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.

Sellout success for Rumfest’s eighth outing

The RumFest recently welcomed both rum aficionados and newcomers to its new home of the ILEC in Earls Court with some tickets selling out in record time.

The two days saw distinguished rum-makers from around the world showcase their best blends with samplings, talks, masterclasses, delicious cocktails and the chance to taste rums worth over £100 per bottle as part of the brand new Golden Tot initiative in the biggest event on the rum calendar.

London auction house Christie's hosted The RumFest's first ever auction, which raised over £10,000 for charity including £5,200 on the hammer for one of the oldest bottles of rum in the world, dating back to 1780 from the recently discovered Harewood House collection.

After setting the GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for the largest rum tasting on Thursday 9th October, this year's RumFest was already on course for an unforgettable year. The new setting of London's ILEC provided an intimate setting as enthusiasts roamed the stands to sample some of the best rums in the category, whilst heightening their knowledge of one of the world's best loved spirits. Well-known brands like Bacardi, Havana Club, Diplomatico and Angostura offered an insight into their rich heritage, while The RumFest offered a platform for newcomers like Glorious Revolution and London's rum of the moment Duppy Share.

The brand new Golden Tot Tokens allowed rum lovers to sample some of the ultra-premium rums on the market whether El Dorado's 25 year old or St Nicholas Abbey's very limited edition 15 year old or Pusser's Decanter, which cannot be bought anywhere in the world!

Masterclasses, seminars and talks took place across the weekend, presented by leading names like Angostura’s Master Distiller John Georges, Georgi Radev from London's Mahiki Club, Havana Master Blender Asbel Morales and The RumFest founder and Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell. Combined with main stage presentations featuring Chef Hasan De Four on cooking with rum, Christie's auction house held a heated auction with over 20 precious and rare rum lots sold to the highest bidder, for prices that stretched into the thousands. Ian Burrell was on hand to take spectators and bidders through the history of each of the rums, while Christie's auctioneer David Elswood hosted the Saturday highlight and a grand total of £10,670 to be donated to the WaterAid Charity Fund and the Geraldine Connor Foundation in Leeds.

On Friday the trade-only Boutique RumFest returned in association with the Cork Supply company and allowed buyers, distributers, distillers, press and industry figures from as far as Fiji and India to congregate and discuss the spirit whilst delivering a great opportunity to sample the next big thing.

Global Rum Ambassador and RumFest founder, Ian Burrell says: "This year's RumFest was the ultimate celebration of the premium blends within the category and a chance for people to sip and discover rums that they have never come across before.

"Our ambitions were to give visitors the opportunity to take their love and knowledge of rum to new heights through the carefully curated masterclasses, seminars, main stage presentations and vast array of esteemed rums to sample from across the world.

"We hope you agree The RumFest 2014 proved to be the best yet and I want to thank all those who helped to make it so - guest speakers, presenters, mixologists, blenders, distillers and visitors alike. See you next year for more rum fun!"

UK retail health ‘pulled back by food sector’

The health of retail in the UK dropped unexpectedly in Q3 for the first time since Q4 2012. It follows another very disappointing trading period for food retailers.

However, industry expert body The Retail Think Tank expects consumer demand to rally in Q4, leading to more positive results for the sector. Its findings also included:

• The health of the UK retail market declined in Q3 of 2014, this is the first time it has fallen since Q4 2012.

• The food sector yet again struggled, continuing the trend of declining performance every month this year and really driving the negative mood of Q3.

• Following a positive July and August, despite tough comparators for the non-food sector, unseasonal warm weather in September impacted heavily on fashion retailers and the overall results for Q3.

• The health of UK retail is set to improve in Q4, with high employment and buoyant consumer confidence driving demand up until Christmas.

• Decisions to be made by Dave Lewis, group chief executive at Tesco could have far-reaching effects on the entire grocery sector, and ultimately play a key role in defining the health of retailing in Q4.

• The impact of the impending minimum wage rise that will ripple through the entire wage structure is expected to be neutralised by falling fuel and petrol prices balancing out costs, though Russia could present a risk to domestic gas prices.

Following its quarterly meeting on October 7th 2014, the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank has released its latest findings that state the health of UK retail unexpectedly declined in Q3 2014. The RTT’s Retail Health Index dropped back one point for the first time since Q4 2012 to 80, putting it back to where it stood in Q1. Retail health is expected to bounce back again though in Q4, reflecting continued growth in employment and sustained consumer confidence nurturing demand.

