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Katrina’s introduction to catering began at the age of eight, helping with her family’s catering business, chopping parsley and folding napkins, which fostered her hands on approach. Since then, Katrina has, professionally, acquired a raft of knowledge and experience from across the catering spectrum. Most recently, Katrina spent four years at Winchester College as Head of Catering and Hospitality, where she was responsible for nutrition and menu planning, and managing all aspects of a very unique and complex catering provision. Her extensive experience will be hugely beneficial to school catering teams working with allmanhall, as she embarks on a new chapter and takes on this new client support role at the leading food procurement provider. Commenting on her move to allmanhall, Katrina said, “I am looking forward to using my wide range of catering experience to help provide the best service to allmanhall’s clients. Having worked in every element of the catering operation I understand and can empathise with the pressures being faced. By working alongside clients, I can communicate to them changes in the marketplace and help to manage their spend.” Her remit at allmanhall will see her looking after school clients’ needs on a daily basis, building relationships, managing suppliers, and supporting catering teams with catering consultancy and with their food purchasing in these challenging times. Jo Hall, one of the directors at allmanhall adds to this saying “Katrina is such an exciting addition to our team of passionate, knowledgeable and experienced experts. Our school partners are going to gain so much from the plethora of experiences she has had in an array of catering settings and sectors. Katrina’s joining our team underlines our ongoing commitment to supporting relationships which truly benefit schools, at a time when many other organisations are scaling back this valued support.” [post_title] => allmanhall appoints new Senior Client Relationship Manager to further support Schools [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => allmanhall-appoints-new-senior-client-relationship-manager-to-further-support-schools [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-06-15 13:19:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-06-15 12:19:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 41501 [post_author] => 1244 [post_date] => 2022-06-09 13:22:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-06-09 12:22:36 [post_content] => J: Thanks for taking the time to clarify some complicated topics, Mike. Can we start by exploring the biggest challenges being faced in food supply at the moment? M: It would be difficult not to start with the very high levels of inflation, including food, that are affecting countries across the globe. When you explore the causes, you realise that this is the cumulative effect of many issues, which is why it is so pronounced and likely to be with us well into 2023. Inflation is expected to reach 30-year highs by the autumn. The challenges include supply chains that are still trying to recover from the reverberations of the pandemic, port congestion and historically high energy prices that impact inputs across the entire supply chain from fertiliser prices, farming, manufacture, packaging, storage and distribution. In fact, energy prices directly impact many of our core food staples as they are used to produce biofuels such as sugar and vegetable oils. Compound this with labour shortages, which are at critical levels within the UK food industry and amplify it again with the impacts of the war in Ukraine and the outlook continues to look very challenging for farmers, manufacturers, distributors, and catering teams. Looking to the future this raises bigger questions about food security, the direction of travel for new international trade agreements, our agricultural policy and of course the environment. There are so many uncertainties that need to play out before we can truly appreciate what UK food systems will look like into the medium and long term. Whilst inflation and labour are our most immediate challenges, in my opinion the biggest challenge facing the food industry is still sustainability. Our global food systems are just not sustainable or designed to feed a global population that is growing exponentially. The figures really are sobering, with our food systems accounting for 30% of all global greenhouse gases, requiring 70% of all fresh water, a quarter of our vegetated land suffers poor and degraded soils due to poor farming practice, two-thirds of biodiversity loss with one million species facing extinction, and 77% of agricultural land used for meat and dairy production produces only 18% of global calories.   J: It is sobering, indeed. Can you tell us a bit more about the specific commodities are facing disruption and what this means for the products we buy? M: Most commodity prices are expected to remain stubbornly high in the medium term and particularly those in which Russia and the Ukraine are large exporters. Obviously, the duration of the war in Ukraine and extent of supply chain disruption will have a considerable impact on how long the supply side is constrained. Brent Crude Oil prices are expected to remain above $100 barrel throughout 2022 and both Russia and Belarus are major exporters of fertiliser due to their main inputs which includes natural gas. In some instances, fertiliser prices have tripled over the last two years, to levels that are comparable to the last great food crisis in 2008. Russia and Ukraine produce 28% of global wheat exports and 16% of maize, which is why they have reached an all-time high. China’s strict zero covid policy and full city lockdowns continue to lead to disruption in supply chains and component parts, and it is also worth keeping an eye out for chicken prices, as feed accounts for up to 70% of the cost of producing chicken and we know what is happening to wheat and maize prices. J: So, what are the things schools should be preparing for, for the autumn and winter?   M: Looking ahead to autumn, keep a keen eye on the UK and European potato growing season. The key metrics will be how much land is set aside for growing potatoes and the crop yields, which will be determined by the weather of course. A good season would help ease pricing on these key staples, but production capacity constraints and high demand have been the cause of some very stubborn chip prices. With UK being 60% self-sufficient it is always worth keeping an eye on the strength of Sterling. Fears of stagflation and a potential recession might weigh heavy on the GBP, making imports more expensive. Conversely, any downside to the UK economy could also have demand impacts, which we would expect to soften. J: What should catering teams or people managing food budgets be doing? What advice would you give to catering teams or people managing food budgets? M: I would focus on working with allmanhall to identify where value can be released from the supply chain for your school. Is there an opportunity to consider cheaper bulk packs such as our 10kg or 15kg Tilda rice that offer better value? Is it time to reappraise which brands to use? A category like gravy and bouillons features multiple branded manufacturers at various price points and whilst a brand like Bisto might be considered traditional it does offer relative value. Likewise, the same is true for own label or branded goods choices. Whilst the trade off in quality doesn’t always allow, it is worth deciding where to premiumise and where to seek value. For those core suppliers that offer drop discount incentives, I would look to take advantage where possible, even removing one delivery per week for your school can have a significant impact. Protein items tend to be the most expensive items within a recipe, so tailoring recipes to amend the ratios of high value protein to vegetables or changing the menu ratios between higher cost recipes and more affordable ones. For example, pork will always be cheaper than beef or lamb. Forequarter beef cuts cheaper than hindquarter. As always, this needs to be made in consideration with offering a healthy, nutritious, and balanced diet. Finally, managing food wastage in your school is also another key area to focus on. Reducing waste will not only reduce food cost but also reduce negative environmental impacts. In developed countries most food waste occurs at household and catering establishment level – this includes school kitchens and dining halls!   You can find out more on this and on a range of topics by going to and or regularly visiting   [caption id="attachment_41507" align="aligncenter" width="625"] Mike Meek[/caption] [caption id="attachment_41508" align="aligncenter" width="627"] Jo Hall[/caption] [post_title] => School food procurement – what to expect and why [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => school-food-procurement-what-to-expect-and-why [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-06-15 12:54:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-06-15 11:54:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 40737 [post_author] => 49 [post_date] => 2022-05-31 14:50:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-05-31 13:50:16 [post_content] => “Making environmental and sustainability impact data available is key” say food procurement experts, allmanhall. They specialise in food supply chain management for independent education and in the procurement of good food that doesn’t cost the Earth. allmanhall are delighted to announce an exclusive partnership with the ground-breaking carbon impact assessment technology business, ‘Foodsteps’. Uniquely, food procurement experts allmanhall now enable in-house school catering teams to benefit from the award-winning platform. Together, Foodsteps and allmanhall aim to make data accessible, helping inform decisions for schools and pupils." Foodsteps say"What children eat matters. We need urgent and sustained change in our food system to address both the climate and obesity crises we face. Supporting young people to make good food choices is a hugely important job, in which we're proud to play our part. We're excited to be partnering with allmanhall to help independent schools play a leading role in reducing their food carbon footprints. Foodsteps is making its mark within foodservice and we look forward to engaging further with the independent education sector through allmanhall and the relationships the business has built over the years." The Foodsteps platform enables foodservice and catering providers to upload recipes in order to understand the environmental impact of their menu items via a clear rating system and carbon footprint per ingredient. The platform can be used to set and monitor targets, develop new recipes and improve a menu or product's sustainability. allmanhall’s managing director, Oliver Hall believes: “Over the next few years, when buying food, we will find sustainability or environmental impact data is as readily available as nutrition or allergen data is today. Enhanced understanding and availability of information are vital steps towards more sustainable food supply.” allmanhall are able, exclusively, to offer the award-winning Foodsteps platform to independent education in-house catering teams. If your school manages catering in-house, why not contact allmanhall directly today for details. To find out more about allmanhall’s expert food procurement approach or to enquire about Foodsteps for in-house education please visit or contact  [post_title] => Foodsteps and allmanhall partner to make carbon impact assessments available to school catering teams. [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => foodsteps-and-allmanhall-partner-to-make-carbon-impact-assessments-available-to-school-catering-teams [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-06-09 12:37:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-06-09 11:37:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 39672 [post_author] => 39 [post_date] => 2022-05-24 08:50:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-05-24 07:50:13 [post_content] => Since the start of the academic year, 20 more schools have joined the many education settings already working with allmanhall to inspire improvements in their catering procurement. From cost savings at a time when food prices are going sky high, to support for sustainability goals and impact assessments, allmanhall help. This why, as well as schools starting to work with allmanhall, current clients are choosing to stay with allmanhall, too, for the long term. This year seeing extension after extension agreed when it comes to contracts. “I am certainly happy to agree to an extension.  The market is so uncertain at the moment… the value [allmanhall] bring is worth every penny.”  allmanhall’s supply chain management and procurement expertise is award-winning, as is their client care.  The Inspired Learning Group, Devonport School for Boys, Bournemouth School for Girls and Brooke House College are amongst the academies and independent schools to have moved their food procurement to the management of allmanhall in the last few months. And St Michael's School Llaneli is the latest in the long line of CATS Global Schools to now benefit from allmanhall’s invaluable support. These schools, and others too, join the education clients making the most of food cost savings of 11% - 30% through allmanhall. This is something which, with food inflation being what it is now, is more essential today than ever before. allmanhall are mitigating cost to serve increases and supplier price increase proposals, leveraging their managed spend volume to benefit schools.   Appreciating rising costs, budget pressures and labour challenges faced by many schools at present, the client support team at allmanhall are relieving some of the pressure by liasing with suppliers on behalf of caterers and providing administrative efficiencies when it comes to invoice processing, stock taking and an industry leading catering controls platform. “allmanhall not only continue to deliver the savings and quality promised but also streamlined the back office operation… administrative support is first class and enabled me to realise that manpower saving.” If you’d like to join the growing set of schools benefiting from allmanhall’s support today, why not contact them to find out more? [post_title] => A further 20 schools choose allmanhall as their food procurement partner – with savings of 11-30% it’s easy to understand why! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => a-further-20-schools-choose-allmanhall-as-their-food-procurement-partner-with-savings-of-11-30-its-easy-to-understand-why [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-06-09 12:48:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-06-09 11:48:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 40842 [post_author] => 49 [post_date] => 2022-05-13 15:53:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-05-13 14:53:08 [post_content] => The nutrition and dietetics team at food procurement specialists for the education sector, allmanhall have been reviewing the Department for Education’s sustainability policy, published towards the end of April 2022. It looks at topics of health and climate, much like the National Food Strategy. To get to grips what this means when it comes to the food in our schools, here they provide an overview…  “We’ve eagerly anticipated this policy since we reviewed the draft late last year. At allmanhall we specialise in food procurement and the creation of sustainable supply chains for schools. This policy heavily features both food supply and the procurement of food, supported by the need for education surrounding the environmental impact of food. Incredibly relevant and incredibly necessary” says Jo Hall, Comms Director at allmanhall. allmanhall’s dietitian goes on to say, “Some key areas which were originally included in the draft policy have, disappointingly, failed to make the final cut.” The policy does look at ways to improve the education and the knowledge of young people when it comes to climate change. With more than 16 million currently in education systems in the UK, this aspect is critical for developing a greener sustainable future.   Is it enough? The report certainly makes an important step forward, say the team at allmanhall, and contains many good initiatives which will hopefully serve to give some guidance and support to schools going forward. However, when it comes to the food offerings in schools, there is a complete omission of the need to review food school standards. This is certainly disappointing especially as the draft policy last winter included a review of the school standards and sought to make suggestions around including more plant-based / meat free options.. Knowing the importance and impact on climate change of what we eat, allmanhall would have liked to have seen this included. It is a shame to see that this has been excluded from the final paper. The report references supporting schools to meet the food school standards. However, these standards currently have minimal reference to food sustainability. One of the requirements is actually dairy being on the menu daily and meat needing to be on the menu three times a week. The fact that school food standards are being reviewed independently may be the reason why they were not included. allmanhall recognise that catering operations and food supply chains can have significant impact on the environment and are supporting schools to design environmentally sustainable menus without impacting on cost and taste, resulting in behavioural change and long term impacts. Often only small changes are needed which can lead to positive changes - food is a key part of schools’ journey to net zero. This is why allmanhall have partnered with the award-winning Foodsteps platform, to help schools carbon assess their menus. For information on this, or on our nutrition and dietetics support for your school menu, please contact the team at allmanhall. [post_title] => allmanhall review the DfE’s sustainability and climate change policy [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => allmanhall-review-the-dfes-sustainability-and-climate-change-policy [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-05-13 15:54:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-05-13 14:54:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 40631 [post_author] => 49 [post_date] => 2022-05-05 08:36:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-05-05 07:36:53 [post_content] => On 22 April, food procurement experts allmanhall partnered with Mill Hill and the ISBA to facilitate a chance for independent education caterers to meet, to share ideas and to network. It’s been a long time since this has been feasible and the opportunity was welcomed! “A very enjoyable day and a great chance to meet up after such a long time. The talks were relevant and helpful and the hospitality was outstanding.” After a superb breakfast spread laid on by Mill Hill’s catering team, allmanhall’s procurement director, Mike Mike dived straight into a talk on Sustainability. The role of caterers in achieving positive change was explored. Carbon assessment platform, Foodsteps was demoed, showing how it can help schools measure and reduce their emissions. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact allmanhall directly as they have just agreed an exclusive partnership with Foodsteps to make the tool available to in-house catering teams in independent education settings. After coffee and more incredible refreshments, allmanhall’s Hayden Hibbert and Ivor Richards, both previous independent education caterers themselves, shared trends in food innovation. They emphasised the importance of changing trends and an understanding of pupils’ eating habits when developing school menus and provided some real inspiration. Lunch saw Mill Hill treating the many guests to an plethora of dishes, embodying of the essential role of considerations around dietary needs and allergens. Many were blown away by the broccoli – an example of how a humble and simple ingredient can be elevated with some clever cheffing skills! Food procurement expert allmanhall’s managing director, Oliver Hall, followed lunch with a presentation about food inflation. This is hugely relevant at present, as we know, and on many of the guests’ minds. More on this can be seen here. Rachael Venditti from allmanhall then wrapped things up with a presentation on Dietetics and Nutrition, sharing the worrying picture surrounding children’s wellbeing. As well as Natasha’s Law, Rachael delved into topics such as The National Food Strategy, which you can read about here.

