Farm labour shortage may hit hospitality food prices, warns Lynx Purchasing

June 2018

The shortage of migrant labour facing UK farmers could hit both supplies and prices of seasonal fruit and vegetables this summer, warns buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.

With growers struggling to recruit overseas workers, the newly-published Summer 2018 edition of the Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast urges hospitality and catering businesses to monitor supplier prices carefully as the summer season gets underway.

Managing director Rachel Dobson says, “Our usual advice is to make the most of fresh, seasonal produce, but this summer that comes with an additional warning due to the labour issue. With fresh salad crops and summer berries now ready for picking, the industry is struggling to recruit enough seasonal workers.

“It’s not simply concerns about Brexit, although that’s a factor; EU workers now have a wider range of employment options and many have seen wages increase in their own country or can travel somewhere closer to home for seasonal work.

“Without enough migrant workers, there’s a risk that produce is simply left in the fields. Farmers and growers have asked for a commitment from government that they will have access to sufficient numbers of permanent and seasonal workers, and it’s an issue which needs a speedy resolution.”

The Market Forecast draws on exclusive data from a range of suppliers working with Lynx Purchasing to look at hospitality buying trends. Other produce areas highlighted in the Summer 2018 edition include:

• Seafood: With 75 per cent of the current UK catch exported, operators who can broaden the range of fish and shellfish species featured on menus and specials boards are at an advantage over those that restrict their offer to the most popular varieties. Using UK-caught species in season such as hake, plaice and lemon sole will help keep menus profitable.

• Meat: Beef will see a seasonal increase in the price of forequarter cuts of around of 15-20% as the summer barbecue season increases demand for burgers. Caterers who can switch menus to cuts such as topside and silverside should get better value. Lamb prices hit a five year high this spring, with the UK exporting more lamb due to the exchange rate, and New Zealand shipping more to far east.

• Dairy: The ‘spring flush’, which normally sees milk output rise, was negligible this year due to the cold conditions. Butter and cream prices are expected to continue to rise across the summer and into the autumn, as lower dairy production in the UK pushes up demand.

• Vanilla: Sharp price increases were initially caused by the loss of much of the crop of vanilla pods in Madagascar due to extreme weather, and the situation has been made worse by domestic unrest over control of the remaining supplies. Wholesale prices for vanilla extract, in high demand for ice cream and dessert production, are up by around 30% this year.

Dobson adds. “Although the two bursts of freezing weather at the start of spring caught farmers off guard, the supply chain has plenty of experience of extreme conditions.

“Growers have largely caught up, so it would be a shame now if caterers have to reduce the amount of fresh produce featured on summer menus due to higher costs caused by the labour shortage. We’ll be monitoring the situation and advising customers as the season progresses.”

The Summer 2018 Market Forecast is available to download free from the Lynx Purchasing website at Lynx-Purchasing-Market-Forecast-Summer-18-pdf

Lynx Purchasing works with more than 2,200 hospitality and catering operators to match them with the best suppliers and get the best possible prices on food and drink, as well as a whole range of essential products and services. Lynx’s buying experts help operators buy better and save time and money, year after year.

For more information on Lynx Purchasing, visit email or call 01325 377 845.

Hi-Spirits has the gin journey mapped out

May 2018

With gin continuing to grow in popularity, Hi-Spirits is helping on-trade operators and their customers to confidently navigate the category with an innovative new support package that maps out the gin journey.

Launching in time for World Gin Day on June 9, the Hi-Spirits initiative means that anyone can become a gin explorer, and discover the wide choice of flavours and styles the category offers.
Gin sales were worth £729 million to the on-trade last year, according to WSTA figures. Hi-Spirits gin portfolio offers a range of flavours, price points and countries of origin, each offering consumers something different.

Working with the specialists at Gin Foundry, Hi-Spirits has carefully segmented its gin range, as well as benchmarking it against the wider category. This information has been incorporated into a range of brand support available to pubs and bar, which includes:

• A gin flavour map which spotlights the wide range of flavour and variations that different botanicals bring to gin, not just amongst the brands which Hi-Spirits supplies, but also when compared to the category as a whole;
• Detailed flavour wheels and brand presenters for each gin, which gives more detail of their flavour and character, and also includes both a recommended cocktail serve and a twist on the classic gin & tonic for each brand;
• Tasting maps to enable bar staff and customers to compare and contrast the flavours of the different gins;
• Bespoke passport-style gin menus which encourage customers to board the gin flight and try signature serves from a global gin range.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “On-trade operators now appreciate that consumers expect a choice of gin, but it’s just as important that every gin on the back bar earns it place with a distinct character and interesting signature serves.

