Colors: Green Color
Colors: Green Color

Brits create record demand for low alcohol wines with sales at Tesco more than doubling in the last year.

But now the supermarket believes that number is set to grow even further after launching a range that is virtually indistinguishable in taste from its alcoholic counterparts.

The range includes five customer favourites – a Cabernet Tempranillo, a Grenacha-Rosé and a Sauvignon Blanc – the latter two in both still and sparkling varieties.

The taste improvement comes from a new innovative spinning cone technique that gently removes the alcohol without sacrificing the aroma, quality and flavour profile of the wine.

Until now most non-alcoholic wines have been fermented until they reach the point where they are about to turn alcoholic so the liquid never actually becomes wine.

Another popular method involves removing the alcohol but replacing it with a number of sugars and artificial flavours to bring back the flavours lost through the process.

Tesco wine expert Alexandra Runciman, who developed the range, said:

“Consumption of alcohol in the UK down is down by 18 per cent over the last decade and we're seeing more customers looking for a quality wine drinking experience without the alcohol.

“In recent years we've seen improvements in the quality and range of low and no alcohol ciders and beers which have put the wine equivalent firmly in the shade.

“This is the first wine range of its kind sold by a supermarket which offers customers a real comparable alternative to popular varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc, without any compromise on taste.”

The wines, which are nearly alcohol free - less than 0.5% - have been developed in partnership with leading international wine producers Felix Solis, and will be available in over 700 stores across the country and online and will be priced from £3.

In March 2017 Tesco became the first supermarket to bring together its entire range of alcohol free, or less than 0.5% ABV beers, wines and spirits in one place in stores across the UK.

Artisan crisp company, Fairfields Farm, is celebrating after being awarded the Innovative Packaging Design of the Year Award at Food Matter's Live for its newest and most innovative brand, Heat & Eat.

Following on from the huge success of the launch of Heat & Eat in September, which is now available in Tesco and East of England Co-Op, this award is proof that the brand is a perfect fit for the current snacking market.

“We are over the moon to have won this award,” says Laura Strathern, co-founder of Fairfields Farm. “When we launched Heat & Eat we knew we'd designed an innovative product, so it's just fantastic that the judges agreed.

“There was some really stiff competition in the Innovative Packaging Design category and every product entered was so different. It's amazing to win!” adds Laura.

The Food Matter's Live Awards recognise the creativity and inventiveness of the food and drink industry to produce products and ingredients that meet the ever-changing demands and palates of health conscious and trend-hungry consumers. And, with stiff competition among the entrants, winning a category award is a huge achievement.

Briony Mansell-Lewis, Food Matters Live director, said, “We were incredibly impressed by the standard and quality of entries to our first ever Food Matters Live Awards - there were very strong contenders in each category. While it was a tough choice, we're pleased to recognise the outstanding achievements of the winners, who can only be described as innovative trailblazers of the food and drink industry.”

Fairfields Farm received an iconic, unique award – creatively designed around the innovative concept of a taste bud and incorporating the five senses of taste – at a special ceremony hosted by Food Matters Live at London's ExCeL on 22nd November.

As a city historically, Liverpool isn't known for its lust for all things health and wellness-oriented, especially food and drink but the climate is changing.

So says, grocery stalwart and award-winning entrepreneur Dalip Matta, who along with brother Deepak runs Matta's in Liverpool's burgeoning restaurant quarter Bold Street.

“We've noticed that Liverpool and its people are taking a much keener interest in health & wellness in all of its forms of late. The spikes amongst wellness food and drink on our website proves that.”

Dalip says it's been a long road for many operators in Liverpool treading the wellness path “but we at Matta's had a vision many years ago to bring a more health-aligned range of products and we know that in spite of the large array of our current stock, it is just the beginning.”

“We've always thought that the most positive action to take when you have a passion for something that is missing in your home city is to provide it for everyone yourselves. And that's what we're doing.

“We're also bringing more of Matta's to the outside world taking part in many pop up events rather than just expecting people to visit our shop...actually we never expected lots to visit, just hoped.”

So what exactly are Matta's doing, albeit in their 33rdyear in business to bring customers a unique wellness experience when it comes to food shopping in Liverpool?

“We're getting approaches from really exciting, nascent businesses offering high quality products especially organic and or/vegan products, many of which are perishable goods that lend well to pop-up activity in-store, heightened social media activity and national press coverage. We're also often giving fledging companies their first start and it's been great to watch them grow.

