Week on a Plate

The week digested: junk ads to be banned in London and halal meat scrutinised

Catch up on the food news from November 19-23, including the first alternative protein company to seek a public listing.

23 November 2018
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Bugging out on antibiotic-raised meat 

Shoppers should choose organic or high-welfare meat to combat the rise of antibiotic-resistant bugs, England’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, has urged. She has called on consumers to use their buying power to pressure the food industry into reducing antibiotic use. That includes choosing organic meat and poultry or produce labelled with the Red Tractor, as well as Scottish or Scandinavian fish that have been vaccinated rather than reared using antibiotics.

 

Halal in hot water

Halal meat has come under scrutiny as the National Secular Society revealed 17 councils supply schools with unstunned halal meat for meals, according to freedom of information requests. The Society said the meat should be labelled so people have a choice on what they are eating.

 

Googling the high street

A London-based start-up called NearSt has teamed up with Google to make it easier for consumers to find the products they want in high street shops. Consumers using Google search will find direct links to local stores stocking the items they want. The business has already raised £1.3m but now hopes to round up a further £2m.

 

Saying nuts to allergies

The first medical treatment for children with peanut allergies is likely to be approved next year. It involves gradually increasing a tiny initial dose of peanut protein over six months, which will be delivered in a capsule that is broken open and sprinkled over food.

image credit: Getty Images

Express shop - at triple the price

A BBC investigation has found that express supermarkets charge consumers up to three times more than larger stores.

 

Plant-based protein goes public

Beyond Meat has become the first alternative protein company to seek a public listing, following news it will finally come to the UK (really, it’s definitely coming this time). The plant-based company hopes to build production facilities in Europe and Asia in the next few years.

 

Nestle stays sweet

Nestle’s UK food manufacturing business, including confectionery, is performing well in the challenging market, according to chief executive Mark Scheider.

 

Pub landlords vs pub property owners

Ei Group, Britain’s biggest pub company, has celebrated a successful year by returning excess cash to investors through a share buyback programme, but pub landlords believe the money could have been better used to help struggling tenants.

 

Sugar levy fails to sweeten government coffers

The sugar levy has raised £154m since it came into force in April, well below former estimates, thanks to effective action taken by beverage companies to reformulate their products.

image credit: Getty Images

Universal nutritional label hard to digest

Hopes that Coca-Cola, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever would be able to come up with a universal European nutrition label have foundered, after the five giants announced that they had been unable to achieve consensus following trials and consultations.

 

Scottish consultation on capping portion sizes

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has announced a public consultation on proposals to reduce portion sizes, abolish children's menus and change unhealthy recipes, as government struggles to reverse the growing numbers of obese people.

 

US meat quality not up to scratch

A trade deal with the US has caused concerns about the quality of meat that will be let into the UK. Gestation crates (which restrict movement and natural behaviours) and the chemical growth hormone ractopamine – both banned in the UK – are regularly used in the US pig industry, which achieves the lowest costs of production in the world. Any future trade deal that includes accepting US pork could potentially have a disastrous impact on the UK’s pig industry as well as diluting welfare standards, say both industry and campaigners.

 

Loafing about at Gail's

The head baker at Gail’s has developed a way to repurpose unsold bread from the previous day into a new, larger loaf, in an effort to offset the business’s contribution to food waste.

 

Reindeer games at McDonald's

A brand new festive themed McDonald's menu has arrived, featuring the Malteaser Reindeer McFlurry, which comes with reindeer Malteasers and chocolate sauce, and the Chicken Big Tasty, made with two Chicken Select patties instead of beef, topped with the signature Big Tasty Sauce, and served in a square bun.

 

Domino's 'can has cheezburger'

Domino's has introduced a cheeseburger pizza. The new pizza is adorned with ground beef, sliced gherkins, chopped onion and drizzled with tangy burger sauce – stacked on the traditional foundation of tomato sauce and mozzarella – for a calorie-packed indulgence.

image credit: Domino's

What's in a (pub) name?

A pub and hotel in York that has been known as The Shoulder of Mutton for more than 60 years has been renamed the Heworth Inn, partly to attract more vegetarians and vegans to sample its extended range of meat-free options.

 

Audit investigation

The Financial Reporting Council has launched a formal investigation into Grant Thornton’s role as auditor of Patisserie Holdings. The accounting watchdog, which is scrutinising the group’s three financial years up to September 2017, said it had also started an investigation into the preparation and approval of the company’s financial statements by Chris Marsh, former chief financial officer. 

 

Junk ads to be trashed on London trains

Junk food adverts will be banned on London Underground, train, tram and bus services from February under plans announced by London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan. Advertising will be banned for most sugary drinks, hamburgers, chocolate bars and salted nuts. Fast-food chains will still be allowed to advertise on the tube but only if they promote their healthy products such as unsalted nuts, raisins and sugar-free drinks. They will not be allowed to simply promote their brand or generic logo, to avoid creating a loophole.

 

The bee's knees

The collapse in bee populations can be reversed if countries adopt a new farmer-friendly strategy, according to a UN study. Substantial gains in income and biodiversity could be gained from devoting a quarter of cropland to flowering economic crops such as spices, oil seeds, medicinal and forage plants. More than 80% of food crops require pollination but the populations of insects that do most of this work have collapsed.

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