Anjali Dattani

Anjali Dattani

Key actions businesses should take to help curb the situation of plastic packaging polluting the environment have been laid out by WRAP in The UK Plastics Pact Roadmap to 2025, published today. 

The actions relate to a series of important milestones aligned with the targets of The UK Plastics Pact, the world’s first programme to tackle the issue of plastic waste through collaboration across the entire supply chain; with the UK acting as a testbed for a planned network of country-specific, global Plastics Pacts. 

The UK Plastics Pact Roadmap to 2025 provides a framework for all businesses, including members, to deliver the ambitious targets. Together, UK Plastic Pact member businesses are responsible for eighty per cent of plastic packaging sold through UK supermarkets, and half of all packaging placed on the market. The Roadmap is a guide for businesses and others to know what actions need to be taken, by when, and outlines some of the key challenges that will need to be overcome. It has been designed by WRAP as a living document that will evolve over time, reflecting changes in policy and innovations. The Roadmap also includes commentary on the complementary roles of Government and citizens to ensure the UK moves towards a circular economy for plastics. 

Achieving the milestones will bring huge benefits for the UK says WRAP but will require tough decisions to be taken and significant investment made. Publication of the Roadmap precedes the forthcoming Resources and Waste Strategy, which is expected to outline policies that will help drive forward the plastics agenda. 

Marcus Gover, Chief Executive of WRAP explains; “We have sixty-eight of the UK’s largest businesses and organisations committed to the UK Plastics Pact from retail and brands, manufacturers and hospitality, to the plastic supply sector, recycling and resource management. I’m very impressed with progress made in the first six months since we launched the Pact. This is proving to be a powerful and motivated group. The Roadmap is a real opportunity for them to forge ahead and make change happen at scale, and in significant ways.

“But these targets cannot be delivered by business action alone. It needs policy intervention as well as consumers to play a part. Factors like Extended Producer Responsibility are going to have a profound influence on momentum, and effecting change in areas such as collections, recycling and reprocessing.”

The UK Plastics Pact Roadmap to 2025 aims to move plastics from being a single-use disposable material to a valued resource, in line with the circular economy model, while avoiding unintended environmental consequences of actions such as substitution or blanket removal which could lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions and/or increased food waste. 

The outcomes of the Roadmap will help reduce confusion as to whether packaging is recyclable; if the targets are achieved all plastic packaging will be recyclable or compostable by 2025.

The roadmap also sets interim targets for increasing recycling and recycled content. Achieving this will require investment in the UK recycling infrastructure and would be expected to generate new jobs, while easing the pressure of plastic waste exportation. 

WRAP has set three key milestones dates: April 2019, the end of 2022 and finally by 2025. 

WRAP will also look to utilise flagship projects to tackle the barriers to improved sorting, recycling and use of recycled content. To support this a £1.4 million flagship projects competition was launched at the UK Plastics Pact Summit, in October. The competition forms part of the £20 million Plastic Research and Innovation fund, which was announced by the Chancellor during the Autumn Statement in 2017, to engage Britain's best scientists and innovators towards sustainable approaches to plastics.

The need to drive demand for recycled content was highlighted in the recent budget proposal from the Chancellor, which sets out to consult on a new tax to all plastic packaging that doesn’t include at least 30% recycled content. It is hoped that members’ support, coupled with Government intervention, will send a strong signal about recycled content to the market, creating demand to help investment in recycling infrastructure. 

Next steps

WRAP will continue to encourage UK Plastics Pact members to work collaboratively to influence design and selection of packaging materials and products; both own label & branded. In the coming months WRAP will publish further guidance on recyclability, including the recyclability of card-based packaging. To achieve the roadmap milestones, members will need to create their own action plans that support each target. WRAP will monitor progress and identify the opportunities for sharing good practice and convening collaborative action.

WRAP is leading several work streams ahead of the first milestone, including the development of a strategy for recycling household film and a number of trial projects, as well as developing criteria for unnecessary and problematic plastics, and options to tackle them. 

The sustainability experts continue to work with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to support a global network of Plastics Pacts and has been approached by several international governments and organisations to replicate the model in other countries.

