Oliver Kay expands sustainable packaging

January 2019

Hospitality greengrocer Oliver Kay Produce is helping its customers to reduce waste with a new sustainability initiative making 80% of its packaging recyclable. The business, which supplies fresh fruit and veg to more than 3,500 chefs around the UK, is also converting waste produce from its warehouses into compost.

Oliver Kay has become the first catering greengrocer to replace polystyrene trays used to deliver produce with compostable trays made from sugarcane, and plastic nets for fruit with compostable netting made from beechwood. It has also introduced 100% recyclable plastic wrap for its deliveries.

The business, part of the Bidfresh group, has installed an automatic screw press process in its Bolton warehouse, which removes the water from fruit and vegetable waste to reduce the density of the load by 90%, leaving only organic waste behind. The resulting compost can be collected by farmers delivering goods to Oliver Kay, to use on the fields growing the veg.

“A business of this type and size obviously generates packaging and food waste,” says Paul Leyland, Commercial & Sustainability Director for Oliver Kay. “Deliveries come in to us in cardboard boxes, and we then separate and re-pack to send out to our customers.” Oliver Kay receives the equivalent of 10,000kg of cardboard boxes each day across its three sites, “and through our strict quality standards and prep department we produce approximately 2.5 tonnes of food waste each day.”

In addition to the larger projects in the warehouse, paper and plastic waste used in offices is being separated and recycled, while re-useable drinks containers for staff have removed the need for plastic water bottles. In addition, some surplus produce is donated to local charities and organisations.

The next step will be to upgrade the biodegradable plastic bags used to deliver produce such as peppers and spring cabbage, to a fully compostable or recyclable option.
Leyland adds, “Our aim has always been to minimise our waste, and reuse or recycle any that we do have. The big task is to ensure all our outward bound packaging also causes no environmental damage. Plastic bags are the last item we need to address on the packaging front.”

Stephen Oswald CEO of Bidfresh, said, “Paul’s enthusiasm and drive to get this project in place has been an example to all in our business and the wider foodservice community. We will be taking his example and rolling it out across the rest of our organisation. We must ensure that all our packaging is compostable in the future”.

Celebrate Christmas with a local beer, says Hogs Back Brewery

December 2018

Hogs Back Brewery is encouraging beer lovers to give both themselves and their local brewer a Christmas bonus by enjoying locally brewed beers across the festive season.

The brewery, based in Tongham, Surrey, has decked the halls and rolled out the barrel as it prepares to welcome both year-round and once-a-year regulars to the Brewery Shop.

Rupert Thompson, managing director of Hogs Back Brewery, said, “Just as people who shop at the supermarket all year round will buy their Christmas turkey from the local Farm Shop or Farmer Market, we also a see an upturn in customers supporting their local brewer during the festive season.

“Thanks to our hop garden, which we’re almost tripling in size, we’re very much a part of the local farming community. Beer is an artisan product made from natural ingredients, and an essential part of the Christmas tradition in Britain.

“The festive break will be a long haul this year, with many people celebrating from the weekend before Christmas right through to the New Year, and we certainly think there’s scope to ring the changes and swap a bottle of plonk for beers matched to festive fare on some occasions across the holiday.

“Our seasonal beer Advent Ale, 4.4% ABV, has wonderful smoky and roasted malt flavour, with a rich dark chocolate aftertaste, and should definitely be enjoyed in front of a roaring fire with a mince pie or two.”

For Christmas food and drink matching, Thompson suggests:

• Smoked salmon matched with Hogstar English Craft Lager (4.5% ABV): Brewed with five different hops and a blend of botanicals and matured for a month, Hogstar has a depth of flavour and natural carbonation that work well with smoked salmon or other seasonal seafood dishes;

• Christmas dinner matched with TEA (4.2% ABV): Refreshing but robust, the malty flavour of Hogs Back Brewery’s flagship ale makes it the perfect partner to a turkey dinner with all the trimmings;

• Christmas pudding with OTT (6% ABV): This strong, dark beer was enjoyed by the British Guild of Beer Writers at their 2018 annual awards dinner served with sticky toffee pudding. Its distinctive, complex aromas and taste make OTT an ideal pairing with rich desserts;

• Festive buffet with Outback Pale Ale (4.5% ABV): The refreshing light and hoppy flavours make Outback a great drink to serve with sausage rolls, creamy vol-au-vents, pork pies and other buffet food.

At its most popular time of year for visitors, Hogs Back is offering additional brewery tours in December, while Christmas Eve will feature carols with the Friary Brass Band from 11.30am – 1pm, with mince pies for all. With extended opening hours in the run up to Christmas, the Brewery Shop is a great one stop shop for festive beer, with knowledgeable staff on hand to offer advice, and free parking outside.

