News Sun, 02 Aug 2015 08:16:51 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Facilities important for majority of students when choosing university

Research from AUDE, the Association of University Directors of Estates, found that facilities only come below the course (79%) and location (69%) in the list of priorities among students when choosing their university. Reputation (47%) and the Student Union (18%) complete the top five.
What is more encouraging is that 85% of students said they are learning, socialising and living in clean and well maintained university buildings.
"Choosing a university is one of the most important decisions a person can make and we are acutely aware that facilities play an important role,” said Sue Holmes, chair of Aude and director Of estates and facilities management at Oxford Brookes University.
“As the cap on student numbers is lifted and a free market emerges having excellent and well maintained facilities is going to be a key driver for all universities. These statistics indicate students are, on the whole, happy with their universities facilities, especially the learning environments, such as libraries and IT facilities.”
The research comes as TUCO commissioned its own research into the international student market. With the rise of international students studying at UK universities, the survey aimed to determine what they think of the catering facilities at their university. To view the research, download it here.

Sat, 01 Aug 2015 05:33:43 +0000
International students can’t find home comforts at university, study finds

According to the Providing Catering for International Students report by Qa Research and commissioned by TUCO, two thirds of international students would be likely or very likely to buy their home foods if they were available in university restaurants. However, they are not exclusively confined to food from home, as 84% of students said they wanted to eat a mix of foods from home and elsewhere – only 11% wanted to eat food solely from their home country.

The research found that 42% of international students would like to see more Chinese food on offer, while 30% would like to see more Japanese cuisine.

Despite the findings, around four-fifths of international students are satisfied or complacent about the food on offer. Where students are not satisfied, they cited value for money, choice on offer, quality of food and opening times as key factors.

Indeed, opening times was a particularly interesting finding of the survey. It found that 38% of students have had to greatly change their eating habits since studying in the UK, and in conversations with international students, the research reveals that they culturally tend to eat later and so find they will eat again once they have gone home.

Importantly, the researchers concluded that international students are varied and have had different experiences of living abroad. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work. To discover more of the findings, download the report here.

Fri, 31 Jul 2015 08:45:55 +0000
Lancaster University wins CUBO catering prize

Lancaster University has won the CUBO Award for Best Catering Service.

The ceremony, held at the CUBO Conference on 9th July at the University of Liverpool, recognised the hard work of senior managers working in high education catering and accommodation.

Lancaster’s Food Operations and Retail team won in the catering category, which is sponsored by TUCO, after it was awarded two Gold Food for Life Catering Marks. This marked the end of a huge turnaround for the university’s catering service, which now sees highly enthusiastic and engaged staff.

Nominees in the category were Kings College London and Nottingham Trent University.

It was a great year for the University of Aberdeen, which picked up two prizes for Best Marketing Campaign and Excellence in Student Sport Experience, while other winners on the night included the Russell Partnership.

There were two Lifetime Achievement Awards on the night, presented to Pat McGrath and CUBO chair Frances Stone.

Thu, 30 Jul 2015 08:21:54 +0000
Customer First Standard re-accreditation for LSE

LSE Catering have been celebrating recently after they earned a re-accreditation of their Customer First Standard.

Comments from the external assessor noted ‘fantastic areas of strength’ and ‘has continued developing its good practice around customer service and responding to the needs of its different client groups’.

‘Putting the Customer First’ is the national standard for customer service. Organisations must work towards three key statements: Building Successful Long Term Customer Relationships, Maximising Marketing & Market Awareness and Developing your People.

The accreditation follows recent re-accreditation of the Investors in People Standard, which LSE Catering first achieved in 2005. On this occasion the award moved up to Bronze Level and the ambition is to move to Silver at the next assessment.
LSE is now facing three years of disruption while a major building project gets underway in the centre of campus. The project includes a new catering facility at street level to replace the existing main student facility currently inappropriately located on the fourth floor of the original LSE main building.

Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:08:26 +0000
TUCO Members’ Benchmarking Research Pilot Study

Produced in partnership with Qa Research and launched at the TUCO Conference on Wednesday 22nd July, the report is solely to be used as an example of how TUCO can carry out a nationwide benchmarking exercise. This pilot contains the results of 10 member institutions and is therefore not to be taken as a statistically accurate report.

Following feedback from members during the conference and on reading this report, TUCO and Qa Research will refine the questions asked in the survey, reading for autumn 2015.

