connections Autumn 2013
In this issue • FoodTradeDirect update • Food labelling laws • The School Food Plan • Buying responsibly with Green10
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With summer seemingly now well and truly behind us, welcome to the Autumn issue of Connections.
News & people Commercial Manager, Ian
As usual we’ve got a round-up of some of the
top industry stories that have made the
back behind the
headlines recently as well as snippets of our
range; we spend
own company news.
an evening at the Cateys; zerohours contracts
Elsewhere in the publication (page 11) Commercial Director, Ed Bevan, brings you the
come under the spotlight; plus dates for your diary
Giving it to you direct Commercial Director, Ed Bevan, lifts the lid on our latest initiative, FoodTradeDirect
Thought for food
low down on our groundbreaking new initiative,
We report on the first
FoodTradeDirect, which we have created
meeting of the
specially to bring the power of group buying
influential All Party
online to small independent operators such as
pubs, clubs, in-house caterers, care homes,
(APPG) on School Food
independent schools, golf clubs and academies, to name but a few.
Our Head of e-Procurement and Client
Services, Kate Windebank, stopped by the
Head of e-Procurement
Connections office to give us the very latest on
and Client Services, Kate
Green10 (page 17), while Procurement Director,
Dave Anderson, brings you up to speed on the
new EU labelling Regulation that comes into force in just over 12 months’ time (page 23). With the new academic year now well underway we report on the meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on School Food which took place within days of the launch of the School Food Plan (page 15), and take a look at the way the growing number of academies are handling their catering
All I want for Christmas…
requirements (page 29).
We bring you hints and tips for satisfying both meat-eaters and
As thoughts turn to Christmas (Already? I hear
vegetarians this Christmas
you say!) we bring you some ideas on how to make the very best of the opportunities that the festive season offers (page 27). And of course there is our ever popular prize draw where, once again, you have the chance to win an iPad mini (page 31) – don’t forget to
23 Designer label All you need to know about the new EU labelling legislation from Procurement Director, Dave Anderson
Academy award Self-operated academies are on the rise……
Happy reading and may I be the first (I hope!) to wish you a very Merry Christmas.
Prize draw Enter our free draw to win an iPad mini
Mia Lowden Commercial Manager
AUTUMN 2013 | 3
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News and people...
Commercial Manager Ian Stockley swaps his suit for chef's whites
‘Meat’ the chef Here at Acquire we are constantly testing both our suppliers’ products and our staff members’ skills. To prove the point we recently conducted a meat taste test panel at one of our clients’ premises. Not wishing to disrupt their day-to-day operation or inconvenience them in any way we decided to take along our own chef, aka Acquire Commercial Manager, Ian Stockley. Ian’s previous experience as an Executive Chef with both Hilton and De Vere Hotels meant he was up for the challenge in conjunction with Acquire Commercial Director, Brian Wheatley, who operated as the runner between the kitchen and the panel. With Ian back in his whites it was like turning the clock back 15 years, and after cooking 56 dishes using meat from four different suppliers Ian’s parting comment as he left the kitchen was: ‘I had forgotten how hard it is!’
week to meet the demands of the business without having to conduct a
Hero to zero
costly redundancy exercise.
Over the last few months there has been a flurry of debate over the use of zero-hours contracts. So what are zero-hours contracts and why have they
However, there is concern that more and more employers are exploiting the use of zero-hours contracts. The latest figures from the CIPD suggest
caused so much fuss?
that one million people in the UK are employed on zero-hours contracts. Zero-hours contracts are designed for casual workers and employers who want a flexible working arrangement. There is no obligation on the employer to provide the casual worker with work and there is no obligation on the casual worker to accept any work offered. In practice, this means that employers can increase or decrease the use of casual workers every
Flexibility is the key benefit of this contract for both employers and, in theory, the workers. Employers are able to meet the needs of their businesses in industries where demand fluctuates. They can also provide additional employment opportunities in peak periods. This is often most noticeable in the hospitality industry where the work demand is seasonal. The use of zero-hours contracts allows the hospitality industry to change the number of staff to meet these demands and to provide more work when needed. However, this flexibility may create uncertainty for casual workers about their working hours and wages, and there are concerns that the use of zerohours contracts is being abused. The main sticking point is that some organisations are allegedly using zero-hours contracts to ‘have their cake and eat it’. The contracts in question require individuals to work fixed hours like an employee but because they are calling the individuals ‘zero-hours workers’, they are denying them any employee rights. The recent media attention could lead to individuals engaged on zerohours contracts actively challenging and bringing claims regarding their
factual employment status. In light of this, it may be sensible for employers Zero-hours contracts offer flexibility, but are they fair?
to assess whether there are potential legal issues with the current use of their zero-hours contracts and, where there are, take the opportunity to implement practical steps to rectify these.