Of the three key drivers of retail health – demand, margin and cost – demand for non-food goods was particularly weak in the latter part of Q3, and alongside another poor showing from food retailers, was largely responsible for the overall drop. Following positive results in July and August for non-food, unexpected warm weather in September impacted heavily on demand for clothing and footwear. The effect of a disappointing September was exaggerated further as it was a five-week month and was responsible for reversing the positivity of July and August.

Food retailers continued to struggle, as they have for a year now. Changes at the top of Tesco could impact heavily on the other major food retailers in Q4, if it decides to go on the offensive before the year end and this will play a part in shaping Q4. The RTT acknowledged they could not predict what Tesco would do, but considered it unlikely that an aggressive price war was imminent, particularly this side of Christmas, so alleviating pressure on the food sector over the festive period.

Going into Q4, there are signs that the health of the UK retail market is set to improve. The RTT believes that strong employment, improving job security and resilient consumer confidence will drive demand through to Christmas. There are also nascent signals that wage rises will increase towards the year end, and with inflation remaining low, higher disposable incomes could come at a fortunate time for retailers. Those non-food retailers that have been able to invest in the race to deliver true omnichannel for Christmas, have done so, learning from the winners last year, and putting them in a stronger position to convert this demand into sales. In addition, retailers have had plenty of experience over recent years to avoid building large stockpiles for their Christmas campaigns only to discount heavily to stimulate late demand. The extra trading day this year over last will also help stave off panic measures and alleviate pressure on margins.

Retailers are continuing to invest in backend systems, digital and technology. There will be a final push to get everything ready for Christmas, but this should be seen as a necessity, as any advancements will service any increase in demand. The RTT noted that all retailers would feel the increased cost of the 3% minimum wage rise ripple throughout the entire pay structure, but over the quarter, savings made from falls in fuel and petrol prices may balance this out over the quarter. One caveat comes from geopolitical concerns relating to Russia, Ukraine and the EU. As we head into the European winter the potential for an escalation of tensions could see gas supply disruptions that lead to wholesale energy price spikes. If these are prolonged it could mean utility bills rise sharply.

David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, UK, says: “The retail market really didn’t get the luck it needed with the weather in September. During the mild temperatures, we saw a multitude of mid-season discounting in an effort to kick start sales of winter clothing and reduce stock levels. Food sales have continued to go backwards and last quarter it was non-food propping up the UK retail market. With September being so poor, everyone has struggled and it has really impacted on the whole quarter.”

Dr Tim Denison, head of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, says: “This coming quarter should see the results of a years’ worth of investment in omnichannel come to fruition. In an effort not to fall behind, the race for omnichannel was put high on retailers’ agendas early on in the year, following strong performances from the likes of John Lewis and Next last Christmas. With everyone raring to go and demand set to swing for the better, retailers should be in a great position to deliver positive results without having to discount heavily before Christmas.”

Martin Hayward, founder of Hayward Strategy and Futures, says: “The polarised fortunes between food and non-food continued for the first two months of the quarter, and the health index was most likely on track to hold steady. The negativity of September really showed the fragility of the retail market, where one bad month for non-food cannot be supported and results in a negative point score.”

James Knightley, senior global economist at ING, says: “After soaring the pre-recession highs, consumer confidence has started to stabilise. This could be due to market uncertainty surrounding the Scottish referendum and Mark Carney’s recent speech signalling that an interest rate rise is on the way. This rise looks likely to be early on in 2015, reducing the impact on retailers looking for good Christmas sales figures. Whilst costs for retailers will increase with the 3% rise in minimum wage, this will somewhat be negated by savings made with falling petrol prices.”

Nick Bubb, retail consultant, says: “In recent months, food sales have been falling by an unparalleled degree. The decisions of the new CEO at Tesco could well be the overriding factor behind the retail health outcome for the next quarter. Margins for all food retailers will continue to be squeezed, and any announcement that leads to a food price war pre-Christmas will impact heavily on everyone.”

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight, Nielsen, says: “There has been a range of outside influence on the retail market over the previous three months. The near-promise of the first interest rate raise in nearly four years, consumer confidence peaking but then no sustainable increase in consumer spend within retail, the Scottish referendum, September being warm, the housing market cooling and continued problems in the Eurozone all have had conflicting effects on UK retailers. The non-food retailers have been propping up the poor showing of the supermarkets for a year now, so it’s worrying that a poor month from the high street can have such a detrimental effect on the market, when there are continuing strong headwinds for food retailers.”

