News & Insight

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School Dinners: What Kids Want might surprise you

What do kids want in their school dinners? Burger and chips? Ice cream with chocolate sprinkles? Well according to a new report – School Dinners: What Kids Want[1] – school children today have more mature tastes…

A whopping 61% want spicier curries, 47% want more interesting food and 40% want more vegetarian food. Meat substitutes were particularly popular with older kids, with 17% specifically saying they wanted Quorn.

Planning your back to school menu? Try a Quorn keema curry

This spicy little number is just the sort of dish kids today are looking for. Give it a try! And for a hotter keema, add a teaspoon of chilli powder with the garlic.

keema curry

Get the recipe



[1] Santa Maria Foodservice, School Meals: What Kids Want, 2016

Vegetarian menu

Meat free menus springing up on UK high streets

Pret a Manger has recently announced plans to launch a vegetarian-only store. The news was quickly followed with an announcement from fresh food-to-go chain EAT that it will be expanding its range of vegan options.

While you might expect the news from brands known for ‘healthy fast food’ – Pret a Manger and Eat are not the only ones getting in on the action. In the first quarter of 2016, Italian chain Zizzi announced its new vegan mozzarella alternative, ‘Mozzarisella’ and pub giant JD Wetherspoon launched a separate vegetarian and vegan menu in each of its 900+ sites.

The developments all point to one thing – the foodservice industry is waking up to the meteoric rise in demand for meat free diets. And just in time too. 35% of Brits saying they consider themselves as ‘semi-vegetarian’ or ‘flexitarian’.

To see how you can get a slice of the action, visit www.quornfoodservice.co.uk

National Vegetarian Week

Are you getting involved in National Vegetarian Week?

This week (16–22 May) is National Vegetarian Week and we’ve been calling on operators to mark it by serving a new meat free dish every day of the week.

Why are we supporting the campaign?

Demand for meat free dishes is growing fast, with 35% of Brits now seeing themselves as ‘semi-vegetarian’ or ‘flexitarian’[1]. And that number is set to rise by 10% in 2016[2].

National Vegetarian Week is the perfect opportunity to capitalise on this growing trend. That’s why we want operators to give their menu a meat free boost and discover how sizable the market is and how simple – and profitable – it can be.

[1] Mintel research (2014)

[2] Mintel research (2014)

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Change on the menu as millennials drive boom in ‘OOH’ spending

The British out-of-home (OOH) foodservice market is expected to grow by 1.6% in 2016 and a further 1.2% in 2017 according to NPD Group.

Why? There are lots of factors at play, but many are suggesting ‘millennials’ are a weighty factor behind the growth. The ‘smartphone generation’ are expected to outspend the ‘baby boomers’ by 2017, and their eating habits are quite different to those of their parents…

In fact, a 2015 report by contract caterer Elior revealed that millennials eat out more than any other age group and twice as often as the over 60s – with 12% of them eating out every single day.

But it’s not just how often they eat out that sets them apart from other generations – it’s what they eat too. 20% of 16-24 year olds follow either vegetarian or vegan diets according to Mintel, with many more following a “flexitarian” diet i.e. following a vegetarian or vegan diet “some of the time”.

With 52% of consumers believing vegetarian options are better for the environment, Flexitarianism is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, 35% of Brits now see themselves as ‘semi-vegetarian’ or ‘flexitarian’. And the total number in the UK is set to rise by 10% in 2016, according to Mintel.

And the food industry is responding. In 2015, meat-free dishes accounted for 31% of new menu items across the eating-out sector. A rise of 18% from 2014.

To find out how you can keep your menu up to date with great tasting meat-free meals, visit Quornfoodservice.co.uk.

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Practice what you preach! Help staff stay healthy, NHS told

The head of the NHS in England has offered hospitals cash incentives if they help staff improve their health.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “As the largest employer in Europe, the NHS needs to practice what it preaches by offering better support for the health and well-being of our own 1.3 million staff.”

To spur boards into action, hospitals will be offered cash incentives. A £600 million pot has been set aside from April 2016. To get their share, hospitals must limit the availability of junk food and provide physiotherapy and mental health support.

The measures have been introduced to help cut the £2.4 billion a year it costs to treat NHS staff. Mental health and musculoskeletal problems are the two most expensive items on the bill.

To receive their share of the cash, hospitals must remove price promotions and checkout displays on sugary drinks and high-fat or salty foods. They’ve also been ordered to increase the number of front-line staff given the winter flu jab.

Justifying the decision, Simon Stevens said: “A good place to start is by tackling the sources of staff sickness absence including mental health and musculoskeletal injuries, while doing our bit to end the nation’s obesity epidemic by ditching junk food and sugary drinks in place of tasty, healthy and affordable alternatives. If we can do this well, we hope that more parts of the public and private sector will see the sense of it and also take the plunge.”

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Quorn Foods’ Tony Davison pulls back the curtain on Quorn in an exclusive interview with The Caterer

Tony Davison started at Quorn Foods over 20 years ago and in many ways his ambition to ‘normalise’ the brand has been realised. Today, meat free cuisine goes from strength to strength and Quorn meals are enjoyed in all areas of the foodservice industry. No longer ‘just for veggies’ Quorn can be an aid to tackling obesity and is a long-term food solution.

In an exclusive interview with The Caterer, Tony pulls back the curtain as he discusses the next stage of Quorn’s life after the acquisition of Marlow Foods by Filipino corporation Monde Nissin, the industry initiatives it’s involved in and the role it can play in the foodservice industry of tomorrow.

To read the full interview, click here.

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Gluten free can be easy with Quorn

Our range of gluten free ingredients is perfect as part of a tasty gluten free recipe.

