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FoodChain Issue 110


FEB 2016

The business of food and drink

Recipe for success With a firm vision in place for the company’s ongoing success, the future looks positive for Bidvest Foodservice

Industry News l

Embrace the potential Don’t get left behind when it comes to Industry 4.0 – food and beverage manufacturers need to get on board

New rich and spicy vegan Jerk burger launched


Advice on taking a balanced approach to diet


Coconut flour set to be 2016 kitchen staple

Ants in your plants? Why the right supply chain software is vital if a situation requiring product recall arises

FoodChain ISSUE 110 L FEB 2016


Editor’s Welcome

Recipe for success With a firm vision in place for the company’s ongoing success, the future looks positive for Bidvest Foodservice

Industry News Embrace the potential Don’t get left behind when it comes to Industry 4.0 – food and beverage manufacturers need to get on board


rich and spicy vegan Jerk burger launched


on taking a balanced approach to diet


flour set to be 2016 kitchen staple

Ants in your plants? Why the right supply chain software is vital if a situation requiring product recall arises

Chairman Andrew Schofield Editor Libbie Hammond Art Editor Advertising Design Fleur Daniels Staff Writers Jo Cooper Andrew Dann Ben Clark


Profiles Manager Emma Crane Sales Director Joe Woolsgrove Sales Rob Wagner Operations Director Philip Monument Editorial Researcher Yasmine Sadr Manuel Lopez Office Manager Advertising Administrator Tracy Chynoweth Studio Assistant Barnaby Schofield


o here we are in 2016! How has it started for you? The FoodChain team has jumped straight in with a renewed focus on Twitter (I hope you follow us @FoodChain_mag). With updates on news

as well as other interesting and entertaining content, we’re aiming to create a feed that has something for everyone. If you’d like a mention, let me know! I am also pleased with how popular our Taste Test pages have been and as we’re at the start of the New Year, I am now on the hunt for lots more products for the Team to get their teeth into – if you’ve got a new food or beverage product that you’d like to see in the magazine, please do get in touch.

Follow us at:

I am really looking forward to welcoming lots of new products and companies to FoodChain this year – contact me on if you


Schofield Publishing Cringleford Business Centre, 10 Intwood Road, Cringleford, Norwich, NR4 6AU, U.K. Tel: +44 (0)1603 274130 Fax: +44 (0)1603 274131

would like to be part of it. © 2016 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, 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



9 Features Packaging Technology A marriage of inconvenience



Supply Chain Ants in your plants


No manufacturer wants to be faced with a product recall – but the right supply chain software can help with protecting brand reputation

For the first time, scientists can monitor plants in terms of growth and physiology throughout their lifetime

Catering Equipment Equipped for success


Why the UK’s food and beverage manufacturing sector needs to embrace the potential of Industry 4.0

A new proliferation of convenience stores is changing consumer shopping habits and this brings challenges to the packaging sector

Crop Science Top of the crop

Industry 4.0 Embrace the potential


The commercial catering equipment market is responding to a number of trends including sustainability and legislative demands


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







29 51 Profiles

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

Bidvest Foodservice 19

Following a major rebrand in 2015, Bidvest Foodservice is starting 2016 with a determination to provide an even greater range of services and products to its customers

Bisca 24

Danish snack producer Bisca is launching its first entry into the organic segment with a small assortment of biscuit products to test the market

Macdonald Hotels 29

With 25 years of growth and success behind it, the future looks positive for Macdonald Hotels

Cornerways Nursery 34

Cornerways Nursery grows and supplies a range of tomatoes for retailers across the country

Mestdagh Artisan 38

Mestagh Artisan’s range of products includes savoury items such as croquettes, gourmet foods, savoury bites and culinary aids

Middletons Steakhouse & Grill 41

A focus on serving only the finest meats has underpinned the success of Middletons Steakhouse & Grill

Starwood Hotels 44

Starwood Hotels is focused on continued expansion and growing its brand and hotel portfolio

Meneba 46

Celebrating 100 years in business in 2015, Meneba is looking to the future with plans for expansion and efficiency

Mamma Lucia 51

Mamma Lucia has established a strong reputation for high quality, good value Italian food products that can be found on the shelves of some the most well known retailers across Europe


A marriage of inconvenience Major changes in the UK food retail sector caused by a seismic shift in consumer buying behaviours, have resulted in rapidly growing numbers of convenience stores. Martin Leeming looks at the challenges facing the secondary packaging sector because of the accelerated growth of this expanding channel


Packaging Technology


he reality facing the UK sector at the moment is that despite the proliferation of large out-of-town supermarkets, consumers are instead choosing to buy their food in convenience stores, online or with discounters such as Aldi and Lidl. As a result of falling sales, a number of the big names in grocery retail have focused recent investment on convenience stores. For many, this has been a necessary move in light of shoppers’ growing preference for convenience stores. Evidence shows that reliance on the traditional weekly ‘big shop’ is diminishing and shoppers are instead making regular, often daily, visits to smaller convenience stores to meet the demands of increasingly busy lifestyles. It is estimated that as consumers continue to be timepoor, changes to the way they choose to shop will see convenience stores grow 22 per cent to £20.2bn by 2020. Similarly, ‘meal for tonight’ purchases will increase by 50 per cent to 2.7bn and purchases of often-warm ‘food to go’ is expected to rise by 60 per cent to £8.3bn. Figures from the commercial real estate company CBRE show that the big four grocery retailers now run almost 3500 convenience or small stores, such as Tesco Express, Tesco Metro, Sainsbury’s Local and M Local. This compares with 2500 traditional supermarkets. Everyone has talked about online as the big disruptor in grocery shopping, but the growth of convenience stores has arguably had a much greater impact. It has encouraged a change in shopping habits. It is enormous. It has encouraged people to fragment their shopping. The challenge is posed by the fact this explosion in formats and choice forces cost into the supply chain while the discounters continue to peg any potential for price increases by focusing on a limited product range - less than 1500 skus at very low prices - underpinned by an astonishingly low cost to sell. The reality is that convenience stores are expensive shops to run. Deliveries cost more, rent bills are often higher and they do not benefit from economies of scale because of their smaller size. The result? Changes must be made to secondary packaging formats and

design. Retail ready packaging for convenience stores creates a very specific set of challenges. For instance, space, both on shelf and in the back ups, is at even more of a premium so delivering ‘one way stock’ and minimising replenishment time becomes much more critical. It’s unlikely that a pack size that is right for a big store is going to be right for a convenience store. Too big a pack size in fresh food will lead to higher food waste, multiple handling and space pressure in the back up areas, whereas smaller pack sizes lead to increased packaging cost, increased packaging waste and more packs to handle in the supply chain. Retail ready packaging needs to be ready to offer solutions to these challenges, whilst simultaneously meeting the demands of large supermarkets, hitting sustainability targets and reducing fresh food waste. It is essential that food producers factor in these new challenges when planning their packaging requirements. The industry is crying out for new innovations that can deliver smaller packs that are lower cost, consume fewer resources, are quicker and easier to prepare for shelf and maximise brand impact on shelf. One of the barriers is the polarisation of packaging materials supply chains, whether it is corrugate, RPET, cartonboard or film. On their own, each of these pack types have come a long way in reducing the amount of material and therefore cost. However, the pace of improvement is now slowing and new approaches are required. An appropriate analogy would be the motor industry, which found itself faced with the challenge of reducing emissions and increasing fuel consumption. Would it be the electric motor, with its emissions benefits, but poor travelling performance or would it be the good old internal combustion engine with the opposite traits? The answer, of course was neither. Manufacturers realised they both complement each other, so the hybrid was born. The same is proving to be true in the secondary packaging sector, with hybrid packs comprising of corrugate and RPET and thin film or a combination of all three, proving to be both effective and energy efficient. Design innovation is too often focused

on primary packaging but secondary packaging has to be clever too if it is to show the primary pack in order to maximise its sales potential. If the product is hidden or there are ripped edges on show, the consumer will not get the best first impression of the product or brand. With the smaller nature of convenience stores, having the right pack size to drive one-way stock and speed of opening is crucial. Similarly, making sure the pack size isn’t too big will protect against food waste. The answers lie in refocusing on secondary packaging and creating efficient, often hybrid, solutions that consume fewer resources and use fewer materials, to offset the impact of smaller pack sizes. With much of the focus on primary packaging, secondary, RRP or transit packaging - the basic building block of the supermarket supply chain - is often seen as an afterthought. However there should be two clear objectives for secondary packaging: sell more and lower the cost of sale. Applying the same packaging formats used in large supermarkets to the convenience store simply will not work. Reduced space, high relative operating costs and a broader variety of packaging formats means that much more will be demanded of this type of packaging, and as such, the challenges faced by the sector are greater than any other. D Martin Leeming is CEO of TrakRap, an innovative secondary packaging company. Its TrakRap system is established as an alternative to shrink wrapping. The system uses bespoke 100 per cent recyclable polymer film to wrap products and bond the pack together. Removing the requirement for heat tunnels, the system uses 90 per cent less energy than traditional shrink wrapping – which also makes it more suitable for ambient, chilled, frozen or volatile products. Innovative TrakRap trays, developed with TrakRap’s own approved corrugate suppliers, work with the film and allow for up to 40 per cent less cartonboard to be used, resulting in lighter weight, 100 per cent recyclable retail ready packaging (RRP) for retailers.



of the


Deep field phenotyping becomes reality at Rothamsted Research


Crop Science


othamsted Research, based in Harpenden UK, is one of the oldest agricultural research centres in the world. Over its 172-year history, it has built an enviable international reputation as a centre of excellence for scientific research and innovation in support of agricultural productivity, crop protection and soil science. In partnership with Lemnatec, the global plant phenotyping specialist, scientists at Rothamsted Research have implemented a Field Scanalyzer capable of continuously monitoring the development of crops under field conditions. The facility will be used initially to understand the development of numerous pre-breeding wheat lines that have been generated through the Wheat Genetic Improvement Network (WGIN) programme supported by Defra and the Wheat Initiative Strategic Programme (WISP), funded by the BBSRC and led by the John Innes Centre in collaboration with Rothamsted Research and other university partners. To feed our growing population, statistics suggest we need to increase world food production significantly in the near future. Wheat provides one fifth of human calories but since 1980 the rate of increase in wheat yields has plateaued. Rothamsted Research is currently working on a programme to increase the potential of wheat production to 20 tonnes per hectare within 20 years, known as 20:20 Wheat.

