Week on a Plate

The week digested: global malnutrition and the UK’s top 100 restaurants

Catch up on the food news from December 16-20, including how chilli lowers mortality rate and warnings over vitamin B12.

20 December 2019

Obesity and under-nutrition ‘double burden’

The World Health Organisation has accused global food giants of contributing to obesity and under-nutrition – twin issues facing countries all over the world. As part of the launch of a new four-paper series entitled The Double Burden of Malnutrition, the WHO said that it had been difficult to secure voluntary pledges to reduce salt and sugar from the 12 largest food businesses.


Harden’s reveals top 100 UK restaurants

Marc Wilkinson’s Fraiche in Oxton has been named the best restaurant in the UK in the 2020 edition of Harden’s restaurant guide. The Five Fields was named best in London and second in the overall rankings, with fellow London restaurants The Ledbury, Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs and Core by Clare Smyth also in the top 10. The results match up fairly well with OpenTable’s list of the best-reviewed restaurants this year.


Chilli changes mortality rate

New research suggests that eating spicy food at least four times a week could lower mortality by almost a quarter. A study of 23,000 Italians revealed that those who ate chilli – and, more importantly, the compound capsaicin that it contains – had 40% fewer fatal heart attacks and 61% fewer deadly strokes.

image credit: Getty Images

Sausages not linked to cancer after all

And, in further positive scientific news this week, sausages may not be as bad for health as previously suggested by the World Health Organisation. Queen’s University Belfast has looked at more than 60 studies investigating the link between processed meat and cancer, concluding that the results were inconclusive. While there did appear to be a relationship between cancer and meat manufactured with nitrite, this means British sausages should be safe for consumption as they do not contain the preservative.


Franco Manca eyes international expansions

Fulham Shore, the restaurant group behind Franco Manco and Real Greek, are discussing the possibility of establishing one of the brands internationally, with their pizza chain the most the likelier option following interest from Switzerland, USA, Sweden and the Far East. The news comes as executive chairman David Page called on the new government to reform business rates immediately to save Britain’s high streets.


Warnings over vitamin B12

Vegans and those planning to take part in Veganuary are being warned to ensure they get enough vitamin B12. Professors from the Universities of Oxford, Leeds and King’s College noted that the vitamin, which is crucial for bodily health, is most commonly absorbed through animal products. However, “self-appointed experts online” are creating misinformation, leading to around one-fifth of vegans dangerously deficient in vitamin B12.


Merger paves way for new meatless meals

The recently announced merger between International Flavors & Fragrances and DuPont’s nutrition and biosciences business will allow the pooling of plant-based knowledge to create more convincing meatless foods, according to IFF’s chief executive, Andreas Fibig. He noted that DuPont’s cultures, enzymes, soya proteins and probiotics could be effectively combined with IFF’s abilities with taste, colour and food protection.


Cod cuts to hit Scottish fishermen

Following the agreement of 2020 fishing quotas at this year’s annual EU fisheries negotiations, the amount of cod permitted to be fished will be cut by half in the North Sea, with limited cod quotas agreed in the Celtic Sea, Irish Sea and West of Scotland.

image credit: Getty Images

Morrisons chocolate orange cheesecake arrives in time for Christmas

A Wensleydale and orange chocolate cheesecake is going on sale across Morrisons supermarkets this Christmas. Made with cheese that has been combined with candied orange pieces and dotted with milk and dark chocolate chips, the recipe came from cheesemakers Singletons & Co.


From plane to plate

The Telegraph tries out Santan, the restaurant serving Air Asia airplane food that was first revealed in February – and is surprised to find that the nasi lemak and Thai basil chicken are good. Santan’s manager, Catherine Goh, claims that the restaurant serves 2,000 customers a day, which has sparked plans to introduce 100 franchise restaurants across Malaysia as well as branches in London and New York.

image credit: Santan

Metal found in baby food

Heinz was forced to recall its 7+ months Heinz By Nature baby food range from Tesco this week, following reports that sharp pieces of metal were found in one of the jars.


Is this the final bout in Just Eat battle?

Takeaway.com has delivered what The Telegraph calls a “knockout blow” to Prosus in the bidding war for control of Just Eat.


Marco Pierre White biopic to star Russell Crowe

Kiwi actor Russell Crowe is set to write, direct and star in an upcoming film about the life of celebrity chef Marco Pierre White. Speaking to The Daily Mail, Pierre White said: “I have just signed the deal. Russell has written the script, Russell’s company is producing it, Russell is directing it and Russell is playing the third or fourth Marco.”


Unilever facing missed sales targets amid global pressure

Anglo-Dutch consumer goods group Unilever has warned that it will miss sales targets as pressure mounts from several global markets.

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