AUTUMN 2013 | 5
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Hospitality skills shortage predicted Insolvency rate in hospitality to continue until 2020, say industry continues to fall Year-on-year UK business insolvency rates have fallen for the fifth experts in new report consecutive month, with the leisure and hotel industry among The industry will continue to experience a skills shortage over the next few years, according to foodservice consultants and senior executives, as an absence of younger workers makes it harder to fill vacancies. That was one of the predictions made in the Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) UK & Ireland’s and Allegra Strategies' Taste of the Future 2020 report, which forecasts the key issues and consumer trends that will be affecting the foodservice and hospitality industry by
those seeing an improvement. The latest Business Insolvency Index from Experian has shown that insolvencies in the leisure and hotel industry dropped from 0.13% in September 2012 to 0.11% in September 2013. It is now an entire year since the sector saw a rise in its monthly insolvency rate. This
2020. According to the report, the majority of the 100 industry experts surveyed
compares positively with the most improved sector in the wider
believe a skills shortage will be one of the biggest challenges the industry will face,
report, the building and construction industry, whose rate dropped
especially as the industry is expected to get busier as the frequency of eating out is
three percentage points from 0.14% to 0.11%.
predicted to be 'significantly higher' by 2020.
Two restaurants promoted to two Michelin stars, 15 new one-stars in 2014 Guide
24 of 33 London boroughs serving healthy school food, confirms 2013 report A new report just out highlights the London boroughs which are
Heston Blumenthal's Dinner has gained a second Michelin star, as it was one of two
leading the way in promoting healthy and sustainable food within
restaurants promoted to two stars in the Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland
their schools and communities, showing the capital has made
2014. There were no new three-star restaurants, and no three-star restaurants
progress in the last two years. Now in its third year, the ‘Good Food
dropping to two stars. The other restaurant
for London’ report compares each London borough’s commitment
to win a second star was The Greenhouse
to good food initiatives, such as improving the quality of school
in London's Mayfair. There were 15 new one-Michelin-starred restaurants, all of
food through the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark, supporting community food growing or achieving Fairtrade status.
which were in England and Ireland, including Lima in London, which is the first Peruvian restaurant in the UK and Europe to be awarded a Michelin star.
Since the 2011 edition – which showcased 17 out of 33 boroughs serving meals to Catering Mark standards – the report’s authors say significant progress has been made. There are now 24 boroughs providing bronze, silver or gold Catering Mark meals in their schools. Between them they serve more than 250,000 meals which meet
Re-sponsor-ble procurement Acquire was honoured to be one of
of the Hospitality Industry we were
the headline sponsors at the inaugural
delighted to present the award for
Foodservice Cateys held at the Park
Procurement Team of the Year to
Plaza Hotel, Westminster Bridge on
Baxter Storey. The team is shown
11th October. At a ceremony
collecting its award from Acquire
attended by the great and the good
Director, Ed Bevan (second from right).
high standards of traceability, provenance and freshness to schoolchildren each day.
Diary dates NOVEMBER 2013 Nov 11th-15th Food Allergy and Intolerance Week Nov 12th-13th Care Show, NEC, Birmingham Nov 15th-17th BBC Good Food Show, Olympia, London Nov 18th-22nd National Eating Out Week Nov 21st-24th Taste of Christmas, Tobacco Docks, London DECEMBER 2013 Dec 2nd Arena Christmas Lunch, Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park Dec 2nd Hospitality Action Christmas Dinner, Brasserie Joel, Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge
AUTUMN 2013 | 7
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FoodTradeDirect The simplest solution to multiple supplier ordering FoodTradeDirect allows you to trade with all of your suppliers and manage your invoices from a single online system. We work with you to select, set up and manage your supply arrangements, then you simply order online and the goods arrive at your kitchen door. Avid Connections readers will know that we have been talking about FoodTradeDirect for a while.
All your suppliers. All in one place.
FoodTradeDirect has combined the power of our purchasing strength with the online ordering capability of our e-procurement system - epsys. The result? A unique trading platform that benefits every catering services provider. Trading with all your suppliers from a single website – that’s FoodTradeDirect – and you can have it now! Using a purchasing organisation is not new and neither, to a large degree, is e-procurement. However, the focus of both has been primarily on medium to large sized foodservice organisations looking to manage their procurement activity better, achieve an improved buying position and, in many cases, deliver an improved margin. Up until now there has been nothing available to single food service outlets or small groups that combines both – but we have corrected this with the launch of FoodTradeDirect.
