Five ways UK farmers are tackling climate changeAugust 19th, 2019
Farmers are on the front line of climate change – vulnerable to changes in temperature and rainfall, as well as increasingly frequent extreme weather events.
Agriculture is currently responsible for about 9% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from methane. The National Farmers’ Union (NFU), which represents 55,000 UK farmers, has set a target of net-zero emissions in British farming by 2040.
1. Sending in robots
Scientists in Wiltshire are part of a growing group of experts around the world developing small battery-powered robots that could drastically cut tractor use. Tractors use diesel, a major source of carbon emissions in farming. The machines rely on artificial intelligence to sow seeds, identify individual weeds, and apply exactly the right amounts of pesticide and fertiliser in the right places, rather than spraying it across a whole field.
2. Using drones to map fields
Drones and tractor-mounted sensors are also being used to help farmers work out the exact patterns of moisture, weeds and pests. The data is fed to precision machinery to target areas that need work – and leave the rest undisturbed.
3. Planting more trees
Friends of the Earth is calling for a doubling of tree cover – to boost carbon storage, help with flooding and prevent soil erosion. Wind protection from trees can also reduce the time livestock need to be kept indoors in the winter, again saving on energy and cutting emissions.
4. Keeping livestock outside for longer
Farmers who keep their animals outdoors for longer in the UK can help to cut emissions thousands of miles away. When animals are taken indoors, they are sometimes fed on soya imported from Latin America. Soya is often cultivated on land that was previously rainforest, so the demand for animal feed in the UK is, critics say, exporting deforestation.
5. Cutting methane emissions
Cows and sheep produce methane in their digestive systems. Methane produces 21 times as much warming in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Whilst carbon dioxide is the biggest concern for many other industries, in farming methane is a major worry. The NFU points to many farmers using methane from manures and slurries to generate electricity and says the British livestock industry is one of the most efficient and sustainable in the world.
Source: BBC Focus on Farming
Plant based foodsJuly 31st, 2019
One study has shown 95% of the people who bought a plant-based burger this past year were meat eaters.
The demand for plant-based foods soared 20% last year, compared with 8% in 2017.
The most sweeping changes are happening in food services, where demand for plant-based options is changing the menus in millions of food providers.
Plant-based options are more widely available, more appealing and better tasting, they’re also more socially acceptable.
The 2019 Food and Health Survey found that people want to make environmentally sustainable food choices. But they say it’s confusing to know what to buy. When it comes to reducing meat, most people are driven by health concerns and cost with animal welfare and environmental issues.
Millennials have reduced their consumption of one type of meat over the past three years. And even more people aspire to change their diets.
The vegan and vegetarian diet brings the benefits of more vegetables, whole grains and legumes with the lightest global footprint. But the fact is most people are either unable or unwilling to maintain strict no-meat diets. Compared with the number of vegans and vegetarians today, there are more than five times as many former vegans and vegetarians.
Smaller dietary changes are much more appealing and effective than eliminating meat.
Social influencers for food choicesJuly 1st, 2019
Social media plays an increasingly important role in what the U.K. consumer chooses in-store.
Consumers are focusing on what they see as online lifestyles rather than repeated brand messaging.
Independent research showed over 50% of a survey group of shoppers aspired to cook more of what they saw on Instagram, and millions of home cooks managed their weekly shop based on recipes to be tried rather than repetition of a set list.
A percentage of home cooks said social media is more of an inspiration and influence on food choices than TV and magazine media channels.
What still remains the key for shoppers is convenience in store. If a shopper can find the latest on-trend ingredients as promoted online by their favourite influencer, this is a tangible competitive advantage.
U.K. market for ethical food growthMay 10th, 2019
Ethical food and drink sales hit £8.2bn in 2018, with more British consumers are keen to make ethical food choices.
New research from Mintel shows that British consumers are making choices based on their conscience. This trend is set to continue with sales in 2019 expected to grow by 4% to £8.6bn. 83% of UK adults have said they’ve bought a food or drink item with some form of ethical certification, with 87% of over-55’s saying they were most likely to buy ethically-certified food or drink.
Almost half (48%) of UK adults researched said they are loyal to brands that they believe share their ethics and values, with that figure rising to 56% when just the under-25’s are counted. A third of adults also said they stopped buying products from brands that have acted unethically, showing how important it is to many that brands are acting ethically.
Challenging plastics wasteApril 29th, 2019
A leading U.K. supermarket is introducing paper carrier bags at all of its checkouts. This initiative may save 1,300 tonnes of plastic a year.
The paper used is made from sustainably managed forests in Wales and each bag will carry up to 16kg. Each bag can be reused and ultimately recycled.
The uncertainty of Brexit and potential complexities in the food chain, what does this mean for U.K. food producers?April 24th, 2019
A suggestion to ensure provenance in our food is to use British products where possible, supporting local and countrywide economies. If we support our producers and farmers then we are also helping them to create export items for a future outside the EU.
Brexit and food chain considerations are driving this 2019 trend.
Glazes, rubs and marinades for 2019April 11th, 2019
Experimentation with new cuts and kinds of meats is creating demand for new glazes, rubs and marinades.
Russian shashlik glaze flavoured with vinegar and pomegranate.
Texan BBQ complimenting barbecued pulled pork and brisket dishes using smoked paprika and chilli.
Sriracha and maple glaze combining ginger, garlic and savoury flavours with the heat of chilli.
Jalapeno and honey to create a sweet sticky burger or meatball with a blast of heat.
Katsu crumb as a new arrival on the back of the katsu curry popularity.
Chinese food is voted the UK’s most popular takeaway followed by Indian and then fish and chipsApril 8th, 2019
A Channel 5 documentary has ranked the Britain’s favourite takeaway options. Chinese food was crowned the country’s favourite cuisine, followed by Indian food and then fish and chips. The UK’s beloved fish and chips came third, they have been a British staple for the past 150 years. Italian cuisine came fourth in the line-up, followed by American-inspired burgers. Sixth was chicken followed by the kebab in seventh. In seventh place is a night-out staple, the kebab, with the meaty dish managing to be be Dutch/German-style Turkish, Greek and Arab cuisine all at the same time.
Minimum wage rates riseApril 1st, 2019
Two million UK workers on minimum wages are now receiving a pay rise.
Workers aged 25 and over on the National Living Wage will receive £8.21 an hour from Monday, up from £7.83 – a 4.9% rise.
Pay rises also take effect for younger workers on minimum wages.
Women represent an estimated 60% of those who are benefitting from the rise in minimum wage rates. Workers in the hospitality and retail sectors are the most likely to be on the lowest pay, and nearly 200,000 of them will receive the pay rise.
Restaurants demand high levels of staffing in this highly competitive market with new restaurants opening every year creating new demands for skilled workers and, at the same time, reducing the ability of existing restaurants to increase prices if they are to maintain a competitive edge.
For restaurants and food providers to maintain their competitive position in this market, it’s vital to explore every opportunity for NPD partnerships, optimisation of portion size and control, achievement of margins and ensuring preparation requirements match kitchen skills and enhance productivity.
Removal of 9p bags for life after “single-use” researchMarch 26th, 2019
A leading UK supermarket is taking steps in the war on plastic waste following concerns that shoppers are throwing away bags for life after one use. A trial in Wales will see the 9p bags removed from sale, then if successful, the programme will be extended across the U.K. This national initiative could save up to 2,500 tonnes of plastics annually.