See the website for details and opening hours.

Caption to attached image: The Hogs Back Brewery team ready to welcome customers to the brewery this Christmas. Pictured left to right are Donna Wilson, Joel Swan, Kane McAdoo and Jonathon Mileman.

World’s Biggest Pub Quiz returns in March 2019

December 2018

Pubs, bars and clubs are being urged to reserve a date in their diaries between 3-7 March next year for the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz – a fundraising initiative organised by PubAid to raise money for charities, including their official charity partner Prostate Cancer UK.

The inaugural World’s Biggest Pub Quiz took place in 2016, and it has since grown in size and popularity. In 2018, 1,500 pubs took part raising £190,000, making up the impressive £405,000 that the three quizzes have raised in total.

Landlords and licensees will receive a free quiz pack on registration, including two sets of quiz questions, posters and social media assets to encourage customers to come along and join in.
Co-founder of PubAid, Des O’Flanagan, said: “This is a busy time for licensees as they focus on the festive season. However, most pubs won’t be this busy in early March, so it’s a good idea to start planning events that will encourage customers to visit in that quieter time.

“The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz has proved to be popular amongst customers and licensees: it’s a lot of fun and easy to host. It takes only minutes to register for the quiz online, and it’s completely free. Find a slot for it in your pub’s diary and we’re confident you’ll draw a good crowd and raise money for a worthy cause at the same time.”

The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz is scheduled for 3-7 March 2019, but the organisers stress that this window is a guideline, not a requirement. Pubs who want to take part but can’t run the quiz during that week are welcome to run it at any other time in 2019. Each pub is free to choose a charity of choice to support, and those unsure are encouraged to raise money for official charity partners, Prostate Cancer UK.

O’Flanagan added: “We’re grateful to all the pubs, brewers and pub groups who have supported the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz, and we are confident even more will take part in 2019. It would be great to see more than 2,000 pubs run the quiz and raise more than £250,000 for charity.”

James Beeby, Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK said: “The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz has grown over the past three years and we are incredibly grateful to all the licensees and customers who have been involved so far. To be PubAid’s charity partner once again in 2019 is fantastic and we want to encourage as many pubs, clubs and bars to sign up and join in the fun!

“By continuing our partnership with PubAid, we can reach even more men with an important health message, and fund vital research to help stop prostate cancer from killing one man every 45 minutes.”

Quiz packs will be sent in early 2019 to all pubs registering at

Caption to attached image: winners of the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz 2018 at the Three Moles, Selham, West Sussex

Drinkaware to train Network Rail staff ahead of festive season

December 2018

Alcohol education charity Drinkaware is supporting Network Rail ahead of the festive season, by delivering training sessions to staff at some of the country’s busiest rail stations, equipping them to recognise and support people who may be vulnerable after drinking alcohol.

The training is part of Network Rail’s response to a 17% increase in the number of alcohol related incidents reported on the railway in December 2017¹. They are urging festive party-goers to look after themselves, friends and colleagues when travelling on the railway, and are working with British Transport Police to hold alcohol awareness events at rail stations across the country, encouraging revellers to be a ‘First Class Mate’ and look out for those making their way home by train after one drink too many.

The Drinkaware training for Network Rail staff will include key elements of the Drinkaware Crew scheme and the Alcohol Vulnerability Awareness e-learning programme, which were both designed to give customer-facing staff the skills and knowledge to identify alcohol-related vulnerability and support customers at risk from harm. The training will take place at Birmingham New Street, Leeds, London St Pancras, London Bridge, London Victoria and Glasgow stations.

Elaine Hindal, Drinkaware Chief Executive said: “Christmas is a time when many people find themselves drinking more than they normally would.

“That’s why it’s vital that we all look after ourselves and each other on a night out and why we are delighted to be working with Network Rail on this important campaign.
“Drinkaware’s vulnerability training and Drinkaware Crew scheme are designed to equip employees to provide support to people on nights out and have been successful in helping organisations reduce alcohol related harm across the UK.

“No one is saying that people shouldn’t go out and have fun over Christmas. For those who choose to drink, we recommend keeping the Chief Medical Advisers’ low risk drinking guidelines of 14 units per week in mind, staying warm, staying safe and looking after yourself and your friends.”

Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, explains: “We want everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves over the festive period, but after a few drinks people often take greater risks, which can frequently lead to people getting hurt or even killed. We are urging passengers to take care of themselves and their friends and not let drink be the cause of bad decisions.”

Drinkaware Crew was initially designed for bars and clubs with a 500+ capacity and has been activated in 21 areas across the country. The training has also been adapted for other environments where people may be vulnerable after drinking too much, including the Splendour Festival in Nottingham in July and the ‘Pace Yourself Plus’ initiative developed with The Racecourse Association and implemented at a number of high-profile racing events this year.