According to Coeliac UK, 1 in 100 people in the UK have coeliac disease, which causes intolerance to gluten, managed by following a strict gluten free diet. And, with a growing number of people choosing to reduce or remove gluten from their diet it’s becoming a lifestyle choice too. Whatever the motivation, you are sure to have seen an increase in pupils and staff requesting gluten free options.

That’s where we can help.

Easy to identify by the ‘cross grain symbol’ on each pack, our portfolio of gluten free ingredients includes Quorn mince, pieces, plain fillets, steak strips, strips, roast and frankfurters.

Our experienced team of home economists is always available to help you develop gluten free dishes. Click here to request their support

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Small changes = huge calorie and fat savings this JanUary

This year’s JanUary awareness week (11-17 January 2016) urged individuals, families, government and businesses to improve their health and that of the UK as a whole. The ‘do something good for U’ message championed small, sustainable changes to ensure long-term positive change.

Quorn Foods accepted the challenge and partnered with NHS hospitals to promote the importance of healthy eating to staff and visitors and demonstrate how easy it is to make huge calorie and fat savings by switching to Quorn products.

Across 15 hospitals we set up sampling stations serving tasty Quorn dishes. We instantly saved the NHS staff and visitors that took part a total of:

– 50,000 calories1
– and 2.5kg of saturated fat1
– as well as increasing dietary fibre intake

Take a look at what we got up to in Crosshouse Hospital NHS Ayrshire & Arran.

With 90% less saturated fat and 53% fewer calories2, it really is easy to create delicious, healthier menu choices with Quorn.

Find recipe inspiration here

1. Based on 40g portion of Quorn Mince V’s 50g of Minced Beef (M&W 18-469), a 50g portion of Quorn Fillet V’s 80g Chicken Fillet (M&W 18-488) and 50g Quorn Sausage V’s 80g (80% Pork Sausage) M&W, on Quorn dishes sold on the day of the sampling.

2. Source: McCance and Widdowson: The Composition of Foods. Quorn mince versus beef mince nutrition comparison.

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Broadening protein horizons

Last week the Carbon Trust launched a report, sponsored by Quorn, on protein diversity.  The report examines if encouraging consumers to eat a wider variety of proteins could result in more sustainable diets. The answer was yes, which is good news for our health and the environment.

It has long been reported that we cannot continue to consume meat at the rate that our growing population currently does.  Resources are not infinite and the carbon emissions and water and land usage in livestock farming is not doing the planet any favours. There is also much debate over the health implications of certain meat products. So what are the alternatives?

There is a wide range of protein sources available to us. As well as livestock and fish, there is, of course mycoprotein (Quorn), plant-based proteins, and future foods, such as insect protein, algal protein and lab grown meat.

The big question is how do we influence such a significant shift in eating behaviours?

Foodservice has an important role to play in changing consumer habits and protein choices. Contract caterers, for example, are in a great position to control menu development and promote a range of options. Similarly, restaurants can create commercial opportunities through menu innovation that expands protein choices.

One thing is for sure. The health and environmental message alone is not going to change the traditional diets of the majority. Taste has to be the trump card. Great-tasting, flavoursome food is the driver to encouraging consumers to try and ultimately adopt alternative proteins.

The Quorn ingredient was championed as a sustainable protein option in the Carbon Trust report.  Our products can be used in a host of recipes to create innovative and delicious menu choices. From schools and hospitals through to the workplace, pubs and restaurants, Quorn products offer a fantastic opportunity to increase a menu’s protein diversity and offer consumers tasty, healthier and more sustainable options.

Download the Carbon Trust report here

Find Quorn recipe inspiration here

Quorn sausage twists

The sausage roll breaks America!

It seems that (just like us), Brits are flabbergasted that our American cousins have until now been oblivious to the humble yet heroic snack, the sausage roll.

Last week, New York Times readers came across the pastry favourite for the very first time when the recipe was published in the City Kitchen column.

As well as generating widespread astonishment and debate as to how the sausage roll had never broken America, the news also triggered enthusiastic discussion on how the giant of snacks should be eaten.

Whatever your preference, the sausage roll is most definitely versatile (perhaps the secret to its longevity?) It can be adapted for all tastes and occasions, with many different twists on the traditional pork sausage centre having been created.

For those looking for a tasty meat free snack, sausage rolls made with Quorn sausages are delicious. And, with Christmas just round the corner, our home economist, Kate Snow, has created a real Christmas cracker for you – Quorn Christmas Cracker Sausage Twists. With the classic mix of tangy cranberry sauce and cool soft cheese, they are sure to make an impression on any festive menu. Get the full recipe here…

The new school year welcomes new Quorn products and dishes in Sandwell Schools

When Kath Hayton, area catering manager for SIPS Education Ltd, Sandwell, met the Quorn team at the Midlands LACA meeting, an exciting chain of events began. The results of which, school children across Sandwell will be tucking into this new school year.

On SIPS’ invitation, the Quorn team met with SIPS area catering managers during their menu-planning process to present exciting healthier recipe ideas perfect for school meals. The team loved what they saw (and tasted!) and five new Quorn dishes were selected for the menu. The range of Quorn products used by SIPS was also extended to include Quorn southern style burgers and Quorn frankfurters.

The full support available to school caterers continued at SIPS’ Annual Summer Conference for Unit Catering Supervisors conference in July. Here Kate Snow and Janet Pontefract, Home Economists at Quorn Foods, demonstrated each new recipe from scratch to the 100+ front-line school caterers, ensuring they could confidently recreate each dish in their kitchens.

The Quorn paella, Quorn three bean chilli, Quorn green Thai curry, Quorn southern-style burger and Quorn coronation wraps were enthusiastically enjoyed over lunch, giving the caterers further opportunity to talk with Kate and Janet about the new products and recipes.

