Week on a Plate

The week digested: PHE targets pizza calories and Patisserie Holdings’ shock revelation

Catch up on the food news from October 8-12, including Tesco’s scrapping of ‘best before’ labels and the launch of America’s first autonomous robot farm.

12 October 2018
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Food deserts

More than a million people in the UK live in “food deserts” – neighbourhoods where poverty, poor public transport and a dearth of big supermarkets severely limit access to affordable fresh fruit and vegetables, driving diet-relation conditions and food insecurity, a study has claimed.

 

Pizza in peril

Public Health England want chefs to limit their pies to 695 calories and have stipulated that pizzas should not contain more than 928 calories, as part of guidelines to reduce childhood obesity.

 

DNA diet

Waitrose is looking to trial its DNA service on 200 volunteers, who will be divided into two groups: one will follow standard public health advice and the other will be provided with meals based on their DNA.

 

Tesco trials sushi to go

Tesco is set to trial two counters run by Yo! Sushi, selling made-to-order rolls as well as the Japanese chain’s food-to-go range. It follows in the footsteps of Marks and Spencer’s collaboration with Wasabi, launched last year, as well as Sainsbury’s tie-up with Sushi Gourmet and Waitrose’s deal with Sushi Daily.

Hoisin duck roll

Patisserie Holdings CFO arrested

Some of the biggest news this week is the shock revelation that Patisserie Holdings has uncovered a “potentially fraudulent” accounting mis-statement that may lead to the shuttering of the company unless it receives an “immediate injection of capital.” The owner of Patisserie Valerie suspended its shares and CFO Chris Marsh, who has since been arrested by police.

 

Marston's relaxed on Brexit

Brexit is “not a big issue," says the CEO of pub operator Marston’s, who says the company has already prepared “supply chain alternatives.”

 

Greggs' breadwinners

Demand for flavoured lattes, hot sandwiches and focaccia-style pizza has boosted third-quarter sales at Greggs, which is preparing to boost its allergy labelling in-store in the wake of the Pret furore.

 

Living Ventures gives up the ghost at two venues

Artisan and Manchester House, both owned by Living Ventures Group, have closed after struggling with “balancing rising costs and high rents, together with localised access difficulties,” according to CEO Jeremy Roberts.

 

Climate change and the food chain

A flexitarian diet could help save the planet from dangerous climate change, while enormous alterations to farming are needed to avoid destroying the planet’s ability to feed the estimated 10bn people who will walk the Earth in a few decades, new research has found.

 

Farmers ready to get radical

From breeding low-emission cows to robotic soil management, the farming industry could be up for radical thought in the face of worsening climate chaos, says the National Farmers' Union.

 

Will vegetable supplies run out?

This year’s extreme weather may dampen veganuary celebrations, as farmers report low yields and small veg across carrots, brassicas, onions, parsnips, potatoes and leeks.

image credit: Getty Images

Pret 'labelled inadequately' allergens

Allergens were not “labelled adequately or clearly" and there was "no coherent or co-ordinated system for monitoring customer allergic reactions," said the coroner investigating the death of a teenage girl who died after eating a sandwich from Pret. He said Pret and the Government had the power to make changes.

 

Bees drone on

With bees under threat due to modern farming methods, Dutch researchers have created bee drones to pollinate plants

 

Soylent meals

Is Soylent the future of food? According to the Evening Standard's taste test, definitely not.

 

Plastic diet

A third of fish in the Thames Estuary and Firth of Clyde have eaten plastic, a study has found.

image credit: Getty Images

Ottolenghi outraged

Yotam Ottolenghi has bemoaned the trend to create fake meat from vegetable mutations and products “grown in a lab.”

  

Do androids dream of fleecing sheep?

America’s first autonomous robot farm has launched, promising to ease labour shortages and increase productivity.

 

The Nestlé blacklist

Nestlé is blacklisting suppliers that are not sustainably sourcing palm oil, in hopes of eliminating its indirect role in deforestation. Through a new satellite monitoring service, the multinational will be able to analyse deforestation information across its entire palm oil supply chain by the end of 2018.

 

Food and drink are retail heroes

While figures from the British Retail Consortium show that growth across the retail industry as a whole has slowed to just 0.7% in September, food and grocery sales outperformed the field, rising 3.4% in the third quarter compared to the same period last year.

 

Bye-bye best before

Tesco is scrapping best before dates on several of its fresh fruit and vegetable lines in order to try and cut down food waste. Research conducted for the retailer found that 69% of shoppers believed removing the best before labels was a good idea, while 53% said the move would make a difference to how long they keep produce.

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