Charlotte Gowers

Charlotte Gowers

RDA’s top-class experience in educational catering recently saw the North East based design and installation company transform the catering facilities at one of the UK’s most prestigious colleges – the University of Oxford’s Lady Margaret Hall.

Lady Margaret Hall provides a vibrant academic community transforming the lives of hundreds of students. Its students enjoy all the benefits of a traditional Oxford education within a warm, open and informal environment. 

The Litmus Partnership were engaged to design and specify the new catering facilities and they secured the contract to develop the design, and supply and install the new kitchen and servery facilities for the college. 

Part of a major refurbishment to modernise its catering space, the project presented a number of challenges. RDA had to be sympathetic to the building’s listed status as well as working within the main contractor’s tight programme to deliver the facilities, ensuring the minimum disruption to the students’ education.

The result is a fresh and contemporary space which includes a new self-help service counter, a flexible solution for formal dining and the introduction of a new dedicated pastry section.

Joe Parfitt, Partner at The Litmus Partnership said: “Oxford College refurbishments demand attention to detail and flexibility to overcome the many quirks of both its buildings and catering services.  RDA proved again they were a worthy partner to turn a design into reality”.

LMH Domestic Bursar added: “The results have transformed the experience for our students, staff and visitors, and RDA have helped create a first-class facility that we are all proud of”.

The project is part of RDA’s continued success in the independent school’s market, which includes University College School London and Collingwood College, Durham. 

Note to Editors

RDA was founded in 2007 as a family business, over the last 10 years we have grown to be an industry leading and innovative, design and installation company with vast experience of working in the health-care, education and high street sectors.

We have grown to a turnover of £7.5m and 20 staff members, with a combined experience of over 120 years in the catering industry. Since RDA’s formation, we’ve received in the region of 1,700 enquiries and have completed 346 project installations.

The NETpositive Supplier Engagement tool (HE), has now, following the results of the sector survey on responsible procurement, been recognised as the preferred choice for Universities in England.

The tool enables suppliers to develop a sustainability action plan for their business based on their context and leading-edge sustainability thinking. Using the tool means supporting suppliers to go beyond simply stating a commitment to sustainability by providing them with a customised action plan, which can be monitored and measured. Institutional tool providers are able to interrogate the associated data dashboard across their supplier base. Data can be used to plan supplier engagement activities, gather evidence of good sustainability practice and the action plan provides a clear and measurable focus for your contract management discussions.

Between 2015 and 2017, 42 Universities from around England signed up to the tool and in turn, 3279 suppliers have now been supported to create their own bespoke action plans for their business (for free!). TUCO, alongside HEPA and the Steering Group are currently exploring how the vast amount of national data can be used to demonstrate the contribution and impact UK HEI procurement has had and is having on sustainability in the UK.

TUCO have supported members and suppliers throughout the year including:

  • ALL procurement staff benefitted from a training session designed to help the ‘Squeeze the Value’ from their use the tool (and arguably their spend!)
  • a range of guidance documents designed to help tool providers exploit the full value that using the tool can unlock in their own institutions has been developed
  • Most recently the sector’s first Responsible Procurement Supplier Awards used the tool as a mechanism to both engage and celebrate suppliers with sustainability (at the University of Manchester) and a guide for Tool Providers was developed to help others run a similar celebration in their own context

You can read more on the new dedicated website provided by NETpositive Futures, which provides support and guidance for procurement professionals deploying the tool in their own institution as well as for suppliers creating their action plans.

Working with the other partners, including TUCO, we are currently exploring ways of developing this approach further. These may include:

  • National Supplier Awards recognising and celebrating sustainability activity across the supply chain
  • A Sector Impact Report with a focus on the contribution and impact in relation to sustainability and social value made through HE spend
  • Using the data to develop practical guides to support the development of commodity strategies, which are emerging in best practice across the sector
  • Training and support designed to raise the profile and practice of HE procurement teams

Get in touch with TUCO or NETpositive Futures directly if you want any specific information, otherwise, watch this space for the next exciting stage of the project and how it will help you.

Wednesday, 03 January 2018 16:47

Bam Life Goes Organic

Bam Life’s all-natural flavoured milk drink portfolio will become fully organic from January 2018.

The popular brand has recognised that transparency is key for today’s consumer. Students are becoming more focused on health and nutrition, and knowing exactly where their food and drinks come from, with 69% of millennials having changed what they buy in order to avoid artificial ingredients in food and beverages.

