Collective purchasing will save your business money on all areas of consumable supply.

Weekly Vine

20th October Weekly Vine: This week find out about the increase in homelessness in the elderly, chipocalypse, coconut water, hospitals banning supersize chocs, Arla protein milk & lots more!

Nation Faces Older People Homelessness ‘Time Bomb’  Councils Warn

The UK is facing a “ticking time bomb” in the number of homeless older people after latest figures showed an alarming rise of 130 percent since its lowest point eight years ago.

The Local Government Association says that older homelessness is a growing hidden phenomenon that needs greater understanding. It is believed that rising rents, illness and bereavement are fuelling the surge. Latest figures show that between April and June this year, councils accepted 620 people over the age of 60 as homeless. This is a rate of nearly 10 a day. Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, says the charity has seen a rise in the number of homeless elderly people using their services and urged that in order for the “nightmare” to end, ministers must freeze housing benefit and commit to building more affordable homes. To find out how you can help by donating to Shelter, click here,  every little helps!

New Zealand faces ‘chipocalypse’ as farmers warn of crisps shortage

New Zealanders are bracing themselves for a crisps crisis as many farmers warn of a potato shortage.

The country's largest supermarket said shortages could last into the New Year (stock picture) 

The expected ‘chipocalypse’ – as it has been dubbed by some – is due to continuous wet winter weather on the islands hitting potato production, resulting in higher prices. The price for a kilogram of potatoes has already risen sharply in the past year from AUD $1.63 in August 2016 to $2.12 a year later, an industry body said. Rising prices captured mainstream attention when warnings began appearing on some supermarket crisp aisles. One sign posted by a customer online, with a picture of an empty shelf, said: ‘Attention customers…Due to a Nationwide Potato shortage, we will be having trouble stocking Potato Chips. This will likely last until the New Year. Sorry for the inconvenience.’ Let’s hope there are enough potatoes for Christmas!!

Old age is not for taking it easy.

Encouraging older people to take it easy is damaging their health and costing the UK billions in social care, according to ageing experts.

The NHS says over-65s are at greater risk of heart disease and other illnesses due to their sedentary lifestyle.

Keeping fit and physically active staves off the need for extra support – but pensioners are often mistakenly told they should rest. Experts from Oxford University and the UK’s Centre for Ageing Better said exercise can reverse a person’s physical decline by as much as a decade “and keep a person above the threshold for needing increased care”. They argue that the effects of ageing are often confused with loss of fitness, but it is a loss of fitness that increases the chance of needing social care. Keeping fit is great for overall health and mental wellbeing. It can help prevent falls, can make you sleep better and reduce depression. Let us know how you ensure those who are of the older generation stay fit.

Is your coconut water as healthy as you think?

Coconut water is full of hidden sugar, despite being marketed as a healthy option, an investigation has found. Sales of the trendy drink have soared in recent years to more than £100 million in the UK, as the public become conscious of their health. Foodies, health gurus, beauty experts and celebrities alike all sing the sweet liquid’s praises. It is said to contain electrolytes vital for rehydration.

But a Government study suggests 60 percent of the products contain added sugar, even though its manufacturers claim it to be free of additives. The Government recommends a maximum of 30g of added sugar a day for adults, which is roughly seven sugar cubes. Consuming any more than this set amount can lead to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. Some studies have also shown a link to dementia. Maybe sticking to good old H2O is the way forward!

Hospitals in England to ban ‘super-size’ chocolate bars

“Super-sized” chocolate bars are to be banished from hospital shops, canteens and vending machines. NHS England says sweets and chocolate sold in hospitals should be 250 calories or under.


Under the plans, most “grab bags” will be banned – with hospitals given a cash boost for facilitating the change. The proposals would also see 75% of pre-packed sandwiches coming in at under 400 calories. Pre-packed savoury meals and sandwiches must also contain no more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g. And 80% of the drinks stocked must have less than 5g of added sugar per 100ml.

NHS premises have huge footfall from the communities they serve, with one million patients every 24 hours. The Royal Voluntary Service, the biggest hospital retailer across the UK, said it had already begun introducing healthier choices and had seen fruit sales go up by a quarter. Public Health England says hospitals have an “important role” in addressing obesity and not just dealing with the consequences. What are your thoughts? Should they be banned or should we have the choice? Let us know on Twitter.