Imagine an online FoodTradeDirect revolutionises the way food outlets can buy as it combines the very best supply arrangements with straightforward e-trading and invoice management whilst allowing caterers to maintain control of their supply chain and their payments. We understand food requirements will differ from site to site, and we work hard to connect each client with a suitable range of suppliers who can reliably fulfill their needs – week in, week out. At the moment we are offering a free review of your purchasing process which starts with a conversation on the phone. It’s easy, quick and worthwhile spending a few minutes sharing your challenges with us – and you never know, we might just have a few solutions up our sleeve! We know that FoodTradeDirect isn’t for every caterer but it certainly makes life a lot easier having all your suppliers, all in one place!
system that lets you trade with all your suppliers from your own secure website. It’s arrived… it’s FoodTradeDirect
Call 01276 401016 for more details.
AUTUMN 2013 | 11
All your suppliers. All in one place. All our clients tell us that keeping an eye on food related spend and meeting (or beating) the budget is a constant challenge, and with costs having risen in the last year, the task of providing more for less is becoming increasingly difficult.
it’s about working with clients to make sure their purchasing arrangements are the best possible and to secure the safest supply chain. And market conditions and associated cost effects are constantly monitored, to ensure that pricing is always competitive. You can either pay your suppliers directly or use the free FoodTradeDirect Invoice Management Service. This allows you to
Many operators are so busy they have neither the time nor the in-
select the invoices you want paid and we take care of the
house resources to manage their procurement efficiently or
consolidated payment – you have full control over how much and
sustainably and this is where FoodTradeDirect can help, bringing all
when payments are made to your suppliers and if you are disputing
the processes together in one, simple to use web portal that does
an invoice or waiting on a credit note, for example, unlike some
all the hard work for you.
systems, it’s up to you what you pay and when you pay it. A full history of invoices received, disputes in progress and payments
With dozens of suppliers in each of 20 different categories including
made is always available online because FoodTradeDirect
grocery, frozen and dairy through to laundry and waste services,
operates in the cloud 24/7. In case of difficulty our dedicated
FoodTradeDirect users simply engage suppliers from this portfolio or,
support team is on hand for day-to-day management of the
if you wish, you can specify your own preferred suppliers. Once your
account and to interface with suppliers, including dealing with any
unique supply chain has been selected, our buying team sets to
work creating competitive price files specific to your outlet’s profile – and we guarantee that you will never pay more than your existing
In addition to easy online trading and invoice management, buying
deals when you transfer. When this process is complete all the
activity dashboards will soon be available to every user in real time.
information is made available on your exclusive web portal and you
These dashboards deliver a wide range of management
are ready to start placing online orders. Simple!
information to help users understand their buying activity – everything from spend by supplier, top products purchased, and
We really do understand the challenges that caterers face because
even the ability to set up reports that will compare category spends
we have been providing food related purchasing services to
against a previous trading period’s spend profile.
foodservice professionals for over 20 years. The balance of product quality, range, yield and supplier reliability matters and getting the
FoodTradeDirect will also include access to Green10, which enables
combination right will result in improved margins, less waste and
caterers to track their sustainability performance across 10 key
areas including food waste, food miles, animal welfare and local sourcing. (www.greenten.co.uk)
But the service is much more than just an e-procurement platform;
The FoodTradeDirect pedigree Acquire is a hospitality focused procurement consultancy
With FoodTradeDirect you can centralise all your supplier
which provides a wide range of services to catering
orders and manage your invoicing in one place.
operators. Our management solutions are deployed by
FoodTradeDirect provides continuity and gives you and
foodservice operators who engage with us to access our
your staff real control over your orders at any time of day
expertise in the provision of real-time information, price
or night. The simplicity of an online supermarket order, but
monitoring/stabilisation and food cost reduction.
with all of your suppliers together – that’s FoodTradeDirect.
Acquire’s e-trading platform – epsys – manages over 80%
There’s no commitment and no fees for logging on.
of volume traded by our clients and is trusted by them to
Pricing is always competitive because we monitor supplier
provide the means by which they are able to control their
pricing daily, so you always get a great deal.
purchasing activity across complex estates.
Online, on demand
Q&A How long does it take to set up FoodTradeDirect?
locality and product
If you are already using suppliers we have arranged for you, then
want a particular
just a few days.
supplier to trade with
provenance. If you
you via the system Since FoodTradeDirect is so simple to operate, it’s usually not long
then we will work with you
until you will want to add more suppliers to your portal and this may
to make the necessary arrangements.
take up to 10 days, depending on the supplier.