The 14th edition of the prestigious Green Gown Awards Ceremony gathered 87 finalist institutions in 12 different categories for an unforgettable evening on Thursday 8th November. Representing over 1 million students, 172,000 staff and a combined annual turnover of £15 billion, these institutions are proving their value to the economy and society. Organised by the EAUC, the Ceremony was held in the home of iconic locomotives and engineering brilliance, The National Railway Museum in York in conjunction with the University of York and York St John University.

Showing institutions are not bound around a specific theme or size when it comes to exceptional initiatives, winners ranged from Stockport Continuing Education Service to Glasgow Kelvin College to the University of Edinburgh with projects as diverse as health and wellbeing opportunities for individuals in recovery from addiction dependency to food waste behaviour change to sea water greenhouses with global impact.

The Awards saw guests from institutions, companies and organisations across the UK and Ireland come to celebrate the educational initiatives, staff, and students helping address some of the most pressing global challenges. For the second year running, finalists mapped their entry against the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the most popular being ‘sustainable cities and communities’, ‘responsible consumption and production’ and ‘quality education’.

To keep everyone in suspense, for the first time ever attendees voted live for the winner of ‘Outstanding Leadership Team of the Year’. Driven by the motto: “Together everybody achieves more!” Keele University triumphed to win this accolade. Commenting on gaining two Awards on the night for Benefitting Society and Next Generation Learning and Skills, University of the Arts London Vice Chancellor, Professor Nigel Carrington said: "Winning two Green Gown Awards recognises and celebrates the fantastic sustainability work taking place within the UAL community. Our Sustainability Manifesto guides our focus through a holistic set of themes, increasing engagement with sustainability and catalysing progress within and beyond our institution."

University of Edinburgh received the Sustainability Institution of the Year Award for the continuous work to adopt a whole institution approach and become a more socially responsible and sustainable university. Professor Lesley McAra, Assistant Principal Community Relations said: “The efforts of our staff, students and partnership working are essential to deliver the programmes that will ensure we achieve our vision of being a socially responsible and sustainable university. Public recognition provides us with an opportunity to celebrate their enthusiasm and hard work.”

Iain Patton, CEO of the EAUC, co-hosted the ceremony alongside Helen Browning OBE, CEO of the Soil Association. Opening the awards, Iain said: “Tonight’s celebration emphasises the role of education in enabling and empowering young people to tackle the pressing global issues we are all facing. In their commitment to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, universities and colleges across the UK and Ireland are proving that they are leading through their research, enterprise and education for the next generation that we need to provide the solutions.”

Helen Browning OBE, CEO of the Soil Association said: “Inspiring the next generation to take on the challenges of sustainability is an issue at the centre of my personal journey in food, farming and the environment so it’s wonderful to see the all the winners celebrated tonight. Food and how we produce it is at the heart of tackling many environmental challenges today so it’s also great to see the Soil Association accredit the award dinner menu through our Food for Life Served Here award.”

This year’s winners were as varied as ever. The Student Engagement Award went to Glasgow Kelvin College for their White Ribbon campaign to tackle gender violence against women on a global scale empowering staff and students to raise awareness of this societal challenge. Meanwhile, Aston University scooped the Research with Impact Award for their thorough study that has led to the development of cooling and desalination technologies to create seawater greenhouses that are enabling food to be grown sustainably in arid world regions. The Tomorrow’s Employees Award was claimed by University of Wales Trinity Saint David for their innovative approach to ensuring business graduates are equipped with skills and knowledge to become a part of the shaping of business thinking in the world for our next generations. The Campus of the Future Award went to Newcastle University for the building-as-a-lab (BaaL) concept dedicated to innovative and interdisciplinary sustainability research which stands as an exemplar for a lower carbon age. The building features a heating system fed by heat pumps, grid-integrated energy storage, photovoltaic (PV) and PV-thermal arrays.

The winners of Benefitting Society, Student Engagement and Sustainability Institution of the Year now go head to head with other global regional winners for the coveted International Green Gown Awards.

A new report from the UK’s leading sustainability experts WRAP shows for the first time the scale of milk wastes across the food chain, from processing to our homes, and highlights ways we can significantly reduce the 330,000* tonnes of total milk lost each year, worth more than £150 million. 

