Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: Tesco's new food waste initiative and fatal allergies on the rise

All the news, reviews and trends from July 6-7, including ethical foie gras, Marmite XO and bee-friendly honey products.

8 July 2019
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Food news

Tesco turns daily bread into pudding

Tesco is releasing a new range of olive crostini and bread pudding made from leftover baguettes and batons, reveals The Guardian. The retailer estimates that it could cut the amount of unsold bread in half if the new products went on sale at all its outlets, though it will start this week with just 24. This latest food waste initiative is part of the supermarket’s overarching ambition to ensure that no food fit for human consumption is thrown away – an ambition it says it is 80% of the way towards achieving.


Fatal allergies on the rise

As new food labelling laws are poised for introduction in the UK, does more research need to be done into why allergies are on the rise in young people? Figures released by NHS digital on Sunday indicate that the number of children admitted to hospitals due to anaphylactic shock have risen by more than 40% in just five years, reports The Sunday Times.


Did the CMA fail to do its due diligence on Sainsbury’s-Asda deal?

The Telegraph questions whether the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) was too lax in its assessment of the supermarket industry during its investigation into the proposed Sainsbury’s-Asda tie-up, thereby providing an inaccurate picture of the marketplace. In its provisional findings, the CMA said that both The Co-op and Marks and Spencer claimed to have no definite plans to enter the grocery delivery market, but the former launched a website for just that purpose one month later, while M&S revealed a tie-up with Ocado around the same time.


Waitrose flocks to ethical foie gras

This week, a handful of Waitrose stores will begin stocking foie gras made from the livers of "healthy, free-range geese," according to The Telegraph. Foie Royale claims to take the notoriously cruel process of force-feeding birds out of the picture, instead combining the livers of humanely reared ducks and geese with fat cells in a lab to create the taste of traditional foie gras. The product is also being released to restaurants and is already stocked by Tommy Browning, head chef at Lewtrenchard Manor.

image credit: Foie Royale

Marmite XO returns to shelves

Unilever is bringing back Marmite XO (extra old) – and this time it may be for good, writes The Guardian. First appearing as a limited-edition item in 2010, the 28-day-aged, extra-strength spread will go on sale exclusively in Tesco for six months (priced at £3.99 for a 250g), before rolling out to other mults subject to demand.


Chips are down for Spudulike

Baked potato brand Spudulike has applied for a CVA that would see rent slashed to as little as 10% of turnover, reports The Guardian. It also wants to close at least four of its outlets as it attempts to stay afloat.


Food trends

Honey honey

Will ethical honey become a new top consumer concern? As the survival of bees and their important role in the food chain come under increasing threat, The Sunday Times explores five brands whose USP is ensuring their products support the buzzing pollinators. Just Bee Drinks, for example, gives away wildflower seeds with each purchase to combat the diminishing number of flowers bees can feed on in cities and towns, while the London Honey Co. uses part of its profits to support the traditional beekeeping craft.


App-y to eat you

The Guardian follows The Telegraph in reporting on Too Good To Go and other apps that help restaurants and cafes sell food they would otherwise throw away at the end of the day for discounted prices, thus reducing food waste.


Cool off

The Sunday Times features six restaurant ice creams to devour this summer, from Gloria’s pistachio gelato and Gelupo’s strawberry granita, to Bao’s Horlicks ice cream bun and Dishoom’s mango kulfi lolly.

image credit: Getty Images

Chains that are thriving

Loungers and Fulham Shore (operator of Franco Manca and The Real Greek) are among the restaurant businesses the FT highlights as chains that are thriving. The former’s success is attributed to having a format that allows for trading throughout the day, while the latter’s relatively small estate ensures it has a solid supply chain of top-quality ingredients at a good price point.


Food reviews

Mana, Manchester M4 6BF

Dining at this “consciously theatrical” newcomer, Marina O’Loughlin encounters a number of “outré ingredients” as part of a 16-course tasting menu, including blackcurrant wood, ‘peaso’ (miso homemade from peas), beeswax, baby pine cones and wood ants. “A good restaurant by world standards” and deserving a Michelin star next year, according to the critic, the menu includes yakitori eel glazed with blackcurrant vinegar and roasted yeast, as well as langoustine tails served with cured egg yolk and a “lick of thick tomalley bisque, lollipopped on spruce twigs, set afire.” Beef tartare comes from a former dairy cow, while charred onion petals are drizzled with kelp oil and fermented barley sauce.

image credit: Mana

Bugis Street Brasserie, Millennium Gloucester Hotel, London SW7 4LH

Following on from his disastrous meal at a Holiday Inn just over a month ago, Jay Rayner is cautious in approaching another hotel restaurant, but is pleased to find a more charming authentic experience this time around. Nasi goreng is a “huge plate of rust-coloured rice, mined with spiced chicken, prawns and a few peas for colour and pop, then topped with a fried egg, the yolk from which is just waiting to be pierced,” while the laksa – one of the best the critic has had – comes with thicker rice noodles than the usual vermicelli and a broth of chilli, stock and coconut.

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