Last week the annual LACA Conference and Exhibition took place and many of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ business partners were showcasing their products to the school catering world.  This event had an even higher profile than usual with the launch of the School Food Plan being announced on the morning of the final day.

We had a walk round the exhibition and chatted to the business partners. Over the next few In the Mix blogs we will be highlighting some of the great work they were doing at this event.


The team at Meiko were all very excited as they had been shortlisted for an innovation award which was to be announced that evening.  Delegates could pop along to the innovation zone to view their entry.  The award was eventually won by Harfields but we want to congratulate the team at Meiko on their shortlist.


At the Nisbets stand the team were showing their New Colour Concept Range which they describe as quirky, modern and cost effective with options for kitchen staff and front of house.  The crowd at the event had been really impressed with what they saw so the team were very happy with how the event was going.


It was all go for Unilever at LACA as they had an entire room focused around “The Big School Bake Off”.  Joanne Wheatley from the Great British Bake Off was signing her recipe books and this aspect was really popular.  We chatted to Paul Harris to find out more about it.  He said “The aim of ‘The Big School Bake Off’ is to put pride back in the kitchen and get children involved in cooking using basic ingredients, like Stork  Authorities have really taken this campaign on board and we are even hearing stories of school cooks helping single mums to cook family meals”.

Mars Foodservice

We had a catch up with Sarah Gray and chef, Roy on the Mars Foodservice stand about what they were doing to promote their products.  Sarah told us about their ‘See it for Yourself’ campaign which shows caterers exactly what they can do with the Mars products with their quality, versatility and consistency. 

Roy highlighted the importance of getting pupils interested in the food that they are eating and how they can make it interesting for the cooks to create the food.  For example leftover sauce can be used in salads and sandwiches.  A sweet and sour sauce can be added to coleslaw to give it an edge and more flavour.   On their stall they were running a competition to win a Kitchen Aid Mixer which was creating a real buzz on the stand.

Essential Cuisine

School caterers had the chance to learn more about the range of stocks that Essential Cuisine has to offer.  Sadly more and more children are being affected by food allergy and intolerances and their stocks are gluten free as well as suitable for vegetarians.  The team at Essential Cuisine recognised how busy school caterers are and wanted to promote products that will help them speed up the cooking processes.

In our next LACA blog will be focusing on the work of Brakes, 3663, Gram UK, Bernard Matthews Foodservice, Premier Foodservice and Pritchitts.