Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: cocoa producers increase prices and ‘most realistic’ steak alternative unveiled

All the news, reviews and trends from January 11-12, including the company turning food waste into furniture.

13 January 2020
chocolatemeat alternativepricingrestaurantssupermarketstechnology

Food news

Cost of cocoa to rise

Ivory Coast and Ghana, which together provide two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, have formed a partnership to try and ensure farmers receive a fairer share of the profits from global sales of chocolate. As part of ‘Copec,’ an additional £300 will be levied on every tonne on cocoa sold (it currently trades at around £1900/tonne).


New plant-based steak takes on the texture challenge

Novameat claims to have developed the most realistic plant-based steak yet. Pea, seaweed and beetroot juice are extruded into fine fibres that are then used to recreate muscle tissue. Restaurants in Spain and Italy will be the first to feature the steak, which costs around £1.15 per 50g to produce.

image credit: Novameat

Vegan products drive Selfridges sales

Plant-based pies and meat alternatives helped Selfridges increase sales over the Christmas period, with revenue from vegan sweets and chocolates almost doubling. Total sales across the business were up 5%.


Food waste becomes building materials

Cocoa husks, dried orange peel and ground blue pea flowers are among the materials being used to make sustainable building materials by a business called Biohm. The company collects local waste streams – for example, orange peels from the staff canteen of a tech giant and grass cutting from a London airport – to create Orb, an alternative to wooden panels, tiles and risers. It also produces mycelium-based insulation, made using the root system of mushrooms.

image credit: Getty Images

Jamie Oliver Group puts focus on international expansion

Jamie Oliver is hoping his international restaurants fare better than his former British empire. The chef recently rebranded his Bangkok outpost as Jamie Oliver Kitchen, moving it away from a purely Italian focus to incorporate world foods. Reports suggest that the Jamie Oliver Group intends to open a further 19 outlets around the world this year, building on the 70 restaurants in 27 countries that already exist.


Food reviews

Sugo, Glasgow G1 3LX

“Glasgow’s most oversubscribed restaurant” impresses Marina O’Loughlin with its versions of regional Italian pasta dishes. Squid ink spaghetti with baby squid ragu and pangrattato is “not really exactly as you’d find in Sicily, but it’s bloody good, the pasta inky and resonant, the seafood fresh and squeaky, the lemon-spritzed crumbs a really neat touch, adding an exciting layer of brightness and texture.” Pappardelle with slow-cooked beef ragu, meanwhile is “dressed, not drowned, with slow-cooked beef ragu Tuscan-style: chunks of meat rather than minced and authentically under-tomatoed.”

image credit: Sugo

Bistro 46, Newcastle NE2 3DH

Also heading out of London, Jay Rayner tucks into all manner of game this week, including venison: “deep rosy slices of the stuff, with impeccable mash, a few roasted veg, some greens and a deep, luscious cep sauce.” Pheasant appears multiple times on the menu, from the bonbons (“spiced and seasoned balls of minced loveliness, lightly breaded and deep fried, and served on a mess of burnt leeks with, on the top, finely shredded puffball”) to the scotch egg (“Gott has a way with pheasant. He manages to make it taste of something”).

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