is useless. Try fat instead such as milk, yoghurt and even peanut butter!

AC Services Southern believes in supporting local food producers in Gloucestershire and the other counties we serve. Look out for our next spotlight in our local food producers series.


Published Date: 7th March 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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Food Trends 2017 Personal and Exotic

Food Trends 2017 Poke SaladTrends come and go in the food industry with new, exotic and unusual menus springing up everywhere. We’ve come a long way from the prawn cocktail and black forest gateaux of the 1970s, which, if those of a certain age recall, was the menu of sophistication.

So what are the food trends 2017? Apparently, food is to get personal again, with the consumer calling the shots. The recent Waitrose report highlighted that the humble aubergine is fast replacing traditional carbs such as bread and pasta. The store reported an 18% increase in sales of the vegetable, with an increasing number of people opting to replace burger buns, chips and pasta for aubergine substitutes.

According to  Olive Magazine, vegan food is getting a lot of attention so get your barley risotto recipe perfected. Grains are the in-food at the moment with many chefs using them in salads as a healthy and hearty food group. Look for siyez salads as the new superfood.

Following on from a surge in interest in Jamaican food, ital (jerk spices and citrus flavours) is having an influence on vegan cooking in the UK. Also look out for Polynesian favourite poke. This raw fish salad marinated with lime, soy and sesame is becoming a fast favourite.

Vegetable yoghurt comprising carrot, beetroot, sweet potato and tomato flavours infused with yoghurt is becoming increasingly popular. For those who wrinkle their noses at the concept, think of the UK’s old favourites, chive and onion dip or cucumber raita!

Ant Fever and Other Superfoods

It may not be to everyone’s taste and indeed some thought it a joke at first but insects are most definitely on the menu. Meadowsweet porridge with ants won last year’s Rude Health Porridge Championship. They are said to balance the sweetness of the porridge with a certain sharpness and, a mantra for all things healthy, they are packed with protein.

Other superfoods to look out for are red algae, described as ‘bacon flavoured seaweed’; Kakadu plums said to contain 100 times more vitamin C than an orange; offal such as beef and pork hearts, liver, brain, kidney and other organs; goji berries; bone broth; coconut sugar; and pea protein which is both dairy and gluten free and 100% vegan friendly.

Watch out for variations on the traditional dough found in pizzas. The Dough restaurant in Bristol for example offers a choice of pizza base: turmeric and seaweed two options! And there are now more recipes for using miso. Allegedly it goes very well with marmite or mashed with sweet potato.

Fruit and Veg

At a time when the industry is worrying about fruit and veg, or rather the availability of some of our favourites, new names have started to emerge. Rambutan, mangosteen and kumquats are primed to hit British supermarkets.  As is camel’s milk, which has 10 times more iron and three times more vitamin C than cow’s milk.

On the beverage front, watch out for orange wine which is proving very popular. Or there is Aquavit with its botanical infusions of caraway or dill. And watermelon water, which is essentially cold-pressed watermelon juice is supposed to be ideal for natural rehydration.

In the week that it was announced that British strawberries are available two months early, it is clear that traditional thinking may no longer work as well in the commercial kitchen. So have a look at the food trends 2017 and see what might work for you.


Published Date: 28th February 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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Inclement Times for Fruit and Vegetables

Fruit and vegetablesNobody enjoys bad weather. We have experienced storms, snow and gales over the past month and for the majority of people, spring cannot come soon enough. However, spare a thought for the farmers and importers of fruit and vegetables not only in the UK but all over the world.

According to a recent report from the BBC, bad weather including flooding, poor light levels and cold has created a ‘perfect storm’ of poor growing conditions.

Heavy rainfall in Spain’s south-eastern Murcia region has led to intense flooding. Italy has experienced extreme cold weather. The combined result is a number of field crops such as peppers, aubergines, lettuce, courgette and broccoli failing!

Putting this into context, Murcia is estimated to supply about 80% of Europe’s fresh produce during the winter months. With the heaviest rainfall in 30 years, this now threatens its production ability. Hence supermarket shortages of lettuce and courgettes.

Importing Lettuce

“The situation has got so bad that some fruit and vegetables suppliers have taken to importing lettuces from the US, a development that up until now has been pretty much unheard of,” said Nationwide Produce food marketing company managing director, Mr O’Malley. He continues saying that both the price and availability of vegetable crops is likely to be affected, with poor planting conditions meaning that some crops planted before Christmas for harvest in 2017 are also likely to suffer.

According to the report, “the yield of courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes, broccoli and peppers from Spain are down by about 25%, while prices had risen between 25% and 40%”.