Arla Protein Milk Launched

Arla Foods, the farmer-owned dairy company, has expanded its successful protein range with the launch of Arla Protein Milk.

Hitting shelves on 18 October, the fresh milk delivers 20g of protein per serving that contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. Made with simple, natural ingredients, the milk is 30 percent higher in protein than standard skimmed milk; plus fat-free so is an effective way to increase protein intake.

The move comes as the protein trend begins to move further into the everyday mass market. 45 percent of people now recognise that it’s important to increase protein intake when exercising. Products with added protein are a quick alternative to those products that already contain protein especially for those who eat on the go as protein also keeps you feeling fuller for longer.

 Eat Seasonably

Eat the Seasons


Figs make very attractive starters (e.g. served with Parma or Serrano ham) and delicious desserts. Try them drizzled with honey and your choice of cinnamon, thyme and pistachios, then roasted and served with a dollop of mascarpone or crème Fraiche. And they’re a great addition to an after-dinner cheese board. Or try this chicken with figs and honey recipe.

chicken honey

Other News:

Can food really protect you from dementia?

Robots to care for elderly and check if they are happy or sad

Will a sugar tax work? Well, it did at Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurants

Innovative balance app reduces falls risk in care home

 Price spectrum:


↑ Bananas

↓ Apples

F&E Promo Corner:


Polar Upright Stable Door Gastro Freezer 600Ltr

A great quality professional freezer, the Polar single door upright with stable door allows you to save energy and money by using improved freezer efficiency technology. Highly versatile double size gastronorm compatibility ensures food can be easily transferred between appliances to save you time, whilst the fully automatic controller ensures you have constant, precise regulation of the internal freezer temperature. Easy to use, clean and maintain.


National Baking Week 2017

Home Made Family Time

Are you partial to a slice of cake or two? Do you like dunking a biscuit into your brew? What about a slice of fruit loaf for your mid-afternoon snack? This blog could be just for you! Whilst it is easy to pop to the shops and buy a sweet treat, why not make your own?

The 16th – 22nd October sees the return of the annual National Baking Week. Whether you want to whip up a masterpiece or keep it simple, there is no better time to get in the kitchen, don your apron, grab your wooden spoon and bowl and start baking.

National Baking Week was founded by Pyrex in 2007. Its main aim is to encourage people to bake at home. With baking programmes such as Great British Bake Off on the rise, people are now getting creative and trying out new recipes no matter what level of ability! Whatever you choose to make this National Baking Week – make fun your main ingredient!

Baking essentials

You can’t create a stunning work of art in the kitchen without some baking essentials. If you have a kitchen, chances are you already have all the tools you need to get baking! If not, we can supply you with all your baking needs; from baking trays to electric whisks. Let us help take the stress out of your baking experience. Here are our top five baking products to help make your life in the kitchen that little bit easier!

KitchenAid Professional Mixer Red

With its Empire Red all-metal design and powerful, yet quiet motor, the KitchenAid 6.9 litre professional bowl-lift stand mixer blends versatile heavy duty commercial performance with attractive and stylish looks. The KitchenAid Professional features a strong stainless steel wire guard, emergency stop button, automatic shutoff and a sturdy pouring chute; all ensuring compliance with European Machinery Directives.

Vogue Flexible Silicone 12 Hole Cupcake Pan

This 12 hole cupcake pan from Vogue is made from a flexible yet extremely durable and resistant silicone; making it perfect for baking in any kitchen. This silicone structure also gives the pan a high heat resistance of 260°C, ensuring it can withstand constant use in busy kitchens. Dishwasher safe, the muffin pan is easy to keep clean and hygienic. The handles at either end make it comfortable and easy to carry, even when full.

Mason Cash Mixing Bowl 320mm

This traditional mixing bowl is made from heavy, chip resistant earthenware, making it very durable and ensures it stay still when beating mixtures or whipping eggs. The wide, shallow shape of the bowl makes it ideal for kneading dough, as well as a number of other purposes. It is also dishwasher and freezer safe.

Vintage Cake Stand White

What better way to show off your hand decorated cake than with porcelain cake stand? This elegant footed stand takes advantage of simple uncomplicated styling and has a perfectly smooth finish for a presentation that will complement any type of cake (up to 10″). The stand will raise your cake 5 1/2″ off the table, creating a stunning layered effect on your cake table that will impress your guests.

