News (222)

A Cambridge College, and TUCO member, is celebrating the success of one of its employees who has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award from the UK’s oldest culinary organisation.

Jaroslava Vankova, who is Functions Supervisor at St John’s College, was ranked in the top six for the 2018 President’s Award with the Réunion des Gastronomes. The Award, which identifies and encourages excellence in professional food and beverage services, is open to anyone working full-time at a team management level in food and beverage services in the UK hospitality industry.

 Jaroslava was selected for the final shortlist of six and invited to the Institute of Directors in London to meet a judging panel and have lunch with the other candidates. She started working at St John’s College as a casual employee before becoming Functions Assistant in 2013 and then being promoted to Functions Supervisor in 2017. Her previous roles include working in a hotel in Bideford, Devon and then at the Lensfield Hotel in Cambridge.

Bill Brogan, Catering & Conference Manager at St John’s College said: “We are incredibly proud of Jaroslava’s achievement in reaching the final shortlist for the President’s Award in the Réunion des Gastronomes.

“This prestigious organisation provides a unique opportunity for learning and advancement supported by members of the Réunion and the Award is pitched at the very highest levels in the industry. Although she didn’t make it to the final three, it was a great experience for Jaroslava and underlines her commitment to developing her career further.”

Wallace Vincent, President of the Réunion, added: “It is only our second year of running this award, and after the success of last year, the calibre and number of entries is clearly going from strength to strength.”

All finalists will be invited to the Annual Banquet at the Savoy in November, at which the winner will be announced. The winner will receive four two-day placements across different industry sectors, as well as benefit from unique mentoring and networking opportunities.

Operators emerge from challenges with the highest levels of optimism for more than two years, the CGA Fourth Business Confidence Survey reveals.

Confidence is starting to return to the eating and drinking-out sector - despite a host of pressures on the market. But there remains a gap between the optimism that leaders of Britain’s restaurant, pub and bar groups have about their own businesses and their confidence in the market as a whole.

The latest CGA Fourth Business Confidence Survey, carried out in May by business insight consultancy CGA in partnership with leading hospitality software provider Fourth, reveals that 75% of company leaders are now optimistic about the prospects for their own business over the next 12 months—11 percentage points more than at the time of the last confidence survey in February.

There is also an upswing in bosses’ confidence for the overall market, although the survey finds that less than half (47%) are upbeat about prospects for the wider eating and drinking out sector over the next 12 months. This also represents an 11 percentage points increase on three months earlier, and both figures are the highest recorded by the survey since February 2016.

However, they are still below the levels seen before the Brexit vote. In February, three quarters of leaders said their businesses had been adversely affected by the consequences of the referendum.

“The more upbeat tone of the survey appears at odds with the recent news of some high profile restaurant closures in the first half of this year, driven by business challenges including rising food, people and property costs and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit,” said CGA’s CEO Phil Tate.

“But it might be because of this market shake out, coupled with more stable food prices, that business executives are now gaining more confidence,” Tate added.

As one survey participant observed: “The [restaurant] market is sorting itself out like the pub industry did a few years ago. We are over saturated with some struggling brands. Once they leave, which is happening, there will be opportunities for better brands.”

And as another commented: “An unsettled market presents opportunities for established operators with a clear offer.”

Ben Hood, CEO of Fourth, said: “In the face of challenging external headwinds in rising costs of both labour and inventory, there remains a cohort of outstanding operators who are constantly looking inwardly at their businesses and investing in the marketing and technology they need to increase efficiencies and improve their offer and the customer experience. There will always be an appetite for spending on food and drink among UK consumers, it’s ingrained in our culture, and these slick, streamlined businesses are in pole position to thrive over the coming years.”

Tate noted that the continuing gap between market and individual business confidence was a cause for concern as it highlighted an underlying nervousness that might affect corporate investment and growth decisions. But with CGA data indicating that people continue to go out to eat and drink, the results show that there is plenty of room for distinctive, customer-focused brands to succeed.

