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Farm labour shortage may hit hospitality food prices
The shortage of migrant labour facing UK farmers could hit supplies and prices of seasonal fruit and vegetables this summer, warns buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.
As growers struggle to recruit overseas workers, hospitality and catering businesses are urged to monitor supplier prices carefully, according to the newly-published Summer 2018 edition of the Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast.
Managing director Rachel Dobson said: “Our usual advice is to make the most of fresh, seasonal produce, but this summer that comes with an additional warning due to the labour issue. With fresh salad crops and summer berries now ready for picking, the industry is struggling to recruit enough seasonal workers. “It’s not simply concerns about Brexit, although that’s a factor; EU workers now have a wider range of employment options and many have seen wages increase in their own country or can travel somewhere closer to home for seasonal work. “Without enough migrant workers, there’s a risk that produce is simply left in the fields. Farmers and growers have asked for a commitment from government that they will have access to sufficient numbers of permanent and seasonal workers, and it’s an issue which needs a speedy resolution.”
Other produce areas highlighted in the Summer 2018 edition include:
With 75% of the current UK catch exported, operators who can broaden the range of fish and shellfish species featured on menus and specials boards are at an advantage over those that restrict their offer to the most popular varieties. Using UK-caught species in season such as hake, plaice and lemon sole will help keep menus profitable.
Beef will see a seasonal increase in the price of forequarter cuts of around of 15-20% as the summer barbecue season increases demand for burgers. Caterers who can switch menus to cuts such as topside and silverside should get better value. Lamb prices hit a five year high this spring, with the UK exporting more lamb due to the exchange rate, and New Zealand shipping more to the Far East.
The ‘spring flush’, which normally sees milk output rise, was negligible this year due to the cold conditions. Butter and cream prices are expected to continue to rise across the summer and into the autumn, as lower dairy production in the UK pushes up demand.
Sharp price increases were initially caused by the loss of much of the crop of vanilla pods in Madagascar due to extreme weather, and the situation has been made worse by domestic unrest over control of the remaining supplies. Wholesale prices for vanilla extract, in high demand for ice cream and dessert production, are up by around 30% this year.
Dobson adds: “Although the two bursts of freezing weather at the start of spring caught farmers off guard, the supply chain has plenty of experience of extreme conditions.
“Growers have largely caught up, so it would be a shame now if caterers have to reduce the amount of fresh produce featured on summer menus due to higher costs caused by the labour shortage. We’ll be monitoring the situation and advising customers as the season progresses.”
The Summer 2018 Market Forecast is available to download free from the Lynx Purchasing website at Lynx-Purchasing-Market-Forecast-Summer-18-pdf
Sandbanks hotel plans revised after opposition
Plans to redevelop three hotels on Dorset’s Sandbanks peninsula have been revised following widespread opposition.
Businessman Richard Carr’s scheme to redevelop three FJB hotels – the Haven Hotel, Sandbanks Hotel and Harbour Heights – attracted more than 2,700 public objections to the Borough of Poole Council. A Protect Sandbanks Group was set up to oppose the plans which originally proposed demolishing the hotels to redevelop the sites.
The main concern was the building of a ten-storey residential complex of up to 260 properties on the Haven Hotel site at the gateway to Poole Harbour. The revised plans have reduced this to six storeys. The other hotel proposals have also been reduced slightly in size.
If passed, the Haven Hotel will be transformed into an apartment complex, the Sandbanks Hotel redeveloped as a new 185-bed hotel and Harbour Heights changed into a 38-apartment hotel.
Carr told the Bournemouth Echo: “It is a simple as this, to do nothing is not a choice. If the shareholders of the FJB group were to do nothing then the Harbour Heights, the Sandbanks and the Haven Hotel would end up as two-star venues. In particular, the Haven Hotel has a structural life that is coming to an end. I am hoping the new drawings should appease most of the objectors.”
Mapperton House reopens café
Mapperton House, near Beaminster, Dorset have reopened the Sawmill Café and Coach House with the aid of a £140,000 LEADER grant from the Southern Dorset Local Action Group.
Part of the Rural Development Programme for England, LEADER involves the local community deciding which grants would benefit the length of the tourist season and create full-time, year-round employment.
As well as catering for visitors to Mapperton House and Gardens, including a range of sandwiches created by Lord Sandwich, for whom the house is his ancestral family home, it is hoped the Sawmill Café will attract residents too and includes a space for groups and business meetings. The Coach House includes an events space with seating for up to 120 or 200 standing and is available for weddings, parties and corporate hire.
Viscount Hinchingbrooke said: “After six months of renovations, we have opened the doors of our new Sawmill Café and Coach House. We really hope that this becomes a popular spot for local lunches and teas, whether or not you are visiting the house and gardens.”
Bristol cake makers turn to woolly packaging
Bristol-based bakers, Cakesmiths, are ditching expanded polystyrene boxes and introducing Woolcool packaging for all the cakes it delivers to coffee shops.
Woolcool is a natural packaging product made from sheep wool. It keeps food in a stable temperature range for 24 hours and is reusable, recyclable and biodegradable.
