Week on a Plate

The week digested: Gary Rhodes passes away and supermarket plastic rises 1m tonnes

Catch up on the food news from November 25-29, including Morrisons’ nationwide food waste initiative and Nando’s £1bn landmark.

29 November 2019
packagingplasticpoultryrestaurantssupermarketssustainability

Gary Rhodes passes away at 59

Much-loved TV chef and presenter Gary Rhodes has died suddenly at the age of 59 after having been taken ill while filming a new TV series in Dubai.

 

Retailer plastic rises almost 1m tonnes

It’s been another bad news week for plastic packaging. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Greenpeace have released a report showing that supermarket-generated plastic usage has risen 900,000 tonnes this year in the UK, with Aldi, Lidl and Asda singled out for poor practices. Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, meanwhile managed to achieve marginal reductions.

 

Morrisons redistributing fresh goods

In more positive waste news, Morrisons has commenced selling vegetable, fruit, bakery and delicatessen goods that have exceeded their best-before date, as part of a collaboration with food waste app Too Good To Go. The scheme involves selling boxes of produce worth £10 for £3.09. Morrisons expects the programme, which has rolled out nationwide, to cut CO2 associated with food waste by 882 tonnes.

 

Experts warn against demonising meat

Professors from the University of Edinburgh and Scotland’s Rural college have emphasised that livestock bred for food does have a place in the future of the human diet, particularly when it comes to getting essential nutrients to children in developing countries and fostering biodiversity in the UK. However, they also noted that methane emissions from farmed animals could be significantly cut with careful breeding programmes, noting that customers could expect to see products that detail the climate impact of individual meat products.

 

Nando’s moves past £1bn mark

Chicken giant Nando’s has announced global sales passed £1bn for the first time in the year to February 24, 2019. The South African restaurant chain reported an 8.4% rise in sales, and while losses also mounted, this was put down to the brand’s site expansion, which saw it open 31 sites over the financial period.

image credit: Nando's

Independent bakers complain about ‘fake’ sourdough

The Real Bread Campaign have criticised mainstream bread brands for selling what they claim is incorrectly labelled as sourdough. They say that makers of wrapped and sliced bread are creating a “sourfaux free-for-all” and that only bread made from long-gestating starters should qualify as sourdough. The latest argument over the issue comes as a result of the submission to DEFRA of a proposed code of practice for the labelling of sourdough by five trade bodies.

 

British bakery creates limited-edition crunchy loaf with crickets

In celebration of the 19th season of reality TV show I’m a Celebrity, Roberts have made 100 limited-edition bloomers using cricket flour from specialist insect food brand Eat Grub.

 

Tesco cans ‘fake’ honey

One of Tesco’s own brands of honey has been withdrawn this week after tests suggested it contained cheap syrups derived from ordinary sugar, with The Food Standards Agency reporting the case to its National Food Crime Unit. The lack of trust around honey supply chains are increasingly seeing upmarket restaurants and retailers keeping their own hives, including a number of Michelin-starred establishments and Fortnum & Mason.

 

World’s first brussels sprout ketchup hits Amazon

How’s this for novel: UK craft sauce maker Sauce Shop has released the world’s first brussels sprout ketchup into Amazon, with each bottle containing 15 sprouts blended with cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. 

Wagamama sales growth slows

Japanese chain restaurant, Wagamama – who earlier this week launched Mamago, a food-to-go sister concept – have reported that sales were up 6.3% on a like-for-like basis in second-quarter trading, a slowdown from the 12.9% growth reported in the first quarter.

 

DIY and environmental concerns affect kitchenware

Yoghurt makers, sushi apparatus and kombucha kits are among the rising stars of sales at kitchenware chain Lakeland, which revealed this week that reusable bags for produce purchases and machines to carbonate water at home are among the eco-friendly items being snapped up by shoppers.

 

European catering business declines

Shrinkage in the European catering industry has led the world’s largest catering company, Compass, to announce £300m in cost-saving initiatives, part of which will include job losses across Europe. The Telegraph estimates these could impact around 3,000 people, including several hundred specifically in the UK.

 

Pressure mounting on Naspers to increase Just Eat offer

The Just Eat takeover saga rumbles on, with this week seeing South African tech firm Naspers, who are attempting to crash an already-agreed takeover bid from Takeaway.com, being put under mounting pressure to up its cash offer of 710p a share, with the current proposal dismissed as “wholly inadequate.”

 

F&M profits increase

Sales and profits at Fortnum & Mason have risen for the seventh consecutive year, with one of the surprising top performers being loose-leaf tea. “Gen-Z customers in particular are obsessed with all things environmental,” said CEO Ewan Venters. “Loose-leaf tea has better flavour… and it is more sustainable because there is less paper and less plastic.”

image credit: Getty Images

‘World’s best sushi restaurant’ stripped of Michelin stars

Sukiyabashi Jiro, a famously exclusive sushi restaurant in Tokyo, has had its three Michelin stars removed, with the Michelin Guide saying: “We recognise Sukiyabashi Jiro does not accept reservations from the general public, which makes it out of our scope.”

 

Information on pesticide use ‘not transparent enough’

A report from Pesticide Action Network UK has said that some of the UK’s foremost retailers are not doing enough to protect human and environmental health from hazardous pesticides found in food and gardening products.

 

Ocado share rise after Asian deal

Ocado has struck a deal with Japanese retailer Aeon to develop its online business, sending its share price up.

 

Will 2020 see the return of the three-course meal?

Small plates are in vogue in restaurants at the moment, but will the tide start to turn against them next year? Anecdotally, The Telegraph believes there has been an increase in new openings focusing on the traditional three-course meal. This may be due to the perceived expense of sharing plates, though others argue that the communal style of eating and the flexibility of this form of dining means it will continue to thrive.

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