Tilting Icing Turntable

Make icing large cakes easier with this icing turntable. Rotate your cake as you pipe for a smooth and neat pattern. The slight tilt will allow you to access your cake at the perfect angle meaning you will be able to view and reach the necessary areas with ease. The anti-slip surface will secure your cake with a firm grip and make it easier to clean when finished.

Let’s get baking!

Baking can be as difficult or as easy as you make it. You can bake traditional dishes like a Victoria sponge or go adventurous with a soufflé. Below we have some tasty recipes that prove baking can be for anyone!

Traditional Baking

Victoria Sponge

Victoria Sandwich

This easy cake is a classic recipe to master. The soft vanilla-infused sponge sandwiched together with a light buttercream and jam filling is a favourite for parties, birthdays and afternoon tea.

Apple Crumble

Apple crumble recipe

This easy apple crumble recipe proves that you don’t have to buy one readymade, it’s so simple to make your own – and it tastes much better! Learning how to make apple crumble couldn’t be easier.

Unusual Baking

Orange Scented Olive Oil Cake

Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake

A powerful mixture of olive oil and candied oranges flavours this Sicilian dessert. Serve this moist, dense, cake with vanilla gelato, sea salt, and a drizzle of fruity olive oil.

Avocado cake

Chocolate avocado cake

This vegan cake (no eggs or butter!) is so delicious that it may leave people begging for more. The frosting is silky smooth, and the cake is light and loaded with chocolate flavour and healthy fats.


Simple Baking

Bakewell tarts

A wire tray serving Bakewell tarts

Use shop-bought pastry to make our easy Bakewell tarts. Simply layer jam, frangipane, and icing inside a shortcrust case for a nostalgic teatime treat.

Cake in a mug

Grab a few ingredients and your favourite mug, then pop it in the microwave for a quick and delicious treat.


Complex Baking

Baked Alaska

Defying all logic, this showstopper dessert of baked ice cream will certainly impress guests at a dinner party. Not one for the faint-hearted. This chocolate baked Alaska looks amazing!

Chocolate soufflé

Just the word souffle can be enough to instil fear in the most experienced cooks. It’s not that this dessert takes a long time to make, but it’s delicate. And temperamental too!

Feel good factor

The sense of achievement that baking creates can really lift the spirits. On a difficult day, during hard times at work or school, there is nothing better than creating something that will turn out amazing. And because certain recipes cannot be rushed, they help you relax — so that you can enjoy the process and then revel in the end result. You could also bake for a charity increasing that feel good factor! Keep us posted with your kitchen adventures on twitter @collectivepurch.

If you would like to talk to us about how we can supply you with all your baking needs, call us on 01329 236821.




Weekly Vine

13th October Weekly Vine: This week find out about runny eggs, Belong movement classes, chocolate week, catering qualifications, what makes us British & lots more!

Cracking news!

Pregnant women, babies and the elderly can now safely eat runny or even raw eggs under new advice issued by the government’s food safety watchdog.

The advice applies to British eggs that bear the red lion symbol.

Almost 30 years since the UK salmonella crisis, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has updated its advice after reviewing new scientific evidence. The research found that those vulnerable to infection can now safely eat raw or lightly cooked eggs – as long as they were produced under the British Lion code of practice.  The British appetite for eggs has been growing in recent years. Last year British hens laid over 10 million eggs, while on average we consume more than 34.5 million eggs every day. So dig out those egg cups and enjoy a runny, dippy egg in the morning!

Best Foot Forward

Residents of a Belong care village in Crewe have dug out their dancing shoes and have been sharpening their dancing skills at some dementia-friendly movement sessions.

The classes are guided by Cheshire Dance practitioners and are specially designed for older people with dementia. It has been proven that gentle movement has many benefits for dementia sufferers. Including enhancing flexibility, improving sleep and increasing social interaction, self-expression and confidence. Belong Crewe resident Vicki King, said: “In the sessions, we have to listen hard and really concentrate on what the instructor is saying. I have learned that you can do anything that you really want to do, once you put your mind to it. Movement makes me feel good; very important and fulfilled.” It is great to see residents enjoying the power of dance!

National Chocolate Week

This week has been the week that all chocolate lovers have been waiting for – National Chocolate Week!

