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Taste of the West call for government support
Taste of the West is lobbying the government to support the local food and drink sector following their survey into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the food economy of the South West. They are calling for a continuation of government support for food producers, cafe, pub and restaurant owners as they “battle to stay in business over the next nine months as restrictions are slowly lifted.”
The interim report from the South West food group highlights the role the local food industry plays in the visitor economy and tourism sector. Their findings include:
“ · 50 – 90% drop overall in food sales for small manufacturers since the onset of the outbreak in March.
· A very high level of innovation throughout the sector providing additional home delivery slots in support of the supermarket’s struggle to maintain a resilient home delivery system for the region’s consumers.
· Government support so far has been welcomed, however, there are too many gaps in the support, or where individual businesses (being small) are falling down between the various funding packages and not able to access them.”
According to Taste of the West, the report highlights “the very strong link between the region’s food sector and the tourism sector – often not only providing a point of difference in the food offer to those tourism businesses but also contributing to specific food-based events like food festivals, fairs or farmers markets – all of which have been cancelled. The report calls on the government to recognise the food sector on the same basis as the tourism sector when it comes to considering further support measures.”
The report also provides an analysis of the likelihood of businesses getting through the next nine months and concludes that “it is difficult to see how the region’s local food sector, including all manufacturers as well as cafes, pubs and restaurants will cope with a 2020 summer of ‘delicate’ trading under an ‘easing’ of restrictions, coupled with an autumn trying to play catch up in a still ‘nervous’ marketplace before a naturally quieter winter period. Therefore, it is likely that we are looking towards the spring of 2021 before profitable trading can resume on anything like a ‘normal’ basis.”
Taste of the West said: “the report calls on Government to continue to support all food businesses from manufacturers to cafes owners, pub and restaurant owners through the current difficulties of lockdown but as restrictions are slowly lifted, the Government must also ‘slowly’ ease the current support measures in a timely manner as well and look at what novel recovery support grants might be developed to sustain businesses through what is going to be a difficult 9 months ahead.”
They are asking the government to “Treat ‘Local Food’ businesses the same as all tourism and hospitality businesses” and that “Government support should continue for all food-based businesses through the next 9 months… with support coming on a “phased and flexible basis to match the slow easing of restrictions” and “access to a new grant aid recovery scheme to buffer businesses into the 2021 trading year.”
For more information, go to www.tasteofthewest.co.uk.
Rugby legend opens takeaway
Former England rugby captain Phil Vickery has delayed the opening of his new restaurant No. 3 in Cheltenham last week and launched a takeaway service instead.
The British Lion and Celebrity Masterchef winner is offering “his favourite restaurant food to enjoy in the comfort of your own home”. The launch menu includes Parmesan-crusted chicken breasts, luxury fish pie, and spiced roast duck legs.
Vickery said: “Cheltenham and the wider area has a fantastic food scene and it’s one I’ve been looking to get into for some time. For years, people have been asking me what I’m planning to do next.
“Having had many conversations and ideas, it seemed that, last year, the stars were aligning and I was presented with the opportunity to form a series of perfect partnerships, including a brilliant team and suppliers, as well as getting the right landlord on board. Then, out of nowhere, Covid-19 and the subsequent crisis appeared, seemingly scuppering our plans.
“Not wanting to set all the hard preparation work aside, I was determined to continue. So, putting fresh plans in place and implementing them over the past few weeks, we’re now in a position to launch No 3 as a collection service, providing people with access to high-quality food at no risk to themselves.”
“I’m not a chef; I’m a cook. I am hugely passionate about food, the way it’s cooked and its purpose. I want to offer good, tasty, wholesome food, supplemented by people coming together, having fun, sharing conversations and generally feeling good, all while eating genuinely delicious meals. Of course, at present, this social element isn’t possible, but we can still provide a fantastic taste experience for people to enjoy.”
The menu for No.3, named after the number of Vickery’s jersey when playing for Gloucester, also includes “Phil’s Sirloin Steak”, for customers to cook at home with guidance from Phil on video.
UKHospitality launch “secure restart” campaign
Trade body UKHospitality has launched the #FAIR4Hospitality campaign to highlight that businesses are ready to reopen in a safe and sustainable way with the right government support.”
Representing tens of thousands of outlets, UKHospitality’s campaign outlines four primary areas which “allow hospitality to play a leading role in the recovery:
Wellbeing: Endorse the sector’s best-practice protocols and risk assessments for a COVID Secure restart.