Available through Bidfood, Bam currently offers the most natural ingredient list in the flavoured milk market; containing no artificial flavourings, colourings, preservatives, refined sugars or sweeteners.

Last year, the organic drinks market attracted one million new households. A proportion of this growth has been driven by customers seeing organic as a healthier choice, which makes the move to organic a logical move for the brand.

With the introduction of the sugar tax levy in 2018, and continued scrutiny on what goes into soft drinks, Bam pride themselves on being able to offer a product that is not only great tasting, but offers the right nutrients, naturally; something that the wider flavoured milk category does not offer.

The launch will also see a brand new pack design for the range, which includes Chocolate, Banana and NEW Vanilla Protein Milk 330ml.

Its Lolly and Institute of Hospitality uncover alarming findings in relation to the impact of upcoming legislation

According to a survey(1) conducted by Its Lolly, the EPoS and payment solution specialist and The Institute of Hospitality (IOH), one third (33 per cent) of the hospitality sector is still unaware of the upcoming GDPR legislation.

General Data Protection (GDPR) is a regulation intended to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). It aims primarily to give control back to citizens and residents over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment (2).

The survey also uncovered that nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of those surveyed wouldn't know what to do if customers requested details of the data being held about them. And half (50 per cent) of respondents said they were not aware of how their methods of personal data processing will be impacted under the new regulations.

Alarmingly, 40 per cent of respondents are unsure as to whether their operational data is safely backed up. However, on a more encouraging note, more than half (57 per cent) of hospitality providers are confident in the systems they have in place.

Peter Moore, CEO of Its Lolly, said: "A number of the findings uncovered in the survey are alarming given organisations of every size are going to be affected by the GDPR legislation. This will include small hospitality providers with fewer in-house legal and IT resources.

"GDPR is only around the corner. It is time to take action and get to grips with your data - before it becomes too late. The fines are high, up to 20000000 EUR or up to four per cent of the annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year in case of an enterprise, whichever is greater(3)."

Peter Ducker, chief executive at the Institute of Hospitality, added: "Getting ready for GDPR is a good opportunity for operators to spring-clean their databases. You will be surprised by how much data you hold – about customers, employees and suppliers - that is old, out-of-date or of no benefit to the business at all. That's the first step. Then it's an opportunity to get in touch with your customers and forge a new and more meaningful relationship with them."

In order to get ready for GDPR, companies must:

  • Review the types of personal data currently held on file (paper, audio or digital formats);
  • Identify lawful grounds for collecting the data;
  • Identify how the data can be kept correct and up-to-date;
  • Identify redundant or erroneous data to cull, and
  • Make a plan as to how ALL of this data is going to be kept secure.

(1) The survey opened on 3rd October 2017, 120 hospitality sector respondents

Millennial seafood shoppers are most likely to choose ecolabelled fish than those older, while all shoppers’ spend on sustainable seafood has increased for a fourth year running, according to a report released by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Not only are UK consumers spending more on sustainable seafood, it’s the millennials that have the strongest preference[1] - with 52% of 18-34 year olds stating they prefer to choose ecolabelled fish and seafood. That’s in comparison to 37% of those over 55 years old in the UK. By choosing seafood with the blue MSC label shoppers are helping to protect oceans, livelihoods and fish for the future. 

Shoppers’ spend on seafood in carrying the MSC ecolabel in the UK exceeded half a billion pounds (£754m)[2] in the year 2016/17, a 29% increase on the £403m spent from the previous year 2015/16. That means £1 out of every £5 spent in UK supermarkets on seafood went on MSC certified sustainable fish, helping ensure the ocean’s health.

The figures, part a recent MSC report “From sustainable fishers to seafood lovers," confirms MSC certified products are increasing 20% year on year - this increased choice has had an enormous impact on shopping habits. The MSC label can be found on a wide range of products from fresh, frozen and tinned fish to pet food, fish oil health supplements and baby food.

More brands and retailers are choosing to use the MSC label than ever before; Sainsbury’s leads the way in the UK, offering over 200 certified products – more MSC labelled products than any other national retailer worldwide. It is closely followed by Waitrose, Tesco (who introduced the blue label to over 600 fishmonger’s counters across country this year), Lidl, Aldi and Birds Eye.