“The event was enjoyable - in particular,

the chance to network with other schools.”

If you’d like more information about Foodsteps, exclusively available through allmanhall to independent education inhouse catering teams, or for more information on any of these topics, contact  Alternatively come and speak to the allmanhall team on stand 128 at the ISBA Conference in Birmingham later this month! [post_title] => allmanhall partner with Mill Hill and the ISBA to host Independent Education Caterers’ Forum [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => allmanhall-partner-with-mill-hill-and-the-isba-to-host-independent-education-caterers-forum [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-05-06 12:01:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-05-06 11:01:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 39699 [post_author] => 39 [post_date] => 2022-03-07 15:42:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-03-07 15:42:03 [post_content] => As part of WRAP’s ‘Love food, hate waste’ initiative this week aims to inspire activities that help to reduce the amount of food we all waste and as specialists in food procurement for the independent education sector, allmanhall are getting involved! allmanhall can provide insight and help educate about the impact possible by reducing food waste at your school and some practicable solutions to help make that happen… Did you know around a third of the food produced globally is lost or wasted? One of the UN Sustainable Development goals is to half global food waste by 2030 and doing so would add a 1/5th to the world's total food supply. Coming closer to home, in Europe, up to 20% of all produced food is wasted. Incredibly, eliminating household and catering food waste in Europe and the Americas alone would add 10% to the world's food supply. This is at a time when we are faced with the challenge of feeding a growing population. Whilst wastage in low-income countries tend to be post-harvest waste, in developed countries, consumer and foodservice waste is highest. This is where school catering can play a role… Reducing waste provides a major opportunity to make food more sustainable and economically efficient. Reducing food waste isn’t just good for the planet – it’s vital for school’s budgets too. With food inflation what it is at the moment, this is yet another motivation to change behaviour and help to reduce waste. For inspiration regarding making the most of food that would otherwise be wasted, take a look at this recipe. If you’re interested in understanding more about food waste, or about how your school can take actions through its catering operations to reduce food waste, why not have a read of some of these articles. [post_title] => Helping schools to take action when it comes to food waste [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => helping-schools-to-take-action-when-it-comes-to-food-waste [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-03-07 15:42:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-03-07 15:42:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 39685 [post_author] => 39 [post_date] => 2022-03-04 10:07:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-03-04 10:07:44 [post_content] => Often we hear that sourcing food locally is the key to sustainability when it comes to catering. However, this oversimplification is not the case for most foods. The impact of transport, with the clear exception of airfreight, is actually often minimal. You might be surprised to learn that for beef, the majority of CO2 emissions stem from the farm stage - transport only accounts for 2% of beef’s carbon footprint. Therefore, as is the case for many foods, reducing ‘food miles’ will have a minimal impact on reducing emissions. Likewise, UK produce grown out of season in hothouses can actually be as bad as airfreighted produce, emitting significantly more carbon than produce imported from overseas, grown in season and outdoors.
  • 1kg Beef emits the equivalent of 60kg of carbon dioxide
  • 1kg lamb emits the equivalent of 24kg of carbon dioxide
  • 1kg Pork emits the equivalent of 7kg of carbon dioxide
  • 1kg chicken emits the equivalent of 6kg of carbon dioxide
  • 1kg of bananas from the Caribbean emits 700g of carbon dioxide
  • 1kg of root vegetables is equivalent of 400g of carbon dioxide, 150 times less carbon-intensive than beef.
Clearly, the emphasis needs to be on what food is being eaten, not just where it comes from and as such allmanhall are implementing a carbon impact assessment tool to help school catering teams quantify precisely how much CO2 sites within their pupils’ meals. Here are just a few things your school can be doing: We need to act with urgency. The most complex challenges will involve tackling the environmental impacts of our supply chains. It is best to face this challenge early, as it moves from a nice to have to a need to have with impending legislation… allmanhall look forward to providing an update on the Department for Education’s strategy when it is released this spring. In the meantime, why not take a look at our review of the draft release. For this and more, take a look at [post_title] => When it comes to the carbon footprint of schools, what food you’re serving can make a big impact. [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => when-it-comes-to-the-carbon-footprint-of-schools-what-food-youre-serving-can-make-a-big-impact [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-03-04 10:07:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-03-04 10:07:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 39426 [post_author] => 57 [post_date] => 2022-02-15 00:00:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-02-15 00:00:46 [post_content] => Last year, allmanhall forecasted the impact of labour challenges and, specifically, driver shortages; and, indeed, these were seen to have an impact on prices and on product availability in 2021. This is something we can expect to see continue in 2022. Storage services and transportation are seen to be providing the largest contribution to the upward surge we’ve been experiencing of late. You may already be aware that global food prices are now at a 10 year high. Current inflation figures are reaffirming that prices are being pushed up not just by the storage and transportation we’ve already touched on, but by a combination of factors, globally, throughout the entire supply chain! We’re seeing that this is having a greater impact on goods than services. The rising global price of energy, surging commodity prices, higher shipping costs are all significantly impacting the annual rate of inflation for goods. In December, the latter reached a remarkable 6.9% and services inflation was at just 3.4%. UK manufacturers have been facing significant increases in input prices – this is what manufacturers pay for goods before any onward processing. The annual headline rate of inflation for manufacturers input prices is currently at a massive 13.5%. The result? Significant and ongoing increases in the price for which manufacturers then sell their goods (otherwise known as factory gate prices). [caption id="attachment_39458" align="alignnone" width="1500"] Food prices are rising[/caption]   So, what are the global commodity impacts causing this? What do we know about them and what do they mean for schools when it comes to buying food? La Niña weather event has impacted for two years running. Causing significant weather changes in different parts of the world, the result is drastic impacts on food production and harvest yields, which then go on to reduce global food commodity inventories. Those inventory levels are important – they provide a protective buffer around food commodity prices and reduced inventories causes greater price volatility. allmanhall anticipates global food prices have now peaked and are likely to remain static for a time, but at eye-wateringly high levels. For example, food prices in 2021 were 28% higher than 2020. And it’s not over – La Niña is likely to continue affecting growing conditions until June 2022. We will keep you updated about the longer-term, knock-on impact of this. The price of fertiliser is also playing its part. Global fertiliser prices, and nitrogen especially, increased by 175% which was in part driven by the cost of natural gas used in its production. Well-documented across the media, and not just in relation to food, rising electricity and gas prices are also making their mark, impacting schools and, indeed, everyone. These are set to increase further still. And what about the role of transportation? Well, we’ve already mentioned labour and driver factors, but the global impact of transportation is broader than that. Breakbulk container prices have exploded to 10 times that of pre-pandemic prices, and whilst there has been a fall from their recent high, shipping costs for bulk and breakbulk shipments are still very volatile. A global shift in spending, through less services expenditure and consumers purchasing more products has created elevated volumes of international shipping trade. This has resulted in port congestion and the lack of availability of goods due to ongoing high demand. So, what can we forecast when it comes to schools budgeting for food costs this academic year and next? Last year concluded with December’s annual CPI rate sitting at a lofty 5.4% and our ongoing analysis anticipates a continued upward trend which we expect to result in a peak in food inflation in the spring. This may be as high as 7% or more. You can read more about this here and we will provide another update from allmanhall soon.
Find out more from allmanhall and stay up to date with key food topics [post_title] => Schools to expect high food prices for a while [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => schools-to-expect-high-food-prices-for-a-while [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-02-14 10:59:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-02-14 10:59:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 39007 [post_author] => 984 [post_date] => 2022-01-28 11:04:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-01-28 11:04:02 [post_content] =>


As the annual pace of consumer price growth in the OECD group of developed nations hit 5.8% in November, which was the highest rate since May 1996, we have seen a significant level of food inflation in the second half of 2021. This is set to continue for 2022, with some suggesting that it could further accelerate. “Prices are expected to stay at high levels throughout 2022,” said Stephan Hubertus Gay, senior agricultural policy analyst at the OECD, in The Grocer. In Food Manufacture, Clive Black, director and head of research at Shore Capital, “observed food chain price rises on core commodities of 35%-45% over a 12-month period”. Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The acute labour shortages across supply chains, amongst other factors, led to the year ending with a notable increase; for example, fresh food saw the largest rate of inflation in almost a decade.” Food commodity prices are “now supported by inflation in the general economy”, according to Rabobank, and reinforced by “astronomical” shipping container costs, rising energy and fertiliser prices, and labour shortages in ports and factories. Forecasting is notoriously difficult, with many input factors impacting the level of inflation. However, for budgeting purposes we suggest allowing for between 7.5-10% food inflation over the course of 2022. Take a look at some detailed market analysis from allmanhall here.

Workforce shortages

The labour shortages in the UK have been well documented through the loosening of the 2021 lockdown. Like food inflation, these challenges are set to continue. Now with Omicron an additional factor adding to the already acute situation. On 14 December, during a governmental Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee meeting on ‘Labour Shortages in the Food and Farming Sector’, the challenges with take up and processing of the Skilled Worker Visa, originally set up in December 2020, were debated. Chair of the committee, Neil Parish, said: "Employers need workers and cannot get them in time. Pigs are being culled and wasted because there are not enough butchers in the abattoirs. Fruit is rotting on trees and crops are not being planted." Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said separately: “The government needs a coherent food policy to maintain UK production, including a clear strategy for solving labour shortages throughout the supply chain.” However, recent reports suggest that the government-funded HGV training scheme has been widely welcomed by the haulage industry, with significant increased interest and uptake. Currently this is only due to run until the end of November, and calls are being made to develop it into a longer-term initiative.

