Week on a Plate

The week digested: UK food security shake-up and on-pack carbon labelling

Catch up on the food news from January 13-17, including Ask Italian’s lobster fine and Nestlé’s $2bn investment in reducing virgin plastic usage.

17 January 2020
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UK food security to be regularly assessed following Brexit

In what could be the biggest farming shake-up in 40 years, a new agricultural bill has been introduced to parliament with the aim of ensuring minimal disruption to supplies after the country leaves the EU.


Vegan products in 2019 ‘one in four’

Mintel have released new figures which reveal that almost a quarter of all new UK food products launched last year were labelled vegan, while nearly two-thirds of Britons chose to eat meat substitutes.


Quorn gear up for on-pack carbon labelling

Quorn has announced it will be introducing carbon footprint labelling on most of its products later this year. At the end of last week, the meat-alternative company released carbon footprint data (certified by the Carbon Trust) for 60% of its range online.


UK food tech company raises almost £5m

The makers of This, the vegan meat alternative, have raised £4.7m, with investors that include Five Seasons Ventures, whose founder has previously backed Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Part of the money has been earmarked for a new R&D facility as well as employing more staff.


Italian chain fined for misleading customers over lobster dish

Ask Italian has been fined £40,000 pounds for misleading customers. The penalty comes after trading standards investigated a Swansea branch of the chain and discovered that its £14.95 Aragosta e Gamberoni (lobster and prawn) dish was made with a product called Lobster Sensations, which contains just 35% lobster. Ask Italian has since removed the dish from all its outlets.

image credit: Getty Images

Children’s packed lunches failing to meet nutritional targets

According to a new study by the University of Leeds, fewer than one in 50 children’s packed lunches meet basic nutritional standards on sugar, fat, salt, vitamin and mineral content.


Nestlé earmarks $2bn to reduce plastic food packaging

Nestlé has pledged to spend up to $2bn to decrease its reliance on virgin plastic, which it hopes to cut one-third by 2025. Said to be the largest public financial commitment by a consumer foods giant to reduce plastic packaging pollution, 75% of the money will be used to cover the extra cost of food-grade recycled plastics, while about $250m will be invested in sustainable start-ups and recycling technologies.


Greggs ramps up delivery with exclusive partnership

Following several months of trials, Greggs has announced it will be partnering exclusively with Just Eat to roll out delivery to more cities across the UK. Customers can now order the infamous vegan sausage roll as well as other popular items in London, Newcastle, Glasgow, Bristol and Birmingham with Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Nottingham launching in the spring. While it may be expanding in some areas, Greggs was also forced out of Cornwall this week, following poor sales and a backlash form locals.


Leading chains ‘failing’ on chicken welfare

The likes of Pizza Hut and Burger King are using meat from chickens reared in poor conditions, reads a new report from the leading animal charity, World Animal Protection (WAP), which claims that many chickens live short lives in unnecessary pain.


Asda trials plastic reduction plans

Asda is trialling a "sustainability store" format in Middleton, Leeds, as part of trials into whether customers are interested in initiatives like refill stations and loose produce. “We’re on an ongoing quest to remove and reduce the amount of plastic in our business and to find new ways to help our customers to reuse and refill our products,” said Roger Burnley, Asda’s chief executive.


Sweet tooth bolsters Premier Foods

UK sales at Premier Foods rose 3.6% in the third quarter of 2019. Mr Kipling, the group's biggest brand, was responsible for a significant chunk of that, as Brits bought enough cakes and mince pies to increase sales of the brand by 10% in the 13 weeks to December 28.

image credit: Getty Images

Maltesers launch new biscuit format

Maltesers are now available as a biscuit in Asda, with the new product combining three malty bobbles, smothered in milk chocolate.


Are we witnessing the death of the fry-up?

Despite YouGov revealing last year that a classic full English is one of Britain’s favourite eats, it could be on the way out. A survey of 2,000 people found that one in five Brits under the age of 30 has never eaten a fry-up, with 71% of all respondents saying they would prefer smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, smashed avocado on toast, or oatmeal pancakes for breakfast.


Six coffee alternatives ranked

The Telegraph rates six different alternatives to coffee, awarding the highest marks to The Health Embassy’s acorn coffee substitute, flavoured with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and clover. Chicory-based versions by Chicory Co, Whole Earth and Bambu also score fairly well, while the Symington’s dandelion root effort is described as tasting mostly of sugar/artificial sweetener.

image credit: Getty Images

McDonald’s opens in Rutland to complete UK county portfolio

Rutland in the East Midlands has lost its status as the UK’s only county without a McDonald’s outpost, with the fast food chain to open a 24-hour drive-through restaurant on the outskirts of Oakham.


Grant to enable Scottish salmon tracking

A £750,000 grant from the Scottish government will allow wild salmon from Scotland’s west coast to be tracked across the North Atlantic for the first time. The goal is to better understand migration routes so as to protect the species, which has seen its population drop to crisis levels.


Heston blasts Instagram diner trends

Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal has lashed out against the ever-growing trend of diners taking photos of their food, saying that he often has to resist the temptation to intervene.


Trying veganism recommended by Duke of Edinburgh Award

Trying veganism or vegetarianism are part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award’s new list of 25 “essential activities every teenager should do.”


Booths sales growth better than big four

Following on from last week’s retailer results from Christmas, Booths’ sales grew 3.5% while like-for-likes grew 2.7% in the three weeks to January 5.


Indian bakers attempt world record vanilla cake

Bakers and chefs in southern India have made what they claim is the world’s longest cake, with the 10cm wide and thick vanilla cake said to be 6.5km long and weighing about 27,000kg.

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