Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: using the whole cacao fruit and WTO tariff fears

The news, reviews and trends from September 28-29, including Uber Eats’ allergen updates and Itsu losses.

30 September 2019
Brexitchocolatefree-fromrestaurant openingrestaurantssupermarkets

Food news

WholeFruit chocolate

Barry Callebaut is launching a new chocolate recipe that uses the entire cacao fruit, as it looks to attract consumers concerned about food waste. Dubbed WholeFruit, the new product is said to have a fruity flavour and can be used in everything from smoothies to pastry. Most chocolate makes use of only the cacao beans, leaving about 70% of the total fruit, including peel and pulp, in the bin.

 

Tariff fears as no-deal Brexit nears

As the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit increases, the commercial director of Sainsbury’s, Paul Mills-Hicks, has confirmed with suppliers that they will be expected to continue to provide goods with delivery duty paid (DDP) after October 31 as per their agreements. If Britain’s relationship with the EU reverts to World Trade Organisation rules, this could mean footing the bill for a 46% tariff rise on cheese and 40% on beef.  

image credit: Getty Images

Waitrose ditches discount sections

Waitrose is removing its 'reduction bays' due to what one worker described as a "circus culture in which a horde of people — most of whom can afford to pay full price — are fighting over sandwiches.” Instead, items with reduced prices will remain alongside regular products in the aisles.

 

Itsu expansion hits profits

Itsu has insisted there is a demand for its healthy fast food despite losing £6m last year, following a pre-tax loss of £8.9m in 2017. The sushi brand saw sales rise 10% last year but says the cost of expansion in America and France is undercutting profits.

 

Own-label bread squeezes Hovis sales

Market volumes of Hovis bread have shrunk due to the rise of own-label alternatives. The company narrowed its losses last year, with a slight uptick in revenue from bakery sales.

image credit: Getty Images

Uber Eats empowers food allergy sufferers

Users of the Uber Eats app across the world will be able to find allergen-free foods more easily in the coming weeks, as the company begins to roll out new features that will allow customers to narrow their options according to dietary restrictions. Clearer communication between restaurants and diners about potential allergen concerns will also be enabled.

 

Can Prezzo turn business around?

Prezzo is a “case study in what’s happened in mid-market dining: over-expansion, and distraction from [the] core business,” according to Karen Jones, who was appointed as the Italian chain’s executive chairwoman in June last year. The Sunday Times speaks to Jones about her plans for turning the business around, while questioning whether it can truly survive in the current market: Prezzo is set to reveal a 25.7% fall in sales to £157.2m last year, though losses are expected to have narrowed following a CVA and a debt-for-equity swap.

 

Food reviews

The Humble Bee Café, London E1 3DG

Jay Rayner pens an ode to simple cafe food, including a “sausage roll as thick as a toddler’s arm… studded with the sweet burst of chopped apricots, the flaky pastry sprinkled with fennel seeds.” The menu of open sandwiches is described as a platform “upon which the kitchen assembles its ideas,” consisting of thickly sliced sourdough topped with a mixture of butternut squash, hummus, pickled beetroot, feta, baba ganoush, roasted tomatoes and watercress, among other ingredients – some of which have been grown at the urban farm on which The Humble Bee is located.

Kama by Vineet, London SW1X 7XL

“Puddings are just a bit grim,” writes Marina O’Loughlin of the Harrods attempt to jump on the fashionable Indian food bandwagon. While she praises the “vibrancy of the spicing” in the lamb biryani – “cooked ‘dum’ style, as is the modish London way, in a cap of pastry to seal in the aromatics – she balks at the pricing, while noting only tourists seem to have been attracted by the new restaurant.

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