Key area Dr Malcolm Hawkesford, Head of Plant Biology and Crop Science at Rothamsted, also heads up the 20:20 Wheat programme. Commenting on the research, he says: “In order to get relevant responses to treatments or experimental conditions, we need to monitor crops in the field, not in greenhouses. For some years now, we’ve been increasing the amount of work we do in this area, particularly increasing the number of varieties of wheat and different genetic stocks we look at. So instead of just a few types, we are now looking at thousands of types, but we

also want to look at these types in more detail across the lifetime of the crop in the field.” Translation from greenhouse to field can be problematic because field conditions are often so different to those in the greenhouse. For this reason, field phenotyping is considered to be a key area of development In the Agro industry. The issue has always been how to extract the data. Around the world, many different techniques have been trialled including walking with sensors, mounting equipment on bicycles or motorised vehicles and even imaging with unmanned drones. However, none of these methods is able to measure with enough accuracy to provide reliable deep phenotyping data. “The combination of a lot of plants and a lot of detail makes manual phenotyping slow, inefficient and, to be honest, inadequate,” continues Dr Hawkesford. “To speed things up, we can use UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to monitor large areas of crops but they are not able to deliver the level of detail that we really need, hence the need for some sort of ground based system.” The Field Scanalyzer incorporates a moving gantry that supports a motorised measuring platform carrying multiple sensors. Crops within a 10m x 110m area can be monitored throughout the season with a high degree of resolution and reproducibility. The facility is fully automated and can operate 24 hours per day throughout the year. On board illumination facilitates the data collection and sensors include multi-wavelength imaging systems, an imaging sensor

to measure chlorophyll fluorescence decay kinetics and a laser system for 3D visualisation and crop height determination.

Revolutionary research The Field Scanalyzer was commissioned in 2014 after Dr Hawkesford saw a prototype system in New Dehli at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute. Following a robust European tender process to evaluate a number of proposed solutions, the Field Scanalyzer from Lemnatec was selected based on criteria including quality, experience, technical know-how and business risk. “I was looking for a completely automated solution that could operate 24/7 for the whole season. We wanted hyperspectral cameras, 3D information and to look at chlorophyll fluorescence. And that was the basis of the specification for the Field Scanalyzer we purchased from Lemnatec.” The Scanalyzer is now being used to monitor a selection of six wheat varieties grown at four different nitrogen levels. The process is fully automated, running a series of pre-programmed routines to capture deep phenotyping data about how crops behave in a reallife environment. “Advances in other technologies have provided a wealth of information about the genetic composition of crop plants. Now, for the first time, we can monitor plants in terms of growth and their physiology throughout their lifetime, in real time under field conditions. This will revolutionise the way that agricultural research is conducted,” Dr Hawkesford concludes. D LemnaTec



£2m catering contract Food by Dish, London’s leading event caterers, has won the catering contract for No.11 Cavendish Square, which commenced on 1 January 2016. The new three-year partnership bolsters Food by Dish’s existing portfolio of 25 unique and cultural venues across the capital and increases its contract venues side significantly. The full site agreement is undertaken through The King’s Fund, an independent Charity working to improve health and health care in England, which includes the Grade II-listed buildings at Cavendish Square, and encompasses the venues public facilities, The Green House Café and The Orangery. As sole contract caterers, Food by Dish

Modern twist will launch initiatives and cater for events throughout the venue, including corporate parties, wedding receptions and dinners. In addition, Hannah Flood, Food by Dish sales and marketing director will work closely with the in-house sales team to increase sales revenue. Nick James, managing director at Food by Dish comments: “We’re delighted to be working with No.11 Cavendish Square; our vision is to continue expanding the contract catering side of the business into 2016. This success is a positive start to the year and we’re looking forward to working with the team at No.11 Cavendish Square.”

One of Poland’s leading producers of mayonnaise, mustards and sauces, WSP Spolem, has selected the Euro Squeeze barrier bottle from RPC Promens Consumer Corby for its range of products which are manufactured to traditional recipes without the use of preservatives.

The adoption of the Euro Squeeze bottle, which features a multilayer PP/EVOH/PP construction to prevent oxygen ingress, delivers an extended ambient shelf life. As well as ensuring the quality and freshness of its products are maintained in its domestic market, this has also assisted WSP Spolem in the export of its products throughout the globe. “The wide range of bottles in the Euro Squeeze range is very appealing and offered the ideal solution for the further development of our brand,” says WSP Spolem President Michael Mius. “Our products in these modern bottles create a convenient alternative to standard packaging. We will continue to develop in this direction.”

Tasty alternative More Than Meat has launched the first vegan Jerk Burger available in the UK. It looks and tastes just like a traditional Jerk Burger, but the proteins come from plants and wholefoods instead of animals. Barry Honeycombe, the founder of More Than Meat, decided to develop the Jerk Burger after spotting a gap in the meat-free convenience food sector. “Jerk Burgers have a great flavour that is rare to find in vegetarian or vegan convenience foods. We developed our burger to fill that gap and offer our customers a flavoursome and wholesome meat-free alternative, that doesn’t compromise on taste.”


Described as tasting rich and spicy, with a warm spectrum of flavours, the recipe is intensified by thyme, lime juice and chilli. A carefully balanced mix of plant proteins, red kidney beans and spices create the satisfying and tasty flavour.

The More Than Meat range uses a blend of plant-proteins and wholefoods to make tasty meals and snacks. The foods are highprotein and free from cholesterol, added fats, eggs, dairy and meat.


A more balanced approach Keen to address the trend at the beginning of a New Year for extreme diets, naturopath and founder of Primrose’s Kitchen, Primrose Matheson, is sharing her advice for ways to approach the New Year with more balance. “Although a great time of year to shake off those Christmas cobwebs often we rush into the New Year with unrealistic expectations and goals that can be hard to maintain. “There are many small changes that can be made to help you have a more balanced beginning to 2016, and indeed into the rest of the year. • Chewing your food more! Ideally you need to chew your food 30-40 times so that it is already partly digested and your body doesn’t have to work so hard to absorb the nutrients from the food • Try not to drink fluids whilst you are eating as this dilutes the important enzymes which assist digestion

‘Must have’ for 2016 • Raw food is great due to its high nutrient content but eating it after 4pm is not ideal as it is harder to digest and may cause fermentation and bloating slowing down the travel of foods eaten afterwards • During these cold months it’s important to stay warm and keep your circulation moving. Warming spices like ginger, cinnamon and turmeric added to cups of tea or meals is great for doing this. These spices also help your body to save energy by not need to generate so much to keep you warm “These smaller changes can help make a real difference to your New Year, New You resolutions and you can start 2016 as you mean to go on.” Primrose Matheson, founder of Primrose’s Kitchen, has a background in Naturopathic and Complementary health studies and uses her knowledge of a balanced body to design natural and wholesome food.

A bigger bite Border Biscuits has received the support of a seven-figure funding package from Clydesdale Bank. The company is adding a new production line to its manufacturing facility in Lanark as part of plans to grow its share of the marketplace south of the Border. The deal was delivered by Sandra Gardiner, relationship manager at Clydesdale Bank’s Lanarkshire Business and Private Banking Centre. Clydesdale Bank is a strong supporter of Scotland’s food and drink sector, with the Bank renewing its strategic partnership with industry organisation Scotland Food & Drink in 2016. It also enjoys a similar partnership with Scottish Bakers. Mark Bruce, UK Sales and Marketing Director at Border Biscuits, commented: “Our latest

funding package from Clydesdale Bank will allow us to significantly expand our operations and grow UK and international sales.”

British brand The Groovy Food Company has launched a new Organic Coconut Flour. Gluten-free and high in fibre and protein, but with a low GI level and naturally low carbohydrate content, this nutrient dense product has been designed to address the growing trend of people following gluten and grain free diets. Indeed, according to Mintel research there has been a 134 per cent increase in the launch of bakery products with non-grain flours and this new SKU is therefore integral to the brand’s growth strategy. Adopting The Groovy Food Company’s stand out blue coconut packaging will give this new listing great visibility on shelf within the flour category. Packaged in a convenient and re-sealable plastic pouch, the product is easy to store and mess-free. Rosie Hayward, The Groovy Food Company Founder says: “This is a natural extension for The Groovy Food Company, not only does it tap in to the growing demand for free from products, it highlights our ongoing commitment to the brand. Organic Coconut Flour is set to be the ultimate 2016 ‘go to’ kitchen staple as it can be switched in many flour-based recipes. The high fibre content of the product makes it very absorbent, meaning smaller and more economical quantities are required in recipes.”


Equipped for success

The market for foodservice equipment in the UK has witnessed a positive change in fortunes in the last few years as the economy recovers and grows in strength. Phil Coulstock takes a look 10


he UK commercial catering equipment market was worth somewhere in the region of £765 million in 2014 (AMA Research) and looks likely to have gone to the £800 million mark in 2015 if we look at evidence of increased sales in 2015 surveys from the likes of the Catering Equipment Distributors Association (CEDA). There are a number of interesting and developing trends that are impacting on the foodservice equipment market including the public’s willingness to continue to dine out and to support their local high streets, the need for sustainability and the impact

of legislation. The growth in casual dining, street food and innovative restaurants has encouraged the launch, development and expansion of a host of independent and multiple site operators. Added to this we have seen a demand for equipment that takes up a smaller footprint, probably as operators compete for prime locations and have smaller spaces to devote to kitchen and front-of-house areas. There has been something of a blurring between consumer tastes and trends in the high street, and catering for employees, sports venues etc with the latest concepts from street food and wood-fired pizza ovens, to barbeque

Catering Equipment and craft beers crossing over. This means that foodservice equipment manufacturers and distributors have developed more specialist systems to allow operators to satisfy consumer tastes. They also need to have equipment that is adaptable and flexible. A good example would be the emergence of combi ovens that offer a range of cooking options with roasting, baking, steaming and easyto-use multiple programmes. Smeg is currently developing a range of its own commercial combi ovens to supply this demand, which it hopes to launch soon.