Imposition of UK border checks

1 January saw the commencement of UK border checks on imports from the EU. Whilst border checks have been in place for exports into the EU since the end of the transition, they were delayed for imports into the UK to mitigate custom related delays. The first phase, which has now gone live, is the requirement to make customs declarations, give advance notification of imports of food and to pay tariffs. Physical checks on animal and meat products will be phased in from 1 July.

Trade deals – in the longer term

With the trade deal with Australia now signed, a precedent has been set for future negotiations. According to NFU president Minette Batters, the “one-sided” deal, ratified on 17 December, gave Australia’s agriculture sector “all it asked for” with little in return for British farmers, who she said were already “facing extraordinary inflationary pressure and sustained labour shortages”. “It’s also difficult to discern anything in this deal that will allow us to control imports of food produced below the standards legally required of British farmers, for instance on land deforested for cattle production or systems that rely on the transport of live animals in a way that would be illegal here,” Batters added. With the specifics of this deal agreed, it is difficult to see how any future deals with other nations could be struck that have improved terms for the UK food and farming sectors. Other nations will surely not accept anything less.

Farming subsidies – from CAP to ELM

Instead of paying farm subsidies based on the area farmed under CAP, the Environmental Land Management or ELM scheme will pay British farmers to use their land in what the government deems a more environmentally-friendly way, including by re-wilding or planting trees as part of the government’s drive to reach ‘net zero’ by mid-century. The House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee has said the government’s new Environmental Land Management scheme lacks detail and is based on “blind optimism”. Defra had given “no detail about how either the necessary productivity increases or environmental benefits [demanded by the new scheme] will be brought about”. Committee chair and veteran Tory MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown, said: “We have known we were replacing the CAP since 2016 and still we see no clear plans, objectives or communications with those at the sharp end – farmers – in this multi-billion pound, radical overhaul of the way land is used and, more crucially, food is produced in this country.” A longer-term outcome to the change of farm payment may actually result in a reduction of the amount of food produced in the UK leading to lower levels of food self-sufficiency, and potential security.

National Food Strategy

The National Food Strategy, led by Henry Dimbleby, was published in July 2021. It aims to address the key challenges in the UK's food system, from food poverty to its environmental impact. It calls for serious action to be taken to escape the ‘junk food cycle’, including sugar and salt taxes on manufacturers. It also highlights the need for a 33% reduction of red meat consumption per capita by 2030 for sustainability reasons. The Government is due to officially respond this month, and although unlikely, if it were to endorse and action the National Food Strategy recommendations in full, it would have a transformative impact on the food industry.

Calorie labelling

Following on from the implementation in October 2021 of Natasha’s Law, requiring pre-packed food for direct sale to clearly label allergens, from 1 April, English hospitality businesses, such as restaurants, pubs, and takeaways, will be required to display the calorie content of the food being sold on their menus and labels. Initially the law will apply to English businesses with more that 250 employees preparing food and drink for immediate consumption. This legislation, currently focused on the larger foodservice operations, again shows the direction of travel of providing information for the consumer at the point of purchase. It appears that the challenges we saw in 2021 will continue into 2022, with further factors to be considered, too. Now more than ever, expert support from allmanhall may prove to be an essential service. Can you afford not to find out more?
allmanhall are specialists in food procurement, award-winning supply chain managers and providers of support for caterers and foodservice operators [post_title] => Forecasts for 2022: what can schools expect when it comes to food? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => forecasts-for-2022-what-can-schools-expect-when-it-comes-to-food [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-01-28 11:06:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-01-28 11:06:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 38981 [post_author] => 1157 [post_date] => 2022-01-25 00:00:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-01-25 00:00:17 [post_content] => As 2022 gets underway, one trend that continues to grow is consumer awareness of sustainability and the role their food, amongst other things, can play in making a positive impact. This is particularly true of pupils and is therefore hugely relevant to schools. Read on to see what trends 2022 could bring! There are a lot of terms being used to describe the concept of conscious or mindful eating. Vegetarian and vegan are perhaps the ones we are most familiar with and associate with the elimination of meat, making the consumer meat-free or plant-based. Flexitarian, climatarian and reducetarian are less familiar, and although each may have their individual aspects, they all essentially focus on moderating the amount of meat consumed rather than committing to a full vegetarian or vegan diet. Reducing the amount of red meat we consume is a key change that many of us are already incorporating into our eating habits. With 1 kilo of beef accounting for 60 kilos of CO₂ emissions, switching to a meat with a lower carbon impact is a step towards reducing our individual carbon footprint. In comparison to beef, 1 kilo of chicken emits 6 kilos of CO₂. Replacing beef with a poultry alternative is an easy way to eat mindfully whilst keeping meat on the menu. With so many developments and innovations in meat-free cuisine, it is becoming much easier and more appealing to eat consciously without sacrificing flavour. 2021 saw the launch of McDonald’s McPlant burger, “a vegan burger made with a juicy plant-based patty co-developed with BeyondMeat®”. Strides away from the veggie-burgers we are used to, there are more and more innovations in plant-based meat alternatives that now have the same look, smell, texture and taste as their real-meat counterparts.
For those that want to do their part in reducing the carbon footprint of their food but do not wish to cut red meat completely from their diet, we are seeing a focus on blended meat options
For 2022 one of the most touted trends is plant-based chicken. Offering something more than the current Quorn products, the race is on as to which fast-food chain will release their no-chicken chicken burger/wrap/meal first. For those that want to do their part in reducing the carbon footprint of their food but do not wish to cut red meat completely from their diet, we are seeing a focus on blended meat options. Combining beef, for example, with meat-free components such as mushrooms, the overall red meat consumption is essentially halved whilst the product retains all the elements of a regular beef-based meal. These are all options school caterers can consider when addressing the carbon footprint of their own menu, and in line with pupil demand as well as school targets. With so many addressing their carnivorous diets, it is expected that cultivated meat will be widely accepted by the public but particularly across the younger generations, who have a great interest and awareness in the environmental impact of their food supply and the meat market.

Milk substitutes

However, mindful alternatives are not just confined to the meat market. For 2022 we can expect to see a continuing rise in the variety of milk substitutes. Oat milk is already a popular product and ingredient, but we can now replace our regular dairy from-the-cow milk with things like buckwheat milk, pea milk and even potato milk – look out for this as one of 2022’s likely big trends! Low in saturated fat and sugar and with potatoes being a source of antioxidants and vitamins, it is also a great alternative for allergy sufferers as it is free from dairy, gluten, and soy. Swedish brand Dug claims its potato milk is the most sustainable alternative milk on the market, with the growth of potatoes producing less CO₂ emissions than dairy farming, needing over 50% less water than almonds to grow and requiring approximately 50% less land to grow potatoes than needed for the equivalent amount of oats. Yet it is likely that potato milk will be more expensive than its dairy counterpart. Whilst the taste is to be determined, its strong sustainability credentials make it one to look out for over the coming year. Eating mindfully is no longer seen as just eating healthily. Environment is a long way up the agenda. In fact, it may be more appropriate to predict the top food trend for 2022 as awareness.
Find out more on this topic from the team at allmanhall [post_title] => 2022 – the year of potato milk and more meat alternatives [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 2022-the-year-of-potato-milk-and-more-meat-alternatives [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-01-24 15:59:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-01-24 15:59:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 38864 [post_author] => 1244 [post_date] => 2022-01-18 18:00:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-01-18 18:00:25 [post_content] => The food and catering industry has been experiencing extraordinary challenges. In 2021 this took the form of staff shortages, supply chain disruption and rising, volatile food prices, as a result of a number of factors. Suppliers across the board have been forced to propose price increases, staffing costs have risen, commodities and utility prices are still soaring. Food inflation is at a three-year high, a trend which looks like it is here to stay for 2022. allmanhall have been engaged in hundreds of negotiations with suppliers over the last year and have successfully reduced or even negated a great deal of price increase proposals. School clients have needed to be able to continue the provision of a timely and good quality, nutritious foodservice. As well as these day-to-day challenges, allmanhall have supported a myriad of other school needs, from sustainability goals to delivery of allergen training.

What do school clients say?

Stuart Burt, head of catering, Repton Schools:
“We manage an extremely high-volume in-house catering service across multiple locations, which is not just challenging but also operationally complex. Delivering the very best food and service for our pupils and staff is absolutely paramount. Considering the extreme supply chain challenges over the past few months, I am extremely grateful that we have been supported throughout by our partners at allmanhall. They have delivered proactive daily support and advice to resolve supplier issues, and mitigated the many supplier pricing increase proposals. Their support though such a difficult time has been invaluable.”
James Lindsay, operations manager, Badminton School:
“Having information emailed on a daily basis plus receiving greater details available via “The Pass” has been invaluable in allowing us to plan and adjust menus for any potential shortages or late deliveries, during the current logistic situation. allmanhall are always readily available to further support our service enabling us to continually serve.”
Alan Pierce, catering manager, Burgess Hill Girls’ School:
“allmanhall have continued to support me and my team by delivering expert advice, guidance and support throughout. Considering the current inflationary pressures, allmanhall have managed to mitigate a number of price increase proposals from our suppliers. The success of these negotiations has allowed me the opportunity to alleviate some of the budgetary pressures and focus on the task of producing exceptional food for the pupils and staff. I would be in a very different place had I not had the support of allmanhall and I am incredibly grateful for all their hard work managing my suppliers and mitigating the significant price increases that are now filtering down the supply chain.”
When it comes to managing the uncertainty, mitigating risk, handling delivery challenges and product shortages, as well as negotiating down supplier price increase proposals, allmanhall are a proven and essential support partner for schools. A due diligence benchmark and procurement review from allmanhall will help you when planning your budgets. And for your peace of mind, your catering team will benefit from award-winning support. Find out more today! [post_title] => Expert procurement support – essential in these challenging times? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => expert-procurement-support-essential-in-these-challenging-times [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-01-20 14:01:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-01-20 14:01:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 38290 [post_author] => 1244 [post_date] => 2021-12-22 18:00:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-12-22 18:00:47 [post_content] => The Department for Education (DfE) released a draft strategy last month that focuses on sustainability, with a vision for the UK to be the “the world-leading education sector in sustainability and climate change by 2030”. It is being reviewed between now and the end of March 2022 and the final strategy is then to be published April 2022. In the foreword of the draft strategy, the secretary of state for education, the Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP, says “education is critical to fighting climate change” and that “success depends on collaborative working”. He also speaks of the benefits of a “whole-system approach”. We identified some guiding principles running through the document:
  1. Partnerships and collaboration are key
  2. Evidence and insight are important – data plays a vital role
  3. There is a requirement for greater leadership and support for the education sector
  From a food procurement perspective, we were particularly focused on reviewing Action Area 4 of the draft strategy which makes suggestions for operations and the supply chain:
  • Embedding sustainability in decision making, purchasing and operations, with the intended outcome of greener supply chains/operational activity.
  • An emphasis on young people understanding how to reduce waste and make sustainable choices (read more about this here).
  • A greater focus on – and measurement of – waste and waste prevention, incorporating work with key partners such as Defra and WRAP.
  • Also working closely with Defra regarding the recommendations made in the National Food Strategy (NFS) in 2021 and ahead of the report Defra will be publishing in 2022 to lay out how the NFS could and should be implemented.
  • Increased support for schools when it comes to increasing the take up of sustainable school meals and sharing of best practice.
  • A review of school food standards to encourage more plant based and meat free options in their foodservice provision.
  • The provision of more sustainable products into schools. Making the Period Products scheme greener still.
  Action Area 4 is just one of the five areas covered by the draft strategy. There is a great deal of crossover between these areas:
  • Climate education
  • Green skills and careers
  • The education estate
  • Data
  We summarise that the draft strategy ends by stating four strategic aims:
  • Excellence in education and skills for a changing world
  • Net zero
  • Resilient to climate change
  • A better environment for future generations.
  The final report will be released in April 2022 and at that time allmanhall will again review what it means for schools and how they, with partners, can collaborate. In the meantime, many schools will be setting their own sustainability goals for the coming year. Now, more than ever, these new year’s resolutions are essential – but as a  commitment for the future, rather than simply for January.
W: [post_title] => Allmanhall review the Department for Education’s draft strategy [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => allmanhall-review-the-department-for-educations-draft-strategy [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-12-22 14:23:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-12-22 14:23:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 38256 [post_author] => 1244 [post_date] => 2021-12-17 18:05:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-12-17 18:05:39 [post_content] => The global pandemic created many new opportunities in the way food was produced and supplied across the whole food sector, including catering in schools which saw an heightened take up in click and collect and ‘grab and go’ options. A rise in takeaway food’s popularity, coupled with ‘hygienic’ or Covid compliant options such as disposables, has resulted in an increase in demand for plastic food packaging at a time when consumers – not least pupils – are crying out for a reduction in single-use plastic. As independent food procurement specialists, supporting over 70 clients in the education sector, allmanhall have been analysing this dichotomy and what schools can be doing as we head towards the introduction of a new plastic tax in 2022. Particular attention has been drawn to the use of single-use plastic items, such as cutlery, plates and cups. Approximately 1.1 billion single-use plates and 4.25 billion items of cutlery, mostly plastic, are used annually, but just 10% are recycled upon disposal. The Government has started to take actions that will encourage a reduction in use. With a ban on single-use plastic stirrers and straws already in place, a new 12-week public consultation begun earlier in 2021, which is including the review of single-use plastic cutlery, plates and cups, and could lead to these items being completely banned in England. Scotland has already announced such a ban, effective from June 2022. The recently passed Government's Environment Bill could also be used to introduce new charges on single-use items. The introduction of the Plastic Packaging Tax in April 2022 is already intended to encourage the sourcing of environmentally friendly alternatives to single-use plastics in packaging, all with the aim of reducing waste and encouraging recycling. With packaging being defined as plastic if it contains more plastic by weight than any other material, the tax will see £200 per metric tonne being applied to plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic. This is on goods both manufactured in and imported into the UK. As we enter 2022, with just months to go before this tax is introduced, it is essential that those in catering and foodservice are active in finding an effective solution to reduce their plastic wastage. Ahead of the new tax, the development of more sustainable packaging solutions has become high to both manufacturers and retailers, with many trialling new product development and moving towards packaging that can be more effectively recycled. As a certified carbon-negative manufacturer, Real Wrap Company use sandwich and wrap boxes that are all plastic free. Replacing the usual plastic film with cellulose sourced from trees, this means that the whole box is easily recycled and can be put in the mixed or card recycling points. Following suit, retailer Aldi are also introducing a trial of fully recyclable sandwich packaging. The other advantage of sandwich options is the adherence to Natasha’s Law labelling legislation, live as of October 2021, but that is a topic for another article and indeed we have written many about it!

