Jimmy’s Iced Coffee strikes ice cool deal with Boots

Jimmy’s Iced Coffee has secured another high profile listing for its two core products, as the Original and Skinny varieties will now be available in 180 Boots stores UK-wide.

Jimmy’s Iced Coffee started out in high-end outlets such as Selfridges and Whole Foods in 2011, and within a year this super refreshing drink had caught the attention of Waitrose and Ocado. Tesco Express followed shortly after, and now it can be found chilling in the food to go fridges of Boots stores - and purchased as part of the popular Boots Meal Deal.

Jim Cregan, the man behind the brand, says, “Boots and its famous Meal Deal have been on our wanted list for some time, so this listing spells exciting times for our brand. It’s been three years since I burst into a Whole Foods buyers’ meeting in an attempt to get this awesome drink the profile it deserves, and now we’re involved with some of the major multiples and have a ridiculous amount of exciting plans in the pipeline.”

CESA Innovation Zone puts caterers in touch with technology

CESA’s Innovation Zone makes a welcome return to the Hospitality Show and this year it’s bigger and better than ever. The event is at the NEC Birmingham from 19th to 21st January and, showcasing many of the latest innovations in catering equipment, visitors to the Zone will get hands-on experience of the technologies that will cool, cook, clean, manage waste, and process ingredients in commercial kitchens of the future.

CESA director Keith Warren says, “The Innovation Zone has become one of the top draws for the Show. Its popularity is all about being able to touch the technology, rather than just seeing it on the page or screen. A big focus will be sustainability.”

CESA will also use the Show to launch a series of carbon management podcasts. Developed jointly with CEDA, the FCSI and DECC, the podcasts are designed as training tools for the hospitality market. The first three cover refrigeration, dishwashers and cooking equipment and show how to minimise energy consumption.

Keith says, “The Carbon Trust estimates that better practices and more efficient equipment could save the foodservice industry £0.25 billion every year, or 30% of total energy use. These podcasts can help caterers reduce their costs significantly.”

The podcasts are part of the Save It! campaign, a collaboration between CESA, DEFRA, the BHA, CEDA and the FCSI, which aims to encourage good energy practice in the kitchen.

Visitors to the CESA stand can also find out about the Certified Food Service Professional scheme, the specialist qualification designed to give foodservice managers a better understanding of their industry. The latest group of CFSP graduates will receive their awards during the Show and the ‘Wall of Fame,’ listing all CFSP accredited personnel, will be on display in the main entrance to the exhibition hall.

Tulip Ltd enters British Charcuterie

Tulip Ltd has completed the purchase of Castellano's Charcuterie, the Bristol-based charcuterie business, from its owner Vincent Castellano. Founded by Vincent Castellano, who trained as a butcher, charcutier...

Simon Smith nets food entrepreneur of the year award

The Saucy Fish Co.’s Simon Smith has fought off tough competition to be named Best Food Entrepreneur of the Year for 2014 by Investec.

Simon scooped the prize at the inaugural awards after impressing the judging panel with his role in turning the brand into a global force since it first launched in 2010. The panel was made up of well-known food entrepreneurs including Wynne Griffiths and Luke Johnson.

The last 12 months in particular has seen The Saucy Fish Co. come of age and be recognised with some major achievements, including:

Becoming the first fish brand to appear on the prestigious CoolBrands® list alongside the likes of Apple, Aston Martin and Rolex

Winning a high profile interim injunction against Aldi over the launch of their Saucy Fish Fillets.

Global expansion into the USA, Australia, Hong Kong and Switzerland

The last three months has seen particularly strong results for The Saucy Fish Co. with sales up 47.5% on the back of growth at Tesco, securing new listings at Waitrose and range expansions with the Co-Op and Ocado. In the same period there was a 64% increase in the number of shoppers buying The Saucy Fish Co. compared to this period in 2013.

This is part of a wider trend that has seen Saucy grow its share of branded chilled products over the last year by 3% to a total market share of 19.9%.

Shopper data has also shown that the brand is driving new people to the pre packed, chilled fish category. In the Co-Op 76% of people purchasing The Saucy Fish Co. in the last 12 weeks were new customers to the category, whilst in Waitrose the figure was 44%. This has resulted in 17% of growth for The Saucy Fish Co. coming from consumers who hadn’t previously bought from the category.

