The arrival of summer is the ideal time for hospitality and catering operators to give their business a thorough pre-Brexit buying check, urges buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.
With so much still uncertain, including who will be leading both the country and the ongoing Brexit negotiations, Lynx Purchasing is advising the industry that the abundance of good value British produce now available makes it a good time to make sure robust product sourcing practices are in place.
The advice comes as Lynx Purchasing publishes the Summer 2019 edition of its regular Market Forecast, which offers operators an in-depth look at pricing and product trends over the coming months, using exclusive data gathered from the range of suppliers who work with Lynx Purchasing.
Rachel Dobson, managing director of Lynx Purchasing, says: “The Brexit uncertainty rumbles on, but overall, the next few months are looking positive in produce terms. Weather conditions have been kind, with no repeat of last years’ ‘beast from the east’ or similar challenges, and most crops are expected to be good quality across the summer.
“While every operator is dealing with similar challenges in terms of rising costs and lower consumer confidence, it’s important to remember that there are also costs that can be controlled.
“With a wide choice of British produce at its best across the summer in terms of quality, value and availability, a pre-Brexit buying check looking at menus, ordering procedures, suppliers used and other factors could make all the difference to being ready for whatever challenges are to come,” she added.
Product areas highlighted in the Market Forecast include:
Meat: There have been expected seasonal increases in the price of home produced beef, lamb and poultry, with higher demand for cuts popular for barbecue and grill menus. UK lamb is in demand for export to France in particular, while imported beef is in shorter supply, both of which have a pricing impact. Suppliers can advise on alternative cuts, which can be better value and boost sustainability by making use of the whole animal.
Fish and seafood: There is a strong export market for UK wild caught fish, as well as increasing domestic demand as it becomes increasingly recognised as an environmentally friendly source of protein. Farmed seafood can often better value, and although there have been concerns raised in the media about some practices, it can be a more sustainable option provided it is properly certified. Farmed bass, bream, turbot and halibut will be in good supply.
Berries: The British berries season has started well, with strawberries to be followed by raspberries, blueberries and blackberries as crops ripen. With berries expected to be high quality thanks to good growing conditions, operators should make the most of the opportunity. As well as desserts, try using use fresh berries to flavour and garnish cocktails and spritz-style drinks.
Vegetables: Jersey Royal potatoes have been very good quality and value this year, which is a good indicator of a better overall potato crop than last year, when supplies were affected by the weather. Home-grown carrots, broccoli and courgettes are also expected to be high quality. Use ‘served with fresh, seasonal vegetables’ as a menu description to make the most of changing supplies.
Dobson adds: “By making simple improvements to their purchasing, and working with suppliers who understand their needs, operators can generate substantial savings that can mean the difference between staying profitable or going under.
“As ever, there will be some product areas that are a challenge, but overall summer is a great time to put good buying principles into practice, with appealing menus focusing on British produce.”
The Summer 2019 Market Forecast is available to download free from the Lynx Purchasing website at Lynx Purchasing-Market-Forecast-Summer-2019.pdf
Lynx Purchasing works with more than 2,200 accounts in the hospitality and catering sector, on a no-membership and no-contract basis that offers like-for-like products at lower prices and often better quality than operators could obtain by negotiating alone.
As purchasing professionals, Lynx works with leading suppliers in the hospitality and catering industry. These include specialist fresh food suppliers, wines & spirits, catering equipment providers, utilities, and specialist service providers such as telecom, business rates consultancy and waste management.