Milk waste in the home is by far the largest contributor, accounting for nearly 90% of UK milk waste with 290,000** tonnes thrown every year. This equates to more than 490 million pints of milk as a nation - or eighteen and a half pints per household.

Furthermore, milk waste in the supply chain, through breakages and leaks during transportation and in retail outlets, represents 30,000 tonnes; with an additional 13,000 tonnes of waste identified during processing.

WRAP’s report Opportunities to Reduce Waste along the Journey of Milk, from Dairy to Home identifies key actions that could help reduce this waste by an estimated 90,000 tonnes per year, offering a potential combined saving of upwards of £40 million. Actions are required across the entire value chain, and WRAP’s work shows opportunities to reduce milk waste during processing, transportation, retail and ultimately how we can all cut milk waste in our homes.

WRAP has begun work tackling the biggest trigger for waste in the home, refrigeration.

Milk waste in the home

WRAP’s research shows that more than anything else, keeping milk at the right temperature is essential to stop it spoiling early, and the typical UK fridge at home is operating at 2°C warmer than the recommended Food Standards Agency guideline of between 0-5 degrees. Moreover, many people don’t know what temperature their fridge is running at or have any easy way of knowing how to set it to the right temperature.

Under its Love Food Hate Waste campaign, WRAP is addressing the confusion people have with the variety of fridges settings with a new interactive guide The resource helps anyone check that the temperature setting is correct for 24 of the county’s most popular fridges.

WRAP estimates reducing the temperature of our fridges to below 5°C could stop more than 50,000 tonnes of milk waste every year, saving shoppers £25 million.

Another way to tackle the confusion around fridge temperatures could be the use of temperature sensitive labels on milk. These use thermochromic inks, which change colour above or below a certain temperature threshold (e.g. 5°C), and could therefore display messages indicating that the fridge (and milk) is too warm. As milk is a universal product in most people’s fridges, they could be a conduit to help improve awareness at a significant scale – with food waste prevention benefits across many other products.

In terms of existing labelling, WRAP’s best practice guidance for the choice and application of date labels and storage guidance, produced with Defra and the Food Standards Agency last year, champions the use of the Little Blue Fridge icon with supporting messaging to ‘keep in the fridge below 5°C’ on the front of all milk bottles. The label and icon reflect the need for clearer storage instructions and WRAP is calling for the Little Blue Fridge to be more widely used on milk packaging.

Another way to reduce milk waste at home is increased freezing, and WRAP is working with the dairy sector to assess how increased freezing could assist in reducing milk waste at home.

Only a quarter of the population (26%) freeze milk compared with half who freeze meat (51%), and the number who freeze fish and seafood (37%) and bread (35%). WRAP estimates that increasing freezing levels for milk to match those of fish and bread could cut more than 10,000 tonnes of waste, saving £5 million. However, there are a number of quality and handing issues associated with freezing that have also been reported, such as the potential for bottles to split or leak. The dairy sector is working to make sure that it’s clear which milk products can be frozen, and that more packs can withstand freezing’

WRAP also looked at the benefits that longer shelf lives could bring, and its research shows that increasing the average ‘Use By’ life available to consumers by just one day could reduce waste by more than 20,000 tonnes, or £10 million.

Industry continues to take positive steps to increase milk shelf life, including processing innovations, site hygiene best practices, and reducing time in the supply chain. Smart labelling innovations that can adjust shelf life based on the condition of the milk might also offer a future opportunity to increase the life on-pack.

WRAP also reiterates a series of recommendations made to white goods manufacturers, to ensure products like milk have optimum storage conditions. These include;

• Increase the number of new fridges that have an integral thermometer. Ideally with the temperature indicator visible even when the door is closed.
• Where fridges contain dials, industry should develop a standard for whether turning the dial up or down reduces or raises the temperature or make it clearer for any given fridge which direction produces a cooler or warmer temperature.
• Reinforce the importance of keeping the fridge at the right temperature with tips on using a thermometer and regular temperature checks. And present this graphically within the fridge or manufacturer’s handbook.
• Include illustrations within the fridge, or manufacturer’s handbook, that clearly show where the coldest part of the fridge is, together with guidance on which temperature sensitive foods should be stored where.
• Include point of sale material to highlight the importance of good temperature control, fridge humidity and using a fridge thermometer.

