Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: supermarkets selling contaminated vegan meals and KFC to launch meat-free 'chicken'

The news, reviews and trends from June 9-10, including the ice cream boom and the breaking up of the 2 Sisters Food Group.

11 June 2018
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Food news

‘Meat free’ meals contaminated with pork and turkey

Some of Tesco and Sainsbury’s vegan- and vegetarian-friendly products have been found to contain meat, according to an investigation by the Daily Telegraph, which claims to have discovered “traces of pork in Sainsbury’s own brand ‘meat free’ meatballs and traces of turkey in a vegan macaroni ready meal from Tesco’s new Wicked Kitchen line.” The Telegraph sent 10 food items to a German lab to be analysed for whole animal DNA, which is present in in meat, skin, eggs and milk. The news has triggered a further investigation by the Food Standards Agency, as well as vituperations from the Muslim Council of Britain and Kosher London Beth Din.


Chicken king ditches pies and fish

2 Sisters Food Group boss Ranjit Boparan is getting ready to sell off Holland’s Pies, reports the Sunday Times. Also under the hammer alongside the traditional pie and pudding brand is fish supplier Donegal Catch. Potential bidders are considering offers for both businesses, which together are valued at £50m. “Boparan, dubbed the ‘Chicken King,’ is struggling to keep his heavily indebted empire together after being hit by a food hygiene scandal at his plant in West Bromwich,” notes the Sunday Times.


KFC without the C

KFC has plans to offer plant-based ‘chicken’ by next year, reports the Sun, noting that the Colonel won’t be changing the signature blend of 11 herbs and spices when the healthier option is rolled out. The move is part of the fast-food chain’s pledge to cut calories in its meals by 20% over the next seven years.

image credit: fierman/iStock/Thinkstock

Pret a money

“Staff at Pret A Manger have each been promised a £1,000 windfall when the sale of the sandwich chain to German investors goes through, but for the founders and top managers, the £1.5bn deal is proving more lucrative,” writes the Sunday Times. The sandwich chain has been snapped up by JAB, the German investment company that also owns Dr Pepper, Snapple and Krispy Kreme, and the deal is estimated to net Pret’s CEO Clive Schlee £30m, while co-founder Sinclair Beecham will be in line for more than £200m.


Changes to the club

The Sunday Times gives a rundown of the changes to the Tesco Clubcard that come into effect today. Originally announced in January (but only activated today due to “an angry backlash from customers”), most vouchers spent at a reward partner are now worth three times face value, rather than two, three or four times face value – the idea being to simplify the offers.


Food trends

I scream, you scream

As Food Spark has previously observed, ice cream is a hotbed for innovation at the moment. The Daily Telegraph has noticed too, reporting that “ice cream parlours are one of the few businesses that are booming, according to recent figures from a study commissioned by PricewaterhouseCooper.” The paper goes on to highlight some of Britain’s best spots for a scoop, including San Luca in Edinburgh, Swoon in Bristol, Jack’s Ice Cream in Cambridge and Gelupo in London.

image credit: Eugene03/iStock/Thinkstock

Food reviews

Roski, Liverpool L1 2TE

Attempting to understand the dishes at Roski is like trying to unpick blockchain, writes Marina O’Loughlin, as she questions whether the cooking from MasterChef: The Professionals winner Anton Piotrowski is just a bit overcomplicated. While the critic acknowledges the skills in the kitchen, the “hit after hit” approach seems to leave her faintly exhausted, as she wonders whether the pricy, showy tasting menu goes against the rising popularity of simple, perfect meals as championed by places like Lyle’s and Where the Light Gets In.

The Coach, London EC1R 3DJ

“[Henry] Harris’s French classics are like nursery food, a list of things that says everything will be fine,” writes Jay Rayner, who praises the unfussy fare at this revamped pub. Surprises are few but the results are satisfying, from the grilled rabbit with planks of crisp, smoked bacon and a thick mustard sauce to the duck confit with a bacon sauce and pommes sarladaise.


Salt Pig

A palace of pork – the name gives it away really – is what Kathryn Flett finds at this Dorking establishment, which serves an overwhelmingly porcine pulled pork burger, “piled high on its pillowy brioche, slathered with melted cheddar and accessorised by super-fat triple-fried chips.” The Telegraph critic is enamoured, however, of her “dear little brown [pork] pie nestling in spinach and accompanied by a smooth streak of mash,” which is “so traditionally gorgeous it not only looked like a 17th-century still life by Pieter Claesz, it tasted baroque.”

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