Quorn dishes are excellent healthy additions to both primary and secondary school menus – click here to see the recipes chosen by SIPS and more.

Click here to request a meeting with the Quorn team

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Hospitals swap junk food for yoga

Junk food is to disappear from hospitals under a measure announced by the head of the NHS. Instead, yoga and Zumba dancing classes will be provided for nurses and doctors as well as weight-loss seminars and help to stop smoking.

Simon Stevens, the NHS England chief executive, wants an end to fast food chains selling fatty, sugary food in hospital foyers. He said: “It’s time for contractors and catering firms to ditch junk food from hospitals and serve affordable, healthy options instead. Staff, patients and visitors alike will benefit.”

Making a difference is simple – we have done it!  Working with the NHS Sustainability Campaign we have shown how staff, patients and visitors can make huge savings in fat, calories and cholesterol as well as significantly increasing dietary fibre.  And more importantly, this can be done by serving all your favourite meals.

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Millions face risk of diabetes

Up to five million people are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to an official report. Research by Public Health England reveals that millions of people in England have blood-sugar levels so high that they are on the cusp of diabetes.

However research also found that those who followed national guidance schemes lost almost 7lb more over a year than those who did not receive help. As a result, a new programme – the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme – will be launched next year with the aim of cutting the numbers developing Type 2.

Type 2 diabetes is treated by following a healthy diet and taking regular exercise, but some people may still need to take tablets or insulin injections. No foods are excluded or restricted for diabetics, with a healthy balanced diet the general rule.

Dining out doesn’t need to be a headache for those with diabetes.  Including menu choices that are lower in fat and sugar and rich in fruit and vegetables, helps them make the right choices out of home. Quorn products are a fantastic lower-fat alternative to meat that can really help caterers offer great-tasting healthier dishes that their customers will enjoy eating. With the same taste and texture of meat, Quorn ingredients, such as mince and pieces, work well in a host of traditional and contemporary dishes. Use in a favourite bolognese or curry for a healthier version that doesn’t compromise on taste.

Click here for delicious menu inspiration

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Is water key to weight loss?

As well as serving Quorn dishes, offering table water could help customers watching their weight. According to scientists from the National Institute for Health Research at the University of Birmingham, the key to losing weight could be as simple as drinking a pint of water before mealtimes.

A study in which obese adults consumed 500ml of water half an hour before eating their main meals found that they lost an average of 4.3kg (9.48lbs) over 12 weeks.

Sparkling water, sodas and sweetened drinks were not allowed and participants drank plain tap water.

Ensuring consumers have a good choice of great-tasting food when eating out is also important in the battle of the bulge.  A fantastic lower-fat alternative to meat, Quorn ingredients turn favourite dishes into delicious healthier options that are as tasty and enjoyable to eat as those made with meat – but with fewer calories and less fat!

Click here for recipe ideas 

Alarm bells ring over diabetes increase

Alarm bells ring over diabetes increase

Four million people in Britain are now reportedly living with diabetes. This is 60% more than ten years ago and campaigners are warning that the growing crisis could bankrupt the NHS unless urgent action is taken.

According to the Health and Social Care Information Service, diabetes cost primary care providers in England £868.6million last year.

Diabetes UK is calling on the government and NHS to prioritise better care to prevent avoidable and costly complications, along with improved and more flexible education options. NHS England is also urging the public to take responsibility and adopt healthier lifestyles.

With less fat and calories than meat equivalents, Quorn products are perfect for creating healthier dishes for your menu. Simply replace the beef mince in a chilli con carne or spaghetti bolognese with Quorn mince for a healthier and tasty favourite. Click here for more recipe ideas.

Research highlights the importance of school food

Research highlights the importance of school food

A new report has found children from deprived backgrounds are more likely to be overweight or obese and suffer dental issues caused by poor diet, like tooth decay.

The research by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), entitled ‘Focus on the Health and Care of Young People’ found that there has been an increase in the number of young people getting five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but that there is still a long way to go.

The Children’s Food Trust said the research findings are further evidence of how important school food is, particularly for children in poverty who may only get one hot, nutritious meal per day.

As proud sponsors of the recent ‘Food in School and the Teaching of Food’ report by the APPG on a fit and healthy childhood, at Quorn Foods we agree that school food is vital to the health and wellbeing of children. Government policies like universal infant free school meals are helping ensure more children benefit from a hot meal every day.

We’re doing our best to help, by visiting schools all over the country to help children learn the basics of healthy eating. If your school would like a visit from one of our team click here.

Britain breakfasts like a king

Britain breakfasts like a king

One in three people often eat breakfast away from home, according to a new study, with the £76million spent on it daily, giving the economy a welcome boost.

Breakfasts cost on average £7.31, and almost two out of three people (65%) prefer bacon and eggs. Over half eat breakfast more often than they did five years ago, with eight in 10 of the 2,000 people questioned calling it their most important meal of the day.

Give your breakfasts a healthy boost and add Quorn sausage patties to your breakfast menu allowing you to offer the perfect vegetarian option.

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Teenagers are unaware they’re overweight

Over a third of overweight or obese teenagers think they are the correct weight, a study has found.

Published in the International Journal of Obesity, the study weighed and measured nearly 5,000 13-15 year olds and asked if they thought they were ‘about the right weight’, ‘too heavy’ or ‘too light’.

The paper expressed no surprise at the results stating that ‘weight is a topic of considerable interest in modern society, but messages are discordant’. With mass media coverage of obesity showing images of severely obese people, the wrong impression of the medical criteria for overweight and obesity could be misleading.

We work closely with schools to educate teenagers on healthy eating. If your school would like a visit from one of our team click here.

