Global food report launched at TUCO conference

Matt White chairman of TUCO
15/08/2019 - 05:00
On 29-31 July The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) held its annual conference at the University of York with the theme of ‘driving commercial success,’ launching its 2019 Global Food and Beverage trends report.

The report demonstrates both the continuation and evolution of trends in food and beverages since 2018 and focuses on 12 overarching themes including ‘Health for all’, ‘Conscientious consuming’, ‘Crafted and curated’ and ‘Plant-based revolution’. 

Opened by writer and television presenter, Stefan Gates, the three-day event delivered talks around the theme and issue within the sector. 

Matt White chairman of TUCO said: “This year’s conference theme is extremely important. Universities rely on their in-house catering services to provide a surplus for continual investment, yet the catering outlets and bars on campus must also offer great value, choice and innovation.”

The first keynote speaker, Lord Stuart Wood discussed the next phrase of Brexit including transition, treaties and its impacts on higher education in the UK. 

He said that 'Brexit has exploded all the practices, conventions and basic assumptions of UK politics' before going on to dissect parts of Boris Johnson’s first policy announcement as Prime Minister.

He explained the proposed Australian-style points-based system for future migrants to the UK and the policy to remove students from the net migration gap. Lord Wood said the Higher Education, and hospitality sector in general, must get ready to lobby for chefs and hospitality worker’s skills to be recognised on the points-based system or risk losing out. 

Justin King CBE hosted a session on ‘putting customers at the heart of everything you do’ and cited five key components including customers, colleagues, culture, communication and capability.

Brad Burton, an entrepreneur and motivational speaker, led a discussion on how success or failure is defined by your ability to make decisions, followed by KD Adamson, a futureist who spoke on 'an appetitie for the future'.

She offered up a perspective on the impact of global megatrends, breakthrough technologies and new generational mindsets, taking delegates through various ideas of how these will radically transform our lives in the years ahead. She advised in the future, but starting now, emphasis would be entirely on ‘hyper personal’ approaches for both consumerism and healthcare, citing ‘The Segment of ONE’ as being a defining piece of thinking and seismic shift to individual expectation of personalised experiences in every walk of life. She credits digital, and what she termed the ‘intelligent digital mesh’ for enabling companies to create those experiences on a massive scale at negligible cost.

Looking ahead to the future of the food and drink industry, she estimated food fraud costs the UK industry £12 billion a year but in the future technology could help control the supply chain by adding in more checks and balances. She went on to highlight the ‘weaponisation’ of food and drink advertising, stating that; ‘we no longer have any choice over what we eat, it is advertising which tells us what to eat and drink’. 

In addition to the keynotes, day one breakout sessions were delivered by Chris Miller CEO White Rabbit Fund, who spoke about ‘succeeding in a challenging market’, David Russell of Russell Partnership with ‘Sustainability at the heart of commercial success’, Zoe Adjonyoh of Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen on ‘Bringing food to the masses’ and Wayne Chadwick of York Roast on ‘Developing and launching the YORKPUD™ wrap’.

Day two breakout sessions were delivered by Jae Mather, Co-Founder & Director of Carbon Free Group on ‘Cost savings with sustainability’, James Wong, writer and  broadcaster with ‘It’s not all about superfoods – it’s about eating better’, Judith Murdoch with an update on the RSPO certification and lastly ‘Members’ Talks’ with Alison Shedlock and Michaela Booth, showcasing their work at their respective institutions of The University of Manchester and The University of Huddersfield.

The conference was followed by the third annual TUCO Awards, for which six awards were won, including:

  • Rising Star Award: Gary Daly, Queen’s University Belfast        
  • Innovation Award: University of Manchester      
  • Sustainability Award: University of Chester  
  • Team of the Year: Eat@Hope Team, Liverpool Hope University        
  • Member of the Year: University of Kent  
  • Outstanding Achievement Award: Bill Brogan, St John’s College, The University of Cambridge      

Prior to the conference £22,000 was raised for Marys’ Meals via a 22-mile walk around Ulswater Valley in the Lake District, which takes the total value raised to over £100,000.

A further £4810 was raised in memory of TUCO magazine editor Morag Wilson who passed away after a short illness.

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