Category Archives: Food

Nestlé Professional® Launches New Report To Tackle Hospitality Skills Shortage

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Nearly a third (31%) of people don’t think hospitality is a career path you actively choose, according to a new report from Nestlé Professional®.

The ‘BuzzBites: Talking Talent’ report offers an in-depth look at perceptions of the hospitality sector, as well as advice from industry professionals on how to better attract, upskill and retain talented individuals.

It aims to help tackle the current staff crisis, as the scale of recruitment needed becomes increasingly significant. Growth in the sector is surging, opening-up more and more roles, and Brexit is only expected to widen the skills gap further, leaving a shortfall of 60,000 workers a year.

Key findings from the research, conducted by Nestlé Professional® in collaboration with 3GEM, reveal that 45% of millennials consider a career in hospitality a “stop gap”. What’s more, almost three quarters (73%) of managers are concerned the hospitality industry is no longer an attractive career option for millennials and 18% of those currently working in the industry are thinking of leaving in the next year.

However, all is far from lost. More than two thirds (70%) of hospitality workers say they are proud to work in the industry and 53% of those outside the sector think it would be rewarding. The research, which also found that more than half (57%) of those who have left the industry would consider returning, uncovers a huge opportunity for the sector to grow.

Paul Lumley, Brand & Communications Manager at Nestlé Professional®, explains how the report has been designed to help hospitality businesses tackle these challenges head on: “BuzzBites: Talking Talent brings together some of the biggest names in hospitality to offer best practice on the topic. It provides insight and innovative ideas on how to change outdated perceptions and top tips for how best to encourage new people into the industry for long-term careers.

“One of the strongest messages to come out of our research was just how important it is to reward employees for their achievements and help develop their career. Our very own Toque d’Or competition supports apprentices and students in their progression by celebrating their fantastic skills and has evolved over the last 30 years to leave a legacy that we can be proud of.

“If you are not involved already, we invite you to find out more about Toque d’Or today and join the growing number of businesses, individuals and industry bodies who are already sharing a common vision to nurture the talent of the future.”



Find alternatives to plastic, take action now

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

The chancellor’s announcement on Wednesday of an investigation into introducing charges on single-use plastics in the UK is an interesting prelude to the forthcoming EU Plastics in a Circular Economy strategy document due to be published next month.

Certainly, the implementation of a tax or similar measure could significantly reduce the UK’s contribution to the millions of tonnes of plastics waste produced globally each year.

But what about addressing the issue at source? We look to both the UK government and Brussels to more actively promote alternatives on a wider scale.

The EU plastics strategy, in particular, needs to take a holistic view as a crucial part of the answer to reducing plastic waste is using more sustainable materials in the first place. Plastic clearly has a valuable role to play in society today, but action needs to be taken to ensure that the amount used, where not essential to the product’s quality, is dramatically cut down.

We know that plastic can never achieve a circular value chain. It is made from a non-renewable resource and will virtually never biodegrade, which is why it can now be found in the deepest trenches of our oceans where it’ll probably remain forever. To encourage steps towards a circular economy, the grocery and packaging industries need to examine where plastics are currently being utilised, and whether alternative renewable materials such as cartonboard, which is compostable and easily recyclable, can replace them.

Measures need to be put in place to encourage the use of more sustainable materials. Taxation is one option and this was highly effective when the 5p charge was applied to plastic bags. Alternatively, finding ways to encourage the use of more sustainable materials could also see brands reducing the amount of plastic packaging they use.

A quick glance through a supermarket highlights many brands that use plastic packaging when they could turn to more sustainable materials. Take a look at some brands of tea bags, batteries, multipack drinks and stationery, not to mention lots of food products, all of which could be packaged in biodegradable or recyclable alternatives to plastic. The opportunity to achieve quick results and make a significant difference is huge.

We encourage brand owners to review the packaging they are using to identify where they could make a move to more sustainable materials. After 11 million viewers watched a blue whale mourn its newborn, poisoned by its mother’s polluted milk, and judging by the social media and news coverage, consumers clearly want action to be taken. Forward-thinking brand owners will surely already be reviewing their own environmental strategies in a move towards using more renewable and recyclable packaging. If they don’t, governments will act and consumers will vote with their wallets.

It is truly the responsibility of brands and manufacturers to embrace their environmental obligations. I hope to see them take action regardless of whether a UK tax or next month’s EU statement forces their hands.


UK foodservice sector achieved £35b turnover in 2016

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

The foodservice sector is forecast to grow next year, despite concerns around increased costs and staff recruitment, according to a new report.

The British Hospitality Association’s Leading Through Unprecedented Change and Uncertainty – Food Service Management Market Report 2017 revealed that the UK foodservice sector saw a turnover of £35b last year and forecasted growth for this year, despite the uncertainties revolving around Brexit.

In particular, respondents to the survey said that they were concerned about post-Brexit immigration and restrictions on the UK labour market with 31% of their overall workforce coming from the EU.

Regardless, they did estimate that they would add 32,000 new jobs next year.

The report also showed that the industry’s confidence in government support has dropped. The sector wants the government to introduce ways to improve attractiveness of catering as a long-term career choice.

It also expressed the need for a more measured approach to the National Living Wage and a stronger recognition of the importance of immigration.

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) predicts that the forecast growth will be spurred on by demographic trends, the ageing population and rising student numbers.

