PAPA News

National Pizza Week

Plans are being drawn up for a national pizza week in November with the aim of supporting the industry at a key time of year for sales.   The Week is likely to take place towards the end of the month following the industry awards on 11th November.   An outline proposal for the campaign will be discussed by the PAPA Management Committee when it meets in July.

Staff Shortages

With many foodservice businesses reporting difficulties in recruiting staff, particularly chefs and kitchen staff, the Association is pressing the Government to relax its immigration rules to allow workers back into the UK who left due to COVID.

Packaging Waste Costs

Concerns have been raised about plans by the Government to offload the costs of packaging waste and litter onto businesses from 2023.   Under the proposed Extended Packaging Responsibility rules, businesses would have to pick up all the costs currently borne by local authorities.   PAPA has questioned the validity of the proposals which appear to simply move the costs of waste from local authorities onto industry and which do not resolve the issues of recycling.    Instead, it has called for an integrated waste system with packaging and bins colour coded to aid consumers in disposing of waste packaging correctly. Find out more here

Pizzas Caught in Allergen Labelling

Delivered pizzas will be required to have ingredient and allergens displayed on their packaging from 1st October 2021 if proposals set out by the Government in January are adopted.

In its consultation on guidelines for allergen labelling, the Food Standards Agency proposes that in addition to having allergen and ingredient information available at point of sale (e.g. on a website) “This information must be given to the customer at point of delivery for example displayed on the packaging of the food.”

Although the new regulations were originally intended to target products that are packaged for self-service, interpretation by Agency’s lawyers means they will now cover all foods that are prepacked.   This would include, for example, a supermarket deli pizza in a pack as well as delivered pizzas.

The Association will be responding to the consultation about this.

Immigration

The Migration Advisory Committee has published a new report on immigration which recommends that the threshold for medium skilled workers should be reduced from £30,000 to £25,600.   This will have little impact for the foodservice sector where a typical salary for a UK chef is £20,362.

The report gives little assurance about lower skilled workers of which there are already shortages in the UK.

The Association is currently considering how it should respond to the report.

Obesity

Despite dropping its annual Change for Life advertising campaign, which normally takes place at the start of each year, Public Health England has announced new salt targets that it wants achieved by 2023.    For  pizza and pasta products they are generally seeking a further 10% reduction in salt, which will be extremely hard to achieve given the reductions made to date.

The Association has been challenging the viability of the targets for some time and has suggested to Government that the focus needs to be more on encouraging consumers to make better choices than setting targets that produce questionable results, but which involve heavy cost for industry.   It has put forward proposals to the Department of Health for prominent calorie labelling on the front of packs to encourage consumers to choose healthier options.

Coming on top of the increasing costs being felt by food businesses from Brexit and  business rates to rising salaries, these new targets are likely to be seen as excessively challenging, particularly since further PHE is expected to also issue new calorie targets this year.