Campaigners call for changes to food promotion

Campaigners call for changes to food promotion

Supermarket price wars have received a lot of publicity in recent years, and now one of the UK’s major retailers has come under fire for prioritising sugary, fatty foods.

The Children’s Food Campaign analysed 200 of the retailer’s ‘new low price’ cuts and found frozen peas and vegetables were the only fruit or vegetable included.

Other products in the promotion included ten bottles of alcohol, nine varieties of frozen pizza, seven types of confectionary, three added sugar aloe vera drinks and two kinds of cake sprinkles.

The campaigning group has now urged the government to include food promotion within the Responsibility Deal. It wants retailers to offer parents a helping hand in encouraging healthy eating for all the family.

At Quorn, we believe it would be great to see retailers and the foodservice industry do more to promote healthy options.

If we are to make any progress in cutting obesity rates, we need to make it easy for people to make healthy choices. To do this, there needs to be a cohesive approach that targets consumers whether they are staying in or eating out of home.

Click here to find healthier, meat free classic recipe ideas.

Britain’s doctors join the sugar tax debate

Britain’s doctors join the sugar tax debate

The ongoing debate about taxing sugar-laden food and drink has stepped up a level as Britain’s doctors publically make their voices and opinions heard.

A report from the British Medical Association is calling for direct action to help combat the obesity crisis. Their demands include: a 20% tax on sugary drinks, with the money used to subsidise the price of fruit and vegetables making them more accessible to low-income families; a clampdown on the marketing of unhealthy food and drink to children; mandatory standards for school food; and a ban on clusters of fast food outlets.

The chair of the BMA board of science, Professor Sheila Hollins, said that doctors are increasingly concerned about the consequences of poor diet, which accounts for up to 70,000 deaths annually and costs the NHS £6bn a year.

In other countries taxing unhealthy food and drink, positive health outcomes have been recorded. The BMA estimates that the proposed 20% tax could reduce obesity in the UK by approximately 180,000 people.

The government has said that it will not consider a sugar tax – but the debate goes on…

We are committed to working with caterers to provide healthier options for everyone – from school children through to employees. With less calories and fat than meat equivalents, Quorn products help support a healthier diet and lifestyle.

High-sugar drinks are dropped by Britain’s biggest grocer (2)

High-sugar drinks are dropped by Britain’s biggest grocer

The obesity phenomenon has led to plans for sugary drinks to be withdrawn from sale at Tesco amid concern over childhood obesity.

Pouches and cartons of high-sugar Ribena, Capri-Sun and Rubicon drinks designed for children’s school lunchboxes – and popular with parents – will stop being sold at Tesco in September.

Tesco will continue to sell the “no added sugar” versions of the drinks as well as the larger bottles of the high-sugar drinks aimed at adults.

But Tesco’s move has provoked a backlash from some customers determined to keep buying sugary drinks, with some accusing the supermarket of hypocrisy.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We want to help our customers make healthier choices and that’s why we’ve pledged to continue to cut sugar from the food and drink on our shelves.”

Is your breakfast bringing you down

Is your breakfast bringing you down?

A study by scientists at the University of Montreal has suggested that eating large quantities of saturated fat can damage the brain circuits linked to motivation, which could explain the slump experienced after eating a ‘full English’.

Published in Neuro-psychopharmacology, the scientists reported that saturated fat, which is present in many dairy products and processed meats, dampened the brain’s responses to a reward chemical that plays a critical role in motivation.

It’s easy to reduce the saturated fat levels of your favourite fry up. Switch to Quorn sausages with more than 90% less saturated fat than a traditional pork sausage*, it’s a great-tasting, healthier choice.

*Source: McCance & Widdowson, nutrition comparison per 100g: Quorn sausage versus pork sausage

Out with sugar in with the fibre

Out with sugar and in with fibre

The Government has accepted recommendations by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) to reduce the recommended daily sugar intake by half to combat the growing diabetes and obesity epidemic.

The SACN’s report on carbohydrates states that the consumption of free sugars (including added and naturally occurring) should account for just 5% of an individual’s daily energy intake, removing the ‘acceptable upper limit’ of 10% originally in the draft report. It urges everyone to minimise consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, as one 350ml can of fizzy drink could account for almost the entire recommended daily allowance. Taking it one step further, Public Health England has called for parents to completely remove sugary drinks from their children’s diets.

The report also champions an 80% increase in fibre intake, taking the recommended amount from 24g per day to 30g per day for adults – the equivalent of at least eight portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

The public health minister has confirmed that the recommendations will be used by government to develop its national strategy on childhood obesity.

The Quorn ingredient is not only low in sugars, but a great source of dietary fibre. Simply add it to your customers’ favourite dishes, such as spaghetti Bolognese, to increase their fibre intake.

 

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Catering Mark Supplier Scheme: our commitment to healthy and sustainable diets

As part of our commitment to helping you create delicious meals that are both healthy and sustainable, we’ve joined the Food for Life Catering Mark Supplier Scheme

Like you, we believe everyone deserves to enjoy freshly prepared food using quality, sustainable ingredients. Adding Quorn ingredients to your menu can help you to do just that. It can also support you in achieving specific standards towards Food for Life’s Bronze, Silver and Gold Catering Mark awards.

Our entire range qualifies for these Catering Mark Bronze standards:

• 75% of dishes are freshly prepared from unprocessed ingredients

• Meals contain no undesirable food additives or hydrogenated fats

• No GM ingredients are used

There’s more…

Including Quorn dishes on your menu can also help you upgrade to Silver and Gold as their regular appearance on the menu will gain valuable points under the Making Healthy Eating Easier section:

• 2.2.1: Meat-free day or equivalent number of healthier plant-based main options

• 2.2.2: Steps to serve meat in moderation

Our ingredients naturally support other areas of the Catering Mark progression too. Quorn products are vegetarian, Halal, Kosher* and gluten free**, making it easier to cater for cultural and dietary needs. We also only use free-range eggs in the production process and are committed to minimising salt.

