Anjali Dattani

Anjali Dattani

TUCO member Nottingham University is the UK’s leading university for sustainable seafood after it was awarded the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) University of the Year in their annual awards.

It’s the second year Nottingham has been awarded the title for serving the highest number of certified sustainable dishes to its students.

The MSC awards also highlighted latest research showing millennials are leading the way in sustainable seafood - 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.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international NGO, whose aim is to keep the world’s oceans teeming with life, and safeguard seafood supplies for this and future generations. Its Blue Fish label and certification programme recognises and rewards sustainable fishing practices, and is helping create a more sustainable seafood market.

The award sees Nottingham University rubbing shoulders with retailers, such as Waitrose who won Fish Counter of the Year, as well as a big name in the seafood world, chef Mitch Tonks, who was named Chef of the Year for championing sustainable seafood across his Rockfish restaurant chain for almost ten years.

Nicola Penn, Procurement Business Manager at Nottingham University, explains what the award means to them: “We are delighted to have received the MSC University of the Year award for the second year. Students are increasingly demanding more sustainably sourced and healthier food options on campus, and we really take pride in providing sustainably sourced food.  MSC certification reassures our students we are buying quality and sustainably sourced fish. We are proud to say that all our fish can be traced back to independently certified sustainable fisheries.”

Loren Hiller, Commercial Officer at Marine Stewardship Council said: “As one of the first universities to offer sustainable seafood to their students since 2012, it’s fantastic to see the University of Nottingham winning the University of the Year award for the second year running. Nottingham have demonstrated their commitment to supporting sustainable fishing and safeguarding seafood supplies, meaning their students can be sure they are making a sustainable choice every time they choose a fish dish with the Blue Fish label.”

Thursday, 05 July 2018 13:38

Refreshed NETpositive Supplier Tool

In consultation with institutional users and the project Steering Group NETpositive have updated the Supplier Tool content.

Along with a fresh design, this includes:

  • Links made to the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Signposting to updated sustainability guidance
  • More challenging sustainability actions presented to suppliers

Best practice sustainability takes some keeping up with! When the NETpositive Supplier Tool launched just over two years ago, conversations about single-use plastic, fair pay or modern slavery were not so well established as they are now. The guidance, support and challenge we provide to our suppliers needs to keep pace.

4000 suppliers to HE are using the tool to create Sustainability Action Plans for their business, as well as being based on leading-edge sustainability thinking these plans now align better with sector priorities.

For more information on the Supplier Engagement Tool visit:

TUCO member the University of Manchester hospitality and events team has scooped the Sustainable Business Award at the UK’s most prestigious hospitality and catering awards, the Cateys. The Cateys showcase innovative brands and trail-blazing people from across hotels, restaurants, foodservice and pubs & bars. Hospitality and Events (H & E) is the department at The University of Manchester that operates its café’s, restaurants and hospitality services across campus. Including Food On Campus, Taste Manchester, Christies Bistro, Conferences & Events, Food in Residence and Chancellors Hotel,

Alison Shedlock, Head of Hospitality and Events said “We are thrilled that the University Hospitality and Events team have won the Sustainable Business Award, at the 2018 Catey’s, the UK’s most prestigious hospitality and catering awards. This highlights our continued commitment to providing our customers with the best quality food, drink and service whilst remaining completely focused on our value of sustainability and the Universities wider goal of social responsibility”

TUCO Chairman Matt White, who was also shortlisted for this year’s Public Sector Cateys Awards adds:

“I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Alison Shedlock and Emma Stansfield from The University of Manchester after them winning the 2018 Cateys, Sustainability Award. The catering team’s work at Manchester University is really quite exemplary and it is particularly pleasing to see this innovative work recognised by what are considered the highest accolades in our industry, the Cateys Awards. Manchester University is truly part of our TUCO family and this work that the award recognises will be shared with colleagues in HE and FE catering departments across the country via our key pillars of #Share #Learn #Grow.”

