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FoodChain Issue 144


DEC 2018

The business of food and drink

Sweet spot Now operating 15 locations across London, Crosstown Doughnuts has based its success on providing only the best quality products and superlative customer service

Industry News l

Ahead of the curve How the biggest food trends of 2018 might evolve and develop in 2019

Old Curiosity launches colour changing gin for Christmas


Paul A Young’s festive chocolate offerings are set to impress


Corkers suggests the ideal drinks to pair with its crisps

Raise your glass The beer market has seen the arrival of new flavours and brewing techniques

FoodChain ISSUE 144 L DEC 2018


Editor’s Welcome

Sweet spot Now operating 15 locations across London, Crosstown Donuts has based its success on providing only the best quality products and superlative customer service

Industry News LOld

Ahead of the curve How the biggest food trends of 2018 might evolve and develop in 2019

Curiosity launches colour changing gin for Christmas


A Young’s festive chocolate offerings are set to impress


suggests the ideal drinks to pair with its crisps

Raise your glass The beer market has seen the arrival of new flavours and brewing techniques

Chairman Andrew Schofield Managing Director Joe Woolsgrove

Happy new year FoodChain ISSUE 133

JAN 2018



FoodChain ISSUE 134

FEB 2018


Staff Writer Vladi Nikolov

MARCH 2018

Classic American baked goods are now available to customers around the world thanks to the global expansion of Magnolia Bakery


APRIL 2018


With a history dating back over 250 years, leading brewer Warsteiner has always ensured that quality remains the highest priority


sweetest thing

The pioneer of premium wine on tap, Free Flow Wines, is now setting its sights on another innovation – wine in cans

Ragus Pure Sugars is keen to educate the food industry about the natural benefits of its products

Industry News

Industry News

Sleep Well milk now stocked East of England Co-op food

waste reduction plan

Manorview Group and Loch Fyne

in new partnership


Change for the better

Reducing plastic food packaging waste isn’t as simple as it sounds

Why hospitality companies need to keep their brands fresh and vibrant

FoodChain ISSUE 137

Industry News

New non-alcoholic botanical

in Fortnum & Mason

Technology Restaurant IT solutions are enabling customers to get exactly what they want

MAY 2018

From farm to fork

High-quality beef supplier Pickstock Telford is working hard to establish a solid, fully integrated business model

Young’s Seafood adverts for Hernö Gin

Industry News

Unique beverage Woodstar provides

blends from ROCKTAILS

Malcolm the Cat returns for Cepac creates new packaging

Trend setters

Change for the better

Keeping up with food trends requires intensive research and development

The hospitality sector appreciates the need for continuous improvement

a refined low-alcohol alternative

Beautiful botanical illustrations adorn Firefly’s packaging revamp Smurfit Kappa wins a top award

for collaboration from Nestlé

A head start Artificial Intelligence (AI) is just one of the key hospitality trends to look out for in 2018

Captivated by coffee

In good health

expansion Slim Chickens is bringing its successful franchise model from the US to the UK; customers are already loving its delicious menu offerings

Progress & predictions

Progress & predictions

What does artificial intelligence really mean for the food industry?

How AI can increase efficiency in the food supply chain

FoodChain ISSUE 141

SEPT 2018


Hand-cooked to perfection

How a dedicated investment strategy has always played a vital role in driving Burts Chips’ plans for growth

Web Sales Tim Eakins

Does Brexit offer the opportunity to revolutionise food production and create a new future?



JULY 2018


UCC Coffee UK & Ireland has been on a journey of evolution to become a total coffee solutions provider

Industry News

New salted caramel flavour launched by Munchy Seeds

Opportunity knocks


JUNE 2018

available in glass jars

Beyond the Bean delivers


Will Daynes discusses the increasing popularity of health drinks, and looks at why their sales are overtaking traditional market leaders

Industry News Breakfast protein cold-pressed

Marco Pierre White restaurant

to open in Dover

Tempting customers

Digitisation is key

Is your menu offering a wide enough range of seafood?

Companies today are using digital and automation strategies and are already seeing revenue uplift

the new cold foam trend

Dingley Dell Pork wants to help

‘one million bees’

FoodChain ISSUE 142



Industry News

Greedy Goat ice-cream now

in its Northumberland facility

software to reduce transport costs

from new Sidel machine installation




Industry News available from Central Foods

Sweetdreams invests £600,000

Greggs uses routing and scheduling Sanpellegrino’s Italian plant benefits


Bite-sized baked products now

Pod squad A new IT solution has completely transformed Bidfresh’s distribution operation

M&S introduces fresh food supply chain technology to increase visibility

Sprouting up Some of the new trends for growing food at home in 2018

Advertising Design Fiona Jolliffe Sales Joe Balfour Natalie Brett Mark Cawston Theresa McDonald Gary Silk

FoodChain Doing things right




Art Editor Fleur Daniels



Tapping into

in class

Editor Libbie Hammond Assistant Editor Will Daynes


OCT 2018


Great news Global demand for British produce continues to grow

The Uncommon launches new canned sparkling wine The Huskup cup is created

from waste rice husks

Technology release

Weighing the options

Research into food delivery reveals customers’ willingness to change their digital ordering habits

Checkweighing technology offers more than just compliance with the latest legislation

FoodChain ISSUE 143

NOV 2018


smoothie launched by Savsé

Morveren Absinthe chooses eye-catching digital label solution GRADZ Bakery launches its first

cake and dessert range

Clean and green Food manufacturers can save carbon, reduce costs and become more energy secure

FoodChain ISSUE 144

DEC 2018


Sweet spot

Brewed to entertain

Now operating 15 locations across London, Crosstown Donuts has based its success on providing only the best quality products and superlative customer service

Ellicottville Brewing Co. prides itself on original flavours, product consistency and quality control

Exclusive Features Darren Jolliffe Independent Sales Dave King Operations Director Philip Monument Operations Manager Natalie Griffiths

Industry News Clean and green Some tips on taking a more environmentally-friendly approach to energy in the factory

Mark the diary Chocolate Week is in October Free Soul products focus on women’s unique nutritional needs Beetroot powder from Zuma creates nutritious pink drinks


Industry News Technology release

Keeping it fresh

Customer data can help restaurants, bars and pubs get insights into their customers

The challenges that Brexit brings to the supply chain and advice on how to deal with them

Carlsberg’s logistics centre reduces energy consumption with LED lighting Young’s Seafood looks to revolutionise the frozen meals category Planet Organic launches a raw chocolate snack bar with probiotics

Industry News Lessons learned?

Cool running

Why food safety should still be right at the top of the agenda

The proper use of a cold chain can help reduce perishable food losses

Sodexo has launched its own wonky veg initiative Reliquum London Dry Gin

helps reduce fruit waste

Culina Group improves safety with Labcraft Banksman system

Industry News Old Curiosity launches colour

Play fair

Ahead of the curve

Digital technology is changing the face of the hotel and hospitality sector

How the biggest food trends of 2018 might evolve and develop in 2019

changing gin for Christmas

Paul A Young’s festive chocolate

offerings are set to impress

Corkers suggests the ideal drinks

to pair with its crisps

Raise your glass The beer market has seen the arrival of new flavours and brewing techniques

ell, it’s the last issue of 2018 and the political environment is as highly charged as ever! Theresa May survived her leadership challenge – another delay in the Brexit process and another trial

Editorial Researchers Anna Davies Alasdair Gamble Wendy Russell

overcome. The Brexit uncertainty we’ve been discussing all year still looms large,

Office Manager Advertising Administrator Tracy Chynoweth

and come together to secure a workable Brexit deal. Companies and the country

and I can’t help but agree with Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, who said: “Politicians must finally stop the endless infighting of the past 30 months have had enough of chaos.” Thankfully, the companies that we feature in FoodChain have such positive stories to tell, that is always a pleasure to report on their activities. And if we

Follow us at:

use them as an indicator for the wider food and beverage sector, we can be reassured it is moving forward with a solid purpose and ambitious targets plans


Schofield Publishing Cringleford Business Centre, 10 Intwood Road, Cringleford, Norwich, NR4 6AU, U.K. T: +44 (0)1603 274130

for the future. Here’s to a positive and progressive 2019 for all!

© 2018 Schofield Publishing Ltd

Please note: The opinions expressed by contributors and advertisers within this publication do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor and publisher. Every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the information published is accurate, and correct at time of writing, but no legal responsibility for loss occasioned by the use of such information can be accepted by the publisher. All rights reserved. The contents of the magazine are strictly copyright, the property of Schofield Publishing, and may not be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher.


Contents 4


10 18

32 Water Liquid gold


By assessing each application, food processors can develop a deeper understanding of how water consumption can be optimised

Exports Great news


Food businesses interested in exporting their goods overseas should contact their local DIT office for guidance and help

Artificial intelligence Rise of the machines

Trends Ahead of the curve

Food safety Lessons learned?


James Wood believes that the issue of food safety for manufacturers comes down to one thing – visibility


Food and beverage manufacturers must make proactive decisions that leverage AI and the most powerful technologies available

Factory automation Future-proof


Now is the time to harness automation, improve processes and ensure your business is fit for purpose


Hotel sector Play fair


Some significant food trends have emerged in 2018 – how are they going to develop and evolve in 2019?

With the arrival of new approaches to accommodation such as Airbnb, the hotel and hospitality sector faces serious competition

Cold chain Cool running

Waste Inspired solutions


Cold is an important component of an agricultural handing system, helping reduce perishable food losses and increase storage potential

Supply chain Keeping it fresh


Having a strong, stable supply chain infrastructure in place has never been more important as Brexit approaches

Beer Raise your glass


There are schemes out there that use waste in innovative ways – including turning old bread into tasty ale

Packaging Problem solved


The induction heat sealing method can now be enjoyed on glass containers for fat or oil rich products


Independent craft brewers are fuelling the growth of the UK beer scene, and consumers are becoming more sophisticated





Up-to-date products and announcements from the food and beverage sector

Taste Test

The FoodChain team sample a selection of new and innovative foods and drinks




56 60 Profiles


Innovations & developments within some of the world’s finest companies

Donald Russell


K Foley Ltd - McDonald’s


Crosstown Doughnuts


Kuminiano Fruit




Tavistock Restaurant Collection


The Bread Factory


Four Foods Group


Purity Brewing


Ripple Foods


Thomas Fudge’s


Ellicottville Brewing Co.


Max Burgers


Golden Krust


R Owton (Wholesale Butchers)




Oliver Kay Produce


Malhotra Group


Northcoast Seafoods


Silvery Tweed Cereals


Hanover Dairies


Southern Co-op


Bernard Matthews






Burns Pet Nutrition




Vergeer Holland


Revive Active





Great news As Peter Norris reports, the world is craving British food and drink


lobal demand for British produce hit a record high in 2017, with exports of our food and drink topping £22bn. Manufacturers of products ranging from ice cream to popcorn and craft beer to baked goods are finding real success overseas, as consumers across the globe look to us for our taste, quality and high standards. In fact, according to a Barclays study, consumers across markets including China, India, South Africa and the United States are willing to pay a premium for British-made products.


The United States imported over $113.5 billion (£87.5 billion) of food and drink from around the globe last year, demonstrating the opportunity offered by the market.

Huge opportunities One company that has taken advantage of American taste for British food and drink is London-based premium mixers producer Double Dutch. Its range of flavours, from traditional Indian tonic water to pomegranate and basil, has seen the company secure several distribution deals in the United States, helping to increase exports to 45 per cent of its annual turnover by the end of 2018. Working with an International Trade Adviser from the Department for International Trade (DIT), Double Dutch received support to attend the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services trade show last year. China, the world’s second largest economy, also offers huge opportunities for British food producers. According to the same Barclays study, over 60


Granny Gothards, an artisanal ice cream maker, is one example of a British food producer that is capitalising on China’s demand for dairy

per cent of Chinese consumers are more likely to purchase a product if it is British-made. Dairy products are a particular area of opportunity, with demand for most dairy categories in China growing by more than 20 per cent each year. The country is estimated to have the world’s largest dairy market by 2022, with Mintel predicting that cheese, yoghurt and protein-fortified dairy products will be areas of major growth1. On a recent trip to China, International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP signed a deal with the Chinese Government which will allow the import of UK dairy products made with milk from third countries. The agreement is estimated to be worth £240 million over five years to the UK, showing the scope of the opportunity. Granny Gothards, an artisanal ice cream maker, is one example of a British food producer that is capitalising on China’s demand for dairy. It overcame several challenges when entering the Chinese market, ranging from navigating Chinese regulations to understanding Chinese business practice and etiquette. The business received support from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and International Trade Advisers from DIT to help it navigate the Chinese market, specifically helping to address those concerns around business culture and regulations. The support was part of the Food is GREAT campaign, the UK Government’s cross department initiative to showcase UK food and drink overseas and to help firms to export. Following its success in China, Granny Gothards has increased production

building, that is essential to building lasting business contacts. ITAs can also provide guidance on issues from labelling to taxes. I’d encourage any food and drink business interested in exporting to contact their local DIT office. There’s a world of demand out there, and if these firms can do it, so can you. D 1

capacity by 300 per cent and opened a second production centre. While doing business in China may seem daunting, with the right insight, knowledge and support, any exporting challenge can be overcome. International Trade Advisers (ITAs) can guide you through ‘guanxi’, the uniquely Chinese idea of relationship

Peter Norris is International Trade Adviser for the Department for International Trade (DIT) in the South West. An international economic department, the DIT helps businesses export, drives inward and outward investment, negotiates market access and trade deals, and champions free trade. 5

Rise of the machines Mike Edgett looks at how AI is set to redefine food manufacturing in the coming years

Mike Edgett



nce the preserve of science fiction, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has arrived. But while Hollywood’s dramatised interpretation of AI coming into our everyday home and working lives might be unsettling, thankfully real-world AI is not something to be feared.

The current state of AI technology Most industry pundits seem to agree that AI is going to have a major impact on businesses. In fact, Gartner predicts, “By 2020, the number of users of modern business intelligence and analytics platforms that are

Artificial intelligence

differentiated by augmented data discovery capabilities will grow at twice the rate — and deliver twice the business value — of those that are not.� Such optimistic thinking is helping to drive the large-scale adoption of AI technologies. AI is being embedded

within many applications, from ERP solutions with built-in Business Intelligence capabilities, to Networked Supply Chains using Predictive Analytics. Consumers will start to experience the benefits of AI in many applications we have come to take for granted, such as e-commerce sites 7

which recommend next purchases, or music streaming sites which suggest music for our playlists.

How AI is being applied in food and beverage manufacturing Facial recognition

While many people associate this application with Facebook and its capability to ‘recognise’ people in images and tag them, it also has some real potential value in manufacturing. AI applications for recognising images can be used for security clearance to help companies better control access to their facilities. Additionally, the same type of technology that recognises when an unidentified individual is trying to enter your building can also recognise if a crisp does not have the perfect golden colour.

Error detection Banks have been using AI for years to determine when ‘atypical’ charges


AI can streamline complex decisiontrees, apply data-based science and proceed with defined actions based on parameters learned from user input

are being made against your account, triggering a fraud alert. The same type of monitoring for anomalies can be used by manufacturers to flag orders or purchases which are outside of normal patterns and indicate a possible error. It can also be used to monitor for compliance with regulations, workforce safety and the safe handling of food, including the cross contamination of typical allergens, like peanuts. The ability to ‘intelligently monitor’ for potential liabilities means modern software can act as a watchdog and alert any abnormalities that we humans should investigate.

AI and IoT AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) work together to interpret data received from sensors and can recognise when action is needed. Sensors generate such vast amounts of data that it would be useless without the ability to aggregate, sort and identify the data points which are significant. Often, the system is asked to spot anomalies such as early warning signs that an asset may be failing or may require maintenance. AI is also used to determine the seriousness of the flagged data points — such as if a technician should be dispatched or the line should be shut down due to imminent danger to workers.

Personal Assistants for the workplace One of the most exciting applications of AI in manufacturing is the Personal Assistant, which uses Natural Language Processing to interact with the user, answer questions, perform functions

Artificial intelligence and provide recommendations based on data science. This means a foreman, technician, R&D technologist or quality control inspector can verbally inquire about relevant details — from batch ingredients, to inventory levels — without needing to type on a keyboard or handheld device.

Machine learning AI can streamline complex decisiontrees, apply data-based science and proceed with defined actions based on parameters learned from user input. Laws of science, probability, and logic — specific to your industry — can be applied to predict outcomes, from buying trends, to pricing projections, to the availability of raw resources. Humans create the rules and define parameters, including the company’s risk tolerance. Machines can ‘learn’ from experience what data points are considered acceptable and which are ‘out of bounds’ and need action.

More data helps to refine projected outcomes and improve the accuracy of forecasts.

Predictive analytics Using BI solutions with AI builtin, managers can see highly accurate forecasts of the future and evaluate clearly defined sets of recommendations to make wellinformed decisions based on scientific reasoning. AI technology recognises patterns, expands the knowledge base and discovers cause-and-effect relationships, using such insights to project the likely outcome or the next data point in the trend’s curve.

Automation Numerous routine or administrative tasks in a manufacturing plant can be automated, thanks to AI. Workflows can be established, which allow data points to trigger reactions, signal notices, create reports, flag instances for review, place re-orders, dispatch crews, reserve parts and update batch schedules or recipe formulations based on seasonal availability or the quality of ingredients — for example, the sweetness of fresh berries may mean less sugar should be added.

Obstacles to overcome The term AI can make workers cringe as they envision a future in which machines run themselves and robots methodically execute the activities needed without a human in sight. It is true that in some industries the need for manual labour is reduced, but overall humans will still play an essential role in operations — and that will likely be the case for decades. In the current world of manufacturing, skilled workers are more important than ever. False assumptions and fear of AI technology can get in the way of making improvements and hinder the move toward modern applications. For instance, workers may assume that implementing new technology translates to reductions in headcount. Technicians, engineers, logistics experts, and data scientists may — wrongfully — assume that a career in

manufacturing is short-term and soon to be replaced by technology. Such fears could deter the next generation of skilled workers from even considering jobs in the manufacturing sector. According to a survey by Constellation Research, 80 per cent of organisations say they do not currently possess the human capital necessary to implement AI projects, while only 14 per cent of executives say that their current staff is sufficient. Moreover, 40 per cent of these executives reported that they will need to make significant talent acquisitions to support their AI projects.

What’s next? IT professionals who are skilled in AI are in high demand and difficult to recruit. Some manufacturers are training or re-skilling existing workers to foster in-house AI expertise, while others are finding that turning to third party resources and software providers is the most practical way to acquire expertise. When a manufacturer deploys technology in the cloud, the host’s experts become, in effect, the manufacturer’s experts, continually updating the technology and providing both back-up and security. Partnering with a technology provider is also a sound method to ensure the most current and effective uses of AI technology are adopted. Leveraging modern technologies, like AI, is critical to remaining relevant and competitive in today’s landscape. Analysing the past is no longer enough. Food and Beverage manufacturers must also envision the future with confidence, so they can make proactive and agile decisions that leverage AI and the most powerful technologies currently available. D Mike Edgett is Industry & Solution Strategy Director, Process Manufacturing at Infor. Infor builds business software for specific industries in the cloud. With 16,500 employees and over 90,000 customers in more than 170 countries, Infor software is designed for progress. 9

Ahead of the curve

What’s in fashion in the world of food?



hat’s next? It’s the question on everyone’s lips. In a world where, thanks to technology, everything is moving faster, it makes sense that trends in food and drink are also emerging at lightning speed. In this piece, we consider some of the biggest trends that have emerged so far in 2018, why that is, and how we think they might develop over time into 2019.

2018: The Year of Health One of the most overt trends we’ve seen over the last year is that health has become huge – and that the route to ‘healthy’ has taken many different forms. In previous years, we saw high-fat diets such as the Atkins diet find favour. Then, low carbohydrate diets emphasising an increase in fat and protein, such as the Palaeolithic or ‘Cave Man’ diets, had their heyday.


to hear so much about – the Millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 1994) and Generation Z (born between 1995 – 2012).


FODMAP diets, allegedly good for those with IBS or other gastrointestinal sensitivities, entered consumer consciousness, and Ketogenic diets promised to help the consumer shift weight fast. Now, according to Macphie’s Category Marketing Manager, Catherine McBeth, the market is all about cutting down on meat to stay healthy. Much of this has come from those generations we seem

Described as being perhaps more ethically aware that their elder counterparts, Millennials are the driving force behind the rise of vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian diets. And, if you don’t know what ‘flexitarianism’ is, it’s about time you found out. Emphasising the power of a plantfocused diet to improve your overall health, whilst occasionally consuming carefully sourced and ethically-reared animal proteins, flexitarianism has found a foothold in modern food consciousness. Millennials, often dubbed the ‘snowflake’ generation, are shaping their food habits around a highly ethical approach to eating. Veganism, for example, has never been more popular – with supermarket giants such as Tesco developing their very own ‘Wicked Kitchen’ vegan range.

Quality is King At Macphie, we know that this trend is one thing that’s here to stay – and that vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians are demanding premium plant-based eating options. The days of the nut roast being the sole vegetarian option are gone, and customers have a real appetite for consistent quality options.

Catherine remarked that: “We know that the flavours and textures of meat may remain appealing – the advent of the ‘bleeding’ beet burger is a testament to this – but quality, as ever, is king.” At Macphie, we know that our BBQ jackfruit product is a no brainer for those looking to tap into the consumer appetite for quality meat-free options. Endlessly versatile, it lends itself to nachos, as a mushroom burger topping, or generously stuffed into a wholegrain wrap with nutty brown rice and that other fashionable favourite – avocado.

Insta-fans It is a truth universally acknowledged that we eat with our eyes. But with the rise of Instagram and all its attendant hashtags, millennials are the first generation to blend social media and dining. Indeed, for many people, it begs the questions – if you didn’t post a photo, did you really go out for dinner? To capture those ever-decreasing consumer attention spans, operators have had to become increasingly creative – deploying activated charcoal in cakes, glitter in lattes, and food colouring in frosting for ‘unicorn food’ lovers. Sushi burritos, ramen burgers, and bright blue smoothies served in coconut shells with edible flowers – the more visually arresting, the better. A shift in this market has taken place, however, and the trend we’ve 11


seen emerge is that bigger may no longer mean better. Excess for the sake of excess now seems to be a thing of the past. Whilst candied bacon and marshmallow ‘freakshakes’, outlandishly topped hot dogs and vast cronuts were all Instagrammed for their rainbow colours, size or shock factor, consumers are now turning their attention elsewhere. Now, to make the Instagram cut, consumers are on the hunt for food that’s genuinely aesthetically pleasing and that tastes great. Enter Macphie’s burger melts. As Catherine says: “By crafting premium flavours with quality ingredients, burger melts are a new way to elevate an existing burger offering into something superior.” Our jack cheese and jalapeño melts are perfect for adding a twist to the American classic, and our Stilton melts give burgers a touch of British class.

The sweetest thing Sugar is officially on the agenda. With


Irn Bru fans somewhat displeased at the alteration to the recipe of their favourite fizzy drinks, the sugar tax is certain to have real impact as the government cracks down the sweet stuff. Those health-conscious millennials and fans of ‘clean eating’ may be no strangers to agave syrup, raw honey or stevia, but these alternative sweeteners are now edging their way into the mass market. Savvy operators keen to avoid the sugar levy who make changes now may well profit in the long run.

Who and what is here to stay? As millennials continue to impact the market, we see their buying habits, purchase decisions, and food ‘consciousness’ influencing sales from supermarkets to street food trucks. And it isn’t just the operators we see being affected! Baby-boomers and older generations, who are also interested in being healthy, are now turning towards those trends

sparked by the younger crowd. As the popularity of plant-focused diets rises, at Macphie, we fully expect this trend to continue well into 2019 and beyond. As veganism and vegetarianism remain on the increase, and with more operators providing delicious meat-free alternatives, carnivores may well find themselves captured by these animalfriendly options. D Charlotte Leith is a writer at Macphie. Macphie has been a creator of quality ingredients since 1928, and is a supplier to numerous catering outlets and household name brands, as well as many high-street restaurants and operators. Its innovation and industry expertise have ensured that businesses, outlets and operators stay ahead of the market curve, and informed about trends in their industry.

Christmas News In the pink

Festive snacking

Luxury gin brand, Old Curiosity, will be in

To help its customers plan for a party

the pink this Christmas with its first, colour-

for festive season, Corkers crisps has

changing festive gin. Rather than the classic

suggested the perfect drinks pairings

Christmas reds, this year the innovative

to accompany its new and delicious

distillery’s unique new tipple transforms from

olive oil range.

a festive blush to a vibrant pink when mixed

Corkers suggests serving its

with tonic water.

Mediterranean Cheese & Roasted

Only 500 bottles of the limited-edition gin

Onion with Port wine, or its Black

are hitting the market. Priced at £49.95

Truffle variety with Sparkling wine –

per 500ml bottle, it is available to buy from

choose a white wine with a medium

Harrods or from Old Curiosity’s website. In

body that will not overwhelm the

addition, it is set to be a popular serve at The

black truffle olive oil crisp, says the

Balmoral Hotel’s Bar Prince in Edinburgh

the gin to adjust when tonic is added. The

throughout the festive season.

gin is given a Christmas twist with ginger,

company. If you’re going for festive punch,

cinnamon and cardamom, which are

then choose Corkers Rosemary &

colour-changing properties from a natural

individually distilled and added to the base.

Garlic variety, which will help mute

reaction which causes the PH levels of

the sweetness of the punch. Finally,

The bespoke bottling gets its magical,

the old classic mulled wine pairs perfectly with Parsnip, Sweet Potato

Book a date

Delightful dipping

What’s Christmas without dates? For those looking

Christmas is a time for entertaining, and for those

flavours are just what you need to get

for something a bit out of the ordinary, London-based

looking for an alternative to the usual thousand

in to the Christmas spirit!

healthy snacks start-up Abakus Foods has unveiled

island or garlic and herb offerings Merchant

a new range of Nut Stuffed Red Dates Snacks. These

Gourmet has launched a brand-new range of dips.

feature the superfruit Red Dates, each stuffed with

In-keeping with the brands’ pulses heritage, the

crunchy almonds, nutty walnuts, creamy cashews,

range of dips are centred around delicious store

and a combination of mixed nuts for those who want

cupboard ingredients, and its three flavours: Puy

them all. Red Dates, also known as jujube fruits,

Lentil Dip with a Hint of Garlic, Beluga Lentil Dip

have been enjoyed for health and well-being in the

with Aromatic Spices and Chestnut & Red Pepper

Far East for thousands of years. The creamy and

Dip, will add an interesting twist to Christmassy

nutty flavour of the nuts complements the natural

nibbles. Two of them have already been shortlisted

sweetness of the red dates, and makes a healthy

for the Quality Food Awards 2018 (Chestnut & Red

nibble for the festive period.

Pepper, Beluga Lentil in the dips category).

and Beetroot. These crunchy, strong

Simply delicious Christmas Simply Ice Cream, the luxury ice cream and kitchenware producer, has launched the

Ginger spice

Simply Ice Cream Christmas Gift Collections.

Giving the much-loved gingerbread-

Priced at £30, they include crockery from

person a modern twist, Kelly’s of

the Simply range, plus specially chosen

Cornwall new Limited Edition Sticky

products that accompany them, such as ice

Gingerbread Ice Cream combines

cream sauce, coffee or tea bags.

warm and spicy with chilled and creamy to create a big hit flavour

Simply Ice Cream has also launched its winter flavour – Mince Pie. The new

sensation. The sweet and sticky ice

flavour will join the winter collection which

cream is made with real Cornish

comprises two Great Taste two-star award

clotted cream for a ridiculously

winning favourites Christmas Pudding and

indulgent taste and velvety smooth


texture. Swirled through with moreish fudge pieces, it’s drizzled with rich

The winter collection is priced individually

toffee sauce before being topped with

at £4.99 and available in 500ml tubs from selected Waitrose, Morrisons and Coop

cafes, tea rooms and restaurants across

a sweet gingerbread crumb.

as well as independent fine food stores,

Kent, Sussex, Essex, Surrey and London.

restaurants, farm shops, delicatessens, 13


running Kushal Nahata takes a look at the losses that can be incurred due to improper cold storage in supply chains 14


he global cold chain market size is valued at $147.55 billion in 2018 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent from 2018 to 2025. Growing penetration of connected devices and automation of refrigerated

warehouses across the globe are anticipated to spur industry growth over the forecast period. The increased number of organised retail stores in the emerging economies are demanding more solutions for cold chain. Across the globe, products are stored and shipped at improper temperatures

and are delivered past their shelf lives which leads to a humongous loss of billions of dollars.