The Investec Food and Drink entrepreneur awards ceremony took place at the House of Commons where Simon beat a number of finalists to the award, including runner-up Charlie Bigham. The judges’ commented that “Simon showed boldness in seizing the territory of marketing fish - not always an easy product - in a fun, innovative and accessible way. Great growth in a short amount of time represents real focus and hard work.”

Simon Smith, Managing Director of Icelandic Seachill, said: “It was a great honour to be recognised by Investec. It’s been a great journey for The Saucy Fish Co. to see us stocked in most major supermarkets in the UK and expanding globally in just four years has been incredible.

“I’m fortunate to have a fantastic team who have helped Saucy to blaze a trail within the category, whilst staying true to our commitment to originality and quality.” Simon was recently appointed as Managing Director of Icelandic Seachill – the parent company of The Saucy Fish Co.

Bath Ales in top 50 fast-growing FMCG companies

Independent brewer, Bath Ales, has leapt into the Fast 50 list at number 14 after reporting an impressive 34% growth in compound annual sales over a period of two years.

Making its debut on the list, Bath Ales is nestled amongst esteemed brewing company with craft beer specialist BrewDog and Meantime Brewing Co.

The list, produced by analysts for The Grocer magazine, names 50 of the fastest-growing, independently owned suppliers in the FMCG market.

Managing Director Robin Couling, says: “Being in the Fast 50 list is great recognition of the progress Bath Ales is making and the appeal of our beers in both the take-home and on-trade markets.”

In a second achievement for the award-winning company, Bath Ales has also recently announced an increase in distribution of its seasonal craft beer, Festivity, after demand for the festive favourite soared. Festivity is described as ‘a delicious porter and perfect winter warmer with hints of rum mingling with coffee and vanilla flavours.’

Brewed at 5% and available in cask and bottle, Festivity is now available to enjoy in bottle at Enterprise Inns pubs and as well as local Tesco stores.

Robin adds: “I am also delighted that we have been able to increase the distribution of Festivity. We have experienced high demand for our seasonal ale and this has been recognised by our retailers.”

An independent South West business, Bath Ales sells beers nationally through Sainsburys, Waitrose and Ocado, and regionally through Tesco and Morrisons.

Since moving to its new, larger premises that offered more capabilities and capacity to expand, Bath Ales has gone from strength to strength in the past 12 months. 2014 has proven to be a triumphant year for Bath Ales after winning two prestigious awards; ‘Best Ale up to 5% abv’ for Gem securing the brewer a Gold Medal and trophy at the International Beer Challenge 2014 and ‘Best Managed Pub Company (2-50 sites)’ at the prestigious Publican’s Morning Advertiser awards.

This year also saw the independent brewer unveil two exciting new eateries inside the South West’s leading concert venue, Colston Hall, in Bristol, transforming the first floor restaurant into a charcuterie bar called Gordito, whilst on the ground floor hosts Colston Street Bar & Kitchen.

CLIP add a little sauce to foodservice branding project

CLIP have completed an exciting new design and branding project which brings something new and innovative to the foodservice industry.

Their team of experts recently revealed their latest packaging project for Piquant, a manufacturer of sauces and marinades.

Piquant have produced a wide variety of sauces, marinades, dressings and mayonnaise for over 20 years and recently commissioned CLIP to create a new logo and packaging design to improve their brand image. CLIP have over 15 years of branding experience and they have developed a three stage creative process which ensures the best possible solution. The project showcased CLIP’s knowledge of the food industry and highlighted their ability to approach any project with an original idea while following strict client guidelines.

Mike Hooker Sales Director at Piquant says: "The team at CLIP have done a fantastic job fulfilling our design requirements and ensuring that the heritage of the brand was kept in the form of the green oval and distinctive ‘P’ within the logo. We are experts in the production of sauce and marinades and we wanted our brand to reflect our knowledge of this industry. We have received some fantastic feedback from existing customers and new clients on our distinctive label design."

Due to the nature of the product CLIP wanted to ensure that the client could print bespoke labels in-house as and when they needed them. A set of template labels were designed to work with Piquant’s internal printing set up allowing flexibility and improved turnaround time. This branding project will be followed up with new marketing literature to help the sales team, a new website and a dynamic PR campaign.

