Laura Haslin

Laura Haslin

The impact on the environment of producing food and drink, both in the UK and overseas, will be reduced under a new Water Ambition launched today by sustainability experts WRAP, in partnership with WWF and the Rivers Trust, as part of Courtauld Commitment 2025. Announced on World Water Day, the Ambition has the backing of signatories to WRAP’s ten-year Courtauld Commitment 2025 voluntary agreement, including major UK retailers, food and drink manufacturers & brands, businesses from within the hospitality & food service sector and trade bodies. These include ABP Food Group, Bidfood, Coca-Cola GB, the Co-op, M&S, Nestlé, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.  The Courtauld Commitment 2025 Water Ambition will see UK businesses act within their own operations, and collectively in food sourcing areas, to tackle water stress and improve water efficiency. Courtauld Commitment 2025 signatories have agreed to the following. By 2025: 

  • Business signatories are monitoring water use in their own operations and have improved efficiency. Aiming for 100% of signatory businesses monitoring water use and having delivered water reductions in operations under their direct influence.  
  • Business signatories are participating in collective action to improve the quality and availability of water in key sourcing areas. Aiming for 100% of signatory businesses supporting collective action projects in critical sourcing locations for UK food & drink supply. Over the lifetime of Courtauld 2025, these projects aim to cover around half of the production area of fresh produce supply from water stressed locations, as well as key water stressed areas for arables and livestock. Each project will aim to deliver reductions in water stress, measured against the most important water stress impacts & metrics in that location (e.g. reduction in consumptive use, improved water quality status, nitrate/phosphate/sediment levels in local watercourses).   

Initial focus will be on six UK catchment based project areas identified by the Rivers Trust as critical areas for sourcing key foods such as fresh produce, dairy and crops. All currently suffer water stress in terms of quantity and availability; or the quality of current supplies. The six areas are: 

  • Cam & Ely Ouse and Broadlands (East Anglia), 
  • Medway (South East), 
  • Tamar (South West), 
  • Eden (Cumbria), and
  • Wye & Usk (South West / Wales).

The scope of the Water Ambition will reach far beyond just the UK, with WWF helping to expand the scale of this work into international regions that have water risks. These include the Western Cape in South Africasouthern Spain; and the Kenyan regions of Naivasha, Nanyuki, Thika and Nairobi. 

Work is already underway in the UK locations, with established projects active on the ground through the Rivers Trust and other partners including BITC. The Water Ambition will act as a catalyst to help develop these projects by increasing industry participation, and generating new partnerships more widely. The projects aim to improve water quality and availability for local communities, for the wider environment and for greater resilience within supply chains.

WRAP, which oversees business engagement in the projects, is keen to see the whole food and drink sector, and other interested parties, get involved and share in the Ambition. Peter Maddox, Director at WRAP explains; “Water stewardship is an area that none of us can afford to take for granted. The United Nations predict that global demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40% in 2030 due to climate change, human action and population growth*. And in the UK, the supply chains that deliver more than half of our food are prone to disruptions like water scarcity. Eight of the top ten countries we import our food from are drought-prone, in fact.

“The Courtauld Commitment 2025 Water Ambition is a practical response to the growing problem of water stress. With WWF, the Rivers Trust and other leading water experts we’ve created a collaborative programme that works on a localised level, dealing directly at source with issues specific within each catchment area. Under the umbrella of the Water Ambition, we can assess how individual projects are making a collective difference, and help scale these up.

” Arlin Rickard, Chief Executive of The Rivers Trust strongly endorsed WRAP’s partnership approach and praised the signatories saying; “This commitment to the Water Ambition really takes Water Stewardship and the catchment based approach to the next level. We are all facing growing challenges that seriously impact on the quality and availability of water and contribute to the degradation of our soils, there has never been a more important time for collaborative action.  By working together, The Rivers Trust, and our partners, will be able to deliver practical changes that will benefit business, communities and the environment.