Energy needs We have seen the push for more energy efficient and sustainable commercial catering equipment gather pace in the last few years; this coming from increasing energy costs, legislation and also the desire from the public and many operators to reduce negative environmental impact. Equipment manufacturers have answered the call for energy efficiency with technological developments for example using heat recovery systems in warewashers to heat up the incoming cold water supply, or induction cooking that only heats the pan when it’s on the hob. As already highlighted they are also making smaller appliances adding to sustainability with less raw material, fewer components and less negative impact from logistics. There will be a lot of new ideas and technology promoting energy efficiency on show at Hotelympia in 2016. Smeg will launch digital touch control panels for warewashers that allow precise control and increased problem solving capabilities. The operating software updates will be able to be uploaded via wireless internet and Bluetooth devices. This feature will allow continual improvement of the machines with precise modifications that will improve operating and energy saving for each individual operator, depending on what they wash and when they wash it. We think this could be a groundbreaking development. Married together with technology we also see foodservice equipment companies working with their

distribution partners to improve energy efficiency and sustainability with thorough training and maintenance programmes for customers. They enable operators’ kitchen and front-of-house staff to know exactly how appliances should work, how they should be cleaned and maintained and the importance of regular servicing for optimal operation and longer operating life. D Phil Coulstock is commercial channel director for Smeg (UK). Well known for its iconic domestic appliance range, Smeg also manufactures professional foodservice equipment for the catering and hospitality industries. Significant investment in R&D allows new technologies to be shared between domestic and professional ranges to provide measurable specification and performance benefits.

Case Study Style and service As a recent new owner of an Esquires coffee house franchise, one of Taz Patel’s key tasks was to undertake a refurbishment of her site at St. George’s Shopping Centre in Harrow. The first big headache was the existing dishwasher leaking and it needed a number of expensive parts replacing. Thinking about where she could find a replacement dishwasher that would withstand the rigours of the coffee house and be faithful to the founding principles of the Esquires coffee chain with its strong commitment to ethical trading and sustainability she took inspiration close to home. In fact in her home Taz has Smeg domestic appliances in the kitchen, and being impressed with the products’ mix of functionality, reliability, sustainability and style, she decided to see if Smeg had a commercial equipment offering. Once she was on the Smeg Foodservice Solutions website Taz contacted Smeg to discuss the range. Smeg Foodservice Solutions Phil Coulstock and Martin Dawson met with Taz on-site in Harrow to listen to what she needed and then carry out a full site survey. The enquiry was passed to Smeg Foodservice Solutions’ dealer First Choice Marshalls in Uxbridge who supplied and installed one of the newly launched CW522D twin rack under counter dishwashers. Talking about the refurbishment of Esquires and the impact of the new Smeg dishwasher Taz says: “We have a relaxed environment which is stylish, but reflects the artisanal approach to the food and drink we serve. That said we have really busy periods where lots of cups, saucers and side plates need to be washed quickly and very effectively. The Smeg fits perfectly into our kitchen space and easily handles the spikes in trade we experience during lunch times, weekends etc.” The Smeg CW522D machine fitted the customer’s brief because the items being washed were predominantly cups, saucers and side plates and the CW522D gave them the ability to double their wash capacity during busier periods. This improved the ability for staff to keep the wash-up area clearer as it could be viewed from the landing of the upper floors of the shopping centre. Smeg CW522D 11


Quark express nutrii believes it’s high time Brits take a second look at the versatility of protein packed and virtually fat free quark as a snack. Quark, which is eaten as a breakfast, light dinner or healthy dessert option in the North of

Europe, is still largely undiscovered in the UK. Compared with Greek yoghurt, nutrii quark is less sour, more filling and creamy and has a higher protein content – at least 20g per pot. Quark is extremely versatile and can be used as a sustaining ingredient in smoothies, spread on rye toast, a replacement for cream in cooking and baking or eaten simply with the addition of toppings such as fruit and muesli. nutrii’s new range of quark products are designed to suit an active lifestyle and can be easily enjoyed on-the-go as an ‘al desko’ breakfast treat or as a post-workout protein boost. It’s proudly made in Britain using Dorset milk and is available in Plain, Raspberry and Mango & Passionfruit.

Not everyone on the team had heard of quark: “Isn’t that the noise a posh duck makes?” said one. We didn’t give her any. Instead, the Taste Test team’s resident Slimming World star tried the nutrii as he was already a big fan of quark and was keen to experience a different brand and also a fruit version that’s ready to eat from the pot. He was very impressed: “The samples were really tasty the raspberry was my favourite. It was lovely straight from the pot, but mixed with broken meringue pieces, fat free fromage frais and fruit, it made a delicious version of an Eton Mess. This is a Slimming World treat and is only about four syns per serving!”

Beards and beer In an unusual step for a men’s grooming brand, The Bluebeards Revenge has launched a beer. Best known for its barbershop-quality range of shaving and grooming products, the brand’s new tipple dubbed ‘The Ultimate Pale Ale for Real Men’ is the product of a unique collaboration between it and Hunter’s Brewery. Made with Citra and East Kent Golding’s hops combined with the finest of British ingredients, the Ultimate Pale Ale is bottle conditioned, unpasteurised and unfiltered, with what the company describes as a ‘strong, uncompromising and proud’ flavour. David Hildrew, Managing Director and the brains behind The Bluebeards Revenge, explained that it had taken a lot of patience and determination to bring the beer to fruition. “It would have been easy to get a white-label brewer to smack a few Bluebeards labels onto an existing brew, but that is simply not our style. We wanted our very own, unique beer brewed by a brewery with excellent credentials, and with a route to market so that our beer could be on sale in pubs


and supermarkets across the land. “We have finally struck gold in the form of Hunter’s Brewery here in deepest Devon. They have done an excellent job at making our vision a reality, and the result is very pleasing indeed.”

Both our reviewers described the beer as ‘very drinkable’. “I don’t normally drink pale ale but this went down very well,” said one.

“I am also very impressed with the branding and the idea of linking male grooming with beer!” The second tester echoed these sentiments, adding: “I thought the beer had a unique flavour. I think it’s familiar enough to appeal to casual consumers but also offers a refreshing blend of richness and character so that it should also appeal to even the most seasoned ale enthusiast.”


Top of the pops Metcalfe’s skinny has launched Popcorn Crisps, a new gluten free snack containing up to 35 per cent less fat than the average tortilla chip. Unlike traditional deep-fat frying methods, Metcalfe’s skinny Popcorn Crisps are created through an innovative flashgriddled process. The kernels, oil and salt are dropped into triangular-shaped moulds; with the right pressure, temperature and moisture they pop to become a Popcorn Crisps! Available in three flavours - Kettle Original has the delicious yet subtle flavour notes of melted butter, black pepper and lemon, while Sweet Chilli packs a flavour punch of chilli and tomato flavour. Say Cheese has all the indulgence of rich cheddar cheese and paprika but at only 137 calories per

Time for tea

serving is a great healthier alternative to crisps when on the go.

“Gosh, I did like these,” said our reviewer. “I love tortilla chips, especially cheese ones, so to find something that is just as crunchy and tasty but with so few calories is just brilliant. I just have to remember it’s not an excuse to have two or three bags!”

Juice couture Founded by university friends, ex Escape the City alumni, Charlie Leet-Cook and Rich Goldsmith, MOJU is a juice brand on a mission - making accessible, greattasting juice in the healthiest way possible. The three varieties of juice stand out for two reasons – they not only include more nutrient-rich veg than sugary fruit, but they are also cold-pressed, which maximises the health-giving properties of fresh, pure ingredients; cold-pressing is the closest you can get to fresh fruit and veg, extracting up to five times more nutrients than traditional methods. MOJU never heat pasteurises or ‘cooks’ its juice as it destroys vitamins, minerals and enzymes; instead, it uses pressure (HPP) to protect the nutrients and flavour packed within its balanced recipes. With the aim of bringing juice bar quality juices to supermarket, coffee shop and deli shelves across the country, MOJU steers clear of corner-cutting purees, pulps and additives – in fact, its ingredients list is so clean that the recipe for each of its delicious juices is listed on the back of each bottle. As a result of this dedication, MOJU’s

Green, Purple and Orange Juices are 100 per cent natural, unadulterated and free from any additives or GMOs; at least four portions of fruit and veg are pressed into each bottle – equivalent to an impressive 1/2 of a kilo of fresh produce!

The world of tea is full of infinite and exciting variety, and tea is so much a part of our everyday life that it is easy to take it for granted. An independent, expert tea company based in London, Bellevue knows about the tea business, from plantations around the world, via producers, brokers and tasters to the current trends and tastes of tea drinkers here in the UK. It knows how to source the very best teas and infusions and its carefully packaged tea bags and carefully sourced leaf teas will add value to any retail environment, caterer or café. Bellevue teas are available in a range of packs and sizes and all its catering leaf teas are blended here in the UK with great care to ensure that they deliver both quality and flavour. Bellevue has point of sale material to help market its teas and is happy to provide tea training and support to help customers deliver the best possible drinking experience to its customers.

We loved the English Breakfast tea from Bellevue. “This is delicious and I’ve been drinking it not just at breakfast but at all times throughout the day. I found it was not too strong and had a really great tasting flavour and nice warm colour. It was very refreshing too,” said our reviewer. [Important additional question does anyone actually just drink Breakfast Tea at breakfast? – Ed.]