The millennial generation is shaping the ‘eating out’ sector; it’s also become fastest growing customer segment within the hospitality industry[3]. Leading restaurants such as Wahaca and McDonald’s, and even stores such as Ikea continue to make the commitment to certified sustainable seafood for their eco-conscious diners. Fish and chip shops are also upping their green credentials with now over 100 chippies in the UK using the ‘blue fish label’ on their fish, assuring customers that it’s been caught responsibly.

Danielle Pinnington, MD at shopper research agency, Shoppercentric, says: “It is encouraging that millennials are demonstrating the kinds of attitudes that will push suppliers and retailers to take ethical sourcing seriously. There is plenty of evidence emerging that the younger generation of shoppers are interested in the provenance and ethics of the products they are buying.”

Toby Middleton, UK Programme Director for MSC says: “The fact is that UK shoppers value sustainable credentials above price and brand. We are delighted that the younger generation care about sustainable seafood – they are the shoppers of the future. With this year’s increase of restaurants, brands, and supermarkets using the MSC blue fish label, we can all help to drive sustainable fishing.”

Educating consumers and increasing public understanding of sustainable seafood is a vital part of MSC’s plans for 2018, says the report. Next year will see the launch of its ‘Keep it Wild – choose the blue fish’ campaign across the UK, that aims to reach consumers through joint partnerships, ambassadors and storytelling.

The report also outlines the MSC’s plans for the future, including an ambitious target to engage 20% of marine catch by 2020.  Choosing MSC labelled seafood from fisheries, supermarkets, brands and restaurants helps to protect the life in our oceans for generations to come by ensuring sustainable fish that can be traced back to its source.

Read the MSC’s Annual Report: The MSC at 20. Wild. Certified. Sustainable

The Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) has awarded all three of Matthew Algie’s training centres with its prestigious Premier Training Campus accreditation, making Matthew Algie not only one of the first members to have joined the SCAE, as it was formerly known, but also the first coffee roaster to have accredited training centres in both the UK and Ireland - and first to hold multisite Premier Training Campuses in Europe.

Located in Glasgow, London and Dublin, each of the training centres has consistently demonstrated compliance with the SCA’s standards of excellence in terms of their provision of educational and learning environments, high-end training equipment and facilities.

The SCA is the world’s leading professional organisation promoting excellence in quality coffee and draws together professionals from all aspects of the coffee industry. The coffee skills programme aims to improve global coffee standards through furthering knowledge and education and consists of a number of different modules.

Caroline Carter, Head of Training at Matthew Algie, commented: “The best operators understand the importance of investing in a barista’s coffee journey. They know that great coffee requires more than just great beans and equipment. Our training courses help baristas to develop a sound understanding of sourcing, production, taste and brewing. And crucially, our 30-strong team of trainers help instil the knowledge, passion and delivery that sits at the heart of the most successful coffee businesses. To date we have trained over 50,000 baristas and we look forward to taking the next step in our training evolution together with SCA.”

Owen Thom, Training and Quality representative at the SCA, said, “We are delighted to be working with Matthew Algie, our long-time partner and the first multisite Premier Training Campus. Their commitment to excellence means that the SCA’s new Coffee Skills Program will be taught to coffee professionals across the UK and Ireland by the some of the best coffee educators in the world.”

As part of the SCA Barista Skills Program, Matthew Algie now offers a number of specialist modules in three learning stages: Foundation, Intermediate and Professional, each of which count towards the SCA Diploma.

For further information on Matthew Algie’s coffee schools and training programmes visit

For further information on the Speciality Coffee Association visit 

Importance of Breakfast

The 11th Key Global Food & Beverage Trend is The Importance of Breakfast


Mega Trend Description

Breakfast continues to be the most popular meal of the day among Millennials and Gen Z – and least of all in the morning. More and more all-day breakfasts and brunch establishments are popping up across the globe. But it’s a far cry from the full English. Think eggs pimped with truffle oil or hollandaise, brightly coloured porridge laden with superfoods, or exotic versions of the meal from around the world.  Good looking, packed with nutrients, and capable of reaching the ultimate heights of deliciousness, it’s no wonder we can’t get enough of the most important meal of the day.


How this Resonates with the Younger Generation?