Will using FoodTradeDirect save me more money?
How do you monitor the quality of the suppliers on the network? You need not worry about any aspect of the due diligence of the
Just by deploying FoodTradeDirect into your process you will save a
suppliers you engage with through us; we take care of all the legal
lot of time (and therefore money) and we guarantee that you won’t
requirements and continually audit a supplier’s suitability through
pay any more than you do now if you transfer an existing supplier to
our own in-house team of quality controllers.
trade via the system. Remember, we are always ready to help you extend your supply via our arrangements and you can be assured
Are there any charges?
that we will work hard to reduce your pricing which usually results in
We do not charge users of FoodTradeDirect to do so. We will offer
cost savings of between 5% and 20%.
enhanced management information services in return for a small fee, and some suppliers may have a minimum order value, but
Can any supplier be added to my system?
use of the system – and access to all its standard functions,
We have hundreds of suppliers waiting to trade and will offer a wide
including invoice management services – does not attract a
choice that seeks to match your requirements in terms of range,
To register your interest in FoodTradeDirect, visit foodtradedirect.co.uk and click on ‘enquire’.
Consolidated payments, no fees
FoodTradeDirect doesn’t affect your payment
We never take our customers for granted and
relationships. The supply agreement remains with each
offer two schemes to thank you for choosing
supplier, giving you payment term and credit limit
FoodTradeDirect. With “You spend, we give!”
flexibility. Free invoice management also allows you to
every six months we offer 50p cash back for
select the invoices you want paid and settle multiple
every £100 you have spent through approved
invoices with a single payment. With a full history of
supplier deals. Alternatively, you can choose to
invoices received, any disputes in progress and payments
join the FoodTradeDirect Rewards scheme and receive Rewards for
made in a single interface, you have total visibility and
every pound you spend through us. Rewards are calculated monthly
and can be redeemed for high street vouchers, catering equipment, or even donated to charity. What’s more, you can see exactly what Rewards you’ve earned online and cash them in at any time.
AUTUMN 2013 | 13
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Positive response to new approach The recent meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on School Food took place within days of the launch of the School Food Plan. Connections reports With the first meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on
said the School Food Plan delivered on all of
School Food taking place less than a week after the publication of the
School Food Plan, it was unsurprising that attendance was high; but no one expected to see standing room only and more than 100 people
The consensus among those attending the
squeezed into Committee Room 11 at the Houses of Parliament. They
meeting was broadly supportive of the plan,
had all come to hear the thoughts on the plan of Liz Truss,
and most acknowledged it was thorough.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare;
Still, there were areas of concern. Others
School Food Plan authors John Vincent and Henry Dimbleby; plus
taking part said they wanted to see pilot
David Simmons of the Local Government Association (LGA).
schemes being run outside London or the big cities; questioned whether Ofsted’s
Government ministers had been invited to attend every APPG
involvement would be sufficiently robust;
meeting since April 2012 and Liz Truss had agreed to attend two
asked who would fund capacity issues in
previous meetings, with the group eager to hear the Government’s
school kitchen/dining areas when numbers
thoughts on what was being covered in the plan and what progress
increase; wanted to know how
was being made. Both times she had cancelled, so this was the first
measurement data would be collected and
opportunity for the group to hear from the Government directly.
by whom; and wondered how the plan would reach disengaged heads.
Truss said her own experience of school meals in the 1980s had been that they were to be avoided – her school had even had a ‘lollipop
David Simmons from the LGA
lady’ on duty to see pupils over the road to the local chippy at
acknowledged that the plan was a positive resource and said the
lunchtimes. As a result, she said she wanted to continue the
recent transfer of public health responsibilities to local authorities gave
improvements Jamie Oliver had started.
a good opportunity to join up the school food and health agendas. The challenge remained to make sure the foods eaten by pupils were
She stressed the need to increase take-up and that a change to
those provided, and schools had to work on this side of education. He
food-based standards would help, as nutritional standards “do not
said the School Food Plan reflected Education Secretary Michael
deliver tasty, attractive food”. She also said the Government was
Gove’s belief that schools should move from a culture of ‘must’ to
continuing to look at the case for universal entitlement for all primary
‘should’ to ‘choose’. “We will have to wait and see how successful this
pupils, although this was unlikely in the short term. She acknowledged
approach will be with school food,” he said. He gave a commitment
the role school food “played in attainment and in developing
that the LGA would look out for free-school-meal-entitled children who
rounded young people who could cook, socialise at mealtimes, had
were not currently taking them, and agreed there was a strong case
good table manners and could organise meals for themselves”, and
for universal free school meals.