“These even look like they are going to do me good,” said the tester. “The taste is very fresh and natural, you can pick out the different ingredients but they are nicely balanced, nothing is overpowering. I think that you do need to be a veg lover to really appreciate these as you expect from their vibrant colours for them to be sweet and fruity, which they aren’t really, but they are still delicious!” 13





Industry 4.0 On the road to Industry 4.0, Keith Thornhill advises: don’t get left behind


he undoubted benefits of a highly digitalised manufacturing world set out in the vision of Industry 4.0 are clear to see. But, the journey towards a utopian state of optimised digital factories to augment competitiveness, presents practical and cultural challenges for the UK’s food and beverage manufacturing sector. I believe companies need to embrace current automation technology possibilities and begin the construction of interconnected technology platforms to underpin more agile and efficient production. Food and beverage manufacturers should strategically and operationally position themselves to take advantage of a future manufacturing landscape where a holistic automation approach and seamless platform integration will deliver sustainable competitiveness. There has been much discussion about the impact of ‘Industry 4.0’ – the term originating in Germany to describe the next industrial revolution leap made possible by the use of cyber-physical systems. Advocates excitedly highlight the creation of self-organising, intelligence-led, fully optimised digital factories producing highly customised products. This will be as a result of the computerisation of manufacturing, based on enhanced levels of network interconnectivity and strong digital communication between machines and equipment. While many acknowledge the potential of such a substantial manufacturing advancement (indeed it is now commonly being referred to as the fourth Industrial Revolution), it should also be recognised that we are already in the midst of witnessing the influence of digitalisation within the industrial environment. This is alongside the fundamental power of

integrated automation technology to drive more agile and flexible production capability and respond to changing market needs, consumer demand and increased global manufacturing competitiveness.

Time to step up The food and beverage manufacturing sector has long prided itself on the ability to both maintain and sweat production facilities over the long-term, often long past their optimum working life timescale. This has sometimes led to a conservative approach to technology investment that, in my opinion, needs to be challenged if the sector is to fully realise its potential. The Food and Drink Federation in conjunction with the industry has identified a ten-point plan to target innovation. For the sector to be successful pre competitive collaboration needs to take place. The Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University will be a centre where the industry can collaborate to make a difference to the UK sector. Food and beverage manufacturers already have the power to meet such challenges head on, aided by technology developments that already exist. Two examples covering customised product availability and using data to add business value aptly illustrate the point:

Mass customisation and consumer demand challenges While product customisation is normally more closely associated with the automotive industry, it is clear that its essence – satisfying individual consumer expectation – is already

The journey to Industry 4.0 has already started. The UK’s food and beverage manufacturing sector needs to embrace its potential today

influencing market trends within the food and beverage sector. Marketing executives are seizing upon the brand opportunities that exist to supply an enhanced and more engaged product experience. One only has to think of recent campaigns by Walkers Crisps to vote for your preferred flavour, or the ‘Share a Coke’ concept to see the power of consumer interaction with products and manufacturers. For example, think of the future sales and marketing potential in having the ability to react to national sporting events, such as World Cups and then produce and sell highly customised products that reflect the event the next day! This is reliant upon an integrated and seamlessly linked supply chain between manufacturing processes and retail operations but, one that in the world of digitalised technology prowess endemic within Industry 4.0 is totally feasible.

Intelligent data for operational improvement and driving business value As industrial data volumes rise, it is incumbent upon organisations to ensure that operational data is accessed, handled and used to drive business efficiencies and inform continuous improvement objectives. Any move towards mass customisation, as outlined above, will critically rely upon the ability to generate, understand and utilise data streams from platforms. This can be used to inform both day-to-day operational efficiencies and long-term strategic thinking, as well as underpin the types of flexible manufacturing delivery the market is demanding. The tangible benefit of integrated automation technology platforms across the supply chain is clear. It can, for instance, aid production scheduling by providing a level of intelligence to support crucial decision-making. Simulation, for example, is able to model all aspects of the manufacturing process from production through the supply chain. A case in point could be a retail order requiring rapid fulfillment. 15

Industry 4.0 Data from simulated manufacturing processes can determine that the requisite order quantity can be handled in present circumstances, but that it will affect other forecasted production commitments. Rather than blindly accepting the order, production management can take a more informed decision about the overall impact of the order and whether it should be accepted or not. The intelligent use of data in this way is driving ‘smart manufacturing’ outcomes, raising operational efficiency standards and supporting increased productivity. Just as importantly, the strategic generation and use of intelligenceled data can be used to support the business case to maximise continuous improvement programmes in the quest to meet customer demand. The ability to capture and play back real world performance indicators means proposed CAPEX investments are based on strategic insight not risk, can support business opportunity and, ultimately, drive value.

Drygate’s brewers: Ed Evans, Alessandra Confessore and Jake Griffin


The world of Industry 4.0 can seem a long way off, but the reality is that current automation technology already supports many of its interconnected, digitalised, intelligence-based attributes. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) says that German manufacturers are ten times more likely to invest in automation than UK counterparts. This needs to change or our food and beverage sector risks being left behind. Indeed, the same research body states that if the UK automated to the same level as Japan we would be 22 per cent more productive and employment would increase by seven per cent. Such statistics support the Chancellor’s view that solving the UK’s ‘productivity puzzle’ will be a key factor in driving sustained economic growth. The journey to Industry 4.0 has already started. The UK’s food and beverage manufacturing sector needs to embrace its potential today and begin to build the kind of integrated, networked technology-based platforms

that will enable them to respond to the market more quickly, efficiently and successfully. Those that do will reap the rewards. Those that don’t may well find themselves so far behind the competition that they can never catch up again. D

Keith Thornhill is Business Manager – Food and Beverage, Siemens UK & Ireland. Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 165 years. The company is active in more than 200 countries, focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalisation. In fiscal year 2014, which ended on September 30, 2014, Siemens generated revenue from continuing operations of €71.9 billion and net income of €5.5 billion.

Supply Chain

Ants in your plants? The phrase ‘product recall’ is likely to strike fear into the heart of any retailer. Richard Jones explains why supply chain software is more important than ever in protecting brand reputation


lobal brands from Cadillac to Cow & Gate have all paid the price of product recalls, not just financially. In today’s ironically named ‘social’ age, a brand’s lovingly built reputation can be severely damaged at the share of a hashtag. Fortunately for Cadbury Schweppes, social media was in its infancy when it was forced to recall more than a million chocolate bars in 2006, amid fears they may have been contaminated with a rare strain of salmonella. The recall still cost Cadbury Schweppes an estimated £20m, not to mention six-figure fines for health and safety breaches. Fast forward to 2012, when drinks maker Britvic had to recall its popular Fruit Shoot drink from the UK and France due to a faulty bottle top. The cost was an estimated £16.9m but the knock-on effects were thought to push it up to £25m. Most recently, October 2015 saw Cow & Gate recall a range of baby muesli

after it was found to contain insects. The financial cost is yet to be calculated but the reputational damage to the much loved and trusted brand is incalculable. Even in the best-run companies, human error is always a risk and occasionally things will go wrong. The irony is that while the technological revolution enables companies to trace contaminated or damaged products with pinpoint accuracy, it has also empowered disgruntled customers and fraudulent opportunists. Real, perceived or contrived grievances can become global media events in a matter of seconds. And tidal waves of viral information are almost impossible to contain. This makes it more critical than ever that vulnerable companies nip such issues in the bud. Although our software and systems can’t prevent insects getting into products or contamination occurring, they can ensure a retailer is able to

identify, isolate and recall a faulty or damaged product with the utmost speed and efficiently. As well as helping minimise the financial cost of an umbrella recall, this also has the knock-on effect of helping multiple retailers protect their own brand reputation by being seen to be acting responsibly and quickly. No matter how well-oiled the PR ‘crisis comms’ machine is, prompt action will minimise brand damage and speak far louder to loyal customers than retrospective apologetic words. D Richard Jones is Chief Technology Officer at LINKFRESH, which provides supply chain software to the fresh food industry enabling traceability, transparency and improved communications between all parties involved at every stage from farm to fork. 17

Professional Pastry Chefs tell us they prefer Tate & Lyle Caster and Icing Sugar* * Based on research carried out by MMR Research Worldwide for Tate & Lyle Sugars in April 2014, out of 202 UK-based Pastry Chefs interviewed, 30 used 68% Tate & Lyle’s Caster and Icing sugars for baking.



Bidvest Foodservice

Recipe for success Following a major rebrand in July 2015, Bidvest Foodservice, the leading foodservice provider for caterers, hotels, pubs and restaurants as well as healthcare and education customers, has embarked on an exciting new era


he company has come a long way since it was first formed as 3663 in 1999, when Booker Foodservice was bought by the Bidvest Group. From a background of delivering chilled, frozen and ambient products to its customers in the profit and cost sectors, the company has since expanded into non-food products. Today it sells everything from catering equipment, tableware and cleaning chemicals to beers, wines and spirits – as well building its range of local products and fresh meat. “A big step for us was the introduction of a range of own-brand products to complement the industry

Andy Kemp

leading brands we offer,” says Andy Kemp, Group Sales and Marketing Director. “What’s really driven our growth further has been the number of acquisitions we’ve made since 1999. Not only has this given us greater flexibility in our offering – allowing us to provide a greater range of services and products to our customers, including tailored solutions – but also grow our team, which now stands at more than 4500 employees.” To support its tailored approach, Bidvest Foodservice offers specialist guidance from its experts across all types of products it provides, so that customers get the most out of its

ever-growing range of more than 13,000 products. “Our insights team keep on top of current and future trends, which helps our customers keep their menus upto-date,” adds Andy. “Our chefs are constantly working on new recipes and products in line with the latest trends as well as industry regulations.” As part of the business’ commitment to making life as easy as possible for those who rely on its services, it aims to be no further than 80 miles away from any customer. With orders taken either online or through local teams by phone, Bidvest Foodservice’s fleet of multi-temperature vehicles ensure that all products arrive in optimum condition. 19

Food Federation Awards in the Best New Dessert category for its own-brand prune and Armagnac sticky toffee pudding.