The TUCO Benchmarking Research will provide useful data for members to compare against other institutions, giving them confidential, real time comparison of their catering business with others within the higher education sector. The survey results will be customised for each institution, comparing their performance against those at similar or peer institutions, national aggregated scores and creating gap analysis reports for institutional analysis and strategic planning.

Philip Rees-Jones, non-executive director of TUCO, said: “The outcomes of this pilot study offer a flavour of the information that could be available to TUCU members via a full survey. I hope future TUCO benchmarking reports will become the strategic tool for members to evaluate their performance and help them plan for the future.”

To read the pilot study, download it here.

Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:15:27 +0000
Bristol Online Survey - Fruit & Veg. Vendor Assessments 2015

We've launched the TUCO Fruit & Vegetables framework, 2015 - Supplier Vendor Assessment. These Vendor Assessment surveys are designed to capture your feedback on the level of service which you are currently getting from the suppliers which you have opted to use.

If you are using this framework then please, as the end user, spare a few minutes to complete the survey. TUCO will then discuss the results and any comments made with the suppliers during the annual contract review meeting.

To complete the survey simply click on the link provided below;



Wed, 29 Jul 2015 07:34:13 +0000
TUCO launches ground breaking training academy for caterers

In an unprecedented move, The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) today announced the launch of the ‘TUCO Academy’, which will seek to create a fully accredited training programme designed specifically to address the training and professional development needs of caterers in Higher and Further Education.  This unique initiative is being undertaken in partnership with London South Bank University (LSBU).


The TUCO Academy will provide courses in the areas of craft skills, compliance, professional development and personal growth in order to enable employees to develop not only within their institution but in the wider University Hospitality sector, and will be the first sector-specific led training academy.


Chair of TUCO Julie Barker commented: “Recent reports on the issues of training, staff recruitment and retention and productivity across the sector present a stark reality.  Right now, the Industry as a whole is in danger of stagnating, without any practical solution to tackle the issues.  The problems stand to become even bigger; The TUCO Academy is an answer to this that will offer genuine value and meet the current and future needs of the catering Industry.”


The challenge of the skills gap affects the entire Hospitality Industry.  Last year, a report from charity, People 1st, showed that the Industry needs to recruit 215,000 people into skilled roles by 2020, with 20% of organisations currently suggesting they could not recruit staff with the skills they needed – often at a more senior level.


The TUCO Academy will address all levels of training, from first job to senior management, with courses on everything from basic food hygiene to strategic management.  Course delivery will be a mixture of online independent study which can be done around day-to-day work, blended learning and face to face delivery at Universities and Colleges across the country.


Speaking about the launch Helen Anzani, Head of the TUCO Academy Project Group commented that it was ‘imperative’ that staff development remained a very high priority for TUCO and its members, adding: “The challenge of tackling skills shortages in University hospitality is one that we must address.  We aim to be employers with an unparalleled reputation for providing our staff with a future career path, offering choices in direction and personal growth so that we can continue to attract bright people.


“We also recognise that the training on offer has to address the real and constantly evolving needs of our members.  The programme will be developed from research we have undertaken with our member Universities and Colleges, which we will continue to conduct with LSBU to ensure the courses are evolving according to our Industry’s needs.”


The first TUCO Academy course will be available in October.   


All TUCO Academy courses will be developed in partnership with, and be endorsed or fully accredited, by LSBU and count towards continuous professional development (CPD) throughout the employee’s career.

Mon, 27 Jul 2015 09:42:33 +0000

The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) commissioned three independent studies, gathering insights from around the World.  The resulting findings look at current student eating habits alongside future predictions from a cross-section of over 3,000 students, covering three different continents.


Chair of the Research Committee, Phil Rees-Jones, commented: “With representation from over 100 universities in the UK, we pride ourselves on being pioneers within the Higher Education catering sector.  This study will, for the first time ever, collate the eating habits of students across the World.  The insights gathered will shed true light on modern-day student’ eating habits and offer all our members a new level of intelligence which will help drive positive business growth planning.”


REPORT ONE:  USA STUDENT FOOD TRENDS (from students’ perspective)…


Does it follow that “what starts in the USA - comes to the UK?”  This first report looks at how the eating habits of UK students compare to their US counterparts – revealing the different eating cultures across the pond.