To celebrate the week, there was a whole chocolate show in London. The London Chocolate Show is the UK’s biggest chocolate festival. It showcases chocolate in all its forms – bars, truffles, cakes, desserts, sculptures and more. The event included live celebrity chef demonstrations, workshops, tastings, masterclasses, a children’s area, top chocolatiers and chocolate companies from the UK and around the world.

Image result for aztec chocolate drink

Did you know white chocolate is not chocolate? This is because it doesn’t contain cocoa solids or chocolate liquor, meaning it isn’t chocolate in the strict sense. But it does contain parts of the cacao bean — mainly cocoa butter. Check out our blog to find out more interesting facts and recipes.

Health and care catering sector secures its first accredited catering qualification!

The first professional catering qualification for health and social care catering has been officially approved on the Ofqual Regulated Qualification Framework.  Organisations will be able to apply to become approved centres that offer the Level 2 Award in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care from January 2018.

The qualification is designed for people who cook for patients and residents in a health and social care setting. It tackles the important subjects of diet and hydration. Learners will study the impact of nutrition on health and wellbeing, whilst learning about the national standards and guidelines. How to plan, prepare, cook and finish food for patients with dysphagia will also be looked at. We have written a blog on bringing puree food back to life, read more here

What makes us British?

How British do you count yourself? Researchers have questioned the nation to find out what quirks the nation itself identifies as being quintessentially British.

The research also showed that ketchup is officially the nation’s favourite sauce to put on chips,  four times more popular than its nemesis, brown sauce. The survey also opened up the ‘s-con’ vs ‘s-cone’ debate. In close a tie  – ‘s-con’ came out as the official way to pronounce scone. So how British are you? If you can tick off at least eight of the British traits in the image above, you can officially be proud to be British.

Eat Seasonably

Eat the Seasons


Larger than the turnip and with a rough skin, the swede’s unpolished appearance disguises its fine texture and distinctive yet sweet tasting flesh. When roasted or mashed, swede makes a simple and tasty side dish. Swede can also be a welcome addition to stews or used instead of mashed potato.

Try this Swede, leek and potato gratin for a tasty dinner this weekend!

Other News:

New map reveals Britain’s dementia hotspots

One in 10 care home staff rejects obese residents due to lack of bariatric facilities

People with challenging behaviour should only be hospitalised as ‘last resort’, says NICE

Higgidy enters pastry-free market with new product launch 

 Price spectrum:


↑ Onions

↓ Pasta

F&E Promo Corner:

Vogue Polypropylene Mobile Trolley Large

Make the transportation of plates and equipment easier with these sturdy framed, tough polypropylene utility trolleys. They have the durability for many applications throughout hotels, restaurants, canteens and other establishments.  Accessories to make the trolly more versatile as available separately.




Did someone say chocolate?

Chocoholics rejoice!!

Finally, a week that all chocolate lovers have been waiting for is here…. National Chocolate Week is on between 9th and 15th October 2017!

When we think of chocolate we tend to picture bars of the stuff or boxes such as Cadburys milk tray. Let’s be honest, it’s a sweet treat that we all enjoy once in a while (or daily – no one is judging anyone here!!) However it hasn’t always been that way. For about 90% of its existence chocolate was a sugarless beverage!

Image result for aztec chocolate drink

A brief history of Chocolate

Many modern historians have estimated that chocolate has been around for about 2000 years, but recent research suggests that it may be even older. It is hard to find out exactly how old it is but what is clear that from the start it has been treasured. In fact, for several centuries in pre-modern Latin America, cacao beans were considered valuable enough to use as currency.

Sweetened chocolate appeared when the Europeans discovered the Americas and sampled the native cuisines. They added honey to the drink in order to sweeten it. By the 17th century, chocolate was a fashionable drink throughout Europe reserved for the riches.

The creation of the first modern chocolate bar is credited to Joseph Fry, who in 1847 discovered that he could make a moldable chocolate paste by adding melted cacao butter back into the powder that had been created previously.

Image result for first chocolate bar

By 1868, a little company called Cadbury was marketing boxes of chocolate candies in England. Milk chocolate hit the market a few years later, pioneered by another name that may ring a bell – Nestle. Find out more about the history of Cadbury and the development of Chocolate here.