The rise of healthy eating and street food were identified as future trends, highlighting the sector’s support of the government’s ambition to combat obesity and improve the nation’s health, with nearly all companies which took part in the survey stating that they had reduced the amount of sugar and salt in their offerings and were providing healthier meals.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said: “This report is a vital resource for those in the industry. Its results show the strength and confidence of the industry but also its concerns, most notably those about Brexit and its impact on employment. We, as the major representative of the hospitality and tourism sector, are the main voice of this industry and can communicate its concerns to government.”

Caroline Fry, chief executive business and industry, CH&Co, added: “The report shows that whilst there are clearly some major changes afoot that affect all companies, the foodservice sector is also optimistic about growth and job creation in the short to medium term. This sector works with just about every part of the economy and is a very big employer.

“Given how supportive we are of the Government’s efforts to reduce obesity and improve the nation’s health, we hope that in return they will understand the challenges faced by the industry and support us, especially when it comes to planning the potential restrictions on the UK labour market.”


Tesco knowingly delayed payments to suppliers

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Tesco “knowingly delayed paying money to suppliers in order to improve its own financial position”, the supermarket ombudsman has found.

The Grocery Code Adjudicator, Christine Tacon, said the supermarket seriously breached the industry’s code of conduct to protect grocery suppliers.

She found extensive evidence that Tesco had acted unreasonably when delaying payments to suppliers.

Tesco apologised for the practices, saying they had harmed its suppliers.

Tesco remains under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into alleged accounting irregularities.

The grocery ombudsman’s investigation began in February 2015 following the revelation of an accounting scandal at Tesco.

In September 2014 a £250m black hole was found in the company’s accounts – a sum later revised up to £326m – because of the way Tesco booked income from its suppliers.

Ms Tacon said: “I received internal Tesco emails which encouraged Tesco staff to seek agreement from suppliers to the deferral of payments due to them in order to temporarily help Tesco margins.

“I also saw internal Tesco emails suggesting that payments should not be made to suppliers before a certain date in order to avoid underperformance against a forecasted margin.”

The SFO investigation began in October 2014.

Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said stockbrokers believed Tesco would be hit with a substantial fine from the SFO.

“Cantor Fitzgerald are suggesting Tesco could face financial penalties in excess of £500m for its accounting misdemeanours, pending the publication of the forthcoming Serious Fraud Office investigation,” he said.

“The company is not out of the woods yet, but has at least started on the slow path of recovery.”

Chief executive Dave Lewis said Tesco had changed substantially: “Over the last year, we have worked hard to make Tesco a very different company from the one described in the GCA report.

“The absolute focus on operating margin had damaging consequences for the business and our relationship with suppliers. This has now been fundamentally changed.”

Mr Lewis said that material changes were made in January 2015 that addressed the majority of the historic practices referred to in the report: “We have changed the way we work by reorganising, refocusing and retraining our teams and we will continue to work in a way which is consistent with the recommendations.”

Shares in Tesco rose almost 1% to 157.1p in afternoon trading London. The stock has fallen more than 30% over the past 12 months.


Ms Tacon’s investigation found that even when a debt had been acknowledged by Tesco, on occasions the money was not paid for more than 12 months, with some amounts taking two years to be repaid, the investigation found.


One example involved a supplier owed a multi-million pound sum as a result of price changes being incorrectly applied to Tesco systems over a long period. This was eventually paid back by Tesco more than two years after the incorrect charging had begun.

“I found that delay in payments was a widespread issue that affected a broad range of Tesco suppliers on a significant scale,” Ms Tacon said.

“The delay in payments had a financial impact on suppliers, was an administrative burden to resolve, detracted from the time available to develop customer focussed business and had a detrimental impact on some suppliers’ relationships with Tesco.”

This is the first investigation by Ms Tacon since the creation of her role as Grocery Code Adjudicator.

Her investigation covers the period from June 2013 until February last year. Tesco provided her team with the findings of its own review, specifically aimed at finding practices which might be in breach of the code.

Ms Tacon cannot fine Tesco as she only acquired this power after the investigation began.

The adjudicator examined three key areas: the length of time taken to pay money due to suppliers, unilateral deductions from suppliers and an intentional delay in paying suppliers in some cases.

On the issue of payment for better shelf positions or space for products, Ms Tacon found no evidence that Tesco breached this part of the grocery code.

However, she found evidence of a range of practices that she would like examined.

Her five recommendations include stopping Tesco from making unilateral deductions from money owed for goods supplied. Suppliers will be given 30 days to challenge any proposed deduction and if challenged Tesco will not be permitted to make the deduction.

Ms Tacon has set a four-week deadline for Tesco to say how it plans to implement her recommendations. She will then require regular reports from the company on its progress.

Business minister Anna Soubry said the adjudicator had conducted a thorough and fearless investigation into a “scandalous situation”.

“Tesco say they have changed their practices and I very much hope they have. Paying smaller suppliers on time and treating them fairly is good and proper business. Late payment can hinder the growth and productivity of these suppliers and can threaten their existence,” she said.

The sharp fall in Tesco’s share price that resulted from the accounting scandal has prompted legal action by a number of institutions and other investors in the retailer.

Stewarts Law said on Tuesday it will be contacting Tesco ahead of starting formal legal action for the group, which had suffered losses running into the tens of millions of pounds following the revelation of the accounting scandal.