Prevention of waste

It has been estimated that 30 per cent of global food production is wasted annually; food loss represents a significant challenge to closing the food gap for the global population. In developing and middle income countries, food loss is often highest at the production and distribution level where the lack of infrastructure poses threats to safe food storage. On top of warehousing and storage solutions there is a need for quality assurance and product protection services that mitigate spoilage. ‘Temperature True’ options for temperature-sensitive air and ocean freight, all with proactive monitoring and intervention services are one of the solutions to diminish wastage and losses incurred in the industry. The term ‘cold chain’ for uninterrupted refrigeration has given way to ‘temperature-controlled.’ Many products also react to humidity, light, vibration, and shocks. A potential solution, or at least partial solution to reduce postharvest loss, is the introduction of a temperature-controlled supply chain. A cold chain for perishable foods is the uninterrupted handling of the product within a low temperature environment during the postharvest steps of Kushal Nahata

Cold chain

The use of cold is not a cure-all or a one-size-fitsall proposition, but is an important component of an agricultural handling system or value chain in its entirety the value chain including harvest, collection, packing, processing, storage, transport and marketing until it reaches the final consumer. An integrated cold chain encompasses the management of the movement of perishable food products from the field, ranch or body of water through the entire postharvest chain to the final consumer. Cold chain logistics is the planning and management of the interactions and transitions between these five segments, in order to keep foods at their optimum temperature for maintenance of quality, food safety and prevention of waste and economic losses. Speed is often the key to success when handling and marketing perishable foods using a cold supply chain.

Synchronised storage The cold chain is a well-known method for reducing food losses and food waste, and has long been. The required infrastructure and investments in needed facilities, equipment and management skills, however, are generally lacking in developing

countries. There has been reasonable growth in cold chain infrastructure in Morocco, Egypt, and lately in Libya, but in all developing countries there is still major room for growth and much great efforts to improve capacity training to form better technicians and to improve applications. Hence, logistics play a key role in synchronising the cold storage in supply chain processes across the world. Proper utilisation of technology and SaaS platforms can reduce food wastage to huge extents. Startups across the globe are coming up with Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning enabled technology that can solve the issue of food storage during the transportation process. Also, Internet of Things (IoT) is modifying the efficiency of long distance perishable and food supply chains. The use of cold is not a cure-all or a one-size-fits-all proposition, but is an important component of an agricultural handling system or value chain in its entirety. Each type of fresh produce and/or food product has a specific and limited storage potential related to its physiological nature and lowest safe storage temperature, and the use of the cold chain can help reach this potential and reduce perishable food losses. D

Kushal Nahata is CEO & CoFounder at FarEye, a global predictive logistics platform enabling predictability & real-time visibility of goods movements. FarEye is constantly bringing innovations to market with products like elastic logistics, food logistics, delivery happiness score and powerful analytics module et al. FarEye platform has the capability to rapidly create custom logistics/ supply chain processes for the business, that are secure and scalable and can be integrated seamlessly with existing hardwares or softwares. To help organisations go-to-market faster, FarEye platform automates your business processes, deliver benefits of mobility and more. 15

Keeping it fresh The UK relies on fresh produce imports from Europe, so it is vital that, post-Brexit, we keep deliveries moving. Joe Hebblewhite assesses the challenge and explains the importance of an efficient supply chain


he common perception that the UK imports most of its food is an accurate one – but only just. In 2016, according to Defra, 49 per cent of the food consumed in the UK was ‘home grown’, which means that we rely on a lot of food coming in from elsewhere.


The largest single type of imported food is fresh produce – fruit and vegetables. The UK imports more than £10 billion of fresh produce each year, and around one-third of it comes from the European Union. (Every other major geographic region: Africa, North America, South America

Supply chain and Asia, accounts for four to five per cent of food imports to the UK). With continuing uncertainties over how Brexit will affect trading, it is vital to ensure that imports of fresh produce from the EU are unaffected, so that we are not faced with empty aisles in the supermarket.

Be prepared Recently, the House of Lords’ European Union Select Committee concluded that Brexit could disrupt food supply chains: in its recent report (‘Brexit: food prices and availability’) it said: “Significant delays will disrupt just-in-time supply chains that food manufacturers and retailers depend on, and could affect the availability of food.” The report’s conclusions and recommendations include: importing more food from outside the EU; setting a coherent food strategy; and increasing the UK’s self-sufficiency in food production; though the report acknowledges that, while this is feasible, it would require huge investment, and could not be done in time to overcome any immediate post-Brexit effects. Many potential ramifications of Brexit – such as increased tariffs or additional customs processes – are still impossible to predict. However, there is nothing like being prepared: having an effective infrastructure in place will help producers and distributors of fresh produce to maintain effective, efficient supply chain links with the supermarkets that sell their products. This is where LPR comes in. Its red pallet system – backed by its extensive distribution network – offers a full pallet service to its customers, and manages more than 83 million pallet movements each year across Europe. Even in the face of border hold-ups or increased tariffs, having such an efficient system in place will help to minimise the effects of any delays and extra costs. A good example is LPR’s expanding relationship with Agri-Commerce, a leading French producer of citrus fruit, stone fruit and grapes. The company has managed to grow its European distribution network, thanks in part to improving its logistics flows with help from LPR.

For instance, the company transports around 80 per cent of its fresh fruit using reusable plastic trays from LPR’s sister company, Euro Pool System. One critical factor for the company is to ensure that peaks of activity – of which there are several each year – can be accommodated. The trays themselves also ensure that less fruit is damaged in transit, compared to, say, cardboard packaging. This is because the trays clip together, making it easier and safer to load pallets. The fruit is then protected during handling – through all stages of delivery – ensuring lower levels of damage during the journey. The more compact nature of the trays also enables 300 folding trays to fit onto a single pallet, compared with just 60 cardboard trays. Since being taken over by Euro Pool Group in 2011, LPR has benefited from the expertise of Euro Pool System and its flows of fresh fruit and vegetables from Spain, Europe’s leading producer of fruit and vegetables. During that time, LPR has seen a huge increase in demand for fresh produce deliveries; since 2011, pallet deliveries in the sector have grown around 100-fold,

and now account for around five per cent of all LPR’s business. Other approaches to overcoming potential problems are less about the physical transportation of produce around the continent, and more to do with being prepared for the new legislative landscape – something in which LPR has huge experience. So, for example, Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) approval will help to mitigate some of the problems of border checks. Gaining AEO approval can be a lengthy and complicated process, but is something that a large, experienced operator like LPR can help with. Nobody knows for certain how they will be affected by Brexit. However, being prepared for every eventuality – and having a strong, stable infrastructure in place – will help to ensure that any negative effects are mitigated. We may not know what effect Brexit will have on food imports, but we can be ready to face them. D Joe Hebblewhite is LPR’s Commercial Director for the UK and Ireland. La Palette Rouge (LPR) a division of Euro Pool Group, is a pallet-pooling company for manufacturers and distributors in the fast-moving consumer goods sector. The LPR range of pallets includes all formats commonly used in the FMCG sector and by major retailers. LPR pallets comply with hygiene regulations applying in the food sector and are reserved strictly for the FMCG sector, in order to avoid any risk of contamination. 17

Raise your glass

Annick De Splenter takes a look at the changes the beer market has been through and what’s on the horizon for the coming year 18


ow we are in the final months of 2018 it seems right that we look back on a year in the ever-evolving beer industry and look forward to what we can expect from a brand-new year to come. As new breweries burst onto the scene with innovative flavours and brewing techniques it seems as though 2019 could see a whole new wave of exciting brands and beers to entice beer lovers all over the world.

Lighter beers continue to grow in popularity As we start the list, we’re looking into the most popular styles of beer from the past year, and one of the new up and coming ones is light beer. For an easy drinking option consumers are looking towards lighter beers as they are generally low in calories and low in alcohol - making it easily drinkable, especially when you’re having more

Beer the distinctive taste that hops provide. While some can’t get enough of the hoppy taste of beer, others are turning to a brew with reduced and even no hops at all. Often for those people who say ‘I don’t like beer,’ they really mean ‘I don’t like hops,’ as this is the primary source of bitterness in beer and it is that bitterness that turns people away. In the process of evolution, our brains now register a bitter taste as poison. As we have evolved throughout the years so must the breweries that cater to consumers tastes, and where some people may still enjoy a bitter taste, evolution has also created those who aren’t as welcoming to the taste. Here at Gruut we revive medieval methods of using herbs to deliver bitterness to beer usually provided through their hops. As we predicted more breweries will begin looking for more alternative methods for some of their beer styles, moving away from the reliance on hops and find new and exciting beer tastes.

Sour beer

than one. They’re perfect summertime beers, great for enjoying in the garden as a refreshing beverage, and we often get that feedback from drinkers of our Gruut blonde brew. However, looking beyond the always popular IPA, we have identified a handful of other styles that have done increasingly well in 2018: American lager, wheat ale, blonde ale and kolsch have taken pride of place in our drinking repertoire this

year. The future of light beer is looking bright, and for all the right reasons.

Reduced or no hops Ever since the craft beer boom, breweries have been ‘hopping’ on the bandwagon to increase the amount of hops in their ranges. We’ve seen the rise of double-hop, triple-hop and even quadruple-hop in the past few years, to meet a rising demand for

They say that history repeats itself and sour beer is a trend that has taken beer geeks back to the very beginning. Being the oldest type of beer in history, every beer journey started with a somewhat sour element to it, as its tart taste originated from when beer came only in an unpasteurised form and was teeming with bacteria. Fast forward to 2018 and thanks to modern brewing methods we can now enjoy that tart taste without worrying whether it is safe to drink or not. For 2018, the sour beer market has grown and it’s only in these recent years that brewers have learned to safely produce all of the taste, without the health issues. It also seems as those who shout about not liking beer are also giving sour beer a go, and actually enjoying it. It’s a welcome relief for many who were exposed primarily to hoppy craft beers, and had no choice but to turn to wine or cocktails. Sour beer is enticing these individuals, and helping open their eyes to a more layers and distinctive flavour brew. 19


Low Alcohol Beers

Popularity of craft beer

We’ve all seen a rise in the strength of beer this year, as beers begin to push the eight per cent and above mark and it’s no surprise that the reverse effect is also becoming popular with those who don’t necessarily choose a drink based on its strength. As low alcohol beers have rightly earned a spot in the beer world, the focus has shifted on mindful beer lovers who love a tipple and find great taste in low alcohol beers under three per cent ABV. While there’s still that gap the market for zero per cent or low alcohol beers to make their way into a brewer’s core range, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we saw this boom in 2019 as including this new love could become a point of difference in a crowded market.

It’s not breaking news independent craft brewers are fuelling the growth of the UK beer scene. Last year saw more than 300 new breweries launched in the UK, and this 18 per cent rise on the previous year brought the UK to a grand total to over 2000 breweries. Although craft beer goes from strength to strength, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a noticeable shift in the way consumers are purchasing it. As we move from 2018 into 2019, the combination of the art, technology and experience is something of importance to consumers of craft beer. All these independent brewers offering glutenfree, hop-free and alcohol-free beers, could see the continued effect on flagship brands and their overall decline in the market. D


Annick De Splenter is the founder and master brewer at Gruut in Ghent. The exceptional properties of four of the Ghent Gruut beers stem from the fact they are brewed without hops. As you would expect, research into alternatives for replacing hops is no easy task. It was only after a course in biochemistry and various collaborative links with a range of universities that Annick’s Ghent City Beer saw the light of day. There are now five different varieties: Ghent Gruut White, Ghent Gruut Blonde, Ghent Gruut Amber, Ghent Gruut Brown and Ghent Gruut Inferno. Gruut’s beers are available from James Clay in the UK.

Christmas News Christmas at Kew Freixenet has announced its sponsorship of Christmas at Kew, which sees the brand taking part at the event for the second year running. The event runs from 21 November 2018 to 5 January 2019, and will invite guests to experience Freixenet’s ICE Garden, where a festive drinks van will be situated under Aquastell by Pitaya – a 50m installation made up of several dynamic lighting arches finishing in a 10m wide dome. The ICE Garden will serve winter-inspired

Spice up your gin ICE Cava cocktails from Freixenet branded drinks van. Freixenet is also using the festive event to unveil its new packaging to consumers, with the sleek new linear design featured on the ICE Cava and Ice Rosé emulating the appearance of cracked sheets of ice. This new design showcases the brand’s premium nature and will be available to buy in stores from December.

Festive flavours Belvoir Fruit Farms has introduced a raft of seasonal drinks as well as bringing about a return of the limited-edition Christmas label for its Elderflower Pressé which proved so popular last year. Boasting a jolly, holly illustration partnered with the brand’s iconic elderflower motif dressed to impress in festive, sparkling, golden foil, the label is completed with the cheerful seasonal message ‘Bubbling with Joy’. The seasonal flavours include Belvoir Mulled Winter Cordial - an intense fruity blend of

cranberry and orange juices complemented with warming winter spices and a touch of lime; and Belvoir Festive Fruit Punch - a fruity combination of the rich taste of real cranberry and orange juices, with a splash of blackcurrant and lime juice and the lingering hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, all blended with spring water so it’s ready to drink. Other punch flavours include Mulled Winter Punch and Spiced Ginger Punch.

A jammy gift Radnor Preserves’ exclusive gift box is being included in Marks & Spencer’s 2018 Gift & Hampers Christmas collection. Called ‘A Box of Three Delicious Radnor Preserves’, the tasty gift is available exclusively on the Marks & Spencer website and features Radnor Preserves’ award winning Pink Gin Marmalade, Clementine & Cointreau Marmalade and Raspberry & Crushed

Cardamom Preserve, all of which are presented in a gold embossed red box. Furthermore, Radnor Preserves continues to make a splash on the UK food and drink scene, most notably with a recent invitation to have a stall at Borough Market, the world acclaimed London food market, where the waiting list is normally three years.

The independent small batch Poetic License Distillery in the North East of England is evolving the name and presentation of its much loved ‘Fireside Gin’ to become ‘Spiced’. The multi-award winning liquid remains the same; as well as the usual notes coming from juniper, coriander and orrisroot, Poetic License ‘Spiced’ delivers sweetness from dried winter fruits but also zingy freshness from clementine and warmth from the mulling spice blend of cinnamon, clove and star anise – embracing the flavours of Christmas! Grace Noon, Marketing Manager at Poetic License Distillery commented on the relaunch: “We have decided to evolve the name of this wonderfully different gin to better communicate the flavour profile. The new bottle decoration is a beautiful combination of burgundy and gold foil, that is both differentiated and eye catching for fantastic stand out on shelf. This remains an exceptional gin for autumn and winter and makes an ideal Christmas gift for gin lovers.” www.poeticlicensedistillery. 21

Liquid gold

Gary Sewell identifies three ways to make water the strongest link in your food chain 22


eeping operational costs in check is an ongoing battle for food businesses, yet many fail to realise the untapped potential of water. Through investment in the right water treatment technologies, food processors can significantly reduce

water consumption which can impact hugely on their utility bills. Smart gas and electric metering have become run of the mill, but the smarter use of water is not yet common currency. Not only can water optimisation reduce expenditure it

Water can also have a positive impact of a business’ carbon footprint too. Water treatment technology can be applied to reduce both influent and effluent water consumption, providing businesses with a reduction in cost per kilogram of product, thereby offering a strong competitive advantage. For businesses obliged to meet greener standards from customers, governments or trade associations, it brings the peace of mind that those standards can be more easily met. By assessing each application in which water is used, food processors can develop a deeper understanding of where, why and how their water consumption can be optimised, ultimately making their dependence on water friendlier to both the environment and the bottom line.

1. Source your own water Sourcing water from the local water authority, businesses are permitted to purchase a limited quantity of water within a specified time frame. Often this is extremely difficult to comply with and various methods of water storage are required to buffer the situation, yet these aren’t often effective enough. If the operations that rely on that influent water are not completed within the given time frame and water capacities become depleted, it must be sourced elsewhere. For many businesses, borehole water is the best solution and probably the cheapest option. However, water treatment is essential to ensure it is compliant with water regulations and fit for purpose, especially if it is to be used as part of the process or product. The filtration and disinfection of borehole water can be completed efficiently with chlorine dioxide generation systems and the correct pre-treatment. Some processes may also require reverse osmosis or re-mineralisation depending on the application. To make the process of sourcing and treating borehole water cost effective compared to additional pre-treated water from the local water provider, the right technologies must be applied. All too quickly, the costs of implementation

and treatment can add up, but an experienced water technology provider with the right expertise can ensure that a cost-saving solution is tailored to the business’ unique requirements.

2. Assess current processes Once influent water is of usable quality, its intended usage must be analysed. Common food manufacturing processes such as steam cooking and steam boiling require processed water to be treated to a quality that avoids scaling within the industrial and process equipment, reducing the costly requirement to clean, service, repair or replace equipment, while meeting hygiene standards. It is then important to look at the amount of energy required to create the steam. Through analysis of a typical water treatment and pretreatment programme, the cycles of concentration in each boiler can be optimised to reduce the amount of water required to maintain a constant steam load. This is achieved by integrating a turnkey pre-treatment plant designed specifically to reduce the amount of water having to be blown down the drain to prevent deposition. This removes the requirement to replace the water that has been blown down the drain and can save in excess of five per cent of energy expenditure. This also reduces the amount of waste water, helping businesses achieve a direct reduction in energy usage and a reduction in the total cost of operation. Cooling towers are another common area where measurable savings can be achieved. The quality of makeup water can be optimised through treatment, but the system must also be analysed for losses and leaks. Within the Food and Beverage industry, losses and leaks are rarely managed for optimisation and can often result in as much as a 33 per cent water saving. The fans and recirculation pumps used to cool the water within the towers can also be replaced with more energy efficient solutions that allow

water to be recirculated at a desired rate rather than a constant which is typically the norm and often results in water returning and overflowing the cooling tower base holding tanks. As part of water saving optimisation, systems have been developed to capture and re-use a portion of the bleed water from cooling tower systems which further improves their operational efficiency.

3. Seek support from water treatment experts Selecting the correct water technology provider to apply the most suitable solutions is critical to achieving the goal of reduced water consumption. The right provider will be able to highlight key areas in which savings can be achieved such as energy, chemicals and equipment, otherwise it cannot deliver true ROI. The service provided must be tailored to each unique business case in order to guarantee that the water treatment solutions are both economical and effective. After sales care is equally as important and regular service visits will ensure that water consumption not only remains cost effective, but can be further optimised in response to future developments. By implementing the correct water treatment technology, it is clear that operational costs can be reduced by optimising both influent and effluent water across food processing. D

Gary Sewell is General Manager at Clearwater Technology, a leading provider of water treatment and water and air hygiene solutions, servicing major brands across the UK with the widest national coverage of any provider in its industry. Clearwater works with its clients to improve their businesses operating and production efficiencies, helping to reduce their total cost of operation and delivering an enhanced competitive advantage. 23

Lessons learned?

James Wood investigates whether recent negative headlines have provoked manufacturers to change their food safety processes


emember when one of the UK’s most prominent food manufacturers became embroiled in a major scandal after being exposed for committing numerous food safety and hygiene violations? While it’s easy for us to forget the story when it drops out of the headlines, the same can’t be said for the company involved, which continues to suffer from the fallout long after the public have stopped paying attention. Following on from the above scenario, we now need to ask: have manufacturers learnt their lesson, or should food safety still be right at the top of the agenda?


Food safety 25

Counting the cost of a scandal

Before answering the question, let’s look at the consequences of the last food safety scandal. Commercially, the industry was hit hard. Some of the UK’s largest supermarkets were quick to act, putting their contracts on hold – causing massive reputational damage to the manufacturer. The company’s CEO and founder was forced to step down (albeit to then become President of the manufacturer’s parent company). Less than a week later, the Food Safety Agency (FSA) released its report on the scandal, finding the manufacturer guilty of regulatory failures and poor hygiene standards. The company has only recently been released from emergency measures that saw FSA inspectors overseeing the hygiene conditions of the plants on a full-time basis. All of this will likely come at a heavy cost to the workforce as well, with the manufacturer set to close three large plants at the cost of roughly 900 jobs. That’s a lot of people to strip of their livelihoods – and one of the reasons


For manufacturers, poor processes are a disaster waiting to happen. Many already can’t effectively manage food safety, so what happens if their businesses come to depend on it?

businesses have to think so carefully about the results of their actions.

How UK food manufacturers are failing consumers Worryingly for manufacturers, they could all face the consequences above should they continue to rely on paper processes. So, what’s happened since then? Has this scandal acted as a timely warning? In short, the answer is no. The issue of poor food safety is widespread across the UK. More than half of all the manufacturing plants audited by regulators have been found to be in breach of standards at least once in the past three years. Between

2014-2017, the FSA also uncovered an average of 16 major safety infractions every week. There are even more recent examples of food safety failures. In July this year, 43 frozen vegetable products were recalled from major retailers over fears they might contain bacteria that could cause Listeriosis – a rare disease that can be fatal to humans and killed two people in the UK last year. These examples offer a shocking verdict on the UK’s food industry, and on manufacturers in particular. Companies need to start asking themselves how they got to this point. There has to be accountability for failing food safety systems. Additionally, with the rise in safety issues coinciding with falling budgets for regulators, the industry clearly has to reassure consumers that its companies aren’t trying to cut corners at the cost of public health.

A world of food safety issues Food safety is far from being an issue just in the UK. A recent scandal in the

Food safety Netherlands saw millions of tainted eggs destroyed, with the Dutch food safety body implicated in the failure to properly protect consumers. Another incident saw a major multinational corporation pull products from the shelves over concerns they might contain strains of Salmonella. The worst story, however, has to be the listeriosis outbreak in South Africa that has claimed the lives of more than 200 people so far – and people are still falling ill. Forget the reputational damage to your company for a second and imagine finding out that your inadequate food safety processes have led to a person’s death. It’s the nightmare scenario for manufacturers yet is seemingly at risk of happening every day. All of these stories speak to a broken system that sees manufacturers ignoring their basic function to produce food that’s safe for people to eat. This simply has to change – and not just because it’s bad for business.

Why Brexit could make the situation worse Of course, if guaranteeing food safety were as easy as recognising that there’s an issue, the stories above wouldn’t exist. There are a number of challenges that food manufacturers face in maintaining hygiene standards – and not all of them can be fixed with the click of their fingers. For instance, even when a major scandal rears its ugly head, it can be difficult for manufacturers (who are already under enough pressure) to change course and make the necessary changes. Culture change doesn’t happen overnight; however, they can’t just bury their heads in the sand. The sooner companies take their first steps in the right direction, the quicker they can guarantee safety. For manufacturers, poor processes are a disaster waiting to happen. Many already can’t effectively manage food safety, so what happens if their businesses come to depend on it? UK supermarkets could well impose stricter safety standards on suppliers – and if they don’t, they probably should. How will manufacturers prove they meet

these standards if they don’t have visibility of their factory floors? Going beyond the UK market, manufacturers could find themselves having to work under a completely new export system this time next year. Imagine having to switch over to an entirely different set of (potentially more strict) regulatory requirements in such a short space of time. With the uncertainty around the outcome of Brexit, that possibility looks more likely by the day. Do manufacturers have the systems to handle this changeover at all, let alone smoothly?

Food manufacturers need a new solution Ultimately, I think the issue of food safety for manufacturers comes down to one thing: visibility. If the workforce at any given plant can see where their processes are going wrong, they can work out a fix and implement the changes. Without this overview, it’s likely that manufacturers only find out about an issue when the results (such as food poisoning) are clear for all to see. This is why companies need to ditch their paper processes and bring in a Manufacturing Execution System (MES). This gives factories the ability to eliminate inefficient manual processes and see their operations in real-time – while acting upon issues as soon as they appear. It’s a major step forward for the food industry. With automated electronic

processes in place, food manufacturers can improve food safety standards (while proving it to retailers and consumers), prepare for regulatory changes and – importantly – avoid becoming the next scandal. We’ll soon see which manufacturers have learnt the lesson and which haven’t – especially as it’s a lesson that could save businesses, livelihoods and even lives. D [For the list of sources used in this article, please contact the editor.]

James Wood is Director of Business Development for EMEA and APAC at Aptean. Aptean provides very specific industries with very specific ERP, supply chain management and customer experience solutions. In today’s fast-paced, highly competitive economy, organisations don’t have time to waste forcing homegrown software, spreadsheets and one-size-fits-all solutions to do things they were never designed to do. That’s why over 7000 highly specialised organisations in more than 20 industries and 74 countries rely on Aptean to streamline their everyday operations. 27

Future-proof Factory automation offers a bright future for the food and drink industry. Mark Cook explains how automation will help the sector survive market disruption from labour and legislation, and unlock £56bn in the next decade


he UK food and drink industry is one of the largest manufacturing sectors, worth over £1bn and employing more than 400,000 people. However, despite the industry’s scale and ongoing demand for its goods, there are significant challenges on the horizon. With Brexit looming in May 2019, many issues around legislation and labour are set to intensify.


Out of time Workforce is a constant challenge for the industry and, in the coming years, it’s predicted that there will be a chronic shortage of labour available in food processing. As an industry heavily reliant on non-UK nationals, with many European migrant workers undertaking factory and production line work, Brexit threatens to further impact the shortfall. Without the free movement

Factory automation businesses need to ensure they can continue production. Likewise, as the UK faces an uncertain future, and efficiency savings continue across the board, there is a huge opportunity within the food and drink industry for automation to alleviate some of these pressures.

Automatic for the people

of labour, it’s estimated that quarter of the current workforce in the UK could be lost. With the majority of food standard legislation set by the European Union, UK food manufacturers are also bracing themselves for further Brexit-induced regulatory changes. The sector already faces some of the most extreme manufacturing and quality control regulations in industry, and as

Britain exits the EU, new legislation could come into effect, forcing businesses to update their business models and policies. In addition, there is a constant drive for efficiency, with many businesses facing increasing pressure to deliver products in a faster and cheaper manner to remain competitive. If the labour pool does dry up or become prohibitively expensive, food and drink

Automation is transforming many of the world’s key industries, making everyday production tasks more efficient than ever. With research revealing that the UK food and drink sector could unlock £56bn in value over the next decade by maximising digital technologies and robotics, it’s no surprise that many larger businesses have already invested in automation to replace manual or legacy production systems. Automating factory processes brings greater accuracy, improves productivity and minimises production costs. It also provides an effective solution to a shrinking manual labour workforce. It’s not a case of robotics replacing humans. It’s about the two working in harmony to create better, more efficient processes. Automation can also help a food and drink manufacturer to have end-to-end traceability, keeping track of a product and monitoring its quality from farm to factory to fork. Through automation, and the data that comes with it, manufacturers can detect any issues much earlier in the supply chain. When it comes to choosing an automation partner, food and drink manufacturers need to consider the wider benefits, rather than just the initial investment cost. Many providers will offer a cheap off-the-shelf solution, but it’s unlikely to go the distance. Making long-term efficiencies the priority, businesses should invest in precision engineered, bespoke automation solutions that are specifically built to address their individual needs. Differentiating partners is set to become easier, as the sector’s leading British Automation and Robot Association has launched an accreditation scheme which will recognise suppliers that meet the highest standards. 29

Factory automation

Case study: bakery primary and secondary packaging One success story that showcases the benefits automation brings to FMCG companies is in primary and secondary packaging for baked goods. A bakery sector client tasked our engineering team to create a packaging solution that would handle a demanding workload quickly and efficiently. The solution that was designed comprised a high-speed pick and place system and a third-party flow-wrapping machine, which accommodated hundreds of products on a packing line ready for sorting, quality control and primary packing. Once the products arrive from the upstream production area, the system separates the goods into product streams and uses 3D scanning technology to run a quality control process across each product. Any rejected items are returned to an inspection point at the end of the belt. The pick and place robots collate and


and efficiency, with tool-free machine adjustment included. The two-axis robot loads each layer of product into preerected cases before each one is moved to closing system and shut securely.


stack the correct number of products on the infeed of the flow-wrapping machine at an output speed of 100ppm, ready for primary packaging. Further downstream solutions are also possible for secondary and transit packaging. An example of this is a bespoke case packing system designed for the same client, consisting of a heavy duty two-axis robot and a custom vacuum gripper tool. These manage, group and collate high volumes of primary packed product with speed

Introducing automation can be a daunting prospect, with many businesses wary of the initial investment and changes to their production process. However, with the future looking uncertain for the manufacturing industry, now is the time to harness automation, improve processes and ensure your business is fit for purpose for decades to come. D Mark Cook is managing director of Sewtec. The company designs and manufactures factory automation systems for global blue-chip clients in the food and beverage industry. Its clients include NestlĂŠ, Twinings and Unilever.

Christmas News Whisky in style

Chocolate heaven

Just in time for Christmas, the Suntory distillery

of honey, orange peel and white chocolate.

Christmas needs chocolate, and

in Japan has launched a limited-edition gift

for the real connoisseur and lover

pack of Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whisky, to


of something both luxurious and

celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Hibiki

different, Paul A Young’s dazzling


array of new chocolates celebrate the

Packaged in a beautiful, specially designed bottle for Christmas inspired by the traditional

flavours of Christmas. For 2018, Paul’s collection of

kimono pattern, the Hibiki Japanese Harmony

filled chocolates has been inspired

is a stunning gift for whisky drinkers and whisky

by past, present and future flavour

newcomers alike. Hibiki Japanese Harmony

combinations, and, as is to be expected

is a blend of more than ten malt and grain

from Paul, a handful of innovative

whiskies, aged in five different casks from

chocolates that look to the future.

Suntory distilleries. With a honey-like sweetness,

These include the much-anticipated

the nose reveals notes of rose, lychee and

Cranberry and Goose Fat Caramel, the

sandalwood, and its flavour brings out a palate

Buck’s Fizz Truffle and the California Prune, Churchill’s White Port & Stilton

Gin cheese?