Phil Tate concluded: “After a tough start to 2018, this latest Business Confidence Survey is a welcome reminder that hospitality remains an essentially upbeat industry. CGA’s research shows that like-for-like sales growth is modest, and that many restaurant, pub and bar operators have scaled back their new openings plans—but conditions that challenge some businesses can also bring opportunities for others.”

The CGA Fourth Business Confidence Survey is produced in partnership with Fourth and is based on responses from 160 leading figures from the industry, working at CEO, MD, chairman, board and senior management levels.

Tuesday, 05 June 2018 09:19

Food Made Good Awards 2018 open for entries

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The race is on to find the ideas and innovations that have had the biggest impact on the foodservice sector in the last year, as well as the most sustainable foodservice business, as the Sustainable Restaurant Association's 2018 Food Made Good Awards is now open for entries.

The 17 Food Made Good Awards reward restaurants and foodservice businesses whose extraordinary accomplishments in the last year have driven progress in the industry and demonstrated that food can be made delicious, ethical and sustainable.

Andrew Stephen, Chief Executive of the SRA, said: “With almost nine out of ten diners wanting restaurants to create menus that help them use their appetites wisely, and heightened consumer awareness of issues like plastic and food waste, there’s never been a better time for restaurants to showcase the ways in which they’re addressing the major issues affecting the food system. The Food Made Good Awards provide the perfect platform for the best sustainable innovators of our time.”

To enter the Food Made Good Awards and for more information, click here.

Leicester Services Partnership are looking for an Operations Manager to manage all day to day catering and retail operations, vending, hospitality and event catering and the conference food delivery service, in accordance with relevant legislation regarding premises licenses, food safety and health and safety and all Company policies and procedures. 

About Leicester Services Partnership

Leicester Services Partnership formed from the joint venture partnership between the University of Leicester and its Student’s Union and was the first of its kind in the UK amongst the Higher Education institutes to unify and deliver all catering, retail and bars operations across the campus and offering something entirely new for customers, starting with the launch of the visual retail brand ‘Here for U’.

‘Here for U’ is the visual brand of the equal partnership venture created to unify operations and deliver a consistent customer service experience as well as provide inspirational spaces to eat, drink, relax, reflect, learn and socialise here at the University of Leicester.

This partnership and brand identity will signal change; offering a fresh new start to all those operating within in it and therefore benefiting the customer by offering exciting, vibrant and current food options and trends, improve the efficiency across the board by streamlining operations and attract new and retain customers through a variety of offers and discounts as well as an enticing loyalty scheme.

Find out more and download the job specification here.

Friday, 25 May 2018 09:23

Pricing Bulletin 27/04/18 - 25/04/18

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Please note there is revised pricing on the following agreements


Catering Disposables and Chemicals (DipChem)


Fresh Seafood

Frozen & Chilled Foods

Fruit & Veg


Innovative Food Concepts (IFC)

Milk & Bread

Please note there are updated product files for the below suppliers                                                       


Hot Beverages

Innovative Food Concepts


  • Ginsters                                                                       

For all new promotions visit dedicated promotions website page.                                                    

 New documents

Wednesday, 23 May 2018 13:22

Starved students gambling their future

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16th May 2018, London: Young people’s wellbeing and futures are at risk. A survey1 of over 13,000 young people by Magnet.me, the UK’s biggest student and graduate careers site, makes for stark findings. 

  • More than half of students miss breakfast during exam season
  • A quarter of students not eating breakfast during term time
  • Money and stress concerns leading to poor eating habits

Exam time

As university students head into exam season more than half (52.4%) are missing breakfast daily, compromising a time that could determine the rest of their lives. The majority (59%) cited a lack of time and stress for skipping breakfast. Worryingly, two-fifths (42%) said they didn’t have enough money to grab a bite to eat before going in for an exam.

A final-year student, Cecilia Pazmany at University of Northumbria said: “Exam schedules are so intense, I don’t have time for anything, everything feels so crammed. I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day but I need to choose between energy drinks and breakfast, my budget only goes so far”.