Looking to the future

A winning year To add to its success in 2015, Bidvest Foodservice won a number of awards, including four Gold Awards from the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, plus the him! Wholesale Awards for Best Delivered Wholesaler and Best Wholesaler for Telesales Staff. The company also walked away with a bronze award at the British Frozen


Bidvest Foodservice’s ambitious rebrand saw a step change in its evolution as a company, from its new name and logo to a wider look at its culture, including its vision, mission and values. This major milestone has seen an increased focus on driving innovation. “The new name signified far more than simply redesigning a logo,” explains Andy. “Our rebrand was also the start of a renewed focus on providing service excellence, which means we’re always looking for new ways to improve our customer experience.” As one recent example, the company’s expansion of its own-brand products include the launch of four new brands within the range. “Our own-brand offering ranges from non-food products that help

our customers keep their kitchens clean, to specialist ingredients for scratch cooking and premium goods endorsed by the Craft Guild of Chefs,” adds Andy. “We’ve developed the brands to reflect current and upcoming foodie movements, making it easier for our customers to continually update their offering with modern, on-trend dishes.”

Bidvest Foodservice

With a firm vision in place for the company’s ongoing success, the future looks positive for Bidvest Foodservice as it continues to expand and seek out new trends and solutions to satisfy its broad customer base

The own-brand selection includes Essential Supplies, a non-food range that focuses on keeping kitchens clean so food can take centre stage, and the Everyday Favourites selection of more than 600 products that caterers typically rely on day-to-day. The Premium Selection range features the finest quality food and ingredients, all of which are endorsed by the Craft Guild of Chefs, while Farmstead is the company’s fresh meat brand. “Farmstead is all about quality, consistency, trust and value, and gives 21





Bidvest Foodservice

foodservice operators reassurance that they are buying from a trusted brand that doesn’t compromise on standards which are most important when it comes to sourcing produce,” says Andy. As well as focusing on launching new brands and initiatives, Bidvest Foodservice will also be enhancing its one-stop-shop offering, plus progressing with the opening of two new sites, including a new head office

and depot facility, which is due to open in Slough this Summer. “The move to Slough will bring together our head office and existing High Wycombe depot on one site, putting our central teams ‘above the shop’ and therefore closer to the customer,” explains Andy. “This will enable teams to better understand our product range and depot processes and work with customers to help them grow.” With a firm vision in place for the

company’s ongoing success, the future looks positive for Bidvest Foodservice as it continues to expand and seek out new trends and solutions to satisfy its broad customer base. “By providing excellent service we also believe we can make our customers lives easier so that they have time to focus on what really matters; producing great food,” Andy concludes. D 23

A solid biscuit base

Having established a strong position within its core markets, Danish snack producer Bisca is focused on expanding not only its product range, but also its global footprint 24


n 2015 Bisca celebrated is 125th year as a leader in the Danish snack industry. Founded by the Volf family, the company’s product range of biscuits and cakes are sold under its main brands, Karen Volf and Bisca. Operating out of its facility in Stege Moen, Bisca delivers to market a wide variety of products from traditional digestives, crackers and cakes, to organic treats, healthy snacks and traditional Danish desserts.

“Our strength is that we are sufficiently large to have cost efficient production in order to compete with some of the major players in the industry, yet at the same time are small enough to operate with a flexibility and agility that they cannot match,” begins current CEO, Michael Møller Jensen. “We are placed right in the middle where we can compete on price and are still able to do short production runs and bring new products to market quickly.”

Such a competitive agility puts Bisca in a particularly strong position in the current market where consumers and retailers remain keenly focused on price, but where there is growing room for new opportunities. “Right now it is a very competitive market as the markets emerge from a recession and consumers are looking closely at prices,” Michael continues. “This makes it very challenging to find the resources to put into innovation and product development. Consumers prefer cheaper products at the moment instead of higher quality, innovative offerings.” However, despite this he does note that over recent months consumer spending is starting to increase and Bisca’s ability to react effectively will be put into practice over the next year. Early in 2016, the business will be launching its first entry into the organic segment with a small assortment of


We feel that it is important for us to move in a direction where we can take responsibility for the quality of our supply chain and also food safety

biscuit products to test the market. “We always approach product development through market trend analysis, which we gather from trade fairs and customer engagement, and then use our inhouse innovation team to develop new products in line with this,” Michael says. “We know that there is an increasing trend for organic products in the market and we are excited to see how consumers will respond to this entry within this particular sector.” The launch will begin within its biscuit range to assess consumer response before expanding into its cake range according to initial success.

However, Michael expresses his interest in seeing just how well organic products are received in what is predominantly a ‘treat’ sector. “This is going to be our first step into the organic movement and we want to examine to what extent our consumers are prepared to buy organic and whether they are prepared to pay that little bit extra for it,” he notes. “If we do see a willingness here then we will be looking at expanding this across the range.”

Continuous improvement One area where Bisca particularly prides itself is in the consistent quality that it delivers to its customers. Operating under 25



BRC and IFS accredited procedures, the company’s attention to quality production goes beyond simply following guidelines, manifesting itself in a culture that sees quality as a natural part of production. The same focus can be applied to its approach to sourcing with quality ingredients taking precedence alongside a responsible strategy. “One of the latest actions we have taken is moving from caged chicken eggs to free-range eggs,” highlights Michael. “We feel that it is important for us to move in a direction where we can take responsibility for the quality of our supply chain and also food safety. We consistently try to improve our products under these corporate social responsibility terms.” Throughout its history, Bisca has successfully established itself as a key player in its core Scandinavian markets, with the majority of its turnover coming from the retail sector here. “As we

look ahead we are in the process of expanding our focus to look at the wider European and Chinese export markets,” explains Michael. “We don’t have huge expectations in terms of export turnover and earnings for 2016, but we do feel that we have the potential to build good platforms for growth this year.” In addition to this the next 12 months will also be focused on continuing to launch new product developments in order to increase its share of existing markets. “With this in mind, over the coming years we want to have built a business where we are a clear market leader with a strong brand, which includes a robust organic range within our key markets,” Michael concludes as he looks ahead. “In terms of export we hope to have established a stable and growing business in new markets as well as having a presence in China.” D 27

Scotbeef are proud to have been working closely with Macdonald Hotels for over 10 years, supplying the finest Scotch Beef and Lamb for their menus.

Macdonald Hotels

Reputation for excellence

By focusing on traceability, quality and close partnerships with suppliers, Macdonald Hotels is building up an individual reputation for excellence in its restaurants across the UK and Ireland


edicated to delivering a unique experience to every customer that arrives at any one of over 40 hotels across the UK, Macdonald Hotels ensures each of its hotels has its own individual charm and takes on the character of the area in which it is located. Achieving the prestigious AA Hotel Group of the Year award for the second time in six years in September 2013, the group’s commitment to achieving the highest quality standards in all aspects of the business has also led to it achieving more AA rosettes than any

other UK hotelier. The group was also awarded the AA Eco-Hotel Group of the year in 2012 for its focus on reducing electricity and fossil fuel usage by 15 per cent in 2015. Proud to deliver the best possible service to customers across its portfolio of beautiful, individual hotels, the forward-thinking group is unwavering in its focus on achieving customer satisfaction in all areas of the business. “Aside from providing high quality bedrooms, our other main activities are food and beverage, leisure and spa, golf and the corporate and conference

markets. Because of the diversity of our client base from North to South we offer varied menus, but although food tastes vary by region, the quality of the produce and the relationship that we have with the supplier is the key, underlying aspect of our success. It’s very important for a company with a deliberately diverse portfolio of properties like ours, to be able to meet equally varied customer dining expectations, without ever compromising on the best possible quality and provenance in our food and beverage offering,” explains Simon Jackson, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Macdonald Hotels. Differentiated in the market by its dedication to serving only the highest quality of food, Macdonald Hotels uses the finest seasonal ingredients and sources the best produce available. Placing a great deal of importance on 29

‘ 30

In line with Macdonald Hotels celebrating its 25th anniversary throughout 2016, the company will be delivering 25 special food events across the UK from January until December

Macdonald Hotels the provenance and traceability of its food, Macdonald Hotels expects the highest standards of diligence in product integrity and traceability from its suppliers. For example, meat is sourced from highly reputable suppliers, with 21-day aged cuts of beef supplied directly from Scotbeef, thus ensuring Macdonald Hotels’ new Scottish Steakhouse restaurants deliver delicious food of the best possible quality.

Seasonal menus Because Macdonald Hotels buys with provenance in mind and prefers to support local businesses, the chefs of its restaurants are given flexibility in planning menus by the season, which thus ensures that UK produce comes first. “We have a range of fantastic talent when it comes to chefs in the UK, arguably the best in the world; we also have the best produce in the

world on our doorstep and we very much encourage our chefs to challenge themselves when it comes to deliver interesting and unique dishes,” says Robert B. Cook, Commercial Director at Macdonald Hotels. “For example, during asparagus season, the asparagus will be supplied locally and will feature in most of our hotel menus, however, to further stimulate our customers we are working with our wine supplier and will be matching asparagus dishes with different Alberinos from Spain. This way of working not only excites your team, but also motivates suppliers by offering a challenge and, most importantly, it excites customers and results in them returning to our food events throughout the year.”

Food events Elaborating further, Robert continues: “With our Scottish base, our calendar of events tends to start in January for

Venners Venners are proud to have been stocktaking for MacDonald Hotels for over 15 years and the wider hospitality industry for 120 years. Over this time, Venners vast experience, expertise and evolving team has seen them expand their offer to include Inventory & Valuation, Health & Safety, Compliance and Consultancy throughout all of the UK. In short, Venners offer the complete solution to improving your hospitality profits & controls. The experience they have amassed over many years is the largest databank of such knowledge in the UK. An initial consultation with them will cost you nothing and could make all the difference.

