March 2009 Archives

IFE highlights 1000 new products

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Cold pressed garlic sprays, culinary foams and vanilla bean pastes were amongst the 1000 exciting new products to be showcased at this year's IFE exhibition.

The three day international food and drink event (15-18 March), with 1,200 exhibitors from 45 countries, attracted around 24,000 visitors and the rush showed: the isles of the two great halls were bustling and there was enough food and drink to sustain a small army.

The best of the new products were highlighted at the Innovation Live platform, a new feature at the show launched in association with Mintel, where visitors could see, touch and taste winning products from the show's Fresh Ideas Awards, which recognises innovative products.

Winners of the Fresh Ideas Awards included Urban Fresh Fruit's soft bake golden kiwis, the Amazing Food Company's cold pressed garlic spray, RH Amar and Co Cooks & Co French brandy cooking gel and Aconbury Sprouts' Golden snow pea shoots.

Product Junkie took the opportunity to nip around some of the most alluring stands with a camera to catch some of the action. The video (attached below) starts with a shot of a selection of olives, artichokes, stuffed tomatoes and other divine Mediterranean products from the Fresh Olive Company - as far as Product Junkie is concerned, the artichokes deserved an award in their own right.

Imaginative Cuisine's Airspuma Culinary Foam is the next award-winning product on the video, looking rather like it belongs on a hairdresser's table and yet each bottle delivers 40-70 portions of varying-textured sweet and savoury foams including vanilla, mushroom, strawberry and truffle flavours. Each foam holds for five to 10 minutes, or in the case of vanilla, 30 minutes.

You wouldn't normally put bread with ice cream but this is exactly what Irish company Mullin's Ice cream has done with its Irish Brown Bread ice cream and it works. Made to a traditional Irish recipe, Irish wheaten bread is toasted, crumbled, sprinkled with Demerara sugar and swirled into vanilla ice cream. Caterer & Hotelkeeper's products and suppliers editor Diane Lane can be seen sampling the company's Turkish Delight-flavoured ice cream.

And finally, mashed potato does not have to be boring, as From our Farm Mighty Mash demonstrates with its selection of mash with vegetable products. Not that you need Product Junkie to explain its value, the spokesman at the company made a fine job of getting the message across, see the video below.

Ice Chair

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Ice-Chair.jpgThe Ice Chair is no ordinary chair. The stainless steel frame is coated in a clear resin which absorbs and reflects surrounding coloured lighting to produce dazzling effects.

The chairs have a back height of 92cm, base size of 43cm with pad and floor to base height of 43cm. Unlike the traditional wooden banqueting chairs, the Ice Chair is easy to clean and requires a minimum amount of maintenance.

Caterers can either hire the Ice Chairs from Co-ordination Catering Hire for special events or buy them. The basic hire price is £2.95 per chair plus VAT.


Asprey-Purple-Water-Collect.jpgYesterday we brought you sturdy practical hospitality shoes, today we bring you luxurious guest amenities in the form of Asprey's Purple Water collection. 

No one could accuse Product Junkie of lacking in variety!

Pacific Direct, global manufacturer of guest amenities, introduces Asprey Purple Water - The Luxury Hotel Collection.

Purple Water takes its name from the signature Asprey colour and comprises a selection of bathroom products targeted at five-star hotels worldwide. 

Head notes of lemon, mandarin and jacaranda gives Purple Water products an initial zesty impact while ginger, vetiver and musk adds depth to the fragrance.

The range, encompassing shower and bath products, shampoo and conditioner, soap, bath salts, refreshing towelettes and perfume, is presented in soft touch bottles with Asprey's trademark button chrome cap. 

Smells good to us.

Crocs workwear shoes

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Crocs-work-shoes.jpgLook at these sturdy fellas. There's no chance of your hospitality staff slipping over in a pair of these super-grip work shoes.

Ginger (two inch heels) and Saffron (flats) are the latest additions to the Crocs Work collection, featured at the Work Wear and Corporate show at the Birmingham NEC.

Available in black and white, the styles feature a Croslite footbed, creating a custom fit that helps to minimise the load on feet, legs and back plus circulation nubs to help stimulate blood flow in the feet for extra comfort.

The waterproof leather upper styles have an adjustable Velcro strap for a secure fit, a roomy toe box, a mesh liner inside to keep moisture away from the foot and a Crocs lock tread sole which exceeds industry slip resistant standards.