“In addition, and especially based where we are in the restaurant quarter, we've plenty of famous faces like Nisha Katona shopping with us from the industry as we sell so many basic essentials for cooking...we've grown our business buy selling natural ingredients, I guess in referring to wellness, we're just calling them something different but the range in the market just gets bigger and so does our stock!”

With foodies queuing up eagerly for fresh Sri Lankan favorites like hoppers at London's street food markets; the country's first Michelin star just awarded to Sri Lankan national Rishi Naleendra; and fast becoming a Soho institution- Hoppers opening a second outpost in the UK capital, it is clear that Sri Lanka's eclectic food scene is finally getting the global recognition it deserves. Nevertheless, the best way to experience authentic Sri Lankan cuisine is still in the bustling streets and markets of this Indian Ocean island melting pot, so bespoke holiday experts Experience Travel Group - originally founded in Sri Lanka in 2004 - have drawn on all their unrivalled knowledge and passion for this diverse country to create a superb new immersive Cuisine of Sri Lanka tour. Fuelled by an alluring array of fragrant coconut curries, savoury pancakes laden with spices and moreish rotis, the exclusive tour takes in bustling city markets, ancient rice fields, coconut farms and tea plantations amongst other exclusive experiences, providing a true taste of Sri Lankan culture and cuisine.

Tamil, Muslim and Burgher culture has all played its part in shaping Sri Lanka's culinary heritage, and the island's landscape also lends itself to even greater diversity. From the lush fruit and vegetables of the far north, to the old world glamour of the tea plantations and the fresh seafood dishes of the south coast, all these elements combine to create an island idyll perfect for intrepid foodies. Fast food aficionados will love Kottu Roti, a mix of stir-fried vegetables, egg, spices and chopped flatbread, washed down with a cold Lion beer. Brunch fans will fall for Ceylon tea and Egg Hoppers - a delicate rice flour bowl-shaped pancake topped with an egg, dhal curry, and onion sambal. With vibrant spices, the aromas of stewing curry and baskets of juicy fresh fruit seen on every corner, visitors are sure to be captivated by Sri Lanka's vibrant food scene.

Experience Travel Group co-founder Sam Clark says that “to get a true experience of Sri Lanka's amazing food, we like to encourage our clients to get off the beaten track, head out across the country and call into the little villages, as that's where the best is found. After their eyes and mouths have been opened - and their minds and waistlines expanded! – the capital, Colombo, is a great end to a culinary tour. There's a real buzz around the urban food scene at the moment, with lots of new restaurants run by dynamic young chefs who aren't afraid to deconstruct and reinvent the nation's classics.”

When John McLoughlin opened the acclaimed 358 Portland Street on Smithdown Road, those on the inside of the industry that know the unassuming head chef and founder knew it would be a hit.

Liverpool restaurant & bar experts Ubiquity spoke with the man himself and heard about his enthusiasm for hospitality and his extraordinary CV.

“I was inspired to open Portland St. I'd opened so many other businesses for other people i'd previously worked for in my career.

“The desire to open my own restaurant was so overwhelming that if I hadn't, I would have regretted it later in life.”

John maintains that around the time of his big decision, he saw “a switch in the way food trends were going.

“Places like Bakchich had just opened & Mowgli was in the process of being built, and the city scene was moving over to a street food-led scene.

“It was growing rapidly in London & I sensed that it wouldn't be long before the trend came to Liverpool.

“Given my experience, I grasped the opportunity of recreating restaurant dishes, presenting them in a more casual style, without losing any of the quality & finesse.

“This formed the basis of our philosophy 'it's not fast food it's flavour with flair.'

John's research into the business took him to London and the USA taking in the scene in Camden and Portland respectively.

“I was following the scene in Camden and, in Portland where street food operators occupy 'pods'...they are everywhere and the diversity of the food is incredible.”

John was taken aback by the variety of street food on offer and felt like he had “an open book to work on his own equally expansive menu with all the variety I could muster.”

When you hear more about John's attitude, success and history in the catering industry within restaurants, it's now wonder 358 Portland Street's menus are now the talk of the town both in the city and suburbs of South Liverpool.

He sounds as passionate today as he was when he started almost three decades ago and he admits this.

“I like working with any food, especially ingredients i have never used before. I generally try most new dishes at home, where i can experiment without any pressure! I often get asked too given that I was around to witness the rise of the celebrity chef if I follow any of them on TV but i'm too busy!

