Tetra Pak outlines environmental plans

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Turkish experts visit Cheddar on PDO mission

Date: Thu, 16 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


A delegation of Turkish government officials is visiting two members of the West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers group this week.

The three trademark specialists will visit Westcombe Dairy and Brue Valley Farms, the makers of real Cheddar cheese, in a bid to find out more about the EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) scheme.

Turkey is aiming to join the European Union soon and the officials will be looking at ways in which the PDO scheme could be used to protect certain traditional foods from Turkey.

The scheme was created to protect the authenticity of foods that are specific to a region, such as farmhouse Cheddar, Cornish clotted cream and French Champagne.

The PDO designation also ensures that all foods bearing the endorsement are using traditional methods and traditional ingredients.

West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers comprises 14 of the 16 dairies that are allowed to describe the cheese they make as 'West Country Farmhouse Cheddar'.

Philip Crawford of West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers said: "We're looking forward to showing our Turkish visitors around the farms and demonstrating just how much care we take in producing a real farmhouse Cheddar cheese."

Further information: www.farmhousecheesemakers.co.uk

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Chip and PIN criticised at UK restaurants

Date: Thu, 16 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


UK restaurants have been complaining over the use of chip and PIN, claiming that it is causing a host of problems.

One London restaurateur has claimed that staff are losing £300 a week in tips due to the system at his establishment in Marylebone, according to Caterer Online.

A key problem is the fact that food takes longer to be served as a result of the system and especially at lunchtimes when consumers want fast service.

Similarly, Michael Moore who owns a restaurant nearby has refused to have the machines in his venue because he is concerned service will be affected and customers could be lost.

The Hospitality Users Discussion Forum on chip and PIN have now provided some suggestions in response on how to make chip and PIN easier in food establishments.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Cadbury predicts sweet results

Date: Thu, 16 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Cadbury has claimed that it is performing well and is not threatened by new competition with fellow food firm Nestle.

Although Nestle has recently boosted its sales of the KitKat chocolate biscuit, Cadbury has seen Dairy Milk sales increasing considerably, according to Financial Times Online.

Giving an update on its future financial situation, Cadbury has confirmed its financial guidance for 2004 and explained its performance will be as stated.

However, the confectionery firm admitted results would be at the lower end of its targeted range.

Cadbury expects financial results to show £1.5 billion of free cash flow and annual sales growth of between three and five per cent.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Premier brand deal becomes unconditional

Date: Thu, 16 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Premier Foods has revealed today that the sale of the Bird's Custard and Angel Delight brands have been approved by the board of Kraft Foods parent company.

According to Premier, Altria has approved the sale and there are now no further conditions that need to be met for completion of the transaction.

The deal is set to take place during February next year.

By acquiring the brands, which also include Rowntree's jelly, the company will be able to move further into the grocery sector.

Money for the deal is set to come from unused bank debt facilities.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Gowrings takeover approved

Date: Fri, 17 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


A takeover bid by Burger King franchisee Caspian for rival Gowrings has been approved by shareholders.

Shareholders representing more than 90 per cent of motor dealerships-to-restaurants group Gowrings have backed the £9.6 million deal, meaning the bid has been declared unconditional.

Caspian, a private company that operates 12 Burger King restaurants in the south of England, announced its recommended cash offer, of 106p a share, in November.

Gowrings, based in Thatcham, Berkshire, operates 41 Burger King franchises in the Midlands and the south of England. The restaurant has struggled against high overheads in recent years, prompting the decision to sell.

The firm sold its accident repair centres business in June, planning to focus on its restaurant operations.

(no further information)

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

A-Z founders snap up chain

Date: Fri, 17 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Founders of the A-Z Restaurants chain have agreed a £7 million deal, warding off bids from rivals including Hush owner Jamie Barber and partners.

Claudio Pulze, Franco Zanellato and an unnamed third partner beat counterbids to purchase the chain. Mr Pulze originally launched a bid in partnership with Cafe Med owner Simon Binder, who then dropped out when "it all got a bit expensive".