We could have done with a pair of these sturdy shoes after attending Merlin Events launch of the terrifying Saw ride at Thorpe Park last week. Caterer's community editor Katherine Alano and I are featured in the video below having the life scared out of us.  

Simon Jersey's flying colours

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Simon-Jersey-Emirates-unifo.jpgHospitality uniform specialist Simon Jersey has landed a multi million pound deal with Emirates Airlines to come up with a new look for its 23,000 staff.

Product Junkie thinks these ladies look pretty swish. Nice neutral coloured fabric, respectable skirt length, matching red hat and skirt pleat. Good work.

The airline industry usually employs high street fashion designers so Simon Jersey must be over the moon with this result. The designs were approved last year and will be taking to the skies on April 1st.

Simon Jersey's new Spring Niche catalogue is out now and has all the latest looks, fabrics and colours for the hospitality sector.

Wildly Different Raisins

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Natural-Balance-Foods-raisi.jpgThe raisin-hating Product Junkie crew took some persuading to sample Natural Balance Foods' "nākd wildly different" fruit-infused raisins at the IFE show yesterday, but we were pleasantly surprised.

The fruit-drenched raisins are so entrenched with flavour that they take on a whole different form in your mouth so that you know you're eating a raisin but it bears very little resemblance to the original article. Weird.

Judges of IFE's Fresh Ideas Award were equally as moved by this new product, deeming the pineapple variety worthy of making the top 10 most innovative products list. And with 1,200 exhibitors at the show from 45 countries, this was some achievement.

Three other flavours are available - cherry, lemon and orange - and the raisins contain all natural ingredients, no added sugar and even meet one of the five-a-day portions of fruit/veg requirement.

Fun packaging and the novel concept will no doubt appeal to kids...and adults alike, as demonstrated by the products team which left off with several packets stuffed down their pockets.

We used to think grapes belonged in a bottle of wine but we're willing to reconsider...

Fairtrade Cadbury Milk

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Fairtrade-Cadbury-Milk.jpgCadbury is the latest company to commit to Fairtrade certification, giving new and existing farmers in Ghana the chance to benefit from improved living standards under the Fairtrade system.

Cadbury Dairy Milk and hot chocolate is due to be certified Fairtrade by the end of Summer 2009.

Harriet Lamb, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation said: "We're delighted to have the opportunity to certify Cadbury Dairy Milk, enabling all those who buy it to make a real difference for cocoa farmers with every purchase. This certainly sets a new standard for the mainstream chocolate industry." 

The move marks the first anniversary of the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership (CCP), the initiative in which Cadbury is investing £45 million over the next 10 years to secure the sustainable socio-economic future of cocoa farming in Ghana, India, Indonesia and the Caribbean where the cocoa farming industry is facing increasing challenges.

Product Junkie is sure everyone is thrilled by this latest development...and the further excuse to eat more chocolate.








Get drenched!

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Britvic-Blackcurrant-Drench.jpgThe several cases of Britvic's latest soft drink Drench, that miraculously arrived on the Product Junkie desk a couple of days ago, are vanishing faster than a pile of catalogues in an Argos advert.

Our office tastes certainly reflect the results of the latest Britvic Soft Drinks report which shows that UK sales of soft drinks totalled £8.4bn last year, down only 1% in value compared to the previous year, despite the credit crunch.

Drench is made with drench spring water, 8% fruit juice and no artificial colours or flavours. Varieties include Orange & Passionfruit, Cranberry & Raspberry and Blackberry & Apple.  

Tuck in. We have.


Record-breaking roast dinners

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East-of-England-Agricultura.jpgLook at this motley crew. It may look like an international bingo convention but these guys have helped secure a place for the East of England Agricultural Society in the Guinness Book of Records for eating the largest simultaneous roast meal.

The event attracted a whopping 1,362 people, proving that the traditional roast meal still holds its place in the hearts of the great British public. It also helped to raise more than £5,500 for Help for Heroes, the charity supporting wounded service personnel.

Chef Greg Pryce and his team of 14 were responsible for delivering the roast meals at the East of England Showground last month, with more than 200 volunteers helping to ensure two courses and coffee were served in less than 55 minutes.

Quality Standard Beef was donated by local farmers and EBLEX while potatoes, vegetables and Yorkshire puddings were donated by local farmers and the showground's suppliers. Essential Cuisine's Beef Demi Glace was mixed with the beef juices to finish the meal off with some tasty gravy.

