Lunch Exhibition

26 Sep 2014 By Charles Manners

I attended the annual Lunch Exhibition this week at the Business Design Centre, which appears to a thriving show which focuses on food to go products, and as ever it is interesting to see the new products and trends. Last year there were numerous hot dog producers, this year I did not see one!

What was noticeable this year was the number of fresh juice companies, and meal replacement products, all targeting the busy on the go consumer. These included Jools www.joolsdrinks.com , Noshraw www.noshdraw.com   , and Noshdrinks www.noshdrinks.com   and Mello www.mellodrinks.co.uk  . All the products have at least 21 days plus shelf life, are low in sugar and taste good!! costs and margin achievement and distribution will be the challenge!

I also listened to an excellent talk by Henry Dimbleby, and he gave a short history of Leon and then went onto explain the role of the Sustainable  Restaurant Association.

The original aim of Leon was to deliver 'good fast food' and this gave a sense of purpose to the whole team which still is very much part of what makes Leon successful now.

What struck me was his connecting his experience and the SRA's research that shows business's that don't adopt a more sustainable approach and footprint will wither, and by being true to the aims of the SRA will produce a stronger sustainable business.

The SRA www.thesra.org   has 4500 members and is now looking to grow its membership base through coffee shops on the high street, and a programme for universities in conjunction with TUCO. ch gives credibility but also demonstrates the need for smaller operators to adopt the scheme to give it broad acceptability.

The scheme focuses measuring a cafes broad social and environmental footprint, aiming to encourage the re- integration of the high street, and making communities better places.

The SRA have developed this new cafe rating which aims to support existing sustainable programmes and not replicate, although this has to be a distinct challenge.

There are now a number of  accreditation schemes, and the Soil Association’s Food for Life, all of which are very credible in their own way, the SRA's scheme is different, and definitely worth considering.

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