AUTUMN 2013 | 15
Sustainability, social responsibility and environmental awareness have been high on the agenda of Hospitality businesses for some time now and yet despite this many are still struggling to come up with a plan that actually demonstrates the effect their efforts are having Kate Windebank, Acquire’s Head of e-procurement and Client Services talks responsible sourcing… It’s especially puzzling when you consider that being able to do this
6. How do we actually measure progress?
could well give a caterer the competitive edge when it comes to
7. What is our start point?
winning new business. The initial challenge, it seems, is where to start
8. How do we set targets for improvements in the areas we are
and how to get a foothold onto a ladder that will ultimately lead to a
business being able to quantify progress as far as its responsible
9. How do we demonstrate our progress to clients and consumers?
sourcing initiatives are concerned.
10. How do I change my business practices to improve against the targets we have set ourselves?
With so many different ‘green’ organisations out there, such as WRAP, Red Tractor and MSC, all of whom are doing excellent work, it would
For a business with a dedicated team engaged in monitoring,
appear that caterers have all the resources they need. However,
measuring and documenting policies, process, procedures,
bringing all of the information from these various bodies together in
compliance and results, these may well be questions that have been
one place along with the input of hundreds of suppliers - as has been
asked and answered. For many others such a dedicated team is not a
achieved with our Green10 responsible sourcing initiative - is not
resource they can afford, which is where Green10 can help, delivering
the metrics for 10 specific pillars relating to responsible sourcing, purchasing and sustainability.
We launched Green10 earlier this year with the aim of trying to help our foodservice clients develop and monitor their responsible sourcing
The pillars comprise Food Mileage, Local Sourcing, Environmental
goals. It’s worth noting, however, that a business doesn’t need to be a
Profile, Seasonality, Renewable, Culture, Animal Welfare, Wellbeing,
customer of Acquire to benefit from Green10 as it has been
Packaging and Food Waste. So how does Green10 work in real terms?
developed as a standalone tool. Let’s take Local Sourcing as an example. There are many elements a business needs to consider when it comes
The issue: Having defined what is to be considered locally sourced it’s
to formulating its ‘green’ programme and the chances are that a
not always straightforward to monitor which products can be
good number are listed here:
considered as such. The Green10 remedy: the epsys e-trading platform provides clients
1. What schemes and initiatives are relevant to my business?
with real time management information in respect of orders – by
2. What schemes and initiatives are relevant to my clients’
supplier and product.
businesses? 3. What schemes and initiatives are relevant to the consumers of the
The outcome: the reports produced enable clients to track uptake of locally sourced goods and report the results to their clients/consumers.
food I provide? 4. Which of the above initiatives are consistently relevant?
Or what about Packaging?
5. Which of these points is it possible to measure accurately?
The issue: it will soon become necessary for food service providers to
AUTUMN 2013 | 17
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monitor and report upon the volumes of waste associated with
a huge corporate
food packaging and delivery.
organisation with a
The Green10 remedy: Green10 reports will calculate the volume
dedicated team in
of input and output waste associated with the delivery of goods
order to make a
difference. And, with no large fees
The outcome: the ability to comply with any existing or revised
legislation relating to the monitoring and disposal of waste
associated with packaging.
investment required to
Every Green10 pillar delivers a series of output metrics that can
benefit and no
be monitored and used to measure progress against specific
targets. Clients want to know that their caterers are buying
responsibly and are taking the issues involved seriously. Indeed
some clients will make the decision on which supplier/contractor
to engage based on their responsible sourcing position and
may even set them aside in a tender process if they are not
able to demonstrate appropriate commitment.
Businesses of any size can participate - from
Each client is set up with a unique web portal, which is effectively
their own online “dashboard”. The Green10 metrics are already
formulated so all that needs to be added is the client’s data.
Green10 can help transform both
And this doesn’t necessarily need to come from an e-
a business profile and every client’s
procurement system; it can just as easily be populated with data
perception of just a caterer to – a caterer that
relating to the invoices received electronically from suppliers.
is doing the right thing.
