Q Awards Weekly Wrap: Pick of best food and drinks stories

What does that say? I say...

What does that say? I say...


If you have been out and about this week then settle down with a brew and let the Q Awards guide you through what you may have missed with our Weekly Wrap of stories that caught our eye from the world of food and drink over the last seven days.


Jamie Oliver steps up campaign for curbs on sugar in children's food and drink in new Channel 4 TV series



Jamie Oliver is lobbying against high sugar levels in children's drinks


Jamie Oliver has joined the health lobby's call for more action to be taken against sugar levels in children's food and drinks with a call for a 7p "sugar tax" on cans of popular fizzy drinks. He will set out his case against what he sees as dangerous levels of sugar in children's food and drinks in a special television programme, Jamie's Sugar Rush, which will be aired on Channel 4 shortly.

The celebrity chef has made his mark by challenging the food industry not only in the UK but in the US with a number of high profile campaigns. Ten years ago he persuaded the Government to put extra funding in to school dinners after a series of programmes that looked to raise the standards of meals being served to children.

He has now turned his attention to the growing issue of obesity amongst young children not only in the UK, but around the world, with a new programme, Jamie's Sugar Rush.

In his new documentary Oliver will investigate the huge potential contribution sugar is making to rising global health problems and the increase in the number of people being affected by Type 2 diabetes, brought on partly by excess sugar in their diets.

He will back up his call for action to be taken against sugar in children's drinks with a six-part series, Jamie's Super Food, which will see the celebrity chef take to the road and visit countries with some of the healthiest diets in the world and demonstrate how to make some of their national dishes with every day recipes.

Oliver said: “Sugar Rush is very much about putting the spotlight firmly on a massive global problem and highlighting the hugely negative impact sugar is having on our health. Let’s not forget that diet-related disease is one of the world’s biggest killers and it’s entirely preventable. I like to think of the Super Food series as part of a solution to this problem – it focuses on healthy, tasty, easily achievable meals, as well as loads of tips and extra info, to help us all get it right on the food front, most of the time.”

The programmes are part of Oliver's ongoing Food Revolution initiative where he is hoping to galvanise public support for compulsory practical food education in schools around the world.


UK fast food restaurants praised in new study for low salt content in children's meals




The UK fast food industry has been praised in a new health report for having amongst the lowest amounts of salt in children's meals in the world.

The study by World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) compared the same meals in fast food restaurants around the world including leading chains such as McDonalds, KFC and Burger King, according to the Propel newsletter.

KFC in the UK came out best with the lowest rate of salt of 0.9g for a dish of  popcorn nuggets and fries compared to  5.34g in Costa Rica. A children’s meal of burger and fries in Burger King in the UK contains 1.06g of salt compared to Colombia, where the same meal contains 4.82g. A Subway Kids Pak turkey sub in the UK contains 1g of salt, against the same sandwich in Germany, which came out worst at 1.5g. The UK’s McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal also had the lowest rate of salt at 0.78g, compared to the highest, in Turkey, at 2.4g.

WASH was concerned that only only 233 out of the 387 children’s food choices it surveyed had complete nutritional information showing the levels of salt in different meals. It called on   all fast food restaurants to provide the details.  Clare Farrand at WASH said: “The fact that these fast food chains are able to produce less salty children’s meals in some countries means they can do the same in all countries, and should immediately. All children, regardless of where they are from, should be able to enjoy the occasional meal out as a treat, without putting their health at risk.”

Health guidelines suggest children aged four to six should not consume more than 3g of salt a day and 5g for seven to 10-year-olds.



Diners call for more non-meat options on Christmas menus


Diners want to see less turkey and more non-meat options


Restaurants and hotels are being urged by diners to offer more vegetarian options as part of Christmas menus, according to new research.

Vegetarian Express, the specialist supplier of vegetarian and vegan dishes to the catering sector, said its research shows that over half (54%) of diners would like to see non-meat options on Christmas menus, this rises to 65% amongst women.

Sixty two per cent of customers would like to see two or three meat-free options on menus, whilst a quarter would like to see as much as four or more. Demand for non-meat options is particularly strong amongst 18-34 year-olds with 34% calling for four or more meat-free options.

Will Matier, managing director at Vegetarian Express, said: “With Christmas being a time to indulge, caterers should really be offering their vegetarian diners the same level of choice as their meat-eating companions and making it a cracker of an occasion for all their customers.”


Master cooper in search of an apprentice to keep dying trade alive



Art of making wooden barrels for beer is dying out


The art of making wooden casks for the maturation of beer and cider is in danger of dying out in England as there are so few new recruits learning the specialist skill of  cooperage.

The last master cooper in England, Alastair Simms, aged 52, is looking for a new apprentice for his cooperage in Masham, North Yorkshire, but has had a limited response.

