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Wed 26th Apr 2017 - Foodservice inflation hits 6%, Feng Sushi sold
Foodservice price inflation accelerated 6% in March: Foodservice price inflation reached 6.0% in March, the latest edition of the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index reveals – thanks to a dramatic rise in the price of fish and continued inflation in sugar, meat, cereals and vegetables. The headline figure shows that inflation in wholesale foodservice prices is accelerating, following year-on-year inflation of 1.8% in December, 2.9% in January and 3.7% in February. There is now a large gap between the Foodservice Price Index and the Consumer Price Index, which changed 1.2% in the 12 months to March. Prices in the foodservice sector continue to be affected by a host of factors including the weak pound, rising oil prices and lower than usual supply of many items, as well as climatic and regional issues. The inflation rate of 6.0% is substantially up on historical averages, and March prices were higher year-on-year in all ten sub-categories of the Foodservice Price Index measured by Prestige Purchasing and CGA Strategy. The most significant inflation in March came in the category of fish, where prices were up by 19.9% on a year previously. It follows a lean start to 2017 for US salmon fishermen, poor cod catches and sea lice problems adding to farming costs. Other notable figures revealed in the latest edition of the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index include sugar, chocolate and other confectionery inflation now more than 10%, due to lower than usual exports and rising prices from UK beet producers; meat and poultry prices up significantly year-on-year, with the weak value of sterling increasing demand for British products overseas; and prices now inflationary in the milk, cheese and egg category following the rising farm-gate cost of milk – a notable increase on the deflationary figure for this category a month ago. There is some respite in inflation in vegetables, where although prices are still notably up year on year, the level of inflation has decreased. As 2017 goes on, growth in British vegetable production should help to push down inflation further. Inflation in some other categories such as fruit is meanwhile relatively restrained. But with few other positive pricing trends and sterling set to remain weak during Brexit negotiations, the Foodservice Price Index predicts that inflation will remain well above average over the next few months. Christopher Clare, head of consulting and insight at Prestige Purchasing, said: “Whilst the inflationary figures regarding fish will no doubt make the headlines this month, the overall level of inflation has really been driven by ‘across the board’ price increases as the real effects of a prolonged depression in the value of sterling take their toll on operators – being informed at times like this is critical.” Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA Strategy, said: “Our latest CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index reveals the scale of inflationary pressures facing the foodservice sector at the moment. The weak pound is causing major headaches for businesses in the supply chain that rely on imports, and various other external factors are adding to the burden. With inflation unlikely to ease soon, foodservice companies will need to adopt smart pricing strategies and stay nimble and flexible in their purchasing in the coming months.” The CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index is jointly produced by Prestige Purchasing and CGA Strategy, using data drawn from more than 50% of the foodservice market and about 7.8 million transactions per month. More information on specific categories is available on a subscription basis. 

Genuine Dining Co acquires Feng Sushi:
The Genuine Dining Co has acquired Feng Sushi, the eight-strong London-based Japanese sushi restaurant and delivery company. The business will continue to be managed and operated by the Feng Sushi management team, which will report to Chris Mitchell, chief executive of Group Genuine. Feng Sushi will run as a separate entity and will become part of the group. Sector investor Luke Johnson is a shareholder and chairman of both businesses and said combining the two would offer a range of benefits for both brands. The Genuine Dining Co and Feng Sushi have been working closely together for the past two years. The Genuine Dining Co has been pioneering ways to deliver high-street brands into its business and industry contracts across the UK. This is a way to further develop lunchtime eating habits for its business and industry customers as well as expanding and developing the Feng Sushi brand in its own right. There are many synergies between the two brands with people, product and service at the core of their offer. As part of this deal, Mitchell will become chief executive of Group Genuine, which incorporates The Genuine Dining Co, Signature Dining, Genuine Hotels and Feng Sushi. The deal will see Feng Sushi chief executive Paul Viner become a board director for Group Genuine, overseeing all the companies and adding significant financial support to the group. Johnson will remain as chairman of Group Genuine. Mitchell said: “This is a massively exciting development for us. I have always admired the Feng Sushi product since partnering with Luke seven years ago. I am looking forward to working with the management team of Feng Sushi and developing and expanding the brand through The Genuine Dining Co.” Viner added: “This is an exciting development for both companies. The synergies have always been very apparent. I am excited about helping to develop Group Genuine as a board director.” Johnson said: “The Genuine Dining Co has performed well over the past seven years, with significant growth and development of product and brand. I see Feng Sushi as a good fit for Group Genuine. Combining the businesses has many benefits for both parties.” The Genuine Dining Co is an outsourced foodservice company, offering seasonal and creative catering solutions for people at work. 
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