The focus on healthy eating has been around a long time so if a
In order to create Green10 Acquire had to do the very thing that
business embraced the “Wellbeing” pillar as one of its chosen
so many other businesses had failed to do or simply shied away
criteria the dashboard could show:
from, i.e. gather and collate a mass of data from the supply chain in relation to nutritional content, lifestyle choices,
• The percentage of products with low salt content.
provenance, allergens, environmental accreditations and many
• What progress has been made in a targeted reduction of
other attributes – more than 200 in fact! For some suppliers this
products containing low saturated fat. • The overall month on month volumes on a wide range of key nutritional content indicators – which can be defined to reflect
was a relatively simple exercise, for others it was a bit of an uphill battle, but the really interesting point is that practically every supplier fully embraced the exercise.
specific targets. The overall aim is to ensure that momentum is maintained so And, in keeping with its objectives, Green10 is “organic” meaning
Green10 will be working closely with suppliers, clients and
that a company can start off by engaging with just one pillar
accreditation/environmental agencies to ensure that the key
and then add others seamlessly as and when needed.
messages and developments are shared within our industry. There are even plans in place to create a Green10 Leadership
But Green10 is not just about dashboards and monitoring
Panel so that those who embrace the Green10 framework can
targets; it’s an opportunity for the Hospitality industry at large to
influence and contribute to on-going initiatives.
really focus on commonly experienced sustainable sourcing issues in a consistent way. To do this businesses don’t have to be
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The Best in British Food
best the the
british FOOD D
Changes to the food labelling laws On 13th December 2014 some significant changes will take place in relation to EU food labelling laws. Acquire’s Procurement Director, Dave Anderson, has, as you would expect, been planning well ahead for the changes and shares his understanding of the new Regulation below
As a business Acquire has been
their publication. Work on a major revision of the rules began in the
liaising with its suppliers for some
European Union (EU) some time ago and culminated in the publication in
time to ensure that their
the EU Official Journal on 22nd November 2011 of Regulation No (EU)
products – including both
1169/20111 on the provision of food information to consumers. This new
existing lines and any planned
Regulation, which replaces the current rules, sets out the requirements for
New Product Development – will
the provision of food information to the consumer, and also with regard
be compliant when the
to the provision of nutrition information on foodstuffs. The Regulation
legislation comes into force at
came into effect on 13th December 2011 and with one or two specific
the end of next year. Our
exceptions it will apply from 13th December 2014.
suppliers’ adherence to the new
labelling regulations is key as
The new Regulation maintains the original objectives and the core
part of our ongoing
components of the current labelling legislation, but does introduce some
commitment to sourcing
new requirements in order to ensure easier compliance and greater
responsibly on behalf of our
clarity for stakeholders, as well as modernising the legislation to take
clients. Some of the changes are quite significant whilst others are less so.
account of new developments in the field of food information. It aims to
I will explain how the legislation affects us, our suppliers and you, our
improve transparency of the food chain, therefore allowing consumers to
customers, a little later, but first it is worth knowing something of the history
make more informed choices about the products they are buying.
behind the changes.
Some aspects of the Regulation cover ‘distance sales’. Distance sales apply to sale via the internet by online retailers, where there is no
The current legislation sets out the requirements for the labelling,
simultaneous presence of supplier and consumer.
advertising and presentation of foodstuffs. The new legislation refers to food information rather than food labelling. It states that food information
There are several points of the Regulation that apply to goods delivered
means: “information concerning a food and made available to the final
to your kitchen door:
consumer by means of a label, other accompanying material, or any other means including modern technology tools or verbal communication”.
• The food business operator responsible for the accuracy of the food information is the name or business name that the product is marketed under and so in this respect Acquire is not liable for the information
The current rules were first introduced in 1979 and while they have been
provided on the product labels. However, as a responsible business
amended and consolidated over the years, market conditions, eating
and as part of our Green10 initiative, we are doing everything within our
habits and consumer expectations have changed considerably since
power to ensure that all our suppliers are compliant. For clients that use
AUTUMN 2013 | 23
• The provision of nutrition information will become mandatory for most pre-packaged foods with the exception of foods such as herbs, chewing gum and products in packaging smaller than 25cm². To accommodate the differences in package sizes, the nutrition information should refer to 100ml/100g amounts. Portion based declarations can be added. The format of the nutrition table has also changed; it must be declared in the following order: energy, fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt. • Stating the country of origin has now become extended to the meat of pigs, sheep, goats and poultry. If the country of origin of the product is different to the country of origin of the primary product this must also be stated. How does the Regulation affect you? • Information on potential allergens in non-packaged foods should now always be provided to the consumer. Allergens will have to be presented on menus or displays, with verbal information being available from staff along with written confirmation available to the customer at any time. • If you would like to know more then please feel free to call e-trading, we are also working on the addition of an e-label as part of
us and we will be delighted to help you. Alternatively you
the epsys platform. The label will show, by product, the attributes,
nutritional content, allergens and country of origin.