Modern day

Although still created in roughly the same way, modern day chocolate is a far cry from what the Aztecs once called chocolate. Nowadays it comes in so many forms. From the traditional hot drink to chocolate covered chillis. In fact, there are even companies creating realistic objects out of chocolate. The Amazing Chocolate Workshop has some remarkable collections which create unique gifts for all chocolate lovers. Below are a few examples…

  • Cotton Reel, Scissor, 3 Buttons, Thimble


  • Full-Size Chocolate Camera


  • Fried egg

Chocolate Fried Egg


Modern Taste

Gone are the days of one simple flavour. Whilst still having the basic base flavours of white, milk and dark – plus a new ruby flavour which you can read about in our weekly vine – chocolate manufacturers have devised a multitude of fabulous flavours. Both Divine Chocolate and Green and Blacks are famous for their quirky bars, with my personal favourite being this White chocolate and strawberry bar! (If you haven’t tried it yet, I strongly recommend it!!) Even Cadbury have a whopping 28 different single bars and 18 sharing bars. 

Image result for white chocolate with strawberry pieces

Chocolate show

To celebrate National Chocolate week, there is a whole chocolate show in London. The London Chocolate Show is the UK’s biggest chocolate celebration. It’s a celebration of chocolate in all its forms – bars, truffles, cakes, desserts, ice cream, baking, cocktails, sculptures and more. The event includes live celebrity chef demonstrations, workshops, tastings, masterclasses, a children’s area, top chocolatiers and chocolate companies from the UK and around the world. Find tickets here.

If you are unable to go to the show, why not celebrate this melt in the mouth treat at home. Buy some chocolatey goodies and share with friends. Or why not bake something fantastic with chocolate. There are so many recipes online – here are a few.

Chocolate and hazelnut torte

Chocolate battenberg

Fridge cake

Creme Egg Tray Bake

creme egg tray bake



To show a little more appreciation to this wonderful treat, here are a few interesting facts you might not know about chocolate

Happy Chocolate Week!

  • White Chocolate Is Not Chocolate. This is because it doesn’t contain cocoa solids or chocolate liquor, meaning it isn’t chocolate in the strict sense. But it does contain parts of the cacao bean—mainly cocoa butter.
  • The Aztecs loved and valued the cacao bean so highly that they used it as currency during the height of their civilisation.
  • Eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by one-third.
  • The blood in Psycho’s famous shower scene was actually chocolate syrup.
  • The smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which triggers relaxation.
  • At one point the Nazis plotted to assassinate Winston Churchill with an exploding bar of chocolate.
  • Chocolate is the only edible substance to melt around 93° F, just below human body temperature. That’s why chocolate melts in your mouth.
  • The first chocolate bar was invented in 1847 by Joseph Fry.
  • Chocolate has an anti-bacterial effect on the mouth and protects against tooth decay


Seafood Week 2017

Cook me. Dine me. Buy me.

Image result for fish puns for fishpunday


Calling all seafood fans, the nation’s biggest seafood celebration is back between the 6th and 13th of October – SEAFOOD WEEK 2017!

From prawns to plaice, haddock to herring; fish is not only a quick and ‘e-sea’ choice to feed the whole family but eating seafood has some great health benefits.

Eating two portions of fish per week:

  • Lowers risk of heart attack, heart disease, cholesterol, stroke, depression, diabetes and Alzheimer’s!
  • Increases levels of omega-3 in your body, which leads to healthy skin, hair, nails and improves sleep
  • Boosts your mood and maintains brain function

However, Brits are not eating as much fish as we should be (in fact only 30% of people in Scotland eat the recommended two portions a week!) So, Seafish runs Seafood Week annually in order to encourage people to have more fish in their diets. Seafish are the authority on seafood, from catch to plate. Their mission is to support a profitable, sustainable and socially responsible future for the seafood industry.

Last year

This event is in its third year, and last year was very successful. The organisers Seafish, are hoping that this year will be even ‘batter!’

Seafoodweek Results 2016 V2

One of the reasons people give for not cooking fish is lack of understanding. Knowing where to start when it comes to buying, cooking or even storing seafood can be daunting but this list of handy ‘how to’ guides is a great place to start to put your mind at rest. Cooking and eating seafood couldn’t be simpler!

‘O-fish-ally’ the best fish dishes on the web

The aim of the week is to eat and buy more fish. ‘Cod’ you do with some inspiration for some fish dishes that don’t cost too much ‘squid’?

Are you after some ‘so-fish-ticated’ dishes to wow your friends and families?

Well, you have come to the right ‘plaice’! Below are five recipes from the web for you to try this seafood week.