Groupon offers deal to eat the World’s Most Expensive Burger

Groupon has announced a deal with Honky Tonk restaurant in Chelsea, London, to offer one customer the chance to eat the World’s Most Expensive Burger – the Glamburger.

On sale at £1,100, the burger has been certified by Record Setters, as of 2nd October 2014, as being The Most Expensive in the World, and was created to celebrate Groupon’s five millionth food and drink voucher being sold.

The burger patty is made from 220 grams of Kobe Wagyu beef minced with 60 grams of New Zealand venison to perfectly balance the fat content, and a rich center of black truffle brie to create a liquid pocket once the meat has cooked.

The burger patty is then seasoned with smoked Himalayan salt and served with a Canadian lobster poached in Iranian saffron. Atop the lobster, creator of the burger, chef Chris Large has added maple syrup coated streaky bacon, Beluga caviar and a hickory smoked duck egg intricately covered in edible gold leaf. The bun is seasoned with a Japanese matcha and cream mayonnaise and coated in gold leaf. The finishing touches are a mango and champagne jus and grated white truffle.

The gold Glamburger took three weeks to develop in the kitchens of Honky Tonk, with chef Large experimenting with various ingredients and methods before settling on his final recipe. The burger has been specially created for the Groupon deal with only one lucky winner getting the chance to taste the exclusive dish for free.

Roy Blanga, Managing Director at Groupon UK says: “To celebrate selling our five millionth food and drink voucher, we’ve partnered with Honky Tonk restaurant to create the World’s Most Expensive Burger for one lucky person.

"A winner of one of our Local Stars awards, Honky Tonk has a reputation for offering some of the best burgers in London. We’re committed to delivering new and exciting dining experiences for our customers, whether it’s your local fish and chip shop or a Michelin-starred restaurant.”

Additional details about the free prize draw:

Free prize draw

● One winner will get:

○ An exclusive tasting of The Glamburger, The World’s Most Expensive Burger

○ Round-trip cost of travel to restaurant

● Winner will be randomly chosen on 12th October 2014

● DEAL COST: £0

Head chef at Honky Tonk, Chris Large, says: “Creating The World’s Most Expensive Burger for one lucky Groupon winner has been a great experience and I know, after sourcing the best possible ingredients to create this masterpiece, the winner will certainly have a dinner to remember.”

‘Glamburger’ ingredients

• Kobe Wagyu beef

• New Zealand venison

• Canadian lobster

• Black truffle brie

• Iranian saffron

• Maple syrup coated streaky bacon

• Brioche bun

• Hickory smoked duck egg

• Edible gold leaf

• Japanese matcha and cream mayonnaise

• Mango and champagne jus

• Grated white truffle

To check out the Glamburger deal for yourself, visit the website.

Budding entrepreneurs receive training boost

The UK’s leading School of Artisan Food has awarded bursaries to a number of budding food enterprises. The fourteen entrepreneurs will now have access to various short courses at the School to help them kick start their businesses.

The bursaries, funded via Experian, were available for a range of short courses covering butchery, cheesemaking, patisserie and business studies. Over seventy applications were received during the initial application phase.

Joe Piliero, Director at the School, says, “It was a really tough job deciding on the final list of successful applicants as there are so many people with great ideas who require training and financial assistance. We’re looking forward to helping those who were successful to see their ideas come to fruition and will be on hand with advice throughout their time at the School.”

Those who have been successful include bakers, chefs, cheese makers, dairy farmers and butchers. Bex Derry, who attended the School’s Entrepreneurship and Food Business course after receiving a 100% bursary, says, “This course was exactly what I needed to know right now to help my businesses grow. I feel I have a solid base now to give my businesses the best possible chance of success. Just add passion and hard work to this course and you'll have all you need to be an entrepreneur.”

Jan Barratt, Head of Community Involvement at Experian UK & Ireland, says, “We’re delighted that our partnership with the School is proving such a success, supporting bursaries for promising Advanced Diploma students. We are confident that Experian’s support will help a new generation of entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life."

New online shop unlocks the mystery of whisky

Premium drinks retailer The Whisky Shop has launched a luxury new retail website at www.whiskyshop.com, further raising the bar for whisky retailing across the globe.