“I do like Jamie Oliver for his enthusiasm & he seems to be in touch more with your everyday person but they're all talented because they're on TV!

John compares the business of being in the profession as like being 'a gerbil rotating in a wheel' whilst also trying to juggle several other tasks at the same time.

“Even when I'm not in the kitchen, I'm constantly doing something that involves the business.”

John believes that if he retired tomorrow, he knows he can look back with pride on what he has achieved, in both a personal & career sense.

“I've missed out on a lot to achieve what I have, but it comes with the path i chose. If you want something you have to work hard, as no one gives you it on a plate in this industry!”

In spite of helping to launch more than 40 businesses in his career to date, John's own plans for his current brand won't stop with the restaurant business having already carved a successful niche in outside catering street food-style for weddings, anniversaries and many other private functions.

“There's a real buzz and appetite both within the industry and amongst the general public for a more eclectic style of wining, dining and eating out and it's enabling us to diversify the 358 Portland Street brand beyond the presence of our high street location.”

It's an altogether different scene from when John left catering college in 1989.

“Back then, there were 5 decent restaurants in the city. Many of us had to leave the City to gain the experience we needed, which has in turn, given the scene in Liverpool the impetus it needed to grow.

“As most chefs came home bringing skills & knowledge they had attained with them. I went for an Indian in London when i was 18, didn't even know they existed. Where you look at Liverpool it is saturated with restaurants, bars, coffee shops & top end hotels

We had to ask John what he'd cook Ubiquity if we were lucky enough to be asked round for dinner!

“If i was preparing a meal at home, you'd get family-style service which gets people interacting, chatting and is more i'd get to sit down as well! In terms of what i'd cook depends on whether my mum was there as she doesn't like chicken! Irrespective, anything that can be shared & rustic would be on the table as that's how i'd enjoy the occasion too.”

As frustrated chefs, we also couldn't resist asking John what the secret to being a good chef is.

“Just work hard, be reliable, watch, learn and constantly ask questions from good chefs above you. Believe me, you will learn something new everyday.”

Wise words from a man who knows.

With plenty of knowledge, enthusiasm and artisan cheeses behind the counter, Cheese Etc, The Pangbourne Cheese Shop, has been named Cheese Counter of the Year, sponsored by Le Gruyère AOP, at the 30th edition of the World Cheese Awards, held at Tobacco Dock in London on Friday 17 November.

Having already made their mark in last year's competition, coming joint-third overall, owners Ali and Jen Grimstone-Jones impressed the judges with how far they've developed the business in the past 12 months. The shop has been refurbished with a lighter, brighter colour scheme and their new branding, while the business has also expanded into new areas, such as supplying local pubs and restaurants, developing a cheese wedding tower business and online sales.

Judges made particular note of the different ways employed by Cheese Etc to sell its cheese and keep its 100-strong cheese counter moving, saying “the cheeses are clearly displayed and grouped together, making navigation around the counter easy, all helping Ali and Jen to stock a big range and keep the cheese in excellent condition.”

Brimming with character and personal touches, “from the mouse painting by a local artist to a 'cheese of the moment' blackboard and a John Keats poem with a cheesy twist”, customers are welcomed warmly and encouraged to try the cheeses and expand their cheeseboard's horizons. Jen buys directly from cheesemakers whenever she can, regularly driving down to the West Country to buy whole truckles of farmhouse cheddar and building up excellent relationships with cheesemakers in the local area.

Cheese writer Patrick McGuigan, head judge of the Cheese Counter of the Year competition, explained: “Independent retailers can find it hard to compete against the big supermarkets on the high street, but Cheese Etc is a shining example of how small shops can be successful if they play to their strengths. Lovely customer service, a fantastic line up of artisan cheeses in tip-top condition and plenty of knowledge and enthusiasm behind the counter all create a rather special experience, so it gives us great pleasure to shine a light on these fantastic independent retailers. If only every high street had a cheesemonger like this, the world would be a better place.”

Yawar Khan, the Chairman of the Asian Catering Federation (ACF), which represent the interests of 35,000 restaurants and takeaways in the UK, has given a guarded welcome to Chancellor Phillip Hammond's proposal to introduce a levy on single use plastic packaging.

On Wednesday, the Chancellor is expected initiate a debate into the issue which Greenpeace has deemed "a global emergency".