The University of Manchester Goal 3 is Social Responsibility, which ensures that sustainability is embedded into everything the University does. H & E has targets set in the University Sustainable Resources plan. It is committed to offering healthy and sustainable catering that is produced, processed and traded in ways that:

  • Contribute to the local economies and sustainable livelihoods.
  • Avoid damaging our planet.
  • Enhance animal welfare.
  • Provide social benefits.

Year on year they have improved their impact on the planet and society with a number of key initiatives in the past five years including: 

  • Introduction of Meat Free Mondays
  • Introduced Organic Milk and 54% of our Beef is Organic in Catered Halls
  • Formed a partnership with Manchester Veg Box Scheme
  • Introduced tray free dining in Catered Halls, encouraging students to select what they actually will eat rather than fill their tray, food Waste Recycling in our Dining areas in catered halls.
  • Food Waste Recycling into all our kitchens across campus
  • Opened a Vegetarian Café on Campus
  • Implemented a Land Army Student volunteer scheme
  • Daily Vegan option delivered in Catered Halls
  • Introduced Wonky Veg campaign in Catered Halls
  • Paid the National Living Wage Foundation rate to all Catering Staff.
  • Delivery of an annual food sustainability event  Compostable hot drinks cups and takeaway packaging introduced
  • Marine Stewardship Council Certification awarded to Food In Residence (Catered Halls)
  • Introduced a re-useable mug a bamboo Eco Cup mug and an incentive to reuse which included a reusable water bottle.
  • Deliver a fresh fruit and veg stall each Wednesday to students using when possible Manchester Veg people produce (Organic Local produce)
  • Food waste is distributed through “Humanity Giving Back” a charity that distributes this to organisations across Manchester who support vulnerable people.
  • Introduced a street food market in 2016 that provides a weekly market on campus for local artisan food producers and local street food vendors



Take on the charity's 'Plastic Challenge' to try and detox your life of the planet's substance of convenience  

With more plastic than fish (by weight) in our seas predicted to be a possibility by 2050, our reliance on plastic in all its forms is clear. 

We’re in a plastic pickle.

With the nightmare that plastic pollution is creating in our oceans now high on political, personal and news agendas, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), the UK's leading marine charity, is once again throwing down the gauntlet to the public to take on its Plastic Challenge.  

MCS is asking people to give up single-use plastics for the whole of July.  

Simon Reeve, TV presenter and MCS Ocean Ambassador, says “Our planet is becoming poisoned by plastic. The vast amount in our oceans has become an environmental emergency as a direct result of our throwaway society. That’s why I’m supporting thousands of people living without single use plastic this July as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s Plastic Challenge. Don’t just get depressed about plastic - stop using it!” 

The charity has run the Plastic Challenge for the last four years – and has been supported in doing so by BRITA UK since 2016. More than 1,000 people took part in 2016, and last year over 5,035 registered to give up using single use plastic. That includes food packaged in plastic, plastic water bottles, plastic milk bottles, shower gels, toothpaste and pasta to name but a very few! 

 “This is a challenge that you can make as easy or as hard for yourself as you like” says Dr. Sue Kinsey MCS Technical Specialist. “But however you choose to do it you won't fail to realise just how reliant on plastic we’ve become. Some things are really tough to replace however much you want to give up single-use plastic”. 

"The support we had last year was amazing and we know, from the comments we received on social media, that for many, this month is the start of a lifestyle change." 

Among the things people found hardest to replace were milk containers, dried goods packaged in single use plastic like pasta rice and pulses, loo paper and toothpaste. 

MCS says that many people who take on the challenge really do get stuck in. 

“They know why it’s so important to cut down on our plastic use," says Dr Kinsey. "If these dedicated ditchers found it hard to find non single use plastic alternatives then that just goes to show how plastic dominates our lives even if you actively don’t want it to." 

This year MCS hopes even more people will try and give up single use plastic during July. The BBC's Blue Planet II brought the issue of plastic pollution in our seas into the UK's sittings rooms at the back end of last year and this year there's also more help and advice available than before to help Challengers.  

