What The Food… November
Welcome to our newest Restaurant and Food Industry feature, where we order up some of the most interesting, unusual, essential, or controversial news stories of the last month, give you a quick break down of what it was about, and share our opinions and takeaways with you.
The Impact of Covid on the Industry
Due to the COVID pandemic, 660,000 UK Hospitality jobs have been lost in 2020 and revenue is down by 40% compared to this time last year, according to UK Hospitality Chief, Kate Nicholls.
Our Take-Away: Naturally, this is devastating to the industry, and it’s going to have a substantial psychological impact to people working in hospitality – it’s so important for Owners, Operators and Managers to recognise this impact and support their staff appropriately.
It’s certainly difficult times, let’s hope the developing vaccines mean that people are soon able to get out to work.
Looking forward, we realise it’s going to affect hiring and recruitment – and we find ourselves asking, “How are those processes going to change? Is it going to be more difficult to recruit people when you’ve got much fiercer competition than normal, and people who now want to work from home away from potential health risks?”
Honestly, we think the answer is going to be, “Yes,” and it would be a smart move for hospitality venues to start thinking now about how they’re going to connect with potential staff – where they’re going to find them, how they’re going to speak with them, and what they’re going to offer them to secure their employment.
Ramifications of Brexit
What happens if our “highly resilient food supply chain” breaks after the Brexit transition on 1 January? It’s suggested that between 20 – 40% of trucks travelling in either direction across the UK’s borders could be delayed by up to 2 days, and Food Traders will have to build reserves now and in December to cover the likely shortfall – this means an increase in warehouse capacity, but there isn’t any.
Our Take-Away: The uncertainty around Brexit is going to continue right up until the final transition, and most likely beyond. How the government will handle the intricacies of going it alone and prevent issues such as border clogging will be something to watch out for.
Food companies who are sourcing locally, are in a slightly better position, but we would caution them (and everyone else) to carefully monitor food stocks and delivery estimates, because it’s likely that local producers will take on many exporters as new clients, and delays or shortages could still be an issue if this happens.
Good News for Eateries Offering Take-Away Services
The rules surrounding take-away services were relaxed in March 2020 so businesses could offer take-away service during the pandemic without having to go through a planning application process. This was due to come to an end on 23 March 2021 but has now been extended until 2022 with the government considering making the reforms permanent.
Our Take-Away: This is really welcome news. It’s important to realise that now the public has gotten used to the convenience and the wider choice from all sorts of venues, they’re not going to want to go back to just one or two never-changing options.
Every restaurant should be looking at offering takeaways, collections, meal-kits, subscriptions etc, as a long-term strategy.
New Legislation to Affect Restaurants and Food Businesses
Downing Street has revealed plans to crack down with a total ban on junk food advertising with the toughest digital marketing restrictions in the world. The news has been welcomed by health campaigners however the advertising industry has called it ‘indiscriminate and draconian’.
Our Take-Away: How are the government going to determine what is ‘junk food’, and is it actually helpful to be labelling food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’? Shouldn’t we be focusing now on nutrition. For too long we’ve looked at calories as the deciding factor, but really – we should be looking at the quality and health values – educating people on how to make healthier food choices would be far superior to blanket banning the content.
A New Step in Eco-Friendly Innovation in the Wine Industry
Independent wine merchant Woodwinters has become the first to sell their wine in a paper bottle. The Italian red, from producer Cantina Goccia, is packed in a Frugal Bottle made from 94% recycled paperboard that contains a food-grade pouch to hold the liquid.
Douglas Wood, founder of Woodwinters said he was delighted and that, “Woodwinters has always been keen on promoting innovation in sustainability, so we’re very excited to offer one of our favourite wines in an environmentally friendly bottle. We think it’s going to be hugely popular with our customers.”
Our Take-Away: A paper wine bottle, that’s awesome! What a great innovation! Although glass is recyclable, there’s a lot of value to be had using alternative recyclable materials.
It does make us wonder though, how well will these bottles and the food-grade pouches inside hold up for wines that are stored and age over a period of time, often years?
Your Take-Aways Packaged Up
So there you have our take on the latest stories, we’ll keep an eye on the hottest news and most interesting articles – so make sure you check in often!