To find out more about the Network Rail campaign, go to

1. 24/11/2015 to 02/01/2016 – 533 01A Violence offences recorded as having been committed ‘in station’ in England, Scotland and Wales; 83 offences flagged as ‘alcohol related’
24/11/2016 to 02/01/2017 – 673 01A Violence offences recorded as having been committed ‘in station’ in England, Scotland and Wales; 105 offences flagged as ‘alcohol related’
24/11/2017 to 02/01/2018 – 785 01A Violence offences recorded as having been committed ‘in station’ in England, Scotland and Wales; 189 offences flagged as ‘alcohol related’
Data provided by British Transport Police

Brakspear adopts Mind as chosen charity

November 2018

Pub operator and brewer Brakspear is supporting Mind, the leading mental health charity, for the next 12 months, with fundraising already underway in a number of their 130 pubs.
Brakspear is aiming to raise £60,000 for Mind over the year as pubs and head office teams get behind the charity with a raft of fundraising activities from pub quizzes to live music nights and sporting endeavours. All pubs have received a collecting tin and a fundraising pack full of inspiring ideas from Mind, including a number of suggestions for the festive season.

Tom Davies, Brakspear chief executive, said, “This is our third estate-wide charity campaign, and we’re confident that our licensees, their teams and customers, will once again rise to the challenge with enthusiasm, creativity and hard work and ensure our support for Mind is a great success.

“With one in four people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem in any one year, it’s an issue that affects all of us, whether we work in pubs or at head office. I’m sure we will all be motivated to help this great charity continue its work.”

Rebecca Hastings, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Mind, said: “We are delighted to be Brakspear’s charity of the year. The company’s support will help us to reach a point where anyone with a mental health problem feels able to ask for, and access, the help they need.

“Money raised will help fund our vital work including our Mind Infoline, information and advice services, and our campaigning to ensure anyone facing a mental health problem gets support and respect.”

Gordon Dickens, licensee at the Hollybush in Redbourn in Hertfordshire, said, “We’re long term supporters of Mind, so we’re delighted that Brakspear has chosen it as their charity for the next year. We raised £300 through a pub quiz recently and we have other fundraisers in the pipeline including our annual charity football match, which raised more than £4,500 earlier this year.

“Mental health is a problem that affects so many people and yet hasn’t been given the support it deserves, so we’re doing all we can to help Mind.”

Brakspear has previously supported Sue Ryder and Marie Curie across its estate, raising a total of £92,000 for the two charities. Pubs are supported throughout the year with ideas and a range of POS such as stickers for menus and collars for tap water carafes.

Caption to attached image: Gordon Dickens (far left) and Graeme Dickens (far right), licensees at the Hollybush with team member Lauren Berryman


Notes to editors

Mental health – some key facts
• 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any one year.
• That’s every family, every workplace and every friendship circle. It’s approximately 15 million people in the UK.
• On average, in the UK, 16 people take their own lives each day
• Suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged between 20 and 34 years, and men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women.
• The cost of poor mental health to the UK economy is estimated to be between £74 billion and £99 billion per year.
• Depression is now the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.

About Mind
• Mind, the mental health charity provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding and won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect.
• Please note that Mind is not an acronym and should be set in title case.
• Mind has a confidential information and support line, Mind Infoline, available on 0300 123 3393 (lines open 9am – 6pm, Monday – Friday)
• Please contact the Mind Media Team for interviews or further information on 02085221743. For out of hours support please call 07850788514 or email the media team on
• For access to a range of free images to accompany mental health news stories please visit: These images have been developed by the anti-stigma campaign Time to Change, run by the charities

Taking flight: New pub The Hummingbird set to create social buzz in Hertford

November 2018

An exciting new pub is now open in Hertford town centre, welcoming locals with delicious food, great drinks and a warm and friendly atmosphere.

The Hummingbird, which has created 35 jobs for local people, has been opened by small independent pub company Aspley Pubs, who have given the Fore Street venue an extensive makeover to create a vibrant, stylish and warm and welcoming meeting place for locals.

The Hummingbird is open throughout the day for breakfast, coffee and cake, and lunch and dinner. It is also the perfect place to catch up with friends and colleagues over a pint, cocktail or glass of wine.

Jan Nova, general manager of The Hummingbird, says: “We are delighted with the amazing look and feel we have created at The Hummingbird and can’t wait for the people of Hertford and Hertfordshire to experience it for themselves. We have created a home from home environment and The Hummingbird will offer something for everyone on any occasion.”