Truffle for the chocolate adventurous. Further chocolates and truffles

Capturing the Christmas spirit in an unusual pairing, The Wensleydale Creamery has partnered with Masons Yorkshire

in the collection include Cinnamon

Gin to produce a Yorkshire Wensleydale with Caramelised Orange & Masons Yorkshire Gin cheese – mouth-wateringly

Toast Truffle, Mulled Wine Truffle,

unusual and incredibly tasty! The on-trend flavours of orange and gin have blended perfectly with the Yorkshire

Christmas Caramel Latte Truffle,

Wensleydale, creating a deliciously indulgent flavour to be enjoyed by all cheese and gin lovers.

Burning Embers chocolate, Hazelnut /

Caramel, Mince Pie Marzipan and the Mendient. Paul A Young also offers a gifting selection, which in 2018 is inspired by his love of orange flavours, all in honour of a certain nostalgic Christmas favourite. These include Paul’s stunning metallic 72% dark or 38% milk Guittard chocolate Red Nosed Reindeer Bars, which will be flavoured with orange and mandarin essential oils, Paul’s Very Orangey Chocolate Segments, and the return of the incredibly popular, Limited Edition Confit Clementines. Brand new for 2018 is the exquisite Brandy Butter Ball Bombe, a beautiful domed dessert, made from Guittard 65% Madagascan chocolate, filled with layers of brandy butter, orange ganache and dark chocolate ganache and hand-decorated with delicate colours and edible snow. No Paul A Young Christmas is complete without a mention of Paul’s Brownie Mince Pies, Paul’s awardwinning fudgy brownie (regularly voted the Best in London) and buttery rich sweet pastry is filled with homemade cognac and ale soaked mincemeat. Heaven! 31

Play fair Digital technology is affecting almost every industry – in the hotel and hospitality sector, businesses now have to compete with a variety of new approaches to accommodation, creating an uneven playing field. By Kate Nicholls 32


erhaps the most significant driver of change for the travel and tourism industries has come, as it has for numerous sectors, via the digital revolution. For hotels and other accommodation providers, much of this change has come through the rise of both the sharing economy and Online Travel Agents (OTAs). It may easily be regarded as a boon for customers, but

in practice it often increases the prices. For hotels, the dramatic change has arguably been much less than positive. Those seeking a hotel online almost always end up booking through an OTA. They have become so ubiquitous that some customers may not even entertain the notion of booking a holiday without using one. Although these platforms exist to connect customers to accommodation providers - and

Hotel sector

customers rely on them thinking they will get the best deal - in reality, they also exist to make money for themselves and the way in which they have done so has, at times, been counterproductive. The lack of competition in the market means that all the power sits with the OTAs. Parity clauses - clauses which prevent hotels from charging lower prices on their own websites than those listed on the OTA -

have damaged competition to such an extent that they have been outlawed in some countries. Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Sweden have taken action on parity clauses and we are calling for similar action in the UK. We have made the point in Brussels with other European hospitality bodies and MEPs and will continue to push the case at home. It’s worth mentioning that OTAs can take up to almost 20 per cent of the price of a booking and this cost is never perceived by the customer. On the other hand, the rise of the sharing economy and the popularity of businesses such as AirBnB throws up even more issues. This has arguably been the most dramatic development in the accommodation sector. Customers are now spoilt for choice but are perhaps unaware of the complexities and potential hazards of home sharing. The rise of such platforms has had a dramatic impact on what we might call ‘traditional’ accommodation providers. Currently, sharing economy platforms operate at an unfair advantage that undermines hospitality businesses and they are feeling the effect. The principal problem is that, most rules and regulations don’t apply to home sharing; customer rights, business rates and taxation to name a few. And, where there is regulation, it is unenforceable. Currently there is very

little in the way of an effective method to ensuring that outlets listed on homesharing platforms play by the rules. The tax and employment contribution from home sharing is also negligible. Home sharing is arguably a hidden economy due to the lack of data. Relaxed health and safety rules put customers at risk. If you book a room or a house through a home-sharing platform, can you, as a guest, be sure that the required fire-safety certificates are in place? There is a degree of transparency with customers able to use publicly viewable feedback, but there can also be a lack of support, particularly if there are last-minute cancellations by hosts. In jurisdictions such as Barcelona and San Francisco, registration systems have been developed to level the playing field, and the legislation appears to have been successful. Transparency is crucial for a productive relationship between businesses and customers but, too often, there is a lack of clarity regarding the operation of homes listed on platforms. For instance, the lack of information regarding where these properties are, and who is letting them, means that enforcement of existing legislation is almost impossible. In many cases properties are subject to the regulations applied to hotels, bed and breakfasts, serviced apartments and other 33

Hotel sector

accommodation providers, but are able to avoid compliance. Effectively, businesses are able to purchase huge numbers of properties and list them on home-sharing sites all year long, creating what can be called ‘pseudohotels’. In London, there is a limit of 90 days where a property can be rented out without requiring planning permission (Deregulation Act 2015), however, without knowing who the host is and where is the property, how can this be enforced? There is a new form of investment now with landlords withdrawing properties from the longterm market to offer them on home sharing websites. Consequently,the housing shortage is being aggravated. There is also a moral argument to consider: with affordable housing in short supply in many UK cities, should wealthy property owners be able to deny people the chance to own a home by renting much of the available space on a short-term basis? The identity of some municipalities have changed drastically, with local residents being replaced by short-let guests. Amsterdam and Barcelona are


known examples of where over tourism and gentrification can be easily linked to the grown of home sharing. Conversely, traditional hospitality businesses comply with all regulations and pay significantly via taxes and business rates. The digital era should improve the services from all providers but what’s happening is that traditional businesses are being killed by an invisible economy at the expense of customer safety and loss of taxation. The hospitality sector is not suggesting that digital operators be eliminated or that customer choice be stifled, only that businesses operate on a level playing field to ensure fairness for competitors and customers - that regulations are clear and enforceable. A fundamental problem is that our current tax system was designed when the majority of business was done in the ‘old-fashioned’ way before the rise of online businesses. Existing legislation has essentially been devised for a pre-digital era and is almost totally unfit for purpose, shouldering hospitality businesses with an unfair burden. The Government must catch up with

the fast-changing digital environment. Changes to ensure digital businesses pay their fair share will go a long way to ensuring the level playing field we need and that will allow hospitality businesses to flourish and keep the convenience that customers crave. UKHospitality has been in Brussels talking to MEPs and other representatives from the sector across Europe to formalise plans and make the case for our businesses. D

Kate Nicholls is Chief Executive of UKHospitality, the new trade body representing the UK’s hospitality sector, established following a merger approved in February 2018 between the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Hospitality Association (BHA). UKHospitality is the authoritative voice for over 700 companies, operating around 65,000 venues in a sector that employs 3.2 million people.

TasteTest Authentically Italian Cirio has been the master of authentic Italian tomatoes for over 160 years. In 1856 Francesco Cirio was the first to preserve Italian tomatoes and vegetables. Since then, Cirio has been an essential ingredient in every Italian household, and its extensive range of tomato products is now a familiar sight in UK kitchens too. The Cirio range covers tomatoes in a huge range of formats, from Cirio Pelati, naturally sweet whole plum tomatoes to La Classica Passata, which made from ripe, pure, Italian round tomatoes, peeled and passed through a fine sieve to obtain a velvety and perfectly smooth passata with a special sweet taste.

So many tomatoes to choose from! Every item we sampled from the Cirio range was top-notch, and many testers were already fans of the brand and were excited to try different items from the standard

Moon of my life chopped tomatoes. “I used the Cirio Datterini Baby Plum Tomatoes to make a Neapolitan sauce, and I loved the whole baby plum toms, which were definitely sweet tasting. They were very juicy and even after heating some still kept whole and with my pasta dish, they created a lovely burst of tomato when I spooned in a whole one!” The Cirio SUPERRCIRIO Doppio Concentrato Coupelle was hailed as a top product: “The perfect amount of tomato puree, with no silly tube to squeeze! Nice and fresh tasting, it was a light puree, but had an excellent tomatoey flavour. I also loved the Cirio La Napoletana Flavoured Passata, which made it so easy to create a perfect pasta dish.”

Lemonade drinkers R.White’s has been refreshing taste buds for 172 years with no real secret, just greattasting lemonades. 2018 saw the launch of the company’s delicious premium flavours - Traditional Cloudy Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade and Pear & Elderflower Lemonade. All flavours are made with real lemons and delicious juices, and are available in 330ml can format, 1.25L bottle as well as premium 330ml glass bottles.

The arrival of the R.White’s premium flavours unleashed a wave of nostalgia for the ‘secret lemonade drinker’ advertising campaign (no doubt proving the longevity of a catchy jingle!) But these products are definitely a step away from a basic clear lemonade, raising the soft drinks game and with Christmas approaching, offering a tasty alternative for those avoiding alcohol. The raspberry lemonade variety was hailed as ‘refreshing and the light’ with the combination of both fruits ‘delicious’. The Pear and Elderflower Lemonade was regarded as the most sophisticated of the three varieties, and was best served on the rocks. “The addition of pear is really interesting, it gives a softer aspect to the traditional sour edge of a lemonade, with the elderflower adding a perfumed sweetness.”

Little Moons is a family-run gourmet dessert brand with its roots in Asian cuisine. The range is handmade in the UK, made by wrapping bite-sized balls of artisan gelato ice cream in a layer of soft, chewy mochi. There are six core flavours to choose from including Alphonso Mango, Uji Matcha, Sumatran Coconut, Madagascan Vanilla, Summer Raspberry and Toasted Sesame. From 64 calories per ball, Little Moons mochi are gluten free, free from artificial flavourings, colours and preservatives and they are suitable for vegetarians. Their bite-sized shape makes them perfect for those looking for moderation, as an ideally portioned indulgent treat. Furthermore, Little Moons works hard on each flavour, using only the highest quality British milk and cream and fruit from around the world.

These were hailed as ‘little balls of delight!’ “Just from seeing the packaging I knew this was going to be a divine treat and I was right. I tried the Summer Raspberry, and the mochi around the ball kept its unique soft texture, then when I bit into the ball, I had a burst of sweet summer raspberry fruity ice cream. The raspberries tasted extremely fresh and almost straight from the garden!” “I found the combination of a velvety outer and a creamy centre was really interesting, and I am not surprised the range has won five Great Taste Awards. Every flavour was great, but the coconut was my favourite – it was full of flavour and the coconut on the outside added some texture… I loved them!” 35

Inspired solutions

We are already seeing new and innovative ways to embrace waste as having more potential than just a life at the landfill. Richard Walker reports on three schemes that are using waste in innovative ways


to their control over the situation. The main deciding factor over environmental damage comes from humanity as a whole.

A better end for bread: Toast Ale


e’re already struggling to deal with an annual generation of 2.12 billion tonnes of waste around the world. How do we expect to cope with the estimated four billion created in 2100? Despite more and more legislation and processes provided by the world’s authorities, there’s a limit

As a staple food, bread is the corner post of the British grocery shop, but it is also popular with our bins. Although 12 million loaves are sold on a daily basis, 44 per cent of bread is wasted, which has presented itself as a significant contributing factor to the epidemic food waste crisis here in Britain. In a bid to end food waste, Toast Ale has partnered up with bakeries to collect unsold loaves and unused crusts from sandwich makers to craft a fine beer, while donating all profits made to environmental charities.


Paper waste is a growing problem all of its own. In fact, you might be surprised to hear that the amount of paper sent to landfills each year could fill an estimated 103,000 double decker buses - but EcoHelmet is making it its mission to recycle paper and put it back into better use

from the aroma that is added later. If you’re interested in trying your own, the full recipe is here: https://www. - there’s a whole science behind it!

Paper ride: EcoHelmet

Beginning in 2016, Toast Ale’s simple recipe quickly found popularity and spread across the UK. Once the bread has been delivered to the team, it is then sliced and dried in the oven at around 90°C for an hour. Then, it is crushed into the size of croutons. The resulting grains are submerged in 15.7 litres of water at 67°C, before being covered and left for 60 minutes. The liquid is then drained while rinsing the grains with water at a temperature of 78°C to remove any additional sugars — this should be done until you’ve reached 25l. Use around 20l of water and this will remove any tannin tastes. The grain-water needs to be boiled and, at the 90-minute mark, 5g of German Hallertau Tradition is added to give the mixture a bitter note. This can balance the caramel notes from the bread and the papaya and mango notes

Paper waste is a growing problem all of its own. In fact, you might be surprised to hear that the amount of paper sent to landfills each year could fill an estimated 103,000 double decker buses — but EcoHelmet is making it its mission to recycle paper and put it back into better use. Up to 90 per cent of cyclists forgo wearing a helmet, despite knowing the risks. Based in New York City, EcoHelmet offers cyclists an inexpensive way of riding by using a folding helmet that can be recycled at the end of a person’s ride. The helmet is made from 100 per cent waterproof recycled paper and structured in a honeycomb pattern to ensure that all blows from falls or crashes are absorbed by the helmet. The beauty of the helmet is that you can fold it flat and that one size fits all. The EcoHelmet is nowhere near as expensive to make as a regular cycling helmet, and it doesn’t come at the cost of style. The helmet can be easily disposed of unlike other helmets. For example, it takes 500 years to break down styrofoam helmets and they never truly decompose!

Wasteboards: A new trick for plastic The only litter you’ll want to see on the streets - a skateboard made from discarded plastic bottle caps, known as a Wasteboard. An estimated 20,000 plastic bottles are produced every second and a lot of this is ending up in

our oceans leaving devastating impacts on marine life. With a combination of purpose and community spirit, Wasteboards take plastic bottle caps and create amazingly unique skateboard decks. Each board is made by hand and the design doesn’t shy away from what they’re made from — which is part of the appeal to its main demographic; young people who want to do their part in saving the planet. There’s a full process behind creating a wasteboard. Bottle tops are collected from popular events across the city — or sometimes fished from Amsterdam canals by a professional plastic fishing company. After that, caps are then placed in different positions within the mould to create a basis of the design. No two wasteboards are alike, as the plastic caps melt in all different ways once baked. The special baking technique used allows the bottle tops to keep their original look and characteristics. After some time to cool off, the boards are then assembled and ready to be sold. D Richard Walker is the Marketing Manager at Reconomy. Reconomy is the UK’s market leader in outsourced waste management and recycling services providing an allencompassing waste management service that looks to enhance the environmental and financial performance of its customers. recycling-facts 37

Problem solved


Packaging Darren Dodd explains how new technology has overcome the difficulties involved in induction heat sealing of glass containers for fatty foodstuffs


onsumer demand for total confidence in the sealing of food and drink containers is growing. As well as containing the product and maintaining its freshness, seals now need to give clear visual evidence of any tampering. With the advent of induction heat sealing, otherwise known as induction cap sealing, customers enjoy peace of mind. This non-contact technique quickly and economically applies a hermetic seal, and is ideal for fastmoving production lines. The aluminium foil seal liner prevents leaks, keeps air and bacteria out, and confirms that the contents are untouched.

The trouble with glass While induction heat sealing is widely used for plastic containers, it is not so easy to create a good seal on glass. The first problem is that glass is a difficult substrate for adhesion. It becomes even harder if the product contained is high in fats or oils, which can penetrate and degrade adhesive bonds. For those foodstuffs, glass bottles and jars are still preferred to plastic.

Glass is relatively inert, so foods are never tainted, while its superior impermeability to gas ensures a longer shelf life. It is also perceived as being easier to recycle. Given this preference, and the susceptibility of induction heat seals to weakening by fat or oil, most manufacturers opt for steam-applied metal caps instead. However, these are more expensive, and for anyone with limited grip strength they are impossible to open by hand. To bring the cost-saving, easyopening and tamper-evident benefits of induction heat sealing to glass containers for fat-rich or oil-rich products, stronger and more oilresistant adhesion is needed. At the same time, to comply with FCM regulation EC 10/2011, the seal’s layered composition must be free from petroleum-based or synthetic hydrocarbon-derived waxes. In addition, there is a requirement for seals to be easily removable, leaving no residue, to enable recycling. The good news is that induction heat seals meeting these needs are now available, although not all manufacturers’ products comply fully.

How induction heat sealing works Before going into specifics on the new technology for glass and oily foods, it would be worth briefly outlining the

general principles of induction heat sealing. It uses highly engineered liner assemblies incorporating several layers. Prior to capping, the liner is positioned inside the ‘closure’ – the cap or lid. The seal itself consists of an aluminium foil layer laminated to an appropriate material for bonding with the container’s substrate. On the packaging line, the closure is screwed onto the neck of the container and then passed within the field of an electromagnetic coil. This generates an induction current which heats up the aluminium. As the heated seal cools, it adheres to the rim of the container. Tight seals produced in this way cannot be broken without leaving obvious evidence of tampering. For products which need to be resealed after opening, a two-piece seal assembly is used. The additional part, often made from pulp board, adheres to the inside of the closure. A coating of wax or polyolefin normally holds the two pieces together before capping, and this melts away when heated, during sealing, so they can separate. After opening, the soft material stuck to the inside of the closure forms an effective second seal when the cap is re-tightened.

Specific adaptations In the latest development, to solve fat and glass issues, aluminium foil is 39


coated with a heat seal polymer layer instead of wax. White folding box board is used for the backing material. The closure’s structure includes a retention bead – a ridge running around its internal perimeter – which holds the seal assembly in place. Bead and liner dimensions are crucial, as the liner must be retained but allowed to rotate freely. Consumers hear a reassuring ‘crack’ when they twist off the closure, as the liner materials separate. They then see the attractive foil liner, tightly stretched over the container’s neck. A secondary resealing liner or wad remains in the closure to maintain the product’s integrity and avoid contamination.

A question of balance As in any induction heat sealing application, successful bonding depends on using compatible materials and finding the right balance between pressure, heat and time. The capping machine’s torque heads, delivering a rotational force to screw the closure into place, should be


checked at least once per production. Correct pressure must be applied evenly to the entire rim. If it is too low, there will be insufficient contact for bonding. Excessive torque may cause uneven pressure by damaging the screw threads. Inconsistency in pressure distribution may also result from poor matching of threads in the container and closure, or from defects, irregularities and high or low spots in the rim surface. Achieving sufficient heat for effective bonding depends on carefully specifying the size and power level of the induction seal equipment. Since it is impractical to measure temperatures or temperature rise profiles at the seal interface, the best approach is to run trials of different systems, liners, sealers and power settings under production conditions. Temperature and timing are firmly linked. The closure needs to be under the induction coil long enough for the sealing surface to melt and bond with the rim. Variables affecting this include conveyor line speed, container size, liner design and whether the product is filled

hot or cold. Cooling time is important too, as full bond strength is not reached until it is cool. Rough handling during this critical stage may cause seal displacement.

Ask for advice With so many factors to consider, you should seek expert help. Induction equipment and lining material suppliers will be happy to advise and to co-operate in trials, ensuring the optimum set-up for your operation. D

Darren Dodd is Marketing and Service Director for Selig, a specialist manufacturer of tamperevident and easy-open cap and closure lining materials. Selig’s latest aluminium foil and heat seal combination products for glass containers and fatty foodstuffs are fully compliant with the relevant EU legislation.


Get smart

Weigh it up For both the diet conscious and the gadget nut, the NutriTab kitchen scale from Terrallion offers a way to obtain a clear and precise monitoring of their daily energy intake. This nutritional kitchen scale connects to a smartphone by using the Wellness Coach mobile app and users can then calculate the nutritional value of every food item weighed (calories, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, fibres and sodium). It also features a ‘Scan’ function which reads the nutritional information of readymade meals which especially handy for those on diet (athletes, diabetics, or anyone simply trying to lead a healthier lifestyle).

pair automatically and then the weighing and measuring of food is very straightforward. For anyone dedicated to watching what they eat, this offers a high level of precision, and working in tandem with the app, the scales help to set and achieve goals.

The sleek NutriTab scales are an impressive bit of kit. Once the App is downloaded the scales

The new Smart range from PhD Nutrition is addressing the nutritional needs of both men and women with its great tasting, high protein snacks and drinks in convenient formats, which have the added benefit of being low in carbs and calories. The Smart range includes smart protein bars, powder, flapjacks, shakes and nut butters, with all products boasting both fantastic flavour and textures. Jason Rickaby, one of the company’s founders, noted that customers ‘appreciate the Smart range as it suits people whose goal includes active weight loss as well as those who exercise regularly to get leaner or build muscle.’ smartprotein

Get your protein For those looking for an easy way to up their protein intake, Jordan’s has created two delicious new recipes in its Country Crisp range that have added pea and wheat protein, combined with Jordan’s creamy British oats. Available in two combinations, Nut Crunch and Berry Burst, more than 12 per cent of the energy in every 45g serving is provided from a source of protein. Protein contributes to growth in muscle mass and maintenance of normal bones when consumed as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. The Nut Crunch combines crisp wholegrain clusters with sliced and whole almonds, chopped roasted hazelnuts and cashew nuts; while The Berry Burst recipe mixes crisp wholegrain cereal with dried tangy cranberries, blueberries and blackcurrants.

Our tester loved the Jordan’s Nut Crunch, which she described as ‘a great way to start the day,’. “This was a nice alternative to my usual

porridge. The clusters are crunchy even when soaked in milk, and the almonds, cashews and hazelnuts give it extra bite. I loved the idea that there was pea and wheat protein added in, as it was a very tasty way to up my protein intake!” The Berry Burst was reported as ‘nice and fruity’ and also retained its crunch factor in milk, which was well regarded.

The team loved the Smart Protein Shakes and the Smart Protein Powder, and were especially impressed with the range of flavours. The Salted Caramel protein powder was a particular favourite: “I had this after a gym session in the morning. I mixed it with water and the resulting shake was nice and creamy, without any grainy bits or lumps. The Salted Caramel flavour was sweet but not overpowering, and felt like a treat – a nice reward post-gym!” 41

Obsessed with perfection

Old-school butchering and incisive market behaviour have turned Donald Russell into one of UK’s most respected butchers, whose meat adorns the tables of thousands of homes and restaurants across Europe


oundless passion to create the perfect steak or roast, or in fact any meat dish, makes Donald Russell a butcher like no other. As Managing Director, Tazio Gagliardi, observes, “we are quite obsessed with being perfect.” The Aberdeenshire company takes pride in its butchers’ craftsmanship, stressing the fact that they cut the old-fashioned way – by hand, believing that only the touch of an experienced butcher can get the very best from any piece of meat. “We constantly think about quality and how to approach the preparation of every product, so that we can get the best result every time. For example, we are true masters of maturation, which allows us to achieve a richer, deeper flavour and unrivalled texture,” Tazio points out. The ‘quality first’ creed has accompanied Donald Russell since its very beginning. Founded in 1974,


the company was the result of a collaboration between William Donald – a farmer in Aberdeenshire, and the owner of Russell Meat – a London-based butchery. Tazio takes us on a brief journey through its history: “The two gentlemen got together, because Russell Meat had a customer in the Far East they were unable to serve, due to them not having an export licence at that time. William Donald, on the other hand, had the licence, but was looking to expand his customer base. Once established, the company spent its first 20 years mainly exporting to more than 30 countries.” Having been faced with certain hardships such as the BSE crisis in the late 1990s, Donald Russell had to redefine its strategy and it was an article in The Telegraph that helped the business change its direction. “In the article, we talked about the quality of our meat and how we had dealt with the BSE crisis. Our phone number was included in the article, and all of a sudden, customers were phoning from all over the country looking for our products,” Tazio remembers. “This is how we started our mail-order business, which now accounts for 70 per cent of our total sales. The remaining 30 per cent comes from our work with the foodservice and hospitality markets, including many of the most prestigious restaurants in the country. Today, as part of the Vestey family, we retain our presence abroad, being well represented in countries like Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland, and Hong Kong, to mention but a few.”

New brand & website Donald Russell has been focussing on intensive investment activity for the last few years. The company’s commitment to continuous improvement has driven its development of various aspects of the business, enabling it to take on the daily challenges it encounters. “Even though we cut our meat by hand, we have still invested in pieces of machinery that help us streamline the process. In addition, this year we underwent a complete rebrand, with a view to redefine our position in the market. This included the launch of a brand new website with improved design and usability. Another of its competitive

Donald Russell advantages is that it has been optimised for different devices – be it a PC, a mobile phone, or a tablet. “We recently became an ‘Investors in People’ organisation – a testament to our efforts in developing our staff and supporting them on their professional path. Furthermore, we were BRCaccredited for the first time this year, in recognition of the process improvements we have been introducing. It can be said that the business is going through changes, hence the innovations I am speaking about, as we expect these to keep us up to speed with market requirements,” Tazio explains. 2018 has been a milestone year for Donald Russell for yet another reason. The company was awarded 10 Great Taste Awards, including the maximum of three stars for three of its products – the Easy Carve Carvery Rib Roast, the Dryaged Veal Rib Steak, and the Dry-aged Veal Rump Cap. Tazio picks up on the latter two: “In fact, we are one of the few

companies in the entire world that dryage veal, meaning that we have carved a niche in the market, which is proving to bring us a lot of success at the moment. “It is an inherent idea of ours that we need to have a different USP for every product we offer. For example, our ready meals like lasagne, or the pies we sell, have the highest meat content you can find in the UK. What’s more, it’s excellent meat – even in pies or mince, we use only the best. To us, it is very important that

when people cut the pie, they are able to see what is actually inside, getting peace of mind that they receive real quality and value for money,” he continues. While the external market and trading conditions are challenging at the moment, Tazio remains positive about the company’s abilities to continue growing, thus preserving its status as one of the finest butchers in the UK. “We are aware that young people are becoming a lot more conscious of what they eat, as they strive to lead a healthier lifestyle, and we have to be ready to serve their needs. There are also debates around packaging going on, which we are monitoring very closely. It is good, though, that we are talking about these challenges and working on how best to overcome them. We can guarantee that we are not going to compromise on the quality of our products and we will look to be innovative in everything we do, in order to progress in our industry,” he concludes. D 43

Sweet spot It has taken Crosstown Doughnuts just four years to become a recognisable brand on London’s food scene, as complete focus on quality and customer service has won the hearts of thousands in the capital


Crosstown Doughnuts 45


hat Adam Wills and JP Then envisioned when they were establishing Crosstown Doughnuts, was the creation of a premium brand and retail experience that would allow London’s knowledgeable and discerning consumers to enjoy a ‘moment away from the madness’ of the big city. Putting quality at the core of its philosophy, the bakery strives to use only the best ingredients to craft its hand-made doughnuts, sourcing vanilla from as far as Tonga and chocolate from California to ensure that its treats have a memorable flavour that will get the customers to return again and again. “Most big producers of doughnuts are not focused on flavour and appearance. Crosstown, on the other hand, is taking its time to build a lasting relationship with its customers by providing the best treat possible,”


Due to the strength of our brand and following, we have established sizable organic traffic to our website, many of which are customers wanting to purchase directly from us

comments Adam. “The fact that many of our doughnuts are sent as gifts or used in celebrations, demonstrate that people have great faith in the quality of our product and they feel comfortable with the premium positioning of our brand. At the same time, we feel a great deal of responsibility to repay

that faith by making doughnuts that produce a smile on people’s faces. Our customers look to us to keep pushing the boundaries with interesting flavours, specialty drinks, and a warm retail experience. In order to meet their expectations, we make all of the topping, jams, glazes, and fillings inhouse to make sure we have complete control over the quality and output, and to keep the authenticity of our offering,” he discusses. It was through understanding customer needs that Crosstown launched a special vegan selection to please people who were unable to consume the bakery’s original sourdough flavours, but were nevertheless willing to try the Crosstown experience. Adam adds: “In fact, our vegan customers are among our biggest fans and I can observe that this segment is an ever-growing part of our company. “While changes to our menu are frequent, due to us producing everything from our own bakery in London and having a nimble development team, chocolate always wins as our most popular flavour. For example, our chocolate truffle doughnut has always been a great seller for us, and we now offer an original sourdough, as well as a vegan sourdough version,” he introduces some of the most sought-after items on Crosstown’s menu. “We also use lots of seasonal fruit and we love to create flavours that follow the specific time of the year. Similarly, we are always keen on celebrating special days such as St Patrick’s Day or Australia Day, so we often freshen up our offering around these dates.”

Crosstown Doughnuts Nearly five years after Crosstown began as a market stall on Leather Lane, the company now operates 15 locations across London, including the capital’s premier markets, as well as its own shops. “Our market roots are important to us and recently, we opened a food truck just outside Waterloo station making use of an empty space,” Adam reveals. “As to our stores, we always try to tailor ourselves to the environment of the local area where we want to establish a shop. Each site has a different personality, yet remains true to being Crosstown. Part of our strength is that we can attract a diverse customer base, which, however, is united in one aspect – that everyone and anyone can happily sit down and enjoy the unique Crosstown experience.”