Dr Conor Linstead, Freshwater Specialist at WWF says “We believe that the Courtauld Commitment 2025 is an exciting and significant development for water stewardship. There are very few examples of whole sectors coming together to work collectively on water challenges in shared sourcing areas. Our experience of working with businesses on water has shown that this level of scale-up – to whole sectors – is essential if we are to successfully protect our freshwater resources and ecosystems into the future, because no one business can tackle the issue alone.”

The Courtauld Commitment 2025 Water Ambition has the support of some of the most influential businesses in the UK and WRAP is keen to hear from businesses who wish to get involved.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018 13:09

Raynor Foods Launch Hydroponic Garden

The Chelmsford-based food to go company have launched Rosemary Gardens, a vertical hydroponic growing system which will allow them to grow ingredients in house.

Rosemary Gardens, whose namesake is co-founder of Raynor foods Rosemary Raynor, has been trialled successfully throughout April and will begin with growing cress in house before trialling other microgreens and salad ingredients.

The trial was instigated by Raynor’s Research and Development department and was headed by Main Project Lead Billy Benorthan.

The fully automated vertical grow unit, uses LED lighting and is energy and water efficient. The LED lights are 16v, while the water filtration system reuses the water used to moisten the plants.

Innovation and Technical Director, Tom Holland, says: “Rosemary Gardens will allow us to bring a plethora of environmental benefits to Raynors as well as insuring the quality and safety of our ingredients. Becoming our own food primary producer will allow us to reduce our food miles and fully oversee the growth of the ingredients we use.”

Rosemary Gardens is the latest innovation project from the RND team, which has seen Raynors be the first food manufacturer to move to Intense™ tomatoes to eliminate soggy sandwiches as well as developing their own breed of lettuce which stays greener for longer and requires less cutting processes to be suitable for sandwiches.

The Raynor’s RND team have a number of other projects in the works, which are largely aimed at increasing sustainability in all areas of food manufacturing.

Raynor Foods was established 30 years ago. Since then, we have grown from a small family sandwich company into one of the leading wholesale sandwich suppliers in London, East Anglia and the South East. Raynors makes and supplies ready made sandwiches, wraps, paninis, snacks, sushi, salads and lunch bags to sandwich shops, cafes and coffee shops, retailers, catering companies, rail companies, airlines, schools, universities, hospitals and leisure and tourism venues.

The University of Brighton shows that you don't need big budgets to be able to dramatically transform some of your tired looking catering spaces.

Based across five campuses in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings with roots tracing back to 1858 when the Brighton School of Art was opened in the Royal Pavillion.  It then became a university in 1992 and today has 21, 135 students, 2,700 staff with 14 cafés and restaurants.

Last summer saw the catering team refurbish a number of outlets 'on a budget', to great success and they have worked hard to create a recognisable university brand.

Changes weren't only made to the fabric of the spaces, menus have been updated too.  With more grab and go choices and an increased range of healthy options including vegetarian and vegan food.  With such a strong focus on vegetarian and vegan options we aim to prove that the perception of eating healthily costs more is wrong.

To find out more about The University of Brighton's transformation on a budget, read our April Magazine, page 16

Thursday, 05 April 2018 11:24

Supplier Trading Update: Matthew Clark

Matthew Clark’s parent company, Conviviality PLC, made the headlines last month when it was revealed they had a £30m tax bill that had to be paid by the end of the month and they subsequently entered discussions with its lenders and looked at raising funds on the stock market.  By 28th March, Conviviality announced its intention to call in the administrators as efforts to raise £125m from shareholders had failed.

In his letter dated 16th March, James Lousada, MCW’s Commercial Director, stated that the fundamentals of the business were strong and that MCW remained a profitable business. Click here to view this letter.