Milk wastes in the supply chain

Turning attention further along the supply chain, the most significant waste identified during milk processing arises from the process of separating cream from milk, which produces a material known as ‘separator desludge’. This is usually sent straight to drain, but WRAP believes this is a potentially rich resource with high nutrient value proteins. Further processing into materials suitable for food, or animal feed applications could reduce waste by an estimated 10,000 tonnes and cut disposal costs by around £1 million a year.

WRAP also identifies practical interventions to avoid milk waste in depots and retail stores, which could save industry an estimated £1.5 million. For example, reviewing bottle design and specifications to avoid breakages and leaks which are the major causes of waste at this stage of the product journey.

WRAP will work with the sector through the Courtauld 2025 Dairy Working Group to help ensure the recommendations are implemented and plans to track improvements and innovations to pack design and labelling over time through its Retail Survey. Progress will also be reported as part of a new target within The Dairy Roadmap - to increase product and packaging design features that help prevent consumer food waste.

Funding has been made available to help encourage Scottish businesses aiming to cut food waste.

Up to £1 million in support has been offered as part of a bid to cut waste in Scotland. Zero Waste Scotland called for expressions of interest from small and medium-sized businesses at the close of a circular economy hotspot event in Glasgow this week. The organisation is working to help the Scottish Government achieve its target of reducing food waste by 33% by 2025. The funding is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Scottish Government. 

Cutting down on food waste isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good for business, too. Estimates suggest the amount of food which could have been eaten but instead is thrown away by food service outlets is equivalent to one in six meals. Grants of up to £1 million are available for projects that will drive forward innovative, transformational, cost-effective and collaborative approaches to keeping food-based products in high value use, or to reducing waste in the food supply chain.

Iain Gulland, Zero Waste Scotland chief executive, said: “Cutting down on food waste isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good for business, too. The Circular Economy Hotspot has showcased some of Scotland’s best circular economy businesses to a global audience and we know there is huge economic potential for businesses with ideas to reduce food waste. We hope that by highlighting this funding we will encourage more SMEs to come forward with innovative ideas to cut waste and create new business opportunities. When it comes to food waste, there is no trade-off between doing the right thing for the climate and doing the right thing for your business.”

Proposals will be accepted from:

  • Small and medium sized businesses with projects enabling transformational change in the food supply chain by implementing circular economy solutions and business models to reduce waste.
  • Funding may be awarded to projects led by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and supported by Scotland's academic talent; or to SMEs alone or as a group to progress innovative projects themselves.
  • The funding is aimed at projects at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4, in other words, to take projects to commercialisation stage.

They are seeking projects which: 

  • Are innovative and transformational;
  • Are pilot examples, replicable across the industry;
  • Deliver on carbon reduction, job creation and leveraged investment.

To help illustrate the scope of projects sought some example scenarios include:

  • Software solutions designed to improve supply chain and reduce waste;
  • Innovative packaging which will extend product shelf life and reduce food and drink waste;
  • Collaborative production and supply chain models which address specific food waste issues;
  • Design of novel processes to extend shelf life and reduce waste;
  • Business innovation which creates value from by-product or what would have been waste product;
  • Equipment or machinery that will reduce food waste during; processing, production or transportation;
  • Development of packaging solutions which may be applicable to other sectors.

How to apply:

Please complete the expression of interest form which can be accessed here by the deadline of 31 January 2019. If successful you will be asked to complete an outline project proposal form and thereafter you may be invited to submit a full application.

Eligible organisations:

Should the project have the potential to assist in the creation of a circular economy or improve resource efficiency, it would be eligible for funding support via the £73m Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, administered by Zero Waste Scotland.  Eligible organisations are small and medium enterprises according to the European Commission definition of fewer than 250 employees and with a turnover below € 50m (further information).

  • 56% of UK adults eat vegetarian/meat-free foods.
  • UK meat-free market reaches estimated £740 million in 2018.
  • 34% of Brits have limited/reduced meat eating in the first half of 2018.