Sweet nectar awaits

Head chef at The Hummingbird is Adam O’ Sullivan, from Bishop Stortford, who has 18 years’ experience as a chef, including at The Good Food Guide 2018 listed Water Lane Bar & Kitchen in Hertfordshire.

O’ Sullivan and his talented team are handcrafting dishes for the seasonally changing menu which offers comforting pub classics with a twist, alongside exciting dishes with a global influence and delicious daily changing specials.

He says: “Customers can enjoy our freshly baked breads and homemade ice creams and sorbets, as well as produce we have smoked in-house. I’m passionate about reducing food waste and The Hummingbird kitchen will be serving up creative additions to dishes made from ingredients which might typically end up in the bin in many kitchens.”

Dishes to dine for

Among dishes on the mouth-watering menu are small plates including tiger prawn scampi; potted smoked mackerel with lemon cream and beetroot jam, home-smoked duck with cashews and stir-fried Oriental salad and wild mushrooms and spinach on toast.

Mains feature The Hummingbird’s signature dish of shepherd’s pie with lamb’s leaf mash, root veg and lamb liquor gravy; tandoori cauliflower with onion bhajis, lentil dhal and mango chutney; beer battered market fish and chips; the Reuben burger of salt beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese; and 10oz ribeye steak.

For steak lovers a weekly Wednesday ‘Steak & Wine Night’ is also taking place featuring succulent dry-aged Cumbrian beef steaks served with an excellent range of sides and sauces.

Customers looking for lighter dishes will not be disappointed with tasty dishes including mozzarella and red onion pizzetti; baked tortilla with fried egg, tomato salsa and chipotle hollandaise and superfood salad of sweet potato, kale, quinoa and pomegranate and mint dressing.

Stop by for a quick bite

For those who just want a quick sandwich and a drink, flavour-packed options include the Hummingbird BLT; smoked salmon and cream cheese bloomer; and a Hummingbird ‘Ham & Cheese’ toastie.

It is most definitely worth saving room for dessert which include lemon tart with raspberry yoghurt sorbet; plum and pear crumble; double chocolate brownie or a choice of some of the best cheeses in Britain accompanied by a glass of fine port.

Sunday roasts to boast

Sundays are special at The Hummingbird with succulent roast meats accompanied by giant Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings. The excellent vegan and vegetarian dishes would tempt even the most die-hard of meat eaters. There is no need to rush out of bed, as roasts are served from 12 noon to 9pm. A children’s roast dinner is also available, with complimentary ice cream for children dining on Sundays.

Meet for breakfast

Breakfast is also served daily with dishes to make you want to rise and shine including the Full English and Veggie Full English; chorizo and spinach baked eggs; and ‘The Benedicts’ – salmon, spinach or mushroom.

Younger diners are warmly welcomed at The Hummingbird with dishes that both nourish and excite including baked fish fillet; grilled chicken breast burger; pork meatballs and pasta; fruit kebabs and ice cream sundae.

Delicious drinks

Whatever your tipple The Hummingbird’s drinks list has something to wet your whistle from an expertly curated wine list and great real ales, to exciting cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.
At the bar quality real ales include Tring Brewery’s Side Pocket and Sharp’s Doom Bar. For those partial to a taste of the juniper berry, the extensive range of gins can be enjoyed in carefully crafted cocktails or in a classic G&T.

Like the Hummingbird’s food, its cocktails also match to the seasons and in addition to signature cocktails such as the Epic Negroni, Espresso Martini and Pornstar Martini, seasonal specials include the Chilli and Mango Martini, Mo-Gin-To; Gin Ting and Beverley Hills Iced Tea.

Christmas magic

The Hummingbird team are also turning on the festive magic with exciting Christmas menus and events running from the 29 November.

Manager Jan Nova says: “As Hertford’s hottest new opening and with some cracking food and drink on offer The Hummingbird is the ideal place for your work Christmas party or festive family meet up.”

Among dishes on the Christmas menu are mulled winter lamb casserole; iron bark pumpkin and chestnut roast; turkey and apricot stuffing roulade; limoncello sorbet; and Christmas pudding tart.

Dishes to ensure a memorable Christmas day meal include tea smoked duck breast; traditional roast turkey; slow-cooked rib of Cumbrian beef; Baileys tiramisu with mulled cherries; and of course warm Christmas pudding with brandy sauce.

Social buzz

Nova adds: “Hertford is a fantastic town and we can’t wait to welcome local people to The Hummingbird. Hummingbirds are well known for the buzzing noise they make and we hope The Hummingbird will be at the centre of social buzz in Hertford.”

Pic caption: Social buzz: The Hummingbird’s general manager Jan Nova and head chef Adam O’ Sullivan look forward to welcoming locals to their exciting new pub