Matthew Clark advised TUCO on 29th March that the full £125m funding had not been raised and the Board was looking at other options however it has been announced this morning (4th April) that C&C Group are to buy Bibendum and Matthew Clark: C&C Group has announced, that with the support of AB InBev, it is in advanced discussions to acquire the entire issued share capital of Matthew Clark (Holdings) Limited and Bibendum PLB (Topco) Limited and their subsidiary businesses Catalyst, Peppermint, Elastic and Walker & Wodehouse.  Matthew Clark Bibendum will be run as a separate business and C&C management believe the combination with C&C will: create the leading independent route-to-market network across the British Isles, alongside C&C’s existing drinks wholesaling businesses in the UK and Ireland; Stephen Glancey, group chief executive, said: “We know the Matthew Clark and Bibendum businesses very well. They are great businesses with unparalleled on-trade market access, a wide range of supplier relationships and supported by a knowledgeable and loyal employee base. The last few weeks have been challenging for employees, customers and suppliers alike. We hope today’s announcement can put an end to this period of disruption and uncertainty. We look-forward to working with our new colleagues and other stakeholders to bring stability and restore the group’s position as one of the leading and most respected drinks suppliers to the UK hospitality sector.”

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), who use Matthew Clark as their route to market, stated that there isn’t any change to this following the recent news. CCEP are continuing to work with MCW and have deliveries going in to them unless there is a material change.  CCEP are continuing with their plans for a permanent solution which they hope to be able to update members on soon.

TUCO continue to work with Matthew Clark and CCEP to ensure stock is available for members.  

A thousand restaurants will this weekend serve dishes that highlight how they’re addressing the problems in the food system as the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) launches a global campaign to help diners use the power of their appetites wisely.

Chefs including Raymond Blanc, Skye Gyngell and Chantelle Nicholson, as well as high street restaurants like Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s, Zizzi and Wahaca are participating in One Planet Plate, launching on Saturday 24 March.

Restaurants as far afield as Virgin Limited Edition’s Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, Shoun RyuGin in Taiwan, and L’Effervescence in Tokyo, will also be serving a One Planet Plate.

Two surveys conducted on behalf of the SRA, one by restaurant guide Harden’s, the other by National Union of Students, reveal very low levels of satisfaction with the social and environmental impact of the food on offer in UK restaurants.

Just 20% of those asked by Harden’s said they were satisfied with how ethical the food is on the menus of places they’ve eaten in recently, while even fewer, only 17% are satisfied with its impact on the environment.  The picture is similar amongst the students surveyed. Fewer than a quarter (24.8%) of students are satisfied with the environmental impact of the food on offer when they eat out, while fewer than one in three (30.4%) believe it’s meeting sufficient ethical standards.

Almost nine out of ten of those questioned by Harden’s (86%) said they thought restaurants should focus on creating a menu that helps them make sustainable choices.

Raymond Blanc OBE, President of the SRA, said: "At Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons we’ve been serving dishes made with vegetables grown in our very own kitchen garden, alongside free-range meat from the same fantastic British suppliers for more than 30 years. It’s so important to help people understand what sustainable food looks, smells and tastes like. By highlighting dishes that capture this ethos One Planet Plate will enhance diners’ experience and help them put their passion for good food into action."

One Planet Plate is a restaurant campaign to put sustainability on the menu – a chance for chefs worldwide to demonstrate to diners in food form how they’re contributing to a better food future.As the consumer survey results demonstrate, faced with a full menu of dishes to choose from, it can be hard for even the most conscious diners to feel confident they’re making the right choice, even in the most ethical restaurant. A One Planet Plate is effectively the chef’s sustainable special – his or her recommendation.

To give the campaign a kickstart, the SRA is launching it to coincide with WWF’s Earth Hour on 24 March – the largest environmental event in the calendar and a perfect moment to grab diners’ attention. This is the fourth year that the SRA has partnered with WWF on Earth Hour and this year more restaurants are participating than ever and giving customers the chance to make positive food choices. Diners can find 1,000 restaurants serving a One Planet Plate on a dynamic map at The site also serves as a treasure trove of 100 recipes for the dishes created and contributed by chefs from high end to high street.

Thomasina Miers, co-founder of Wahaca, which will be serving twice-cooked black beans with sobresada, pledged her support for the campaign saying: “I am delighted that Wahaca is taking up the One Planet Plate challenge with our twice-cooked black beans, one of our most delicious dishes on the menu, seasoned with the amazing sobresada from Trealy Farm.  It is incredibly easy to eat sustainable AND delicious food and the One Planet Plate campaign illustrates this beautifully.” 