MCS has written a book on the living life without plastic: "How To Live Plastic Free – a day in the life of a plastic detox" (Published by Headline UK, ISBN 978-1-4722-5981-3) 

The book takes you through an average day giving tips and practical advice on how to remove unnecessary plastic at every opportunity. From getting up to going to bed you can find out about plastic-free cosmetics, mealtimes, shopping, workplace, pets, sporting and special events.        

Last year Challengers made their own bread, yogurt, cleaning and bathroom products like mouthwash and sugar scrubs so as not to use plastic containers that are used once and then thrown out. 

MCS beach cleaning data has revealed a rise of 180% of plastic litter found on beaches in the last two decades posing a huge threat to wildlife and humans. Plastic bags, bottles and tiny plastic pieces, are regularly found in the stomachs of turtles and other sea creatures and in some cases have caused their death from starvation or choking. 

“Reducing plastic litter will certainly be an uphill climb - but there are some easy steps to take and if we can all cut down the amount we use there’s no doubt our marine environment will be a healthier place” says Dr. Kinsey. “People taking on the Plastic Challenge are often shocked to find out just how much single-use plastic is used every day. Have a go and even if you can only manage a single day and you’ll never look at your shopping in the same way again!” 

The Plastic Challenge is once again being sponsored by water filtration company BRITA UK. Becky Widdowson is BRITA UK's Marketing Director: ”It’s fantastic to be supporting the Plastic Challenge alongside MCS once again. At BRITA UK we believe it is absolutely vital that we step up to protect marine life from the unnecessary damage done by single use plastic bottles and other forms of plastic litter. One or two small changes such as carrying a refillable bottle or a reusable bag or opting out of disposable bottled water when we buy our lunch or go to the gym, could have such an enormous positive impact. Given that 60 per cent of people would be willing to switch from bottled water to more environmentally friendly alternatives it’s clear this can be done."  

Sign up to take part in the Plastic Challenge at:   

"How To Live Plastic Free – a day in the life of a plastic detox" (Published by Headline UK, ISBN 978-1-4722-5981-3) is available to buy now. For details visit:

In order to raise awareness of how difficult it is to live with a food allergy Jacqui McPeake, from Allergen Accreditation, invites chefs and caterers (& those with an interest in food!) to eliminate one or more allergens from their diet for 2 weeks.

This will enable the volunteer to understand the daily issues that someone with allergies face. The challenge will highlight the problems going shopping and checking labels for allergens, cooking at home with other family members who do not have any restrictions in their diet and going out to eat at work, a restaurant or bar etc. (And just going out for a drink!)

Challengers should then report back on their experiences via #onemcpeakechallenge or Facebook.

The challenge will help those within the catering industry to appreciate the problems that customers with food allergies face when eating out.

Registration is now open via the Anaphylaxis Campaign “MyDonate”, to ensure all proceeds go directly there.

Guidance notes will be issued as well as a medical bulletin, as the volunteer must not undertake this challenge if they have any existing health concerns and if during the challenge they feel unwell then they should not put their health at risk. 

Wednesday, 27 June 2018 14:07

TUCO Procurement Services

Every year TUCO purchase more than £140million in goods and services for members, through 20 EU compliant framework agreements. This enables us to deliver savings to members in excess of £10million per annum. With more than 200 quality assured suppliers spanning the whole of the UK, our frameworks incorporate national, local and regional suppliers, offering even more choice to members. 

With our continuous drive for improvement, we seek to maximise financial value for our members. Offering bespoke opportunities to expand knowledge base and personal development, benefitting not only members individually but institutions too. Our not for profit procurement services offer a more consistent and efficient procurement process, with a full time CIPS qualified team dedicated to cutting costs.

Find out more about our Procurement Services here and how we can help you save money through smarter procurement. 

Monday, 25 June 2018 10:31

TUCO Efficiency Review

A personalised, independent, measure of your performance.

We know how difficult it can be to objectively assess how well you’re doing versus your competitors. Which is why we’ve teamed up with the Litmus Partnership – a leading consultancy – to offer TUCO members the opportunity for an independent performance assessment and review, with a competitor’s eye.