Wing Of St Mawes Wing Of St Mawes is a family-run, award-winning business that has been supplying fish from Cornwall and home cured smoked fish to chefs for over 35 years. It is passionate about local seafood and the Cornish fishing industry and prides itself on only buying the very best fish with over 75 per cent of its species sourced from Cornwall markets and trusted local suppliers. The company’s aim is to be its chef’s eyes and ears on the fish markets, delivering a traditional artisan fishmonger service with the very best of what Cornwall has to offer. 31


Macdonald Hotels Burns night and Burns suppers. For this event we will offer Burns related food throughout the month, as well as nibbles at the bar, and will be working with Glenmorangie to deliver a taste of Burns. Following this, we of course have Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day, before we go onto the asparagus and Alberino promotion. On top of this, we are having a number of whisky related events throughout the year and have an al fresco festival in the summer; we will also be offering game dinners during game season, so there is a lot going on both centrally and locally.”

Charity dinners In line with Macdonald Hotels celebrating its 25th anniversary throughout 2016, the company will be delivering 25 special food events across the UK from January until December; each of these will support a local charity nominated by locals, plus

the Muir Maxwell Trust, which supports epilepsy. “The 25 events are not only to celebrate our 25 years in the business, but also allow us to give a bit back to the communities in which we are based by hosting various dinners for a range of chosen charities,” highlights Robert. With 25 years of growth and success behind it, the future looks positive for Macdonald Hotels as it continues to exceed rising expectations from a more food-orientated customer base through the delivery of a consistently worldclass service and the development of new food concepts. Robert concludes:

“Provincial hotels have not always been seen as the best place to get a meal. Our goal is quite simple; we want to be widely recognised as the best place in town for food, service and atmosphere; the place where you can always find a new favourite on the menu.” D

ECA Group We have been working with Macdonald Hotels to review all options for contracting utilities since 1993. Our remit includes: Energy Procurement, Bill Validation, Reporting and Account Management. “We have implemented initiatives that allows them to audit and implement savings across their estate reducing consumption by 15%+,” stated ECA. “ECA provide us with highly valuable monthly reporting, that allows us to monitor utility consumption and focus on energy saving initiatives,” added Macdonald Hotels. 33

Growing success

Cornerways Nursery is an exemplary demonstration of achieving a successful balance between sustainable practice and commercial growth


ornerways Nursery was born 15 years ago out of an initiative by parent company, British Sugar, to reuse the waste heat and CO2 produced from its factory in Wissington, Norfolk. It was quickly decided that a greenhouse used to grow the CO2 hungry tomato crop would be an ideal solution and thereby a five-hectare greenhouse was erected. Over the years the site has grown and two periods of investment in 2007 and 2011, of additional 5.5-hectare and 7.5-hectare expansion, respectively, has seen the site grow to 18 hectares. What results is the largest single-site


tomato facility in the UK, which currently houses 180,000 plants, producing around 140 million tomatoes every year. Initially starting out selling a single variety of tomato, today Cornerways grows and supplies a range of ten for retailers across the country. “We have taken this strategy of reusing heat and CO2 as the core business philosophy and as such we have a really healthy sustainability policy here,” begins General Manager, Patrick Harte. “As part of this we have invested into the site over the years in order to capture all of the water that falls onto the roof, and when you have 18 hectares

Cornerways Nursery

On top of this we have 8500 British bumblebees to pollinate the plants, as we find these can be far harder workers than people when it comes to pollination

the plants, as we find these can be far harder workers than people when it comes to pollination.”

Quality focus

of roof that equates to a lot.” Stored in lagoons located on site, the facility is able to harvest 115 million litres of water a year from this method, enough, on average, to make the company 98 per cent self-sufficient on water. “We continue this philosophy further in the way that we grow as well, and therefore don’t use any synthetic chemical sprays on site – only things that have derived from the plants,” continues Patrick. “We have also taken the initiative to use natural predators, so we employ macrolophus to eat all of the whitefly pests. On top of this we have 8500 British bumblebees to pollinate

The harvest season for tomatoes at Cornerways runs from March to November, in which time the company directly employs a peak of 400 people to hand tender all 720,000 plant heads and pick all 140 million tomatoes, in a labour intensive procedure that is near impossible to mechanise. During this time, the plants grow from 30cm to 36ft, and Patrick points out the quite staggering statistic that laid end-to-end the fully-grown plants at Cornerways would stretch from Norfolk to California. “We can attribute this consistent and healthy growth to the amount of controllable excess heat, CO2 and water we can pump into the greenhouse,” he adds. Its sustainability model is the core of Cornerways operations and Patrick explains that this has its advantages in assisting customers with their own CSR objectives, but also notes that to be truly sustainable requires economic sustainability as well. “Our model is designed so that it hits both the environmental and economic points, because otherwise this would never be able to work as a business and has been vital to us growing to this size in just 15 years,” he says. “Part of being able to achieve this is by producing some really good quality produce. We don’t just look at yield to determine our quality, but the actual quality of the end product in terms of appearance, taste and freshness because we believe this is what is really important to the consumer. Part of the investment in 2007 involved setting up a pack house, which means that we pack all our products in-house as a key part of our end-to-end operations and then ship them directly to retailers, meaning that the customers are getting

the freshest possible product from a short supply chain.” Patrick notes that this is a really important advantage over imported produce, which, as a result of better climates, no greenhouses and cheaper labour, are impossible to compete with on price, but also spend up to a week travelling to the UK. “We are also starting to see a bit of a food revolution in the UK where people are realising that British food is often much better quality,” he highlights.

Award wins Patrick is positive that if the business continues to produce quality products, looks after its staff and ultimately makes the most of what it has at its disposal then it can maintain an advantage in the market. Over the last couple of years, Cornerways has started to supply into local retailers under its own brand where consumers appreciate the local provenance of their food. As a result, the company has won Supplier of the Year award for both Co-Op East of England and Budgens. “To have gone from starting this to receiving these awards so quickly is a big achievement for us and has made a big difference,” says Patrick. “Firstly, it lets everyone here know their efforts are being recognised, which is great for our 35


To advertise in FoodChain magazine please contact: Sales Manager Joe Woolsgrove Sales Rob Wagner T: +44 (0)1603 274130 | F: +44 (0)1603 274131


Cornerways Nursery Glazewing Glazewing Limited has been providing outstanding waste management services for over 25 years, and has undergone huge growth in its food related waste and recycling services. It is able to deliver its services nationwide from its hub in East Anglia, and is a pioneer in providing environmentally conscious total waste management. The company’s other areas of expertise lay in skip hire, trade waste collections, mixed recycling, commercial waste, scrap metal recycling and hazardous waste management.

internal morale, and secondly the media attention has been excellent, resulting in fresh publicity, increased sales and a platform to diversify for the first time.” The company’s chutney, which uses any waste tomatoes that aren’t suitable for retailers, but are still perfectly fine to eat, has only been on the market for a couple of months, but will be a key focus as the business moves forward.

Build on success

and safety policy, which rests heavily on improving the culture within the business and has had a positive impact over the last 18 months. “Essentially, we’re looking to expand the business, which we have built on the basis of these values, further,” concludes Patrick. “The market conditions need to be right, but we are confident we can achieve our ambitions.” D tomatoes.aspx

In terms of the future, it is clear that Cornerways will continue building on its success by remaining true to its core values of sustainability, quality and responsible employment. A £1 million investment over the winter will double the size of the pack house and introduce a redesigned operational flow within the greenhouse, including elements of automation that can lead to a better quality end product. It will also continue implementing its health 37

Artisan passion

Since the company was incorperated during the 1970s Mestdagh Artisan has prided itself on creating artisanal frozen foods based on traditional Belgian recipes


estdagh Artisan was founded by the owner and head chef of the boat hotel ‘La Péniche’, Luc Mestdagh in Oostduinkerke during 1978. The company was formed in response to the overwhelming demand for the high-quality recipes available at the hotel, for example Luc’s shrimp croquettes and Soufflé au GrandMarnier were so popular with his clients that they wised that they could take them home. Therefore Chef Mestdagh began to offer his house specialities in frozen form and eventually constructed a kitchen workshop in the cellar of La Péniche to better enable the preparation and freezing of the much-sought-after croquettes. The choice to prepare a very traditional Belgian dish with the finest ingredients proved to be a big hit with


diners and as a result Chef Mestdagh’s shrimp croquettes achieved a high level of demand across the entire Belgian coast. Over time Luc came to prefer the creative environment of his workshop to the original aspect of the business and he soon expanded his range with appetisers and desserts, resulting in his iced Grand Marnier soufflé and his traditionally prepared vanilla ice cream becoming flagship products (twice winning first prize of ‘Best Ice Cream of Belgium’). During 2004 Mestdagh Artisan relocated to a newly built property in Veurne (BRC High Level), upon which Luc handed over the reins of the business to his daughter, Hilde Mestdagh and her husband Marc Gombert. Together they continue to operate the company according to established Mestdagh tradition. As

Mestdagh Artisan factories, for example that only produce milk products. Mestdagh Artisan is a horizontal manufacturer because we approach restaurants and the wider food markets, which are demanding exceptional quality in a range of products including croquettes and ice cream,” Marc says. “Mestdagh Artisan is very keen about the quality of its ingredients. These are sourced from the farmer directly and the milk that we use comes from Jersey cows and that is relatively unique,” he continues. “In Belgium there are only two farms with Jersey cows and from these cows we can source milk, cream and butter with a special taste. We do

not use any additives in our recipes and we make everything ourselves, which is important for Mestdagh and in quality management. We do not operate a simple assembly factory, we begin with sugar, milk and make our products ourselves.”