Angela Hartnett whose Café Murano’s One Planet Plate is Spinach Strangolapretti, homemade ricotta, wild garlic, hazelnuts, said"This is an extremely important campaign and cause, and one I’m so pleased we can be a part of. At Cafe Murano we’re in constant conversation with our suppliers and each other about how we can be more sustainable and less wasteful. Italians are always using up bread and other often-wasted ingredients to make new dishes and so we try and implement this as much as possible."

Among the dozens of recipes shared by chefs are a number that designed to eliminate waste, including prawn head crispies (Moshi Moshi, London), sautéed oyster mushrooms (Harissa, Newcastle, made with mushrooms grown on coffee grounds) and bread soup with vegetable trimmings (Spring, London, using up stale bread). There are a number made with local ingredients including Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons’ home grown beetroot terrine and horseradish sorbet. 

Among the dishes rethinking the role of meat on the plate are potted beef (Richard H Turner at Hawksmoor) and pressed pig and walnuts (James Golding at The PIG).

Nicholas Balfe, of Salon, has created the sustainable alternative to smashed avocado – broccomole, while Ottolenghi Head Chef David Bravo is serving up cured Chalkstream rainbow trout with pickled broccoli stems in its Islington restaurant – to highlight sustainable seafood.

Andrew Stephen, Chief Executive of the SRA, said: “Our consumer surveys clearly demonstrate that diners are crying out for some simple signposting to help them. One Planet Plate gives chefs the chance to draw attention to one damned delicious dish that epitomises their ethos, and choosing it is a vote for the food future you want to see.”

The SRA is calling on diners to play their part by snapping a picture of a One Planet Plate when they eat out and sharing it on social media using #oneplanetplate.

More than four in ten (41%) Brits think we’ll be eating lab-grown meat and fish within just ten years, according to research by the human experience company, Starcom.

Lab-grown meat and fish, also known as cultured meat, is grown in a cell culture instead of inside of animals. It has been developed for nearly twenty years with NASA being one of the earliest groups to research its viability in 2002.2

Shortages of meat and fish is the top reason why people say they would eat lab-grown produce, followed by environmental and sustainability concerns. This isn’t surprising as currently around 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions are produced as a result of the meat industry.3 Pescetarians and vegetarians are the most confident with the speed of adoption with 59% and 51% respectively believing it’ll be on our plates within 10 years.

Starcom surveyed 2,000 people as part of its ongoing ‘Future of…’ thought-leadership series, which is based on rich insight into consumer trends and how emerging behaviours will impact brands and society as a whole. 

With rising food prices already rising quickly, 90% of Brits that do a weekly shop say they would start cutting back on spending if they were to rise again. Fresh meat and fish will be culled from the basket before fresh fruit and veg.

 It’s clear that for lab-grown meat and fish to become an accepted part of our diet, it needs to mimic closely the original. The most important quality for consumers is taste, followed by texture, smell and then its look.

There is still education needed for the majority of Brits to get used to the new food type. Currently 42% of people would eat lab-grown meat or fish in a restaurant, which drops slightly when it comes to fast food restaurants (37%).

Jodie Stranger, Starcom UK Group chief executive and president of global network clients, EMEA, said:

“The research is a fascinating look into the motivations and perceptions of consumers. For a food source that only really started proper development in the early noughties to have such acceptance already is amazing. It appears that this willingness to try something very new, and out of the norm, comes from a desire to help the planet and reduce the strains of meat production.”

 “Although greater education about the benefits of lab-grown produce is necessary, Brits are responsive. Nothing can undermine the need for a great tasting and good quality meal. However, with pressures on the industry to source the sheer quantity needed to feed our appetites and for consumers to pay for it, we’re going to see a lot more on interest in this area. Brands that create a great product and manage to effectively educate the market will reap the rewards.”

Wednesday, 14 March 2018 12:19

How TUCO are getting ready for GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enforcement date is 25 May. This is also when the current Data Protection Act 1998 will be replaced by a new Data Protection Act 2018 – and there are actions we need to take before this date.TUCO Framework and Call-Off agreements are being amended and will be used to replace existing data protection clauses, so that our contracts comply with the GDPR and the new Data Protection Act.

