Week on a Plate

The week digested: Asda to add Greggs counters to stores and the future of CBD products in doubt

Catch up on the food news from 10-14 February, including claims tofu is worse for the planet than most meats and the launch of Jamie Oliver’s new Dublin restaurant.

14 February 2020
meatplant-basedrestaurant openingseafoodsupermarketsvegan

Asda to open Greggs counters in five locations

Asda is to become the first supermarket to add Greggs counters insides its stores, with trials to be launched next month in five shops. Boldon, Corby, Huyton, Wigan and Eastlands will be the first stores to take part in the trial, although Asda has yet to officially confirm a specific launch date or announce whether it will roll out nationwide down the line.

 

Jamie Oliver to open Dublin restaurant after UK closures

Jamie Oliver is vying to recover from the collapse of his UK restaurant empire by opening a new restaurant in Ireland. Chequer Lane by Jamie Oliver will open in Dublin in April, creating 30 jobs, and launched in partnership with Irish restaurateur Gerry Fitzpatrick. “Ireland has some of the greatest produce in the world and we can’t wait to show it off,” Oliver said.

 

Ocado’s full-year losses widen

Ocado this week announced a full-year pre-tax loss of £214m in 2019, up from the £44.4m in the previous 12 months, which the online supermarket attributed to a fire that destroyed its flagship automated warehouse in Andover. Despite full-year losses quadrupling, founder and CEO Tim Steiner snapped up a £54m bonus, with group revenues increasing 9% year-on-year to £1.8bn.

image credit: Getty Images

 

CBD could be removed from shelves next year

CBD may well be one of the biggest health trends of the past couple of years, but they could soon be removed from the shelves following an investigation from the food watchdog. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has told CBD suppliers they must prove by March 2021 that their products are safe for human consumption. A review by the Committee on Toxicity found the cannabis extract could cause liver damage and diarrhoea. The panel's chairman, Professor Alan Boobis of Imperial College London, said: "There are certainly potential side-effects of CBD and those taking it should be aware of these." 

 

Post-Brexit trade deal sparks price hike concerns

The United Kingdom may have officially left the European Union last month, but there is still plenty of uncertainty ahead as Boris Johnson looks to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU. However, the British Retail Consortium has warned that price hikes and shortages of fresh fruit and vegetables could be on the cards, even if a no-deal Brexit is avoided.

 

Tofu worse for the planet than most meats, say farmers

Meat is often derided as being one of the biggest catalysts of climate change, but British farmers have hit back against this claim, suggesting tofu is actually worse for the planet. Dr Graham McAuliffe of the Rothamsted Institute claimed at a National Farmers Union (NFU) event this week that soya-based protein “could actually have a higher global warming potential than any of the monogastric animals.”

 

Takeaway.com back in the black

Food delivery firm Takeaway.com has returned to profit ahead of its takeover of Just Eat, with the company reporting underlying earnings of €12.3m following a 70% rise in orders. Last year Takeaway.com announced a loss of €11.3m.

 

M&S hires new finance director from Greencore

Marks & Spencer has hired Greencore’s Eoin Tonge as its new finance director, with Tonge pledging to help make M&S “special again” once he joins in June. He replaces interim finance chief David Surdeau and will be compensated with up to £2.5m in M&S shares.

 

Scotland’s food and drink exports on the rise

Scotland’s largest food and drink exports grew strongly in 2019 despite concerns caused by Brexit, with salmon sales increasing 22% to £618m and volumes rising to 94,000 tonnes. According to date from HMRC, France was the top destination for the third year in a row with sales up 34% to £221.3m.

 

image credit: Getty Images

Coronavirus impacts China’s meat prices

The spread of the coronavirus across China is having a significant impact on the price of chicken and pork, with prices going in opposite directions. According to the Financial Times, China’s chicken prices have fallen dramatically due to lower restaurant demand as a result of the health crisis, while pork prices have risen as supply problems continue to impact the flow of meat to consumers.

 

Dirty Bones unveils new vegan menu

American restaurant chain Dirty Bones has pledged to expand its vegan range and going fully plant-based at particular sites every Monday. As part of its plant-based expansion, Dirty Burger will offer vegan twists on some of its classic dishses, including the Yankee Dog, the Mac Daddy and the Classic burger.

 

Nestlé ditches low-sugar chocolate bars

Swiss chocolate manufacturer Nestlé has ceased production of its low-sugar chocolate range Milkybar Wowsomes, less than two years after making their debut. The company blamed “underwhelming” sales for the decision, while Nestlé’s other low sugar products are also understood to be struggling for market share.

 

Hight street retailers urge government to reform rates

Some of Britain’s biggest high street retailers have called on the government to reform business rates ahead of the budget next month as the burden had “become unsustainable” for many companies. Among the 50 signatories were Iceland and Pret A Manger in a letter sent to Savid Javid who this week resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has since been replaced by Rishi Sunak.

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