True authenticity With its dedication to natural products that give a rich and pure flavour, as well as the highest commitment to delivering highquality products, Mestdagh Artisan earned a leading reputation as a artisan bakery that provides wholesale frozen artisan baked goods and desserts to retailers and restaurants globally. “Our clients have respect for Mestdagh Artisan products and

Its core staff are all trained and qualified to work within the culinary industry to ensure that Mestdagh Artisan products meet the expectations for which the company has become known

such, Mestdagh Artisan embodies a spirit of true craftsmanship and only uses only the finest ingredients in its foods. It works with natural products that give a rich and pure flavour to ensure authenticity and additionally no additives or preservatives are used. Today the company’s range of products includes savoury items including croquettes, gourmet foods, savoury bites and culinary aids. Its dessert range is comprised of patisserie items, ice desserts, ice cream and sorbets, as well as ice cream cakes. As the current Owner and CEO of Mestdagh Artisan, Marc Gombert presides over the business and is keen to ensure that it is run in accordance with its established tradition of quality and integrity. “We are not a typical firm. Ordinarily brand manufacturers will operate milk 39

Mestdagh Artisan

this is naturally important on the food market. However clients also recognise that we operate a quality food factory. The difference between Mestdagh Artisan and larger multinational companies is that the factories belonging to those companies produce the same product every day and not specialist products,” Marc says. “Quality for us is in the authenticity of using good recipes with quality ingredients; chocolate is chocolate and milk is milk, it is not milk powder. Commonly within multinational factories milk powder plus water is used to make milk. I say several times to new or potential clients that water and air are not an ingredient in our factory. A lot of multinationals use water and air as an ingredient to lower the price, the price is only of second importance to us. The first important thing is the quality of the products, the ingredients and the taste. This has allowed Mestdagh Artisan to win customers throughout the whole of Europe including England, Holland, Denmark, China, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Spain and also outside Europe.” To meet the growing demand for its gourmet foodstuffs, Mestdagh Artisan has continually invested in both its


facilities and baking equipment. While this has been vital in ensuring that its production remains on course with demand, the key concern for the company has always been to maintain the highest levels of quality. To this end, its core staff are all trained and qualified to work within the culinary industry to ensure that Mestdagh Artisan products meet the expectations for which the company has become known. “We have invested in a lot of capital into automation and machinery, allowing us to turn out about 20003000 litres of ice cream a day and furthermore we can make 50,000

croquettes a day. We employ the same philosophy towards producing authentic products as the company did in the beginning while working with machinery,” Marc concludes. “We will only buy machinery if it can have a positive influence on the quality. The machinery we also have allows us to manufacture products at increased volumes without any compromise on quality. We employ around 20 people and they need to have a diploma, attended culinary school, or trained as a patisserie or cook. We are not simply machine operators.” D

Middletons Steakhouse & Grill

High steaks Since 2011, Middletons Steakhouse & Grill has prided itself on delighting customers with delicious meats that have been carefully prepared at its butchery in Middleton, Norfolk


he relatively short history of Middletons Steakhouse & Grill begins in July 2011 in an old pub, The Crown Inn, which was owned by the founders of Middletons, Gastro Pubs Limited. Following three years of operating as a public house, a strategic decision was made to turn the pub into a Steakhouse that specialises in steak, grills and seafood, with the goal of becoming a high street brand renowned for high quality, well-prepared meats over the coming years. With Middletons opening in July 2011, the company enjoyed success and increased demand as it developed a strong reputation and loyal customer base. This led to the company’s second Middletons restaurant opening in Norwich in December 2012 at a former Baptist chapel. The success of this second restaurant led to further expansion, with restaurants opening in Milton Keynes

and Colchester in 2014 and Watford in November 2015. Key to the company’s success is its high quality food, which is expertly handled by two full-time butchers at its butchery in Middleton, as Steve Hutton, Managing Director and Founder of Middletons Steakhouse & Grill highlights: “The butchery is actually the old toilet block at the back of The Crown Inn; we renovated it a number of years ago and used it as an additional prep kitchen. However, following further investment, we opened it in 2015 as a butchery; it is fully kitted out and has two full time butchers based there, so all of the meat gets delivered to our butchery, where the butchers then trim down the meat, hand cut the steaks and then deliver it to our restaurants six days a week.” The meat is currently supplied by Cleveley’s in Harleston, a company that Steve has been working with closely 41

for a number of years. “I have a longstanding relationship with Cleveley’s,” he confirms. “Although Middletons has only been operating for four years, as Gastro Pubs Limited we used to own and operate small gastro pubs in and around East Anglia, so Cleveley’s has been my supplier of meats for more than ten years. The quality of the company’s meat has always been exceptional and we have always had confidence in what Cleveley’s delivers; it is really a matter of confidence in the supply chain.”

Value for money This positive working relationship is a core part of Middletons’ ability to guarantee high quality, fresh food to its customers while they enjoy the vibrant, modern and comfortable décor of Middletons. On top of this, all of the company’s restaurants work to the same high standards and specification books for all of the dishes on offer so every recipe is the same, whichever Middletons restaurant a customer goes to. “We have a food bible that has the ingredients and methods for cooking, as well as how a dish should look on the plate; it is then down to the regional members of staff, such as our executive chef, training and development manager, support chefs


and support managers, to provide the best training and development to ensure the highest possible standards are maintained,” explains Steve. Although Middletons operates as a Steakhouse & Grill, its unique selling point is its best-selling mixed grill dish, as Steve notes: “There are very few restaurant operators that provide the variety of mixed grills like we do. The Middletons Grill is a six oz steak, BBQ pork ribs and a piri piri chicken breast; you also get a choice of side. Priced at £17.95, the Middletons Grill is incredible value for money. As well as fresh lobster and fish, burgers and salads, we have a fairly substantial offering for our customers.” In addition, Middletons also offers roast dinners every Sunday of the year; this is a massively popular dish as

the roast beef served is sirloin and there is also the choice of high quality pork or lamb. “We also offer a mixed Sunday lunch where customers can have a slice of everything,” says Steve. Alongside the exceptional quality of the food, price also plays a key role in Middletons’ popularity, as the company continually seeks to improve its supply chain and thus enhance cost savings. “It is important to us that we don’t penalise our customers for ever-increasing food prices, which means it is down to us behind the scenes to ensure our supply chain is as optimised as it can be and to be innovative, for example, opening our own butchery,” says Steve. “At the moment we are buying direct from a third party, but within the next year we will start to buy direct from farms; this will provide

Middletons Steakhouse & Grill

us with more cost savings so we can keep our sale price as keen as possible. We don’t believe in vouchers or discounts we just believe in honest pricing.” With its Watford restaurant recently opened, Middletons’ goal for the future is to continue opening restaurants in vibrant locations with a strong culture for dining out. “Our next project is Leicester, which has witnessed vast amounts of European investment since Richard III was buried there. This is our biggest project yet as we have secured an iconic site, an old bank, in the centre of town, which is undergoing a £1.5 million renovation. Ideally we would like to keep expanding by at least three or four restaurants a year, this is our goal for the next four to five years,” Steve concludes. D 43

A legacy of luxury


Expansion is top of the agenda for global hotel and resort group Starwood Hotels in a strategy that will see its UK footprint grow considerably 44

ith 1270 properties, employing over 180,000 people across 100 countries it will not come as a surprise that Starwood Hotels is one of the largest and leading hotel companies in the world. Under a number of internationally renowned brands, like The Luxury Collection, Le Méridien, Sheraton, W Hotels and Aloft, the company caters for a number of needs with hotels and resorts providing economy-grade to luxury havens for any corporate or leisure customer. Customer service inevitably plays a key role in Starwood’s portfolio, but equally valued is its commitment to both the staff and many communities that it engages with across its global footprint. For instance the group currently has a global commitment to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in energy consumption and emissions, plus a 20 per cent water reduction across all properties by 2020, and has raised over $30 million through its partnership with UNICEF since 1995.

At present Starwood Hotels is represented by 12 luxury hotels in the UK and Ireland. These include Sheratons, Alofts, independent Tribute Portfolio and Luxury Collection hotels, a W Hotel and a Westin Hotel dotted across London, Liverpool, Scotland and Ireland. However, in line with the company’s global expansion strategy – it signed 175 new sites across the world in 2014 alone – Starwood Hotels has ambitious plans to increase this number, starting with opening a number of key sites over the next two years. In August 2015, the company’s Sheraton brand launched its new premier tier of hotels, named Sheraton Grand. With the first phase initiated by ten new hotel signings, the vision for the division is to have 50 newlydesigned hotels around the world by 2016 and a total of 100 by early 2017. Part of Sheraton 2020, a set of initiatives set out to establish the hotel as a leading global brand over the next five years, the announcement

Starwood Hotels comes alongside other plans, such as a $100 million marketing campaign and visual rebranding. Amongst the first ten hotels to be signed under the new programme, which stretches across the world from the US to Asia, is the Sheraton Grand Edinburgh in the heart of the Scottish capital. Exemplifying Starwood’s reputation for luxury and exclusivity, the hotel boasts dramatic views of the Edinburgh castle, an award-winning spa and a unique British cuisine restaurant, serving over 60 premium varieties of gin. A month later in September, Starwoods announced the entry of its Tribute Portfolio brand into the European market with the signing of Great Northern Hotel at King’s Cross, London. The Tribute Portfolio brings together a collection of outstanding independent hotels and resorts from across the world, with the key focus of retaining the independent operation and reputation earned over long and successful histories. The Great Northern Hotel was first opened in 1854 and has since undergone an immaculate restoration to retain its luxurious heritage, and upon relaunching in 2013 under the ownership of Jeremy Robson, has become one of the capital’s finest boutique hotels. Adhering to this history, the hotel provides a variety of catering options for its guests with the Plum + Split Milk restaurant serving fine British cuisine, and the GNH Bar, one of Europe’s most glamorous railway bars, which offers signature cocktail such as the Lady Violet in a classical and stylish setting. The announcement of the Great Northern Hotel came soon after the launch of the Tribute Portfolio brand in April 2015, and the brand’s ambitions show clear correlation with Starwood’s overarching expansion strategy, with an aim to have 100 hotels under the brand by 2020. Commenting on the new signing, Dave Marr, Global Brand Leader for Tribute Portfolio says: “The hotel has been designed with meticulous attention to detail, and we’re excited to partner alongside Mr. Jeremy Robson as he continues to bring his independent vision to life.”