However, Khan is calling for any new tax to be kept to minimum and for assistance to tackle the severe problems facing the curry industry – staff shortages, rising business rates and the high rate of VAT on the hospitality sector.

“We need to reduce the problem cause by plastics, which are polluting the oceans and poisoning marine wildlife,” said Khan, adding, “The 5p tax on plastic carrier bags has been sufficient to cut their usage by 85% - so a new surcharge will not need to be excessive to bring about a change in customer behaviour. Restaurants, need to pass the cost on to customers, like shops, and stop absorbing it.”

The packing on a typical family takeaway order costs the restaurant owner around 25p. Busy takeaway restaurants can spend £2,000 on single use packaging in a year.

In addition to encouraging takeaway owners and their customers to reuse plastic containers, the ACF has announced it is pushing members to introduce their own 'Tiffin Club', using multi-use tiffin tins, which have long been popular in India. Takeaways will simply charge a small deposit with their first order, which are then swapped on subsequent orders.

Tiffins are a set of 5 or 6 interlocking metal containers, with a carry handle.

The ACF will be offering to supply its members with tiffins which are ubiquitous in Indian cities and at railway stations along the country's 40,000 miles of tracks. India has one of the longest rail networks in the world. The introduction of the railways by the British during colonial times, saw the advent of 'Railway' mutton and chicken' dishes served in tiffins. The dishes can still be found on some UK curry house menus today.

“Tiffins, which will eliminate plastic waste and keep takeaways warm, are an ideal opportunity for restaurateurs to introduce smaller, sharing dishes, healthier options and authentic Indian dishes, being demanded by customers,” said Khan.

The ACF says that burger and pizza takeaways are more of a problem in terms of litter and points out that polystyrene boxes, unlike plastic, cannot be recycled.

The Federation is lobbying government to introduce temporary 2-year work visas for chefs from the former Commonwealth countries to tackle acute staff shortages.

Once upon a time, every home had pots and pots of different foods in various stages of fermentation. There is no part of the world that doesn't have a tradition of fermentation, whether you're talking about alcoholic beverages, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, cheese, bread, soy sauce, salami or our own kombucha. But over the last 50 years or so, many cultures have lost a big part of the skills and traditions surrounding food fermentation.

What is fermentation? Fermentation is a natural process relating to the transformative action of microorganisms on various foods. It is nature's way of preserving these foods, and it makes them palatable over the winter months.

In many cultures, fermentation had a mystic fascination. Imagine dropping a few apples into water and over days watching it boil and bubble with no heat at all, then drinking the resulting liquor and finding you were transported into another world. Consequently, fermentation became a ritual in many societies, controlled by the elders or medicine men.

Fermentation was once a core and necessary part of the forest-or-farm-to-table process. When foraging for fruits and vegetables, particularly in autumn shortly before the end of abundance, or farming produce in much larger quantities, preservation through the winter was a major issue. Meat might be salted, and fruits cooked into conserves, but fermentation was much the most reliable and longest-term method of preservation.

The flavour of fermentation Just as importantly, fermentation develops fantastic tart, sour, full flavours from foods that may be dull or boring themselves, particularly at a time of year when the range of flavour options is very limited. Cracking open a crock of deeply fermented sauerkraut at Christmas when the only other fresh produce were carrots and turnips must have seemed like absolute heaven.

But with the invention of widescale refrigeration, the expansion of industrial food processing and the trend to fly fresh produce all over the world, fermentation fell out of favour. The 50s and 60s were a great moment of domestic change. Appliances of all sorts freed us from being chained to the kitchen sink; supermarkets became much more widespread, so vegetable gardening declined. Processed foods in cans and packets were the height of fashion. If a crock of fermented cabbage were seen on the shelf, it meant you hadn't moved with the times.

But as we are beginning to realise, our love affair with sweet, sugary, processed foods, as well as the cheap calories of carbohydrates and fast meals on the go, have had a terrible effect on our health.

The great news is that, 50 years on, a counter trend is on its way…

Fermentation and gut health The recent reemergence of fermentation has come ostensibly from a belief that fermented foods are healthy. Over the past 150 years, since Pasteur and Koch, bacteria and other microbes have been seen as the enemy. Flemming et al, in the 1930s, gave us penicillin and other antibiotics that act indiscriminately to kill bacteria both good and bad. And from the 1950s, marketing has turned bacteria into a universal evil to be killed at all cost.