Workers: Ensure the furlough scheme is retained at full rate for hospitality until businesses successfully restart.
Communities: Regulate to provide equitable solutions on rent payments for the remainder of the year and a solution to address debt and costs for business.
Consumers: Cut the rate of VAT for hospitality businesses to help boost confidence and incentivise visits to tourist destinations.”
UKHospitality has submitted its health and safety protocol best practice to ministers and emphasise that the sector needs the flexibility to operate safely and should not be constrained by a “one-size-fits-all approach given the diversity of businesses covered.”
Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive, said: “Hospitality needs the UK and devolved governments to help us deliver for our customers, our employees, local communities and the wellbeing of the nation. We will be ready to restart (in England on 4th July and other parts of the country when allowed), but for the entire country to come together again after lockdown, governments must invest in a fair and timely return for hospitality and all those who rely on it.
“The sector provides jobs and livelihoods in every city, town and village. But we are more than that, our venues are where communities come together – our doors reopening will be a true measure of national recovery. It is vital that reopening is done in the right way, at the right time and with the right support so that our industry can help rebuild shattered consumer confidence and bring the nation back together safely over the coming months.
“The summer is a crucial time for the sector. The Great British public deserve safe accommodation, eating and drinking out experiences, holidays and leisure time; the financial cost is a justified investment in our nation’s wellbeing and the future of the economy.”
South West Food Hub launches
The South West Food Hub Community Interest Company (CIC) has been set up to support the region’s food network and “establish sustainable, shorter supply chains across the South West’s food sector” and help local businesses to “build back better” following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Focusing primarily on public procurement, the initiative is supported by local organisations including the Heart of the South West LEP, the University of Exeter, Exeter City Futures, POM Support and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).
Alex Stevens, regional policy manager at the NFU said: “We are a region united by food and a strong food and drink sector will be crucial to getting the economy back on track when life returns to normality. This initiative seeks to link the region’s food producers and farmers with outlets for their fantastic produce. NFU South West is excited to work alongside these fantastic local companies and support the South West Food Hub.”
Local food and drink businesses will also be able to get an anonymous ‘health check’ to understand how they are being affected by the coronavirus crisis through a collaboration between the South West Food Hub and PKF Francis Clark and Stephens Scown LLP. They can complete the survey here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/XMFDH7Z.
The South West Food Hub is working as the Crown Commercial Service’s regional partner to prepare the area to pilot a new government initiative that will help shorten public sector food supply chains. The new dynamic online purchasing platform in the pilot will open up public sector food procurement to local producers and suppliers. The South West Food Hub will work with anchor institutions such as schools and hospitals to mobilise the pilot, whilst supporting food and drink SMEs to meet entry criteria and prepare to supply through the new platform.
James Cashmore, deputy CEO of the Soil Association, said: “Dynamic food procurement holds the prospect of creating shorter, more adaptable, more resilient supply chains, with fewer barriers to participation, particularly for local producers. Approaches such as this are needed now, more than ever.”
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The website will be launching soon at https://www.thesouthwestfoodhub.co.uk/.
Joint approach for Organic September
Soil Association Certification is leading a joint approach for Organic September this year. Joining with the Organic Trade Board and many other brands and retailers, it is hoped the unified campaign will make Organic September a “key moment in the calendar for all organic businesses, producers, farmers and retailers – large, small, online and physical.”
Clare McDermott, business development director at Soil Association Certification, said: “Citizens are more in touch with their food, where it comes from and how it’s been produced than at any time in recent history – and it shows in the choices they’re making. They want simple changes that truly have a positive impact for the planet. This Organic September is a chance for everyone – from farmers to box schemes to online operators, high street retailers to farm shops, brands small and large – to come together and get the message out that choosing organic can make a world of difference, helping to restore nature, health and a safe climate. The time is now for organic.”
Langham and Templar Wines announce on-trade agreement
The largest independent wine merchant in Dorset, Templar Wines, and the Langham Wine Estate have set up an agreement to supply products to hospitality trade customers throughout their home county of Dorset.
Max Bracher, managing director of Templar Wines, said: “We were going to begin in April, but due to the ongoing pandemic, a date will be announced in the future when the hospitality sector reopens, so customers will be able to enjoy all the Langham favourites in their favourite restaurants.