• Acquire is a food consultancy and has no input into a manufacturer’s
product information. However, we do have a responsibility to ensure that our suppliers do not supply food that we know or presume to be non-compliant with the food information law. Therefore we are striving to ensure that suppliers have the correct mandatory information on their product or on commercial documents accompanying their products. This mandatory information must arrive before or at the same time as the product reaches a customer. • The food information must not be modified in a way that would mislead the final consumer. How does the Regulation affect suppliers? • Mandatory product information must be easily visible and legible, with the font height being larger than 1.2mm. If the packaging has an area of less than 80cm² the font height must be larger than 0.9mm. • The list of mandatory information remains the same, i.e. product name, list of ingredients, etc. However several rules have been changed regarding the labelling of meat that contains more than 5% water, caffeine based products, alcoholic beverages and vegetable oils. • The list of allergens that must be declared has not changed. The ‘contains… (list of allergens)’ statements used as part of allergy statements on packs will no longer be allowed. An alternative to this is ‘allergy advice – for allergens, see ingredients in bold’, and the allergens should be highlighted in the ingredients list. For pre-packed products that do not contain an ingredients list, the product must have a label that states ‘contains’ followed by the allergen. • The date of minimum durability must be stated on all pre-packed products. Highly perishable foods can be labelled with a ‘use by’ date. The date of freezing must also now be stated.
AUTUMN 2013 | 25
Steal a march on Christmas When planning for the festive rush, caterers know that early preparation is the trick as they look to cope with the stress of trying to improve on the previous year’s experience There is an air of optimism that this
commit to a full dinner. Equally, cold options such as patés and terrines
year will be better than last. Analyst
can be given a festive twist with fruit and spiced chutneys, while quick cook
Mintel’s survey of Christmas 2012 saw
cuts such as a pork escalope taken from the leg will ease the burden on
an increase in consumer spending
kitchen staff. Pork is a great flavour carrier and this means it works well with
and it believes the feel good factor
other festive ingredients and thereby provides menu variation.
about the economy will extend to this December. It is also, after all, still a time
In amongst this ‘meat feast’ caterers should not ignore the needs of
that consumers save, or push the boat
vegetarians and those looking for a healthier option. A survey by the
Vegetarian Research Group found that 23 million people now follow a ‘vegetarian inclined diet’ compared with 7.3 million full time vegetarians.
The main task for operators, then, is to
There is a perception in some quarters that meat-free means bland or
promote their offer well in advance.
boring but this does not need to be the case; for proof of this look no
Caterers should start planning menus
further than the booming vegetarian restaurant scene in London. By
in early November or sooner to give
incorporating exciting flavours from big food trends such as Asian and
them enough time to try out new
Brazilian into their experimentation with seasonal vegetables, chefs are
recipes and work out which ingredients they will need to stock up on, so
creating innovative and interesting dishes that are helping to drive the
they can begin to introduce festive dishes at the beginning of December.
vegivore movement. Quorn fillets can be used as the main ingredients for Christmas roasts whilst Quorn pieces can be used for other dishes such as
As well as traditional main courses and desserts, caterers can introduce
pies, tagines and stews. It is also great for lighter canapé fillings, which are
ethnic flavours during the festive season to avoid menu fatigue. For
always popular for events in the run-up to Christmas.
example, putting a spin on classic ingredients, caterers could utilise a ready-to-use cooking sauce to create turkey curry or a Chinese stir fry.
Remember too that frozen ingredients can make a valuable contribution
Meat is obviously important for Christmas menus, and while turkey is the
to Christmas menus. Better freezing techniques mean that frozen Brussels
norm there are plenty of alternatives. Buffets work well at this time of year
sprouts are every bit as good as their fresh counterparts but without the
and a seasonally glazed premium roasted ham or gammon is a good
need for fiddly preparation. Other Christmas frozen favourites include
example of a joint that works. Traditional beef and lamb cuts are great, but
red cabbage, apple, parsnips, chestnuts, butternut squash and
because of high demand for them at Christmas, prices are likely to be
inflated. So, if you are keeping an eye on costs, it’s a good idea to think about more cost effective cuts, which will still deliver in terms of taste
Sweet products including cakes and snacks with a Christmas theme can
also start to be sold in early December, if not before. It’s not alien to customers as retailers start their big Christmas push soon after bonfire night.
