Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: Instagram tops TripAdvisor and France's plastic tax

The news, reviews and trends from August 11-12, including how Brexit will affect the cost of the average shopping basket and why compostable cups aren't always compostable.

13 August 2018
Brexitchefsonline shoppingrestaurant openingsupermarketsplasticpackaging

Food news

Instagram tops TripAdvisor

A picture is worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes, but it’s only now that consumers are taking the hackneyed phrase to heart when it comes to picking where to eat. Chefs and ‘influencers’ believe that people today turn more often to Instagram than TripAdvisor when it comes to dining out. “Many say they do not trust the restaurant reviewing website because of worries about the prominence of fake reviews – and they would rather see inside the restaurant with their own eyes,” according to the Telegraph. When asked for comment, a spokesperson for TripAdvisor hit back: “Comparing Instagram to TripAdvisor is like comparing apples to oranges. Millennials aren’t using Instagram in the same way or for the same purpose as they use TripAdvisor, and often they are using both.”


Brexit means average food basket cost will rise

A no-deal Brexit would mean a 12% hike in the average food basket, according to representatives from some of Britain’s supermarket giants. Tariffs could be especially severe on imports from the EU of cheese (up 44%), beef, (up 40%) and chicken (up 22%), according to the Sunday Times. These taxes would be only one of three major reasons shopping bills would go up, the other two being a fall in the value of the pound and retailers having to use longer routes to obtain their produce in order to avoid congestion at Dover.

Amazon under fire

It’s been a tough week for Amazon in the UK. First, Chancellor Philip Hammond said he was mulling a new tax on online retailers to level the playing field. Now, the ASA is set to ban the web giant from claiming it can guarantee next-day delivery on all items for Prime members. The Sunday Times reports that the ban is to be announced this week, quoting the the ASA as saying that a “significant proportion of Prime-labelled items were not available for delivery the next day.” The paper’s own investigation took issue with the claim that Prime offers “unlimited one-day delivery to UK addresses on millions of eligible items at no extra cost,” despite the fact that dozens of items entailed a significant delivery fee.


France to fine plastic products

The French government has announced that it will launch a penalty system for products wrapped in non-recyclable plastic as soon as next year. “When there's a choice between two bottles, one made of recycled plastic and the other without, the first will be less expensive," said Brune Poirson, secretary of state for ecological transition, whose plan would make products wrapped in recyclable plastic packaging cost 10% less, while those wrapped in non-recyclable packaging would cost 10% more. The Telegraph notes that France has already banned single-use plastic bags as well as set 2020 as the deadline for the removal of all plastic straws. The country is also planning to implement a deposit-return scheme for plastic bottles.


Compostable cups rejected by Irish waste firms

Showing that protecting the environment is not as simple as just changing the law, however, the Times reveals that some compostable cups are being turned away from facilities in Ireland. “An Irish survey by Pack2Go found four composting facilities said they were not equipped to take the cups and two said they did not accept them because their standard varied between companies,” according to the paper.


Food trends

Festival food changes its tune

Hog roasts, burgers, meat pies and mash are out in favour of halloumi, falafel and salads. That’s according to Daniel Maycock, organiser of the Great British Food Festival, who tells the Telegraph that lighter options are all the rage for outdoor events, particular because of the recent heatwave. Caroline Hall, whose company catered Wilderness this year, is in agreement, adding that punters “were more likely to opt for crunchy radishes and colourful vegetables over a piece of charred pork.”

Food interviews

Ferran Adria, legendary molecular gastronomy chef

In a Q&A with the Sunday Times, the chef behind former best restaurant in the world elBulli (now closed) reveals that he’s never gardened or grown anything to eat, prefers to eat out over hosting at home (he dines in restaurants 90% of the time) and likes to eat standing up. In fact, the whole interview seems to almost purposefully avoid any show of interest in cooking, with Adria preferring the living room and television to the kitchen and cooking apparatus.


Ella Milla, founder of Deliciously Ella

The healthy-eating queen is launching her fifth cookbook, entitled The Plant Based Cookbook, drawing on the most popular recipes from her deli, pop-ups and supper clubs. In conjunction with the launch, the 27-year-old talks to the Telegraph about how she personally manages her brand’s social media accounts, her decision to focus on retail as more scalable than foodservice and how childhood illness inspired her to start her brand.


Food reviews

Post Office, Margate CT9 1BA

Sometimes you settle for sub-par, particularly if you’re in Margate, where gentrification has yet to penetrate the food scene. Marina O’Loughlin writes that the menu at the Post Office “reads well in a crowd-pleasing, nothing-to-frighten-the-horses way,” and features grilled sardines, smoked haddock brandade and an overcooked burger.


Brigadiers, London EC4N 8AR

One of London’s most talked about new entries gets an expected thumbs up from Jay Rayner, who delights in the “clash, bash and bass drum thump of Indian food with hobnail boots on.” The full-flavoured menu contains some veggie options but is at its best with “things which once had a pulse,” according to the Guardian critic, such as the fall-apart goat chops and lamb ribs that have been “pelted with spices, before being left to loiter in a hot oven until they’ve started to fall apart, then dressed in a sauce the colour of a dark leather satchel.”

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