“It is an ideal fit for us because we undertake regular deliveries to customers along the south coast, many of which also stocked Langham wines, creating both logical and environmental synergy.
“Langham Estate has become one of the leading winegrowers in the UK, and having won various awards, it makes our portfolio stronger and enables the trade to offer an award-winning, local English wine for their customers.”
There is a café and tasting room at Langham Wine Estate which is provisionally due to re-open in July, Covid-19 rules permitting.
For more information visit www.templarwines.co.uk.
Staff health check app for food industry
Food traceability software company Agrantec has launched a new mobile app, Staff Health Check.
The app allows staff to remotely certify their and their family’s health status. The business owner has visibility of any symptoms and can make “informed decisions on whether the staff member is ‘fit to work’.”
App users are prompted with questions to assess their condition before leaving home, to help reduce the chances of cross-contamination.
Future updates will include body temperature tracking, custom questions and uploading doctor’s notes or other documents.
Staff Health Check is currently available on Android only and is part of Agrantec’s food traceability and ERP platform, NotaZone. For more information contact email@example.com.
SOUTH WEST INITIATIVES
Bath Ales’ head brewer, Georgina Young, is hosting a virtual ‘meet the brewer’ event on Wednesday 27th May at 7pm. She will be hosting the Q&A and guided beer tasting live on the Bath Ales Facebook page.
During the session, Georgina will be talking beer lovers through the flavour profiles and brewing process of four different beers: Gem Amber Ale, Wild Hare Pale Ale, Lansdown IPA, and Darkside Stout. She’ll also answer any questions about Bath Ales – which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year – and share her top tips for flavour matching with beer and food.
Georgina Young says: “Now, more than ever, it’s important for beer fans to stay connected – and what better way to do that than an interactive virtual tasting?
“It may not be quite the same as a visit to your local, but until it’s safe to reopen pubs, we can still socialise from our sofas with a bottle in hand.”
For those who want to sip along, Bath Ales beers are available to order from www.bathales.com/shop.
Celebrity chef Rick Stein and his team have committed to walking 25socially distanced miles over a week. As well as raising money for charity, they hope the walks will “create the sense of community lost through the wide closure of the hospitality sector.”
The team have joined a Rotary Club initiative called ‘Walk The Test Another Way’. Fundraisers can set up teams of people, friends, and family work colleagues who can walk anything from 1 mile to 25 miles anywhere at all – garden, local park or on a treadmill.
Rick Stein said: “Not only are we battling to save our company, we are fighting to keep the team spirit that is so precious to us. Our business relies upon creating an environment that people love to visit, the way that our team work with each other and our customers to do that is critical. We wanted to find a way during lockdown that, even if not physically, we are still together and can maintain those relationships.”
Rick, who is in Australia and unable to return to the UK adds: “This goes a little way to make me feel that my wife Sas and I are there alongside the rest of the team, either raising sponsorship or walking with us. It’s a fantastic team event supporting our local homeless charity St Petrocs, which like many other charities is facing funding challenges as a result of the virus.
Sandy Dunn, Walk chairman explains: “Our annual Walk the Test Way raises thousands of pounds each year for local charities. When we realised that the social distancing measures would mean a cancellation of the event, we launched Walk the Test Another Way. Walking together as a team, joining up ‘virtually’ to raise money for a local charity. Posting photos each day helps to keep the team spirit alive. I am delighted it’s being used not only to raise money but to bring colleagues and customers together for the Stein Team across the country and with Rick in lockdown in Australia… across the Globe!’
Lois Wild of St Petrocs said: “We are very grateful for the ongoing support from the Stein business, and in such a challenging time for homeless people around the country. We are fighting to find emergency accommodation for a large number of people at the moment and this type of activity not only helps financially but brings people together.”
Jill Stein added: “We are working hard to ensure the survival of our company for the future, looking forward to the day our customers and staff walk through the doors again. In the meantime we can still be together, trying not to lose that connection is really important to all of us.”
More information at www.walkthetestway.org.uk .
Sponsorship pages for Rick, Jill and Team are at:
Somerset-based Sheppy’s Cider has launched a new click and collect arrangement from their farm shop with 2% commission going to the NHS. As well as their award-winning cider, everyday essentials are available including cheese, eggs, milk, home-made pasties and pies.
Order from www.mypubshop.com before 5pm for fresh next-day orders collecting from the farm shop. The House of Cider Farm shop is open Tuesday – Saturday including bank holidays with collection times being between 1pm –5pm.
