Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: carbon labelling and meat-free Christmas sales

The news, reviews and trends from December 21-22, including vegan 'perinaise' from Nando's and the Middle Eastern approach to aubergine.

23 December 2019
labellingsustainabilityveganrestaurant openingrestaurantssupermarkets

Food news

Carbon labelling

What is the best way to communicate a product’s environmental footprint? Nestlé and Premier Foods have both said they are looking into ways to show consumers that they are actively engaged in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Two-thirds of consumers support some kind of carbon labelling, though research released at the beginning of 2019 suggests they tend to underestimate the environmental impact of food.


Dreaming of a meat-free Christmas

Retailers are seeing record sales for Christmas vegan ranges, thanks to increased investment in NPD and expanded ranges. Sainsbury’s said its 'shroompups' (a meat-free alternative to pigs in blankets) was doing particularly well, while Waitrose noted its star performers were centrepieces like the root en croute and the nut roast. 

Veganuary comes early

Looking ahead to next month, 100,000 people have already pledged to take part in Veganuary – double the number that took part last year. The UK-based organisation behind the month-long event has begun expanding into Germany, the US and Chile as well. In other vegan-related news, a landmark case will decide whether ethical veganism can be classified as a philosophical belief, and therefore legally protected from discrimination in the workplace under the 2010 Equality Act.


Sauce maker recalls peanut-tainted goods

Saclà, which makes a number of Italian sauces that are sold under both its own brand as well as Waitrose and Aldi own brands, has had to recall a number of products, after fears that they may have become contaminated with peanuts. It is thought around one in 50 children currently suffer from an allergy to the ingredient.


‘Perinaise’ goes vegan

Nando’s will be offering a vegan version of its ‘perinaise’ (peri peri mayonnaise) for January 1 in restaurants and on Tesco shelves.

Food reviews

Persian Cottage, Middlesbrough TS5 6JQ

“Persian rice is the best way with rice,” according to Jay Rayner, as he tucks into the fare at a Middle Eastern grill house. To accompany the rice (which is parboiled and rinsed to reduce starch, then steamed), the critic tucks into flamed lambs kebabs, whole grilled chicken and a couple of augergine dishes: kashk e bademjan (“mashed with walnuts, mint and whey, so that it’s vibrating with acidity and vigour”) and mirza ghasemi (“aubergine is grilled, then beaten with garlic, tomato and crushed pieces of boiled egg, and a motherload of fried onions”).

image credit: Getty Images

The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie, Cambridge CB2 1TB

How does the popular London destination’s growing presence nationwide measure up? Not well, if you are to believe Marina O’Loughlin, whose trip to Cambridge branch claims that it’s a clever scheme to sell ordinary comfort food for inflated prices. While she does spare some pity for the “suave chicken liver parfait with crumbs of what tastes like praline on top” and “freshly fried chicken Milanese topped with an egg, its sunshine yellow yolk suggesting a good egg, perhaps a Burford Brown.” Lobster risotto, on the other hand, is described as “almost entirely without personality, flavour, depth.”

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