Steamed salmon & veg rice bowl

Steamed salmon & veg rice bowl

Seafood paella

Seafood paella

Prawn katsu burgers

Prawn katsu burgers

Salmon en croute

Mexican fish tacos



All the fun of the pun

As usual, the week kicks off with #fishpunday on Twitter and Facebook (hence all the fishy puns in this blog!). It is bound to be ‘pundemonium’ on social media so make sure you let us know your favourite. To help you out, we have a few below. Don’t feel ‘Orcaward’…just scroll down and enjoy the fish puns…

  • My mate was laying out flat-fish on the table, “Can’t have enough plaice mats” he said.
  • Most expensive fish?  GOLD fish
  • Deaf fish use herring aids
  • All these puns are giving me a haddock
  • A thoughtful fish needs to mullet over



Image result for fish puns


National Cholesterol Month

October is an entire month dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of high cholesterol and raising money to help Heart UK continue their vital services.

Heart UK work hard to prevent early deaths from high cholesterol which is a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. They receive no government funding and rely on donations.

Image result for heart UK

What Heart UK do

  • They support families and friends who have lost a loved one from high cholesterol related illnesses by ensuring they have the right support and information.
  • Their unique Cholesterol Helpline supports thousands of people every year. It costs £52 to fund every enquiry to the helpline and provide callers with a free information pack
  • They provide over 37,000 free patient information leaflets to GP surgeries and clinics. Heart UK spend over £25,000 every year on the leaflets.
  • They help over 830,000 people a year with their online heart healthier recipes
  • Over 85% of their income goes towards supporting patient care, either directly or through health care professionals

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found naturally in the blood. Mainly produced in the liver, it is also found in foods such as red meat, high fat cheese, butter and eggs. Cholesterol is essential for maintaining good health and only becomes a problem when the level in your blood is too high.

Raised cholesterol is a common problem and a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease, however, a visit to your GP and following a healthy diet and lifestyle can help to lower cholesterol levels and will significantly reduce the risk.

How to have a heart-friendly diet

Image result for heart health diet

  • Overall, aim for a diet with plenty of monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids so foods like nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil as well as one to two portions of oily fish (such as sardines, mackerel, salmon and trout) per week. A Mediterranean-style diet is perfect.
  • Eat 2-4 portions of oats daily – there’s plenty of evidence to show that oats help manage cholesterol levels. Other food sources, rich in useful soluble fibre, include barley, sweet potatoes, beans, peas and lentils.
  • Eat oily fish up to twice a week or more regularly if you have a history of heart problems.
  • Stick to Reference Intakes (RI) – the guideline daily amounts for nutrients like fats. Aim to have no more than about 1/3 of the fat in your daily diet being saturated, with the remainder being healthy fats including the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocado, unsalted nuts and seeds.

Other lifestyle factors

Image result for exercise for heart

Don’t forget, as well as your diet, your day-to-day lifestyle plays a big part in heart health. In particular, smoking, being overweight (especially carrying extra weight around the middle), stress, inactivity, a low intake of fruit and vegetables, a diet high in refined carbs and sugars and too much alcohol all contribute to your risk of heart disease. Furthermore, having high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of early heart disease puts you at a greater risk.

Cholesterol-friendly recipes

In honour of National Cholesterol Month, we have found these great cholesterol friendly recipes for you to try!

Cinnamon porridge with banana & berries

Start the day in a super healthy way with energy-boosting oats and fresh fruit

Cinnamon porridge with banana & berries


100g porridge oats

½ tsp cinnamon, plus extra to serve

4 tsp demerara sugar

450ml skimmed milk

3 bananas, sliced

400g punnet strawberries, hulled and halved

150g pot fat-free natural yogurt


In a medium-sized saucepan, mix the oats, cinnamon, sugar, milk and half the sliced bananas. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Turn down the heat and cook for 4-5 mins, stirring all the time.

Remove and divide between 4 bowls, top with the remaining banana, strawberries, a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Spiced quinoa with almonds & feta

Spiced quinoa with almonds & fetaIngredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp turmeric

300g quinoa, rinsed

50g toasted flaked almonds

100g feta cheese, crumbled

handful parsley, roughly chopped

juice ½ lemon



Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the spices, then fry for a min or so until fragrant. Add the quinoa, then fry for a further min until you can hear gentle popping sounds. Stir in 600ml boiling water, then gently simmer for 10-15 mins until the water has evaporated and the quinoa grains have a white ‘halo’ around them. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in the other ingredients. Serve warm or cold.