Which TUCO frameworks and contracts are being updated and what will happen?

We have taken a risk-based prioritisation approach to implementing GDPR into our frameworks and contracts:

  • Low risk – where there is minimal or no personal data involved no change will be made to include the new GDPR compliant clauses. However, and regardless of risk, we will make changes to T&Cs of all in progress tenders.
  • Medium to High risk – where suppliers’ process personal data, new Call-Off T&Cs will be uploaded to the TUCO website. TUCO will identify these agreements and once identified we will write to you to confirm the agreements. We will also ask suppliers to complete GDPR assessment questionnaires which will be assessed by TUCO and where necessary the Framework T&Cs with each supplier will be varied. 

What about my ongoing call-off contracts?  

We will upload to the TUCO website, variations to Call-Off T&Cs and variation guidance, for members to follow. Members will be able to use the T&Cs or update their own Call-Off T&Cs, if used.Members will be responsible for issuing the variation to make these changes into any of your call-off contracts involving the processing of personal data. By mid April we will write to you and advise the agreements and suppliers and confirm the revised Call-Off T&Cs and variation guidance and framework T&Cs available.

Do suppliers have to accept the change? 

Yes, they are under a duty to comply with law, and the GDPR requires them to insert these provisions.

What are the key dates? 

The GDPR comes into force on 25 May 2018. Therefore, consortia and members must have contract clauses changed before this date. 
We are aiming to ensure that all framework changes are signed by the end of April. We will confirm to you when this has been done.
You will then have until 25 May to vary the changes to your call-off contracts.

Wednesday, 07 March 2018 12:54

Business Development Manager Vacancy

This is a new, and critical, role for TUCO we are looking for a talented, enthusiastic person who must be at ease communicating with directors within our membership. You will be involved in a diverse range of creative projects and events where your ideas will be developed, and you will have input into key decisions in further raising attention to the TUCO brand.

We are looking for an energetic person with a keen work ethic and ability to engage and build relationships with colleagues and stakeholders. A business development professional, who has a robust commercial skillset. Knowledge and experience of the education sector and/or hospitality would be advantageous, and in return we offer a generous package.  For more information and to apply click here

Simon Law has recently joined the University of Exeter from Compass Group, as Director of Catering and Retail Services.

The main priorities of his role are the student experience, developing a team committed to providing an excellent service and continuing to enhance the catering and retail offer at the University. Simon is focused on ensuring high standards, creating an international experience and a wide range of healthy eating choices, whilst ensuring value for money for customers.

During his time at Compass Group, Simon worked across several territories (including Germany, Gibraltar and the South Atlantic Islands), looking after the strategic direction and delivery of catering, food and beverage services. He has over 10 years’ experience providing catering for the defence sector and has spent time with the national retail chain Morrisons.

Speaking of his appointment, Simon said: “I am passionate about retail and catering. Exeter has already got a very strong reputation within the University sector for providing award winning catering and a diverse retail offer and I look forward to working with the teams to develop this further.” 

Thursday, 01 March 2018 10:14

Hugo Mahoney named as CEO, Brakes UK

Hugo Mahoney, who joined Brakes ten months ago as Chief Commercial Officer, has already made an impact across the business, drawing on a wealth of commercial leadership experience gained in a range of sectors including technology and FMCG.

Ajoy Karna, Sysco’s Senior Vice President, International - Europe said:

“Since joining Brakes, Hugo has demonstrated that he has the leadership qualities required to lead Brakes on the next step of its journey.  His broad range of experience gives us a different perspective on our opportunities as well as our challenges and both we, and our customers, are already seeing the benefits of this.”     

Speaking of his new role, which is effective from 1st March 2018, Mahoney said: 

“Brakes is a great business and with the power of Sysco behind us, the investment that has been made over the past few years sets us in very good stead to continue building a great future.  We fully expect to enhance our position as the UK’s leading delivered wholesaler and our customers’ most valued and trusted business partner.”

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