The new digital platform has transported The Whisky Shop’s bricks and mortar flagship store concept into the online world, offering a whisky journey of knowledge and discovery and creating an internet whisky buying experience that is luxurious, educational and accessible.

Whiskyshop.com provides a curated user experience, featuring magazine style, high quality imagery and cinematic videography to create a premium online shopping proposition.

Designed by The BIG Partnership, the luxe new look website benefits from superior functionality and navigation and presents information in an engaging and interactive format to demystify whisky, unlocking the mystery surrounding the spirit. It is designed to appeal to whisky novices and connoisseurs, leading them on a whisky journey of discovery and celebrating the heritage and craftsmanship of the product.

Whiskyshop.com showcases an unrivalled product collection of malts and blends from around the world and high quality brand communications and video content on special product releases which bring the products to life online, propelling whisky to a luxury status.

A whisky knowledge bar, video tastings and access to Distillery Managers, and the brand’s award winning Whiskeria magazine at the touch of a button, are just some of the key features which position the site at the pinnacle of online drinks shopping destinations.

Andrew Torrance, Managing Director of The Whisky Shop, says: “Our vision for the new whiskyshop.com was to take online whisky retailing to a new level through providing an unprecedented level of knowledge to consumers in an accessible way, replicating the experience offered in our physical retail stores and unlocking the mystery of whisky.

“The visual and experiential quality of the website, including the brand-led videography and our whisky knowledge bar, have been designed with providing an interactive and engaging user experience at the forefront of mind.” The Whisky Shop recently won the ‘Best Specialist Drinks Retailer of the Year’ at the Harpers Awards 2014.

New Latin Concept Grill opens in London

An exciting new Latin grill is set to open in London.

On behalf of pension fund clients of Colliers Capital, a fund management business providing bespoke property investment and financial advice, Colliers International’s Licensed and Leisure Team has leased the basement restaurant premises of 78-79 Leadenhall Street, London, to the new Latin themed restaurant, OMNINO.

Due to open on 3rd October, based on the art of grilling and sourcing the best meats from around the world, including Prime US, Wagyu and Argentine beef, OMNINO is the latest restaurant concept from the co-curators of The Bull Steak Expert.

The 2,293 sq ft restaurant is set across part of the ground floor and the basement, which has an open plan design providing a theatre style kitchen experience, catering for up to 100 covers.

Alex Hill, Associate Director, Licensed and Leisure, Colliers International says: “Following the success of their first operation in Holborn, London, the co-founders of The Bull Steak Expert are well placed to build on their reputation with this second site. Located in London’s established insurance district, 78-79 Leadenhall Street is the ideal location for the new OMNINO restaurant.

“The letting of 78-79 Leadenhall Street to OMNINO demonstrates the continuing appetite for restaurant premises in Central London, as well as the readiness of operators with quality concepts to expand their offerings to wider audiences. Given the lack of availability of prime sites in established pitches, we continue to see operators looking to locations where their restaurant concepts can develop and flourish.”

The property fronts on to Leadenhall Street, within close proximity to Fenchurch Street train station and Aldgate underground station. Nearby occupiers include Anouka, Jamies, Be At One, Greene King, Dion Wine Bar and Remys S/W Bar.

Kingsmill scoops top prize at Retail Industry Awards

Allied Bakeries' Kingsmill Great White, the first soft white loaf with as much fibre as wholemeal, has won Grocery Product Launch of the Year 2014 at the Retail Industry Awards.

Already named the most successful new product launch in food FMCG so far in 2014, Kingsmill Great White scooped the prize with 29% of the votes over the other shortlisted iconic brands.

The innovative new product was the favourite for giving consumers a reason to love white bread again and the win affirms Allied Bakeries’ position as a leading supplier of UK bakery products.

In a programme of ongoing support, Kingsmill Great White will reappear on our TV screens this October, following a £6.7m two year marketing investment into the Kingsmill Great White campaign.

The TV ad features comedian and ‘Cold Feet’ star John Thomson and the 'Kingsmill Family'. The 40-second advert targets the hearts and minds of viewers as Thomson, the father of the Kingsmill family, prepares breakfast to console his daughter following a break-up.

Martin Garlick, Category Director, Allied Bakeries, adds: “The launch of Kingsmill Great White has attracted new consumers to the sector and helped to stem the decline in white bread sales.