The challenges

However, actions to reduce plastic usage whilst ensuring that food packaging still meets the standards required comes with numerous challenges. As the British Meat Industry explains, plastic is used in packaging as it is light, durable and has “superior barrier qualities” which have “improved food safety, extended shelf life and reduced food waste significantly over recent decades”. This is particularly true of plastic packaging used for meat which is a “high-moisture, perishable product”. Concerns have been raised that the pressure to increase the recycled content in packaging to more than 30% could result in alternative materials being used that reduce food shelf life and consequently cause higher food wastage. Although it is relatively easy to add recycled components to rigid plastics such as trays, it is more difficult to add it to flexibles and films. As a food contact material, packaging is highly regulated, and any new developments need approval – a process that takes time. With the plastic tax on the horizon, and the health of our planet at the forefront of everyone’s minds, alternative solutions need to be found that will also meet the threshold of 30% recycled plastic. PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is usually used for drinks bottles and chilled or ambient products such as salads or takeaway foods due to its high barrier properties. However, it does fall within scope of the plastic tax. A suitable replacement might be RPET (recycled polyethylene tetraphyte), which would meet the plastic content threshold, or bagasse. Made from pulped plant mass this is compostable and can be recycled through paper waste streams. However, whilst flexible films also fall within scope of the tax, those that are in direct contact with food are more difficult to substitute as recycled content is not permitted for food grade films and bags.

How can school catering teams prepare?

As a starting point, school catering teams can prepare now by assessing what they use and how. It is key to look at the full cycle of the plastics and alternatives they use, from manufacturing and supply through to disposing and recycling. With RPET having the most commonly used waste stream in this country, schools should look at their own recycling solutions for disposable products and how these may be improved.
 Read more like this from allmanhall [post_title] => How can schools prepare for the plastic tax? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-can-schools-prepare-for-the-plastic-tax [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-12-17 09:33:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-12-17 09:33:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [14] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 38253 [post_author] => 1244 [post_date] => 2021-12-14 18:00:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-12-14 18:00:21 [post_content] => Whether you’re treating your pupils, your school staff or your friends and family over the Christmas period, this recipe is a crowd-pleaser!


  • 1 ½kg red cabbage
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 Granny Smiths apples, peeled and cored and chopped
  • Zest 1 orange or 2 clementines
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 100g light soft brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 300ml dry cider
  • 25g butter


  • Peel off the outer leaves from the cabbage and discard. Quarter the cabbage, removing the tough stem, then thinly slice.
  • Arrange a layer of the cabbage on the bottom of a large saucepan, followed by some of the onions, apples, zest, mixed spice, sugar and seasoning. Continue to create layers until you have used up the ingredients.
  • Pour over the vinegar and cider and dot the butter on top.
  • Bring to the boil then simmer with a lid on over low heat for 1½ hrs, until tender.
  • The cabbage will keep for 2 days, covered, in the fridge or freeze for up to 1 month. Reheat in either a pan or in the microwave.
  Many of the team at allmanhall come from a school foodservice background and have been catering managers or chefs previously. This enables them to be hands-on in their advice and recommendations, and to provide practical ideas for school catering teams, really understanding your day-to-day challenges. Combined with expert buyers and award-winning client services team liaising with suppliers on your behalf, allmanhall enable the best food and the best cost savings, with the best support.
Find out more Happy Christmas from everyone at allmanhall! [post_title] => Allmanhall recipe: braised red cabbage [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => allmanhall-recipe-braised-red-cabbage [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-12-14 16:01:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-12-14 16:01:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [15] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 38135 [post_author] => 1244 [post_date] => 2021-12-07 18:05:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-12-07 18:05:13 [post_content] => Specialists when it comes to procurement of food and experts in independent education, allmanhall are well placed to help you make sense of the current supply chain crisis. Importantly, as well as throwing light on this complex issue, several of the directors at allmanhall have explained what your school’s catering team can be doing to work with suppliers and cope in these challenging times. WATCH WEBINAR For more insight from allmanhall, visit our website or email [post_title] => The supply chain crisis in schools [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => supply-chain-crisis-in-schools [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-12-08 10:49:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-12-08 10:49:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [16] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 37657 [post_author] => 1244 [post_date] => 2021-11-22 12:12:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-11-22 12:12:13 [post_content] =>

How the immune system works

The immune system is one of the most complex bodily systems. Once we have had a disease, our body produces specific memory cells. Typically, our immune system is stronger in adulthood as we have been exposed to more pathogens and built up our immunity. This can be why children become ill more frequently than teenagers and adults, up to a certain age.

What is the role of nutrition?

The complexity of the immune system means that it cannot be modified acutely by a specific nutritional intervention. There is currently no convincing evidence that any food or dietary pattern can ‘boost’ our immune system. Rather, adhering to a healthy diet provides ongoing support to the immune system and may even delay the process of immunosenescence (the natural gradual deterioration of the immune system as we get older).

What should we be eating this winter to boost our immune systems?

There are many nutrients that are involved with the normal functioning of the immune system, which is why maintaining a healthy balanced diet is the best way to support immune function. Important nutrients for effective immune function are (and foods high in these nutrients):
  • Copper – bread, fortified breakfast cereals, meat, fish, beans, pulses, seeds, nuts
  • Folate – bread, fortified breakfast cereals, citrus fruits, beans, pulses
  • Iron – fortified breakfast cereals, wholegrains, meat, pulses, green leafy veg, nuts, eggs, dried fruit
  • Selenium – bread, nuts, seeds, seafood
  • Zinc – fortified breakfast cereals, meat, fish, wholegrains, beans, nuts
  • Vitamin A – milk, eggs, orange coloured fruit and veg
  • Vitamin B6 – meat, fish, milk, cheese, seeds, eggs, wholegrains
  • Vitamin B12 – eggs, milk, cheese, meat, fish, Marmite, fortified breakfast cereals
  • Vitamin C – fruit and vegetables, potatoes
  • Vitamin D – fortified breakfast cereals, eggs, oily fish
  No single one food is recommended over another. Eating a variety of foods will help to maintain a healthy balanced diet. The immuno-protection of many of these nutrients is based on their antioxidant capacity (oxidation is a chemical reaction that can damage cells), which is in fact lost if consumed in excess. In addition to healthy eating, being physically active, reducing stress and getting enough sleep will also all help support immunity function.

Are there any supplements that ‘boost’ or protect from Covid-19?

There is currently no evidence nor EU approved health claims that any supplement can ‘boost’ immune systems and prevent or treat viral infections, like Covid-19. Making sure we meet dietary requirements for many vitamins and minerals is important for good health and normal immune functioning. Eating a healthy balanced diet should provide all the necessary nutrients needed. In case of specific challenges in meeting the dietary requirements, supplements can be used to add nutrients to diets.

Gut health and the immune system

Gut microbiota has been a hot health topic for a while now. The gut and its microbiota have been shown to impact metabolism, immunity and even behaviour. It is thought that the predominance of the beneficial bacteria, referred to as the probiotic bacteria, such as bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria, ensure good health and prevent diseases of the gut and other organs in the body. Probiotics fight harmful foreign substances and can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria by producing organic acids that lower the PH in the intestine. To support good gut health, the advice is to eat a wide range of foods, a diverse microbiota is a healthy one, a diet including different food types can lead to a diverse microbiota. High fibre foods promote microbiome diversity such as fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes and wholegrains. Live plain natural yoghurt, and fermented foods, such as kefir, kimchee and kombucha, are also thought to support a healthy gut.

Key tips

  • Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables – a large variety, especially of vegetables.
  • Eat a diet high in fibre – fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, beans and lentils.
  • Include food with good bacteria (probiotics) live yoghurts, kefir and fermented foods such as kimchee and sauerkraut – aim for something living every day!
  In the words of the British Dietetic Association: “You cannot 'boost' your immune system through diet, and no specific food or supplement will prevent you catching Covid-19 / Coronavirus. Although eating a well-balanced diet can help ensure the normal functioning of the immune system, no individual nutrient, food or supplement is going to 'boost' it beyond normal levels. Good hygiene practice remains the best means of avoiding infection.” If you are concerned about nutrient provision in your menus for your pupils, it is important that you seek advice from a registered dietitian, or other healthcare professional, and that you follow the current advice set out by the Government, NHS and Public Health England.
allmanhall, the food experts and procurement partners specialising in education, can help! Please do get in touch if you need support. W: [post_title] => Eating well? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => eating-well [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-11-22 12:12:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-11-22 12:12:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [17] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 37595 [post_author] => 1290 [post_date] => 2021-11-08 11:25:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-11-08 11:25:09 [post_content] => Since the start of the pandemic, catering operators have experienced an unprecedented period of disruption. The UK food industry is now facing its biggest challenge in decades and as a result, catering managers have been forced to completely rethink the way they plan and execute their menus. The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the food service industry have been unparalleled. No one single aspect has been left unaffected, be it the surge in demand for product, the staffing issues, or unexpected challenges within business operations. Catering departments are not immune to these issues and as a result, catering operators have had to adapt and overcome these challenges daily. Having consulted with catering manager clients, it is clear they are all experiencing some form of disruption and are coping with this via a number of methods. Catering teams are resilient and adept at adapting to whatever the supply chain throws at them. The pandemic has forced changed. Sometimes this has been for the better but, often, caterers have found themselves under significant pressure due to factors outside of their control. So, what have catering teams done to mitigate the lack of product and frequent substitutions?
  • Sought advice on substituted products. However this in itself generates a potential risk with regards to allergens.  With the introduction of “Natasha’s Law” from 1st October 2021 catering teams are now required to be even more vigilant than ever in their approach to allergens and intolerances, therefore making any product substitutions brings an element of risk
  • Reduced the menu offering across all services. Some sites have even reduced the breaktime offer to allow them more time to maintain normal lunchtime service. Flexibility regarding the food offering has to become a priority.
  • Outsourced some production to third party providers – notably sandwiches and wraps (allmanhall can support this should you wish to consider it)
  • Increased fridge and freezer capacity to enable operators to store more fresh and frozen products to compensate for any delays and reduce the reliance on fresh product and just-in-time supply.
These are just some of the measures operators have taken to ensure they are maintaining as near normal service as they can.
  • Supply chain challenges are likely to remain in place well into the New Year, with continued disruption and difficulties securing stock. The situation is so dynamic that operators will have to be ever more resourceful and ensure they and flexible in their approach to menus, amend and adapting wherever necessary. This could be as often as daily, if not weekly.
  • allmanhall are here to support and help during these challenging times. Now more than ever, an expert food procurement provider may indeed prove to be an essential service.