Term time

Breakfast doesn’t seem to be a priority for students. Outside exam season, a quarter (26.3%) said they missed breakfast at least 4 times a week with the overwhelming majority (83.6%) saying it was unaffordable. This said, most (44.8%) knew having breakfast would make for a productive day.

Second-year student Phoebe Mckeand at University of Leeds, said: “There is so much to juggle at university and so things fall off the radar. Campus breakfasts aren’t cheap and shopping is a bit a chore. I do feel a good breakfast every morning would help but we’re time and cash poor”.

Vincent Karremans, Founder of Magnet.me commented: “It’s often remarked that a hearty breakfast makes for a great day. However, too many young people are missing the most important meal of the day. You could put this down to blissful ignorance but according our research, almost half of young people acknowledge the importance of breakfast but for most its unaffordable. This needs to change across campuses in the UK.”

“This culture of malnutrition will not only impact their academic outcomes but also their career prospects and the wellbeing of the workforce of the future.

Tips for exam season

1. A cunning plan. Create a schedule and have the self-discipline to stick to it. Create blocks of one-hour sprint sessions to cover what needs to be achieved for each task.
2. The whole truth. Writing and re-writing notes from lectures and revision sessions will help facts to stick in your mind faster. It’s a proven technique and will help when it counts!
3. Testing testing. Quiz yourself by writing questions and answers side-by-side. Cover the answers with a sheet of paper and slide down as you move along the questions.
4. Sweet dreams. Get 7-hours sleep before exam days. A rested mind is a resourceful one. You will be fresh and alert for the morning ahead.
5. Work hard then play hard. No parties until exam periods are over. Physically and mentally exhausting, not to mention hugely frustrating, to get back into study-mode the next day. It’ll take out too much time and energy to get back into the flow of things.

Thursday, 10 May 2018 12:03

Aim to Reduce Plastic

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Businesses and organisations have signed up to a 'world first' initiative to keep plastic in the economy and out of the ocean.

Launched by Wrap, it brings businesses from across the entire plastics value chain together to tackle plastic waste.  Companies include Unilever, Arla, Nestle, Lidl and Tesco.

The targets include the elimination of unnecessary single use plastic packagin through redesign, innovation or alternative delivery models and making sure 100% of plastic packaging is reusable, recycable or compostable.

Wrap says it expects the initiative will be replicated in other countries as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundations New Plastics Economy to form a powerful global movement for change.


A Cambridge College is celebrating winning a major accolade for its innovative practices and commitment to sustainable food – the city’s first academic venue to be recognised in this way.

St John’s College Catering Department was presented with a gold award at the recent Cambridge Sustainable Food Business Awards held at Anglia Ruskin University.

The annual awards honour food companies and institutions in Cambridge which are working to improve their sustainable credentials by signing up to a pledge and award scheme.

St John’s met a wide range of criteria including: implementing a sustainability policy, sourcing local and organic ingredients, sustainable fish and ethical Fairtrade ingredients, participating in a study of meat reduction and monitoring food waste using the latest Chef’s Eye technology.

Bill Brogan, Conference & Catering Manager at St John’s College said: “It was a great honour to win this award for our commitment to sustainability in our catering operation. Over recent years we have introduced a number of initiatives to improve our practices, including looking at reducing waste and trialling alternative foods such as insects.

“Whilst this is an excellent milestone to achieve, there is always more to be done and we will continue to explore ways to improve even further.”

Recently St John’s College became the first Oxbridge college to invest in the latest Chef’s Eye food waste reduction software which has been designed to help hospitality sites take control of waste, cut food costs and make purchasing more cost-effective.

Thursday, 03 May 2018 11:52

Brakes launches its 2018/19 Winter Collection

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Brakes has launched its Winter Collection 2018/19 as part of a four day event held at its Covent Garden HQ during which the company also shared its insight into the rapidly growing Free From/Vegan/Vegetarian category.

With specific areas dedicated to hospitality and events, free from, all day dining, grab & go and Christmas, the event showcased a wide range of innovative and on trend products either recently introduced or earmarked for launch in the last quarter of 2018.