Due to recent research into the microbiome, however, we are beginning to understand the positive impact of our gut bacteria on all sorts of diseases. Healthy digestion is clearly linked to a healthy gut, particularly the range and breadth of our gut bacteria. We are also beginning to link the increase in allergies to a decline in our gut bacteria, and early exposure to various pathogens. Even more recently, research has begun to suggest that our mental health, and even serious mental diseases such as Alzheimer's, may be linked to our gut microbiome.

We are not suggesting that drinking a bottle of kombucha a day is going to have a sudden impact on your health. As Ed Yong stated, the bacteria in most probiotics is like a gentle breeze rustling papers on a warm day: it is insufficient to make a major impact. But fermented foods have been part of our diet for millennia and we may just find out, in time, that they are a necessary element that we have reduced too far.

Fermentation: no passing fad But it is not only direct health that has increased this interest. The acceleration of our lives, the slow decline of our cultures and communities, and the frightening rise in mental health problems has led us to reflect on past times. A particular movement that has emerged from this is Slow Food. And what, we ask you, is slower than fermentation?

What are the alternatives? As we reduce our dependence on sugary and salty foods, processed fats and low glycemic index carbohydrates, what else is out there that can feed our craving for flavour? We are re-learning to love straightforward fruits and green vegetables, raw or lightly-cooked and unadulterated, free-range meats; dairy and eggs, leanly prepared. Why not spice all of that up with a fabulous tart pickle, a big dollop of sauerkraut, or accompany it with an aromatic Real Kombucha, naturally low in sugar and alcohol and with all the goodness of both tea and a fully fermented brew. Sounds like very heaven to us!

As cheesemakers, judges and dedicated followers of the word on curd anticipate the 30th anniversary edition on the World Cheese Awards on Friday 17 November, organiser, the Guild of Fine Food, has invited some of its top judges to shine a light on the people who are set to shape the next chapter in cheese.

These 15 'big cheeses' have all put forward the names of individuals who are making their mark in the world of cheese today, including mongers, makers, farmers, affineurs, authors, consultants, educators and importers. Representing nations ranging from Belgium and the Basque Country to Mexico and South Africa, these 30 faces, 15 industry heavyweights and 15 architects of tomorrow's cheese landscape, provide a snapshot of cheese today, as the World Cheese Awards celebrates three decades at the heart of the global curd community.

With a nod to both the heritage and future of the largest cheese-only competition on the planet, many of these stars of the next chapter in cheese will be joining the judging panel for this year's event, which will form part of Taste of London Festive Edition at Tobacco Dock. With all 3,001 entries set to be judged in a single day, the serious business of tasting, nosing and grading cheeses from 35 different countries will unite the cheese world once again, as 230 experts from six continents and 29 different countries put their cheese irons to work.

The beer is named 'Mr Smith Gose to...' after the well-known 1939 Frank Capra film 'Mr Smith Goes to Washington' and is made with Mello Watermelon Juice. It will be available in Waitrose shops from mid November.

The Great British Homebrew Challenge, now in its fourth year, sets out to find the best home-brewed beer in the country. The winning recipe, chosen by a panel of experts including Thornbridge's Head Brewer, Rob Lovatt, and Waitrose Buying Manager, Jamie Matthewson, is brewed by Thornbridge and will be sold at Waitrose shops across the country.

This year, the winning beer was made by Stoke Newington resident Josh, 32, who has been brewing at home for five years.

'The beer was inspired by a watermelon, feta and mint salad recipe I really like. Watermelon works so well with salty flavours and I naturally made the connection to Gose - a sour and salty beer. I had tried Mello watermelon juice from Waitrose and was impressed by how much flavour it had, so used that in my beer. I'm so excited for Waitrose customers to try it, as I think it's quite unusual. This beer can be made into Mexican inspired cocktails too, like Michelada, and is also delicious mixed with tequila and lime.'

Rob Lovatt, Head Brewer at Thornbridge, says: 'Josh's beer really stood out amongst very strong competition in the final judging stage, with the level of quality instantly shining through. We have been brewing quite a few sour beers recently, but not yet with watermelon, so this will be a very interesting one for us to make.'

Jamie Matthewson says: 'I always look forward to judging on this panel, as the beers created in this country by people in their kitchens and sheds are always so innovative and fun. This beer is no exception and is the first watermelon beer we've launched.'

The Asian Catering Federation has announced that BBC MasterChef presenter Greg Wallace and TV news anchor Samantha Simmonds will co host its Asian Curry Curry Awards 2017, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair on Sunday 12th November.

Samantha has been a popular guest at the awards over the years. This will be Greg's first appearance.

A former greengrocer, Wallace built up a business with a £7.5 million turnover, supplying top restaurants.

Based on his business success, he was invited to co-present Veg Talk on BBC Radio 4 with Charlie Hicks. He was the original presenter of Saturday Kitchen. Other TV projects include:  Eat Well for Less, Inside the Factory, Turn back Time, Harvest, Supermarket Secrets and Who Do You Think You Are? MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef and Professional MasterChef.

Samantha is an award-winning broadcaster, influential blogger, corporate host and motivational speaker. She has been a journalist and broadcaster for more than 20 years – she is currently presenting on BBC World News. She speaks at City firms, schools and motivational events about , juggling work and motherhood, fake news and Brexit.  Samantha was the recipient the 2017 international All Ladies League Women of Excellence award presented in the House of Lords by Baroness Hussein-Ece and Baroness Jenkins.

Over 1,000 guests, including the county's leading restaurateurs with their staff and customers, plus ambassadors and embassy officials, food writers, politicians, VIPs and celebrities are expected to gather for a glittering gala dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Sunday 12th November, to honour the winners.  The Asian Curry Awards recognise the best in the industry, encouraging ever higher standards and to inspire the next

Swoon's head gelato chef, Luisa Fontana (above), has created two new limited-edition savoury gelati to mark the World Cheese Awards' 30th anniversary. With Montgomery's Mature Cheddar and Bath Blue cheese gelato now sitting alongside Swoon's alluring array of award-winning gelati and sorbetti in its Bath and Bristol bars, Luisa has taken inspiration from previous World Cheese Awards winners from the south west to transform these Christmas cheese board favourites into silky smooth gelati.

Made with the World Cheese Awards' 2014 World Champion Cheese, Bath Blue, the moreish blue cheese gelato has a creamy texture, salty bite and speckles of the distinctive 8-10 week ripened blue veining throughout. The World Cheese Awards 2016 Super Gold award-winning Montgomery's Mature Cheddar completes this pioneering pair, bringing a deep, rich and nutty flavour to the bright and velvety Cheddar cheese gelato.

Luisa explains; “We're always looking for ways to push the boundaries with our gelato making at Swoon, so having developed many savoury gelato flavours in Italy, we wanted to bring this idea to the UK using award-winning cheeses from the surrounding area. To develop these two recipes, I had to get to grips with the makeup of each cheese, understanding its texture, fat content and salt levels, in order to balance this with the gelato base, but the result has made it all worthwhile. This will be a new journey for the taste buds of many in Bath and Bristol, but I hope cheese and gelato lovers alike will embrace these two unique flavours in the lead up to Christmas.”

As well as being available in the Bath and Bristol bars, Swoon will also be serving the Bath Blue cheese and Montgomery's Mature Cheddar cheese gelati at the World Cheese Awards 30th anniversary celebrations on Friday 17 November, due to be held at Tobacco Dock in London as part of this year's Taste of London Festive Edition.

The Waitrose Food & Drink Report 2017-18 shows today's consumer is firmly in the driving seat. Whether shopping or eating, we do what we want, when we want.

Three quarters of Brits say dining out alone is more socially acceptable than it was five years ago, with a third eating out alone in the last month. When it comes to diet a common-sense approach now rules; strict plans or cutting entire food groups has fallen out of favour and carbs are well and truly back on the menu.

Released today (1st November) the fifth annual report is based on a year's worth of Waitrose sales, with comprehensive new consumer research and insight from its food and retail experts.

Says Managing Director Rob Collins: “Today's shoppers exercise unprecedented control over when they shop, what they buy and how they consume it.

“Our research found people have become more flexible in their shopping patterns, more price-savvy and more single-minded than ever before. For example a staggering 65% of Britons visit a supermarket more than once a day on a regular or occasional basis. Over half of us don't decide what we're having for dinner until lunchtime; one in 10 of us will decide just before we eat. The consumer is in charge of their domain.”

If there was any doubt that The Black Farmer is the best tasting branded sausage out there – not any longer! The brand's ever-popular gluten free Premium Pork sausages have scooped a top award in this year's UK Sausage Week competition, beating all comers to take the 'Best Manufacturer Own Brand – Traditional Category'.

“This is a huge accolade for The Black Farmer and the perfect start to UK Sausage Week,” says founder Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, aka The Black Farmer. “It's over 12 years since I launched my Premium Pork sausages and it's fantastic to know that they are still hitting the top spot when it comes to taste and quality.”

The Black Farmer is a brand that supports British farming and the use of higher welfare RSPCA Assured British Pork and boasts 90% pork content.

Over 400 different sausages arrived at The Regional Food Academy at Harper Adams University for two days of judging in the run up to UK Sausage Week. The sausages were assessed in their raw state and cooked by professional home economists, according to the maker's instructions. They were then judged by some of the UK's most experienced experts, including Ladies in Pigs, all under the watchful eye of head judge and UK Sausage Week's supremo 'Sausageologist' Keith Fisher.

And that's not all, the brand's super tasty Pulled Pork flavour sausages were Highly Commended in the Innovative Category.

UK Sausage Week runs from 30 October – 5 November encompassing two of the top sausage eating occasions – Halloween and Bonfire Night.

The Black Farmer gluten free sausages are available in major retailers in the UK – Sainsbury's, Co-Op, Tesco, Morrison's, Waitrose, Nisa, Budgens and online from Ocado and Amazon.

The winners of the UK Sausage Week Awards were announced at a special celebratory lunch at Plaisterers Hall in London.

Antiques expert, TV presenter and UK Sausage Ambassador Eric Knowles presented butchers, supermarkets and manufacturers with their winning trophies.

UK Sausage Week (30th October – 5th November) is an annual week-long celebration, showcasing the best of British bangers.

A total of 27 best banger accolades were handed out, and The UK Supreme Sausage Champion title went to Kent butchers JC Rook & Sons Ltd for its Battle of Britain Memorial Sausage.

Co-op won the Retailer:Traditional category with its Butcher's Choice Cumberland Sausage and Waitrose was a clear winner in the Retailer:Innovative section.

Other independent retail butchers up and down the country won in respective regional categories and in Foodservice, Traditional and Innovative winners were Campbells Prime Ltd and Solent Butchers Ltd respectively.

A full list of results can be found below.

Eric said he was delighted to be involved with UK Sausage Week. He commented: “People often say to me, 'I don't know much about art but I know what I like!' The same could be said about me and sausages. I wouldn't claim to be a sausage expert but I certainly know a good one when I'm eating it.”

The search to find the best UK sausages set off with sizzling success when over 400 different bangers arrived at The Regional Food Academy at Harper Adams University for two days of judging in the run up to UK Sausage Week. The sausages were assessed in their raw state and cooked by professional home economists, according to the maker's instructions. They were then judged by some of the UK's most experienced experts, including Ladies in Pigs, all under the watchful eye of head judge and UK Sausage Week's supremo 'Sausageologist' Keith Fisher.

Lunya, celebrity haunt and family-owned Catalunyan restaurant bar and deli, has moved into new, larger bespoke premises in Liverpool ONE, located on the corner of College Lane and Hanover Street.

Following a £200,000 investment by founders Elaine and Peter Kinsella, the new Lunya Liverpool now occupies one floor of beautifully crafted multi-dimensional space, enabling the multi-award winning independent business to enhance its high street visibility combining the dining area, bar and deli into one, realising their original vision for Lunya.

The restaurant, designed by DifferentStudio, retains a relaxed, traditional and informal setting. A 20 ft mural spanning both floors joins a 140 sq ft map of Spain installed in the restaurant, highlighting the locations of Lunya's key suppliers and the story of the people and the land behind the produce. Artwork in the style of Antoni Gaudi, commissioned for their original site remains with a new, larger deli stocking an expansive range of high quality artisan produce from Spain that Lunya has become known for.

Lunya also now stocks the UK's largest range of Spanish draught beers, including rare Spanish craft beers, complemented by an upscaled bar.  With the whole operation now on the ground floor, there is full accessibility enabling full accessibility for all.

“The increased open plan space and additional features of the business will enable Lunya to grow the number and size of its regular events, which range from wine and food tasting evenings to gin experiences,” said Peter Kinsella.

“We think the new Lunya looks stunning and feedback from our loyal guests and customers supports this. We've literally been overwhelmed since we opened.”

Liverpool is a well-loved favourite with Hollyoaks & Coronation Street stars and the North West's Premiership football contingent including Pep Guiardiola.