FOOD & DRINK NEWS
Quicke’s launch Joy Boxes
Clothbound cheddar-maker Quicke’s are launching boxes packed with a selection of award-winning food and drink from fellow Devon-based producers. The new Joy Boxes will “come with everything needed for a memorable meal in the garden or that long-awaited picnic in the park.”
The Joy Boxes come in two varieties. The Deliciously Delicate box comes with a bottle of Sharpham Sparkling Blanc, 200g wedges of Quicke’s Goat’s Milk Clothbound Cheese, Devonshire Red and the mixed-milk Lady Prue. These are accompanied by The Fine Cheese Co’s Fig, Honey and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Crackers, Hillside Celery Pickle and Devon Flower Honey.
The Mighty & Moreish box is billed as being for “fans of bold flavours” with Quicke’s Vintage Clothbound Cheddar, Extra Mature Clothbound Cheddar and Oak Smoked Clothbound Cheddar paired up with Sandford Orchards’ Devon Red and Devon Mist ciders. These are joined by a charcuterie selection pack from Good Game made with free-range pork from local producers plus Hillside Piccalilli and The Fine Cheese Co’s Chilli and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Crackers.
Quicke’s Joy Boxes can be purchased from www.quickes.co.uk and are available for next day delivery across the UK. The Deliciously Delicate Joy Box is priced at £65, with the Mighty & Moreish Joy Box available for £50. Quicke’s is also holding weekly cheese tutorials and cooking demos live on Instagram every Friday at 7pm.
Bath Ales delivers limited-edition micro casks
Bath Ales is launching its famous amber ale Gem in five-litre micro casks and delivering them nationwide for a limited period while stocks last. They hope the cask ale “just like you get in the pub” will be the “the perfect remedy for those who are missing the taste of draught beer from their local.”
Georgina Young, Bath Ales’ head brewer, said: “With pubs closed across the country, we know real ale drinkers are missing the taste of a freshly-poured pint. However, until we’re able to visit our locals again, enjoying a micro cask at home is definitely the next best thing. Each cask is filled with nine pints of our flagship beer, Gem – which we’ve been brewing for 25 years. We hope that we can bring a little bit of comfort to beer lovers at this time, by delivering perfectly-conditioned cask beer direct to their doorstep.”
To pre-order a micro cask, visit www.bathales.com.
COMPANY SPOTLIGHT – CLIFTON FOOD RANGE
Benefits of sous vide for a healthy diet in care homes
The Clifton Food Range provides professional chefs with sous vide equipment—developed and manufactured by Nickel-Electro, a brand leader in temperature-control laboratory and science equipment. The range offers users an unparalleled specific temperature control equipment such as water baths and immersion circulator that produce consistently perfect results. Clifton Food Range are a brand leader in the sous vide market and are the preferred supplier by some of the top chefs around the world. Sous vide cooking contains the vital minerals and vitamins that are usually lost when using other ways of cooking such as boiling or steaming, by cooking in a bag the nutrients that can be lost into water or lost in vapour are contained.
By cooking your meals sous vide the vital nutrients and vitamins are all confined, these ingredients are vital for a healthy diet and more importantly provide much-needed ingredients and vitamins to support the immune system. By using sous vide in environments like care homes, the residents will be able to get more vital ingredients that will help them maintain a healthy diet and boost the immune system while having great tasting food.
Other benefits to sous vide cooking include;
- Avoid toxic substance in food
Sous vide also causes no physical damage to the meat such as size and texture and doesn’t cause any toxic substances that may be harmful to the body comparable to when grilling or frying meals.
- Reduce food waste
By using the sous vide cooking method, you can reduce food waste in the kitchen. For example, if some residents are unwell and are unable to take their meal on a certain day, the care home’s chef can quickly chill and refrigerate the food portions not served and use them the following day.
- Shorten prep time
Sous vide also cuts down the preparation time, by preparing large quantities of meals in advance the chef can simply reheat the ingredients to the desired temperature and serve without any loss of quality or taste.
- Greater yield
With sous vide the meats have a greater yield through lower shrinkage, most meats that are cooked on the hob/grill have approximately 20% shrinkage, there is a minimum shrinkage when cooking sous vide and therefore greater yield.
For our full range of equipment that can benefit your kitchen, go to www.cliftonfoodrange.co.uk/range