Whether you already hold the Catering Mark awards, are currently working towards them or are completely new to the scheme, we want to help you. Take a look at how we can support you in achieving and maintaining your awards and a healthier way of life [link to pdf on website].

*Quorn mince

**Quorn mince, Quorn pieces, Quorn steak strips, Quorn plain strips, Quorn plain fillets, Quorn roast, Quorn frankfurters

SA_CateringSupplier_Logo_CMYK_AW

Catering Mark Supplier Scheme: our commitment to healthy and sustainable diets

As part of our commitment to helping you create delicious school meals that are both healthy and sustainable, we’ve joined the Food for Life Catering Mark Supplier Scheme

Like you, we believe every child deserves to enjoy freshly prepared food using quality, sustainable ingredients. Adding Quorn ingredients to your menu can help you to do just that. It can also support you in achieving specific standards towards Food for Life’s Bronze, Silver and Gold Catering Mark awards.

Our entire range qualifies for these Catering Mark Bronze standards:

• 75% of dishes are freshly prepared from unprocessed ingredients

• Meals contain no undesirable food additives or hydrogenated fats

• No GM ingredients are used

There’s more…

Including Quorn dishes on your menu can also help you upgrade to Silver and Gold as their regular appearance on the menu will gain valuable points under the Making Healthy Eating Easier section:

• 2.2.1: Meat-free day or equivalent number of healthier plant-based main options

• 2.2.2: Steps to serve meat in moderation

Our ingredients naturally support other areas of the Catering Mark progression too. Quorn products are vegetarian, Halal, Kosher* and gluten free**, making it easier to cater for cultural and dietary needs. We also only use free-range eggs in the production process and are committed to minimising salt.

Whether you already hold the Catering Mark awards, are currently working towards them or are completely new to the scheme, we want to help you. Take a look at how we can support you in achieving and maintaining your awards and a healthier way of life [link to pdf on website].

*Quorn mince

**Quorn mince, Quorn pieces, Quorn steak strips, Quorn plain strips, Quorn plain fillets, Quorn roast, Quorn frankfurters

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Eat less meat for a sustainable future

The cross-government Global Food Security Programme has published a new report on global food and nutrition security, which advises people to eat less meat.

The report, called The principles of healthy and sustainable eating patterns, says meat has a higher environmental cost than other sources of protein. This is caused by a variety of factors, including the water required to produce animal feed, and the greenhouse gas emissions caused by beef and lamb production.

It also cites evidence showing a link between red meat consumption and higher levels of some types of cancer.

Other recommendations include eating more plant based foods, including at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and eating fewer foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt.

At Quorn Foods, we want to raise awareness of the benefits of eating less meat, both for the environment and for our health. That’s why we’ve pledged our support for World Meat Free Day on 15 June. Have you taken the pledge yet? Visit www.worldmeatfreeday.com to find out more.

Jamie Oliver

Jamie joins the flexitarian revolution

Jamie Oliver has revealed a penchant for flexitarianism – admitting he tries to go meat-free two or three times a week.

He’s described the experience as ‘an absolute joy’, encouraging others to eat more plant-based foods, citing the benefits to the environment, and the potential to save money. He also spilled the beans about his battle to get Channel 4 to make a programme about vegetarian eating, adding that ‘producers are not convinced the public want to see it’. In a third pledge of support for those avoiding meat, Jamie also announced that he’ll be launching a vegetarian cookbook in the very near future.

At Quorn Foods we’re excited to see such a high profile chef promoting the benefits of meat-free eating and spreading the word on its health and environmental benefits.

It would be great to see more vegetarian cookery programmes, and for more television chefs to promote the benefits of eating less meat.

On the lookout for meat free menu inspiration? Take a look at our tasty recipes.

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Parents urged to take child obesity seriously

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, has come out with some tough words for British parents this week, saying families are doing something ‘terribly wrong’ in terms of the food and drink they’re feeding kids.

The most recent figures show one in ten children is obese by the start of primary school – and one in five is obese by the time they finish.

Stevens argues parents should give their children healthy snacks, such as milk and apples instead of fizzy drinks and chocolate, adding that he would consider supporting a ‘sugar tax’.

It’s the second time in less than two months Stevens has spoken out about the UK’s obesity epidemic. He’s previously urged British families to pull out all the stops on prevention rather than waiting for the NHS to fix the problem. Speaking at a doctor’s surgery in Birmingham last month, he said obesity is becoming ‘normalised’ via diets of junk food, sugary, fizzy drinks and couch potato lifestyles.

It will be fascinating to see what measures the new Government puts in place to combat obesity. Will we see a sugar tax or will families start to take advice about prevention more seriously?

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Parents have ‘Goldilocks syndrome’ when it comes to child obesity

British parents have been told they are in danger of ‘normalising obesity’ following a five-year study, which found the vast majority of parents with overweight children are oblivious to their weight problem.

For the research, which tracked 7,000 children who were between two and five at the beginning of the project, parents were asked whether they considered their child to be overweight, underweight, or just about the right weight.

Overall, more than 94 per cent of parents of overweight children thought they were “about the right weight” with the findings most marked among boys.

Researchers called the findings, which are published in the Journal of Childhood Obesity, “alarming”.

The study is further evidence of just how complex the problem of childhood obesity is.  At Quorn we believe that giving children dishes they recognise with all the flavour, significantly fewer calories and less fat, is a way to introduce healthier practices.

Check out the recipe section of our website for inspiration.