Anish Mistry Creative Director at CLIP explains: “Many foodservice companies are busy with customer relations and production challenges and they tend to ignore how their brand might appear to customers. At CLIP, we believe that manufacturers should be taking advantage of having a distinctive visual brand combined with good packaging. This blend instantly sets them apart from their competition who might look a little dated.

"Piquant’s new brand has refreshed their image whilst still reflecting their core business values and will undoubtedly generate sales and customers loyal to the brand as well their products.”

CLIP’s in-house departments include branding, design, PR, social media and marketing. CLIP specialise in brand image performance and influence. Working with national and international clients and helping them to generate brand awareness and sales in the UK and Europe.

Calling on convenience: A new era for frozen and ready meals?

With many consumers living increasingly busy lives, the onus is on convenience and retaining exciting tastes. How are manufacturers making sure they hit the right note?

Food that is frozen, including ready meals, have seen an interesting few years. No longer is the ready meal a second option for when the cupboard is bare for most people, it now forms the backbone of many people’s daily diet. As a result, there has been somewhat of a step up in terms of quality and investments into launches that are focused on health, rather than simply filling a hole or acting as a stopgap food.

With many countries across the world now adapting to longer working hours and busy social lives, time-starved consumers now rely on the quick and easy options afforded to them by frozen food and ready meals, but those producers that are succeeding are those that have adapted their offerings.

Take, for example, The Saucy Fish Co., which recently won ‘Best Fish’ Award in Healthy Food Guide Food & Drink Awards 2014 for its Salmon with Chilli Lime and Ginger Sauce product.

One of Saucy Fish’s flagship products, Salmon Chilli Lime and Ginger is only 195 calories per serving, packed full of Omega 3 and is now sold in the USA and Australia. This is the second consumer award for this product, after being awarded Gold for Best Ready Meal in Health & Fitness and Women’s Fitness magazines last year, beating off stiff competition from brands including Innocent and Kirsty’s.

Simon Smith, Head of Brand at The Saucy Fish Co. says: “It’s fantastic to receive recognition from health food industry experts. We all know fish plays an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and this award, in a competitive category with many nutritious products – really demonstrates the taste and quality of our products are second to none.”

This focus on taste and quality is indicative of the industry at the moment and this of course extends to the manufacturing stages. Western Mechanical Handling has recently developed a wide range of cost effective solutions specifically suited to the production of ready meals across the whole manufacturing process. It has recently focused on engineering flexibility and simplicity to inline grilling units designed to add colour to the surface of cheese and potato-topped meals. This is carried out without raising the core temperature before machinery enables effective collation, for sealing or chilling, and finally packing.

Working with a large ready meals manufacturer, WMH was approached to provide a replacement for an old inefficient grill unit which would allow an increase in production within the footprint of the existing unit. WMH was able to provide a solution using direct heat infrared technology. The controllability of the infrared panels allows the grill unit to be up to working temperature within a minute of being switched on and allows rapid changes in temperature and intensity, reducing downtime between product lines and enabling the line to be shut down during break periods and saving on energy consumption.

The grill has three independently-controlled heater panels which enable the heat profile within the grill chamber to be tailored to give the best results for each product line which improves product quality and consistency. This was particularly important to the factory as the unit was required for browning lasagne and cottage pies which ranged in size.

Post completion of the line, the requirement to grill products in cardboard trays was added. While WMH had previously developed a fully automated solution for grilling products in CPET trays for another client, a lower cost retro-fit solution was required in this case. Using in-house test grilling units, WMH engineers developed a shroud system to protect the cardboard trays during grilling.

Simple additions like this make production of such products easier to manage and to effectively make more desirable to consumers and this focus on quality is being extended further into the supply chain.

Shaping up

It's also how a product looks on shelf that matters, and ready meal trays are cutting some sophisticated shapes, with tubs, round ‘bowl’ trays and compartmentalised trays an increasingly common sight on supermarket shelves.

Whilst these shapely new designs add shelf appeal, they are causing headaches for the sleeve coding operation, according to Richard Pether, Director at offline coding and marking specialist Rotech.

“It is straightforward enough to apply best before dates and traceability codes to a sleeve wrapped around a rectangular tray that is being transported past the coder via a conveyor with good side guides. However, with more awkwardly shaped packs, the chances of presenting the pack and sleeve squarely to the coder can be slim. Getting the coder into the correct position can also be difficult, as shaped packs tend to have difficult-to-reach areas,” he explains.