Andrew Mercer, chief executive of the East of England Agricultural Society, said: "We would like to thank all our supporters, volunteers and suppliers who donated goods to this worthwhile cause. There was a marvellous atmosphere and the food was superb."

One word from Product Junkie: yum.

Tibard knocks 30% off price of workwear

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Tibard-Coolmax-Jackets.jpgProduct Junkie loves a bargain as much as the next person which is why we thought we'd highlight this credit crunch defying offer from Tibard.

The workwear company is offering its long sleeved poly/cotton Coolmax Chefs Jackets for £9.95, representing a saving of 30%.

The mesh-backed jacket, available in white or black, has concealed press stud fastenings and a two-piece top stitched collar. The material is soft, lightweight and breathable - drawing moisture away from the body to keep staff cool in hot kitchens.

World Ice Art Championships "Spring" win

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Last month's snow burst saw a plethora of artistic creations up and down the country but they were often limited to the odd carrot, an old scarf and maybe a scattering of stones.

Who then, would fail to be impressed by this awe-inspiring work of art sculpted by Martin King, director of Peterborough-based food service company King Brothers?

King and his team mate Arron Costic scooped the top prize at the 2009 World Ice Art Championships "Single Block Classic" event last month in Alaska, beating 44 other international competitors in the two-man teams.

Each competing team in the two Abstract and Realistic categories was given an 8ft X 5ft X 3ft block of ice to work with and 60 hours to complete the feat, including eating and sleeping time.

King and Costic's 12ft sculpture called 'Spring' fell under the Abstract category and included 30 handmade balls of ice. "We were awarded the gold medal in a very competitive field in conditions of -5˚C which made for excellent carving conditions. I believe this makes me the UK's first world champion in this event," said King.

Product Junkie is truly humbled.

Retro White CitiZ cut out.jpgAs a hotel guest, Product Junkie likes to be spoiled with in-room gadgets and little luxuries. So imagine our excitement when we saw the new pod-type espresso machines from Nespresso.

While the main market for the domestic machines is at home, they're also targeted at high-end hotels who like to give guests an in-room roast and ground experience and are suitably slim to fit into small spaces. 

The design of the new CitiZ range is evocative of iconic Art Deco buildings such as New York's Empire State Building and the machines come in striking shiny colours of fire engine red, retro white, limousine black and steel grey.


Lose weight with Quorn

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Quorn-to-lower-cholesterol.jpgVegetarians often have to fight their corner about the value of meat-free products but now it appears they may have a solid the form of Quorn.

According to a study in the Nutrition Bulletin produced by the British Nutrition Foundation, the Quorn ingredient mycoprotein (an edible funghi) could help people reduce their cholesterol levels and manage their obesity and risks of type 2 diabetes.

Bespoke baths from Armstrong Woodhouse

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Armstrong Woodhouse Silver bathA freestanding bespoke bath is a luxury by anybody's standards but in the words of Little Britain's Marjorie Dawes, Armstrong Woodhouse's baths are "summin' else".

The Angel silver leafed freestanding copper bath (pictured) has proved a popular choice with boutique hoteliers and its launch has been followed by gold finish and bespoke commissions for precious metals such as palladium.

What's more, managing director David Hampshire says the baths have a far-reaching appeal.

"We have been quietly working away in the wings designing and manufacturing bespoke pieces for clients for many years now. Usually the preserve of boutique hotels & high end guest houses, the handmade freestanding bath is now a firm favourite with the larger exclusive groups," he says.

What Product Junkie can't promise is that your guests will look like the young lady in the picture.


Fairtrade Gloves

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Traidcraft BM Polyco glovesEthical trading is big business in the UK - thank god - and there seems to be no end to the range of products receiving certification, from bananas to tea to coffee to rice to...rubber gloves.

Coinciding with Fairtrade Fortnight (23 Feb - 8 March), Traidcraft has launched fair trade rubber gloves produced by BM Polyco and made from fair trade Sri Lankan rubber.



LADs are cool

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Lads love LADSThe market for lower alcoholic drinks, disconcertingly termed LADs, is booming, according to latest Mintel research.

Previously the tipple of pregnant ladies, drivers and the odd granny, sales of LADs are now outperforming the alcoholic market as a whole.

Value and volume of LADs sold have increased by around 10% in the last two years and last year consumers splashed out £66.3m on the beverages, equating to 20m litres or 76 pints per minute.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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