As November kicks off World Vegan Month, latest research from Mintel reveals a surge in vegan claims in the UK meat-free foods market. According to Mintel research, the share of meat-free new products carrying a vegan/no animal ingredients claim nearly doubled between 2014-17.

This growing profile of vegan foods is reflected by the fact that in 2017, more than half (52%) of new product launches in the meat-free foods market were vegan/contained no animal ingredients up from 28% in 2014, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD). The significant growth in the availability of vegan products in the meat-free foods market will appeal to the 26% of consumers who prefer meat-free products to be plant-based rather than containing eggs or dairy. Mintel’s latest research also highlights that the popularity of meat-free foods extends well beyond the small pool of non-meat eaters that describe themselves as vegan.

Keen to get a slice of the meat-free action, as many as 56% of UK adults have eaten vegetarian/meat-free foods in the six months to July 2018, a significant increase from the 50% who had eaten these foods in the six months to March 2017. Estimated to reach £740 million in 2018, sales of meat-free foods (including a growing range of vegan products) have shot up 22% between 2013-18. Growth is set to continue as value sales of the meat-free market are forecast to increase by a further 44% by 2023 to reach £1.1 billion.

Alyson Parkes, Research Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Although the meat-free market is not vegan by definition, there has been a significant increase in the number of new products that carry a vegan claim. The buzz surrounding ‘Veganuary’ gained momentum in January 2018, with a raft of vegan products launching to capitalise on the month-long meat-free movement. Vegan claims in the market span own-label products, as well as branded ones, signalling that supermarkets are also keen to capitalise on this interest. The appeal of meat-free products also extends far beyond the still very limited pool of vegan consumers. The rising profile of meat-free products and plant-based diets has been helped by activity in the foodservice arena and a significant advertising push in 2018, which has increased the visibility and awareness of these products among consumers, as well as injected excitement into the category.”

Brits trim back meat consumption

While 90% of Brits are red meat/poultry eaters, Mintel research highlights consumer interest in limiting/reducing meat consumption remains strong, as 34% of meat eaters reduced their meat consumption in 2018. Younger Brits aged 25-34 are the most likely (40%) to have reduced meat consumption in the last year. A further 21% of meat eaters say that they would be interested in limiting/reducing their meat consumption in the future, highlighting the growing appeal of meat reduction and the opportunity for meat-free foods.

The top three perceived benefits of eating less meat are improving health (32%), saving money (31%), and being better for the environment (25%). Despite improving health being seen as the top benefit, considerably fewer consumers associate eating less meat with helping to manage weight (25%) or reducing the risk of disease (22%).

“The UK’s overarching health trend has underpinned meat reduction behaviours, with consumers increasingly looking for better-for-you food and drink products. However, the benefits associated with eating less meat extend far beyond health, also encompassing animal ethics and the environment. The multi-dimensional appeal of the meat-free trend bodes well for its longevity.” Adds Alyson.

Meat avoiders want their meat-free foods to look like meat

Tasting like meat is the top enticing factor for 26% of non-/infrequent eaters of vegetarian/meat-free foods. There is also some interest in products that replicate meat in other ways, with 15% of this consumers group agreeing that meat-free burgers which ‘bleed’ are appealing; rising to 25% of 16-34-year-olds.

Despite this, Mintel research confirms that there is some confusion and concern surrounding meat-free foods, with 44% of Brist unclear about what ingredients are used in these foods. With two-fifths (41%) of consumers agreeing that meat-free foods with a shorter list of ingredients are more appealing than those with longer ingredient lists, and a further 31% believing that meat-free foods are too processed to be healthier than meat, transparency is key in order to reassure consumers and build trust.

“Several companies have recently launched revolutionary plant-based burgers that mimic the same ‘bleeding’ quality as animal-based meat burgers when cooked. This meat-replicating feature certainly makes the concept of meat-free foods more newsworthy and intriguing for consumers which, combined with health credentials, ethical claims and environmental considerations, creates a compelling proposition. This visual aspect also makes these products highly ‘Instagrammable’, and can help catch the eye of experimental foodies, as well as a wider audience.” Concludes Alyson.