“Whether they’re new to the gin trail or already seasoned travellers in the category, this new support programme for our gin portfolio will help both operators and consumers get maximum enjoyment from the gin journey.”

The Hi-Spirits gin portfolio includes:
• Blackwoods 40%: Made with Shetland botanicals infused with juniper, coriander and lime
• Blackwoods 60%: Bold, fresh gin made with Shetland foraged wild thyme and meadowsweet
• Broker’s: Five time distilled quintessential classic London Dry Gin
• Broker’s 47%: Premium variant with citrus and spice notes
• Brooklyn: Super premium small batch New York gin made with fresh citrus peels and hand-cracked juniper
• Distillery No. 209: Five times distilled super-premium gin from San Francisco
• Langley’s No 8: Made with 100% English grain spirit and classic gin botanicals
• Langley’s Old Tom: A classic recipe redeveloped for the modern era
• Scapegrace Classic: Artisan dry gin with a fresh New Zealand slant
• Scapegrace Gold: 57% ABV Navy-strength New Zealand gin with an added tangerine flavour note
• The King of Soho: A complex London Dry gin crafted with 12 botanicals for a unique flavour profile

Full details of the Hi-Spirits portfolio can be found at To start a global exploration of great gins with the new support package, contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100 or email

Hogs Back Brewery and Moonpig Get Personal for Father’s Day

May 2018

Dads can be sure there’s a beer with their name on it this Father’s Day, thanks to Hogs Back Brewery’s exclusive personalised beer partnership with online gift retailer Moonpig.

Anyone looking for the ideal gift for a beer-loving dad can order a gift pack of Hogs Back’s award-winning bottled ales in an exclusive new design for Moonpig, and have the bottles printed with a personal message. 

Whether it’s Dad‘s Delight or Old Man’s Ale, when ordering online at Moonpig the gift-giver can create their own name for the beer and add their message. Moonpig offers a choice of three or six bottles of ale, and will feature the personalised beer gifts in its TV ads in the run-up to Father’s Day.

Rupert Thompson, managing director of Surrey-based Hogs Back Brewery, said: “There’s no better way to toast dads on their special day than with a great beer from a craft brewer. As the only brewer offering personalised beers through Moonpig, we believe the quirky Hogs Back brand is a great fit, while also offering the guarantee of quality from a familiar brewer for people ordering online.

“Our popular, exclusive bottled ale features updated graphics with real dad appeal, creating an opportunity to present dad with a personalised message, whether for Father’s Day, a birthday, or any other special occasion.”

James Turner, creative director at Moonpig, said: “Personalised gifts are a great way to mark a special occasion, and we’re delighted to be promoting our partnership with Hogs Back Brewery in time for Father’s Day – there’s a Hogs Back beer with dad’s name on it at Moonpig.”


Drinkaware highlights 2017 progress at annual conference

May 2018

Alcohol education charity Drinkaware has used its annual conference to outline its key achievements in 2017.

Drinkaware’s campaigns and activities target a broad range of consumers, from young people on a night out to older adults looking to cut back on their drinking as part of a healthier lifestyle, and parents seeking advice on how to talk to their children about alcohol. The charity also targets healthcare professionals and teachers, among others.

In 2017, Drinkaware continued to develop new and innovative ways of engaging with consumers, with a growing focus on digital channels.  The Drinkaware website attracted 9.4 million unique visitors – a 1.4% increase on 2016 – with 3.5 million accessing information about the effects of alcohol on health, and 201,300 visiting the parental guidance. The Drinkaware app, which helps people to monitor their drinking and set goals to cut back, was downloaded by 126,716 people and there were over 237,000 completions of the online DrinkCompare Calculator, which encourages consumers to compare their drinking to the rest of the UK population.

Drinkaware also expanded its direct interactions with consumers, in both on- and off-trade environments. Drinkaware Crew teams, who help young people stay safe on a night out, supported more than 4,000 people in 13 areas last year, while the launch of a new initiative with Asda, saw trained Drinkaware ambassadors placed in stores to engage with customers about alcohol.

Rommel Moseley, Drinkaware Director of Business Development & Partnerships, said: “Drinkaware has made great progress in developing our diverse range of programmes and initiatives, which are helping people to make better decisions about their drinking.