Key findings in brief:

  • The UK is ahead on healthy eating - 59% of UK students say they eat what they consider to be a healthy diet but only 35% of US students say campus does a good job of offering healthy foods.
  • 37% of US students regularly use mobile technology to decide what to eat, make orders and pay for their food on campus.   
  • 58% of American students eat on campus regularly, with US students making particular use of vending machines and facilities during the evening, suggesting an inclination towards convenience foods and late night eating habits.
  • The UK is following in the footsteps of the US, with Mexican food (which is already a mainstream cuisine in the US) rapidly growing on UK campus menus.
  • Both UK and US students cite a low price point as the most important factor when purchasing food.
  • Students see eating occasions as less defined than traditional three meals a day with meals extending to five smaller meals per day, suggesting an opportunity for caterers to drive new revenue through snacking.




With rapidly rising numbers of overseas students - a reported 435,500[1] in 2013/2014 – and with over 50% of overseas students preferring to eat on campus, this report looks at how this has changed the way universities approach their catering facilities, to accommodate world fusion food offering and balance traditional needs against contemporary modern eating trends.


Key findings in brief:

  • 67% of international students like to try different dishes that they may not have tasted before.
  • The top three cuisines international students would like to see more of on university menus were Chinese (42%), Italian (31%), and Japanese (30%).
  • Of all dietary requirements the most common was Halal food, with 14% of all respondents flagging this.
  • Only 5% of students surveyed want to eat British food.  84% want to eat a ‘mix of foods from home and elsewhere’.
  • Alcohol doesn’t feature largely in their diet with only 3% drinking ‘on most days’.  26% answered ‘never’ and 29% answered ‘hardly ever’.




To complete the full outlook on trends and perceptions, the Food People undertook a major analysis of food trends across the world, exploring the current and emerging states in 36 cities across five global regions and examining the menus of 2,305 outlets to gain a complete picture of the future of food.


Key findings in brief:

  • 12 current macro food trends, over-arching casual, fine, on-the-go and leisure feeding.
  • 84 micro trends, which underlie these.
  • Students have come to expect that they can customise their meals.
  • At the same, there is a huge rise in single speciality outlets.
  • Food and eating is no longer just about consumption but experience and students also look to be immersed and stimulated when dining out.
  • Rules no longer apply – anything goes and consumers generally are looking for totally unique dining.


TUCO Chair, Julie Barker, also commented: “The results from the reports offer a full and in-depth look into the true eating habits of students – and equally areas where university caterers can look to the future and amend their offering to meet the ever-changing demands of university students and remain competitive against off-campus outlets.


“What we have seen is that there are areas of competitive advantage that university caterers can capitalise on such as providing value meal plans that can help students control spending; a unique situation that can’t be offered by the High Street.


“We have also found that, with an increasing number of international students, university caterers need to ensure the tastes and habits of those from overseas are catered for, as they offer a growing, potential revenue stream which will help to boost the bottom line.”



If you would like to receive a copy of the research contact the TUCO Head Office.


Thu, 23 Jul 2015 22:17:10 +0000
Grumpy Mule unveiled rebrand at London Coffee Festival 2015.

Grumpy Mule, the multi-award winning coffee brand owned by Bewley’s, lifted the lid on its new look at London Coffee Festival in May 2015.


Encompassing all packaging and branded collateral in both foodservice and retail channels, and backed up with a brand spanking new website, the new brand promises to deliver a Grumpy Mule with more sass, more bite and a lot more kick.


The Grumpy Mule branding has evolved to have the stretch to be relevant and appropriate from corporate business locations to universities, with POS developed to suit these distinctly different locations.


Julie Wild, Brand Activation Manager at Bewley’s, commented:


“With the refresh, we wanted to create a coffee brand with a distinct voice and personality. Our core values of integrity, quality and sustainability remain exactly the same, but now ‘Grumpy Mule’ is not just the brand name on our coffee packs, but our ethos too. We found, with our early research, that people got the idea of the Mule as being edgy, and inferring a certain disgruntlement of the average cup of instant or Robusta coffee, so we really played to this in the character and tone of the brand”.


 Link to website for foodservice customers:

Wed, 22 Jul 2015 08:48:45 +0000
Santa Maria’s report reveals the taste profiles of four generations

Santa Maria have done the hard work for you. They know what flavours make consumers tick and how it changes with age. In their Age Cohort Report they share their consumer insight and flavour expertise to help you to deliver food experiences to suit different age groups. Read More

Click here to read the Santa Maria Age Cohort report

Wed, 22 Jul 2015 05:46:13 +0000