Does your institution have a vegan or plant-based menu or concept? If so, you could feature in the January TUCO Magazine! Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more. 

A first of its kind mobile app to help people go vegan is being launched today after research showed half of Brits would consider becoming vegan.

mock-up 300dpi

The Vegan Society has released the free VeGuide app - which is now available on Android and iOS devices - to mark its 74th birthday this World Vegan Day (1 November). The app is an introduction to a vegan lifestyle through a combination of interactive content with shopping, nutrition and recipe information, tailored for a UK audience. It helps users deal with issues such as giving up cheese or struggling to find vegan products by covering the basics of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle over 30 days.

With 95% of people aged 16-34 owning a smartphone in 2018 in the UK, it is hoped the app will appeal to the younger tech-savvy audience.

Danielle Saunders, Digital Content Officer at The Vegan Society, said: “We are so excited to launch an app we developed specifically with the vegan-curious in mind.

“VeGuide was designed to provide a platform that’s more suited to the younger audience, which our research showed are the most likely age group to have an interest in veganism. We feel the development of VeGuide marks a new phase for The Vegan Society and a new way of embracing veganism for the general public.”

The Society’s research found that awareness of what veganism stands for is spreading among the British public, with 22% of respondents knowing more about it now than they ever did growing up. The charity has worked with celebrities, dietitians and vegan experts to bring together all the advice VeGuide users are able to benefit from.

The video content is presented by prominent vegan YouTubers RaeLikesFroot and Jay Brave who act as personal guides, exploring the most common stumbling blocks to going vegan.

Budding vegans will be encouraged to stay on track with facts and motivational quotes, specifically tailored to the reasons why they said wanted to take the plunge. The app, which has UK and US versions, also includes quizzes and a rewards programme for products registered with the Vegan Trademark.

Most vegan pledges are email-based such as those people take as a New Year’s resolution, making VeGuide is the first app of its kind. A Vegan Society survey this year found the number of vegans in Great Britain had quadrupled in the past four years from 150,000 to 600,000. World Vegan Day and Month commemorate the founding of The Vegan Society and celebrate how far the vegan movement has come. 

World Vegan Month is the best time to start your vegan journey. VeGuide is available to download for free on Google Play and the App Store now.

Does your institution have a vegan or plant-based menu or concept? If so, you could feature in the January TUCO Magazine! Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more. 

The Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) latest business confidence survey reveals that over a third (38%) of food and drink manufacturers surveyed are reporting an increase in costs as a result of stockpiling ahead of a possible ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

With less than five months to go until the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union (EU), FDF’s quarterly surveys have shown a significant decline in business confidence amongst food and drink manufacturers during 2018. Economic uncertainty has seen net confidence amongst food and drink manufacturers decrease by 21 percentage points when comparing results reported in Q1 with those reported in Q3.

When looking ahead to 2019, two thirds of businesses FDF spoke to identified future tariff implications as a risk to their business. Just under 60% of businesses surveyed thought business investment across the overall UK economy would fall in 2019, while more than 96% expect to see rising input prices.

For SMEs, who make up 97% of the UK’s food and drink manufacturing sector, retail market consolidation was one of the top three barriers expected to impact the success of their business in 2019. This follows the recent takeovers of Booker by Tesco, Nisa by the Co-op, and the proposed merger of Sainsbury’s and Asda which present significant concerns for UK manufacturers.

Business conditions for food and drink manufacturers have been especially difficult this year, in part due to the fall in the value of sterling which has contributed to increased costs of ingredients and raw materials. More than three quarters (79%) of businesses FDF spoke to reported increased ingredient costs as the biggest impact on their businesses in Q3, while 71% of those polled cited increased packaging costs.

Ian Wright CBE, FDF Chief Executive said:

“These results tell us just how seriously the food and drink industry, the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, takes a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. It is a grisly prospect to which we edge closer every passing day.

“Yesterday’s announcement from the Chancellor - with measures to support productivity, exports, enterprise and investment - offers some respite for our SME food and drink manufacturers.