“Building on these achievements in 2018 is a key ambition for the charity as we continue expanding successful initiatives such as Drinkaware Crew as well as continuing to develop and implement innovative new ways of helping people and giving them the right information and in the right way.

“Our funder base expanded during 2017 with responsible producers and retailers continuing to share our commitment to reducing the effects of alcohol harm. This support helps us to achieve our aims and ambitions and we are grateful to them all.”

Notes to editors

Drinkaware is an independent UK-wide, alcohol education charity with the objective of positively changing public behaviour and the national drinking culture. It aims to reduce alcohol misuse and minimise harm by helping people make better choices about their drinking. It achieves this by providing impartial, evidence-based information, advice and practical resources; raising awareness of alcohol and its harms and by working collaboratively with partners, including the medical community, public health, third sector organisations, local authorities, police and the drinks industry.

Drinkaware has more than 100 funders, including UK alcohol producers, retailers in the on-trade and off-trade and wholesalers.

For further information visit

Frozé: Frozen cocktails just got much cooler

May 2018

This summer sees the launch of Frozé concentrated mix for frozen cocktail machines from Peter Spanton Drinks.

With a growing number of pubs, bars, hotels and restaurants tapping into the frozen drink trend, Frozé – pronounced “fro-say” – is a concentrated version of Peter Spanton’s successful Salted Paloma Grapefruit Soda.

Based on the classic paloma cocktail, Frozé can be served from a frozen cocktail machine either as a premium soft drink in its own right, or mixed with a spirit such as tequila, vodka or vermouth to create a Frozé cocktail.

Former London restaurateur Peter Spanton originally developed his own range of adult soft drinks and mixers in 2011. He said: “Frozé is a natural extension of our range, with a strong appeal to customers seeking something beyond ordinary.

“Salted Paloma is one of our most popular bottled varieties, blending grapefruit juice, lime, and sea salt. Although tequila is traditional in a paloma, Frozé combines well with a range of spirits to create sophisticated frozen drinks.”

Among the bars serving Frozé is Baltic near Waterloo in London, where bar manager Karol Terejlis, said: “Our customers enjoy frozen cocktails all year round, and we want to offer the same quality and appeal in drinks from our frozen cocktail machine as we do with all our alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails.  Frozé enables us to do that, and has already earned its place on our drinks list.”

Chris Hare, brand manager of premium tequila Cazcabel, has trialled the product and plans to serve it at festival bars running throughout the summer. He said: “Peter Spanton’s new Paloma Frozé is a game changer – it tastes great, it’s well balanced and people keep coming back for more. It also works perfectly with my Cazcabel Blanco tequila, and really lets the flavours shine through.”

Peter Spanton Drinks suggested serves for Frozé include:

·         For a non-alcoholic, guilt-free Paloma, serve Frozé with charred rosemary syrup and lime garnish.

·         For an alcoholic version, add tequila or mezcal to Frozé and serve with a garnish of lime zest, salt and chilli.

Frozé is available in concentrate packs, with 1 litre of concentrate making just over 6 litres of Frozé serve before adding alcohol.

Frozé is supplied directly by Peter Spanton Drinks; for more information and serving suggestions, email or call 020 3763 5665.

Hoppy Ever After: Hogs Back toasts Royal Wedding

May 2018

Pubgoers across the South East will be toasting the Royal Wedding later this month with a pint of ‘Hoppy Ever After’, a limited edition ale brewed by Hogs Back Brewery, based near Farnham, to mark the happy occasion.

Hoppy Ever After is a refreshing, 4% ABV golden ale with strong citrus and floral notes. The brew uses Centennial hops from the USA as well as home-grown English Cascade, making it the perfect beer to mark the transatlantic union between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It is available on draught only as part of Hogs Back’s Limited Edition range of beers.

Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson said, “Throughout history, beers have been brewed to mark Royal occasions and indeed our own MAJEST.E.A was a popular commemoration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.”

“We’re therefore delighted to be celebrating the forthcoming Royal Wedding with Hoppy Ever After, which is a perfect pairing of the USA and England, just like the marriage itself. We’re sure that customers in pubs across our South East heartland will be raising a glass of this refreshing, flavourful ale in a toast to the happy couple.”

Hoppy Ever After is part of Hogs Back Brewery’s limited edition cask ale programme and is available to pubs throughout May.