He fears the level of hard work involved in becoming a cooper, along with the four years of training, is putting off young people joining the trade. "The younger generation don't think they should be doing hard work, they think they should be sat behind a desk working on a computer," he told the Daily Telegraph.

He hopes he can find an apprentice who might one day take over his business. "There is incredible precision involved. An apprentice would need to learn how to repair casks and make them, as well as work with different timbers and to measurements as specific as 200th to an inch."

The introduction of metal casks in the 1960s has seen an increasing number of traditional coopers leave the trade.


Why you could be committing a crime by taking a picture of your favourite dish in the local restaurant



Taking pictures of food in restaurants could be illegal


It seems you can't go out for dinner any more without someone whipping out their mobile phone to take a snap of the meal in front of them. But, be warned, if you do you could be breaking the law.

Well that is the case if you happen to live in Germany. According to the Daily Telegraph a report in Die Welt newspaper claims photographs taken of dishes of food in a restaurant, and then shared on popular social media platforms like Instagram or Pinterest, could be illegal as their copyright lies with the chef.

It states that under German copyright law anyone who takes a picture of a dish created by a chef should seek their permission first before sharing it on social media.

Although the practice is only legal in Germany there will be some chefs, restaurateurs and diners alike who would like to see it enforced in the UK so that an evening out is not interrupted by flashes and whirring cameras from across the restaurant floor.

Some leading restaurants in France have even started putting an image of a camera with a line through it to dissuade diners from taking and then sharing what has become known as "food porn" pictures of their meals.

The Times restaurant critic Giles Coren is particularly outspoken about the practice. He once wrote: "I think photographing one's food in a restaurant is easily as rude, disrespectful and brutish as … dropping one's trousers in the middle of the room and taking a massive dump."

Which would also bring you to the attention of the local constabulary.



Prosecco overtakes Champagne as the UK's favourite bottle of fizz



Prosecco sales have outstripped Champagne for the first time


An incredible 78% rise in sales has seen Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine, replace Champagne as the UK's favourite bottle of fizz, according to new research out this week.


Last year UK drinkers popped the corks of some 37.3m litres of Prosecco compared to only 9.8m litres of Champagne. The demand for Prosecco has been on the rise for the last few years, but it has been in the last 12 months that sales have really broken in to the mainstream.


Research body, IRI, found that value sales of Prosecco also  jumped 72% in the year to mid-July, reaching £339m. By stark contrast Champagne value sales were only up 1.2% over the same period with sales of £250m.


IRI alcoholic drinks analyst Toby Magill told The Guardian: “It’s no wonder that it now outpaces Champagne in value as well as volume and is being chosen above Champagne at weddings. It’s quickly becoming the nation’s summer drink of choice.”


Supermarket wine & spirits come out top in Which! taste test



Supermarkets came out top in drinks taste test with leading brands

Supermarkets have come out top in the latest taste test of leading spirit and wine brands conducted by the consumer advice service, Which!

Its panel of experts were asked to compare and contrast a line up of different products from a range of  spirits and wines, including full and medium-bodied red wines, crisp and dry white wines, gin and whisky.

Its results found that Morrisons’ London Dry Gin (£10.49) came out top in its gin taste test with a score of 80%, with experts describing it as ‘well-rounded’ and ‘refreshing’.

This was closely followed by Lidl’s Castelgy London Dry Gin, which was also the joint cheapest gin tested, costing £9.99, which came joint-second with Waitrose London Dry Gin (£12), both scoring 78%.

Greenalls’ London Dry Gin (£15) was the top scoring branded gin, coming in fourth overall with a score of 77%. Gordon’s Special Dry London Gin was ranked ninth with a score of 74%.

In the wine category Asda’s Extra Special Leyda Valley Chilean Sauvignon Blanc was the top-scoring white wine with a score of 79%. It was also the cheapest costing £5.75.

Other highly-rated white wines included Lidl Cimarosa Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (£5.89), Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Albarino 2013 (£8) and Waitrose Grüner Veltliner Niederösterreich 2014 (£7.99).

The two branded white wines in the Which! taste test, Cono Sur Bicicleta Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (£6.99) and Oxford Landing Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (£7.99), came bottom of the table.

The red wine test included 12 full-bodied reds (such as a Shiraz) and 10 medium-bodied reds (such as a Merlot). The expert panel gave Which? Best Buy recommendations to three supermarket medium-bodied reds and four full-bodied bottles.

You can see the list of red and white wine recommendations here.

Which! editor, Richard Headland, said: "Once again our taste tests have shown that supermarket own labels are giving the big brands a real run for their money. Some inexpensive bottles received a much higher score from our experts, proving you don't always need to splash out."

The expert panel was made up of judges from the International Wine Challenge including Charles Metcalfe, Peter McCombie Master of Wine (MW), Tim Atkin MW and wine writer, Kathryn McWhirter.

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