“We regard the allmanhall team as absolute experts in their field, delivering the best food at the best prices along with the best support. We find allmanhall proactive in managing price increases and even decreases, and extremely responsive when needed. Nothing is too much trouble. I and my team of chefs particularly appreciate that allmanhall ‘get’ school catering and also that they are truly independent; meaning that we are treated like an individual client and not beholden to the whims of a huge contract caterer behind the scenes. They are a truly essential service – not an overhead at all but a critical partner without whom we could not achieve the support or savings we see today.” – Chris Ingram, head of catering, ACS International Schools

Please contact allmanhall for support or to discuss your complimentary benchmark and procurement proposal. Rupert Lynch is a client relationship manager and executive chef at allmanhall. [post_title] => How are catering operations currently coping? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-are-catering-operations-currently-coping [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-01-20 13:45:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-01-20 13:45:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [18] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 37345 [post_author] => 984 [post_date] => 2021-10-29 00:00:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-10-28 23:00:38 [post_content] => Times have changed in the food and beverage sector. The relationship dynamic between the client and the supplier that we have been used to for years is currently undergoing a significant remoulding. In the 15 years since founding allmanhall, liaising with both suppliers and clients on a daily basis, I have never seen a landscape like the one we are currently facing. In fact, it is fair to say that the current pressures on the supply chain in the food sector are unprecedented in a working lifetime. Such is the turmoil that suppliers find they have, unfortunately, been forced to do an about-turn on the normal mantra of expansion and growth. Some are not only having to actively decline new customers, but also in some cases try to reduce their existing customer base. In effect they are trying to downsize, which would be an unthinkable strategy in usual times in a sector where scale is often key to survival. They are being forced to go against one of the universal ambitions of businesses in any sector: growth. The significant reason for this is the current labour shortages across the UK. As well as a circa 100,000 HGV driver deficit, it is estimated that the food and hospitality sector (including production and the supply chain) is devoid of over 500,000 employees. This ranges from produce pickers and butchers to chefs and waiters, and everything in-between. The result is that each step of the supply chain is impacted by labour shortages, which in-turn translates to food product shortages… and we haven’t even mentioned fertiliser, CO2, fuel availability or gas prices yet! The effects of the driver shortage have already had an impact not only on service levels, but also the availability of products that foodservice suppliers receive from processors and manufacturers. We are aware that the current in-bound delivery levels to foodservice suppliers is ranging between 70-80%, where they normally sit at 98-100%. This therefore means that up to 30% of stock is not even making it to the wholesalers for delivery out to customers. Here are some ways you can plan your approach to this unprecedented landscape. How do you ensure that you remain a valued customer, in a time when foodservice suppliers are looking to reduce in size? In essence you need to ensure you remain, or become, an attractive business customer. At a time like this, with significant labour shortages, suppliers need customers with buying behaviours that will enable them to operate as efficiently as possible, therefore reducing the costs and time associated with making deliveries to you. This is known as the ‘cost to serve’ and by reducing the cost to serve you, you will become a more attractive customer to suppliers. There are a number of ways to do this:
  1. Increase your average delivery value – where possible consolidate and have higher value orders
  2. Reduce your average delivery frequency – minimise the number of deliveries you receive each week
  3. Increase the delivery timeframes in which suppliers can make deliveries
  4. Order full cases and reduce splits – where possible, order full cases, as splits increase the picking time and cost of your order to the supplier
  5. Place your order day 1 for delivery on day 3, rather than next day – giving suppliers additional lead time aids planning and routing
  6. Accept that there will be delivery shortages, try to be as flexible as possible and hold emergency stock to ease pressure points. Being an understanding customer when things do go wrong will help build loyalty.
Perhaps counter intuitively at times like these, the best way of achieving the above is by consolidating your orders through fewer suppliers, and not looking for lots of alternative suppliers with the intention of ‘spreading the risk’ if one is unable to supply. Doing that latter may sadly prove to be a very short term strategy. With the root causes of the current supply chain challenges being structural, there is no ‘quick-fix’. Unfortunately, things are going to take time to improve. With so much current uncertainty, the only real certainty is a period of higher food inflation and higher supply volatility than we’ve been used to in recent times.
W: [post_title] => Can buying behaviour changes help your catering operation’s survival when faced with supply chain challenges? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-can-can-buying-behaviour-changes-help-your-catering-operations-survival-when-faced-with-supply-chain-challenges [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-10-28 14:22:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-10-28 13:22:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [19] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 37061 [post_author] => 1244 [post_date] => 2021-10-20 00:00:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-10-19 23:00:09 [post_content] => Published during the summer, the National Food Strategy is the first comprehensive review of the food system in 75 years. It was led and authored by Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of both Leon Restaurants and of the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Five years ago Dimbleby wrote the School Strategy and has a track record when it comes to successful government adoption of strategic recommendations. Already, the Government have committed to releasing a white paper to take forward or reject the suggestions made by the National Food Strategy. This is due to be released around Christmas 2021 (although there is a possibility of delay due to the current food supply chain challenges) and is led by Defra.

What are the key themes?

In short, the National Food Strategy equally addresses issues of diet and sustainability, so relevant to schools and themes that will already be high on many of your agendas. Sustainability and health challenges mesh many very complex issues and interdependencies that all need to be understood in order to find credible solutions. The challenge of limiting climate change, how to feed a growing global population, biodiversity collapse, water scarcity, pollution, caring for our oceans, poor diets and calorie inequality all require radical system change. This is not just on a national level, but on a global scale. Little changes can have big impacts and there are things we can all be doing, already. However, the immediacy and complexity of the challenge requires individuals, organisations and governments to act quickly and decisively. The National Food Strategy is built around addressing the sustainability challenges that we are all aware of within UK food production, whilst addressing poor diet related health issues and animal welfare.

What may this mean for catering and foodservice operations?

There are several practical actions from this that could impact school catering and foodservice, dependent on the Government’s take on the report’s findings and recommendations:
  • The concept of a meat allowance per week.
  • Allocated meat free days becoming the norm (many are already doing this anyway, with ‘Meat Free Mondays’ increasingly popular).
  • A ban on certain meat – taxation on factory farmed meat (a price-based mechanism).
  • One vegan or vegetarian option to become a mandatory requirement of menu design.
  • A minimum of two portions of vegetables per meal, mandated. With fruit for pudding. This is circa in line with existing school standards but may be widened into other sectors too.
  • Perception – regarding both taste and also nomenclatures – is important. Consider calling things on your school menu ‘vegetable’ (or more specific still, regarding the type of vegetable) rather than ‘vegetarian’.
  Please do speak to the team at allmanhall if you would be keen to arrange samples to help support guiding taste perceptions amongst your end consumers.

What would be the major changes we would introduce if advising the UK Government?