Continuing this expansion programme in the UK, in 2017 two more hotels will be opened on London’s Tobacco Docks under the Aloft and Element brands. With 100 hotels opened and planned in 14 countries across the globe, the Aloft brand makes a departure from the traditional hotel experience with a tech-forward, vibrant experience and modern style. Similarly, Element hotels mark an innovation within the hotel industry in its sustainable and

natural approach to hospitality. The brand offers stylish settings complete with healthy breakfast offerings, saline swimming pools, spacious fitness centres and electric vehicle charging points. In 2008 Element Hotels made history in being the first hotel brand to pursue LEED certification for high-performance buildings across a complete brand. This will be the first Element hotel to open in the UK and again conforms to Starwood’s rapid expansion plans. As far as the future is concerned, Starwood Hotels is very much focused on continuing expansion and growing its already extensive brand and hotel portfolio. Achieving this success will come in a number of ways, but by remaining aware of key global trends and continuing to integrate into its local communities will undoubtedly feature heavily in the company’s values as it moves forward. D 45

Making the grain Celebrating 100 years in operation in 2015, Meneba has developed a strong reputation for producing and marketing raw materials and functional ingredients for bakery and food products



long-term specialist in the development, production and marketing of cereal products, Meneba uses its century of expertise to serve its customers in a manner that will further cement its position as a well-established partner capable of bringing maximum value to grain. As a high quality supplier with a broad range of flours within its product portfolio, Meneba operates within numerous business sectors, from artisanal bakeries to industrial bakeries to customers within the food industry. “Meneba began operations in 1915 and our main activities are milling, which we do from three locations: Rotterdam, Wormerveer and Bossuit. We mill approximately 650,000 to 700,000 tonnes of products per annum and from wheat and rye, the total sales is around 220 million euros, while the number FDA is 185,” begins Gerard Verkerke, Sales and Purchasing Director at Meneba. “We have four customer groups, the first being artisanal bakeries in Belgium and Holland, while the second is the food industry for which we supply ingredients for biscuits, honey cake and those kinds of products. We also provide products to industrial bakeries,


Meneba is in an enviable position as it uses its nutritional knowledge, processing expertise and awareness of market trends to provide clients with successful innovations that not only integrate with the trends of today, but will also meet the demands of tomorrow

where products are sent to the retail industry; our fourth customer group is export clients who are mainly based in Africa and South America.”

Customer focus He continues: “What differentiates us in the market is our clear focus on delivering what the customer wants; to meet these needs we have a broad assortment of products and maintain consistent quality whether the customer is artisanal or industrial. We also deliver excellent customer service and seek out ways to actively help customers, whether that is in our in-house test bakery or in our customer’s bakery or one-onone with solo bakers. We also teach new skills or new techniques such as fermenting and develop new products such as new bread products for multi grain or find solutions for a problem on the line.” Able to produce the right cereals

and varieties to suit the requirements of customers, Meneba can also add value through knowledge and flexibility as it has the broadest assortment of cereal specialties within Europe. Segments within Meneba’s assortment of products include wheat flour, which includes Edelweiss, a flour base that boasts attractive baking properties for large white bread, small white bread and stuffed bread applications; it also includes T65 Tradition Francaise, a specific type of wheat flour that can be used in the preparation of authentic artisan breads as it is the perfect type of flour for the preparation of a homemade traditional sourdough. There is also a wholemeal segment, which includes Acacia, a product that gives the bread a firm and compact crumb; a light multigrain segment that includes Alaska, a mix of high-fibre white bread; medium brown multigrain segment that includes products such as Tundra, a multigrain mix for a golden blonde multigrain bread, 47

which is richly filled with toasted wheat germ and pumpkin seeds; dark multigrain, which includes Crude Bolster Robust, a multigrain mix for a dark multigrain bread with a coarse and pure character. In addition to these segments, Meneba also has spelt products, such as Triticum spelta, an ancient grain from the same family as wheat and process improvers such as Libre, a progressive process improver consisting entirely of natural grain components with a unique functionality. Alongside these product areas, there is also decoration/cereal specialities, rye and banquet products available.

Successful innovations What makes this broad product range possible is oriented global grain purchasing, an awareness of market trends and sophisticated milling and processing techniques, as Gerard


notes: “We have seven milling systems, which range from two to 24 tonnes per hour; we also have a great mixing system for flour and wholemeal and a mixing system for multigrains, which is mixed with multigrains, seeds, colours and flavours. We can also roast and toast wheat germs to make more tasteful products in the biscuit and bread sector. To further strengthen our capabilities, we recently invested in new machinery in the milling and cleansing departments as well as mixing in advance of future opportunities to make more tailor made solutions.� As demand grows for customised, natural products that bring optimised functionality for high-quality processing lines, Meneba is in an enviable position as it uses its nutritional knowledge, processing expertise and awareness of market trends to provide clients with successful innovations that not

Meneba only integrate with the trends of today, but will also meet the demands of tomorrow. Some examples of product innovation include multigrain mixes that are free from E numbers and lactose and process improvers, which make it possible to prepare bread authentically while using modern production processes.

Future focus

food industry. On top of expansion, another focus for Meneba is to make the chain from farmer to customer more open and transparent, which will allow consumers to see where their bread is made and where their wheat comes from. As a company that delivers quality in both service and products, transparency is important to us.� D

As demand for its versatile range of products continues, Meneba is on the verge of reaching full capacity and will be looking to expand in the near future to ensure it can continue meeting the requirements of its increasingly diverse customer base, as Gerard concludes: “This expansion will not only enable us to further enhance our dough making and pre-fermentation capabilities for a few new products, but will also make it possible for us to produce flour for sponge cake and other items for the 49


To advertise in FoodChain magazine please contact: Sales Manager Joe Woolsgrove Sales Rob Wagner T: +44 (0)1603 274130 | F: +44 (0)1603 274131


Mamma Lucia

A taste of Italy A strong and reactive development team stand alongside a highly efficient and ever-improving production facility as Mamma Lucia looks towards becoming a market leader in Italian ready meals


ounded in Belgium in 1991 and later bought by the Italian Rana family, an Italian leader in fresh pasta in 2006, Mamma Lucia is a pasta-based ready meal factory specialised in producing ready meals both under its own brands and under private labels. Over the years Mamma Lucia has established for itself a strong reputation for high quality, good value products that can be found on the shelves of some the most well known retailers across Europe. From its single, 14,000 square metre factory, which is staffed by between 200 and 220 people, the Mamma Lucia facility focuses mainly on the production

of hot fillings via a fully automised production line. Typical products for the manufacturer include fresh products, lasagne, macaroni and penne-based ready meals. All focused on bringing true Italian flavour to many of its client’s labels, the Mamma Lucia portfolio clearly represents a passionate and highly skilled development team. “Our strength is that we are very reactive to the market demands and are very flexible in this regard,” begins Managing Director, Rudi Loiseau speaking to FoodChain magazine. “We have a good research and development team, which is made up of specialists in pasta and sauces. This way we can 51

Mamma Lucia

The quality of our product is now recognised by everybody so this is something we have to maintain. By working on efficiency by investing and keeping our tools updated, we will be able to stay ahead of the market

understand very quickly what our clients want and we can demonstrate a very short turnaround time from starting the product development in the kitchen to launching it on the production line.” Rudi goes on to point out that within its clients’ market segments trends continue to develop and new products are always sought. “For the private labels we always have to follow the market trends because our clients are always looking to offer something better than their competitors,” he says. “This is our primary remit and our R&D team of ten are always working on new products, usually typical Italian products.” With regards to its own brand products, Mamma Lucia is able to approach development with a freer, more innovative focus. Whilst its roots continue to remain in traditional Italian flavours, the company has developed


spinach and ricotta, tomato and mozzarella, and aubergine lasagnes amongst many other offerings.

High quality Mamma Lucia’s reputation has grown alongside this strategy and this is predominantly defined by its close attention to quality. In order to maintain these levels the company undergoes a continuous programme of investment into its facilities. “We invest heavily on a yearly basis to ensure that our production tools are ahead of the existing new technologies,” Rudi outlines. “Continuing to develop our automisation is key too.” The high levels of quality that result are such that Mamma Lucia currently supplies one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing discount retailers. “The UK market is growing very quickly,”

Rudi says. “We have seen discounters stocking more and more premium products right now and their quality standards are very high. With our stockist in the UK our products are recognised as a premium offering so this is very good for our position in that market.” With successful footholds already established in a number of its markets, the future for the company will be focused on carrying on as usual. “We particularly want to work on the efficiency of our site,” Rudi continues. “The quality of our product is now recognised by everybody so this is something we have to maintain. By working on efficiency by investing and keeping our tools updated, we will be able to stay ahead of the market. So this is what we will be looking at over the next year or so. Even further ahead, it is all about continued expansion. Our owner is challenging us every day to work on new creations for the Italian market. They want to us to challenge ourselves across the entire factory, and to invest and expand in order to become a leader in the market. It is a challenge given the strong competition that exists, but we are confident that we will be navigate this carefully and successfully.” D

FoodChain The business of food and drink

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10 Cringleford Business Centre Intwood Road l Cringleford l Norwich l NR4 6AU T: +44 (0)1603 274130 | F: +44 (0)1603 274131 Editor Libbie Hammond Sales Manager Joe Woolsgrove Sales Rob Wagner

Profile for Schofield Publishing Ltd

FoodChain Issue 110 February 2016  

The latest edition of FoodChain

FoodChain Issue 110 February 2016  

The latest edition of FoodChain