Cakesmiths founder, Tom Batlle said: “We have made significant steps to grow the business over the past 2 years… The move to Woolcool is another part of the process that will ensure we supply our handmade cakes to customers in the best possible condition. Woolcool will both reduce the amount of material being stored or recycled as well as overcome the challenges of single-use EPS. As an added benefit our customers can return the Woolcool liners and freezer packs to us for free. For every wool liner we receive we will donate a slice of cake to the Grand Appeal charity for them to sell. Our fundraising target is £10,000.”
St Austell Brewery licensees pick up top industry award
The Polgooth Inn’s husband and wife team of Alex and Tanya Williams beat off competition from over 200 other entries to win the Licensee of the Year 2018 title, sponsored by Sky TV. The British Institute of Innkeepers (BII) judged they had displayed excellent knowledge and experience in three different areas; Business Development, People and Training and Financial Awareness on the final day of the competition on the 4th June. Tanya Williams, attending with fellow members of the team from the pub, based near St Austell in Cornwall, said: “The BII Summer Party is such a massive event so it’s an honour even to be here let alone win. The whole team has worked so hard to make this award a reality so we have to say a huge thank you to all of our staff. The competition process was so tough, so you have to believe in what you are doing, that it is the right thing to do. The other finalists are so amazing – we have all become friends.”
As Licensees of the Year Alex and Tanya will receive a Study Trip to Amsterdam courtesy of Heineken and honorary lifetime membership of the BII.
FOOD & DRINK NEWS
Cold brew coffee in cans from Drury
The Drury Tea & Coffee Company has announced the launch of its Cold Brew Coffee, which comes packaged in aluminium cans.
It’s available in two varieties – Still, “which is perfect over ice” or Nitro, “a nitrogen infused version for that distinctive creamy body and mouthfeel.” Both are made with Colombian coffee grown on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. After roasting, it is steeped in distilled water for 16 hours before filtering and canning.
Both coffees are packed in cases of 12 and cost £16.80 per case, equivalent to £1.40 per can.
British biscotti introduce American flavours
Great British Biscotti are launching a new range of North American-inspired flavours in their “Over the pond portfolio.”
They include Pumpkin Pie, Banoffee Pie, Pecan Pie and Toffee Apple and retail at £2.29 for a 100g pack.
Founder Paul Rostand said: “Clearly no-one appreciates a ‘trump-tastic’ themed biscotti more than our biscuit loving friends across the Atlantic and YET contrary to all our original forecasts, North American flavour traditions are perfectly equipped to foster an ardent domestic fanbase.”
For more details go to www.greatbritishbiscotti.co.uk
Bath guesthouse on market for £1.75 million
A substantial Bed & Breakfast, the Aquae Sulis Guest House, situated close to Bath city centre has been brought to market for £1.75 million for the freehold with Christie & Co.
Occupying a detached, three storey Edwardian villa, Aquae Sulis boasts 14 well-finished bedrooms, 12 of which are ensuite, plus a bar, lounge and 30-cover dining room. The property also includes two-bedroom owner’s accommodation with its own conservatory.
Matthew Smith, Director at Christie & Co said: “Having sold a number of B&Bs in Bath within the last 12 months, the demand for this type of business is at a high level from a range of buyer categories. We anticipate the business will attract interest from hands-on owners who can further increase the trading performance through not only an increase to the annual net revenue but by also reducing operating costs such as introducing a rate management system and increasing revenue per available room through higher occupancy and average daily rate.”
Blackdown Hills inn on sale for first time in 23 years
The Flintlock Inn on the A303 at Marsh in the Blackdown Hills is on the market for the first time in 23 years, priced at £525,000 with Colliers International.
Situated between Honiton and Ilminster, the inn was formerly known as The Globe and has four traditional trading areas plus a four bedroom flat, large garden and a stone barn with potential for conversion to additional rooms.
Ed Jefferson from Colliers International said: “You can’t miss this traditional family inn on the main road through the Blackdown Hills – which has been sympathetically maintained to focus on the catering trade. Our clients have owned and operated the property for the past 23 years but with retirement approaching, they are keen to pass the inn on to new owners. This is a healthy business generating net sales of £305,894 which offers new owners an opportunity to live and work in a highly desirable part of the West Country.”
Bellavita Expo London: Italian Food & Beverage Trade Show
17th – 19th June 2018
Business Design Centre, London
“Bellavita Expo London is the UK’s biggest trade event promoting the finest Italian food and beverages to thousands of buyers, as well as educational content including the latest trends, masterclasses with Michelin-starred Chefs, seminars and debates.”
Hampshire Food Festival
1st – 31st July, 2018
Various locations across Hampshire
“Organised by Hampshire Fare, Hampshire is preparing to celebrate all things food and farming throughout July with over 60 tempting events taking place across the county.”
To take part and to find out more, please visit-
2nd – 3rd July, 2018
“If you source, buy or serve drinks within the drinks industry, Imbibe Live is the must-attend show for you.”
Cotswold Taste Local Group Launch – A new way to grow your food or drink business
5th July, 2018 – 7pm-9pm
The Royal Hop Pole Hotel, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
A member-owned co-operative, Cotswold Taste aims to promote the business success of its members and business partners. If you are a local food or drink business, come along and learn how Cotswold Taste can help to grow your business. The guest speaker is Cotswold Taste business partner Quentin Thomas, Director of the award-winning design agency Riley & Thomas, who will talk on ‘The right branding and design opens doors for small food producers.’
To book a place at this FREE event or for more information, please email – email@example.com