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Fri 10th Jun 2022 - Update: Steak shortages loom, smoking in beer gardens, David Bruce awarded an OBE
Steak shortages loom as fertiliser prices rocket: Supermarkets and restaurants are threatened with steak shortages as the surging cost of fertiliser and feed forces beef farmers to slaughter animals early. The Telegraph reports meat processors warn that households will be forced to opt for cheaper cuts of meat such as mince as farmers cut back on fertiliser needed to grow grass for their cows. Wheat and cereals can be used as an alternative for cow feed but the price of these grains have also soared. With little affordable feed, farmers will have to slaughter cattle earlier in the season when they are smaller and the meat is lower quality, industry bosses said. Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said this autumn would be “really messy” for farmers following the permanent closure of one of only two major fertiliser plants in the UK. Allen said: “Quite a few farmers will be short of feed going into the winter. The alternative would have been to feed wheat and cereals, and those prices are through the roof as well. It will be difficult to get the nice cuts and consistency of cuts.” He added that shoppers and diners are already beginning to swap out steaks, which are traditionally the source of most profit in the industry, for quality burgers. Steak prices are up by 5% on the year, according to the ONS, costing more than twice as much as mince per kilogram. Hawksmoor, the steakhouse chain, said it was paying 25% more for steak than it was in spring last year. Will Beckett, its co-founder, said: “There have been massive changes in demand and supply over the past couple of years – in covid people stopped eating in restaurants and started buying more beef in supermarkets. Now Europeans have started waking up to the types of cuts we like. And people have been driven out of farming over several years as profits fell, so there are fewer farmers and not enough cattle. We are paying around one-quarter more for steak now than we were in spring last year. We are clear on what we want, we buy it for a fair price, we can afford to pay over the market price. But not everyone can afford to do that.”

Next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book to feature 589 companies turning over £28.6bn: The next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, produced in association with Mapal Group, will feature 589 companies that are turning over a total of £28.6bn. The Blue Book shows the effects of the pandemic, with total losses of £5.9bn being reported by 348 companies. However, a further 241 sector companies are still reporting total profits of £1.1bn. The next edition will be sent to Premium subscribers on Friday, 17 June, at midday. The Blue Book, which is updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive the New Openings Database, produced in association with StarStock, and the Multi-Site Operators Database, produced in association with Virgate, which are also updated each month. Premium subscribers also now have access to the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and will be updated every two months. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers are also to be given exclusive access to seven videos where sector leaders and entrepreneurs offer their insights as they develop their businesses in a post-covid world. The videos, which will be sent to subscribers today (Friday, 10 June), at 9am will include Paul Campbell, sector investor and non-executive director at Hawksmoor, Vinoteca, Hickory’s, Blacklock, Tortilla and The Alchemist; Colin Hill, chief executive of Nando’s UK; James Shapland, co-founder of Coffee#1, the Caffe Nero-owned brand, and new venture Coffi Lab; Jyotin Sethi, co-founder of JKS Restaurants; Jonny Boud, founder of Kitchen Ventures and Tom Snellock, founder of Clays. The videos will also include a panel session on solving the staffing, recruitment and retention crisis hosted by Mark Stretton with James Hacon, global chief marketing officer at Mapal Group; Sol Schlagman, co-founder of Stint; Roland Horne, founder of WatchHouse; Kate Daines, chief people officer at PizzaExpress; and Brian Trollop, managing director at Dishoom. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

Smoking could be banned in beer gardens: Smoking could be banned in beer gardens, beaches and even within some homes, under plans being considered by ministers. The Telegraph reports an independent review, ordered by the Sajid Javid, the health secretary, called for radical action to reduce smoking rates, and make the habit “obsolete” within two decades. It also called for e-cigarettes to be made available on prescription, the abolition of “duty free” tobacco, and for the age people can buy cigarettes to be raised by a year, every year, until no one can buy them. If implemented by 2026, this would mean anyone now below the age of 15 would never be able to buy a cigarette. Other proposals include banning smoking from the majority of new social housing developments, labelling individual cigarettes with the minutes of life each costs, and making them “dissuasive colours like green or brown”. Anti-smoking campaigners and cancer charities said that the proposals were “bold” and “ambitious”. However, civil liberties campaigners and smokers’ rights groups expressed horror at the proposals, describing them as “the most crackpot ideas from the fringes of nanny state extremism”. Sources close to Javid indicated that he was “minded against” proposals for a smoking ban in beer gardens and on beaches, as well as on plans to reduce the age of sale. Downing Street did not rule out implementing a ban on smoking in beer gardens, instead saying that the government-commissioned review into smoking will be “carefully considered”. The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “I’m not going to jump ahead and start opining on different recommendations. This is a detailed piece of work which needs to be carefully considered and then we will set out our view.”

David Bruce awarded OBE for services to charity: David Bruce, the co-founder of Capital Pub Company and City Pub Group, this week collected his OBE, awarded for services to charity. Following the sale in 1988 of Bruce’s Brewery and the Firkin Pubs, Bruce with his wife, Louise, founded The Bruce Charitable Trust. Since then, over 25,000 disabled, disadvantaged or elderly people have enjoyed holidays on the Kennet & Avon Canal on the Trust’s four specially-designed, purpose-built, wide-beam boats. The other charity for which Bruce was recognised is The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, of which he was president from 2011 to 2019, during which its volunteers were awarded in 2014 The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service by the Princess Royal. Following the sale of Bruce’s Brewery, he was a co-founder of both Capital Pub Company and City Pub Group and he is currently chairman of the six Mosaic Pub & Dining companies.

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