Not necessarily a change as such but we would vehemently encourage the Government to act decisively and quickly. In the words of allmanhall’s procurement director, Mike Meek: “We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Commissioning independent reviews is the easy part. Complexity leading to hesitancy, and ultimately inactivity, could be the worst outcome.” If implemented, the recommendations from the National Food Strategy would provide clear actions to help transform the broad but intrinsically linked challenges that are currently faced. The results of the white paper led by Defra, towards the end of the year or early 2022, are therefore eagerly awaited. Will this support transformation or be another report read and debated then filed, like some of those that have gone before? And will this agenda become hidden and side-lined as a result of urgent and pertinent supply chain challenges? Or do those challenges serve to magnify the importance of these issues? Only time will tell.
To read the National Food Strategy report in full, visit To understand how allmanhall can partner your catering team to support food supply chain management as an essential service in these challenging times, visit [post_title] => Making sense of the National Food Strategy [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => making-sense-of-the-national-food-strategy [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-10-25 13:51:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-10-25 12:51:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [20] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 36919 [post_author] => 858 [post_date] => 2021-10-12 00:00:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-10-11 23:00:25 [post_content] => The late Paul Prudhomme observed: “You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” This may be true, but it is highly likely that you do need a good catering team to produce good food! Then comes the question of whether to outsource catering or to manage in-house. Key reasons for considering in-house are control and cost. In this climate of unprecedented financial pressures, schools need to be agile, lean and to deliver the best food offer they can, ensuring they are receiving value for money – a challenge when these significant costs are nebulous. The reasons for appointing a contractor are varied, such as outsourcing the administrative burden of managing the HR function for the team or if their current in-house food offer is not delivering the standard of quality required. Contractors provide a multi-faceted head office support function and investment in refurbished facilities may be offered by them to schools, as an incentive. However, the repayments will, most likely, favour the contractor. What seems an easy, low risk option may come at a significant cost. Contractors employ a variety of earning models. A common model is ‘cost plus’, based on an estimated budget – the cost of catering, plus a management fee. If this budget is exceeded the school pays more; if savings are made, these should be passed on to the school. The caterer charges the management fee, typically between 3% and 5% of the total cost of catering: food + labour + sundries, plus VAT. Whilst increased competition has seen a steady reduction in these management fees, the majority of the contractor’s earnings are derived from food purchasing paid for by the school. High levels of opaque rebates are incorporated by the contractor into the food prices on the invoices from their suppliers. As a result, benchmarking of various contractors’ food prices consistently identifies them as being an expensive option. To put this into perspective, if a school’s total annual cost of catering is £1m, half of which is food cost, the impact of the contract caterer’s management fee and inflated food prices could result in an excess spend as high as £200,000… food for thought? If this appears unpalatable or indeed financially unfeasible, then it may be time to consider the in-house option. A skilled and experienced catering manager will be critical. A competent, professional team will ensure all the required deliverables will follow, from food quality and innovation to food safety and compliance, with visibility and the control of costs. The transition to an in-house operation will also support a culture of inclusion, as the catering team are employed directly by the school. There are ways to surround an in-house team, more cost-effectively, with support services that would otherwise be provided by a contractor. For example, expert food procurement delivering both cost savings and insight, from a specialist company who also provide a catering controls platform to track and manage every penny of spend, stock audits and wastage. A catering-related procurement expert will manage suppliers and mitigate risk whist negotiating food prices – all this is increasingly an essential requirement. And a procurement expert like allmanhall will also be able to deliver dietetic advice and regulatory compliance updates, as well as everything from menu design and food innovation to in-house staff training.
Great food service does not always require a costly silver fork. A competent team and a dedicated support partner will ensure the in-house journey is a success, enabling you to achieve significant – and perhaps necessary – cost savings and price increase mitigation Visit to explore allmanhall’s full services and for further articles and information. If you’re interested in benchmarking your food costs, we can help! On average we save schools 11% [post_title] => Is it time to consider in-house catering? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => is-it-time-to-consider-in-house-catering [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-10-25 13:51:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-10-25 12:51:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [21] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 36225 [post_author] => 1157 [post_date] => 2021-09-17 00:00:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-09-16 23:00:04 [post_content] => As an increased awareness on health emerged as a predominant trend for 2021, we cannot ignore the importance of both our own wellbeing but also the health of our planet. Part 2 of the National Food Strategy released earlier this year centred on these intertwined, underlying themes. With the global pandemic spring-boarding grab and go services, including in schools, there has been an increased demand for food packaging and disposables. However, there is an expectation from consumers for manufacturers and retailers to lead the way in reducing single-use plastic within the food industry. Already we have seen a ban on single-use plastic stirrers and straws, and it is likely that plastic cutlery and plates will follow. The development of more sustainable packaging solutions alongside strategies to reduce single-use plastics is a high priority. As a certified carbon-negative manufacturer, one of allmanhall’s sandwich provider partners, Real Wrap Company use sandwich and wrap boxes that are all plastic free. Replacing the usual plastic film with cellulose sourced from trees, this means that the whole box is easily recycled and can be put in the mixed or card recycling points. With paper and cardboard being the most recycled products across the UK and Europe, many brands are developing paper-based solutions. One such example is an alternative to the well-known Pringles can. Made from a combination of foil, cardboard, metal and plastic, the original packaging can be difficult to recycle through regular household recycling.
It seems there is much more to come in food packaging innovation, and this is likely to be sooner rather than later
However, it has been reported that, whilst the paper cans are easier to recycle than their current can, it can compromise on shelf-life with a reduced span of 15 months. With different properties to plastic, the manufacture of paper packaging means that machines usually meant for plastic must be adapted to suit a more fragile material. We may question, therefore whether paper is as good at keeping products fresh and how strong it is, especially when exposed to moisture. Reducing single-use plastic whilst ensuring that food packaging still meets the standards required comes with numerous challenges. Concerns have been raised that the pressure to increase the recycled content in packaging to more than 30% could result in alternative materials being used that reduce food shelf life and consequently cause higher food wastage. As a food contact material, packaging is highly regulated, and any new developments need approval – a process that takes time. It seems there is much more to come in food packaging innovation, and this is likely to be sooner rather than later. Time is not on our side. Following the Budget in 2017, the UK Government called for an exploration into using the tax system as a means of challenging single-use plastic waste. This new tax is set to be introduced in April 2022 and allmanhall will soon be providing more details about this.
Follow us on Twitter @allmanhall or visit our blog page for updates [post_title] => Pondering plastic – perplexing problem or potential plan? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => pondering-plastic-perplexing-problem-or-potential-plan [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-09-16 14:17:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-09-16 13:17:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [22] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 36220 [post_author] => 984 [post_date] => 2021-09-10 11:31:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-09-10 10:31:02 [post_content] => This year has seen both turbulence and uncertainty. Foodservice has experienced steep cost increases in many areas:
  • HGV driver shortages – over 100,000 vacancies nationally
  • Increased driver wages to counteract these shortages – up 15%
  • Agency staff and courier costs – up 37%
  • Commodity cost increases
  • National Living Wage increases
  • Increasing fuel and utilities costs:
    • Electricity has increased 56% year to date
    • Gas has increased 51% year to date
  Since March, inflation has been sharply and consistently ascending. It has hit the highest levels seen in around three years, since the peaks of 2017 and 2018. The Bank of England are forecasting inflation rates to remain close to 2% for 2022, 2023 and 2024. Whilst ONS CPI food inflation eased slightly for July, there is a lot of commentary to suggest it’s the calm before the storm. There are underlying factors that indicate increasing food costs are on the way: with significant rises at a commodity and farmgate pricing level and, in May, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) global Food Price Index increasing at its fastest monthly rate for over a decade. As experts in food procurement and supply chain management, specialising in independent education, allmanhall are working with school suppliers on price increase mitigation wherever feasible and to ensure the inevitable changes will be as low as possible for clients. Even so, the unavoidable likelihood of food cost inflation over the coming period is high. Costs are on the rise and the impact on foodservice is already – and is likely to continue to be – significant. The start of September, with the back to school period, is always a pressurised time for the whole food supply chain, as the majority of all schools in England go back within a few days of each other. This year it, unfortunately, will be even more challenging. The HGV national skills shortage is a multi-industry challenge, heavily impacting just-in-time supply chains like food, and therefore all types of catering and foodservice operations, from education to workplace dining, from leisure to healthcare. It has had ramifications on both the inbound logistics to catering suppliers and their own outbound delivery capabilities. Naturally there was a reduction in demand over the school summer holidays and allmanhall are aware that many suppliers have plans in place to recruit drivers in the short-term. However as leading food procurement specialists, allmanhall are advising that there will be disruption and recommend the following action to school catering teams:
  • That ongoing orders are again placed with as much lead time as possible.
  • If you have space to increase your stock holding this autumn, do so to mitigate any delivery shortages.
  • Where possible, order full cases rather than splits.
  • To remain as flexible as possible to enable coping with change at short notice.
  To understand what this may mean for your food budget and explore the never-more-essential support a procurement partner can provide, visit [post_title] => Increasing food costs on the way, says food procurement expert [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => increasing-food-costs-on-the-way-says-food-procurement-expert [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-09-10 11:31:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-09-10 10:31:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [23] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 36216 [post_author] => 1037 [post_date] => 2021-09-07 16:07:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-09-07 15:07:00 [post_content] =>

1. PPDS foods

If you haven’t already, identify whether there are any pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) foods which require a compliant label. As a reminder, PPDS foods are:
  • Prepared on-site
  • Individually packaged
  • Fully or partially packaged prior to selection
  • Have packaging that would have to be disturbed to access the food
  • Not pre-ordered
  Explore whether your PPDS range could be reduced and risk mitigated by a consolidation of suppliers and a reduction of the range of ingredients used. With supply chain challenges also anticipated this autumn and winter, this may be a wise move anyway.

2. PPDS recipes

This is an essential step and, if you’re not already doing so, this should be undertaken as an absolute priority! PPDS food recipes are required so that the allergens in each item are known. Quantities are also needed, so that the ingredients are listed in order of descending weight.

3. Ingredient and nutrition information

By now, you should have confirmed the method for obtaining information and be in the process of implementing it. If not, do explore this as a priority. For example, will the labelling system, a catering controls platform or on-pack be the preferred method for capturing ingredient and allergen information? It is important that any information is validated by checking details on-pack.

4. Your labelling solution

This is urgently required. Chances are, you have already set one up. If not, go back to step three and look at the options. Over the couple of weeks, make sure you have considered how the labelling solution will works and how it fits into your new process. Also, what hardware is required, such as printers and where these will be located. The supply chain challenges being experienced by the whole industry is also applicable for label ordering, so its recommended not to leave this too late! Lastly, training on the labelling solution for your team needs to be a priority this month.

5. Risks

Remember to allocate some time to identifying risks associated with your new process and establishing an operational practice to manage each risk. Risks may include delivery of a substitute product by a supplier (a likely concern at present), the allergen information changing on a product, due to inadequate training or simply human error a member of the team not following a recipe or making the decision to use different products when cooking. A risk could even be the team confusing which labels are for which PPDS items. Again, training and process planning are key here.

6. Cross contamination

As part of step five, it’s a good idea, if you haven’t already, to carry out a risk assessment regarding cross contamination within the processes associated with the provision and preparation of PPDS foods. Any risks need to be communicated to your customers – pupils and indeed anyone eating from your foodservice operation. Please note that ‘may contains’ should really only be used if a genuine risk has been established rather than as a ‘catch all’ to reduce risk.

7. Training

This has been touched on in some of the earlier points, but we would recommend you do allocate some time, in what will already be a busy month with school pupils returning, to trialling the new process and carrying out any final training of your team, so that everyone feels comfortable with the new processes, enabling them to be delivered effectively.

8. EHO

There is still time to engage with your local EHO. You can share how you plan to approach meeting the new legislation and get their feedback.

9. Communication

Communicate your approach to Natasha’s Law compliance this month and start to highlight those PPDS foods made on site. This could be done by displaying a poster or adding a sticker to relevant items. This will encourage your pupils and any other diners to maintain important engagement with the catering team regarding any allergies.

10. Support

allmanhall’s Natasha’s Law webinar can be viewed here, providing more information. As well as a client toolkit with useful prep materials, the team at food procurement experts allmanhall are on hand to offer support. [post_title] => Natasha’s Law – one month to go [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => natashas-law-one-month-to-go [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-09-07 16:17:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-09-07 15:17:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [24] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 34804 [post_author] => 1037 [post_date] => 2021-06-22 06:00:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-06-22 05:00:01 [post_content] => The UK Food Information Amendment, more widely known as Natasha’s Law, will be introduced on 1 October 2021. The change in allergen labelling follows the tragic death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in 2016, after consuming a baguette containing sesame. All pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) foods will be required to conform to pre-packed labelling requirements, with a full ingredient declaration showing allergens highlighted. What should be done to prepare over the summer? As food procurement experts specialising in independent education, allmanhall provide 10 essential considerations...

1. Do you have PPDS foods?

Is there even a need to adopt the new approach to labelling? If so, how much of your range will be impacted? PPDS foods are: ● Prepared on site ● Individually packaged ● Fully or partially packaged prior to selection ● Have packaging that would have to be disturbed to access the food ● Not pre-ordered. Could the PPDS range be refined? What ingredients will be used and from which suppliers? Can they be streamlined? A procurement partner like allmanhall can help look at options for you.

2. Create PPDS recipes

To correctly label PPDS foods, the ingredients and allergens in each item need to be known along with the quantities, so that the ingredient declaration is in descending weight order. This will mean creating recipes for each PPDS item.

3. Obtaining ingredient and nutrition information

Will information be obtained via a catering platform, a labelling system or on-pack? Several sources are likely. Checking on-pack can ensure greater accuracy.

4. Labelling solution

Creating handwritten labels to the legislative standards may be operationally challenging. Consider how a labelling solution would fit into catering processes, what hardware is required (ie printers) and where these will be located.

5. Identify risks

Allergen management is about reducing risk to the end consumer. Map the journey from ordering products to a pupil selecting a PPDS item. Identify each risk point and establish an operational practice to manage them. For example, has a substitute product been sent in by a supplier? Has the allergen information altered on a product? Has a recipe changed?

6. Consider cross-contamination risk – precautionary allergen labelling

Precautionary allergen labelling is where manufacturers cannot eliminate a risk of cross contamination and add a ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable for’ statement to the label. This should now be considered in a catering environment. Catering teams should undertake risk assessment to establish any chances of cross contamination.

7. Trial and train

As this is a change in operational practices, it may be wise for your team to trial the new process ahead of October. The summer is a good time to provide training to support delivery and compliance.

8. Environmental health

Consider engaging with your local EHO now, sharing how you will be approaching new legislation and obtaining their feedback in advance of October.

9. Communication

Through labelling of PPDS foods, consumers may presume they are selecting a bought-in product and valuable communication with the catering team regarding allergies will therefore not take place. Posters or a sticker on your PPDS foods can highlight that they are made on site and encourage customers to still speak to the catering team.

10. Ask for support!

Please do contact allmanhall or visit or for valuable resources to help you, and your team, navigate these changes and ensure you are well prepared.
E: W: [post_title] => Is your catering team ready for Natasha’s Law? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => is-your-catering-team-ready-for-natashas-law [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-06-21 14:58:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-06-21 13:58:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [25] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 34233 [post_author] => 984 [post_date] => 2021-05-24 15:51:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-05-24 14:51:14 [post_content] =>

What practical steps can your school take in the quest for a more sustainable approach to food?

Consumption – eating smarter

Currently, most of the planet eats either too little, too much or the wrong type of food. Globally, calorific and animal protein consumption per capita is rising as more of the population moves towards a western diet.

Forecasting from the International Food Information Council has predicted that consumers will show greater concern for the planet when making their purchase decisions, with sustainability and climate change making up two of the top five trends in food and nutrition, despite many still being confused about what sustainability means.

For consumers to keep within their planetary boundaries (ie no net environmental damage), research suggests that no more than 98g of red meat and 203g of poultry should be consumed weekly. 

Encouraging pupils to choose more sustainable food is not straightforward, but better food choices can be influenced. As well as education and labelling, this may be as simple as putting vegetarian options at the top of menus, rather than as an afterthought near the end.

Wastage – losing less

One third of global food production is lost or wasted. Reducing waste provides a major opportunity to make food more sustainable and economically efficient.

The British charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) have made some of the following recommendations:

Choosing correct date labelling, using ‘best before’ when possible.

Removing ‘sell by’ and ‘display until’ dates.

Extending shelf life (provided food quality and safety are not compromised).

Providing clear storage guidance.

Clear advice on foods which can be frozen at home.

Providing portioning information on packaging.

Smaller pack sizes for products that are wasted in high volume, eg bread loaves. 