“If the code misses the target area, this results in mis-coded packs, which can potentially cost ready meal manufacturers thousands in retailer fines. Even if mis-codes are spotted before a meal leaves the line, there is still a cost to the manufacturer in reworking the product. Recurrent mis-codes can lead to major production inefficiencies.”

These were the issues facing a UK prepared foods manufacturer when it contacted Rotech to enquire about an off-line sleeve overprinting system.

The manufacturer in question had just taken an order from one of the multiples for 3,000 units of a new product that was packaged in a tub with a cardboard sleeve. The manufacturer was applying date codes using an existing inline inkjet system, but because the code was positioned in a difficult-to-reach spot at the bottom of the sleeve, the line had to be slowed down to make sure the code was applied accurately.

“Essentially the coding operation had become a bottleneck because the coder was having trouble printing at an angle just a few millimetres above the conveyor; it kept mis-firing and spraying the belt rather than the product,” explains Pether. “This was not only limiting line speed, but also resulting in packaging waste.”

Rotech’s solution came in the form of its RF2, a standalone friction feed overprinting system that would enable the manufacturer to code the sleeves offline and bring them to the production line already printed. Engineered specifically for the food industry, the RF2 uses Rotech’s stack-to-stack feeding technology to pick sleeves from a stack, accurately print date or batch codes, and place the printed sleeve neatly onto another stack for collection, all at speeds of up to 400 per minute.

Pre-coding enabled the manufacturer to deactivate the inline coding system, increase line speed by 30% and code the 3,000 sleeves in a matter of minutes.

“By removing the coding operation from the critical path, line efficiency was restored and waste eliminated,” says Pether.

The beauty of an offline coding system lies in its inherent flexibility; one machine can easily supply multiple production lines. At this prepared foods manufacturer, the RF2 is also deployed for coding sleeves for seasonal trays of sausage rolls; the rest of the year the trays don’t have a sleeve, so it is only in the weeks and months leading up to Christmas that sleeve coding is required. The same system can also be used for different types of packaging, from watch strap bands to cartons, pouches and bags.

Offline coders also come into their own when immediate additional capacity or super-fast coding are needed. This scenario arose at the start of the year, when an RF2 offline sleeve coding system from Rotech got The Original Curry Company out of a tight spot.

As well as supplying the food service trade with curries and dishes in bulk, the London company produces a retail range of Indian curry based ready meals, and in March of this year, received a major export order for 2,000 frozen meals. In order to meet his retail customer’s requirements, the producer needed to apply use-by dates to the sleeves of the meals – and fast.

The Original Curry Company turned to Hertfordshire-based Rotech, who was able to supply an RF2 offline sleeve coding system at very short notice, enabling the producer to turn round the order.

“Had we hand stamped the dates, it would have held up the shipment. The RF2 was able to run off a couple of thousand sleeves in half an hour. For us, offline coding represents a higher quality, more efficient alternative to manual coding, and a more flexible, economical alternative to inline coding. We also found the off-line coder to be exceptionally accurate, giving us complete confidence that every single sleeve was clearly and correctly coded,” says James Innes from The Original Curry Company.

Cold hard facts

Carrier Transicold recently showcased a prototype of a natural refrigerant trailer unit at the International Motor Show, which stands out for its use of carbon dioxide in a closed-loop system.

Shown inside a purpose-built innovation lab within Carrier Transicold’s stand, visitors were able to experience the unit’s impact in person. David Appel, president, Carrier Transicold & Refrigeration Systems says; “Carrier Transicold develops transport refrigeration systems that not only ‘green the cold chain,’ but also allows consumers to more effectively manage the global food supply cold chain, helping reduce food waste, to feed more people and protect natural resources. The IAA show represents the perfect opportunity to showcase Carrier innovation to the world.”

This natural refrigerant system could replace conventional refrigerants, such as R-404A, a fluorinated gas (F-gas) with a GWP of 3,920. The multi-temp prototype was assembled inside a regular Vector unit chassis and uses advanced technology from Carrier’s NaturaLINE refrigeration system, which was initially developed for deep-sea containers and completed sea trials in 2012. A modified example of the NaturaLINE unit is currently undertaking a two-year mono-temp field trial in London with Sainsbury’s.

