Week on a Plate

The week digested: UK recycling industry investigated for corruption and Greencore bows out of US

Catch up on the food news from October 15-19, including Heston’s new Waitrose range and the excessive demand for sea urchin.

19 October 2018
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Recycling industry rubbished

The plastics recycling industry is facing an investigation into suspected widespread abuse and fraud within the export system, amid warnings the world is about to close the door on UK packaging waste.


Food sales slide

Food sales dropped at their sharpest monthly rate for three years in September as the end of the summer heatwave led to shoppers paring back their spending.


Tap-and-go tech trumps chip and PIN

Tap-and-go technology has become the most common way to pay for goods in British stores, overtaking chip and PIN for the first time, according to payment provider Worldpay.


Supermarkets losing shoppers

Three of the big four grocers – Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda – lost shoppers to rivals in the last three months, as Aldi and Lidl increased market share.


Sea urchins are big shellers

Sea urchin is in demand – one London restaurant gets 150 requests a day – but with stocks depleted, it’s not an entirely ethical choice.

image credit: Getty Images

Heston’s new Waitrose meals

Heston’s latest Waitrose collaborations are generating plenty of discussion, from the daring offal-based ready meal of veal sweetbreads to the ‘gentleman’s’ smoked chicken Caesar roll that is being called sexist.


Fomenting fermentation

Noma's Rene Redzepi has released his cookbook on fermentation, playing with everything from meat and egg whites to grasshoppers, while also deploring how big city rents are preventing true innovation.


Gail’s sale half-baked

Plans to sell Gail’s Artisan Bakery have been postponed till after Brexit, in what the Telegraph describes as “another headache” for Luke Johnson, who is a backer of parent company Bread Holdings and has been enveloped in the Patisserie Valerie furore.


Focus widens in Asda-Sainsbury’s investigation

The Competition & Markets Authority will scrutinise the German discounters and online-only retailers as part of its investigation into the proposed merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda, as it seeks to determine the impact on suppliers as well as how the tie-up will affect shoppers’ choice and the quality of groceries.


Greencore bows out of US market

Greencore’s US arm has been sold to Illinois-based manufacturer Heathside, leaving Britain’s largest sandwich maker to refocus attention on its home market.

image credit: Getty Images

Checkouts to tell customers how old they look

New facial recognition technology built into self-checkout tills could allow customers to buy age-restricted products without manual staff approval, cutting down queues.


Jollibee debuts in UK

The first outlet of Philippine fast-food chain Jollibee is opening tomorrow, hoping to challenge KFC with its fried chicken goodies – paired with tomato spaghetti.


Poor pizza weather

Despite alleged tensions with franchisees over squeezed profits, a much-decreased rate of like-for-like sales growth compared to the same time last year and a “lack of pizza weather” (i.e. rain), Domino’s has assured investors it is on track to open 60 stores by the end of 2018.



Egg-free brand Cake Box tastes success with plans for new franchise stores.

image credit: Getty Images

The bad buzz about almonds and avocados

Vegans can add two more items to the long list of foods they should avoid: almonds and avocados, according to an Oxford professor who says bees are harmed in the growing process.


Bug bomb

New research from Switzerland and Germany may have found out how to persuade people to eat insects – and it could have a huge impact on lowering human-led carbon emissions.



The parmo – crumbed chicken deep-fried, slathered in bechamel sauce and topped with melted cheese and salami – has been slammed by an obesity campaigner.


Selfridges and Iceland go oil out

In an unusual collaboration for a good cause, Selfridges is selling Iceland’s own-brand mince pies because both have committed to going palm-oil-free.


Putting cows on a seaweed diet

The dairy and beef farming industry are exploring innovative ways to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, including feeding cattle seaweed, anti-methane vaccines and selective breeding.


Soy still a major deforestation concern

While a Greenpeace representative describes the soybean trade as “not a vector of deforestation any more” in the Amazon, the farming of the crop continues to cause issues in Brazil’s cerrado region, which has lower levels of protection compared to the Amazon.

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