Packaging is also another critical aspect of food production, keeping food safe and thus preventing wastage. The type, weight and volume of packaging determine the transport efficiency, with more packaging increasing the transport volume, and thus emissions released.

Trade-offs thus occur between having enough packaging to prevent damage and wastage, but not so much that high emissions are generated from the production and transport of the packaging.

It seems counterintuitive to think that packaging may actually support sustainable food systems but this highlights the complexities of sustainable food systems.

Change – what you can do

These steps are key and realistic considerations providing practicable actions for catering teams of things you can start to implement (if you haven’t already):

Education about healthy and sustainable eating, including where food comes from.

Greater transparency, traceability and provision of information through solutions which provide environmental impact assessments of ingredients and recipes.

Planning a menu that is more sustainable and agile, whilst also meeting nutritional requirements. 

Samples to encourage exposure to different foods for pupils.

Better manage food waste – look at how the food is stored, prepared and served, including portion sizes etc.

Sustainability group and policy creation – understand what issues matter to your pupils involve them. 

Meat-free days and education around how to reduce meat consumption done in exciting and innovative ways.

By starting with a focus on both what is consumed and what is wasted, in your own school, your catering team can play a key role in promoting sustainable food habits for the future. 

Whether you have started initiatives such as these – or are about to – as food procurement experts, allmanhall are on hand to provide advice. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 




Sources: K. Richardson, Professor at the University of Copenhagen: Developing Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, Meek, K. 2020.

[post_title] => Losing less and eating smarter [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => losing-less-and-eating-smarter [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-05-24 15:51:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-05-24 14:51:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [26] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 33139 [post_author] => 858 [post_date] => 2021-03-29 06:30:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-03-29 05:30:27 [post_content] =>

Reviewing staff working practices and meal provision

The pandemic has forced the implementation of new ways meals are prepared and served. Self-service is being replaced with more labour-intensive, fully plated meals, putting strain on staff already under pressure (however, portion control is easier to manage, so the upside is cost savings). Packed lunches are an alternative and now is a good time to trial new ideas such as a sandwich solution or click and collect, where meals are ordered online in advance.

Supply chain considerations

Elements of the supply chain have been under extreme pressure as a result of the pandemic and the challenges resulting from multiple lockdowns. Communication with suppliers is critical. Changes to delivery days and frequency may be unavoidable.  As inventories are not normally stockpiled, it is also important to identify and communicate anticipated volume changes, including menu changes and new product lines required. Inventory-management systems use historic purchase data to help forecast future demand, so it is easy to see how significant changes may lead to impaired service performance if not communicated.  Check if suppliers are reputable, with Covid-compliant practices in place, and consider consolidation. You may consider buying in cases, reducing touch points. allmanhall is in regular dialogue with suppliers – consider a procurement partner to manage your supply chain. 

Social distancing

Review the flow of your kitchen/s. You may stagger staff arrivals and departures. Shift working and a flexible rota system can reduce chances of contact. If limited space, introduce one-way travel. Arguably, catering environments such as boarding schools with ‘house feeding’ may find it easier to operate distanced ‘pods’, whereas central dining facilities may implement extended service times. Others have split dining of covers and complex logistical planning to operate this.


Now is a time to update cleaning schedules, concentrating on key touch points, cleaning every two hours, and cleaning seats and tables after every sitting. Deep cleaning the whole kitchen area during any breaks in service – such as holidays – may be a good idea. Remove all unnecessaries, clean uniforms more frequently and, of course, ensure adequate supplies of PPE.

Advice and communications

Liaise with administrators over operational changes and communicate changes to the foodservice offering and the method of delivery.  Use advice resources and information online, ie from the government and organisations such as the FSA. 

Opportunity to trial new ideas

From environmentally friendly single-use packaging and ready-packed cutlery to labour-saving technology reducing the pressure on staff, to innovating your menus with at least weekly menu planning to take advantage of lower prices for foods in season. Consider new ideas!

Focus on food cost savings

Implementing a software support platform – and embracing the resulting efficiencies – can lead to significant cost savings. Review team output and bring back into the kitchen those moved into administration roles. High-spend categories such as meat can be reduced or substituted, and vegetarian dishes offered as an alternative. Review the need for luxury items and use own brand if appropriate. One advantage of operating a restricted menu is that food costs and wastage are more easily controlled. In summary, there are many considerations for caterers, but the following will help: ● Introducing new approaches to the food service offering ● Becoming more agile with more flexible and leaner working practices ● Extending understanding and empathy to suppliers ● Getting orders in with plenty of notice! Strong communication, planning and embracing leaner, more agile working practices will help overcome the challenges faced in our new normal. The ability to adapt proactively will help school caterers to cope, if not thrive. 
For more information, please visit or email Jo Hall at [post_title] => Coping with Covid – compliance and other considerations [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => coping-with-covid-compliance-and-other-considerations [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-03-26 12:22:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-03-26 12:22:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [27] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 32586 [post_author] => 57 [post_date] => 2021-03-11 06:30:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-03-11 06:30:49 [post_content] => It is a positive outcome for producers and consumers alike that a free trade agreement has been struck with the EU prior to the end of the transition period, although the full impacts are yet to materialise. A no-deal scenario has been averted and tariffs and quotas will not be enacted upon most goods. However, the frictionless cross-border trade with the EU that the UK was used to is no more. There are significant changes to import and export rules, and this has generated additional red tape and disruption. For the food and drink sector, these changes include sanitary and phytosanitary controls, which are measures to protect human, animal and plant health. Another key challenge to the interconnected supply chain involves ‘rules of origin’ requirements, which ensure that third parties pay the requisite tariffs. These, in essence, dictate a product’s country of origin and are determined by how much processing has been undertaken and the levels of third-country inputs used within the process. It has been reported that many companies have been caught out by the increased levels of administration required to provide proof of origin or have been unexpectedly liable for tariff payments. Whilst the disruption of a no-deal scenario has been avoided, the true cost impacts are yet to fully materialise. Over the course of the next few months, we will start to understand how organisations and supply chains are adapting and the scale of any cost and quality impacts. Further afield, we wait to see the potential benefits of new trade agreements.
Any suggestions that these costs will not lead to an increase in food prices should be taken with a really hefty pinch of salt – Dominic Gouldie, head of international trade, Food and Drink Federation

Four key things catering operations within schools can be doing

1. Stocking up – increasing stock levels of ambient and frozen products may alleviate any initial challenges on fresh produce from the EU. Using frozen veg and tinned fruit may need to be an option. 2. Using a higher proportion of UK product – this should reduce the chance of border disruption. However, do be aware that constituent ingredients used in UK food manufacture may be impacted. 3. Being flexible around your offering – be prepared to order own-label instead of branded goods where availability issues or cost increases occur. There may be a need to be flexible on the quality of fresh produce. You can also increase your order lead time. For example, it is not recommended to order day one for delivery on day two for use on day two. Operational flexibility is key. Supply disruption may cause increased product substitutions, so it is imperative that your allergen management processes and best practice are followed. 4. Communicating – ensure that you are regularly talking to your suppliers and advising your consumers and wider stakeholders to ensure that supply challenges are understood. With the added level of disruption and change in delivery days and routes due to the recent Covid-19 lockdown, this need for communication is vital.
Established in 2006, allmanhall is an independent, family owned and managed business providing expert food procurement and supply chain management, combined with hands-on catering and nutrition advice. Working in a partnership with its independent education clients, allmanhall’s purpose is to deliver the best food, the best cost savings and the best support. Mike Meek, procurement director at allmanhall, has been providing commentary and analysis on Brexit and the impact of possible outcomes for the past few years and is also on the University of Warwick advisory committee to the government regarding food supply. For more information, please visit or email Jo Hall at [post_title] => What does the free trade agreement mean for your food supply? And what can schools be doing now? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => what-does-the-free-trade-agreement-mean-for-your-food-supply-and-what-can-schools-be-doing-now [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-03-08 16:03:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-03-08 16:03:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [28] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 31997 [post_author] => 822 [post_date] => 2021-01-21 14:47:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2021-01-21 14:47:08 [post_content] => The impact that can be achieved as a result of set standards to ensure public procurement of food meets key health goals is well recognised by government and public health professionals. Now there is enhanced pressure from sustainability and nutrition leaders for these standards to also include the impact on the environment and the planet. Part Two of the National Food Strategy, with Henry Dimbleby at the helm, may well have a greater focus on both sustainability and health. It will include teaching children where their food comes from, and the impact the food supply chain has on the environment. Eating behaviours are proven to be very hard to change. But if the approach manages to fuel the passion and imagination of young people it may also help to create healthier eating habits for the longer term. It will be made public in 2021 and follows Part One which championed the provision of access to free school meals, including holiday clubs, without setting clear and elevated standards for settings.
Schools currently lack a great deal by way of direction from government when it comes to sustainability
Schools currently lack a great deal by way of direction from government when it comes to sustainability. There are no regulations around meeting any specific sustainability requirements, in the UK, and the very few school food standards mention sustainability. However, the awareness of sustainability in education settings has, over the last few years, significantly increased. Many realise their ability to play a role in making a difference. And support exists for schools interested in doing so. There are voluntary schemes around food sustainability accreditations for schools. For example, The Soil Association ‘Food for Life Served Here Award’ certifies criteria such as the use of sustainable fish and of seasonal or local produce, and gives recognition to meals cooked from scratch.

What roles can caterers and dietitians play and what developments are on the horizon?

  • Educating children about healthy and sustainable eating, including where their food comes from. This can help create healthier eating habits for life, as well as dispelling myths about what constitutes sustainable eating.
  • Menu planning to design a menu that is more sustainable and agile, that meets nutritional requirements whilst also appealing to the students. From the language to the layout, menu planning can make sustainable and plant-based food choices more exciting. Sometimes the simplest things can be the most impactful – i.e. putting the most sustainable options first on the menu (usually meat would be top).
  • Taste is a key element, as is taste perception. A dietitian can facilitate the provision of samples, to encourage exposure to different foods and therefore develop greater levels and range of ‘acceptability’.
  • Food waste can be managed by considering ways the food is stored and prepared and serve. Dietitians and catering teams can work together to explore minimising waste and encouraging regular feedback from students about the popularity of dishes. We come back to education here, as onboarding students onto any waste reduction initiatives implemented by the school can have a big impact.
  • Sustainable group creation, led by students is a great way to get feedback, understand what issues matter to students and to involve them in the solution.
  • Sustainable food policy, written to make sure the whole school is part of the approach. It can extend as far as to be included in lesson plans.
  • Meat free days and educating children about how to reduce meat consumption is important, with red and processed meat having the single greatest environmental impact of any food (global meat consumption has quadrupled since 1965). Meat free days can be done in exciting and innovative ways, to be popular with students. There can be concerns around protein intakes and iron, associated with this, but a dietitian can advise. Again, this comes back to menu planning.
  Dietitians and school catering teams can play key roles in promoting food sustainability, to the benefit of both the environment and the health of children, and in doing so will help promote sustainable habits for the future. [post_title] => Teaching food sustainability in schools can lead to long-term benefits for all [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => teaching-food-sustainability-in-schools-can-lead-to-long-term-benefits-for-all [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-01-25 09:15:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-01-25 09:15:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [29] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 30961 [post_author] => 858 [post_date] => 2020-11-20 00:00:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-11-20 00:00:45 [post_content] => For caterers within educational settings, it is clear that the current pandemic is challenging the long-established norm. The provision of food is one of the biggest costs in a school, but the pandemic has created an opportunity to innovate and trial new ideas in the way food is delivered whilst managing costs at this difficult time. So, how can independent schools embrace leaner, more agile working practices?

Review staff working practices and meal provision

One of the most critical planning considerations is staff numbers and their ability to adapt. The pandemic has forced meals to be prepared and served in new ways. Self-service is being replaced with fully plated meals – far more labour-intensive. However, portion control is easier to manage with plated meals, so the upside is cost savings. Packed lunches could be an alternative and now is a good time to trial new ideas such as a click and collect solution where a student orders a meal online prior to collection.

Opportunities and innovations

Look at using environmentally friendly single-use packaging and ready-packed cutlery. Labour-saving technology in the kitchen can also reduce the pressure on staff. Catering-controls platforms will help you cost menus and help to eliminate waste. Create more seasonal menus, taking advantage of lower prices for foods in season.

