the Latest news from the FOOD industry

17 JAN 2018

NHS contingency plans in place after the collapse of Carillion

Fears over the ongoing provision of hospital patient meal deliveries across the UK have risen as Carillion announced its liquidation earlier this week.

More than 18,500 patient meals a day are provided by the support services company, according to the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA), forcing the NHS to set plans in motion to continue services across its hospitals without interruption.

Fourteen NHS trusts have been affected by the liquidation. Among the hospitals affected are James Cook, Great Western, Southmead and Queen Alexandra. Each hospital has reassured the public that services would ‘continue as usual’.

A spokesperson for NHS Improvement said: “While the NHS isn’t a particularly large customer of Carillion, we have a duty to maintain safe, high quality services for our patients.

“That’s why we’ve been working with trusts and with private sector providers to have extensive contingency plans in place.”

17 jan 2018

Casual dining chains cut menu items in efficiency drive

Casual dining operators such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Chili’s are slashing items off their menu to provide a more efficient service to customers.

Dunkin’ Donuts has already made a 10% cut to the number of items on its menu in New England and New York, with a view to roll out these changes to the rest of its stores around the country by March this year.

Cutbacks have been made to sandwiches, smoothies, coffee shots, flatbread and some muffin, bagel and cream cheese selections.

A representative from the chain said: “Our goal is to be a beverage-led, on-the-go brand.

“Simplifying our menu will allow our restaurants to give faster and more accurate service while still offering consumer favorites, allowing for regional preferences and giving ourselves room to add in new beverages and food items.”

Last year, Chili’s cut back its menu by 40%, from 125 items to 75, in a bid to increase the quality and portion size of its items.

16 jan 2018

Major food and drinks manufacturers halve carbon emissions

A group of some of the world’s largest food and drinks manufacturers, including Mars; Mondelez and PepsiCo, have halved their carbon emissions, according to a new study by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

The FDF report found that carbon emissions of its members fell by 50% compared to the baseline set in 1990. The new findings indicate significant progress from a previous study conducted in 2014, which recorded a reduction in emissions of 44%.

The target laid out in the new report is to ’achieve a 55% absolute reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025 against a 1990 baseline.’

Part of the reason for the reduction was a more efficient manufacturing process, and an increased focus on energy efficiency and decarbonisation in certain sectors. However, the FDF also found that a decline in production across some areas was also partly responsible.

Regarding the development, FDF chief scientific officer Helen Munday said: “The food and drink manufacturing industry continues to deliver progress against our environmental ambitions.”

16 jan 2018

Sysco agrees to acquire KFF in UK

US-based food distribution firm Sysco has signed a definitive agreement to acquire UK’s foodservice distributor Kent Frozen Foods (KFF) for an undisclosed price.

The completion of the acquisition is subject to the approval from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

If approved, KFF will become part of Sysco’s other UK businesses, including Brakes, Fresh Direct, and M&J Seafood.

Sysco International Foodservice Operations – Europe senior vice-president Ajoy Karna said: “Kent Frozen Foods will complement Sysco’s other UK businesses perfectly.

“Our businesses share many values, including a strong family heritage and customer-led culture and will benefit from complementary strengths in product offering and geography.”

Headquartered in Kent, UK, KFF has distribution facilities located in Aylesford, Kent, and Witney, Oxfordshire.

15 jan 2018

Vegetarian Express launches plant-based recipe portal for foodservice sector

Vegetarian Express, the UK’s specialist vegetarian and vegan food distributors, has created an exclusive plant-based recipe portal for the foodservice industry called Seedbank.

The portal offers 33 step by step recipes for restaurants to use to create a range of dishes for customers, from fine dining to grab and go.

It also provides nutritional information, the ability to request particular ingredients and allergen information tailored towards gluten free, dairy free, vegan and nut allergy customers, solely available to their clients. Users must have an account registered and activated before access is granted to the recipes available.

Founder, David Jonas, stated his aims for the creation of Seedbank: “We want to promote and cater for the continually growing trend for healthy eating, with a particular focus on healthy eating in the workplace and we know that putting plant-based dishes on menus that customers will love, and that are right for business can be a bit daunting.

15 JAN 2018

Atlantic to distribute Mars products in Croatia

Croatia’s Atlantic Grupa (Atlantic) will be distributing products produced by the US-based confectionary company Mars in the country from next month.

The new contract is expected to generate over HRK100m ($16.2m) this year as additional revenue to the company.

As per the deal, Atlantic will distribute three new product categories that include the Mars chocolate programme, Mars food, and Mars pet care.

Under the Mars chocolate programme, the Croatian company will be distributing brands such as Twix, Mars, Bounty, Snickers, and M&M.

The company will also be supplying Uncle Ben’s parboiled rice under Mars food, as well as Pedigree, Whiskas, and Kitekat as part of Mars pet care.

Since 1991, the Croatian firm has been distributing the Wrigley product assortment before it was taken over by Mars in 2008

12 JAN 2018

Nestlé Australia sells Violet Crumble brand to Robern Menz

Nestlé Australia has agreed to sell its Violet Crumble brand to Adelaide-based family business Robern Menz for an undisclosed price.

As per the term of the agreement, Robern Menz will acquire the Violet Crumble brand and its associated intellectual property, plant, and equipment.

Nestlé Confectionery general manager Martin Brown said: “The sale of the Violet Crumble brand to Robern Menz recognises that they are well-positioned to combine their existing honeycomb manufacturing with that of Violet Crumble and continue to invest behind this well-loved brand.

“The history and tradition of this iconic Australia brand will continue under the ownership of a strong, Australian-owned business.

“I want to recognise the passion of generations of confectioners who have made Violet Crumble in our Nestlé Campbellfield factory.

“We remain committed to manufacturing our other loved brands such as KitKat, Milkybar, Allens, and Soothers here in Australia.”

12 jan 2018

Bühler completes acquisition of Haas

Swiss manufacturer of flour production plants Bühler has completed the acquisition of Austria-based confectionary production systems producer Haas for an undisclosed price.

The deal is reported to have completed after receiving approvals from the relevant anti-trust authorities.

The acquisition has allowed the Swiss firm to complete its consumer foods product portfolio.

Bühler CEO Stefan Scheiber said: “This means we are opening a new chapter in the Consumer Food market, and we feel confirmed by the broad approval that we have received from many customers and employees.

Based in Vienna, Austria, Haas has been in the manufacturing business of production systems for making wafers, hard and soft cookies, ice cones, cakes, and bakery products.