Serving the customer The company is set to open its tenth London store in January 2019, but its aspirations do not end here. “We are certainly considering the possibilities of opening additional stores throughout the year and we are currently in discussions with various landlords and companies about working with them to bring Crosstown to their customers. However, like most retail operators, we are being very careful in the current climate, so if the deal is not right for us, we will not do it. We have grown organically at our own pace, as we want to realise our vision strategically, and this has proven crucial in maintaining the health of the business,” Adam analyses. His business partner and co-founder of Crosstown, JP Then is also the creator of SLERP – an internal ordering platform that links up to their shop network, allowing customers to transact with the company through its website selling live shop stock. JP explains: “Due to the strength of our brand and following, we have established sizable organic traffic to our website, many of which are customers wanting to purchase directly from us. Because we believe that we are best at serving our customers and not someone else, we have developed SLERP to allow this process to happen seamlessly, at an acceptable price to us. We are

just making the effort to manage an end-to-end customer relationship, which is not easy, but is essential if you want to have a long-term sustainable business.” Impressed with its success, multiple organisations have approached Crosstown with offers to expand the brand outside of the UK. “These are interesting opportunities and we think that we are well-suited to super cities like New York, Shanghai, or Paris. Our more immediate goals, however, will be to build additional infrastructure at our bakery to allow ourselves to meet the needs that our growth will require. Admittedly, we are closely monitoring the situation with Brexit, but we are not going to worry about factors we cannot control. Instead, we will continue focusing on strengthening our customer service and the quality of our proposition,” Adam concludes. D 47

A taste of things to come


CO-RO CO-RO’s fruit-based products have long been present in key Asian markets, and with the appointment of its first dedicated Executive Vice President (EVP) for Asia the company is embarking on a renewed push into a geographic region of immense opportunities


or a great many multinational companies, Asia represents a new frontier for growth and expansion, with many of its countries finding themselves in the midst of rises in both population size and economic prosperity. It makes sense then that more and more of these companies are introducing their products and brands to the region. In the case of one of the world’s leading providers of fruit-based soft drinks, concentrates and home-freeze icelollies, however, Asia has long been a recognised land of opportunity. “CO-RO has been present in Asia for more than 50 years now, which makes up a significant proportion of our 76-year history, and has a strong presence in core markets such as China and Malaysia, and is also in the process of constructing a factory in Sri Lanka,” explains Søren Ravn, CO-RO’s Executive Vice President (EVP) for Asia, who himself was welcomed into the CORO family in September 2017. Søren is certainly no stranger to the Asia market and has been living in Asia since 2006. Up until 2017 he worked for Carlsberg in Asia, holding CEO positions across China, Hong Kong and Malaysia/Singapore and was heavily involved in M&A in Asia as well. “What attracted me to CO-RO was that, at the time of joining the company, it was in the process of a great deal of activity as far as product innovation and targeting new geographies is concerned,” he details. Asia clearly represented an important part of the latter strategy, as Søren’s appointment marked the first-time the company had appointed an EVP for the region, and today he and his team are based out of a dedicated office in Kuala Lumpur. “Mine and my team’s role

is to help to make Asia a real growth engine for CO-RO, and to increase its contribution towards our total global revenues, which currently totals around 25 per cent, in a responsible and profitable way, and through a balanced mix of organic growth, new product innovation and acquisitions,” he continues.

Growing demand As Søren goes on to reveal, the continued appeal of Asia comes from the multiple growth opportunities that CO-RO has identified for its various brands and ranges. “One example is the strength in demand we have seen for our traditional Sunquick cordial offering,” he says. “We have found these products to be especially prominent in

countries with a predominantly Muslim population, for instance in Malaysia, where we have a market share of approximately 40 per cent. In such markets, consumers are looking for a high-quality product with lots of flavour options, and we are driving growth here by providing just that. “We are also looking to aggressively target the food service sector with our cordial range, which they can provide to consumers through dedicated drink dispenser machines. For this industry, cordial is an attractive, affordable option as it only requires the transport and delivery of concentrates, and we have experienced a real success story in China with cordial dispenser machines over the last ten years or so.”

Committed to innovation It was this success that, in-part, motivated the company to make a significant acquisition in November 2018, when it purchased a majority shareholding in Golden Creation Trade Co. Limited, which traded as JKD. A prominent distributing company, JKD holds brand distribution licenses for a range of products in catering, including one to sell juice products under China’s leading juice brand Huiyuan. The acquisition will allow CO-RO to tap into JKD’s vast distribution network, effectively doubling its point of sales in the catering sector and widening its range of products. “CO-RO identified JKD as being a business that shared a similar model and ethos as its own, and saw a fantastic opportunity to expand its product offering and build upon its strengths,” Søren states. “While until now we have had a good degree of success in the juice dispenser segment in China, there has always been room for growth, and with the acquisition of JKD we now 49

CO-RO has an incredible pipeline of innovative projects, and will have many more forthcoming with the opening of its state-of-the-art innovation centre at its headquarters in Frederikssund, Denmark

Greencarrier Liner Agency Greencarrier Liner Agency is the agent for Evergreen Line – one of the world’s leading international shipping companies. From its offices in the Nordic and Baltic countries, they offer transport solutions worldwide. Evergreen has been at the forefront of the efforts of the international trade and transportation industry to develop the foundation for a sustainable global container transportation system, and has the environment at the top of its agenda. The company provides several trade lanes between North America, Asia and Europe, and calls the world’s most important ports directly. A comprehensive feeder network extends Evergreen’s reach into hundreds of ports around the world.


have access to a total of around 25,000 dispenser machines across the country, making us the clear front runner in the market.” Another major opportunity for CO-RO in Asia involves taking the popularity and market awareness of its cordial range under the Sunquick brand and translate that brand strength to its ready-to-drink products. “We are still in the early days of these efforts, however our roll out of certain products, such as our 125ml Sunquick packs, into countries like Malaysia and Myanmar have already proven to be very popular with children and families, so we look forward to expanding the footprint of ready-to-drink products in the coming years,” Søren proclaims. Stepping back from CO-RO’s products themselves, its teams across the world are also the beneficiaries of the company’s commitment towards technological innovation. “CO-RO has

CO-RO an incredible pipeline of innovative projects, and will have many more forthcoming with the opening of its state-of-the-art innovation centre at its headquarters in Frederikssund, Denmark,” Søren enthuses. “One example of our efforts to embrace technology has seen the incorporation of digital technology into the newest generation of dispenser machines in China. This allows us to track the health of the dispensers, the level of usage and stock, and the revenue generated per machine, all from our China head office in Guangdong. We are planning to speed up the rollout of this type of technology in 2019, and we see it as a great opportunity to achieve higher efficiencies while also closely monitoring consumer trends.” For Søren, his team, and CO-RO at large, the overall aim of the company’s efforts in Asia is to achieve strong, albeit balanced, growth via a combination

of organic expansion, innovation and acquisitions. “For me personally, I see so much future potential throughout Asia,” he concludes. “With a passionate, dedicated, local team in place, and an open-minded mindset as to how to manage growth responsibly, I feel that we are in an excellent position to reach our goal of increasing Asia’s contribution to the company’s total turnover, and sooner rather than later!” D


We move your shipments – in Europe and Globally around the world. Jumbo Transport Group provides high levelled, personal and just in time services, related to road transport, forwarding, logistics, warehousing, distribution, parcel service, and special transport/over dimensional transports. Cross country logistics and transports all over Europe, Balkan and the Middle East as well as overseas shipping and airfreight. Jumbo Transport Group in: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary. 51



The Bread Factory has continued to grow in 2018, opening a new bakery in Hendon and taking sliced sourdough out across the UK to respond to emerging consumer trends 52


ompanies operating in the hospitality industry need to be kept on their toes at all times, due to the sector’s dynamism and ever-evolving nature. Acting on this principle, artisan bakery The Bread Factory has kept its finger on the pulse of the market throughout 2018, in order to fine-tune its proposition in accordance with prevalent trends. “Since London is a leading global city, a lot of the trends that emerge or are developed here, impact the way people eat and dine across the world,” comments Trading Director, Tristan

Kaye. “For example, both gluten-free and veganism are becoming much more influential and we are seeing a lot of our customers demanding products that suit either (or sometimes both) of these needs, as these trends become more and more mainstream. “Another observation I could make is that the general population is becoming more interested in sourdough, so we are witnessing a significant growth in demand for this type of bread. The vast majority of the breads we bake every night are sourdough, with one even being based on a mother dough

The Bread Factory In his words, the ongoing upward trend in sourdough demand has also given The Bread Factory the confidence to invest in a new production facility which now houses Richard Bertinet’s sliced sourdough production. “We built an entirely new bakery at Hendon with Richard to focus on producing sourdough bread at scale, and we have now rolled those sliced tins out into Waitrose sites across the UK. Naturally, we have not compromised on the quality of the ingredients, or the amount of time we spend fermenting before baking, which is over 12 hours. Instead, we have invested in new equipment, including a bread divider line, tunnel retarder/proofers, and cooling tunnels, all allowing us to make sourdoughs at a scale and level of efficiency we have not been able to produce at before. All the sourdough is shaped by hand so the new equipment does not replace the work of the bakers’ hands, but it does mean that our skilled people can spend more time on the products, ensuring quality and consistency across the entire production,” Tristan explains.

Bold investment

that is over 20 years old. This year, we partnered with a highly-respected UK/French baker - Richard Bertinet - to produce and scale up his sliced tin sourdoughs. We did so because we believe these products are going to fundamentally change the sliced bread market – made only from flour, water, and salt (with the addition of grains for our seeded version), they are entirely natural, have all the health benefits of sourdough, and maintain the convenience of the sliced tin shape that people love for toast or sandwiches,” Tristan continues.

In a similar vein, The Bread Factory has also been trialling various pieces of equipment in its viennoiserie production area, such as Rondo lines, to improve the consistency in cutting pastry shapes. Tristan adds: “Again, this is not driven by a desire to mechanise, but rather to experiment with new machinery that complements the skills of our people and frees them up to do more.” Although 2018 has not been without its challenges, caused mainly by the increasing costs of many of the ingredients it uses, as well as by the uncertainty of Brexit’s impact on the broader UK economy, The Bread Factory has been bold enough to invest in the new Hendon facility and also work towards the further integration of two of its wholesale businesses into its wider operation. Moreover, a new brand was introduced into the bakery’s portfolio – The Bertinet Bakery. “This was a strategic decision, which, we hope, will strengthen our proposition in the sourdough segment further. Our 53

Your allies at work every day PATISSEries & SMALL bakeries


INDUSTrial bakeries



The Bread Factory new partner Richard Bertinet founded his bakery in Bath and was baking out of there to supply local wholesale customers, as well as many Waitrose sites in the West Country with his sliced sourdoughs,” Tristan discloses.

Awards for excellence The Bread Factory labels itself, and rightfully so, a ‘product-centric’ business. It is the company’s deeprooted belief that by focusing on making the best products and supporting that with an efficient operation of delivering on-time and in-full to its customers, it will continue to grow. “An increasing part of the overall picture, though, particularly in the current climate of food safety issues, is customers’ confidence in our ability to make their products safely,” Tristan notes. “We have always taken these concerns seriously and that is evident from our granting of a BRC Grade AA rating – the highest we have ever held.” With it taking care even of the smallest details, it is no wonder that The Bread Factory was named Bakery Manufacturing Company of the

Year at the 2017 Food Manufacture Excellence Awards. Tristan reflects on the recognition: “First of all, it needs to be established that we are actually ineligible for many bakery awards because of our scale, and those we are eligible for, typically attract the interest of the much larger, and often international, bakery groups. However, we do not see ourselves as one of these. Instead, we look at The Bread Factory as an artisan bakery that has just grown up a little. Winning the Bakery Manufacturing Company of the Year award against other large-scale businesses was vindication of that for us. Fundamentally, though, these awards are more about showing our people, especially the bakers, just how much we are being recognised in the market – they are a powerful way of communicating internally how we are perceived externally.”

Best of British Continuous improvement of its products and service levels occupies a central position on the menu for 2019 for The Bread Factory. “There

is a broader trend of people being more acutely aware of what they are eating and where it is coming from. We feel that many consumers are becoming better educated on food – as food programmes dominate what we watch on TV – and they do not want to compromise on taste or quality. Therefore, it is crucial for us to continue delivering what our customers order, matching or even surpassing the standard they have come to expect from us,” Tristan maintains. “In the long-term, we want to become synonymous with the idea of being best for British baking, and for making our baked goods available to a wider group of consumers, because we firmly believe that everyone should have actrcess to great quality breads, cakes, and pastries,” he charts the company’s course for the coming years. “As a society, we have manipulated our food, and bread in particular, over the past decades, to a point where we believe it has lost much of its flavour, its nutrition, and its very essence. Our mission is to lead the charge in changing that.” D

Tagliavini “Our warmth, right to the heart of your products”. The bakery market is experiencing an era of enormous change thanks, above all, to economic globalisation and an opening up to a continuous exchange of different cultures and traditions. All of this has led to the birth of a new production model in the field of bakery product processing, based on technologically advanced machinery that still manages to produce foods closely linked to artisanal tradition. What we offer our customers, from small, family-run bakeries to large-scale industrial production plants, is not limited to the extent and quality of our product range, but also includes a service platform offering the best solution to meet customer needs, from the design of the sales outlet to staff training. Since 1934, we have been investing in research and technology to achieve results that are always at the forefront. The Tronik electric oven has been unrivaled on the market for 30 years thanks to a unique management system that allows for a reduction in power like no other. The result is ‘excellent baking accompanied by real energy savings and respect for the environment’. 55

Brewing as pure art

Never compromising on quality, Purity Brewing is one of the most respected craft breweries in the UK, creating fine beers that can offer a memorable experience even to the most seasoned of beer enthusiasts



rewing outstanding beers with a conscience, consistency and attention to detail without any prejudice, was defined as Purity Brewing’s mission in 2005 when its founders – Paul Halsey and Jim Minkin, started the business. Over a decade later, the Warwickshire-based brewery has become a multi-awardwinning company that has successfully built a national network of customers, targeting international expansion as the next key step to fully realising its potential. A triad of core values – Pure Quality, Pure Eco, and Pure Community, underpins all the activities Purity undertakes. The strict adherence to these principles is viewed as the critical contributor to the business’ success. “We are dedicated to brewing the best beer possible and to do so, we need the best raw materials and suppliers,” begins Paul, who is also the Managing Director of the company. “It is important to work with people who match our values and want to produce a product of the highest quality. We collaborate

closely with our malt and hop suppliers to ensure the quality and the consistency of their products, so they can meet the Pure Quality standard we have set,” he points out. What is truly emblematic of Purity, however, is its eco credentials that demonstrate the company’s commitment to supporting the environment by using only natural ingredients and getting involved in recycling programmes. Paul elaborates: “At Purity, waste water from the brewing process is recycled through a wetland system. This sustainable ecosystem helps minimise carbon emissions and encourages wildlife diversity. Similarly, the brewery’s spent hops are used as a fertiliser on the local farm and spent grain is currently being used to nourish goslings at a farm in Leicestershire. What is more, Purity also uses the latest heat and steam recapture technology to reduce energy consumption at our 90,000-hectolitre brewery. Another telling example of our conscientious approach lies in the fact that we use only 2.5 pints of water to make a pint of beer – a stark difference

Purity Brewing to the industry standard of brewers who use eight pints.” Also synonymous with Purity is the brewery’s keen support for cultural events in and around Warwickshire. “We have supported festivals such as Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul, Mosely Folk, Camper Calling, and Lunar. In addition, we are an official partner of Wasps Rugby and the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, also supporting numerous other rugby union teams including Coventry Rugby and Birmingham and Solihull Bees,” Paul remarks.

Flagship brews The combination of these three fundamentals has understandably piqued the interest of the industry, which led to Purity being named 2018 Brewery of the Year by the Good Pub Guide. Moreover, each of the beers in the brewery’s range has also been recognised externally in the past few years, raising its prestige further. Most recently, the Lawless Lager and the Mad Goose were pronounced winners of a Gold award at this year’s SIBA Midlands Beer Competition. The former won in the Bottle/Can Premium Lager & Pilsner (4.5 per cent to 6.4 per cent) category, while the latter beat its competition to the Cask British Bitter (up to 4.4 per cent) award. Other flagship brews crafted by Purity include the golden ale Pure Gold, the amber ale with a sweet finish Pure UBU, the pale ale Bunny Hop, the American-style Longhorn IPA and a black IPA Saddle Black. “With over 2000 breweries operating in the UK at the moment, the market is certainly extremely competitive, with all of these breweries fighting for space in the same bars. Coupled with the fact that pubs are closing at an alarming rate, we are facing a significant challenge that needs to be addressed,” Paul analyses current business conditions. “Our response is continual investment into our quality assurance programme and R&D to ensure the beer we make remains the best it can be. We are also looking to start exporting and we have just appointed an Export Manager – Colin Cordy, to organise the process. We are really excited about taking Purity to different parts of the world and our focus

in the next year or so will be to establish a presence in Northern Europe, Russia and Asia.”

Business investment Surely, intensifying international trade activities is not to come at the expense of additional UK expansion. Instead, Purity is determined to bolster both revenue streams simultaneously. “To this end, we

will make the most of the investment we received from the Business Growth Fund (BGF) in August aimed at supporting our organic growth strategy. Part of the investment will be used to implement our expansion plans across the UK, as we are targeting sales growth in the North and the South East of England,” Paul reveals. Backed by the aforementioned financial support from the BGF, Purity will also test its own boundaries in terms of new product development in the next three years. Furthermore, the company is considering the purchase of more fermenting vessels to increase its capacity and accommodate anticipated growth in demand. Following a clearlydefined business model and never backing down from its dedication to quality, Purity can relish the prospect of its brands rising to a well-known status worldwide. Cheers to the prospect of many more perfect pints! D 57

Go forth and indulge

Mouth-watering sweet and savoury biscuits that promise to be long-remembered once tried for the first time, have been the trademark treats made by Thomas Fudge’s for over a century



omparing indulgence to a form of art, Thomas Fudge’s has always aimed high and strived for perfection when baking its remarkable delights. Ever since Thomas Fudge founded his bakery in 1916, the company’s focus has been on local sourcing and artisan craftsmanship, with recipes being passed down from generation to generation. “Even after more than 100 years, remarkable baking remains our key differentiator and underpins the brand, highlighting the way we work and the passion that drives us. To this day, we still slowly bake our tasty treats in batches. We are very proud to have retained many years of knowledge and expertise in our bakers, many of whom have been with us from boy to man,” begins CEO, Garry Biggs. During the interwar period, Thomas Fudge’s specialised in making mainly bread and patisserie-style cakes and biscuits. Later on, after the end of World War II, it began producing Chelsea buns and doughnuts, and in the 1980s – gingerbread men and ginger biscuits. It was in 1993, though, that

it created its flagship product, namely, the iconic Florentines. “They truly give a unique and differentiated offering in comparison to other chocolate products in the market. As found out by a YouGov survey, 67 per cent of UK consumers have heard of Florentines, with 48 per cent having bought the luxurious biscuit before, proving it has broad appeal to the public. What we have also noticed, is that the Florentines are particularly popular across the festive period. Recently, we secured a major investment in the production of Florentines, which will allow us to further reinforce the brand,” Garry discusses.

New product launches Offered in a new, larger format, specifically designed for the foodservice sector and to tap into occasions from mid-afternoon sweet treats in coffee shops to lunchtime indulgences onthe-go, the Florentines have continued to grow in popularity, but their new packaging is hardly the only product development that has taken place at Thomas Fudge’s in 2018. “As the

Thomas Fudge’s premium end of the market continues to grow, we have to keep our fingers on the pulse of market trends, insights, and gaps. This year, we entered the flatbread market with the launch of three flavours: Cheddar & Shallot, Chickpea & Sesame, and Tomato & Red Chilli,” Garry points out. “Moreover, we added two new exceptionally moreish flavours to our Blisscuits range – White Chocolate Zesty Lemon and Triple Chocolate. We are also very proud to have been in partnership with Unilever for over 10 years and continue to produce a delicious range of Marmite products, including newly launched Marmite Breakfast Biscuits and Marmite Biscuits for Cheese.”

Bold new look This past June, Thomas Fudge’s announced a full packaging rebrand, which included the design of a new logo, updated illustrations, and a whole new bold and colourful look, developed to support point of purchase (POP) and help the business stand out on supermarket shelves. “We did some research with our customers and it became clear that it was difficult for them to spot us in the supermarket and tell each product apart. For this reason, we have now included lovely close-up pictures of the biscuits on the front and introduced the colour from the sides into the illustrations on the front to help shoppers find their favourite. Furthermore, each pack has a logo paying homage to Thomas Fudge and features the caption ‘Go forth and indulge’,” Garry explains. Simon Tovey, Commercial Director, added: “Our new look moves the brand on to make it more single-minded, bolder, and more confident. We have maintained our distinctiveness while improving on-shelf standout and we are sure that our brand makeover will go a long way to delivering a strong point of difference, attracting new consumers and simplifying the shopper’s journey.” Garry continues: “Given the peaks we see around Christmas, this is an important time of the year to encourage trial buys and ultimately convert these sales into repeat purchases. POP is a significant aspect that should not be

underestimated, with studies showing that 82 per cent of purchase decisions are made at POP. Our products fall into

a high-impulse category, so we need to make sure that they are easily visible to get those initial purchases. “We have ambitious growth plans for the company and the brand. We want to continue to delight adults wherever they happen to be with Thomas Fudge’s remarkable and innovative baked treats, focusing on developing our sweet and savoury offering, as well as looking at products that tie in seasonally. We also have a strategic five-year plan in place and we are fully committed to making further investments and driving the business forward. It is of utmost importance to upgrade our bakery on a regular basis, in order to retain our efficiency and enable more capacity, flexibility, and different formats. By following our plans, we should be able to realise substantial growth across the brand in the years to come,” he wraps up. D 59

Climate positive


Obsessed with being the most ‘green’ brand in the restaurant industry, Swedish burger chain Max Burgers reached the status of a climate positive company in 2018


Max Burgers


Kaj Török

here are many reasons for Max Burgers to be cheerful in 2018. Not only did the largest burger chain in Sweden celebrate its 50th anniversary on June 14, but it also announced that it had become the first climate positive company in the food sector. In addition, in the past year and a half, Max Burgers opened new restaurants in some of the countries it had already been present, including Norway, Denmark, Egypt, and, most recently, Poland. In a nutshell, being climate positive means that an activity goes beyond achieving net zero carbon emissions to actually create an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Chief Sustainability Officer and Chief Reputation Officer, Kaj Török elaborates: “Becoming climate neutral is no longer enough. It was the goal of yesterday. The new goal for every brand committed to climate action should be to become climate positive, and this notion is spreading all over the world. People have begun to realise that we cannot reach the world’s climate goals just by reducing emissions, we have to capture carbon, as well. In Sweden,

Latest research shows that it could be sufficient for people to eat as much as 100 grammes of beef per week, which will dramatically reduce the pressure we all feel to feed what will be ten billion people on the planet by 2050 in particular, more and more big companies have pledged to become climate positive in the future. For example, H&M are set to achieve this

target by 2040, while IKEA are looking to do it by 2030.” Essentially, now every visit to a Max Burgers restaurant helps improve the climate and the company has taken action in three key areas to succeed in its initiative. “First of all, we performed the most detailed climate analysis in the restaurant industry in the world, including all greenhouse gas emissions in our calculations. In our case, this means measuring emissions from the farmers’ land to our guests’ hands. We also include their travel to and from our restaurants, as well as their waste, among other elements,” Kaj points out. “The second step for us was to implement various campaigns for the reduction of our emissions, such as using 100 percent wind power and turning used fry oil into biodiesel. More important still, is the fact that we have introduced more ‘green’ burgers to our menu. About 40 percent of our burgers are now not made of beef, but of chicken or fish, or are entirely vegetarian, and they are selling really well. Last but not least, we also plant trees in Africa that absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow. This means that we capture carbon dioxide 61

equivalent to another ten per cent of our emissions.” Selling more low-impact burgers represents one of the major sustainability targets Max Burgers will be pursuing in the coming years. Kaj details: “Our goal by 2022 is for every second meal we serve to be made without beef. We are not far from the proposed deadline, but if we meet this objective, and I am confident we will, we will have reduced our emissions by 30 per cent in just seven years. “When we were last featured in FoodChain about a year and a half ago, we had five different ‘green’ options on the menu. Now there are seven, plus our recently-launched vegan shake. We have also released a product called Crispy Nuggets – an organic, vegan, fully plant-based alternative that tastes as good as our regular Chicken Nuggets,” he says discussing the latest items added to Max Burgers’ offering.


the industry. Latest research shows that it could be sufficient for people to eat as much as 100 grammes of beef per week, which will dramatically reduce the pressure we all feel to feed what will be ten billion people on the planet by 2050.”

Cosmopolitan consumers

Kaj also remarks that two of the giants in the fast food business – McDonald’s and Burger King, have followed Max Burgers’ practices in enriching their menus with more vegan options. “I think Sweden is the only country where McDonald’s have developed a McVegan. At the same time, Burger King has launched a halloumi burger. It is flattering, but more importantly, it is good if we can work together in setting a new standard for

No profound change in society’s preferences, however, can happen without the bottom-up efforts of citizens themselves who need to first desire a transformation for it to happen. Such seems to be the case in Sweden, where the majority of the locals have taken a responsible approach towards their eating habits. “If you look just at hardcore vegans in the country, they constitute less than ten per cent of the population. Flexitarians, on the other hand, who are people that consume meat, but are willing to reduce its consumption, number more than 60 per cent. It is

Max Burgers important that consumers realise the benefits of reducing their climate impact and of eating a little bit healthier. “On top of that, I feel that there is a connection between social status and food nowadays,” Kaj draws an interesting parallel. “If having the right car meant that you had a higher status 20 years ago, and having the right mobile phone was an indicator of a higher position in society a decade ago, then today, at least in Sweden, a lot of that revolves around the food you consume. It seems that people who eat consciously are seen as somewhat more sophisticated and concerned with their wellbeing. I think similar processes are going on in distinct parts of London, in California, in Berlin, and in some other cosmopolitan cities around the world.” Earlier this year, Max Burgers opened two new restaurants in Norway, followed by two more in Poland in quick succession. Slowly but surely,

the company is making a name for itself abroad, but Kaj admits that it will take some time before the brand is truly well-established in the foreign markets it is targeting. “We know that we have a strong proposition in Sweden, proof of which is the fact that this year, we have won a customer satisfaction award for the 17th year running. We are still relatively unknown outside of our domestic market, though, so we

are trying to find the right formula that will help us grow our presence in other geographical areas. There are plans in place to expand in multiple countries, and especially in Poland, where we have been very well-received. Furthermore, we will keep growing in Sweden, selling more ‘green’ burgers, and constantly reinventing ourselves and the whole industry,” he concludes. D 63

Meat heaven

restaurants, but as word spread, an increasing number of retail customers began lining up in front of the 225-acre Chalcroft Farm. Today, R Owton has grown into one of the premier wholesale butchers and farm shop proprietors in the UK and has expanded to add three more farm shops – at Garsons, Country Market, and the recently opened butchery and farm shop at Rosebourne near Andover. As well as raising its own beef on Chalcroft Farm, R Owton also works with more than 40 farmers from the counties of Hampshire and Dorset, having specialised in locally sourced meat. The company’s production facilities make over 12 tonnes of sausages and black pudding every week and in 2016, R Owton produced more than two million burgers.

Exotic options

An impressive production capacity allows R Owton to serve over 1100 different customers with a wide variety of traditional and exotic meat types



t’s not every day that we report on a family company that, in one way or another, has been practicing its speciality since the Middle Ages. Extraordinary as it is, the Owton family has been farming on Chalcroft Farm for more than 400 years, with the earliest known records dating even further back in time – to 1257. It was in the 1920s that Rob Owton’s father began trading cattle and wholesale meat and some 40 years later, Rob himself had to choose between farming and butchery. After careful consideration, he decided to work alongside his father in his wholesale meat business, which turned out to be a wise decision. In 1976, Rob and his wife Gill founded the R Owton wholesale business from the family’s original shop in Southampton upon the retirement of Rob’s father. At first, Rob and Gill were selling primarily to butchers and

Boasting an impressive and everexpanding portfolio of over 1100 customers across a diverse range of foodservice sectors, the business is continually investing in its capabilities in order to serve its client base. Presently, it is looking to integrate a bespoke software management and stock system and also take delivery of three new refrigerated vans to strengthen its fleet of 28 vehicles. The most sizable investment R Owton is placing at the moment, however, is in a new 22,000 square feet factory, the construction of which is expected to begin in early 2019 and continue in the following six to eight months. The state-of-the-art facility will be bespoke and designed to the company’s exact specifications, enabling it to considerably improve the efficiency of its production process. It will not be an exaggeration to say that R Owton’s product range truly consists of any type of meat your mind can conceive – from British beef, lamb, pork, and poultry, all the way to specialist meats like kangaroo fillets, crocodile tail steaks, and camel haunch steaks; offal, and home-made sausages and burgers. In addition, the company offers eggs and delicatessen, such as cheese and a wide selection of cooked meats. The Chalcroft Farm can rightly be considered R Owton’s spiritual home

R Owton (Wholesale Butchers) and this is where the butchers and the company’s most popular farm shop are based. With 14 staff that can advise customers on the finest cuts of meat, preparation, and how best to cook to ensure the richness of their dishes, the farm shop wows its visitors with the range of exotic meats that were mentioned earlier. In fact, the business was the first butchers to import kangaroo meet in the UK. Further to the kangaroo and crocodile meat options, ostrich, wild boar, and kudu (an African antelope) are also on offer, and clients are more than welcome to taste some of Owton’s own recipe ostrich and cranberry burgers and wild boar and apple sausages. On a somewhat less exotic level, but tasting as delicious are the farm shop’s sausages, which have been produced at the site since 1978. While R Owton’s best seller has proven to be the ‘good old standard pork banger’,

other varieties have helped raise the shop’s profile. In 2012, the Corporal Jones Wartime Recipe pork sausage – named after the butcher from Dad’s Army – won the ‘Iconic British Sausage’ category during the British Sausage Week, allowing the company to claim supremacy in the sausage segment.

