In a market full of innovation, leading figures from the bar, pub and restaurant industry faced a challenge when they had to pick the most innovative new products in the casual-dining sector.
Twelve finalists were chosen to pitch their products to a panel at Innovation Challenge Live, held as part of last month’s Casual Dining show in London. Entries included food, drink, packaging, equipment and technology.
The panel featured leading pub and restaurant entrepreneur Peter Borg-Neal, who is chief executive at Oakman Inns & Restaurants, Brian Whiting, owner of award-winning pub group Whiting & Hammond, and Keith Bird, commercial director at Gourmet Burger Kitchen.
The two recipients of the Gold Award were Aryzta Food Solutions UK with Bun Appetit (pictured top) – a new Pretzel Burger Bun made using traditional pretzel baking methods – and Gram UK for its Superior Plus 72, which claims to offer the most energy-efficient refrigeration available on the market.
Mariam French, head of marketing at Aryzta Food Solutions UK, who made the pitch at the show, said: “Innovation is at the heart of everything we try to do at Aryzta, so we’re absolutely delighted to win gold.
“Bun Appetite twins traditional pretzel baking methods and repackages them in a new and innovative manner, making it perfect for creating burger menus with a striking difference. To have been recognised by such an esteemed panel and be the only food exhibitor to get top spot really is the icing on the cake.”
Commended entries include It’s A Wrap’s custom printed greaseproof paper (pictured below), L’Aquila’s Roasted Tomatoes Au Natural, Manitowoc Foodservice UK’s Convotherm 4, Millennium Foodservice UK’s Individual Gluten-Free Pastry Cases, and Purbeck Ice Cream’s Dorset Wasabi Ice Cream.
Mike Clarke, sales director for It’s a Wrap, said: “It was a great, albeit nerve-wracking opportunity, to showcase our papers. After being inundated with enquiries for the entire duration of the show, it made a fantastic end to the event to achieve ‘commended’ status.
“In addition, I think it’s a great recognition for all the hard work everyone associated with the brand has put in since its inception. We have come back with a vast number of enquiries to cost, for a diverse range of food retailers, who all loved the versatility of our product.
“As they said, it’s not just for wrapping food for freshness it’s about keeping ingredients intact preventing grease seepage and really being able to promote your brand and change promotion on the wrap frequently.
“The bigger brands who have been using printed greaseproof paper for some time, loved the fact that using It’s a Wrap is actually affordable to print on a localised level.
“The smallest brands we spoke to such as individual fish and chip shops and new start-up cafe ventures were equally thrilled. For only a few hundred pounds, they could start their ventures looking as professional as the big brands but only have the upfront expense for 1,000 sheets.”