Social distancing

With social distancing it is necessary to review the flow in a kitchen. Ease the pressure and help with safety by staggering the time of staff arrival and departure and create shift working and flexible rotas. For students, space out dining seats, split dining areas and stagger lunch times. For all, consider one-way travel.


Kitchens will already be designed with good hygiene in mind. Now is the time to update cleaning schedules, concentrating on key touchpoints, cleaning every two hours, and cleaning seats and tables after every sitting. It could be a good idea to look at deep cleaning the whole kitchen area during holiday breaks. Remove unnecessary furnishings, clean chefs’ uniforms more frequently and, of course, ensure adequate PPE.

Supply chain considerations

Elements of the supply chain have been under extreme pressure as a result of the pandemic. Many foodservice suppliers, still recovering from the initial lockdown, are now carrying out impact assessments. Continue to support and extend empathy to suppliers during this challenging trading time, understanding that some flexibility around delivery days and product availability may be required. If you are using a procurement partner, like allmanhall, they will be in constant dialogue with these suppliers for you. You can also take simple steps like considering buying in cases to reduce touchpoints.

Focus on food cost savings

The catering function is one of the biggest costs for an educational establishment. An independent benchmark of the current pricing from existing suppliers, compared like-for-like with others by an independent procurement supplier, can result in savings with very little effort, and is a good exercise in due diligence. Very quickly, it will become clear that a fully managed procurement solution is an essential service rather than an overhead. The savings will speak for themselves. There are many catering considerations to address during Covid-19, but by introducing new practices, becoming more agile with more flexible working, and extending understanding and empathy to suppliers, perhaps using the expertise of a procurement provider, these challenging demands can be met.
W: [post_title] => Embracing a new normal in catering operations [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => embracing-a-new-normal-in-catering-operations [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-02-16 10:18:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-02-16 10:18:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [30] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24995 [post_author] => 57 [post_date] => 2020-06-03 15:34:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-06-03 14:34:45 [post_content] => I have been providing allmanhall clients with some helpful and practical advice around procurement and supply chain management. Working with an expert partner for your food procurement will ensure and enable this approach and deliver the cost savings and support that may be essential for you, at this time. In the meantime, forewarned is forearmed, so here are some considerations…

Key tips

  • Provide advanced notice of reopening wherever possible (two weeks ideally)
  • Forecast phased return to help suppliers plan stock levels and resources
  • Communicate potential changes to your future product mix
  • Share new protocols and business processes relevant to your supply chain
  • Identify supply chain weaknesses and build contingency for potential product shortages or supply disruption
  • Collaborate with your supply network
  An essential concept to remember when planning to re-start operations is that food supply chains operate on a just-in-time (JIT) basis. JIT helps all segments of the supply chain become highly efficient by removing unnecessary waste – both physical and financial.

What does this mean and what are the benefits?

Well, think of the supply chain as a fast-moving conveyor belt, where efficiency gains are attained at each stage by maintaining perpetual motion and curtailing downtime, work-in-progress, inactive assets and money tied up in stock. Most significantly for enthusiastic caterers, JIT has led to significant enhancements in product quality, product shelf-life, freshness and kept food relatively cheap. There can be downsides too and these should be considered when reopening catering facilities. JIT supply chains can be vulnerable to demand surges or disruption where the effects can oscillate throughout the entire supply chain. On this basis, it is good practice to provide advanced notification of site resumption, perhaps even two weeks’ notice. This will help suppliers refine their operational planning, including supply chain, warehousing, distribution, and furloughed workers. As service starts to reopen, suppliers will be keen to optimise or revive distribution routes which may result in some re-routing of existing delivery schedules. Whilst not always the case, it is important to consider that some changes to delivery days and delivery frequency may be enacted, with the option for Saturday deliveries potentially removed. As inventories are not normally stockpiled it is also important to identify and communicate anticipated volume changes, particularly when considering a phased re-opening. This should include menu changes and any new product lines that may be required. Remember, inventory management systems use historic purchase data to help forecast future demand, so it is easy to see how significant changes may lead to impaired service performance if not communicated effectively. Time to use our imagination again and revisit our high-speed conveyor belt concept. When product or components flow through the supply chain they increase in cost. The raw material component generally only accounts for a small proportion of the overall final delivered cost; about 20% in the UK. Other most notable cost factors include transport, energy and labour attributed to the three connected sectors: agriculture, food processing industry and distribution sectors. Wastage incurred further along the supply chain is, therefore, more costly. For assiduous caterers, any wastage incurred at this stage is when the product cost is at its greatest. It has already incurred all the costs associated with farming, manufacture, distribution, and potentially catering production. On this basis, it is not only important to manage your wastage but to appreciate that effective pre-planning and communication with your suppliers can significantly reduce unnecessary wastage for them too. Covid-19 has impacted all segments of the wider supply chain. Clear communication, advanced planning and due consideration will help suppliers improve service performance and manage costs much more effectively whilst navigating through these challenging times. This may require a greater degree of flexibility during these initial stages of operational resumption, but you will reap the rewards in the long run. Should you collaborate with suppliers to alleviate challenges? I would say it is a necessity. allmanhall can help and are already providing support to a number of schools in the independent sector. Why not take a look at our recent webinar regarding operational considerations to achieve cost savings and compliance: Or read a blog about supply chains and the impact on prices:
Mike Meek is a regular contributor to industry think tanks and working groups. In January he was involved in the University of Warwick’s Expert Elicitation day regarding the food industry. [post_title] => How can I help alleviate supply challenges post Covid-19 lockdown? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-can-i-help-alleviate-supply-challenges-post-covid-19-lockdown [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-06-03 16:07:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-06-03 15:07:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [31] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24670 [post_author] => 57 [post_date] => 2020-05-22 00:00:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-21 23:00:18 [post_content] => When considering the impacts of Covid-19 upon supply chains, it doesn’t require a level of deeper philosophical thinking to conclude that many businesses are facing unprecedented challenges; mainly connected to huge swings in demand for their goods or services, which in turn have profoundly impacted supply chains. It is also true that different industrial sectors have been disrupted in extraordinary ways. The ONS (Office for National Statistics) March release showed that ‘Accommodation and Foodservice’ was the hardest hit sector at nearly double the rate of any other sector. In general terms, service providers were worst hit. Obvious again, you may be thinking. Well, less obvious is the fact that most supply chains are facing unprecedented disruption, that the scenarios faced are contrasted and even industry sectors sitting at the better end of the GDP report have stressed supply chains. It is advisable to invest time in developing supply chain resilience, having a supply chain plan, a clear communication strategy and the agility to complement it. Two sectors are starkly demonstrative of this. Firstly, the foodservice sector which has experienced a huge drop in demand, a challenged top line leading to cost pressure, cashflow challenges, excessive inventories, largely inactive operations, and uncertainty regarding if, how and when the recovery will happen.
Covid-19 has not just impacted single suppliers, but all segments of the connected supply chain
Contrast this to suppliers of PPE or where capacity is constrained by a steep increase in demand, with volume requests at many thousands of times above normal, causing a massive strain on manufacturing plants and distribution facilities, workforce hiring, future planning and, very noticeably, inventory shortages. Covid-19 has not just impacted single suppliers, but all segments of the connected supply chain from growing, production, warehousing, distribution and the consumer. In relation to food markets, a surge in retail demand is driving up some prices, particularly for fruit and vegetables. Other factors include household stockpiling of fruit due to shortage concerns and attempts to boost immune systems; restricted borders and travel disrupting supply chains; some weather-related shortages plus seasonal change, which can be a volatile time of year for quality, even aside from these extreme circumstances. Fears of labour shortages in heavily effected regions and lack of temporary seasonal farm workers in the UK may also impact prices. British consumers prioritising cheaper protein items when in lockdown has led to significant demand surges for cheaper protein items such as chicken and eggs. Shortages of flour are being driven by the enthusiastic demand for home baking. But for the reasons identified not all prices are rising, some are falling. The dairy industry faces challenges as a result of a collapse in the foodservice sector with falling demand and prices. There is increased demand for cheaper beef cuts such as minced beef. These increases in retail sales are failing to offset losses from the foodservice sector. Household stockpiling is easing which should help provide a clearer picture of overall demand and how much volume has been gained within the retail sector to counter the losses in foodservice. Countries are focusing on food security and domestic production. This may impact future supply and demand patterns for the UK and extend to other key components such as essential non-food packaging items and PPE. The virus is impacting countries at different times and at different stages of infection. As a result, commodity markets remain uncertain as varied responses impact supply chains. The long run balance between low cost production and shorter localised supply chains requires close attention. allmanhall can benchmark and optimise your food costs. Contact us or visit for details. [post_title] => How is Covid-19 impacting supply chains and prices? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-is-covid-19-impacting-supply-chains-and-prices [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-06-04 15:49:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-06-04 14:49:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 32 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 41688 [post_author] => 1244 [post_date] => 2022-06-15 13:18:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-06-15 12:18:51 [post_content] => As they get close to celebrating 16 years of supporting clients and inspiring improvement in catering-related procurement, allmanhall is delighted to announce the appointment of Katrina Lane to the position of Senior Client Relationship Manager as part of its continued commitment to expanding its team of professionals and providing supporting school catering teams with hands-on advice and experience. Katrina’s introduction to catering began at the age of eight, helping with her family’s catering business, chopping parsley and folding napkins, which fostered her hands on approach. Since then, Katrina has, professionally, acquired a raft of knowledge and experience from across the catering spectrum. Most recently, Katrina spent four years at Winchester College as Head of Catering and Hospitality, where she was responsible for nutrition and menu planning, and managing all aspects of a very unique and complex catering provision. Her extensive experience will be hugely beneficial to school catering teams working with allmanhall, as she embarks on a new chapter and takes on this new client support role at the leading food procurement provider. Commenting on her move to allmanhall, Katrina said, “I am looking forward to using my wide range of catering experience to help provide the best service to allmanhall’s clients. Having worked in every element of the catering operation I understand and can empathise with the pressures being faced. By working alongside clients, I can communicate to them changes in the marketplace and help to manage their spend.” Her remit at allmanhall will see her looking after school clients’ needs on a daily basis, building relationships, managing suppliers, and supporting catering teams with catering consultancy and with their food purchasing in these challenging times. Jo Hall, one of the directors at allmanhall adds to this saying “Katrina is such an exciting addition to our team of passionate, knowledgeable and experienced experts. Our school partners are going to gain so much from the plethora of experiences she has had in an array of catering settings and sectors. Katrina’s joining our team underlines our ongoing commitment to supporting relationships which truly benefit schools, at a time when many other organisations are scaling back this valued support.” [post_title] => allmanhall appoints new Senior Client Relationship Manager to further support Schools [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => allmanhall-appoints-new-senior-client-relationship-manager-to-further-support-schools [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-06-15 13:19:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-06-15 12:19:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 32 [max_num_pages] => 0 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_favicon] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 624a9c3950921ada78913030537adfd1 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )
Connect with allmanhall



Established in 2006, allmanhall is an independent organisation, providing food procurement expertise and practical foodservice consultancy. allmanhall specialises in independent education – their first school still works with them today.

As food procurement experts, allmanhall delivers full management of the foodservice and catering-related supply chain – they deliver the best food, the best cost savings, and the best support for schools.

From risk mitigation to supplier negotiation and managing price increases, from sustainability, compliance or nutrition advice to administrative efficiencies… allmanhall will help.

allmanhall’s Procurement Director is on the University of Warwick’s Advisory Committee to the Government regarding food supply.

Contact us


Schools to expect high food prices for a while

Sponsored: Procurement director at allmanhall, Mike Meek, takes a look at what schools can expect in 2022 and whether food prices are likely to continue to climb

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Sponsored: There are already some key themes emerging for food and the food supply chain for 2022. Managing director of allmanhall, Oliver Hall, explores them in more detail

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2022 – the year of potato milk and more meat alternatives

Sponsored: 2022 could be the year you have your first glass of potato milk. What other sustainable food trends await us this year? Laura Taylor, buyer at allmanhall, investigates

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Expert procurement support – essential in these challenging times?

Sponsored: Food procurement specialists allmanhall are here to support school catering teams
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