Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: London gets first vegan suite and Morrisons is crowned cheapest for online shopping

The news, reviews and trends from January 12-13, from a report that suggests healthy eating could help the UK meet its climate change commitments to the imminent new allergen labelling laws.

14 January 2019

Food news

Morrisons retains cheapest online shopping crown

A Which? investigation has found that Morissons is the cheapest supermarket for online shopping for the second year in a row. An article in the Guardian notes that switching from Waitrose to Morrisons could save shoppers £170 a year, based on the purchase of 77 popular branded products like Cathedral City cheddar and Hovis bread. Retailers also included in the survey – in order of least to most expensive by basket – were Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Ocado.


New report links healthy eating to reduced greenhouse gases

Carbon dioxide emissions would drop by 60-90m tonnes if everyone in the UK went vegan, according to a report commissioned by environment secretary Michael Gove. That’s equivalent to a 36% reduction in greenhouse gases resulting from food production. This was compared to estimations about the effect of the public adopting a ‘healthy’ diet (less meat and sugar, 12% reduction in greenhouse gases) or a vegetarian diet (26% reduction), reports the Sunday Times.


Immigration officials investigate illegal delivery workers

Following news in the Sunday Times last week about illegal immigrants working for Uber Eats and Deliveroo, this week’s edition reports that police and immigration officials have “raided a north London McDonald’s after a tip-off that delivery riders were working there with false documents.” Messages posted to foreign-language WhatsApp groups also appear to indicate checks on Uber Eats and Deliveroo riders taking place last Wednesday.


Retailers criticised for click-and-collect failures

An investigation by the Telegraph has found that retailers are failing to follow their own in-house security procedures when it comes to click-and-collect orders. Mystery shoppers were able to pick up parcels at M&S and Tesco simply by giving a name, while at Waitrose a library card was accepted by staff as ID. Thousands of shoppers across the UK are being targeted by fraudsters, according to security experts, who say organised crime gangs have been stealing click-and-collect items.


Fishing for new investment

“Ireland’s fisheries sector is seen as being ripe for consolidation and is increasingly attracting international interest,” writes the Sunday Times, reporting on the merger between Dublin-based seafood company Nolans and Mayo-based seafood company Carr, which is owned by Swedish seafood firm Mondi.

image credit: Getty Images

Further CVAs expected in February

More than 20 high street chains have asked Deloitte to assess the possibility of utilising a company voluntary agreement (CVA) to close some locations, reports the Sunday Times. These CVAs would most likely be enacted in February or March, according to the paper, which notes that the majority are homeware or fashion retailers.


London’s first vegan hotel room

The Hilton Bankside has become the first London hotel to offer a 100% vegan room, reports the Sunday Times. What does that mean? Everything inside the £549-a-night suite is free from animal products, from the pineapple-based Piñatex upholstering on chairs and the headboard of the bed, to the soybean silk curtains and bamboo flooring. The Vegan Society has given its stamp of approval to the items in the room, which also offers plant-based snacks and a choice of pillows made from buckwheat, kapok or millet.


Allergen labelling law imminent

‘Natasha’s law’ is expected to come into effect in the next few weeks, forcing sandwich stores to include new allergen warnings. Named for Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after eating a Pret a Manger baguette that contained sesame seeds, the law is one of a number of proposals being mooted for allergen labelling on pre-packaged foods – proposals the British Sandwich & Food to Go Association believe would be “onerous” and risk mistakes, reports the Sunday Times.


Food trends

Veg for Veganuary

The Telegraph is encouraging readers to seek out more unusual British-grown veg this Veganuary, including pak choi cultivated in Evesham. Other suggestions include salsify, parsley root, radicchio and purple sprouting broccoli.

image credit: Getty Images

Spread the lard

Lard is having a renaissance, according to the Financial Times. Abroad, Michelin-starred chefs have begun serving it with bread as an alternative to butter, while in London, “you can eat lard five times a day, from seasoned lard with herring at Borealis near London Bridge for brunch, to squid and pork lardo skewers at Yotam Ottolenghi’s newest restaurant, Rovi, which is otherwise dedicated to vegetables,” writes the paper.


Empowerment for the poverty-stricken shopper

The Observer takes a look at a couple of businesses that are making food more affordable for cash-strapped people around Newcastle. “Byker Pantry was born out of a food bank but evolved into a discounted food store where customers who pay a monthly subscription can use points on a card to spend in the shop,” according to the article, which also highlights Andy Haddon’s Artisan Baking Community, selling cheap, high-quality bread.


Food reviews

Imperial Treasure, London SW1Y 4BE

Dragging in its wake the weight of a Michelin-starred reputation in China, Imperial Treasure’s London outpost receives a less than favourable review from Jay Rayner, who balks at the price tags for what is merely “adequate,” unadventurous fare: “Fried rice, with a smattering of chopped shrimp and tiny cubes of pork, is £18. A knot of garlicky morning glory, which in my local greengrocer’s would cost me less than £2, is also £18. Fewer than a dozen king prawns with cashew nuts and dried chillies, one of the more interesting dishes, is £28.”

Chilli crab at Imperial Treasure

Fordwich Arms, Kent CT2 0DB

Marina O’Loughlin is more positive in her review of this Kentish pub, which has previously wowed Grace Dent. Her highlights include the line-caught sea bass accompanied by chestnut puree and semi-dried grapes, “all pulled together with the richness of fino sherry hollandaise,” as well as venison with pumpkin, king oyster mushroom, smoked bone marrow and mirepoix of pear.

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