The Efficiency Review will independently measure your performance and provide valuable metrics that you can act upon to improve take-up, spend per head and your margin. At a cost of £1,200 (ex VAT) for members, we see the Review as a key investment in the future of university catering managed in-house.

But don’t just take our word for it. We piloted the Review with three institutions; Cardiff University, Reading University and University of Leeds. See what they had to say below:

Cardiff University: “The TUCO Efficiency Review provided key strategic business intelligence that helped build and support our catering strategy. An excellent business tool that we will use again to measure our progress.”

Reading University: “It’s that fresh pair of eyes looking at the operation that brings a new and exciting perspective.”

University of Leeds: “It was interesting that many of the recommendations aligned with our current plans, whilst also giving us a few new ideas. We are considering using the review as a regular independent audit to ensure we are demonstrating continuous improvement.”

Click here to read more about how the Efficiency Review can benchmark your performance and take a look at an example report.

To sign up, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

New research from the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) reveals that 43 percent of adults surveyed admit that they find it difficult to find reliable information on healthy diets, with changing information, messages and advice from media and experts being the biggest causes for confusion (76 percent and 61 percent respectively).

The survey, conducted as part of BNF Healthy Eating Week, questioned almost 500 adults across the UK and found that social media platforms (37 percent) are the most common reported source for nutritional information for adults. Under a third (30 percent) of respondents said that they use the NHS website, a quarter visit other health websites and 14 percent said that they gather nutritional information from a doctor, hospital or health clinic.

Roy Ballam, BNF’s Managing Director and Head of Education, said: “With two thirds of adults overweight or obese, the UK is in the middle of an obesity crisis – and a lack of consumer knowledge and reliable information on healthy eating is a huge cause for concern. In the digital age, with growing concerns about the trustworthiness of information in the media, many are confused about which online sources are reliable – unsurprising when there is so much conflicting advice available. The public need to receive more consistent messaging about diet and nutrition if we are to stand a fighting chance of changing these worrying health statistics”. 

Two thirds (68 percent) of survey respondents reported that they are motivated to eat healthily to control their weight and, when shopping for food, 61 percent of adults said they always or often check nutrition labels on food. Two thirds or more of people surveyed said that the calories (64 percent), sugar (68 percent) and fat (60 percent) are the things they look for on nutrition labels. 

Almost half (48 percent) of adults surveyed say that busy lives and stress play a large role in stopping them from eating healthily. 40 percent of adults said that being too tired after work is the main reason for not being active.  

Ballam said: “It is really encouraging to see that people are motivated to eat well and to check the nutritional content of the foods they buy, however there are clearly many who are struggling to put this into action because they are too busy, stressed or tired. We need to find evidence-based, practical ways to make it easier to be healthy that fit in with people’s daily lives”.

The survey also showed a number of different factors that affect people’s food choices when at work or university. A third of adults said that high workload makes it difficult to eat well and they find it difficult to take a proper lunch break, and a quarter said they do not have enough time to prepare healthy foods when at work. 24 percent of respondents said there are limited healthy food and drink options available at work or close by and 28 percent said there were too many unhealthy snacks available in their work setting. 
Ballam continued: “We know that a key to reducing obesity is changing behaviour – some of this will come from government and local environments making it easier for people to change. The results from this survey show that the main motivation for being healthy is weight control, however there seem to be a number of barriers within workplaces and universities that make this difficult. Encouraging work settings to engage more with health may be an effective way of helping people put their good intentions into action and we’ve seen an excellent response to BNF Healthy Eating Week for workplaces and universities this year, with over 1,400 organisations participating”.

A Cambridge College, and TUCO member, is celebrating the success of one of its employees who has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award from the UK’s oldest culinary organisation.

Jaroslava Vankova, who is Functions Supervisor at St John’s College, was ranked in the top six for the 2018 President’s Award with the Réunion des Gastronomes. The Award, which identifies and encourages excellence in professional food and beverage services, is open to anyone working full-time at a team management level in food and beverage services in the UK hospitality industry.