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10 million Britons ‘have allergies that affect quality of life’

Food allergies and intolerances are so widespread that 10 million people in the UK are now estimated to be allergic or intolerant to at least one foodstuff.

Sadly, according to a survey by the charity Allergy UK, more than half (57%) of those questioned who have an allergy or intolerance said they find it very difficult to live with their condition and that it affects their quality of life. Nearly the same amount (53%) said they find people are generally dismissive of the issue.

At Quorn we know demand for gluten-free products is on the rise, not only from those with gluten allergy or intolerance, but also those who would simply prefer to avoid it. We’re proud that a number of our products have been certified gluten free by Coeliac UK.

Chefs can confidently create exciting gluten-free dishes using our range of certified Quorn ingredients, and by doing so help make life easier for those suffering with a gluten allergy or intolerance.

NHS

A genuine contribution to a more sustainable future

Food sustainability is big news and we (Quorn Foods) have been supporting the NHS to make a genuine contribution to a more sustainable future.

In the hospitals that we have been working with, in two hours we saved the NHS:
25,000 calories
150kg of CO2
• and nearly 10 tonnes of water
• as well as significantly increasing dietary fibre

This was done by offering low fat Quorn sausages and mince in staff/visitor restaurants. If we can do this in just two hours, imagine what we could achieve if Quorn meals were served in all hospitals every week…

Did you know that Quorn is the first global meat alternative brand with Carbon Trust accreditation? Find out how our products support healthier lifestyles and the environment and how we can work together for a better future.

 

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No junk food before 9pm?

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has called for junk food adverts to be banned before the 9pm watershed to stop children pestering their parents for sugary and unhealthy food and drinks.

A new survey by the charity has revealed that seven in ten parents with children aged four to 16 have been pressured by their kids to buy the junk food they have seen on the TV.

Research by broadcasting regulator Ofcom found that television advertising can have an impact on children’s food preferences, consumption and behaviour, with younger children in particular unable to distinguish advertising from entertainment.  With this in mind and almost one in three children overweight or obese, the BHF wants the Government to introduce the pre-watershed ban and tighter restrictions online to support parents’ efforts to instil healthy habits.

Unsurprisingly, the move has divided opinion. The BHF has received support for the proposed ban from doctors and the Labour party, which is expected to put it into its General Election manifesto. However, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has rebuked the ban, stating that ‘banning and legislation is not the answer’, as has the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers that says ‘there is no such thing as junk food, only junk diets’.

And so the debate goes on…

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Obesity’s partner in crime

Obesity stories constantly grab the headlines but it seems there’s an even greater risk to our health – a sedentary lifestyle.

A new study by Cambridge University’s Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit has revealed that lack of exercise is responsible for twice as many deaths as obesity, with couch potatoes facing greater danger from deadly cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and stroke as well as some cancers.

The report that studied 9.2 million deaths among European men and women estimated that 337,000 deaths were caused by obesity but more than double that number, 676,000, could be attributed to physical inactivity.

But all is not lost.  The researchers also found increasing your daily exercise with a simple 20-minute brisk walk or a cycle ride of the same duration could reduce the risk of early death by almost a third.

20 minutes is the recommended minimum, with higher levels of exercise needed to achieve even greater results.  However, even a small increase in physical activity each day like walking up escalators or using the stairs instead of the lift could provide significant health benefits – which is good to know!

Of course, the best partner to exercise is sensible, healthy eating.  So as well as reaching for your walking boots take a look at our delicious healthy recipes and be inspired.

Seize the most important meal of the day…

It seems that the growing popularity of breakfast as an eating-out occasion is not going to subside anytime soon – an opportunity that operators really should seize upon. Research shows that almost a third of people now chose to eat breakfast out of home at least once a week, with over half opting for brunch and dining after 9am.

And greater demand is generating greater choice.  More diverse options such as wraps, waffles and even hot dogs and burgers can be found gracing the menu alongside more traditional breakfast fare.

Despite the choice explosion, the cooked breakfast simply cannot be topped.  The research found a whopping 75% of people ordering a cooked breakfast, with the good old full English still king.

If healthy-eating alarm bells are ringing, fear not.  The good news is that putting this giant of breakfasts on the menu does not have to automatically isolate those looking for meat-free or healthier options.  The Quorn sausage, for example, is meat-free and low-in fat, making it a great breakfast ingredient that instantly broadens a dishes appeal and of course tastes great.

With Breakfast Week round the corner (25-31 January) now is a great time to re-energise the breakfast menu.  Check out our delicious breakfast ideas.

Vegetables

Move over meat…

Is eating meat becoming unfashionable? The Eating Better alliance and Friends of the Earth think so. Their latest report found a quarter of Brits have cut back on the amount of meat they eat compared to last year, with just 2% claiming to eat more.

Let’s Talk About Meat: changing dietary behaviour for the 21st Century, suggested eating less meat is becoming trendier. Growing concern for animal welfare was named the top reason for this trend. With other reasons including saving money, food quality and safety, healthy eating, flexitarian diets and a rise in awareness of the impact meat has on climate change.

The report also found one in three people will consider eating less meat and just 5% plan to eat more next year. And, it seems this trend isn’t just a flash in the pan as young people (18-24) paving the trends of the future, were three times more likely to say they don’t eat meat at all.

The trend is already shaping menus across the UK with top chefs putting vegetables at the center of the dish, and specialist restaurants such as meat-free casual dining restaurant Ethos thriving. And, there’s no reason why the trend can’t be a growing opportunity for the rest of the foodservice industry as well.

Caterers can respond to this growing interest in eating less meat by offering quality meat free dishes and ensuring meat is produced to high animal welfare, health and environmental standards.
So, to appeal to this growing, lucrative market make sure you let your customers know where your ingredients come from and provide quality meat free options. Take a look at our recipes for some inspirational meat free dishes.