“But there is significantly increased worry across the sector following the announcement of the Chancellor’s new tax on plastic packaging. This will undoubtedly place many more financial burdens on UK food and drink manufacturers - that loads on cost at a time when just under three-quarters of our members report that their packaging costs are increasing. The storm clouds are gathering.”


Tuesday, 30 October 2018 08:45

Busting persistent frozen food myths

A new study has revealed that many British people still cling to a surprising number of myths about frozen food – so experts and frozen food business Birds Eye have set about putting the record straight.

Common myths such as foods being unsafe to freeze, and that frozen food contains fewer nutrients than fresh or is packed with preservatives, are still believed by people in every corner of the UK – even while the nation gets through more than 300 million items of frozen food in an average week.

The study was commissioned by Birds Eye, surveying a representative sample of 2,000 Brits to assess national attitudes towards frozen food.

Commonly-held myths about frozen food

One fifth of consumers think frozen fruit and vegetables have lower nutrient levels than their fresh counterparts, while 75% don’t think you can cook meat from frozen. 10% even think that all frozen food is more expensive than the fresh version.

But dietitian and health writer Laura Tilt, working in partnership with Birds Eye to debunk such myths, revealed that this is not the case. Overall, studies have shown the nutrient levels in frozen fruit and veg are the same as fresh produce; occasionally frozen fruit and veg may actually retain more vitamins.

Laura also highlighted that although 1 in 12 don’t know that frozen foods last longer than their fresh equivalents, freezing actually keeps food safe and tasty to eat for far longer.

Nearly two thirds (64%) don’t think you can freeze all types of food, but the experts revealed the opposite is true. The truth is that only a few foods aren’t ideal for freezing, such as eggs (raw or cooked) or vegetables with a high water content that tend to go mushy upon defrosting.

The benefits of frozen

These mistaken beliefs could be causing families to waste food, when fresh goods which aren’t consumed are dumped – freezing them could help keep costs down and reduce household waste.

But 65% don’t think you can cook fruit or vegetables from frozen, while only 25% think you can cook meat from frozen – yet another myth.

Laura added: “Many (but not all) foods can be cooked from frozen. Examples include chicken breasts, mince, fish, pizza, fruit and vegetables, and ready meals. The best advice is to check the packet of the food for specific cooking and heating instructions.”

Part of a healthy diet

12% also wrongly think that frozen food can’t form part of a healthy diet – but a rounded diet is complemented by frozen fruit & veg just as much as fresh.

Laura revealed that “two fifths of Brits believe frozen foods are filled with preservatives but the actual freezing process preserves the food, so added preservatives aren’t required. Freezing is like pressing the pause button.

“Similarly, one third reckons the foods in our freezers are packed with salt, but frozen foods don’t actually contain any more salt than fresh. And some frozen foods, like fruit and vegetables, don’t contain any salt at all. It’s helpful to look at nutrition labels if trying to cut down your salt intake – both of fresh and frozen foods.”

A spokesman for Birds Eye said: “We’re committed to delivering delicious, nutritious food. Frozen food can be a really valuable addition to a family's weekly diet, as the freezing process locks in the 'good stuff'.

“And, let's face it, kids are always changing their minds about what they want to eat – so frozen food is a great way to get a balanced diet without wasting food.”

Lauren Woodley, a Nutrition Manager at Birds Eye, added: “Freezing is great as ice is nature’s preservative, locking in the nutrients and goodness of foods. Frozen food is available at peak quality year round, irrespective of the season, and using frozen foods helps to reduce our food waste.

“Frozen fruits, vegetables and fish are especially great, as they count towards our 5-a-day and recommended 2 portions of fish a week, and are in many cases more convenient and easy to prepare than fresh.”

Further findings

Three quarters of us typically opt for frozen foods out of convenience, while three fifths choose frozen as the foods will last longer.

The study found that peas come out on top as the most regularly consumed frozen food, ahead of chips and even ice cream.

It also highlighted generational differences in perceptions of frozen food, with younger people consistently underestimating its benefits and admitting ignorance. Over a third (36%) of those aged 18-24 believed frozen fruit and veg to contain fewer nutrients than fresh, compared to just 13% of over-55s.