The rise of the Free From/Vegan/Vegetarian category was evident in many of the different product areas ranging from hot canapes to Nitro coffee, wraps to sweet treats and turkey to desserts. During the event Brakes shared the latest statistics on the category which showed that there was a 987% increase in demand for Vegetarian options in 2017 compared to 2016**, with 28% of the population looking to reduce their meat consumption during the same period*. It also revealed that there are now more than a million vegetarians and 500,000 vegans in the UK**, whilst 11% of UK adults have tried to follow a vegan diet**. Perhaps unsurprisingly, young adults are the ones predominantly adopting permanent vegetarian diets, with half of all vegans in the UK aged 15-34*** and 1 in 10 16-24 year olds describing themselves as Vegan****. 

“Whilst healthy eating has been high on young people’s agenda for some time, this is now helping drive growth of those avoiding meat and following a Vegan diet, with numbers doubling in 3 years”, says Brakes’ Food Marketing Manager, Becky Hover. “The biggest contribution is actually coming from consumers choosing veggie dishes, even if they’re not strictly vegetarian. This goes some way to explaining the fact that there were 200m more meat-free meals consumed in 2017 compared to the previous year – a 7% growth in a single year alone*****.

Given this data it’s no coincidence that Brakes has been working hard to increase its already extensive Free From/Vegan/Vegetarian range with the launch of products such as gluten free sausages, Vegan cheese, veggie burgers, and main courses such as Pumpkin & Sage Tortelloni (V), Lentil & Chickpea Dhal (VE) and Butternut & Lentil Wellington (VE), alongside a wide selection of desserts including Blackcurrant Bavarois (VE) and Raspberry & Frangipane Tart (VE)(GF).

*Mintel 2017

**Just Eat 2017

*** The Vegan Society 2017

**** Mintel/TUCO Global Food Trends 2017

***** Kantar WPO 07.02.2018

Over 2,000 schools and nurseries, representing 987,832 children and young people, and 691 workplaces, colleges and universities, representing 505,781 adults, have already registered to take part in the British Nutrition Foundation’s (BNF) Healthy Eating Week 2018 (11 – 15 June 2018); with many more expected to register over the coming weeks.
This year, the BNF is celebrating the six birthday of its Healthy Eating Week and, while the initiative has proved popular within schools every year, the 2018 event is receiving more interest than ever from adults keen to be involved, with three times as many workplace and university registrations compared to this time last year. 

BNF Healthy Eating Week aims to increase knowledge about healthy eating and wellbeing, physical activity, food provenance and cooking, by providing schools and organisations with a series of challenges to complete throughout the week, supported by activities and informative resources. The Week will follow five ‘healthy eating’ themes: Have Breakfast, 5 A DAY, Drink Plenty, Get Active and Make A Change. BNF Healthy Eating Week registration packs are tailored for nursery, primary, secondary and adult age groups, meaning that all activities will be suitable and age appropriate.     

Roy Ballam, Managing Director and Head of Education at the British Nutrition Foundation, said: “From young children, to high-flying professionals, BNF Healthy Eating Week provides people of all ages with a fantastic opportunity to learn more about healthy eating, and the small daily changes we can all make to improve our health and wellbeing. Participants are encouraged to complete a series of challenges during the week in June, however, this year our materials have been designed especially so that the initiative can be continued all year round. BNF Healthy Eating Week 2017 was the most successful so far, with approximately five million children, students and employees participating. This year, we want to reach even more people and make BNF Healthy Eating Week 2018 the best yet!”

As part of BNF Healthy Eating Week, a survey will be distributed to all participants in order to assess the UK’s understanding of health, nutrition and food provenance; as well as looking into common exercise and eating habits. Last year’s BNF Healthy Eating Week survey hit the headlines revealing how little UK school children and teenagers know about food origins, with a quarter of surveyed primary school children saying that cheese comes from plants and one in ten 14 – 16 year old saying that tomatoes grow underground.

For more information about BNF Healthy Eating Week 2018 and to register your nursery, school, college, university or workplace, please visit: http://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/site.aspx?siteId=20

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