Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK’s largest foodservice provider, has seen a hugely successful launch of its Classic Toastie Range across the business. To date, it has sold a staggering 90,000 cheese toasties since the beginning of the year - in line with the continued demand for food-to-go, which is set to reach a value of £21.2bn in 2019, a growth of 3% on 2018.
The UK’s largest food service provider surveyed over 2,000 consumers asking them what they wanted to see more of as part of their food offer in the workplace. Findings showed that alongside healthier choices, such as salad bars and soup, toasties were also one of the most requested options. This newfound popularity inspired Compass to run its inaugural Toast Off competition, which culminated with a live cooking final at the Innovation Centre at Chertsey Headquarters.
The competition was launched company-wide to encourage employees to ‘get creative in the kitchen’ and come up with a brand new toastie recipe that could be included on the company’s Autumn menus. Each chef was tasked to include seasonal ingredients accompanied by an inspirational story behind their recipe.
Five finalists competed on the day, but Jim White, Eurest Head Chef at Thermo Fisher, part of the Eurest estate, created the winning dish which was aptly named ‘Autumn Crackle’ and inspired by the vivid colours, sounds and smells of the season. Bursting with flavours of crispy bacon, smashed apple chutney, smoked cheddar and fresh spinach and tomato, the winning toastie was a taste sensation. Chris Garside, Managing Director, Compass UK & Ireland presented Jim with a specially crafted wooden Toast Off trophy and £150 worth of vouchers.
Liz Forte, Marketing Director Business and Industry, HEFE, Compass UK & Ireland said: “We’ve spent a lot of time getting to know what consumers want in the Workplace, developing an insight-led menu solution. We’ve analysed huge amounts of data which has enabled us to create the flexible, relevant offers across our menus that customers have asked us for.
“The Toast Off event brought this to life and captured everyone’s imagination, we’ve seen some real creativity in the recipes and it’s great to see first-hand the amazingly talented chefs that we have right across our business.”
Jim White, Eurest Head Chef, Thermo Fisher commented: “I’m delighted to lift the Toast Off trophy for a genuine team effort. Our inspiration came from the crackle of fallen leaves on your Autumn walk, the smell of bonfires in the air, the spice of chutney made from those fallen apples all topped off with spinach and tomatoes for crispness and of course, the colour of Autumn right there in your hand. Our prize will be spent on a well-deserved team meal out, although I doubt any of us will be ordering a toastie that night!”
Competition was so stiff that it was decided that the four finalists’ creations would also make an appearance on menus as guest sandwiches for limited periods during the season. These recipes were: Mexican Meatball Meltdown, Hunter’s Chicken, New Yorker and Italian Stallion.
 MCA White Paper: A Focus on Food To Go In Action, 2nd May 2019