Other tips for Christmas include adding hot turkey sandwiches to lunchtime
And the focus for sweet products doesn’t have to be on the mid to end
menus at a premium price point to encourage customers to buy into
of the month either – caterers can reap the benefits if they start serving
Christmas and trade up from standard options without asking them to
AUTUMN 2013 | 27
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New schools, new food plan There are now over 3000 Academies up and running, with more opening each month, and there is a clear picture emerging of how these new types of school are organising their school meals service Figures from the Department for Education show that there were 3049
now 98 Academies operating in this way, although this does only
Academies open as of 1st July 2013. Two years ago there was a flood
represent 3% of the total. It’s hardly surprising then that the issue of how
of openings – either as new schools or existing schools that had
to improve catering provision and financial viability in small and rural
converted – but now the rate has slowed, or at least levelled off. In the
schools is a key part of the new School Food Plan, which also calls for
last six months there have been 308 new secondary schools and 383
the school meals service to improve its branding and make it more
new primary/middle schools. During this period it is smaller schools that
attractive. Could this be one reason why so many new schools on the
have accounted for the largest number of new openings, possibly due
scene – Academies – are turning to contract caterers to run their school
to a rise in the number of rural schools setting up as Academies.
According to research carried out by Educatering magazine back in
Many contract caterers will insist that they stick to the nutritional
January local authority-run catering services accounted for 25% of all
standards in their Academy schools just as they do in state maintained
Academies, a rise from 19% in July 2012. At the time it was suggested
ones. But after the School Food Plan announced that the big Academy
that this reflected the difficulties faced by many small primary schools in
chains have agreed to voluntarily sign up to new school food standards
attracting contract caterers, particularly in rural areas where pupil roll
it will be interesting to see how many Academies are part of these “big
numbers are much lower than in urban areas. It was also suggested
chains” and how many are independent, to see if this has any effect on
that the private sector was cherry-picking the best school contracts
the number of Academies that have the choice to serve the food they
which compounds the problem for local authorities as they are less
want. Another area of interest will be the number of free schools
able to subsidise the smaller schools as a result.
entering the market as this is another growing sector and one that could potentially change the face of school catering.
Educatering’s latest figures show that the trend is continuing - local authority catering services account for 27% of the Academies market,
During the 1970s the percentage of children eating school meals in
increasing their share by 2%. Contract caterers still dominate with a
England peaked at around 70% before falling dramatically to below
33% share, but this is down from 34% six months ago. What remains a
50% – the point at which most average school dinner services become
startling figure is the number of self-operated Academy schools.
economically unviable. Despite concerted efforts to get more parents to pay for school lunch uptake, which has risen by 7% over the past
Between January and July 202 Academies have opened and chosen
three years, it still languishes well below the previous peak, currently
to have an in-house catering service, bringing the total operating in this
standing at 43%. By implementing its vision of “flavourful, fresh food
way to 939, or 34% of all Academies. Again, this could be down to the
served by friendly, fulfilled cooks in financially-sound school kitchens”,
large number of smaller schools that find it difficult to attract caterers,
the School Food Plan has set itself the goal of raising uptake by 20% to
but it could also be due to new Academies wanting complete control
well above the 50% break-even figure.
over what they do. What is also rather worrying is that there has been a rise in the number of Academy schools that have no catering service at
For further information on the School Food Plan, visit
all; 32 opened in the last six months without a service and there are
AUTUMN 2013 | 29
iPad mini! We have an iPad mini – worth over £250! – to give away to one lucky reader in a free-to-enter prize draw. Just imagine, the full iPad experience but you can hold this nifty little version in one hand... Read on for your chance to win Everything you love about the iPad – its beautiful screen, fast and fluid performance, FaceTime and iSight cameras, thousands of amazing apps, 10-hour battery life – apply to the iPad mini too. Colours are vivid and text is sharp on the iPad mini’s 7.9in display. All the apps made for iPad (and there are over 300,000 of them!) also work with iPad mini: they're immersive, full-screen apps that let you do almost anything you can imagine. What’s more you get advanced Wi-Fi that's up to twice as fast as any previous-generation iPad and access to fast mobile data networks around the world, so the iPad mini lets you download content, stream video and browse the web at amazing speeds. For your chance to win, simply email your contact details (name, company name, address and telephone number) with 'iPad mini draw' in the subject line, to AmeliaLowden@acquireservices.co.uk by Friday 29th November 2013. The winner of the draw will be notified by 13th December 2013. No correspondence will be entered into. Full terms and conditions are available upon request.
Summer’s iPad mini draw winner Congratulations to the winner of the Connections Summer prize draw. An iPad mini was presented to Neil McGowan from Trent Bridge.
Alfa House, 7 Doman Road, Camberley, Surrey GU15 3DN T: 0845 223 2345 F: 01276 686940 E: email@example.com W: www.acquireservices.co.uk
AUTUMN 2013 | 31