Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: food recalls and Starbucks closures

The news, reviews and trends from July 20-21, including Tesco’s price hikes and turning plastic into electricity.

22 July 2019
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Food news

Tesco product prices shoot up

Prices at Tesco have gone up by an average of 11% in the past two weeks, according to the Telegraph. The price rises affect both own-brand and branded goods, from pasta and lettuce to cheese and jam. "Over recent months, cost pressures have continued to build and impact the market,” a Tesco spokesman said. "We've worked hard to offset these pressures and focused on protecting our customers for as long as possible. But, like the wider market, we have had to reflect these pressures in the price of some products. For the majority of products that have increased in price over the last three weeks, we still beat or match the cheapest of the Big Four.”

 

Plastic into electricity

Unrecyclable plastic could be used to create energy, thanks to research conducted at the University of Chester. Inside a glass kiln, plastic waste heated to 1,000 degrees Celsius will break down into a mixture of gases, which will then be captured and pumped into a power plant to heat homes and fuel cars, reports the Guardian.

 

Total recall

The Daily Mirror has rounded up a list of all the products recalled over the past month by retailers, from Tesco burger buns with undeclared sesame seeds to Iceland chicken dippers that may have included hard plastic.

image credit: Getty Images

Starbucks struggles in London

Starbucks has shuttered as many as 35 stores in London, according to the Daily Mail, citing high rents and political uncertainty, as well as the changing consumer landscape. However, the paper also notes that outside the capital the coffee chain is continuing to grow its presence, despite losing £17.2m in in the UK in the year to September 2018.

 

Discount chains set to grow estate

Lidl, Aldi, Jack’s (Tesco’s cheaper store) and other discount chains have planning permission for 190 new stores next year, compared to 10 from the Big Four and 52 from other traditional retailers like Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, according to construction intelligence specialist Barbour ABI. “The march of the discounters across the retail landscape is continuing apace, with cut-price chains planning to open three times as many shops as their traditional rivals next year,” Tom Hall, chief economist at Barbour ABI, told the Times.

Food interviews

Richard Hodgson, chief executive of Yo!

The Evening Standard speaks to Yo!’s chief executive, Richard Hodgson, about plans for concessions in Tesco stores (set to roll out nationwide next month) as well as the brand’s first venue without a conveyor belt, opening in White City. The chain’s forthcoming accounts in the year to November 2018 will show UK sales up 5% to £89m with losses of £7.3m, though Hodgson is confident that the next decade will bring stronger growth.

 

Food reviews

Gold, London W11 2QB

The menu at this Notting Hill joint features many “2019 tropes,” according to Marina O’Loughlin, including house pickles, balsamic tardive (a variety of radicchio), tarassaco (dandelion), bobby beans, bottarga, violet artichokes and a whole host of wood-roasted vegetables, as well as meats like rabbit, speck and Cornish red chicken. Highlights include purple potatoes, “smashed and roasted till smoky and crisp in parts, fluffy in others, topped with a hugely successful ‘caraway sauerkraut slaw,’" rabbit tortelloni with porcini butter, and sea bass carpaccio with a dressing of chilli, marjoram and datterini tomatoes.

image credit: Gold

Martha’s, London W1D 4JG

Judging by Jay Rayner's lukewarm review, there’s not much to excite at this American-ish joint. The menu includes such expected eats as fried chicken and an iceberg wedge with bacon and blue cheese, as well as crab with chilli (“exactly what you want”) and calamari (“rubbery, bouncy tooth-flossers from which the breadcrumb coating sloughs off, as if it’s the skin of a snake that has places to be”).

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