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The true cost of obesity

It seems every other day there is a new report on obesity and how much it costs us as a nation, from the strain it puts on the NHS to the strain it has on our wallets. However, reports today really put the obesity crisis into perspective.

A new study from the US has revealed obesity can cut life expectancy by as much as eight years. It can also cost those who are obese 19 years of good health, as they are at greater risk of health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

The scary estimate has come from a model that assesses the likeliness of developing health problems in adults of different body weights – based on US national surveys. It revealed overweight people with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30 could lose up to three years, with life lost increasing with the weight of the person.

With nearly two-thirds of adults in the UK overweight, and one in four classified as obese, the study aims to help the public understand the severity of the problem. But, it doesn’t stop there as the research team behind the report are extending their study for another three years. They plan to see how patients respond to hearing their life expectancy loss, and assess whether it motivates them to lose the pounds.

While the report for some will be hard to swallow, we hope that by highlighting how obesity affects us all, it will encourage change.

For inspiration on how to make your menus healthier check out our recipe bank.

Mexican food

The UK goes bonkers for burritos

Bookatable has launched its Quarterly Dining Trends report that looks at the hottest dining trends in the UK.

The report revealed Italian food remains a firm favourite with diners, with over 31 per cent of UK consumers looking for the cuisine when eating out. However, the trend which is tipped to get stomachs rumbling in 2015 is Tex Mex, growing 120 per cent in popularity within the last 12 months. The trend has seen bookings at South American restaurants grow by 61 per cent.

Biggest Movers

Tex Mex +120%
Japanese +95%
South American +78%
Chinese +61%
American +57%
Thai +48%
Mediterranean +45%
Steaks & Grills +41%
Spanish +38%
Scottish +33%

Want inspiration on how you can easily put Tex Mex on your menu? Check out our recipes for Quorn Burrito’s, Quorn Mexican Tortilla Layer or Quorn Chilli Mince.

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How do pubs pull in regulars?

Carlsberg UK has published its latest consumer insight report. Based on research conducted with 1,800 consumers, it explores the trends, habits and behaviours of today’s pub customers.

The report breaks down consumers into life stages from ‘young & free’ to ‘empty nesters’ highlighting what they look for when visiting a pub. While the young & free looked for cider and up-tempo music, ‘mums and dads’ wanted wine and no children.

However, food was important across the board, with a quality food offer coming in top on all consumers’ priorities. And, with 22% describing healthy food options as the ‘icing on the cake’, it seems consumers are expecting more than traditionally unhealthy pub favourites.

But the importance of food didn’t just stop at the everyday menu. Cuisine evenings came a close second to the traditional pub quiz in activities consumers would like to take part in. They are seen as a great way to attract more custom, and can turn a slower weekday into an occasion.

Are you offering your customers what they really want? Take a look here for the full report: http://www.carlsbergwedelivermore.co.uk/uploads/e2e5e920-d615-3164-e5e1-b022e0b2af97.pdf

Hot meals

A free hot meal per day to keep the hunger at bay

Since the start of this school term, every child between the ages of five and seven has been entitled to free school meals. This initiative, brought about by Nick Clegg, aims to provide a level playing field for all primary school children. Ministers also claim that it will also save families up to £400 per year. An extra 1.55 million school children are now entitled to a free hot meal at lunch time, bringing the total to 1.9 million.

The scheme has been supported by those in the foodservice industry. Founders of the Leon restaurant chain recommended that all children to the age of 12 should be offered free school lunches. They conducted their own research, which showed that packed lunches are nearly always a less nutritious option. They also predicted that academic performance would improve as a result.

Despite initial teething problems caused by the huge increase in demand, it’s hoped that this scheme will prove a big hit with schools and parents alike.

 

Battersea power station

The power of street food

The third floor roof of the Battersea Power Station development will play host to a ‘street food market in the sky’, it was revealed on Friday. The roof of the South London landmark will house 60 food vans, including a whole manor of street food cuisines, all brought up to the roof using a specially-built lift. Rob Trincknell, chief executive of the Battersea Power Station development project, has claimed that “‘it will be the most amazing food court in London.’

The concept of street food has really taken off over the past couple of years. A recent report on street food, conducted by Allegra, indicated 50% of people eat street food at least once a week and 81% of these choose to eat it for lunch. The market at Battersea will certainly be a draw for those working in the surrounding area to quash the midday hunger pangs.

UK Hospital food under examination

hospital food

The quality of hospital food is a hot topic. With lots of ‘noise’ in the press, one newspaper even asked patients to send in photos of the most unappetising meals they’ve been served in hospital.

But these negative perceptions of hospital food could soon be a thing of the past, as Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced the plan for ‘mandatory food standards’ to be implemented into the NHS. The plan aims to improve the quality of food served by introducing the following requirements.

All NHS hospitals must:

• Screen patients for malnutrition and ensure all patients have a food plan

• Take steps to ensure patients get the help they need to eat and drink

• Have canteens that promote healthy diets for staff and visitors

• Ensure food offered complies with Government recommendations on salt, saturated fats and sugar

• Source food in a sustainable way so that it is healthy, good for individuals and for our food industry

The new rules, that will be implemented next April, will see a team of food assessors carry out inspections to make sure guidelines are being met. And, those who fail to impress could be heavily fined.

The results of the inspection will be published online, and hospitals will be ranked on the NHS Choices website in accordance to their quality of food.

eatingout

Eating out is bad for the waist line

You will consume an average of 200 calories more per day if you eat out, according to new research released this week.

According to the study, published by the Public Health Nutrition journal, the average person will consume more saturated fat, salt and sugar when eating out of home than if they stay in to eat.
The research also showed that adults who reported eating fast food on a regular basis ate less fruit, vegetables and vitamins compared to those who don’t eat it.

The research used data from more than 12,000 people aged 20 to 64, who were asked about visits to fast food and table service restaurants over two days.

care homes

2015 will see scheme to improve care homes

A system of special measures which have been used this year to improve failing hospitals is set to be adapted to improve standards in care homes.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed the scheme is set to be introduced into 25,000 care homes and home-care agencies next year. The scheme consists of rating care homes as outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate. Those failing to improve their rating from ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ could risk closure.

While the rating aims to improve the facilities for residents, the financial pressure of making improvements could put further strain on already stretched care home providers and their staff.

Hiiden fat

Hidden fat dangers ‘healthy’ children

The UK has been named and shamed as having the highest rate of childhood obesity in Western Europe, with 23% of boys and 22% of girls being classed as obese, according to international economic body OECD. However, recent research suggests it’s not just these children who are at risk of weight related illnesses.

Research by London Metropolitan University has revealed that almost a million seemingly healthy children could be dangerously unfit. Despite having a normal BMI, it suggests children could be at risk from heart disease and diabetes due to their bodies storing large amounts of hidden fat.

The study calls for a change in the way the government, parents and schools view issues surrounding obesity, and stresses the importance of a healthy diet for all children no matter what shape or size.

It seems the fight on fat amongst young people is a much bigger battle than anyone predicted.

NHS

NHS Supply Chain shows support at DH Improving Hospital Food event

In March 2014, healthcare and catering professionals from across the NHS took part in the Department of Health’s (DH) ‘Improving Hospital Food’ event in Nottingham.

The event provided an opportunity for clinical and catering staff to meet and explore the crucial role of nutrition in patient care, with presentations from the NHS Commissioning Board, the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition and the Soil Association. Read more »

london street food

Sampling the delights of London’s trendy street food scene

 London’s longstanding fascination with food has reached fever pitch, with innumerable pop-up restaurants, mobile food vans, and savvy vendors feeding innovative new dining concepts to the city’s hungry masses.

Determined to stay on top of the trends, we sent two intrepid foodies on a mission to explore London’s hustling and bustling street food scene.

The day began with bacon, cream cheese, chilli jam and coriander naan breads at Dishoom in Shoreditch. This exotic Indian eatery draws inspiration from the Persian-heritage cafés of Mumbai and as such, served refreshing loose-leaf tea and indulgent mugs of steaming chocolate chai to wash everything down with.

Next stop was the nearby Box Park, a revolutionary pop-up retail park comprised of repurposed shipping containers. South African curry-crammed bread loaves at Bunnychow, Asian bubble tea at Milk & Pearl, and the baked-rather-than-fried doughnuts of Dum Dum Donutterie were all happily consumed.

From then on, the day was a whistle-stop tour around Angel, Kings Cross and Covent Garden to seek out the very best burritos, burgers and barbecue grills that the city has to offer. There was even time (and belly space!) to try out some Egyptian veggie treats at Koshari Street and top-quality Korean cuisine at Kimchee To Go.

The day reached a crescendo with a visit to Big Easy Covent Garden, an atmospheric bar and grill that has just soft-launched, serving 18-hour smoked ribs, pulled pork, steamed crab, and more varieties of whisky and beer than you can shake an American flag at – definitely the highlight of the day for our explorers and one to watch out for over the next few weeks!

Mexican food

All eyes on Mexico’s new fat and sugar taxes

The Overseas Development Institute has said that one in three people worldwide is now overweight and urged governments to do more to influence diets.

In 2013 the UK’s 220,000 doctors united to form what they call a ‘prescription’ for the UK’s obesity epidemic. One of their 10 recommendations called for a duty on all sugary soft drinks to be piloted, recommending prices increase by at least 20%.

Indeed, Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, recently warned that the Government could be forced to bring in a tax on sugar to help combat growing levels of obesity in the UK.

On 1 January 2014, the new government of Mexico made history.

With a population of around 117 million, Mexico consumes the most sugary soft drinks per capita and now has the highest obesity figures in the world. Mexico’s government has struck a blow for public health and passed a one-peso-per-litre tax on sugary drinks (soda) and an eight percent tax on junk food.

The Mexican soda tax applies to all food and drinks with added sugar, not including milk or yogurt. The junk-food tax is levied on high-calorie foods that contain 275 or more calories per 100 grams, including crisps, confectionery, desserts, sugary cereals and ice cream. There are also plans to regulate TV advertising, which would prevent ads for unhealthy food products being screened at certain times of the day when children are most likely to be watching.

It’s an unprecedented experiment being conducted on an epic scale and governments around the world will be keeping a keen eye on its progress. We’ll have to wait and see for now.

School food plan

Proposed revisions to the School Food Plan are well received in pilot

Last July, an independent review of the School Food Plan, led by Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, identified the current standards were considered difficult to understand and use.

They recommended that the government create a clearer set of food-based standards that would provide caterers with a framework on which to build interesting, creative and nutritionally balanced menus.

In addition, they would be less burdensome and operationally cheaper to implement than the current nutrient based standards.

The proposed revised food-based standards were piloted across 35 schools and 24 caterers and the results are in.

Nine out of ten school cooks and caterers said that they found the new standards ‘easier to understand’ than the current standards and eight out of ten felt that they would provide ‘more flexibility to plan interesting and creative menus that appeal to pupils’.

Also, it was found that the nutrient content of the average school lunch was as good, and in some cases better, than that observed under existing conditions.

For full information on the revisions to the School Food Plan, click here (insert hyperlink to: http://learningnetwork.childrensfoodtrust.org.uk/course/view.php?id=64