"This latest award shows Allied Bakeries understands consumer needs and category challenges across the bakery sector. Being back on TV in October will be a great way to continue to drive awareness of Kingsmill Great White.”

Joosed! an award winner

Joosed! Junior is the latest product from Bensons Totally Fruity and is already clocking up awards.

It has achieved two stars in the Great Taste Awards 2014 and has just picked up a Highly Commended in The Grocer New Product Awards in the Ambient Family Drinks category.

Bensons is a family run business based in the heart of the Cotswolds. They are the only juice manufacturer in the UK to be Red Tractor accredited, sourcing only from British farmers and never adding artificial colours or preservatives. They strongly believe in producing healthy quality products that taste delicious and their latest children’s drink is an extension of this philosophy.

Joosed! Junior is the healthy option with parents increasingly concerned about winning the war on sugar and childhood obesity. It is available in two delicious flavours appealing directly to parents and children. Coming in a 250ml, guzzle and go bottle, it is one of your five a day and compliant with the new school food standards.

The Great Taste Award judges loved Joosed! Junior says: "Great Colour, lovely natural flavour, good levels of natural sweetness. Easy to identify the fruit ingredients. Refreshing and an excellent aftertaste. Great way for children to get one of their five a day. Child friendly appearance with a lovely colour and fruity nose."

Jeremy Bensons says: “We are ecstatic that our newest product Joosed! Junior has been so well received winning these two prestigious awards with great comments from the judging panel.

"Joosed! Junior was a natural progression for us; we wanted to create a healthy product that both parents and children would love. We really believe in the quality of our products, so it’s really fantastic others agree too!”

lunch! reports record turnout for 2014

Renowned for attracting a who’s who of buyers from across the food-to-go sector, lunch! welcomed a record 6215 attendees through its doors.

Now in its seventh year, the sold out show featured almost three hundred exhibiting companies and enjoyed a 5% increase in total unique attendees, compared to 5924 in 2013. That’s a 44% increase since 2012. As in previous years, the surge in footfall was backed by glowing testimonials from across the show floor.

Many of the country’s biggest high street operators, food retailers, and contract caterers were in attendance including AMT Coffee, Boots, Caffѐ Nero, Debenhams, EAT., John Lewis, M&S, Pret A Manger, Rail Gourmet, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, and Morrisons. More than two thousand independent outlets were also represented.

Chris Brazier, group event manager for lunch!, says, “We are delighted that our seventh year of lunch! was our best show yet, with a record number of visitors and exhibitors for 2014. It really does cap a brilliant year for lunch!, after winning Best Trade Show at the Exhibition News Awards. Thanks must go to all our visitors, exhibitors, media and association partners for helping us put on the best lunch! we’ve ever had.”

Looking ahead to 2015, lunch!’s organiser Diversified Communications UK has already announced a 25% increase in stands to accommodate growing demand from food, drink, packaging, technology, and equipment suppliers. An expansion which will take the exhibitor total to 350 companies for the first time.

The high turnout at the show reflects the ever growing popularity of food-to-go in the lunch time market. Emma Read, director of marketing and business development at the insights firm Horizons and host of the show’s opening Working lunch! Theatre session, said, “The lunch market is a good place to be – vibrant and growing, with consumers eating out more.”

“The lunch market has seen many changes over the last few years and remains a key eating out occasion. More people are eating out and more often but their expectations are higher than before – they want good quality at a good price and often something they can eat on the move. Successful operators are responding by offering a good price point, speedy and efficient service to compete with fast food outlets, and lighter, healthier options.”

Other Working lunch! Theatre highlights, sponsored by Magrini, included popular sessions by Sarah Doyle, brand director, EAT., Henry Dimbleby, co-founder, Leon & The Sustainable Restaurant Association and Cyril Lavenant, NPD Group director of foodservice UK, revealing that Londoners visit fast food outlets and other chains to buy a take-out lunch more frequently than people in the rest of Britain. Steve Flanagan, director, marketing and category at Starbucks UK, and Tim Hall, creator of Pod, shared their big news on the second day of lunch!, announcing plans to offer selected food from Pod’s breakfast and lunch ranges at three Starbucks stores in central London for a trial period.

lunch! will return to Business Design Centre in London, on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th September 2015. For further information, visit www.lunchshow.co.uk.

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