This is particularly worrying for Britain which imports 50% of its vegetables and 90% of its fruit. In 2015, the UK exported £18 billion worth of food and drink, which is dwarfed by the £38.5 billion it spent on importing food and drink.

Damage Limitation

So what can the UK do in terms of damage limitation? We have already realised that prices have risen after Brexit: whether temporarily or permanently is yet to be determined.

Tony Howard works for a large independent fruit and vegetable wholesaler and cites tomatoes from the Netherlands as an example. “Before Brexit the average price of a box of tomatoes was around £4 and now it is around £6,” he says.”We try to work for a gross profit of around 10%. Secondary wholesalers and catering people have to work for a larger margin because they don’t do the volume that we do. So by the time it gets to somebody’s plate that box of tomatoes could cost £10.

Do we invest in technology, such as in Japan, where the world’s first entirely automated lettuce farm is due for launch next year? We already have driverless tractors following pre-programmed routes and drones over fields assessing crop health and soil conditions. The Hands Free Hectare project in Shropshire is attempting to farm a field without a human setting foot in it at all.

Or do we capitalise on the shortcomings and adapt the cost and the choice of menus to reflect more seasonal, more local produce? Can local market gardens re-emerge with greater crop offerings?

It appears that to divert a crisis, UK food growers need to come together to devise a solution. The market is already changing regardless of the weather so this must be seized upon as an opportunity to change methods.

A Sliver of Sunshine?

Not all is doom and gloom however. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) states that 75% of fresh food sold in UK stores is raised or grown in the UK. UK supermarkets also sell 75% of the organic food bought in the UK, compared with the 1.7% sold in farmers’ markets.

For organic food, 88% of the carrots, 67% beef, 93% lamb, 100% milk and 100% of eggs are produced in the UK. It could be the same with  fruit and vegetables if the food chain works together for the longer term.


Published Date: 24th January 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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Something Different for Christmas 2016?

Something Different for Christmas 2016Innovation has been rife in the food industry throughout 2016 and in the South West, new products have been delighting discerning diners.

As it’s almost Christmas 2016, let’s start with a festive offering. Warrens Bakery’s Mince Pie Pasty went viral after a hugely successful trial last year and this year, the bakery is back with the Mince Pie and Custard Pasty.

Described as the world’s oldest Cornish pasty makers, Warrens Bakery has a reputation for tradition. It recently launched its exclusive artisan bread range as proof that the company is continually striving to evolve.

Master baker Jason Jobling said, “We have made the pasty using rough puff pastry, filled it with specially selected mincemeat and a vanilla custard and have crimped it in the same way we would a savoury pasty. It’s glazed and topped with a cinnamon and sugar blend for extra crunch.” All pasties are hand filled, hand crimped and handmade.

What’s Your Pleasure?

What goes well with a pasty? A real ale, of course! Emal Brewery is the third business venture of husband and wife team Emma and Alex Phillips. It is a newly formed family run brewery supplying three uniquely branded ales; Isca Gold, Legio and Castra.

Influenced by the historic Roman city of Exeter where the brewery is located, these new beers are available in both nine gallon cask and bottles if preferred. “An easy-drinking golden ale balancing a touch of caramel sweetness with a gently bitter finish and a fruity hop aroma” is the description of the Isca Gold.

On to ice cream! We may not be experiencing the weather associated with a 99 down on the beach, but Salcombe Dairy has created a range of Christmas flavours, including Christmas Pudding ice cream. It comes with an indulgent brandy butter ice cream topping and is shaped like a traditional pudding…what better way to finish off a Christmas meal.

The ice cream is made using fresh full cream milk and double cream, locally sourced, which is then combined with brandy, dried fruits and mixed spices. Interestingly, Salcombe does not homogenise its ingredients, instead using a seaweed compound (alginate) as an additive to emulsify the dairy fats.

Dessert for Breakfast

Again on the festive theme, Christmas pudding organic yoghurt has been launched by Brown Cow Organics.  The company introduced a 155g Christmas Pudding flavour live organic yoghurt into their multi award winning range of organic yoghurts. This is a limited edition flavour which came onto the market only last week and which represents “a seasonal artisan dairy twist to the most traditional of Christmas desserts”.

And when you are fed up of gorging on turkey and all things that have made Christmas 2016, reach for Dorset Cereals’ new range of premium mueslis. The company is aiming to rejuvenate the concept muesli with the launch of two new Bircher mueslis, a breakfast dish that originates in Switzerland. The manufacturing process includes “soaking raw oats and grated apple overnight in juice and yoghurt, creating a creamy kind of muesli”.

AC Services loves showcasing innovative food producers from across the South West and South Wales. Wherever you look in our region, you’re sure to find someone producing some unusual food or drink not just for Christmas 2016, but the year round.


Published Date: 22nd November 2016
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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