Intelligence trends

By Matthew White, chair of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) and director of catering, hotel and conferencing at the University of Reading

As the leading professional membership body for in-house caterers, we are delighted to launch our third TUCO Intelligence food and drinks report, rounding up the latest market intelligence with a focus on sustainability, the effects of the summer heatwave and Brexit.

Launched last year on behalf of our members, the report is designed to arm buyers with the latest intelligence on trends affecting caterers and anyone supplying them through a round-up of industry data and reports.

Released every quarter, our invaluable reports help pinpoint what drives food and beverage trends and what shapes our industry.

Sustainability will always be a hot topic in our industry. As an organisation, we welcome Henry Dimbleby’s latest appointment by Environment Secretary Michael Gove to lead the first major review of the UK food system in almost 75 years. We very much look forward to engaging in the strategy of the nation’s approach to food.

Talking of food, 2019 might well go down as a landmark year in the global poultry and pig industries as poultry producers cash in as China’s swine fever crisis shows no sign of abating. Chinese imports of fresh/frozen poultry have already risen by 40% year-on-year in the first quarter, according to the latest Birtwistles market report. UK/EU prices remain firm.

Vegetables, however, have taken a hit. According to the Reynolds Crop Report, the sizzling hot temperatures in July killed off the brassica crop, resulting in wholesale prices hiking from 60p to £3 for cauliflower. Broccoli supply is also expected to be difficult due to Britain’s bizarre recent weather conditions.

The price of halloumi has also rocketed, thanks to a global shortage. Last year, reports The Grocer, producers warned they were struggling to keep up with demand and an export deal with China might lead to shortages in the UK. Brexit is also hitting the cheese hard as a weak pound makes it far more expensive to import.

As 31 October closes in, Brexit continues to be a key discussion point for us all. To support our members, we have conducted a survey of all appointed suppliers to ascertain their latest position for a no-deal Brexit. The findings will be posted on our Brexit Impact Tool on the TUCO website, so stay tuned.

As an organisation, TUCO strives to deliver real value for members.

We do this by offering industry data such as this, our procurement services, our award-winning academy and events throughout the calendar year.


Our next event coming up is our Winter Conference, taking place on 4 December at Cardiff University.  The theme for this year is ‘Sustainable Success’. To book your place, visit: www.tuco.ac.uk/community/winter-conference-2019

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