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connections Autumn 2013

In this issue • FoodTradeDirect update • Food labelling laws • The School Food Plan • Buying responsibly with Green10

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Welcome... 5

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

Stockley, goes

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

Parliamentary Group

pubs, clubs, in-house caterers, care homes,

(APPG) on School Food

independent schools, golf clubs and academies, to name but a few.


Green and

Our Head of e-Procurement and Client

pleasant land

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,

Windebank, enthuses

Dave Anderson, brings you up to speed on the

about Green10

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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Terms & Conditions: Open to bona fide UK catering establishments and their employees aged 18+. Employees must seek their employer’s permission. Prizes subject to availability whilst stocks last. To claim free tea accessories send three tokens on side of promotional 1150 pack, providing name, address, DOB and telephone number to PG tips TEA BREAK SET GIVEAWAY, PO Box 7557, Derby DE1 0NP. Closing date for receipt of entries: 23:59 (GMT) 31st January 2014. Up to 4 free accessories per catering establishment only. For full terms and conditions see Biscuit barrel and tea tray shown are for illustrative purposes only. Design of PG tips biscuit barrel and tea tray may vary. *Source: SIG Value Sales Normal Tea 52 w/e 08 Jun 2013.

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

issue resolution.

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

satisfied stakeholders.

areas including food waste, food miles, animal welfare and local sourcing. (

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.

12 |

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 and click on ‘enquire’.

Consolidated payments, no fees

Loyalty pays

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

total control.

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

these points.

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

focusing on?

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

by site.

difference. And, with no large fees

The outcome: the ability to comply with any existing or revised

involved, no

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

restriction on

targets. Clients want to know that their caterers are buying

their size/location

responsibly and are taking the issues involved seriously. Indeed

or technical

some clients will make the decision on which supplier/contractor


to engage based on their responsible sourcing position and

Green10 is

may even set them aside in a tender process if they are not

completely inclusive.

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

“one-man-bands” to

their own online “dashboard”. The Green10 metrics are already

multinational corporations,

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

AUTUMN 2013 | 19

The Best in British Food

best the the


british FOOD D PremierFoods_FS

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

Dave Anderson

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,

can visit:

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

out, for.

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

creamed leeks.

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

and succulence.

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

them earlier.

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.

meals service?

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

WIN an

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 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: W:

AUTUMN 2013 | 31

Connections autumn 2013  

The Winter edition of Connections is now available.

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