  • More than half (54%) of Canadian consumers aged 18-34 eat breakfast while commuting and 3 in 5 (60%) consumers under 45 report that they eat breakfast while at work or school (Mintel, Sept 2016)
  • Under 45’s show greater interest in breakfast foods high in protein (52%), with added vitamins (27%), infused with omega-3 (25%), and all-natural food options (43%). Canadian Millennials (aged 18-34), in particular, tend to look for breakfast foods that fuel physical activity or brain power for studying as they show a higher interest in specialised breakfast meals (27%) and in fortified breakfast foods with nutritional benefits (34%) (Mintel, Sept 2016)
  • Only 25% of Millennials and Gen Z eat three square meals an day and 75% are eating some kind of snack in a typical week day. On the weekend, consumption of night time snacks dessert and brunch increase (YPulse, 2017)


Sub Trends

  • Eggs-ellent
  • Breakfast 24/7
  • Premium Porridge
  • Breakfast World Fare


Read the full Global Food & Beverage Trends Report here.

Thursday, 16 November 2017 08:00




The field of Gastrophysics is paving the way for the future of dining experiences and menu design. We are not only looking at how food is being put together on the plate but also how each step on the sensory journey comes together to create the dining experience.

At the end of this course, participants will:

  • Understand the science and research of Gastrophysics which brings together Chefs, psychologists and neurologists
  • Have ideas on how to apply sensory research into experience design
  • Understand how our senses can alter our perception of flavour
  • Find creative and unique ways to design new menus
  • Experience one of London’s most sought after sensory dining experiences

For full details of this study tour and how to book please click here.

This Christmas as Alcohol Consumption Declines

 Britvic Adult Socialising

Brand new research from Britvic reveals that almost half of consumers (45%) are set to buy more soft drinks at Christmas as figures show that over a fifth (21%) plan to drink less alcohol.  With 37% also planning to spend more on soft drinks at Christmas than previous years, increasing to over half (56%) of consumers aged 16-24, seasonal soft drinks sales are set to soar this Christmas and Britvic is advising leisure operators to be prepared.

The research, conducted by Censuswide UK, also indicates that of those consumers planning to reduce their alcohol consumption this Christmas, 39% now drink less alcohol all year round, increasing to 41% in those aged 25-34 and to 46% in those aged 55+.  While there is clearly a seasonal sales opportunity that operators need to be prepared for, with figures showing a big decline in alcohol consumption all year round, it’s also important to stock a dynamic range of soft drinks throughout the year to cater for this growing consumer interest in soft drinks.

Interestingly, figures revealed that for over half (54%) of those that will be drinking alcohol this Christmas, the tipple of choice will be spirits.  With over three in five (63%) of spirits drinkers using mixers, ensuring the bar is fully stocked with an enticing and great tasting selection ideal for mixing, like Britvic’s range of Mixers and Juices, will be key to capitalising on this seasonal sales opportunity.  As interest in premium spirits continues to rise, offering the right mixer to perfectly complement and balance the flavour is now just as important as the spirit.  Having recently been awarded a prestigious International Taste & Quality Institute Three-Star Superior Taste Award, Britvic’s Indian Tonic Water is the perfect product to allow operators to do just that.

The results also showed that almost a quarter (21%) of consumers don’t think there are enough premium soft drinks to choose from.  This increases to 27% amongst those aged 25-34 and highlights a major gap in the market that operators can fill by stocking premium ranges such as J2O Spritz to make their sales sparkle this Christmas. 


Russell Goldman, Commercial Director, Licensed and Foodservice at Britvic, commented: “It’s clear from our research that there’s going to be a real shift towards moderate drinking this Christmas and as a result, there is likely to be a high demand for soft drinks throughout the season.  Offering a range of inspiring serves and using products like Teisseire to create sensational experiences for customers, both with and without alcohol, will enable leisure operators to cater for this peak in demand over the festive period.”

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 08:00

Vanilla Black

A Day of Inspiration for Vegetarian Menus with a talk from Andrew Dargue

vanilla black

Dont miss out on the opportunity to hear from Andrew Dargue, the founder and chef proprietor will talk about the Vanilla Black story which is truly inspirational.


Each delegate will be given a small goody bag of unusual ingredients that feature on the Vanilla Black menu.


Click HERE for further details and how to book on this very popular Study Tour.

Page 1 of 6



Advertising Opportunities: Dan Hillman

t: 0345 500 6008 e:

TUCO Magazine Editor: Morag Wilson

t: 01474 520 267 e:

Contact Us

The University Caterers Organisation Ltd

3rd Floor, National House

St Ann Street, Manchester

M2 7LE

t: 0161 713 3420 e: