Colors: Green Color
Colors: Green Color

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.

Over 100,000 of the nation's curry lovers have voted for their favourite restaurants to determine the shortlist of this year's Asian Curry Awards – the UK's only pan-Asian culinary accolades.

A team of judges, led by Pat Chapman, editor of the Cobra Good Curry Guide, are now touring the country to determine this year's winners. The top restaurants will be revealed at a glittering awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane in London's Mayfair on Sunday 12th November 2017.

Over 900 guests including the county's leading restaurateurs with their staff and customers, plus ambassadors and embassy officials, food writers, politicians, VIPs and celebrities, will attend. This year the awards were open to the country's 20,000 Bangladeshi, Burmese, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Singaporean, Sri Lankan, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants and takeaways.

Last year's top accolade went to London's La Port Des Indes, which was named Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year.

“Intense competition, chef shortages, rising costs make the restaurant business incredibly challenging – but the rewards for those who get the formula right are considerable,” said Yawar Khan, Chairman of the Asian Curry Awards.

The Asian Curry Awards are design to recognise the best in the industry, encouraging ever higher standards and to inspire the next generation of chefs and restaurateurs to join this dynamic sector.

Pat Chapman, chairman of the judges said: “The best restaurateurs have responded to customers' changing customer tastes and encourage their chefs to innovate and produce the exciting, healthy and authentic dishes that today's discerning diners demand.”

The judging criteria is heavily weighted towards the quality of the food and cooking; additional points will be awarded for ambience, customer service, community involvement and hygiene.

Entertainment will be provided by London-born British-Bangladeshi singer Shapla Salique, famed for her original, powerful and emotionally-charged performances. The East London raised singer-song writer, is known for her unique and edgy acoustic Bengali folk music, with jazz and funk influences.

A Bollywood dance troupe will deliver an energetic and highly stylised display of colour and movement.

Rolling Stones tribute band Not The Rolling Stones, whose early work was heavily influenced by the revered Indian sitar player, Ravi Shankar, will complete the line-up.

Aiding digestion, encouraging weight loss and giving Adam's Chocolate its unique flavour profile and velvety fudge-like texture, yacon is a natural sweetener that is bringing a new dimension to raw chocolate. A syrup derived from the roots of the yacon plant, which is a member of the sunflower family and native to Peru, this ground-breaking sweetener is low in calories, packed with antioxidants and is the lowest scoring natural sugar on the glycemic index, scoring between 1 and 5, meaning it won't cause a sharp rise or fall in blood sugar levels.

Discovered by head chef, Adam Farag, while exploring the potential of food to overcome health issues over ten years ago, yacon has become a cornerstone of Adam's Chocolate's brand since Adam became the first chocolatier to master the marriage of this syrup with the rare criollo tree's precious bounty, cacao. Processed at a low temperature to retain more of its nutrients than any other natural sugar, yacon has a subtle pear-like sweetness which allows the natural flavours of this Soil Association and Vegan Society certified cold pressed chocolate to shine through.

Combined with the other 'Lost Crops of the Incas', lucuma and maca, which have been consumed for their medicinal properties for thousands of years, along with colourful superfoods which are woven into the raw cacao to create flavours such as Goji Berry and Pistachio and the Great Taste award-winning Mint, each cube of Adam's Chocolate contains a healthy dose of magnesium, copper, zinc, manganese, phosphorous and potassium, as well as 17 amino acids, including all nine essential amino acids.

Launching their new look packs last month, following a year of support from The Seed Fund after taking the philanthropic organisation's top prize in 2016, Adam and co-owner, Mark Claydon, have even have found time to grow their own yacon for the past three seasons. Standing up to two metres tall in their back gardens, as it stores nutrients inside its tubers under the soil in preparation for winter, this Peruvian plant has laid down strong roots in the South West.

Sales of gourds at Waitrose are up a spooktacular 260% as shoppers look to the unusual vegetable to decorate their homes for Halloween and the autumn season. The unprecedented popularity for gourds this year has meant Waitrose has had to increase its orders of the gnarly veg to keep up with the surge in demand.

Gourds are part of the cucurbit family which includes pumpkins, watermelons, butternut squash and cucumbers. They are mainly bought for their quirky decorative appeal but can also be spiced up and baked or made into soups.

Waitrose Horticultural Buyer, Samantha Brett, says, "It's no longer enough to have a lonely pumpkin on the doorstep. Our customers have been inspired by doorstep displays from the US and want to replicate their seasonal showstopping arrangements. This is not just restricted to the doorstep - shoppers are bringing the outside in and decorating the inside of their homes too with colourful gourds, pumpkins and other seasonal produce – not just for a one day Halloween wonder but for an extended autumnal celebration too."

This November, for one week only, Londoners will be able to say 'Hallou-mi!' to the latest pop-up restaurant with halloumi in every course on the menu. This exciting new venture has been launched by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) as a way of showcasing their national cheese and entice people to visit the island.

Located in trendy Hoxton in partnership with 100 Hoxton, the restaurant will open for one week only on Monday 13th November. Created especially for the event by Executive Chef Francis Puyat, the menu comprises an array of halloumi-inspired dishes including:

  • Halloumi and cauliflower fritters with a lime pickle yoghurt
  • A fresh grilled courgette and halloumi salad with fennel, pine nuts, harissa, honey & lemon
  • A chargrilled halloumi flatbread with butternut & dukkah spices
  • Crumbed halloumi fingers with a tomato chilli jam
  • & to finish off, the best halloumi ice cream you will ever taste!
  • Diners can also choose one of two Cypriot inspired cocktails by Mixologist Chad Canning formerly of Nopi: a harissa Bloody Mary or a Cilantro & Ginger Martini
Diners will be able to try each dish individually or opt for the full tasting experience with every item on a sharing platter for two people, priced at £26.

CTO is delighted to have the opportunity to showcase the versatility of Cypriot halloumi. UK Director, Orestis Rossides said 'Halloumi is Cyprus' most popular cheese and we're so excited to be able to bring a key element of Cypriot culture to our pop up venture with 100 Hoxton.'

Andrew Zilouf, Director of 100 Hoxton said: 'As lovers of innovative food, we were thrilled to partner with the CTO for this project and have worked really hard to create a menu that we hope is both inspiring and delicious!'

Theo Paphitis said: 'Cyprus and its food are true passions of mine and the pop up restaurant will bring the delicious Cypriot cheese, halloumi, to every dish on the menu...even the dessert!  I'm sure many other people will fall in love with the Cypriot national cheese once they've tried it – and perhaps even visit Cyprus to discover the rest of the island's delicious cuisine and wine'.

A late bumper crop of British strawberries is to go on sale at Tesco as a result of the recent mini heatwave and unseasonably warm autumn weather.

The British strawberry season is usually over by the end of the September but extra hours of sunshine and the recent mini heatwave have created enough of the fruit to last until the end of October.

The weather has been so good – with a perfect mixture of warmth, sunshine and rain – that there is enough of the British crop to last until the end of October – right until Halloween.

Tesco strawberry buyer Ben Rowbotham said:

“Fans of British strawberries are in for a real treat as our home-grown variety are considered to be the very best in the world.

“It's very rare for British strawberries to still be on sale at this time of year and we should have enough to last right through until Halloween.”

Usually the last British strawberries of the season are grown in Scotland but the fine weather has helped growers right across Britain including Kent, West and East Sussex, Essex, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Perthshire, Arbroath in Angus.

From sharpening knife skills and refining recipes to geeking out on the science behind the techniques, brand new online cookery school, The Devilled Egg opens a world of poaching, preserving and patisserie at the touch of a button. With in-depth video tutorials and downloadable recipes added weekly, an A-Z of useful terminology and techniques, plus access to support and advice from the chefs, this new-look online platform delivers a culinary masterclass to any home kitchen.

Welcoming autumn's glut of orchard fruits and late vegetable harvests, The Devilled Egg's head chef, Barbora Ormerod, has prepared tutorials to take the season's staples to lip-smacking new places, including a recipe for autumnal gyoza, packed with pumpkin, tofu and quinoa. Designed to teach home cooks a new skill for their repertoire, whilst experimenting with fresh flavour combinations, these gyoza parcels reinvent a Japanese street food classic with trademark Devilled Egg twists, including Amaretti biscuits in the filling.

Whether it's learning the fundamentals, deciphering the jargon or mastering tricky techniques, subscribers have the flexibility to work through The Devilled Egg step-by-step, as they explore, experiment and embrace the art of home cooking. Thanks to Barbora's creative, practical and encouraging approach to teaching, seasoned home cooks and novices alike can challenge themselves at their own pace and make the most of autumn's bounty, whether served up with steak, packaged in pastry or preserved as presents ready for Christmas.

Multi award-winning, Indian fine dining restaurant, Pushkar Cocktail Bar and Dining, will be launching their Indochinese Food Festival on 23rd October, which will run until 12th November. After the huge success of the Indochinese themed festival at their sister restaurant PRAZA earlier this year, Pushkar will be celebrating the fusion of Chinese and Indian food with their own selection of Indochinese dishes.

Indochinese cuisine is the Indian adaptation of Chinese cooking techniques and seasonings and is believed to have been developed by the small Chinese community that lived in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) for over a century. The amalgamation of Chinese and Indian flavour seamlessly marries together to create a wholly unique culinary experience.

Tickling the taste buds of Indian and Chinese food lovers alike, Pushkar’s Indochinese Food Festival will see the return of best-selling cuisine served at PRAZA earlier this year, such as the Indian Chinese street food classic, Chinese Bhel and the flavoursome Vegetable Manchurian, along with new dishes entirely exclusive to Pushkar.

Rai Singh, Creative Director at Pushkar, comments: “We’re extremely excited to bring back our Indochinese Food Festival to Pushkar. We always strive to bring something new to the table, presenting new tastes and flavours for our guests.”

In recent months, businesses across the UK have been preparing for the introduction of the new twelve sided £1 coin.

From Monday 16 October, as the old 'round' pound coin ceased to be legal tender, retailers will no longer be required to accept them and aren't able to give them out as change.

Our tills and self-service machines are already accepting the new £1 coin, and are on hand to help with any questions our customers might have while they're shopping. We've also been updating all 400,000 of our trolleys to take both the old and new £1, to make sure there's no disruption for our customers.

However, with the Royal Mint estimating that there are still £500 million worth of old pound coins in circulation, many shoppers will be busy digging out old pound coins from bags, coats and the back of the sofa before the deadline.

That's why, to help customers who still have old coins after Sunday, we'll continue to accept round pounds at our tills and self-service machines for an additional week. While we won't be giving out the round pounds in change, accepting the coins at our checkouts will give people just a little extra help – and make shopping a little bit simpler for lots of our customers.

Waitrose is extending the trial of its 'Cook Well from Waitrose' healthy recipe box service with the addition of 60 new dishes, an extra delivery day on Mondays and the option to choose a four person/family box.

The retailer's chefs and nutritionists have worked together to develop easy to prepare meals that are nutritionally balanced, with no red traffic lights for saturated fat, sugar and salt, and all providing at least one of the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

The delivery service - created in conjunction with tech consultancy ThoughtWorks - caters for one-off and weekly subscription customers with a new menu each week with eight recipes to choose from. Boxes contain pre-portioned, bagged ingredients for easy storage and minimal waste and step-by-step recipe cards, all delivered directly to customers' homes free of charge. The goods are packed in upcycled sheep's wool designed to keep everything chilled until 10pm on the day of delivery.

Archie Mason, Head of Business Development at the John Lewis Partnership said: “Waitrose was the first supermarket to develop a recipe box scheme which went live in March this year to selected customers. We have been greatly encouraged by the initial response with customers delighted at the quality and convenience we are offering and the fact that recipes have been specifically tailored to be nutritionally balanced.

We have taken their feedback on board, adding more delicious healthy recipes this month along with an additional delivery day and from October, the option to order a box for a family of four. Our recipe box scheme gives people another way to access and enjoy quality Waitrose food, delivered to their doorstep.”

Nathalie Winn, Senior Nutritionist, who helped develop the recipes, said: “The trial has been a great example of how Waitrose is able to bring together its food expertise in different areas to create a unique offer of recipes to our customers. We have prioritised no red traffic lights for the nutrients we need to reduce in the diet; saturated fat, sugar and salt, whilst offering recipes with more of the ingredients we need to eat more of, such as oily fish and fruit and veg. Its success has highlighted how, with a little help, customers can enjoy delicious and nutritionally balanced, home-made Waitrose-quality meals easily.”

Customers can select up to three meals to serve two people per week, choosing from vegetarian, pescetarian and meat options. A three recipe box is priced at £6.50 per portion with options such as 'tikka carrots and spiced chickpea dahl with tamarind potatoes' and 'miso cod, sticky coconut rice and chilli glazed pak choi'.

A wine from the Tesco finest* range has been crowned best Sauvignon Blanc in the country following the announcement of the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) trophies today.

The Tesco finest* North Row Sauvignon Blanc 2016 beat off over 300 other Sauvignon Blancs including customer favourites Oyster Bay, Brancott Estate and The Ned to be awarded the Sauvignon Blanc Trophy 2017, the first supermarket own label to do so.

Described as a 'crisp dry wine and a classic example of a concentrated and vibrant Sauvignon Blanc with powerful aromas and lengthy finish.' The finest* North Row Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect wine to enjoy chilled or with simple fresh seafood dishes or garden salads.

Tesco's Product Developer for the wine, Alexandra Runciman said: “We are over the moon to have received the coveted best Sauvignon Blanc Trophy from the IWSC. We are proud to work closely with our customers and trusted partners to offer great quality, world-class wines at affordable prices, and our finest* North Row Sauvignon offers just that.”

Alongside the Tesco finest* North Row Sauvignon Blanc, a further 13 Tesco finest* wines received medals, with the newly launched Tesco finest* SR Sauvignon Riesling and Tesco finest* Barossa Shiraz both scooping silver medals.

The All Saints Community Development Company launches a new event in Birmingham this month. The event, in Kings Heath, will be held in the Village Square on the third Saturday of each month.

Historically, the Arts & Craft Market has taken place on this day but the organiser now recognise the need to add another dimension (or two) to this event. This will include multiple street food traders, seating, music and activities for kids.

Initially trialled as a one off event in the summer, the team found that the format worked so well that that have decided to introduce it as a regular event.

With the monthly Street Food Market being held on the second Saturday of the month, this means that there are now two consecutive weekends of street food in the Kings Heath. However, there will be differences. The Street Food Market features live DJ’s, bar and established food traders. The Art, Craft and Food Event will be a much more relaxed affair allowing visitors to sample food from some of the newest traders on the street food scene, chill with family/friends, and do a little shopping at the same time (just in time for Christmas!).

On the retail side, visitors can expect to find an eclectic mix of work from local artists, handmade items, gifts and, on occasion, genuine antiques.

Upcoming Art, Craft and Food Events will take place on Saturday October 21 and Saturday November 18.

The Street Food Markets will take place on Saturday October 14 and Saturday November 11. There will be a special two day Christmas Market taking place on December 9 and 10, incorporating elements from both of these events and more.


The buzz around Dartmouth Food Festival is building with only a few weeks left to go. Kingswear based Manna from Devon Cooking School is gearing up for its tenth consecutive year of involvement with the festival.

Commenting on behalf of Manna from Devon, co-owner David Jones says: “The Food Festival is a highlight in our calendar. Not only does it offer a fantastic opportunity for everyone to experience the incredible array of produce and cooking available here in Devon, it also attracts great names from across the nation from the culinary world. For us it's a great chance to catch up with our friends in the industry, including Romy Gill, Mitch Tonks and Richard Bertinet.” David continues: “Having previously held the position of Chair of the Food Festival for seven consecutive years it's great to be still hugely involved.”

A testament to their popularity, many of the workshops in the Manna from Devon Cooking School theatre are already sold out. Visitors are advised to book in advance to avoid disappointment and if no places are left you should pop along early in case of any last minute availability.

Dartmouth Food Festival is now in its 16th year and continues to be recognised as one of the leading food festivals in the country. This year there will be a varied cross section of producers ranging from festival sponsor Salcombe Gin, award winning Lyme Bay Winery and Luscombe Drinks on the drinks side, South Devon Chilli Farm and Cootealicious offering tasty treats, to festival newcomers River Amble Creamy and Sandford Orchards. In addition, there is the main festival cookery demo theatre where highlights include Allister Bishop from South Sands Hotel on Sunday at 2pm.