Mr Pulze then teamed up with restaurant magnate Marlon Abela, but the deal was scuppered by a higher offer from Mr Zanellato. At the last minute, Mr Pulze joined Mr Zanellato's bid, although he claimed that previous discussions had taken place, Caterer magazine reports.

"We had talked a few weeks ago but had different ideas about how we saw the deal progressing," said Mr Pulze. "At the end of the day I wanted a piece of the action."

A-Z has seven restaurants, which will be kept together for the immediate future, though analysts predict that Mr Pulze, who originally wanted to bid for only the two Memories of China restaurants in Victoria and Kensington, may push to sell off some individual properties.

Administrator BDO Stoy Hayward took control of A-Z Restaurants after bankers pulled the plug on funding last month and around 29 offers for the group of restaurants were received by the first deadline of November 18th.

The seven London restaurants in the deal are Aubergine in Fulham; Zafferano in Knightsbridge; L'Oranger in St James's Street; Alloro in Mayfair; Spiga in Soho, and Memories of China in Victoria and Kensington.

(no further information)

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Fried Mars Bars 'typify Scottish diet'

Date: Fri, 17 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Foods such as deep-fried Mars Bars, chocolate-coated nougat-caramel bars dipped in batter and fried in vegetable oil or lard are typical examples of trends in the Scottish diet, a new study claims.

Published in medical journal The Lancet, fried sweets are more popular than previously thought and found that one in five fish-and-chip shops surveyed sold fried Mars Bars. The NHS-backed survey of half of the 627 fish-and-chip shops in Scotland revealed that 22 per cent of Scottish take-aways had the foodstuff on its menu and a further 17 per cent used to sell them.

Researchers found that children are the main buyers of deep-fried candy bars, with one shop reporting sales of up to 200 a week. The shops interviewed also reported they have been asked to deep-fry food such as pickled eggs, pineapple rings, Snickers, Creme Eggs, and pizzas in the past. The average shop sold an average of 23 deep-fried Mars Bars a week, while the average price was 60p.

The first report of battered Mars bars being up for sale appeared in the Scottish Daily Record in August 1995, but many people outside the country believed it to be an urban myth. However, the health service findings have debunked that idea by proving that sales are widespread.

"We thought they might be fictitious. But the Scottish diet is a major health issue and it's important to know what the facts are," David Morrison, consultant for public health medicine at the NHS of greater Glasgow and lead researcher of the study, said. "We can now confirm that there is no doubt, the deep-fried Mars bar is not just an urban myth."

A fried Mars Bar has about 423 calories, which is about a fifth of a day's normal caloric intake.

(no further information)

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Traditional favourite still number one

Date: Fri, 17 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Fish and chips remains the nation's favourite takeaway grub, according to a new survey.

Despite the growing popularity of Chinese and Indian food, the humble fish and chip supper is the top nosh for most Britons.

At least half of those interviewed by market analysts Mintel said they had visited a chip shop in the past three months.

A traditional meal at a local pub came second in the poll, with Chinese restaurants and takeaways coming third, followed by pizza shops. The Indian curry house came fifth.

In the "premium versus budget eating out" survey, Mintel estimated Britons would spend £25 billion on pre-prepared food in 2004.

Linda Haden, an analyst at Mintel, said there was still a discernible tendency towards eating British food.

"Pubs have been at the forefront of reviving and rejuvenating interest in British cuisine. Gastropubs, chain pubs and dedicated pub restaurants, which serve reasonably priced meals, have inherently transformed how the public view pub food today," she said.

Mintel interviewed 1,974 adults about their eating habits in the three months to November.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

FSA reveals big differences in soup salt content

Date: Fri, 17 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


A new survey out by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed wide variations in salt content between different soups available on the market.

According to the agency report, some soups contain as much as half of the recommended daily intake for an adult in just one serving.