 Jaroslava was selected for the final shortlist of six and invited to the Institute of Directors in London to meet a judging panel and have lunch with the other candidates. She started working at St John’s College as a casual employee before becoming Functions Assistant in 2013 and then being promoted to Functions Supervisor in 2017. Her previous roles include working in a hotel in Bideford, Devon and then at the Lensfield Hotel in Cambridge.

Bill Brogan, Catering & Conference Manager at St John’s College said: “We are incredibly proud of Jaroslava’s achievement in reaching the final shortlist for the President’s Award in the Réunion des Gastronomes.

“This prestigious organisation provides a unique opportunity for learning and advancement supported by members of the Réunion and the Award is pitched at the very highest levels in the industry. Although she didn’t make it to the final three, it was a great experience for Jaroslava and underlines her commitment to developing her career further.”

Wallace Vincent, President of the Réunion, added: “It is only our second year of running this award, and after the success of last year, the calibre and number of entries is clearly going from strength to strength.”

All finalists will be invited to the Annual Banquet at the Savoy in November, at which the winner will be announced. The winner will receive four two-day placements across different industry sectors, as well as benefit from unique mentoring and networking opportunities.

Operators emerge from challenges with the highest levels of optimism for more than two years, the CGA Fourth Business Confidence Survey reveals.

Confidence is starting to return to the eating and drinking-out sector - despite a host of pressures on the market. But there remains a gap between the optimism that leaders of Britain’s restaurant, pub and bar groups have about their own businesses and their confidence in the market as a whole.

The latest CGA Fourth Business Confidence Survey, carried out in May by business insight consultancy CGA in partnership with leading hospitality software provider Fourth, reveals that 75% of company leaders are now optimistic about the prospects for their own business over the next 12 months—11 percentage points more than at the time of the last confidence survey in February.

There is also an upswing in bosses’ confidence for the overall market, although the survey finds that less than half (47%) are upbeat about prospects for the wider eating and drinking out sector over the next 12 months. This also represents an 11 percentage points increase on three months earlier, and both figures are the highest recorded by the survey since February 2016.

However, they are still below the levels seen before the Brexit vote. In February, three quarters of leaders said their businesses had been adversely affected by the consequences of the referendum.

“The more upbeat tone of the survey appears at odds with the recent news of some high profile restaurant closures in the first half of this year, driven by business challenges including rising food, people and property costs and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit,” said CGA’s CEO Phil Tate.

“But it might be because of this market shake out, coupled with more stable food prices, that business executives are now gaining more confidence,” Tate added.

As one survey participant observed: “The [restaurant] market is sorting itself out like the pub industry did a few years ago. We are over saturated with some struggling brands. Once they leave, which is happening, there will be opportunities for better brands.”

And as another commented: “An unsettled market presents opportunities for established operators with a clear offer.”

Ben Hood, CEO of Fourth, said: “In the face of challenging external headwinds in rising costs of both labour and inventory, there remains a cohort of outstanding operators who are constantly looking inwardly at their businesses and investing in the marketing and technology they need to increase efficiencies and improve their offer and the customer experience. There will always be an appetite for spending on food and drink among UK consumers, it’s ingrained in our culture, and these slick, streamlined businesses are in pole position to thrive over the coming years.”

Tate noted that the continuing gap between market and individual business confidence was a cause for concern as it highlighted an underlying nervousness that might affect corporate investment and growth decisions. But with CGA data indicating that people continue to go out to eat and drink, the results show that there is plenty of room for distinctive, customer-focused brands to succeed.

Phil Tate concluded: “After a tough start to 2018, this latest Business Confidence Survey is a welcome reminder that hospitality remains an essentially upbeat industry. CGA’s research shows that like-for-like sales growth is modest, and that many restaurant, pub and bar operators have scaled back their new openings plans—but conditions that challenge some businesses can also bring opportunities for others.”

The CGA Fourth Business Confidence Survey is produced in partnership with Fourth and is based on responses from 160 leading figures from the industry, working at CEO, MD, chairman, board and senior management levels.



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