Future outlook Situated at Roseboune Garden Centre in Weyhill, R Owton’s newest branch opened in 2017 and, just as any of the other three shops, demonstrates unrivalled passion for quality and only the best customer service. Coupled with the strong performance it has registered since opening, the outlook for the shop’s future looks more than positive. The diversified range of sectors supplied by R Owton clearly signifies the business’ ambition to penetrate multiple market segments and speaks volumes

of the quality of its products, as these continue to attract interest from clients of different backgrounds. More than just delivering to shops, R Owton has among its customer base the likes of high-profile pubs and bars (including 200 Fuller’s public houses), hotels, hospitals, care homes, and even a Premier League football club. Furthermore, the company offers contract catering services to complement its proposition to the hospitality industry. Known for its reliability and the quality of meat it processes, R Owton has earned an excellent reputation within numerous industries. The company’s production capabilities have been another critical reason for its success and by building a new factory, one could predict that R Owton will have an even more streamlined process that will enable the wholesale butchers to take on more work and expand over time. D 65

Fresh thinking True to its roots, Oliver Kay Produce believes not only in the benefits of fresh, quality produce and first-class customer service, but also in the need to be a sustainable business that leads from the front


Oliver Kay Produce


Paul Leyland

hen Oliver Kay established his own company some 25 years ago, which at the time operated under name Rediveg, he based it on the concept of selling high quality, fresh, seasonal produce from what was then a small warehouse in Bolton. Oliver’s vision was simple – he was committed to supplying the very best produce from around the world to chefs in hotels and restaurants throughout the UK. Surrounding himself with a passionate team of people to help him to deliver this vision, Oliver Kay Produce - as the company would come to be known as, quickly grew to become one of the leading suppliers of high quality fresh produce to the catering and leisure sectors. It was then, in November 2012, that Bidfresh Limited acquired a considerable stake in the company, which in the process made Oliver Kay Produce the core part of its produce arm, supplying a wide range of fruits and vegetables, dairy products and various other key ingredients. Ian Stuart is Managing Director of Bidfresh’s Produce Division and he has been with Oliver Kay Produce for just over two years now, and in that time, he has had the chance to spend time with Oliver and work closely the wider team, and to learn what it is that makes this proud business tick. “It quickly became apparent that everything this company does revolves around the quality of its products, where they come from, who we purchase them from, how we treat them through the supply chain, and most importantly the experience our customers receive at the end of the process,” he details. “This ethos very much originates from Oliver himself, who every morning and night would walk the floor of his facility checking the quality of his produce, and has resulted in a company that today comfortably serves some 2000 customers a week, and is now enjoying a turnover in excess of £50 million per year.” With turnover steadily increasing year-onyear, there was inevitably challenges afoot with the company operating from a single stock holding site in Bolton, albeit one that had grown in size to 44,000 square feet. “From here we would ship our produce to various transshipment sites across the UK as overnight deliveries, and while this continued to work well for our customers, as volumes grew so too did warehouse space decrease,” Ian explains. “Strategically, we 67

needed to decide how best to facilitate the growth of a strong brand like Oliver Kay and to ensure our customers’ needs continued to be met, whether that be further extending the site in the North West or building a second stock site.”

Focus on sustainability Together with his management team, Ian choose to go down the latter route, and in July 2017 the doors to a new 60,000 square foot facility officially opened in Wednesbury in the West Midlands. “Our new site provided us with what was essentially a blank canvas to build upon, and is situated in the perfect location for us to move volume down from Bolton with which we can serve our significant client base in the south of the country,”

he continues. “Here we went on to invest a considerable amount of capital in areas such as a vast refrigerated space that currently measures c30,000 square feet, a banana room, and dedicated staff areas to make it a fullyfunctioning facility that takes care of our customers as well as our people. As a result of meticulous planning we have successfully delivered a big step change for the business with the opening of our Wednesbury depot, and we look forward to adding to it in the future by means of a new presentation area, kitchen and training centre, which we hope to realise during the first half of 2019.” Meanwhile, away from its new depot, the relieving of some of the pressure of the Bolton site has allowed the

company to invest in a brand new, state-of-the-art development kitchen, which also comes with space to seat up to 35 people for demonstrations or to provide a hands-on environment to try out some of its finest produce. It is also from here that the company’s in-house, Michelin trained chef, Laurence Tottingham is able to devise new offerings to cater for the changing tastes of consumers, such as the growing demand for vegan options. Not content with simply growing as a business, the management team of Oliver Kay Produce have also stepped up their sustainability efforts in recent times, with one of the big decisions being to appoint Paul Leyland to the position of Commercial & Sustainability Director. “A business of this size obviously generates a certain amount of waste in the form of packaging, and in recent times we have been making great strides in addressing what we can do to be a more sustainable and responsible business,” Paul says. “In the past, we have found ourselves using a large amount of cardboard as well as polystyrene trays to pack items, which were then wrapped in clear plastic to protect the produce. We looked at ways that we could remove these materials from our packaging process, and we found the answer in the form of compostable, biodegradable and food safe trays made from sugarcane, called ‘Bagass Trays’, which we now accompany with food film made from 100 per cent recycled plastic,” Paul continues. “We also wanted to address the large volumes of plastic netting that we used to pack items such as oranges, lemons and onions, and we have done so by introducing a stronger, fully compostable form of netting made from Beech wood fibre.”

Working in partnership Oliver Kay is also closely working with Re-Source Waste Management, which offers a bespoke solution to all waste produced on site. Thanks to the segregation and sortation process, Oliver Kay now sends zero waste to landfill. Also, a new process has been introduced to the business, which


Oliver Kay Produce involves the separation of Organic (all waste produce) to go through a Screw Press. This reduces the density of the load by 90 per cent, leaving behind just the Organic material, which can then be processed to be used as compost by farmers. “We are proud to be partnering with Oliver Kay on the next stage in our joint program to have the cleanest, greenest and most cost-effective system in the UK,” said Paul Ellison, Operations Director at Re-Source. “The ‘can do’ attitude of Oliver Kay’s team helps us achieve the exciting goal we have set ourselves. We at Re-Source see waste as a challenge that doesn’t require a few bins and a truck popping in, but a much more hands-on focus. We take a pragmatic study of what should be done and make that system available to all businesses. The market sector that we are in has so many new technologies and it is exciting that

Oliver Kay have partnered with us.” As the aforementioned efforts also prove, Oliver Kay Produce is a business that wants to take the lead in its field of expertise, and with that in mind Ian, Paul and the rest of the team have high expectations for 2019, and beyond. “For me, 2019 is when things will start to get very exciting,” Ian enthuses. “The hard yards have been run, we have the new depot in place and the right teams on site to operate

the business. This will allow us to push forward with our plans to enhance the brand, while always harking back to those ever-present themes that we are so passionate about – those being the quality of our produce and the service we deliver to our customers. Now, with the required infrastructure in place, we are able to fulfill our goal of being seen as a dedicated local business that operates on a truly national scale.” D 69


Northcoast Seafoods

Fish is the dish A specialist in processing frozen seafood products, Northcoast Seafoods is expanding at a rapid pace and looking to move to its new home in May 2019 71


here is a saying that when the facts speak, even the gods remain silent. One undisputable fact is that since 2000, the year when Northcoast Seafoods was established, the specialist in sourcing and processing frozen seafood products has grown from a one-man band with a turnover of £1.5 million to a 100-strong staff business, whose revenue now approaches £150 million annually. Founded by Fridrik Thorsteinsson – a man who ‘came from the land of ice and snow, from the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow’ (as Led Zeppelin would have it), Northcoast Seafoods was set up shortly after Fridrik had arrived to the UK from Iceland. He partnered with one of the strongest seafood companies in Denmark – Kangamiut Group, operating as a sales and marketing company first for cold water prawns only, and since 2006, for whitefish and other seafood products, too. It was at the same time that the business opened an office in Denmark where it merged all of its European sales. Shortly after, it became a leading importer in both the UK and Europe, gaining access to raw material from places like Canada,

Our vision is to be a one-stop shop for frozen seafood and the latest investments we have made are strengthening our position considerably. The excellent relationship we have with our supply base helps us immensely in our quest

Newfoundland, Iceland, and Asia. “Another turning point for us came in 2012 when we started emphasising on doing business directly with retailers. Today, 80 per cent of our UK business comes from retail,” Fridrik points out. “We have created the Fishmonger’s Favourite brand to present a new offering in retail frozen seafood. Critical to our success is that we work closely with our customers to provide them with products that accurately reflect market needs. Launched in 2016, a year later the brand picked up the Gold Award for Best New Fish-based Retail Product, as well as Retail Product of

Left to right: Steve Berry, Mike Atkinson, MD Fredrik Mar Thorsteinsson, Dan Wilson HSBC Manager. Pictures copyright ©Darren Casey


the Year for its Two Salmon and King Prawn Stacks, at the BFFF Annual Awards.” In a key move to optimise its operation, Northcoast Seafoods acquired its long-standing packaging partner Ambassador in September 2018, aiming to take more control of production. This was followed by an eight-figure cash injection from HSBC for the renovation of a 40,000 square feet processing plant in Grimsby that will accommodate all of Northcoast Seafoods’ UK activities under one roof, including the work done by Ambassador. “We are planning to move into the new facility in May next year,” reports Fridrik. “It will involve a wide range of equipment, such as pillow bag machines and tray packing machines. These will improve our capability of making value-added products, where, for example, we can add sauces to the seafood.”

A unique provider The acquisition of Ambassador and the subsequent renovation of Northcoast Seafoods’ new facility was yet another step taken by the firm towards

Northcoast Seafoods establishing a fully vertically-integrated business model. “We regard ourselves as a unique provider, because we are so close to the source of the raw material, meaning that we can always guarantee the highest quality of our products,” Fridrik discusses. “Our vision is to be a one-stop shop for frozen seafood and the latest investments we have made are strengthening our position considerably. The excellent relationship we have with our supply base helps us immensely in our quest. We are already importing a vast majority of the different types of frozen seafood products that enter the UK and we are the provider that

stays closest to its supply chain, which gives us a clear advantage over our competitors.” Commenting on the prevalent consumer trends of the day, Fridrik singles out people’s growing interest in trying more exotic and innovative seafood dishes. “It is evident from our observations that there is a growing demand for value-added products that allow consumers to sample more exciting recipes, such as the aforementioned meals that include various sauces. For instance, we offer Coquille Thermidor in a creamy white wine sauce that is proving especially

Reflex Group Our story began in 2002 with a vision of what the future could look like in packaging. We had a sense of purpose to create a more efficient way of working. This shapes the way we see, perceive and interact with packaging. Reflex creates a unique “Shelf Presence” for our clients’ consumer products all the way from brand conception design to the final pack on shelf. Now operating out of 19 sites across the UK, Reflex stands proud of our Great British heritage and award-winning design & print. We look forward to future collaboration with Northcoast Seafoods and wish them all the best in their future plans.

sought-after by customers. Of course, seafood as a whole is also very rich in protein and therefore remains a popular choice for many a consumer due to its health benefits.” Growth ambitions manifest themselves clearly through the sizable investments Northcoast Seafoods has placed. The intention to relocate to a new facility also indicates that the company is seeking to future-proof itself. In addition, it can rely heavily on the support of the Kangamuit group of which it is part. “The organisation is a major player in sourcing cod and haddock, in particular, which gives us access to whitefish of the highest quality, sourced from the Barents Sea. We are very proud to operate under such a reputable group like Kangamuit and we are confident that we’ll enjoy continued success in the years to come,” Fridrik concludes. D 73

Milk money In addition to being committed to bringing back doorstep milk deliveries to homes across Britain, Hanover Dairies has a proud reputation of being a dedicated contributor to charitable causes

O Trevor Hanover & Tony Baldwin


n January 11th, 2018, in a key speech outlining her government’s environmental policies, Prime Minister Theresa May made the bold pledge to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. “We must reduce the demand for plastic, reduce the number of plastics in circulation and improve our recycling rates,” she said. “To tackle it we will take action at every stage of the production and consumption of plastic.” Given the wave of popular opinion surrounding the need to address the harm done to the environment through the disposal of avoidable plastic, particular in light of the warnings delivered by the ground-breaking, David Attenborough-fronted television event that was Blue Planet II, the Prime Minister’s announcement was generally well received. Indeed, in some instances, the reaction to her remarks produced a rapid, noticeable response from consumers.

One business to quickly reap benefits from this policy stance was North-East dairy company, Hanover Dairies. The Newcastle-based dairy, which boasts one of the UK’s largest networks of milkmen, saw a five per cent increase in customers switching to re-usable glass milk bottles, which can be used up to 20 times and are generally recyclable, and moving away from single-use plastic containers. Commenting at the time, Tony Baldwin, Managing Director of Hanover Dairies, said: “We’ve had a surge in glass milk bottle sales over the past month with an average increase of more than five per cent, however, in certain areas the increases have been as much as eight per cent or higher. “With the scale of our operation, covering northern England and into Scotland, and with 120,000 doorstep customers alone, we are ideally placed to gauge and assess consumer reaction. Consumer awareness continues to grow week-by-week and customers are phoning and contacting the website requesting milk deliveries in glass bottles, leading to a resurgence in the sale of milk in the traditional glass bottle as well as increasing door-step deliveries.”

Charitable giving As has previously been documented within the pages of this magazine, Hanover Dairies was formed in 1976, beginning with a single milk round run by Trevor Hanover, and has since grown to incorporate 20 distribution centres supplying milkmen throughout the North East, as well as parts of the North West and Scotland. To this day, Trevor remains as passionate about superior doorstep deliveries as ever, and the belief of the company that bears his name in delivering the freshest possible products, and making the process as easy as possible, has never wavered. A wide network of delivery vehicles allows for the company’s milkmen to provide services to homes, shops, businesses and schools. These milkmen have become very much part of the communities in which they operate, and it has always been seen as a duty of the company to give back

Hanover Dairies

as much as it can to local charities and organisations that truly make a difference. These efforts have seen it proudly supporting the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity since 2008, raising funds by doing numerous challenges, such as walking the length of Glasgow to Inverness, resulting in the raising of close to £300,000 to date. The tireless work of Trevor and his company saw him named a ‘Point of Light’ award winner by former Prime Minister David Cameron.

transportation to Center Parcs and their return journey home. Each individual family also receives £1,000 of spending money as part of the package.” Not long after the above announcement, the company was

then able to reveal the details of its bi-annual Charity Bike Ride, which this year saw the Hanover Dairies team of Trevor, Michael Hanover and Paul Doran joined by Eldon Robson, Owner of Fentimans Drinks, cycle the distance from Hanover Dairies head office in Blaydon to Rainbow’s head office in Surrey. Beginning on June 29th, 2018, the ride concluded on July 5th, 2018, without incident and to great fanfare with the holding of a party in celebration of a good well done, one which has to date raised just shy of £45,000. Between the charitable efforts it has made, its contribution to the growing movement away from single-use plastic, and its ever-expanding list of satisfied customers, 2018 will no doubt go down as another successful year for Hanover Dairies, and one that sets it up very nicely indeed for 2019. D

Thousands raised 2018 has also been marked by several initiatives, such as the announcement in May that its charity fund-raising initiative would be sending eight families with terminally or severely ill children on an all-expenses paid summer holiday to Center Parcs, Whinfell Forest in Penrith. The week-long holiday experience is aimed at helping to alleviate the day-today difficulties that families encounter with terminally or severely ill children, who are rarely able to experience a normal family holiday environment. “The children and families encounter immense concerns on a day-to day basis and having quality time together is very rewarding. It’s an extremely beneficial experience for the children as well as parents and family members,” Trevor noted back in May. “Every penny raised by Hanover Dairies and associate sponsors goes direct to funding the charitable initiative. Hanover Dairies pays for every family’s 75

Bernard Matthews

Bootifully British

There’s only one brand that springs to mind when you hear the word ‘bootiful’ – Bernard Matthews Limited – the largest turkey producer in the UK


or consumers in 2018 it’s hard to imagine a time when turkey was seen as an expensive treat, only consumed at Christmas and available from the butcher. This was in the 1950s, and insurance clerk Bernard Matthews saw an opportunity to change this, and invested in 20 turkey eggs and an incubator, hatching 12 turkeys and selling them on. Such was the success of Bernard’s endeavour that by 1952 he was selling over 3000 turkeys a year, and in 1955 he moved his operation to Great Witchingham Hall in Norfolk, where the company HQ still remains to this day. Continuous expansion and development were always the priorities

for Bernard Matthews, and by 1964 he was recognised as the leading turkey expert in the country, and was even asked by foreign governments for advice on turkey farming! His dedication to innovation continued in the 1970s to keep up with changes in consumer behaviour. Reflecting the rise in the use of home freezers and the changing role of women in the home, Bernard began to provide simple easy to cook fresh and frozen turkey products such as rolled roasts, fillets and whole birds. 1974 saw the launch of the turkey breast roast - with no bones, this was very easy to carve and left no waste. A further significant development occurred in 1976 with the launch of the first golden Norfolk frozen turkey, which

Fowler Welch “Bernard Matthews has been a client of Fowler Welch since 2006. Under its new ownership, the growth that has been delivered by the Bernard Matthews’ team has been significant and we have been delighted to play our part in getting their high-quality poultry products from Norfolk to retailers across the UK. Fowler Welch provides warehousing for Bernard Matthews in Spalding and distribution from there to each of its customers every day; often receiving, picking and dispatching in just a few hours to insure orders are completed in full. “Over the last six months we have worked closely with Chris Just and his team to deliver a solution that has supported their growth, including new lines to Marks and Spencer. “In addition to our year-round service, each December Fowler Welch significantly ups our resource to play our part in Bernard Matthews successfully delivering millions of Christmas turkeys,” says Nick Hay, CEO at Fowler Welch.


is still the most popular frozen branded whole turkey eaten at Christmas in the UK. The 70s also saw the business launch on the Stock Exchange.

Responding to trends The 1980s saw the rise of convenience foods, which was again met with new product launches and quick, easy to cook items from Bernard Matthews, including breaded dishes such as firm favourites Golden Drummers and Mini Kievs. This era also saw the arrival of Bernard himself on UK TV screens in the company’s 1981 advertising campaign, which introduced the word ‘bootiful’ to the country, which quickly became, and remains, a well-known household phrase. While turkey remained the mainstay of the brand, in the 90s additional meats such as beef, pork and lamb were added to the range, and sliced cooked meats were launched – Wafer Thin

Turkey Ham and Turkey Breast Slices are still best sellers today. As we entered the new Millennium, a new wave of more health-conscious consumers caused a rise in demand for fresh products in the chiller, as well as a trust and popularity for supporting British farmers and buying more locally produced foods. Bernard responded by refocusing on British turkey farming and communicating the health benefits of turkey as a lean source of protein. In 2001 Bernard Matthews returned to private hands and over the next decade the company continued to launch popular new products. In 2010, at the age of 80, Bernard Matthews, CBE, CVO passed away, leaving a stalwart British brand recognised by almost every shopper across the United Kingdom. The following years have seen ups and downs for the company. In 2013 Rutland Partners invested in the business, and in 2015 it undertook a complete £3m rebrand, which was designed to return it to its famous roots and make it more relevant for modern consumers.

Brand refresh The new logo and branding was brought to life through state-of-theart 360-degree video technology, with a specially created animation of Witchingham Hall. The rebrand was implemented across the entire company, including its website, Facebook page, email marketing and category offering. Speaking in 2015, the then CEO Rob Burnett, said: “The response from retailers and consumer focus groups has been overwhelmingly positive. We are delighted with that and proud to be revealing a completely new look that is based on what makes Bernard Matthews different and great. “The branding is a completely new direction and new chapter in what has been an iconic story. The branding combines the best from the past, with the landmark Witchingham Hall, and a contemporary and fresh design that feels very British. However, it’s not simply about new packaging, this is about an integrated sales, marketing and NPD strategy which helps us resonate with modern families.”


Bernard Matthews The rebrand not only reflected the business’ countryside roots in Norfolk but also celebrated its award-winning green energy credentials, which are part of its Big Green Plan, launched in April 2015. This plan involves a programme of green energy initiatives that will make the business the UK’s greenest farmer and to put sustainability at the very heart of the business. To achieve its goals, Bernard Matthews has rolled out a number of green energy projects that reach every single part of its business, from farm to factory, and are for the long-term, looking beyond immediate success to a sustainable future. Key aspects of the Big Green Plan include the largest UK roll out of 209 biomass boilers, across 30 of its turkey farms, to help reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, the installation of large scale wind turbines at three farms, the construction of a 55-acre solar farm in Suffolk, and a partnership with two

leaders in the anaerobic digester sector and has ÂŁ4.2m anaerobic digestion plant to generate power from factory wastes.

New owners While 2015 celebrated the rebrand and the Big Green Plan, the following year, 2016 was a difficult time for Bernard Matthews. However, in a move that saved 2000 jobs the company was purchased the Boparan Private Office, owned by food tycoon and 2 Sisters Food Group entrepreneur Ranjit Boparan. Over the following two years, the Boparan Private Office has made significant investments into the business and in August 2018, Bernard Matthews was able to announce it had won a major new contract with a supermarket chain. This deal is expected to create several hundred new jobs at the site in Great Witchingham, and these were highlighted in a planning application submitted in 79


Bernard Matthews July for a new plant room and other improvements at the Hall. Further good news linked to the new contract followed as recently as September 2018, when Bernard Matthews committed to a new two-year warehousing and distribution contract and increased the volume of products that will be handled by food supply chain expert Fowler Welch by 50 per cent. This announcement builds on the longstanding relationship between Fowler Welch and Bernard Matthews, and as Jim Seymour, Spalding general manager at Fowler Welch explained, this means there is already a deep understanding of the business and its supply chain needs. “We were able to respond and adapt our existing arrangements to deliver the right solution to help them meet the requirements of this new and exciting contract.” Clayton Kemp, head of warehousing and distribution at Bernard Matthews

added: “Fowler Welch has offered us a high quality and reliable service for many years, regularly going above and beyond to maintain this standard. They manage our substantial Christmas peaks with no issue and are flexible in handling any late stock, which sets them apart from the competition. So, when our business grew, extending that relationship was a clear and easy decision.”

Bernard Matthews has come a very long way since its establishment nearly seven decades ago. Now employing approximately 2000 people across East Anglia, and with more recruitment on the horizon, what started as a man with an incubator is a totally integrated food business, offering full traceability across its 56 farms, which rear nearly seven million turkeys per annum. Through its farming and production business the company supplies nearly half the homes in the UK with tasty, versatile and affordable turkey and chicken meal time solutions. With a significant new contract proceeding, further plans for expansion and investment in the pipeline and the busy Christmas season now well underway, Bernard Matthews looks set to be heading into the future with another visionary leader, who is ready to take this ‘bootiful’ British business to even higher levels of success. D 81

Melting in the mouth Ambitious expansion into the UK and the USA promises to make Ebrofrost one of the world’s most well-known manufacturers of cooked and frozen pasta and rice




o day is ever the same for Ebrofrost. A company that insists on being regarded as a solutions provider, the manufacturer of cooked and frozen pasta, rice, and cereals of all kinds has turned developing tailor-made products for an ever-widening customer base into a daily business. The organisation was established in June 2013 as a joint venture between German-based pasta specialist Keck and Danrice – Danish producer of cooked, individually quick frozen (IQF) rice, grains, and lentils. “Since most of the industrial customers have been the same for both plants, it made a lot of sense to group the two companies under one umbrella,” Ebrofrost’s Food Service Director, Amalie Schmidt underlines the main reason behind the merger. Ebrofrost Germany, formerly known as Keck, was established in the 1980s by the eponymous family, who operated a chain of butcher shops in the south of Germany at that time. “At first, we were producing spaetzle – a regional pasta specialty, for the central kitchen of our shops and regional contract catering. Made from semolina, the product is fully cooked and IQF, which allows reaching the perfect cooking point for each different kind of use, as well as perfect portion control – for short pasta like penne and fusilli, but even more importantly, for pasta nests like spaghetti and tagliatelle,” Amalie explains. 83

It did not take long before producers of ready meals took notice of Keck’s capabilities and started seeking solutions from the company, which led to a considerable expansion of its product range and the volumes made. Fully committed to customisation – of recipes, shapes of nests, and packaging, today Ebrofrost Germany supplies most of the leading manufacturing businesses with pasta and noodles, and makes customised products for renowned international chains. “As for Danrice, which has been operating under the name of Ebrofrost Denmark since July 2018, it was created with the idea to cook rice. Over time, it moved away from cooking individual small batches to cooking rice in a continuous process, which resulted in a much more efficient production,” Amalie discusses. “After the takeover from Ebro Foods in 2004, the range of products cooked in the facility expanded significantly. Different grains and pulses were added, which put us in a position to offer the market an incomparably wide variety of cooked, IQF solutions, addressing the growing demand in the field.”

True solutions provider Following the formation of the joint venture, the two entities sensibly moved production of pasta and rice between the plants to achieve better synergies early on. Amalie talks us through the unique features of Ebrofrost’s production process: “First of all, we operate highly automated facilities. In addition, a lot of the machines and line details across the plants we developed ourselves to accurately serve our needs. In making the pasta, instead of cooking it from dry pasta, we prepare dough from semolina, shape it to nearly 100 different designs, and then cook it to a defined cooking point. After that, the pasta is cooled down and shock-frosted in just two minutes. The execution of this process allows us to preserve the full aroma, texture, and colour of freshly-made product. “Furthermore, we are particularly proud of our unrivalled expertise in customising nests to the shape and weight required by our customers.


The UK is a pretty different market compared to continental Europe, because only 30 per cent of ready meals are frozen, while the remaining 70 per cent are chilled. In Central Europe, it is exactly the other way around

Moreover, we developed portion-packed products that are suitable for heating in the microwave or other appliances,” she adds. Due to sourcing rice and grains from all over the world, some of which being sensitive to handle, Ebrofrost Denmark has patented certain pieces of its equipment. “We have optimised our process to deliver consistent product quality and save our customers time, especially when it comes to items that require longer cooking times or have a more complicated cooking process. All in all, both factories offer an incredibly high level of reliability that has convinced manufacturers to stop cooking pasta and rice themselves, relying completely on Ebrofrost for the supply of these components, instead.” In 2015, the company’s Board of Directors decided to take an opportunity to expand into the UK and bought a small plant in Beckley, East Sussex. Once the site was refurbished and adapted for IQF pasta manufacturing, production started in mid-2016. “Unlike the rest of our factories, the UK one specialises on chilled products and is aimed at supplying the British market of deli salads with fresh pasta,” Amalie clarifies. “The UK is a pretty different market compared to continental Europe, because only 30 per cent of ready meals are frozen, while the remaining 70 per cent are chilled. In Central Europe, it is exactly the other way around,” she remarks. “As we consider ourselves solutions providers, we had to take the local needs into account when setting up the Beckley facility and arrange it in a way that will best serve producers of chilled ready meals. To do that, we drew upon our broad knowledge of processing and expertise on products and raw materials. Our expectations are for an exciting 2019, as we have scheduled the launch of a comprehensive product line comprising of pasta, rice, grains, and pulses for the beginning of the year. At the same time, we will continue to provide frozen product solutions to ready meal producers and develop our business with restaurant groups.”

Ebrofrost Acknowledging the fact that the UK has the best developed restaurant chain market in Europe, it is no surprise that Ebrofrost has targeted Britain as an area of expansion. “Couple this with the fact that all of our products are very well-suited for restaurants, particularly chains and groups where consistency is highly important, and you can imagine the promising opportunities ahead of us in the country. What is more, if we take into consideration the probable effects of Brexit, one of which could be lack of labour, our products can play an active role in supporting various operations, as they are extremely easy to handle, while also providing a delicious dining experience,” Amalie comments.

Brand awareness When Ebrofrost was informed that General Mills in the USA were about to cut production of IQF rice by about 20,000 tonnes by the end of 2017, the company immediately sensed the unique opportunity to cross the Atlantic, supported by the already existing Ebro Foods business, Riviana. “The decision was taken in 2016 and within just 18 months, we had our fourth Ebrofrost plant installed in Memphis, Tennessee. In the beginning, we only had a huge rice and grain cooking and freezing line, but by the end of 2018, an IQF pasta line will also start operation. It is positive to see that the factory is now prepared to provide a selection of basics for the North American market, which will be expanded step-by-step over time. “Ebrofrost North America’s aspiration is to offer our customers in the region the same broad assortment of products as the one enjoyed by our European clients,” Amalie maintains. “To meet this objective, specialty items, such as Asian noodles and Italian long-cuts like linguine and pappardelle, as well as black quinoa and couscous will be shipped from Europe. Moreover, a central, fully automated cold store is already in preparation and will be opened in 2019. It is projected to function as our central hub for imported goods, enabling us to store everything on-site and guarantee a supply chain without interruptions.”

In line with reigning food trends, the company’s latest products reflect consumers’ penchant for the exotic. “The emergence of more and more casual Asian concepts has motivated us to introduce a range of Asian noodle nests, such as udon, ramen, and soba. For our health-conscious customers, we also offer gluten-free ‘wheat alternatives’ and pasta from pulse, for example,” Amalie reveals. “It is also worth mentioning that our factory in Offingen (Germany) will be halalcertified early next year, which is a clear demonstration of our commitment to our Muslim clients,” she leads us nicely into Ebrofrost’s intentions for the future. “We are planning to grow in both manufacturing and foodservice. After installing a new production line for short pasta in Offingen, we are following up with a nest production line at Ebrofrost Denmark, which will enable us to produce customised nest sizes in that factory, too, helping us speed

up service times for our customers. We can also foresee benefitting from our capability to provide portion packs for meal kits, since this is a growing trend considered to cater perfectly for the needs of today’s consumers.” For Amalie, however, what stands out as Ebrofrost’s chief mission is raising brand awareness, especially in foodservice. “Many operators are still not very familiar with us and our products, and have not yet discovered the operational savings and the reduction of food waste we can offer. Getting this message across is of utmost importance and our decision that all our companies should change their name to Ebrofrost was a key move towards making the group more visible to the market. Aside from that, we are nicely set up to handle our customers’ requirements efficiently and our aim is to enhance our reputation of a one-stop shop for a broad range of pasta, noodles, rice, and grains,” she concludes. D 85

Full of energy To get the most out of each day the body needs fuel. Now at the age of 80 years old, Soreen is on a mission to provide consumers with delicious energising snacks suitable for all ages and occasions 86


hen John Rahbek Sorensen, originally from Denmark, made the long voyage from Melbourne to the UK in 1920 he brought with him his considerable baking skills which allowed him to expertly bake every type of cake imaginable. Most famous of all was unquestionably his squidgy ‘Sorensen Malt Cake’, and 80 years on from its founding the Soreen brand of malt loaf products which derives its name from its creator continues to go from strength-to-strength. “It was in 1938 that John Sorensen decided he would sell his bakery

business to one William Mason in a move that would lead to the formation of Imperial Bakeries Limited and the trading name of Soreen,” begins Soreen’s Managing Director, Mark Simester. “Remaining in its birthplace of Manchester, where it has been located ever since, Soreen quickly became a hugely popular product in the North West providing a great tasting, value for money source of energy for hard working families.” In the years that followed, the company would go on to be owned by Warburtons. During this time, the brand first appeared on television screens,

Soreen The Soreen Cycle Project, an initiative championing people, in particular families, to get cycling has been launched by Laura Kenny

First Soreen Bakery

Lasting appeal

firstly in the Granada region, gaining a new following, many of whom would come to recognise it for its advertising catchphrase of ‘Where’s the Soreen, Doreen?’ It was then, in the 1980s, that the marketing efforts of the company turned to promoting the health benefits of Soreen and how the complex carbs contained in each loaf were perfect for providing longer lasting energy. Teaming up with global brands such as Adidas and FIFA, the company’s new health campaign targeted causes such as improving the diets of children and encouraging participation in sports.

During the course of the next several decades, Soreen would go on to become a sponsor of Bolton Wanderers Football Club in 1999, the official sponsor of Leigh Centurions Rugby team in 2000, and sign a four-year sponsorship deal with Sir Chris Hoy in 2006. Fast forward to 2014, and the company became part of the Samworth Brothers family, with the last four years bringing with it renewed investment and support as Soreen continues down what it calls its ‘yellow brick road’. “Throughout the course of our 80-year journey, the UK public has always retained a soft spot for Soreen,” Mark continues. “Taking bits from the bread making and cake making processes, it is a product that falls into its own unique category thanks to its soft, squidgy, indulgent texture and its delicious malty flavor. Operating from our bakery in Trafford Park, our highly skilled and talented team of 140 men and women are responsible for producing two million products per week in various formats, sizes and flavours. These then end up on the shelves of stores throughout the UK and in some 20 different export markets where they are often enjoyed by British ex-pats seeking a taste of home.” Soreen clearly has a lasting appeal,

however, as Mark goes on to explain, it is far from a sunset brand, winning new fans with each passing year. “Soreen sales in the last several years have really been on the up, with revenues increasing by some 35 per cent in the previous five years alone, and there are not many mature food and drink brands that can say that at 80 years old,” he declares. “As for the reasons behind this growth spurt, as it were, one of the biggest has been the introduction of small, on-the-go Soreen lunchbox bars in 2012,” Mark adds. “Created as an alternative to chocolates or biscuits that children would typically have in their lunchboxes at school, lunchbox loafs are now recommended by Public Health England’s Change For Life campaign as an under 100 calorie snack. Individually wrapped and portion controlled, the malt variant of these bars is only 91 calories, and has just 5.1g of sugar and 0.8g of fat per portion, and these nutritional values have proven hugely popular as the health credentials of Soreen have become more widely known.” The long-held perception of Soreen as an indulgent afternoon tea or supper time treat has certainly been transformed as the brand has evolved and been repositioned in the last few decades. “For a lot of people, their first experience of trying Soreen takes them 87


Soreen back to a time when they used to visit their grandparents’ house, and we want to retain that warmth while at the same time pushing forward Soreen’s properties as an energy snack,” Mark states. “While the iconic Soreen loaf, which is still often accompanied by lashings of butter or other toppings, will always remain part of our offering, we have listened closely to consumers and it is clear that they are increasingly demanding healthier snack options. For us, Soreen really is the perfect snack in this respect, offering as it does delicious taste with best-in-class nutrition.”

Marketing campaign Being a milestone year for the company, it should come as little surprise that it has taken the opportunity to both celebrate and publicise its 80th birthday. In addition to holding a large family event this past summer for its team and their families, the company has

partnered with a number of its large retail customers to deliver in-store displays and promotions. The event has also helped to generate considerable PR opportunities for Soreen, with the likes of ITV News, BBC Northwest News and Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped series filming material at its bakery, and with more television appearences to come. At the time of writing, the company was in the midst of its most successful pre-Halloween season to date, with its new toffee apple and chocolate and blood orange Soreen Halloween Lunchbox products being purchased in abundance, and gearing up for the

winter season and the return of its hugely popular winter spiced loaf. In the meantime, the behind the scenes transition towards making Soreen a wellknown energy snack continues unabated. “The beginning of 2019 will be a massively important time for us and will mark our biggest ever marketing campaign across television, radio, print and social media, as we look to put out to millions of people across the UK the message that Soreen is a low fat, high energy snack that is lower in sugar than its competitors and can be enjoyed by the whole family,” Mark concludes. “We will also continue our long-standing association with sport, partnering with the likes of British Cycling, various cycling brands, and events such as the Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain, as we work towards our goal of getting more British get on their bikes and enjoying an active lifestyle.” D 89

Enriching lives


Revive Active Revive Active is responsible for a range of life enhancing supplements that have been specifically developed to introduce users to a lifestyle choice of putting their body and mind first


hile evidence strongly supports the idea that people today would be best served to supplement their diets with health food supplements, there have always been questions regarding whether such supplements are actually being made to deliver real benefits. When Dáithi O’Connor founded Revive Active in 2011, he did so with a vision to design, develop, manufacture and market cutting-edge food supplements that are based on science, using only the best quality natural ingredients and delivering them in the most bioavailable form. The result of his and his team’s efforts is that Revive Active is now Ireland’s leading health food supplement brand. “Revive Active scientifically formulates cutting-edge supplements that change people’s lives,” Dáithi, who is the company’s Managing Director, begins. “All of our products are delivered in single dose powdered sachets containing all-natural ingredients, in optimum levels that deliver real benefits to users. Powdered

Dáithí O’Connor

sachets ensure that the ingredients are served in their most potent form, and that the body absorbs and uses them quickly resulting in optimum benefits being received. Further to this, Revive Active does not use any fillers, binders, salt, caffeine or sugar.” The original product released by the company also carries its name. The Revive Active product is a super food supplement for general health and wellbeing, containing 26 active ingredients in a single dose sachet, providing naturally sustained energy, a reduction in fatigue, increased heart health and immune system support.

Scientific approach It was followed up, in November 2014, by the Joint Complex product. “This came about after we saw a gap in the market for a joint product that not only dealt with joint pain, but also with the cause of said pain,” Dáithi continues. “Joint Complex does just that, and we have received amazing feedback from customers who were previously looking at the prospect of hip or knee replacements, but after taking the product for a prolonged period no longer need the surgery.” From there, Revive Active continued to grow, resulting in a range of products covering children to the elderly. These products include, Junior Revive for 5-12 year olds, Teen Revive for 13-19 years olds, Mastermind for cognitive function, and Memory Health for students, busy professionals and

aging individuals, Beauty Complex for skin, hair and nail treatment, and capsules of Krill Oil and CoQ10. “All of our formulations are evidence based and extensive research is carried out to ensure that each product contains the correct dosages,” Dáithi explains. “When formulating, we always look at clinical research and scientific literature, and work with experts in the particular field that we are studying. For example, when formulating Mastermind, we worked with the University of Northumbria and the Brain Performance and Nutrition Research Centre. Additionally, we have collaborated with the Kerry Group, which supplies Wellmune for our Junior and Teen Revive products, and Rousselot of France, which supplies marine collagen for our Joint Complex and Beauty Complex products. “We only purchase ingredients that are of the highest quality, and we have never and will never compromise on this! We source our ingredients from as far afield as Australia in order to ensure that our products are the very best that they can be. Then, when manufacturing said products, we ensure that we comply fully with all the relevant European Food Safety & Quality Standards.” Revive Active’s commitment to quality is reflected in the numerous industry awards it has received in recent years, as well as its five-star status on the Trustpilot consumer reviews website. Scrolling through the comments left by 91

users of the company’s products they almost universally praise the “huge improvement in overall health” that they provide, the “healthy and active lifestyle”


they help promote, the “quick delivery and friendly service” it offers, and how its employees “could not be more helpful and display excellent customer service”.

Revive Active has also gained significant endorsement from public figures. In early 2017, the company proudly announced it had entered into a partnership with three-time London Marathon winner and Women’s Marathon world record holder, Paula Radcliffe, MBE, to act as Revive Active’s Brand Ambassador. “Now retired, Paula is a working mum who travels all over the world and who understands the benefits of supplementation,” Dáithi enthuses. “Paula herself suffers from a foot injury that developed arthritis overtime leaving her in a lot of pain. She had tried numerous products to try to improve the condition, but none of them really worked until she discovered Joint Complex. She now has more flexibility in her foot and is back running socially and with her children. She also uses the Revive Active product to help combat jet lag and to keep her natural

Revive Active energy levels up, what with all the travelling that she does.”

Exciting launch In order to respond to consumer demands, Revive Active has a strong track record for bringing new products regularly to market and this trend will continue into the latter months of 2018. “I’m personally very excited about a product called Zest Active, which is due to hit the market in late 2018,” Dáithi adds. “This product is aimed at the 20-35-year-old market, thus completing our personalised nutritional offering. This product contains all of the key nutrients required for its age category who are working hard and playing hard. Zest Active’s benefits include naturally sustained energy, immune system support, healthy brains, and improved cognitive function and muscle function. “One of the key ingredients in this

product is Wellmune, which is clinically proven to boost immune health, maintain overall physical health, protect against the harmful effects of stress, and promote healthy energy levels and mental clarity. We are very excited about the launch of Zest Active as there is nothing like it currently on the market, and it is the perfect alternative to energy products driven by stimulants.” Get your products to market faster with Nutraceuticals

Our business is ingredients. We develop, supply and stock over 2000 ingredients for health and nutritional markets. Our global network of manufacturers, together with our inexhaustible product knowledge allows us to constantly offer an extensive range of both new and existing raw materials. We are experts in our field and passionate about what we do. With a food scientist, nutritionist or formulation chemist always on hand, we can fulfil any request however innovative it may be. At Nutraceuticals, all our clients are important. Whether you are a multinational company, or startup, we can assist you in moving your business forward. Strike up a conversation with us today and find out how we can start adding value to your business. -

Looking further ahead into 2019, and beyond, Dáithi is also buoyed by the development of a new €500,000 manufacturing plant in Mullingar and his plans for future global expansion. “Opening our new manufacturing plant means that we have more control over supply and quality standards as we bring this part of the business back inhouse,” he details. “Our plant will be a state-of-the-art facility, covering 10,000 square feet, and it will add a further ten employees to our family. “We believe that Revive Active will become a global brand by growing our business in the UK, and then entering the US market during 2019. We are grateful that our legacy is that we have brought benefits to so many individuals around the world by bringing personalised nutrition to a mass market and fulfilling a demand that we strongly feel will only grow over time.” D 93

Family ties Following in the footsteps of his father, Kevin Foley is McDonald’s first UK-based second generation franchisee, responsible for operating six successful brands of the chain across Norfolk

Kevin Foley


Photo credit - James Neale Photography


o say that the Foley family’s lives have been intertwined with the evolution of the McDonald’s brand in the UK is probably something of an understatement. For Kevin Foley, the fast food restaurant chain has been an ever present in his own life since the early 1970s, when his father began working at its Woolwich branch in London, where he would work alongside Paul Preston, former President and Chief Executive Officer of McDonald’s UK. “McDonald’s has been around my family for so long you could say I almost have ketchup in my veins,” begins Kevin, who is today the owner of six McDonald’s branches in the

K Foley Ltd – McDonald’s

East of England. “In fairly rapid fashion, dad went through the McDonald’s management programme and was promoted into several senior roles, one of which was the development of its stores in Central London and the South Coast. This meant that, as a child, I would often join him at weekends as he toured said stores carrying out customer satisfaction reports and audits. Always being someone who enjoyed being amongst employees

and customers, dad would later jump at the chance to become the first UK company employee to be granted a franchise, before moving the family from London up to Norwich where he would run restaurants up to as recently as eight years ago.”

Second generation Having himself working in a part-time capacity at the Eltham High Street branch of the chain as a 14-year-old,

Kevin would eventually follow his father to Norfolk, first taking on a role at the former Westlegate branch, where he would gain his first experience of management. “From there I went on to open up the Wroxham branch, before taking on the role of Store Manager at Tuckswood,” he explains. “It was at that time, during one of our many conversations about career progression, that my dad explained to me about the concept of ‘second generation franchising’ that existed 95

within McDonald’s in the United States, whereby a son or daughter could buy into the business through the purchase of one of their parent’s stores. “Having approached McDonald’s UK with this concept, they were very receptive to it and some 18 months later, after completing all of the legal preparatory work, they returned to me with the offer of becoming the first, and to date only, second generation franchisee in the UK. In 1999, I purchased the Tuckswood branch from my dad, before then going on to takeover the Wroxham branch, the new Norwich Airport and Brundall locations, and during the course of 2018 I have also added to my network of stores with the purchase of the Beccles Drive Thru, the Regent Road, Great Yarmouth, branch and most recently Gapton Hall, Great Yarmouth.”

Customer satisfaction They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and Kevin has made great efforts to learn from his father and apply the same style of management that brought the elder Foley such success over a number of years. “Some of things I learned from him right from an early stage include his level of work ethic, the idea that you only get out what you put in, and how motivation and encouragement can drive people to achieve better, and those are traits I have hopefully brought into my business as well,” he states. “Like my dad, I also take great pride and satisfaction in seeing young people progressing through the business, growing as individuals as we support their development. “Myself and my branch managers have worked very hard over the years to ensure that we have the best quality people working for us, and we invest heavily in our employees, helping them to learn new skills and gain confidence, while also building upon key life lessons such as teamwork and decision making. We also know from experience that having a good core of employees helps to attract customers to regularly return to the restaurants having had a good experience on previous occasions.”


K Foley Ltd – McDonald’s As a business, McDonald’s has earnt a reputation as one that never stands still. By being proactive and embracing innovation it has an almost unrivalled track record when it comes to listening to its customers to develop products and solutions to enhance their experience in its restaurants. “Responding to customer trends and tastes has always been one of the company’s strong suits, from investing in an improved coffee range and introducing new menu options to opening 24 hours a day and adopting free wi-fi across its branches,” Kevin says. “More recently, we have rolled out a mobile ordering APP, launched our McDelivery service and at three of my Drive Thrus we have even installed electric vehicle charging points as part of a partnership with a company called Pod Point, becoming the first UK franchisee to do so.”

Enhanced experience

it rolls towards the date on which it is due to leave the European Union, and he has prepared himself and his employees accordingly for what they must do to navigate this period. “For us, it is about making sure our internal business controls are in order and that we respond to our customer’s concerns regarding spend by constantly looking at things like pricing, the products that we offer and how we can enhance their experience,” he adds. “I have no doubt that people still want to visit McDonald’s restaurants and treat themselves when they can, and we have to guarantee that when they choose to spend their hard-earned money that we provide them with the best quality food, service and hospitality possible, and the way we are moving forwards right now makes me very confident in our ability to achieve this.” D

As Kevin goes on to point out, this innovative and proactive approach clearly is proving its worth, with McDonald’s UK now into its 50th consecutive quarter of sales and guest count growth. To build upon this further still, the company continues to plough capital back into its assets and infrastructure, and in the case of Kevin’s restaurants this has included investment in digital marketing tools and kitchen upgrades. “In the case of digital marketing, this has included the installation of digital menuboards behind our counters, new digital Drive Thru boards, new kiosks and of course the new APP,” he details. “Then, when it comes to our kitchen platform, we have modernised this in response to our customers’ demands for greater order customisation and to allow us to prepare all of our food fresh, as opposed to holding food as we had done in the past. Converting our branches to deliver an experience for the future, as we call it, has been a great success and we will shortly be doing the same with our Beccles branch.” Heading, as we are, into 2019, Kevin is aware of the air of uncertainty and caution that exists in the UK as 97

Cherry & Plum picked Kuminiano Fruit’s wide selection of products has allowed the cherry processor to become an international leader in the field of production for industrial consumption


eaning on its vertically integrated business model, Kuminiano Fruit’s overreaching care for its suppliers has allowed the Bulgaria-based Italian producer of cherries to assume a leading global role in the business of cherry production for industrial consumption. At first, the company was only buying cherries from growers in the Balkan country, which were then being shipped to Italy for processing, but in 1995 Pietro Santorelli decided to establish a production business in the village of Katunitsa, just 13 kilometres from Bulgaria’s second largest city Plovdiv, which marked the formal inception of Kuminiano Fruit. Today, the business is led by Pietro’s sons – Roberto and Michele, and FoodChain got in touch with the former to find out how Kuminiano Fruit rose to international prominence – a fact that was confirmed by the company’s inclusion on the London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Europe’ list in 2018. “We are in control of the entire supply chain – from farm to table, and


ensure that we continuously invest in our key success factors,” Roberto begins. “Our early business model involved the provision of expert and financial support to our suppliers that helped them create new orchards and introduce best practices in growing cherries, with the produce being sold for industrial consumption. While we are still doing that, we are now also trying to further enhance our proposition by creating our own branded and private label products.” Kuminiano Fruit is currently active in four business segments – cherry products that include cherries in brine, cherries for fruit cocktail, cherries in alcohol, and glace cherries; frozen products (sweet and sour cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries); dried cherries and plums; and finally, confectionary products such as plum paste. “What distinguishes us from other companies is that because we have diversified our product offering, we can buy all of our suppliers’ production. The crop varies year-on-year. One year

Kuminiano Fruit you can get a more sugary product, the next it can be more sour. Even in the same crop, there is a difference in the cherry characteristics between the beginning and the end of the picking process, because, as time progresses, the cherries’ maturity grows,” Roberto explains. “For example, at the start of the crop, we process the cherries in brine or in alcohol, because they are harder and not too sweet. Later on, we start to process cherries for frozen products, because when they get darker, they are not good enough for the brine or for fruit cocktail.” In line with its growth ambitions, Kuminiano Fruit has been conscious of the need to increase the capacity of its production line and guarantee the consistent quality of its products. This line of reasoning has led the company to invest in a total of five sorting machines in the last three years, each bought from a different provider. “Taking into consideration our requirements in the

given moment, we selected the best machines that we thought would best suit our needs,” Roberto discusses. “For instance, we have recently acquired a machine that facilitates the removal of pits from the cherries and the plums we process.” Having built a worldwide reputation, Kuminiano Fruit exports to over 30 countries on all continents. “Around 60 per cent of our production is sold in Europe, while 30 per cent we export to the Americas, and the remaining ten per cent to parts of Asia, Australia, and Africa,” Roberto outlines the strongest geographical markets for the business. Going on to discuss current trends, he predicts future growth in the US. “Due to the trade war between China and the US, America will start importing more products from Europe, which is giving us the opportunity to extend our presence there. “In general, speaking of ongoing consumer trends, I can see that people are increasingly looking for healthier

products to include in their diet. This is why we are trying to increase the production of dried fruits, especially plums. We have also decided to develop our own brand of dried pitted plums, which we are offering in small packs for retail and also as a private label product, thus addressing the requests we have received from some of our customers for this type of product,” he adds. “Over the course of our existence, we were able to achieve the status of one of the leading companies in producing cherries for industrial consumption and the main target for the next five years is to replicate this success in private label,” Roberto shares his vision for the future. “We would like to expand our own brand, as well, establishing a strong presence in markets all over the world. Ultimately, the idea is to process all the fruits that we buy and produce in our own 400-hectare orchard and continue developing a diverse range of final products.” D 99

Strength in numbers A rapidly growing, privately held company, Tavistock Restaurant Collection operates a network of some of the finest dining concepts located across the United States


Tavistock Restaurant Collection


reating emotional connections with its guests. That is the goal of Tavistock Restaurant Collection (TRC), a family of upscale dining brands located throughout the United States. Said brands include Abe & Louie’s, AquaKnox, Atlantic Fish Company, Atlas, Blackhawk Grille, Boxi Park, Canonita, Café del Rey, Canvas, Chroma, Coach Grill, Joe’s American Bar & Grill, Napa Valley Grille, Park Pizza & Brewing Company, Timpano, and ZED451. “TRC came together in 2003, following the acquisition of a particular West Coast brand, and since then it has really gone from strength to strength, adding around 30 restaurants to its portfolio in the last ten years alone,” begins Steve Byrne, VP, Food & Beverage for TRC. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Steve boasts a wealth of experience in opening and managing restaurants around the world, and today leads TRC’s food and beverage operations, alongside having system-wide responsibilities for purchasing. 101

With aspirations of being recognised universally as a world class hospitality organisation, TRC instils its core values of passion, integrity, leadership, work ethic and intellect across its portfolio, while at the same time attracting and retaining the best talent the industry has to offer. “Sometimes the word ‘culture’ can be thrown around somewhat cheaply, but I would certainly point to the thick culture that exists within TRC as being key to its prosperity,” Steve continues. “We believe that you have to be relentless in your pursuit of excellence, and this all begins with the great leadership team that we have, who are responsible for driving home our collective message each day within our various restaurants,” Steve adds. “This ensures that each and every restaurant is working towards the same aim, which is to make each guest want to express what a great time they have had in one of our establishments. At the end of the day it is all about the guest, which is why every decision we make, be it above and at restaurant level, is made with the guest’s best possible experience in mind.”


While Steve is keen to state that TRC does not consider itself to be what he calls a ‘systems driven group’, there are specific processes and ways of operating in place that have proven vital to its success, and again these all begin with engagement with its people. “We hold daily meetings, twice a day, within our restaurants before service begins in order to make sure that everyone is on the same page with what is happening and with any changes that may be occurring,” he says. “Another contributing factor to our growth is that we endeavour to include our people at restaurant level in the changes that we make, and this allows everyone to really buy in to what TRC is trying to achieve.”

Exceptional blends It will go without saying that the drive that TRC places behind its food and beverage offering has also proven critical in helping the collection to earn the high level of esteem it has within its peer group. “Every person involved, from myself and my team through to each restaurant’s own chefs work tirelessly all year round to make sure

Tavistock Restaurant Collection that we use only the very best, and often the most unique, ingredients,” Steve enthuses. “Each restaurant operates using a yearly calendar which influences changes to their respective menus, and our level of commitment to our food offering extends right down to the plate ware we use. We are similarly immensely proud of our beverage offering, led by our fabulous Senior Director of Beverages, who I like to refer to as a ‘master mixologist’.” This beverage offering includes an exclusive private wine label, referred to as the Tavistock Reserve Collection, a carefully curated selection of unique and exceptional blends created in partnership with respected vineyards and winemakers from around the world. “The Reserve Collection delivers a selection of wines that are not only of fantastic quality, but also of great value whichever price is paid, and that makes it an excellent asset within TRC’s portfolio,” Steve confirms. When looking at what both the short and long-term prospects are for TRC, it becomes clear that in the coming months, at least, that Florida will be something of an epicentre of growth. In fact, at the time of speaking with Steve, TRC was a matter of days away from celebrating the opening of a new concept – Park Pizza & Brewing Company in the thriving community of Lake Nona. “We are very excited about this particular opening, which will give TRC what I honestly feel will be one of the best pizza restaurants going. We have also brought on-board a highly skilled Head Brewer, who will help us to brew our own beer to be served at this fantastic location.”

will all be overseen by TRC, giving guests guaranteed quality, whatever their tastes,” Steve reveals. “The Boxi Park concept, and the idea of overseeing all of the food and beverage offerings, is one that we know can be applied elsewhere and we are optimistic for what the future for it could hold.” There are also plans afoot for work to be carried out to improve TRC’s existing portfolio of properties, with Steve confident that guests’ appetites for TRC’s restaurants will remain strong. “We will be putting in a lot of effort during 2019 to take what are already very good establishments and make them truly great,” he concludes. “I think it is very much a case of the more work we put in, the more research we do, and the better we listen to our guests, the better we can collectively be. With that in mind, I think 2019 is going to be a very exciting year indeed.” D

New development Lake Nona will also be the site of a major Tavistock project opening in December 2018, called Boxi Park. A dynamic 30,000 square-feet outdoor district constructed entirely of repurposed shipping containers, will host a mix of restaurants and bars, a live entertainment venue, dog park, kids’ playground and beach volleyball courts. “Boxi Park’s specially curated food and beverage options, including six food and three beverage concepts, 103

Rocket-powered brands

Employing the best professionals in every aspect of restaurant management, Four Foods Group has grown remarkably to become one of the most sought-after partners in the industry


Four Foods Group


ompetence is perhaps the single most important requirement for one to succeed in any walk of life. Surrounding yourself with skilled people who are experts in their field and work as a perfectly-oiled machine guarantees progress. This and the presence of a strong leadership figure to chart the course and ensure that everyone is pulling in the same direction, constitute the vital ingredients to concoct rapid business growth. Such path has been followed by Four Foods Group in the last ten years, which have seen the US restaurant management and investment company amplify its operated units from one in 2008 to an astonishing 155 at the end of 2018. “Unlike many other companies of our kind, we have a large team of some 75 back-office staff, whose unrivalled expertise in fields like tax, insurance, financial planning, and maintenance, is one of the chief reasons behind our growth,” Josh Boshard, COO of Four Foods Group, praises the company’s workforce. “On top of that, the energy and attitude of our leader, Andrew Smith, is truly contagious. No one walks in the room the way he does, his presence is commanding. Andrew makes everyone feel part of the big picture. He believes in everyone’s ability, allowing people to be confident in what they are doing. “It is a tough environment we are

operating in, but our staff makes a difference with their in-depth understanding of all of the industry’s intricacies. In fact, when we started the business, we had seen a gap in the market and our idea was to take away most of the issues a restaurant manager deals with on a daily basis, and handle them in-house for them, instead,” Josh explains.

One of a kind experience As already mentioned, the disruptive business model set up by Four Foods Group has met with grandiose success, which resulted in the company becoming a national platform that now runs 155 restaurants. These are spread across six brands, the earliest of which was Kneaders Bakery & Café. “Known for its artisan breads, sandwiches, and handmade pastries, the brand is unique in the retail element each store can offer, where festive décor, and holiday gift baskets can be delivered to clients’ homes. Furthermore, the option customers have to place their order online, as well as our drive-thru service, really sets Kneaders apart from the competition,” Josh discusses. “By the end of the year, we will also open our eighth R&R Barbeque fast casual restaurant. After we entered into a partnership with nine-time Grand Championship winners, Rod and Roger Livingston two years ago, we have got the 105

Four Foods Group chance to create a one of a kind BBQ experience. “Then, we have the Mo’ Bettahs, which is an authentic Hawaiian restaurant. Our partners are the Mack brothers – born and bred in Hawaii, whose aim is to replicate the taste and feel of Hawaii from their childhood with the dishes they serve. We use only the finest ingredients and everything is cooked fresh. Every day, there are queues at the door and that is because of the quality of the food. What is more, we offer really hearty portions, which completely satisfy our guests.” Four Foods Group also operates The Swig brand with 20 locations, a drive-by drink shop that started in 2010 (and was acquired by the group in late 2017) and has since expanded into multiple states, becoming thousands of people’s go-to place for drinks and sweets. Nearly half of the restaurants run by Four Foods Group (71) represent


the Little Caesars carryout-only pizza chain. “We purchased a block of 48 Little Caesars locations and we have grown that number in the last year and a half. The Ilitch family who created the business as a franchisor, is amazing to work with. They really care about their franchisees, which gives us a significant advantage, because many other franchisors do not understand the importance of assisting their franchisees properly,” Josh reasons. “Little Caesars has now introduced a game-changing online ordering tool called the Pizza Portal. It allows you to place an order, walk into a store, type in a three-digit code, and pull out a custom pizza in seconds. No one else is doing that and we are excited to see how the service will affect the industry,” he adds.

Ready for growth Sustained success has been repeatedly recognised by the outside world, as Four Foods Group found a place on the Inc5000 for the seventh year in a row. In addition, the company was named the third fastest-growing restaurant business in the US by Franchise Times. “We have established a national presence, as we own restaurants in ten states, which means that we have the freedom to pick only those markets where we really want to be, when it comes to our expansion plans,” Josh remarks. “We are confident that our diverse brands present us with a wide range of opportunities to continue growing. There is also a huge potential for us to acquire new brands in the future, but we want to stay true to our core beliefs, when this happens. What we are good at, is taking an existing restaurant that has buzz on the street and a line at the door. Thence, we can apply the Four Foods Group process systems and harness our talent to help it expand rapidly. “Our future looks bright and in 2019, we just need to add fuel to the rocket. It is amazing to hear so many people asking us to take our brands to different places around the country. There will be nothing in our way to inhibit our longterm growth, as long as we have our systems in place and our talent ready,” he concludes. D

Ripple Foods

Ripples in the milk market

Ripple Foods is emerging as one of the fastest growing dairy alternatives producers in the US, with its innovative clean protein extraction technology enabling it to make delicious and nutritious plant-based products


hen we formed the company in early 2015, our idea was to bring a plant-based milk alternative to the existing marketplace that was to be something completely disruptive for the category,” begins Ripple Foods’ Vice President of Supply Chain, Brian Hudon. It took the producer of plant-based dairy products only three years to distribute its goods to over 16,000 stores in the US and Canada, continuing to go from strength to strength and showing determination to expand beyond North America in the coming years. “Prior to Ripple being established, there were a lot of alternative milk beverages in the marketplace that

either lacked in taste or lacked in nutrition,” Brian explains. “What we did, was create a proprietary process to extract a cleaner protein base from plant-based material, which in our case is yellow peas. In this process, we remove the starch from the plant and, once cleaned, blend the protein with fats (and sometimes sugars, for our sweetened products) to make delicious dairy alternatives using fewer ingredients than a lot of the other products available in the market.” Having commercialised the milk production process, the company enjoyed the aforementioned rapid growth in distribution, whilst continuing to work on developing new products. “In 2017, we launched a vegan half

& half and a shelf-stable kid’s product and this year, we released our Nutrition product line of protein powders and shakes. Furthermore, in January, we brought our Greek yoghurt alternative to the market, which can now be found in Kroger stores across the country.” What remains to be viewed as Ripple’s flagship product, however, is the company’s nutritious pea milk that comes in five different flavours – original and unsweetened original, vanilla and unsweetened vanilla, as well as chocolate. “We invest a lot in R&D, so that we are able to launch new products in a relatively short space of time,” Brian notes. “There are a lot of well-established key players in this marketplace, so, in order to stay 107

competitive, we have to be quick to market and lead with innovation. Alongside the products we have developed this year, we are getting ready to introduce a number of other disruptive alternatives throughout the entire 2019.”

Honest and transparent As Brian affirms, good products speak for themselves. The pure quality of Ripple’s items has certainly been a leading factor for the company’s early success, but there is more to the expediency with which it rocked the American market. “First and foremost, we built a management team of very experienced industry experts. For example, our sales and marketing team comprises of people who have achieved this kind of rapid growth with other companies,” Brian points out. “We recruited these people for their proven track record and


used their contacts to build strong business relationships and get our products out in a number of markets relatively quickly. From a supply chain standpoint, we applied the exact same approach by hiring well-versed professionals who knew how to build a scalable and efficient supply chain.” In Brian’s opinion, there is a clear trend among consumers who are now increasingly looking for alternatives and, more specifically, plant-based foods to provide these alternatives. “They are not necessarily trying to go vegan, but they are certainly showing willingness to add more plant-based products to their diet. This will result in a decline in the overall dairy market as consumers look to find plant-based alternatives. Today’s consumers, especially millennials, are also better educated and much more conscious of what they are putting in their bodies. Keeping this in mind and taking into

account their desire to learn more about the products themselves, it is important for us to have an honest and transparent brand that will be at the forefront of the upcoming nextgen food revolution. To think about it, we have a planet to feed, whose population will reach more than 9.5 billion people by 2050, so we are going to need all the non-animal-based alternative sources we can get, to achieve this goal,” he analyses.

UK trial Emboldened by the fact that a lot of consumers from all over the world are already reaching out to the company with requests for its products, Ripple

Ripple Foods is now preparing to conduct a trial in the UK in the coming months. “We are working with a couple of retailers to get our brand on their shelves and see how the customers will react. Our strategy has always been to get up and running in the US, establish a solid base, and then consider expansion into other markets, including the UK, Europe, Asia, and Australia. We were able to expand into Canada with a lot of success last year, so it is time to place a few bets in some other markets and see what happens,” Brian enthuses. “Ultimately, we want to be a brand that is known for creating delicious plant-based foods,” he continues, discussing Ripple’s long-term ambitions. “To do that, we have recognised the need of having a well-established and rich assortment across a number of different product categories, such as ice cream and

cheese, in addition to milk and yoghurts. Another target of ours is to expand our distribution network and get into several retailers we are looking to work with in the years to come. It is a pretty aggressive growth we are after, as we want to grow by double

digits every year in the next five years. Last but not least, we would like to leverage our protein technology, as well, by continuously optimising it and exploring further opportunities for its application.” D 109

Brewed to entertain

Carrying its inextinguishable love for beer for the past quarter of a century, Ellicottville Brewing Co. is now one of the most reputable craft breweries in the state of New York, never ceasing to amaze its customers with original flavours


ampling craft beer that comes in seemingly unimaginable flavours has gradually embedded itself as a cultural practice for many a social occasion in recent years. All over the world, beer aficionados have developed almost cult affection for creativelybrewed beers in their lookout for new sensations their favourite beverage could thrill them with. Thousands of local breweries have sprung to life in the US since the beginning of the 21st century and their number today is estimated to approach 8000, a stark contrast to the just under 1300 in 1995 – the year Ellicottville Brewing Co. (EBC) was founded. Headquartered in the village of Ellicottville, not far from Buffalo, in the heart of the New York ski country


known as ‘The Aspen of the East’, EBC opened its first pub and started creating its own beer, spending the first ten years of its existence understanding the intricacies of the restaurant business. In 2005, a second pub – EBC West – opened in the college town of Fredonia, whereas in 2013, the company undertook a significant project that tripled the size of its existing pub and brewery in Ellicottville. “We installed a new brewery system manufactured by Esau & Hueber that expanded our capacity to 15,000bbls with the addition of a 30bbl brewhouse, in what really is a very beautiful timberframed facility,” remarks founder and owner, Peter Kreinheder. As the business was growing rapidly, it soon became clear to Peter that EBC would need a much larger facility for

Ellicottville Brewing Co.

its operations. “In 2015, we acquired an 85,000-square foot building in Little Valley, just eight miles from Ellicottville, which we started using for shipping and receiving, and packaging. We have also just completed the installation of another Esau & Hueber system, thus turning the plant into our core production facility,” he points out, adding that the Ellicottville site will instead focus on the production of new lagers and sours.

Interesting flavours The Blueberry Wheat ale has been EBC’s trademark beverage since 2006, accounting for 60 per cent of the brewery’s production. “It is a very quaffable beer and I usually refer to it as an entry-level craft for our consumer base. You might automatically think that it is more of a female beer and it was indeed packaged this way back in 2009-2010, but what we found out, is that more than 50 per cent of its drinkers are male. “Every season, we have a new range of beers coming out. Just this

The good news for us is that the vast majority of the breweries in the US produce less than 1000 barrels a year. We are on 25,000 and we are comfortable in the niche we have positioned ourselves within. I have always been a fan of growing the business progressively and maintaining its sustainability over the course of many years

week, we launched the Ski Bum, as we have begun introducing our winter selection. Our maple syrup beer is another exciting product, because it is very locally-centric. A friend of ours is aging maple syrup in my brotherin-law’s distillery and we have put our porter into the maple syrup barrel to create this flavour. We have also crafted a dark coffee beer, which is something between a stout and a porter – we do not brew with the coffee per se, but just put it through a hot break, so we can pick up its aromas,” Peter highlights some of the most prominent flavours in EBC’s present assortment.

Earlier in the autumn, the brewery also promoted its Pumpkinville Latte ale, partnering with a local company. “It really tastes like a pumpkin pie with coffee in it,” Peter laughs. “We did not make a lot of it, only about 200 barrels, and it sold out in a month, which means it was really well-received by the consumers. “I think, what distinguishes us is the consistency of quality we can achieve. One can come up with a flavour once, but the question is whether they can repeat it, and in this respect, we are the most consistent brewery in the region,” Peter discusses some of the business’ core strengths. “Together with that, we also operate the most advanced equipment 111

Ellicottville Brewing Co. across our production facility, placing serious emphasis on quality control. In addition, our scalability has also been instrumental to our success. To give you an example, two weeks ago, we established a partnership with one of the key retail chains in the area, and for us to be able to hit all of their 48 stores, we had to demonstrate our capacity to produce and can some 500 barrels and then deliver them in a very short space of time,” he explains.

Progressive growth Taking a look into current market conditions, Peter foresees an increased role for craft lagers and a diminishing one for domestics in the American beer scene. “Unlike the millennials of today, I did not grow up with the quality of beer that we have today when I was their age. Nowadays, it is different and you can rarely see a young person holding a domestic beer in their hand,


at least in the North East,” he remarks. “I do not see great future for the domestics, unless there is a big quality control problem with craft brewery, but we went through that in the 2000s, when a lot of breweries closed, because they overlooked the importance of quality control. It seems to me that the large brewers will focus on their export activities in the future, as craft is not only gaining ground, but is also fragmenting the space on a local basis. For example, we can no longer send beer to, say, Indiana, and expect to get any traction, because Indiana has got its own 20 breweries in every block. “The good news for us is that the vast majority of the breweries in the US produce less than 1000 barrels a year. We are on 25,000 and we are comfortable in the niche we have positioned ourselves within. I have always been a fan of growing the business progressively and maintaining its sustainability over the course of many years,” Peter discloses his views on EBC’s future. “One thing I know for sure, is that if you do not have a strong pub programme, you cannot survive in such a competitive environment. We now operate three pubs in the Southern Tier and our ambition is to continue developing these and strengthen our proposition. In the meantime, we will remain fully focused on crafting new lagers and sours. There is a bunch of new hops and malts being created, giving us a whole new palette of ingredients to play with,” he concludes. D

Golden Krust©

Taking the Taste of the Caribbean to the World


Golden Krust aims to be Jamaica’s culinary ambassador to the world. Planning to increase its footprint aggressively in both restaurant and retail industries over the next three years, the chain takes pride in offering unique Caribbean family recipes to an ever-expanding army of followers

he story of Golden Krust is an archetypal example of the successful realisation of the American dream. The family-owned restaurant chain started as a bakery in the rural parish of Saint Andrew in Jamaica in 1949, when the grandparents of Marketing & Public Relations Director, Steven Clarke, launched a business called Hawthorne & Son’s Bakery. “When my uncle left Jamaica and came to New York, he had a strong background in the bakery business, but he also wanted to achieve something more. This is why he decided to open our first restaurant in 1989 in the Bronx. With a mixture of tenacity, hard work, and a clear vision to take the taste of the Caribbean to the world, he was able to grow the business to national prominence, where we now operate over 120 restaurants. We also became the first Caribbean-owned company in

the country to be granted a franchise license in 1996,” Steven recalls. It was in the same milestone year that Golden Krust opened its own manufacturing facility on Park Avenue in the South Bronx, then slowly took over the entire block, which now houses all of the company’s manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, and administrative facilities. “Since then, we have never stopped upgrading our systems and processes, as quality is critical to us. We have recently installed new X-ray machines to improve our safety capabilities, because we want to be able to offer not just tasty, but also wholesome and safe food to our customers,” Steven points out.

Taste of Jamaica Owing to its historical expertise in baking, Golden Krust has become known for its traditional Jamaican patty – a flaky multi-layered crust that can be filled with 113

a variety of fillings, from spicy beef, curry chicken, and jerk chicken, to vegetables, spinach, and even shrimp. “There is something for everyone in our patties. The uniqueness of our flavours matches perfectly the ongoing trend of consumers wanting to try more authentic dishes,” Steven reasons. “Another significant contributor to our success is the fact that we offer very convenient meals that can be eaten at any time, even on the go. At the end of the day, the more eating occasions you can provide to your customers, the more they are going to look for your product. People have grown accustomed to eating burgers and pizza and our research figures are showing that they are looking for something new. It is, therefore, to our advantage that we make food that cannot be found everywhere, which means we can target lots of different markets and this is our ambition, precisely – first to place our products throughout the US and Canada, and then expand internationally.”

Authentic flavours Having launched its retail activity in the early 2000s, the company’s microwaveable patty can now be found in more than 25,000 outlets nationwide. “The product’s attractive pricing has also been a factor to our success,” he says. “You can get a


patty with any type of flavour that will easily fill your stomach for under three dollars. Presently, jerk is a very hot trend and we are actively promoting our jerk chicken patties, which are prepared with an authentic Jamaican recipe, and currently sold in Walmart.” Unsurprisingly, the majority of Golden Krust’s restaurants are concentrated in New York, where the chain operates 70 locations. Florida comes second with 30 restaurants, and Metro Atlanta is populated

with 14 restaurants. “The common denominator in these places is that they all have a strong Caribbean diaspora. It is positive to see, though, that we have started to move into other areas, such as Massachusetts and Texas. Moreover, we opened our first two restaurants in Toronto in quick succession in 2018 (in August and November) and the former is doing so well that we had to extend our hours of operation to 11pm during the week and to midnight on weekends, which is something we had not done before even in the US,” Steven notes.

Restaurant openings For Golden Krust to succeed in becoming a globally recognised chain, Steven is fully aware that it has to expand its product offering. “We know perfectly well that we have to keep our menu fresh. Our Research & Development team is working very hard to create new products that will appeal to our current, as well as our potential new customers. For example, we are planning to launch a strawberry and cream cheese patty, as well as a pizza patty. It is necessary to diversify our products, while keeping them in our signature flaky Golden Krust,” he maintains. Since the beginning of 2018, Golden Krust has opened five new restaurants in the US, with seven more slated to

Golden Krust©

be open this year. “We are working on several different projects to improve the company, and we expect to see their beneficial impact over the next 18 months. 2019 will be a special year for us, as we will be celebrating our 30th anniversary and a series of events are being planned to mark the occasion. We are looking to roll out new

products, with improved packaging. We will also enhance our digital presence by launching a new website and a new mobile loyalty app, which will allow for mobile ordering. On top of that, we will

continue pushing into new territories to fulfil my uncle’s vision of taking the Taste of the Caribbean to the world,” Steven concludes. D 115

A never-ending success story

NewCold’s aspirations are to set up a comprehensive network of cold stores across Europe and improve the connectivity between its customers and major retailers. Meanwhile, the company is trying to modernise the industry in America by introducing innovative concepts to its facilities there 116


nly six years were needed by NewCold for the cold storage and logistics specialist to establish a worldwide presence. Founded in 2012, the Dutchbased company has now designed and built facilities in Germany, France, the UK, and Poland in Europe, as well as

in the USA and Australia, with plans for further sites in these and other locations already underway. “Our business model involves us finding one or two customers first, which we call ‘anchor customers’, that justify the development of a new large-scale project in the given area,”


explains NewCold’s Vice President Business Development, Piet Meijs. “In the first months of our existence, we managed to buy a facility in Argentan (France) and started constructing our first site in Rheine (Germany), which opened in May 2013. Keeping in line with our customers’ needs, we then

developed the first phase of our UK storage and distribution centre in Wakefield. At about the same time, we also did a project in Kutno (Poland).” NewCold’s maiden venture outside of Europe was initiated when the company’s key UK customer acquired a business in Australia and invited NewCold to look

after its logistics and supply chain in the Melbourne region. “At first, the scale of the operation was not sufficient to suit our business model, but with the help of Peters Ice Cream, we found two other potential customers, which created the volume to justify the investment in a cold store,” Piet remembers. 117

Getting together with one of these two customers – Fonterra, opened a new door for the company, as it was asked to construct an extra chilled storage warehouse in the vicinity of the cold store it was already building. “In parallel, we signed our first contract in the US – a 15-year agreement with Trident Seafoods, which led to the development of our first cold store in America, in Tacoma.”

Automation systems In April 2018, NewCold completed the expansion of its Wakefield warehouse, increasing the facility’s capacity from 55,000 to 143,000 pallets, and turning it into the largest in the UK. Piet details: “We began work on the first phase of this facility early in 2014, when Froneri approached us with their idea to consolidate their volumes in one central cold store that is well-positioned to serve their retail customers. The project was delivered in May 2015 and proved such a resounding success that we started receiving enquiries from other frozen food producers. This led us to conclude that extending the site was not just an excellent opportunity, but also a necessity of a kind. We added ten new stacker cranes to the six we were already operating and we have now come to the final version of this facility. “We have already started thinking about building a second cold store


in the UK. Our intention is to locate it closer to London and it seems very likely that next year we will enter serious conversations with our customers and get to work on our planning application,” he reveals. “Admittedly, there has been a bit of Brexit-related hesitation regarding this investment, but the present signs are that more production will move to the UK, which will probably create more requirements for increased storage capacity. In fact, suppliers that export into the country have got in touch recently, enquiring about the possibility of using our Wakefield store to ensure that they have some stock available, should shipping from Europe to the UK become more complicated.” On the other side of the Atlantic, the company is in the process of building its second cold storage facility in Burley, Idaho, which is expected to open in April 2019. “It will be in close proximity to McCain’s largest production plant in the US. Due to its expansion, the company needs additional storage space, which we are going to provide,” Piet discusses. “The site is designed to host 90,000 pallets and will be fully mechanised, like all of our facilities. We will introduce a shuttle connection with McCain’s production facility and build automatic loading systems there, so we can load 26 pallets at a time, which a trailer

will then take to our site and unload automatically. “What might be quite interesting to the readers is that the US is rather less developed in this type of supply chain solutions, in comparison with Europe. For example, the pallet quality is not at the same level, which propelled us to introduce system boards in our Tacoma facility to manage the pallets more easily. In a way, we are seen as innovators who have introduced various types of automation solutions to our American counterparts. Even our local competitors have started to copy our supply chain models and place emphasis on automation,” he maintains. “Up until four or five years ago, the US industry was very sceptical at any suggestions for automation, but the calls for modernisation of America’s antiquated cold stores are getting louder, with sustainability being prioritised.”

Continued efficiency Back on European terrain, NewCold is faced with the consolidation of the industry on all levels. “There is a lot more pressure on delivery times, as retailers request more frequent deliveries,” Piet observes. “To give you an example, McCain used to be shipping full trucks to their customers several times a week. At one point, however, retailers required that products are supplied every day, because they wanted to reduce their inventory. This posed a challenge for McCain with regards to maintaining the cost efficiency of the operation. Thanks to our store in Wakefield, which acts as a central warehouse, we are able to deliver multiple goods for multiple customers to multiple retailers, thus ensuring the continued efficiency of the activity. “Similarly, consolidation is taking place on the producers’ side and the recent acquisition of Aunt Bessie’s by Nomad Foods affirms this trend. As a result, we expect to see fewer, but bigger production facilities, which will encourage us to engage in large-scale operations ourselves.” In order to facilitate its customers’ connection with their retailers, NewCold is looking to expand aggressively in


TGW Logistics Group TGW Logistics Group is a global leading systems provider of highly dynamic, automated and turnkey logistics solutions. Since 1969, the company has been implementing different internal logistics solutions, from small material handling applications to complex logistics centres.With about 3200 employees worldwide by now, TGW implements logistics solutions for leading companies in various industries. As the first automated logistics solution provider to offer an automated freezer handling system based on standardised products and components, TGW meets the challenges faced by cold and freezer chain warehouses and distribution centers while delivering the lowest total cost of ownership.

Europe in the next three to five years and create a veritable network of facilities across the continent. “Together with the aforementioned new store in the UK, we intend to develop two new projects in France and another one in Germany. Italy is another country we are keeping an eye on,” Piet states. “We would like to have between ten and 12 operational sites in Europe where we can offer our clients warehouse interconnection services to streamline their supply chains and get them closer to the market. As far as our presence in America is concerned, we are more modest in our ambitions, because of the magnitude of the market there. If we can complete a couple of projects in the coming years and build a solid base, that would be a tremendous achievement, which will position us better for a potential long-term growth,” he concludes. D 119

The great North East makeover

Bay View House Care Home Whitley Bay


Malhotra Group Strategic investments in high-potential buildings have enabled the Malhotra Group to increase its turnover year-on-year, as the company continues to play an active part in enriching Tyne and Wear’s social, community, and leisure infrastructure


trong family values and ethics have carried the Malhotra Group forward in the nearly three decades of its existence. Coupled with its astuteness in successfully predicting industry trends and making wise investments, the company has emerged as a leading real estate developer in the North East of England, stacking in its portfolio a respectable number of banks, care homes, hotels, restaurants, and bars. Indicative of the good times the business is enjoying, is the increase in turnover it registered in the past year, when the Malhotra Group took its turnover up from £24 million to £32 million. Split into three divisions – Property, Care and Leisure – the company continuously expands these, with new property development projects regularly added to its workload. One of the most remarkable programmes the business has set out to complete, is the building of a £35 million 120-bedroom, four-star hotel with a rooftop swimming pool, a nightclub, restaurants, and retail outlets on Grey Street, in Newcastle city centre. Seen as the jewel in the crown of Malhotra Group’s impressive property portfolio, the Grey Street scheme is projected to become a visitor attraction in its own right, while playing a vital role in the local economy by creating a significant number of jobs. After years of acquiring a number of buildings around Grey Street with a view to creating the hotel, the Malhotra Group has now revised its original idea, developing it to encompass a total of nine existing buildings. The site will stretch from Grey Street down to its junction with Mosley Street and across to the lower part of Cloth Market, and will include the famous Balmbra’s Music Hall at the Cloth Market, which is being restored to its original identity as part of the project. According to the scheme timeline, the leisure complex should open by the end of 2020 and its developers promise a design that will stay in line with Grey Street’s historic façade. The development will also strengthen the Malhotra Group’s foothold on Newcastle’s finest street, where it already operates the boutique Grey Street Hotel, which recently underwent a £1.2 million refurbishment. 121

With such considerable investment in Grey Street – one of the finest Regency streets in Britain – perhaps it was inevitable that Malhotra Group plc might consolidate its commitment by relocating there. And, following the £4m purchase of 42-50 Grey Street, that is very much the intention. Its aim is to relocate head office staff from its existing city centre sites, at Groat Market and at Scottish Provident House, into the office accommodation on the upper two vacant floors above Zizzis Restaurant. The move is expected to take place at the end of the year, following a full refurbishment of all the three, upper office accommodation floors and of the ground floor entrance area. When complete the building will be renamed Malhotra House and the address listed as 50 Grey Street.

El Paso’s chefs produce food that stimulates all the senses, perfectly reflecting the vitality of Mexico and Latin America. In the second phase of the Jesmond Block Development, what was once the Louis restaurant will be transformed

Bede House Care Home, Ryhope

Landmark projects The Jesmond Block Development in Newcastle is another ongoing landmark project for the Malhotra Group, the first of its four phases recently completed. During it, a new restaurant – El Paso, opened to replace Scalinis Jesmond after the latter had been in operation for 20 years. As the name indicates, the new venue offers dishes from the Spanish and Mexican cuisines. Using only the highest-quality ingredients,


Beech Tree House Care Home, Alnwick

into a multi-purpose gaming bar, called Eat, Chill, Play. The redevelopment will include a cinema, a two-lane bowling alley, as well as football tables, targeting customers of all ages. Then, El Paso’s Ariba Bar will be transformed into a decadent gin bar – Jesmond Gin House, throughout the third phase of the scheme, and, finally, the Malhotra Group-operated New Northumbria Hotel will see a complete remodelling and refurbishment of its entire rear elevation. The expansion will create 13 new apartment rooms and suites, some of which will be equipped with a kitchen and dining area, as well as a new wedding suite. Furthermore, a number of the existing bedrooms will receive a full refurbishment upgrade, including a new bathroom suite and décor. Not far from Jesmond, in the neighbouring Newcastle suburb of Gosforth, work is already underway on an 18-month, £5.6m project to transform a well-known pub, The Three Mile Inn, into a 64-bedroom hotel, bar and restaurant. The development comprises three main phases, beginning with the construction of a three-story extension, which will ultimately provide additional accommodation for the hotel. Further phases will include the conversion of the existing building from two to three storeys and the creation of conference, function and private dining facilities, a residents’ lounge, café, bar and restaurant. An estimated 25 jobs will be created when work is complete and the Malhotra family, who have strong links to Gosforth, hope that as well as welcoming leisure and corporate guests, the venue will become a much-used community hub for neighbouring families. In October 2018 work begins on the Malhotra Group’s latest contract win in the leisure sector; a £100,000 redevelopment of Pumphrey’s Bar, part of a wider £3.2 million regeneration programme designed to reinvigorate Newcastle’s Bigg Market. Pumphrey’s, which occupies a Grade II listed building, will be remodelled with new signage and the installation of new window frames, as well as a general cleaning up of the exterior of the building in an attempt to restore it to its former glory.

Malhotra Group Care home projects Three major programmes are also underway for Malhotra Group’s Care division. Albeit still at a very early stage, Beech Tree House will be the business’ new, purpose-built, 86-bed care home, located at the site of Alnwick’s former bus depot. A state-of-the-art facility, it will provide nursing and residential care, catering for young physically disabled (YPD), bariatric, and dementia, as well as general nursing residents. As it stands now, the foundations, below ground drainage, and the lower ground floor have already been constructed, the steelwork frame has been completed and blockwork has progressed to the first-floor level. Slowly taking its shape, the building is the largest care home the group is working on at present. Just three beds shorter of what Beech Tree House will be able to offer, Bay View House in Whitley Bay is the second key care home development undertaken by the Malhotra Group. The building will be located in place of the former Rex Hotel and will feature dining, leisure, treatment, administration, and support facilities. Lastly, the brand-new, two-storey, 66-bedroom Bede House care home in Ryhope, Sunderland completes the trio of large-scale projects currently implemented by the company. Now that certain site clearance works have been undertaken, including the demolition of a former C of E school and the removal of playgrounds, walls and levels have been reduced and new drain diversion is about to commence, as the scheme is picking up pace. Naturally, the ambitious developments the Malhotra Group is engaged with, will open multiple jobs across the various facilities. In fact, the company has clearly stated its intention to grow its workforce from 1200 to 1800 staff over the next five years. Considering the fact that the organisation reported an increase in its headcount by 116 in 2017, there is no reason to doubt the achievability of its objective. Its successful completion will once again underline the ever-growing role the group is playing in boosting the local economy and nourishing the local community of the Tyne and Wear county.

Having a well-diversified business has yet again proved to be the right model for the Malhotra Group, given the positive financial results the company registered last year. Maintaining a balanced portfolio of care home facilities, leisure sites,

and geographically spread investment properties, the company is facing excellent prospects to continue its growth through careful strategies and forward-thinking management in the years to come. D 123

Tending the land Silvery Tweed Cereals has been a prominent cereal and seed ingredients supplier for the last 175 years. Following targeted investment in its production plants, the familyowned business has expanded its capacity and evolved its proposition in recent times 124


ased in the Northumberland border town of Berwickupon-Tweed, Silvery Tweed Cereals specialises in supplying premium quality cereal and seed ingredients to many of the leading names in the baking and cereals-based industry. Drawing upon 175 years of experience, Silvery Tweed intertwines in its operation traditional family values with modern business practices, which have enabled the company to establish productive and long-lasting partnerships with its customers. As a specialist at adding value, the organisation makes sure it works closely with clients and continually researches customer and market trends to accurately predict future demand and improve the services it offers.

Throughout its history, Silvery Tweed has built a reputation of an innovative and creative company, willing to drive the industry forward with the introduction of efficient technologies. The business was one of the first British companies to coat cereals and its state-of-the-art blending plant was the first of its kind in the UK. Committed to continually investing in its development, Silvery Tweed is regularly upgrading its four plants, thus building on the established tradition of expanding its capabilities. Since moving to its current site, the company has invested more than ÂŁ7 million in the latest equipment housed in two mills, a coating plant, a blending plant, and a seed plant, all of which are nut free. In February 2016, Silvery Tweed completed a ÂŁ1.5-million

Silvery Tweed Cereals process development, the plant staff keenly moved away from the industry standard of drying, cooling conveyors that use individual slats on a chain drive. The new, bespoke cooler belt, which was designed in conjunction with a local engineering company, brought additional benefits, such as lower floor waste and a simplified cleaning process. Equipped with modern machinery, each of the four Silvery Tweed sites performs different functions, vital for the smooth progression of the business. One of the mills – Trading Estate – produces a large range of flakes, cut grains, and specialty flours; while the Henry Ogle Mill houses Silvery Tweed’s purpose-built blending operation offering state-of-the-art production and packing lines, supplying cereal and seed blends to some of baking industry’s most prominent names. The site also provides total product protection, including in-line X-rays, metal detection, and magnets;

as well as extensive raw and finished product warehousing facilities. Employing the latest colour sortex technology, metal detection and in-line magnets to ensure product integrity, the business’ seed plant is dedicated to the cleaning and blending of seeds to a world-class standard. Last but not least, Silvery Tweed runs a coating plant that is able to apply a wide variety of sweet and savoury coatings to cereals and seeds, including oats, barley, wheat, extruded, and puffed cereals.

Anniversary celebrations Kicking off the jubilee year of its 175th anniversary, Silvery Tweed announced a new supply partnership with Durhambased spelt producer Craggs & Co in January 2018. Under the agreement, Silvery Tweed will be able to provide its customers with a reliable supply of competitively priced, locally-grown spelt products – a rarity in the UK

investment programme successfully, which saw it add new machinery and automate a number of processes using state-of-the-art food processing technology. This way, the business managed to boost its capacity, raise productivity levels, and open eight new full-time positions.

Smooth progression Another recent infrastructure development took place in the summer of 2017, when Silvery Tweed sought to improve its grain cooling capabilities by investing £250,000 to upgrade its flaking line. The project resulted in an increased efficiency, flexibility, and hygiene, as well as a reduction in pre-pack product temperatures. In keeping with the business’ reputation for technological innovation and progressive 125

grain market. Based in Sedgefield, commercial wheat grower Craggs & Co expanded into spelt production after cultivating a test batch for a family friend and finding that the conditions on their land were ideal for growing the grain.


Now, in addition to milling the grain into flour for its own range of products, Craggs & Co’s spelt will also be used in Silvery Tweed’s own processed cereal products, such as flakes and kibble, which will then be supplied to the food

manufacture and breakfast cereal industries. The good news for Silvery Tweed continued as the year progressed, with the business’ certification under the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety being upgraded to an AA rating – the highest score possible, in May. The industryleading rating was awarded following a rigorous external appraisal by food industry certification body SAI Global and illustrates Silvery Tweed’s commitment to high-quality standards and food manufacture best practices, as well as building confidence in the supply chain. In an initiative marking its birthday, the company hosted a dinner for growers and suppliers at the Born in the Borders brewery in Jedburgh, in July, at which Silvery Tweed unveiled two commemorative, limited-edition beers, created in collaboration with Born in the Borders. Indeed, Silvery Tweed has used its 175th anniversary

Silvery Tweed Cereals celebrations as the perfect platform for a range of activities, many of which are philanthropic in nature. For example, the business has approached a local school, Berwick Middle School, with the forward-thinking plan to invest in the next generation of food developers. The company is paying for a £15,000 refurbishment of their Home Economics kitchen with new cookers, kitchen equipment, a nutrition software package and so forth. The approach of investing in the community continued with the purchase and installation of a defibrillator on the Tweedside Industrial Estate, and local charities were also supported through a traditional Family Fun Day held in July. This was attended by 250 staff, friends and family and included fairground rides, a dunk tank (for the Directors), face painting, bouncy castle, traditional games, hog roast, afternoon tea and prize draw. A tremendous day was had

by all and £1500 was raised for local charities.

Glorious success 2018 has definitely been a year of celebrations for Silvery Tweed - the company revealed continued growth when it published its most recent financial figures in late 2017. Sustained year-on-year increase in volume and profitability was evident across all product lines and in all of the business’ production and processing plants shone through the report, instilling confidence in the company’s workforce that its efforts have led to quantifiable results. Equally important, longer-term figures demonstrated that the positive trend is no nine days’ wonder; across the five years from 2011 to 2016, records showed a general upward volume trend over the whole business, amounting to a volume increase of 37 per cent per annum – no small achievement for a

firm identifying itself as a local, family business. The strong financial performance by Silvery Tweed certifies that the company is taking the right decisions, and acts as a source of inspiration for its future activities, proving yet again that hard work and wise investment moves pay off. With the milestone year of 2018 nearing its end, it is understandable that spirits are high, fuelling the business’ ambitions for even more glorious success in the coming years. D 127

A refreshing approach As an independent regional cooperative, Southern Co-op plays its part in boosting the sense of local community in South England through various initiatives, while maintaining sustainability practices across all of its operations 128


ebranding, new store openings, and the introduction and development of new sustainability measures have been the order of the day for Southern Co-op in most recent times, all while the Society was experiencing another strong growth in income in 2017. Indeed, the company reported a nine per cent rise to over £430 million, chiefly due to investment in new food stores and funeral homes. Trading across 11 counties in the south of England, Southern Co-op opened 16 new food stores in 2017, bringing the total to 216. “We are pleased to have grown our presence in a lot of our target areas, which has extended our customer and member bases in these locations

and enhanced our offer to the local communities,” begins CEO, Mark Smith. Convinced that it needs to make the visual impact of its communications stronger, Southern Co-op decided to refresh its brand. “The new image has helped us make the story of who we are, what we stand for, and what makes us different, clearer to explain and understand,” Mark points out, going on to talk about how the Society continued to support local producers throughout 2017. “Last year, we marked the tenth anniversary of our Local Flavours range, which was also subject to a brand refresh that is now gradually being rolled out to all of our stores. It is a really valuable part of our retail stores and we now showcase nearly 200

Southern Co-op

The business has already succeeded in having 100 per cent of its food waste directed away from landfill and it remains focused on searching for ways to avoid and reduce the amount of waste it produces

support in a variety of ways including funding, goods in kind donations, to become a local fundraising partner and local volunteering. In 2017, Southern Co-op contributed £1.26m to its local communities through fundraising events, campaigns and donations. Around £500,000 of this came from proceeds from the five-pence carrier bag charge. Since the charge was introduced, Southern Co-op has also seen a difference in the amount of bags customers use. “We have managed

to reduce carrier bag usage by 69 per cent since 2015 and we continue to ask customers if they need a bag and to make Bags for Life available as an alternative option. In 2017 alone, we sold more than one million Bags for Life. This is just a small part of the work we have been carrying out to promote sustainability and reduce waste,” says Mark.

Business priorities “Our members have told us that sustainability means a lot to them and we

producers. The Local Flavours range, which had a record turnover in 2017, includes seasonal fruit and vegetables, fish and meat, cheeses, chutney, bakery goods, and beers.”

Community support 2017 was also the first full year of operation for Southern Co-op’s community engagement strategy ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’, which gives local stores and funeral homes the chance to contribute to the creation of safer, greener, healthier, and more inclusive neighbourhoods - four themes which were identified through a survey of over 4000 of its members and colleagues. Through this initiative, local charities and community groups can apply for 129

Southern Co-op want to have a positive impact on our communities – today, tomorrow, and in the future. We have set ourselves some ambitious targets with regards to saving energy, helping to protect our local wild spaces and wildlife, implementing our Fairtrade commitments, creating sustainable supply chains, and reducing waste,” he outlines. “We are also committed to playing our part in supporting the global sustainability agenda. Therefore, we are publishing our new ‘Our Plan 2018-2023’ in the autumn, which will discuss our business priorities over the next five years and beyond, and will provide details about our future sustainability commitments. This includes reporting against the UN Sustainable Development Goals within our Sustainability Plan. I am firmly convinced that by continuing to act responsibly and encouraging others to do the same, we can support communities and environments, giving society and the planet a chance to sustain themselves and thrive locally, nationally, and globally.”

Addressing waste Food waste has been identified as one of the target areas for Southern Co-op.


The business has already succeeded in having 100 per cent of its food waste directed away from landfill and it remains focused on searching for ways to avoid and reduce the amount of waste it produces. “We ‘backhaul’ all waste from our retail stores to a central depot where dry mixed recyclables are sent for recycling, food waste is processed through anaerobic digestion, and customer and general waste goes to a refuse-derived fuel facility. “At store level, we are constantly

looking at ways to balance availability with wastage - we don’t want to throw away products that could still be sold. For example, we are currently trialling new processes for in-store bakery, which, we hope, will drive a significant reduction in wastage for this category,” Mark reveals. “We have also been running food donation trials with a number of stores and charity partners, including local charity Foodcycle in Portsmouth, and we are pleased to say that we have seen success with some of these arrangements with safe, edible surplus food being sent to a charity each week.” With a trading history of nearly 150 years, Southern Co-op has had to learn to adapt to new conditions and challenges to its business. But its overall purpose remains the same - to work together for the benefit of its local community. This can be demonstrated in its dedication to addressing local and global sustainability issues. As it continues to identify future opportunities, this regional independent co-operative should continue to remain relevant in the long run. D www.thesouthernco-operative.


Life is sweet High quality products, value for money and excellent customer service are the ingredients that, for 95 years, Schokinag has mixed together to make it a hugely successful manufacturer of industrial chocolates


cost effective, high quality chocolate that is easy to work with and has been enjoyed by customers for decades. Those are the words used by specialist chocolatier stockists Keylink to describe the creations of Schokinag. Based in Mannheim, Germany, Schokinag was established in 1923 and has been manufacturing chocolates ever since. Boasting a strong history as a familyowned business, it is today recognised as one of Europe’s leading suppliers of industrial chocolates. In more recent years, the company was owned by US agribusiness giants ADM and then Cargill, before being acquired in 2016 by investment company Nimbus. The company manufactures a full range of chocolates and chocolate couvertures, liquid to solid, in various sizes, shapes and packaging types, as well as liquid compounds. One of Schokinag’s core strengths has always been its flexibility, which means that in addition to its standard range of chocolates, it can also develop recipes to meet its customers’ precise specifications.

Partnership approach In broad terms, its product range can be split into three categories – chips and chunks, liquid products and specialties. Schokinag’s chips have been created to be easy to dose, quick and simple to melt and perfect for exact tempering, while it offers liquid products in batches from 6MT to 24MT. These include chocolates with a cocoa content ranging from 25 per cent up to 85 per cent for dark and milk, and from a minimum of 20 per cent for white, chocolates and couvertures for enrobing, moulding, panning/spinning

and topping, for ice cream applications, dark and milk ice cream compounds, and single origin chocolates. It also manufactures chocolates certified by a number of international bodies, such as Kosher Dairy, HALAL, and has its focus on sustainable products like Fairtrade Mass Balance, UTZ Mass Balance and Rainforest Alliance. Lastly, its specialties mix includes chocolate shavings, curls, cigarettes, fanderol, spaghetti, microchips and mixed chips. Schokinag’s mission statement is to provide its customers with a mutually beneficial long-term partnership, one which offers the flexibility and attention to detail typically provided by an entrepreneurial player, but with the added benefits of being a major industrial player with nearly a century of experience. In order to meet the requirements its customers place upon it the company has a series of ‘promises’ that it works to. This list includes promises to offer a complete product range of solid and liquid chocolates, and to only supply high quality products from its fully certified production facility in compliance with 131


Schokinag Olam Cocoa Olam Cocoa is responsible for crafting and delivering quality cocoa ingredients to leading chocolate confectionery producers worldwide. The company’s long term relationships and geographic diversity creates added value opportunities and their uniquely flexible supply chain solutions help ensure consistent customer satisfaction. These advantages, combined with their expertise in cocoa processing and product development innovation, means that the quality ingredients they provide – cocoa powders, cocoa butters and cocoa masses – supports manufacturers in their ability to improve product performance and enhance operational efficiencies. As the world’s foremost focused supplier of cocoa beans and cocoa products, Olam Cocoa wishes Schokinag great success in strengthening their position as an independent supplier of quality chocolate to their customers.

recognised international food safety standards. It also guarantees that it can source competitively in order to offer the fairest market price, that it will always place the customers’ needs first, and that its experienced R&D team will be on hand to identify solutions and create innovative products.

The epicenter of the company’s many different activities and achievements is its Mannheim facility. To date, the facility has provided Schokinag with an annual capacity ranging between 80,000 and 90,000 tonnes, however this is in the process of being expanded, with its owners prepared to invest around ten million euros for this purpose. Most of the investments are currently ongoing. While most of the products that emanate from the factory are sold throughout the European Union, the plans for expansion within the business are expected to create opportunities to pursue other regions, not least of all Great Britain, Eastern Europe, Middle East and the United States. When we featured Schokinag in the pages of FoodChain, back at the end of 2016, the company was fast approaching 2017 with a revitalised attitude and a refocused desire to achieve its ambitions, and its Managing Director Rolf Eiermann spoke enthusiastically of exciting times

ahead. With almost two years having passed since, the company has made great strides in expanding its product portfolio, streamlining efficiencies and improving reliability, and as 2019 comes more into focus it is clear that it is on the fast track to delivering the products, service and prices that will make Schokinag its customers’ number one chocolate supplier. D

Plans for expansion The above-mentioned R&D element of the company is led by a highlyexperienced team, who possess in-depth knowledge of different food segments and can offer extensive application know-how for all of Schokinag’s products. Working closely and continuously with its customers, the team provides quality, sustainable solutions within a comparatively short response time, and help to create and adapt tailor-made recipes to suit anything from specific cost requirements to general consumer trends. Aside from the innovative products it creates, the company also regularly invites its customers into its R&D facility to jointly use its state-of-the-art pilot plant equipment, modern analytical devices and sensory panel to realise co-innovation projects.

Sucden Sucden is an independent leader in soft commodities trading. We combine global know-how with local expertise to connect supply and demand in a sustainable way. While doing so, we serve our clients and partners with quality and integrity. We trade on the world’s major exchanges in a wide range of products and services including sugar, coffee, cocoa, ethanol, ocean freight and futures/ options brokerage. In support, we are active in agriculture and sourcing, processing, logistics, distribution, merchandising, financing, research and risk management. 133

Healthy, happy pets Burns Pet Nutrition has remodelled the way in which owners approach their pets’ diet, developing wholesome products to manage animals’ health problems and ensure their continuous wellbeing John Burns


Burns Pet Nutrition


evolutionary in its origin, Burns Pet Nutrition emerged as a disruptive force in the pet food industry in the mid-1990s, challenging and changing then-popular doctrines of how domestic animals should be fed. Masterminded by its affable founder and CEO, John Burns, who spearheaded the development of a healthy, wholegrain-based, home-cooked diet, the company first rose to national prominence in 1994, one year after it was founded. “The first milestone for us came when Dogs Today published an article on my foods, which attracted significant interest that allowed us to make the transition from a local West Wales company to a truly national business,” John remembers. With a background as a veterinary surgeon and a trained acupuncturist, he had been consulting pet owners on how to feed animals with health problems for almost 15 years before setting up Burns. “I was advising my clients not to give commercial pet food to their animals when they were not well. Instead, I was recommending a diet, which involved homecooked rice, vegetables, and a little bit of meat. That gave some wonderful results in treating and preventing chronic health problems, allowing the body to function naturally and to maintain and repair itself. Alas, most pet owners did not want to apply this diet, so I had to start thinking about packaging it in a convenient commercial form,” John goes back to the early days of the business. “In my opinion, what gave us a foothold in the market and really helped us grow, was the emphasis on managing health problems, which was actually the underlying reason why I started the company. I really wanted to offer simple, wholesome food – high in wholegrains and low in protein and fats, which, when served in the right amount, enables the body to detoxify and function in a normal way. Once this happens, health problems just automatically disappear,” he points out. “It merits adding that while our foods are suitable for dogs with pre-existing health problems, such as sensitive skin or digestion, they also contribute to a dog’s mental health. In this sense, it is encouraging to see that the modern

...this year we launched our own grain-free product, whose base ingredient is buckwheat, which, despite its name, is a fruit seed that has not been used in pet food in the UK before, as far as I am aware 135

medical world is beginning to realise that there is no real distinction between pet’s physical and mental health.” Having gathered speed once, Burns has grown rapidly over a number of years, although, as John admits, the business environment is getting ever more trying, with new hurdles popping up on the track all the time. “The market has grown more challenging with the decline of bricks and mortar stores and the rise of digital. We are also facing a lot more competition; on the other, a lot of fake news (or lies, as I call it) about the principles I stand for and believe in, are populating the public sphere. I am an adamant proponent of the idea that wholegrains are an excellent way of feeding pets. Unfortunately, this claim has been challenged a lot in recent times, with calls for the development of more grain-free foods gaining traction, at the moment. At first I resisted that, because I think it is hard to formulate a healthy diet without using grains. Nevertheless, this year we launched our own grainfree product, whose base ingredient is buckwheat, which, despite its name, is a fruit seed that has not been used in pet food in the UK before, as far as I am aware,” he discusses.


Company growth When John opened the company, he only had two products in his portfolio – one food specifically for adult dogs - which has remained the mainstay of the business to this day - and one for puppies. “Both are based on brown rice and chicken and this has remained our best-selling line. Naturally, we have expanded our range over time, adding brown rice and lamb, and brown rice and fish,” Burns’ founder explains. “Because not every dog is suited to every ingredient, we have also released an alternative to our Original range, in the shape of the maize-based Choice range. In addition, we offer our Sensitive+ range, which comes in pork and potato and duck and rice variations. Last but not least, another sought-after product is the aforementioned Free From range, which contains easily digestible duck and potato, as well as buckwheat, which is widely regarded as a superfood.” Just in time for Burns’ 25th anniversary in 2018 came the announcement that the company has been included in The Sunday Times Fast Track Profit 100 League table, which ranks the private UK businesses achieving fastest-growing profits. “We

were placed at number 60, along with only two other Welsh companies. It was a great surprise to make it into the list and our inclusion has certainly stirred a bit of interest from the rest of the business world,” John comments. Driven purely by altruistic sentiments, Burns has set an inspirational example for many other companies with its charitable activities. Recently, the company donated an astonishing 25 per cent of its profits to its own charity, the Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation, thus advancing a number of schemes undertaken by the organisation. John clarifies: “We have always given support to a mix of charities and local sports clubs, but in 2007, we set up our own charity to formalise these activities a little bit. In fact, for most of the time since, we continued to donate to other organisations, but about three years ago, we decided to change the nature of our charitable activities and do something ourselves, so we transformed the foundation into a community-interest company (CIO). “I made a decision that we should spend less of our revenue on marketing and advertising activities, directing more of it towards community activities, instead. We now often provide support

Burns Pet Nutrition to disadvantaged people or people with learning difficulties, while another programme we are exceptionally proud of is called ‘Burns By Your Side’,” he enthuses. “Under this scheme, we use trained volunteers and companion dogs to help children in schools improve their literacy, communication, and confidence skills. We have already got about 40 volunteers and even though we are satisfied with how well-established it has become in West Wales, we are also keen on branching it out to other parts of the UK.”

Community activities To further aid the development of the foundation, John has also put some money aside to buy a dedicated centre where all community-oriented activities can take place. He reports that he is currently looking for a suitable site, which can be used as the foundation’s headquarters, but cautiously remarks that the active continuation of Burns’ community work depends a lot on the future success of the company and the generation of enough revenue that can subsequently be reinvested in the foundation. “When I am being asked about the plans for the business, I always answer with ‘More of the same’. We just want to extend our reach across the country and in Ireland, but the novelty is that we have recently appointed an Export Manager to develop our markets outside of the UK,” John concludes by projecting what is in store for Burns in the foreseeable future. D 137

Ripe for success The Vergeer family are selfconfessed “real lovers of cheese�, and since 1934 Vergeer Holland has used this passion to become one of the Netherlands leading cheese maturers and sellers


Vergeer Holland Leo Vergeer at the cheese market in Gouda


n its own words, Vergeer Holland has been making ordinary cheese special since 1934. The Vergeer family have actually been present in Reeuwijk in the western Netherlands since they owned farms there in 1642, but it wasn’t until 1934 that the company that shares its name was formed by Dirk Vergeer. At the time, Dirk sold handmade cheese produced by his parents, with the company later going on to buy factory-made cheese which it would mature and process prior to selling it at various distribution points. By the 1960s, the increase in self-service stores led to a growing demand for packaged cheese and Vergeer invested in this expanding segment by acquiring additional facilities, while also extending its selection of products through the introduction of prepackaged sliced cheese and grated cheese. “Today we are a modern, streamlined, third generation family company with more than 550 employees working from our locations in Reeuwijk, Woerden and Bodegraven,” begins Vergeer Holland’s Commercial Director, Felix van Brussel. “Over time, we have grown into one of the largest, most innovative cheese packaging companies in Europe, with customers all over the world,” Felix continues. “These customers represent a wide variety of market segments, from retail to foodservice, and are supplied with only the finest naturally ripened cheese, as well as foil cheese, in a host of varieties including favourites such as gouda, edam and maasdam.”

Craftsmanship In more recent times, 2016 to be exact, the company underwent a rebrand to better capture the essence of what Vergeer Holland is all about. “We came to the conclusion that our previous logo didn’t quite fit this period of time, but also that it lacked elements to explain our heritage and craftsmanship,” Felix explains. “We modernised and enriched our former logo by adding elements such as a shield, which represents the passing of our craftsmanship through the generations; adding the term ‘fam’ reaffirms our pride in being a family business, and our tag line of ‘Makes ordinary cheese special again’ explains how 139

we give regular cheese a special taste through our tradition of ripening.” Alongside the rebranding of the business, Vergeer Holland has continued to introduce new packaging and product options in response to consumer trends. “Based on the increasing trend amongst people of grazing or snacking, we took the decision to improve and relaunch our portion packages,” Felix reveals. “In February 2018, we launched our new net packages with a label around the net as a way of improving consumer communication and to better stand out on the shelves, which has been very positive to date. We have also launched new products targeting those seeking a healthy, vegetarian option in the form of 40g sticks of Gouda Young, individually wrapped in an easy flow pack to be enjoyed as snacks on the go. We also offer 40g sticks made of Gouda Extra Old cheese.” In the past few years, the company has also invested considerable

We remain a leading, customer-driven, familyowned company, one which is flexible, dynamic and focused on continuous improvement, and on providing every market segment we serve with socially responsible, high-quality products

amounts in new cutting and packaging machines. These include completely new lines, such as a fully automated fixed weight line for cheese pieces and wedges, and a new fresh pack line to cut and pack cheese slices. “Our new retail packaging line for slices yields a saving of 46 per cent per kilo of packaged cheese when it comes to packaging weight compared to our old line,” Felix says, before detailing some other environmental benefits of its new lines and systems. “For another packaging line, we have also achieved a 5.5 per cent per kilo saving in the weight of our packaged cheese by reducing the amount of foil used. “In truth, we are always searching for ways of minimising the impact our packaging has on the environment. The packages we have introduced in recent years stand as examples of how we have moved to using thinner plastic packaging, while smaller foil cuts also limit the amount of plastics used per kilo of packaged cheese. In reducing our plastic usage, we are also making significant reductions to our carbon footprint.”

Customer driven The latter achievement is also being made possible through the close relationships that the company shares with key players within its supply chain. These players include its largest distribution partner STEF, which is tasked with ensure the safe, on-time arrival of Vergeer Holland’s products to its customers in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Spain. “With


Vergeer Holland STEF, we are continuously looking at new opportunities to adapt to the rapid changes affecting the supply chain,” Felix adds. “At the end of the day, the distribution cost per kilo of cheese is a very important number for us and by conducting detailed analysis we have been able to find improvements to reduce the average transportation distance per kilo of cheese, which again helps to cut the amount of carbon being produced.” Looking ahead to what the coming three-to-five years may hold for Vergeer Holland, Felix is suitably bullish about its prospects. “We remain a leading, customer-driven, family-owned company, one which is flexible, dynamic and focused on continuous improvement, and on providing every market segment we serve with socially responsible, highquality products,” he concludes. “When it comes to our long-term outlook, we are always looking for the next innovation in

terms of machinery, we are very open to new acquisitions, both nationally and internationally, and we will continue to seek out strong, strategic partnerships with suppliers. Together, this strategy

will ensure that many more consumers, inside and outside of our home market, will go on to enjoy our special ripened cheese.” D 141

In good spirits With licenses dating back to 1934, MHW Ltd. is the foremost solutions partner for both aspiring and seasoned brands in the beer, wine and spirits industry



onsieur Henri Wines Ltd. was founded in 1934, following the repeal of prohibition, as a wine importer and distributor in New York State. As an early entrant in the beverage alcohol industry, it played a critical role in shaping the landscape of one of the biggest beverage markets in the world, and has since been immensely proud to have been involved in a number of pivotal points in its history. Having subsequently re-organised itself as an independent company, and rebranding itself as MHW Ltd., in 1995 the company pioneered the service importer and distributor model for beverage alcohol producers globally, gaining a reputation for providing bestin-class market entry services and back office support to brands of all sizes and origins. In 2017, MHW partnered with NextGen Growth Partners to build on its track record of innovation and growth, a move that saw CEO Gabe Barkley join the company to lead it into its next phase alongside MHW President John

Beaudette, who established the service model in 1995. “MHW provides mission critical compliance, import and distribution services to the growing universe of beverage alcohol producers,” John begins. “In a highly regulated, and highly concentrated, US market, we provide a platform for brands to access all 50 states with a cost-effective back-office solution. Our goal is to grow our position as the leading provider of efficient market access solutions for sales execution and compliance management to producers and importers of all sizes and beverage categories in the US and the EU.”

Multiple strengths MHW considers itself to be the leader when it comes to helping new brands enter the market, having assisted tens of thousands of producers over the last 23 years, acting as what it calls a “gateway to growth”. It is the company’s experience, expertise and scale that provides a competitive edge to its partners, increasing their chances of success exponentially.

MHW Ltd. “What MHW offers its customers is a cost-effective, knowledgeable and professional back office solution to execute non-core functions of a traditional brand,” Gabe explains. “Our strengths lie in the compliance, logistics, order fulfilment and accounting components of the industry. The primary focus for most beverage companies is the production, sale and marketing of their respective brands, but by utilising the MHW ecosystem, they can focus their attention on the components of their business that build value and gain consumer attention. “Our services, however, are not one-size fits all and we have seen an increase in demand for certain services in recent years. In particular, we have developed offerings that have been well received by larger, established brands as they re-focus on sales and marketing. Our services allow these brands to outsource non-

core business functions like those mentioned previously, and we have found ourselves more than capable of delivering an efficient business process outsourcing solution that provides control and flexibility to our clients, while also freeing them to focus on the areas of their business that drive performance.”

Capability growth Thanks to a combination of its decades of experience, its expertise in negotiating

L.I.S. Logistics L.I.S. Logistics is a logistics service provider based in Almere, the Netherlands, which specialises in the storage and handling of bonded and excise goods. L.I.S. Logistics provides a full range of services which enables it to offer tailor made solutions to suit any requirement. A skilled and experienced team will handle all of your consignment from A to Z: customs services, import and export, loading and unloading of containers, repacking and labelling, and (European) distribution. All of this is coordinated from a modern and fully equipped warehouse in Almere where everything possible will be done to assure that the clients expectations are met.

a highly-regulated industry, and its leading technology and distribution networks, MHW has forged a welldocumented track record of assisting both new and established brands in navigating the beverage alcohol distribution system. Many MHW client brands have gone on to establish strong footholds in the US market, growing from new entrants into mature brands, with a number choosing to sell for very large multiples. “Acquisitions such as Presidente Beer by AB-Inbev, Skinny Girl Margarita by Jim Beam, Avion Tequila by Pernod Ricard, Leblon Cachaça by Bacardi, Bulldog Gin by Campari and Casamigos Tequila by Diageo are just a few examples of transactions that have been great successes for MHW clients,” John states. “We also take great pride in assisting countries and their trade offices in expanding their market reach and category awareness. 143

MHW Ltd. For example, six years ago we worked closely with Mexico in the education and expansion of Mezcal, using New York City as a launch pad for the category and multiple new brands. Today, the category is on a major upswing and we are proud to have played some role in that.” Overall capability growth is a core focus at present for the company, and it has made several significant recent investments, with more planned for the coming two years. “We recently launched the cloud-based Ramco ERP, which is providing us with a more agile infrastructure upon which to build our future IT environment,” Gabe details. “This project has been several years in the making and we have now turned our attention towards phase two of our technology investment strategy, which is leveraging these added capabilities to provide additional business intelligence and


data analytics for our clients. We have always been invested in our clients’ success, and are investing in tools that will help them to make faster, more effective business decisions.

Market access “We are also investing in geographic expansion to bring our core service set to additional regions. We have just launched an EU service offering with logistics, order fulfilment, compliance, and accounting services for the EU and global market, and we look forward to scaling this service to make broad EU market access easier for brands. Producers, importers and brand owners globally will be able to use this service, and our warehouse just outside Rotterdam is well placed to act as a global hub for those seeking access to Africa and Asia as well.” MHW is rightly proud of the leadership position it has created in

serving beverage alcohol producers, brands and importers in the US market, with its success over the years coming from its dedication towards superior customer service, and providing its clients with economies of scale, technology and information that it would be difficult to achieve on their own. “The investments we are making in people and technology will enable us to reach our goals going forward,” Gabe concludes. “We are building best-in-class solutions and scalable infrastructure so that we can continue to achieve our ambitious growth targets, while maintaining our commitment to superior service. As such, we are extremely confident that we have the executive leadership and company-wide team that will help us reach our objectives, not only in the next three-to-five years, but over the next decade.” D



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M e t a l P a c k a g i n g E u r o p e h a s c r e a te d a l o g o M e t a l R e c y c l e s F o r e v e r M a r k o n - p a c k a n d o f f- p a c k a i m i n g to i n fo r m c o n s u m e r s a b o u t t h e i n h e r e n t r e c y c l a b i l i t y o f m e t a l p a c k a g i n g a n d e n c o u r a g i n g t h e m to r e c y c l e. 15 l a n g u a g e s a r e a v a i l a b l e. Download the Guidelines on w w w.m e t a l p a c k a g i n g e u r o p e.o r g /r e c y c l e s m a r k /

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FoodChain Issue 144 December 2018  

The latest edition of FoodChain

FoodChain Issue 144 December 2018  

The latest edition of FoodChain

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