Gill Fine, director of consumer choice and dietary health said: "The results show a considerable variation in the level of salt in soups.

"We welcome the commitment that some manufacturers and retailers have made to reduce salt content in soups but the fact that such a popular and convenient food can provide more than a third of the daily salt limit shows that continued effort in this area is still needed."

Salt content was studied in canned, chilled, dried and fresh soups and findings suggested that soups also varied considerably in flavour.

In total 77 soups were surveyed during November, featuring big brands and retailers' own brand products.

The survey was conducted as part of the agency's regular set of surveys looking at salt content of everyday foods, with a recommended maximum daily salt intake issued of six grams.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

easyGroup launches new pizza service

Date: Fri, 17 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


The easyGroup has moved into a new sector by launching its own delivery only pizza service.

Trying to offer something a little different, the service will offer lower prices for online, off peak and advance orders and claims it has "re-engineered the pizza preparation and delivery service".

easyPizza has now opened its first franchise in Milton Keynes and has attempted to reduce overhead costs in order to cut prices.

A total of ten pizza varieties will be offered as part of the company's menu, along with a range of side orders.

easyPizza plans to expand throughout the UK and hopes to franchise the brand to third parties.

The new business is the third new project for the firm in the last week and it is also looking into a new music service.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Co-op gets new food chief

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


The Co-operative Group has announced the appointment of Eoin McGettigan as chief executive of its food retail division.

Mr McGettigan, who is currently executive chairman of Musgrave UK and chief executive of its Londis food subsidiary, will take up his new post in February.

The Co-op has experienced recent falls in profits in its food division and the new boss will be expected to boost sales. The group has also seen internal supply chain problems affect on-shelf availability.

The Co-operative Group's food retail division includes 1,200 Welcome convenience stores as well as 500 supermarkets.

The company recently acquired the Alldays, Balfours and Conveco convenience store chains but has found the sector difficult in recent months as the UK supermarket giants increasingly move into the convenience store business.

Profits from the Co-op's food stores fell from £62 million to £36 million during the first half of this year and the company has issued a profit warning for the second half.

Announcing Mr McGettigan's appointment, Co-op group chief executive, Martin Beaumont said: "Eoin joins us at a particularly challenging time for our food retailing business, which is suffering short-term indigestion following recent acquisitions and is subject to fiercely competitive market conditions."

Mr McGettigan added: "The Co-op is a well-known and trusted brand with a strong retail proposition - this is one of the most exciting roles in food retailing."

Further information: www.co-op.co.uk

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

US scientists develop biodegradable baking pan

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


US researchers claim to have developed a pioneering biodegradable packaging for ovenable and freezable baked goods.

A team of ex-aerospace engineers and geologists at Biosphere Industries insist the new disposable baking pan is cheaper than aluminium and most plastic alternatives.

The baking pan is made from the company's newly developed Primary Packaging Material 100 (PPM100) which consists mainly of starch with a small amount of organic additives and non-wood fibres to add structure. No non-organic fillers or plastics have been used, according to Bakery & Snacks.

The new product is reportedly suitable for a range of baked foods such as pies and cakes and could sell for half the price of ovenable plastics, producing cost savings of 20 to 30 per cent compared to aluminium trays.

Elie Helou, Biosphere's chief executive, said: "We are seeking our own protection for the mix and mould systems which produce steam as the only by-product of manufacture. We believe that our technology is several years ahead of current competitors and intend to take advantage of this lead."

Biosphere is also working on another similar material called PPM200, which has been designed to meet high moisture and steam generating conditions such as noodle bowls, coffee cups, soup bowls, frozen prepared meals, and other hot or cold moisture food products such as meat trays.

The company was set up three years ago to develop environmentally friendly packaging. Biodegradable packaging can be produced without burning fossil fuels and is expected to become more popular as interest increases in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and waste. The European Union recently proposed taxes on packaging waste produced by companies.

Further information: www.biospherecorp.com

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

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