The UK’s favourite freezer foods (most often consumed in a typical week)

  1. Peas
  2. Chips
  3. Ice-cream
  4. Fish fillets
  5. Bread
  6. Pizza
  7. Sausages
  8. Plain chicken
  9. Fish fingers
  10. Ready meals
  11. Breaded chicken
  12. Burgers
  13. Ice lollies
  14. Yorkshire puddings
  15. Sweetcorn
  16. Green beans
  17. Broccoli
  18. Carrots
  19. Roast potatoes
  20. Desserts

More information:

WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment 2025 beat competition from around the world to win the inaugural global ‘State-of-the-Art Partnership of the Year Award’ at the P4G Copenhagen Summit on Saturday. The award was in recognition of its successful work in bringing the food and drink industry together across the entire supply chain to successfully tackle food waste in the UK.

Chief Executive Marcus Gover and Director of  WRAP Global Richard Swannell received the award from Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess of Denmark in front of a 500-strong international audience.

Said Marcus Gover:  “I am delighted to win such a prestigious award for WRAP’s work on delivering high-impact partnerships. It was the history, scale, innovation and proven impact of the Courtauld Commitment over the last 13 years that won through.  It was also recognition of how WRAP brings people together across long value chains to collaborate, catalyse change and make a difference together.

“This is a model we believe could be widely adopted around the world to tackle the urgent issue of food waste and help to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals cost-effectively.”

Courtauld Commitment 2025 was amongst 15 examples of public-private partnerships which had been chosen by a team of global experts and international organisations working with the Danish Government to showcase their work at the Summit. The partnerships represented the five focus SDG areas of food and agriculture, clean water, renewable energy, healthy cities and the circular economy.

At the Summit, which was held in the Danish capital of Copenhagen over 19 & 20 October, five partnerships were chosen to receive a 2018 P4G State-of-the-Art Partnership Award and the opportunity to pitch for the overall prize in front of a panel of industry experts, as well as the Summit’s participants.

In announcing the winner, P4G Global Director Ian de Cruz said: “We are so proud to recognise each sector winner as well as the partnership of the year so that these projects can help drive us forward – as a P4G family and as a network of do-ers.”

P4G – Partnership for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 -  is a new initiative, currently funded by the Danish Government, which aims to become the world’s leading forum for developing concrete public-private partnerships at scale to deliver the UN SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement.

The P4G Copenhagen Summit 2018 brought together Head of States and Governments, leaders of international organisations, businesses, academia, and the civil society from around the world. It was billed as a ‘place for accelerating and showcasing partnerships with scalable solutions to some of the global challenges in food and agriculture, water, energy, cities and circular economy.’

TUCO are delighted to have picked up the coveted award of Procurement Team of the Year at this year's Foodservice Cateys 2018. 

The awards, which took place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, celebrates the individuals, teams and businesses shaping the foodservice industry. Recipients are nominated, selected and rewarded by their industry peers. 

What the judges said:
“TUCO has firmly established itself as the market leader in the university sector and adds real value through market intelligence and study tours.”
Chris Durrant, commercial partner, the Litmus Partnership

“A dynamic organisation serving a number of diverse products. A deserved winner, showing a great level of procurement knowledge.”
Chris Mitchell, director, the Genuine Dining Co

“An outstanding procurement team who are supporting the hospitality industry while bringing the value of best-in-class products and services to life.”
Diana Spellman, managing director, Partners in Purchasing

“It’s terrific to be able to reward an organisation that touches such a range of companies. TUCO is very focused on its objective and illustrates how it truly adds value.”
Chris Stern, managing director, Stern Consultancy

Jane Eve, Head of Contracts at TUCO, said: "The team are thrilled to have won the Foodservice Cateys Procurement Team of the Year title. TUCO members are at the heart of everything we do. It is extremely rewarding for our efforts to be recognised at this prestigious event. This achievement will drive the team on to explore further opportunities for the benefit of TUCO members."

Find out more about the Procurement Team here, and read about our procurement services



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TUCO Magazine Editor: Liz Jones

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Contact Us

The University Caterers Organisation Ltd

3rd Floor, National House

St Ann Street, Manchester

M2 7LE

t: 0161 713 3420 e: [email protected]