The bank holiday weekend digested: KFC’s plant-based nuggets and the explosive success of Grenade

All the news reviews and trends from August 24-26, including why Asda is allegedly cutting back on product development and the BBC’s Costa Coffee exposé.

27 August 2019
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Food news

Nestlé in cold water

Campaigners in the United States are up in arms over Nestlé’s plans to extract more than 1.1m gallons of water from natural springs in order to sell it back to the public as bottled water. Those protesting the company’s plans say Ginnie Springs is already in a fragile state and pumping it for such large volumes of water will undermine it further. Nestlé, however, has said it will manage the resource sustainably.

 

Plant-based nuggets promise to be finger-lickin’ good

A Kentucky fried miracle” is being rolled out today in the city of Atlanta for a one-day trial at KFC, which has worked with Beyond Meat to create plant-based nuggets and boneless wings. If the trial is successful, KFC has said it will begin plans to stock wheat-protein-based ‘chicken’ across the US.

image credit: Getty Images

Prep continues for mooted Asda flotation

Asda is cutting back on product development and range reviews to slash costs, as preparations appear to be continuing for a potential flotation on the stock market. The Sunday Times digs into the potential future of the brand as a separate entity from parent company Walmart, noting that some insiders have said the American giant has used Asda as a cash cow while also draining talent from the business.

 

Prime minister highlights potential for US trade deal

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he has challenged President Donald Trump over imports of British food into America, highlighting a number of restrictions that could be rolled back. “Melton Mowbray pork pies, which are sold in Thailand and in Iceland, are currently unable to enter the US market,” he said. “Cauliflowers can only enter specified ports, not including Miami, which is where UK exporters want them. UK bell peppers cannot get into the US market at all. If you want to export wine made in England to the US, you have to go through a US distributor.”

 

Costa Coffee employees complain about working conditions

Costa Coffee is investigating claims that some of its franchisees are treating workers unfairly. Allegations revealed by the BBC include being denied tips and losing out on substantial holiday pay.

 

Grenade’s protein bars fuel explosive increase in sales

Lion Capital is gearing up for a sale of sports nutrition brand Grenade, in which it owns a majority stake. Grenade claims to sell 140,000 protein bars a day and saw an 85% rise in pre-tax earnings last year.

Produce pickers continue to struggle

In the wake of the government’s suggestion that freedom movement for EU nationals in the UK will end on October 31 in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Financial Times examines the challenges already faced by Britain’s farming industry when it comes to employing enough seasonal workers to pick produce.

 

Food reviews

Siren, The Goring Hotel, London SW1W 0JW

Kathryn Flett dives into Nathan Outlaw’s recently opened effort at The Goring and returns to the surface praising the “revelatory” lobster and pea tart with “big firm chunks [of lobster] nestled in a whorl of puréed peas on a skinny pastry tart,” as well as “fleshy and firm” red mullet, “falling off its bone and accompanied by a punchy seaweed hollandaise.”

 

Kebab Queen, London WC2H 9FA

“The food is so ravishing, you find yourself making involuntary noises,” claims Marina O’Loughlin, as she gets her hands stuck in (cutlery is discouraged) to kebab-inspired dishes like the secreto, “a sliver of lavishly marbled shoulder cut of acorn-fed iberico pata negra pork, dusted with three types of chilli (including Urfa pepper), crisped couscous and a whisper of pork fat cured in beetroot.” Also of note are the duck liver lokma doughnuts and the dessert of strawberry kebab, “just-grilled so the exterior is jammy, the interior still fresh and crisp; a caramelised cream and cream cheese piped alongside — like twisted cheesecake.”

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