A measured and daring approach seems to be what is driving the industry at present, with those willing to invest in solutions across the board being most successful. With consumers becoming more savvy with regards to perceived health benefits and effects on their health in general from consuming such meals too, a leap in use of quality ingredients and safer processing standards will no doubt follow.

Chasing the consumer demand is one sure-fire way to succeeding within the frozen and ready meal sector, those offering something truly desirable, rather than simply functional will most probably reap the most benefit.

New qualification to prepare foodservice staff for allergen legislation

A new qualification has been launched that could help foodservice staff prepare for legislation on food allergens due to be introduced later this year.

The HABC Level 3 Award in Food Allergen Management for Caterers is aimed at anyone involved in the purchase, delivery, production and serving of food within the catering, hospitality or licensing sectors.

Forthcoming legislation from the EU, due to come into force on 13 December 2014, will mean that businesses will need to provide allergy information on any food sold unpackaged, whether via a pub, restaurant, café, deli counter, bakery or sandwich shop.

The qualification from Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (‘HABC’) – which is the largest provider of food-safety related qualifications in the UK - will give food staff knowledge relating to the control of food ingredients and allergies at all stages of food purchase and production. They will also gain an understanding of the process for ensuring that accurate ingredient information is available for customers at point of sale and service.

The qualification is supported by two slide presentations, one of which covers the suitable control of allergens in line with the new EU legislation so that learners can remain compliant, and the other which allows supervisors and managers to deliver further training to their staff after completing the qualification themselves.

Christian Sprenger, Managing Director of HABC, says: "Around 8% of children and 4% of adults have a food allergy of some description, and that figure is rising, so even without the new legislation it would be important that caterers make sure their staff are aware of the issue. Through this qualification, businesses – whether large or small - will be able to help their customers make informed choices and protect their welfare, whilst also preserving the reputation of the organisation."

The qualification takes just over 10 hours to complete, meaning it can be taken in just one or two days.

Energy saving tops agenda at CESA Forum

Energy saving was the big topic at the inaugural Heavy Equipment Forum, organised by the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association.

Many of the products on show highlighted how much technologies have changed in recent years. They included refrigerators that use just 15% of the energy compared to the equivalent model available in 2001, ventilation that incorporates heat recovery systems; panini grills that use 40% less energy and gas burners that are up to 97% efficient.

Simon Frost, chair elect of CESA, welcomed delegates and exhibitors and thanked CEDA, Cedabond and ENSE for their support of the event. He said, “The Forum’s goal is to build on the professionalism in our industry. It’s an opportunity to gain knowledge and exchange ideas on the latest products, technologies and concepts. Over 80% of all catering equipment sold in the UK originates from a CESA member. It’s very exciting to see so many innovative products here today.”

Over sixty delegates attended, representing many of the UK’s leading distributors. They had the opportunity to hear from and question the fifteen manufacturers and suppliers exhibiting. Simon Parry of BBCS Ltd was impressed by the attention exhibitors paid to getting their messages across. He sais, “The chance to meet fifteen suppliers in one day, without turning the ignition key, is just brilliant."

Quini appoints Jennifer Anderson as VP Revenue and Products

Quini, an interactive wine tasting application and data solutions provider has appointed of Jennifer Anderson to the company’s leadership team, as VP Revenue and Products.

With over 12 years of progressive roles in software solutions, data product innovation and market development, Jennifer will spearhead Quini’s revenue and product strategy, and will lead the organization’s sales and product development efforts.

Jennifer joins Quini from Yardi Canada, where she most recently managed the company’s Point2 real estate data aggregation and syndication solutions and client acquisition teams.

“Jennifer has a long and successful history of driving products and sales growth in the enterprise data and consumer solutions markets,” says Roger Noujeim, Quini’s CEO.

“Having worked alongside Jennifer for a number of years, I am delighted to welcome her to Quini and look forward to the leadership that she brings.”

“I am excited to participate in Quini’s market opportunity and to help realize its potential,” says Jennifer. “Quini’s data-driven solutions in the wine industry are unique and target an important void for more current wine tasting information. I am thrilled to join Quini and to start working with our partner and user base around the world.”

During her long tenure at Yardi and Point2, Jennifer was instrumental to the companies’ product innovation, data acquisition and customer network growth across North America. Jennifer moved to Point2 from Monsanto Canada Seeds, in 2002.

Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Commerce degree with a Marketing Major from the University of Saskatchewan.

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