Grilled mackerel with harissa & coriander couscous

Grilled mackerel with harissa & coriander couscous


4 small whole mackerel, gutted and filleted

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

grated zest and juice 1 lime, plus wedges to serve

1 bunch spring onions, finely sliced

2 tbsp harissa paste (more depending on taste)

140g couscous

500ml hot vegetable stock

3 tbsp chopped coriander, plus sprigs to serve.


Brush each fillet 2-3 times with a little of the olive oil and rub with the lime zest. Season and sprinkle with half the lime juice then marinate for 5 mins.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan. Add half the onions and harissa, and stir over a medium heat for 2-3 mins. Stir in the couscous and toss to coat with the harissa. Add the hot stock, cover and remove from the heat. Stand for 5 mins, fluff with a fork and stir in the remaining spring onions, coriander, lime juice and some seasoning. Heat the grill.

Grill the mackerel for 3-4 mins on each side or until the flesh is opaque. Divide the couscous between 4 plates and slide a fillet on top. Serve with lime wedges.

Almond butter

Almond butter


300g skin-on almond

good drizzle honey

malt loaf or whole grain bread, to serve (optional)


Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Spread the almonds on a baking tray and roast for 10 mins. Remove and allow to cool.

Put into a food processor and whizz for 12 mins, stopping every so often to scrape the sides down, and finish with a drizzle of honey. Serve spread over malt loaf or whole grain bread. Will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.


Get involved

Image result for the great cholesterol challenge

WALK, RUN, SWIM, ROW or CYCLE The 100-mile Great Cholesterol Challenge and help Heart UK raise £25,000

Now’s your chance to support heart UK and improve your own heart health by signing up for The 100-mile Great Cholesterol Challenge. Set yourself a goal to walk, run, swim, row or cycle 100 miles (or a combination of these) and get sponsored for doing it! Get your family, friends or work colleagues involved; work in teams or as individuals. Each person in your team is challenged to do 100 miles – record your miles and see if you can beat your target both in miles and fundraising!

Register now, complete your fundraising page and share the link with your family and friends.

Focus on …. Housekeeping

Find out why Collective Purchasing is the right choice for your housekeeping needs and how we can reduce your costs by 15% to 30%.

Image result for housekeeping

The right supplier and product choice for you

Collective Purchasing have access to and knowledge of hundreds of different housekeeping products through long term relationships with a high number of trusted suppliers.

With Collective Purchasing you:

  • Have access to branded products at a lower cost
  • Can choose from a wide range of quality own brand products
  • Have access to direct purchase deals with manufacturers which seriously reduce prices even further
  • Can buy exceptional brands such as Diversey, Unilever, Ecolab and Proctor and Gamble at a much lower price. All these brands perform well but if you are buying outside of Collective Purchasing you will be paying too much!
  • Will be able to capture your spending on One-Vision – our in-house developed software – meaning you can monitor the number of products purchased throughout the year.
  • Have the ability to monitor your cost in use – The crucial calculation that measures your exact costs.


With so many housekeeping products being purchased there are always savings to be made!

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  • How old are your Dispensers? – More than three years old and you likely need an upgrade. Our wide range not only does a great job but look good too. They are also free on loan subject to contract.
  • Paper products – toilet rolls, kitchen roll and blue roll priced too high can mean you are literally flushing money down the drain. Paper is a high cost for homes, ensuring the right price without lowering quality can help make sure there is less wastage.
  • Laundry – washing machines and dryers are being used hours upon hours in homes every day. There are so many different detergents and auto dosing equipment on the market that there is no reason why every laundry shouldn’t achieve a fresh clean wash, no matter what resident type. We are able to bring you this choice, which otherwise could be limited.
  • Chemicals for multi surfaces, floor, kitchen, bathrooms and so on must have the ability to control infection. We are able to source the best products for your needs at the best price.

Free housekeeping review

Ask us for a free housekeeping review today. We will review your housekeeping costs and provide you with a detailed report recommending how you can improve your cleaning regime, reduce cost and manage your budget more effectively – because let’s be honest, we are all looking at ways to save money, and Collective Purchasing can help!

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Call today on 01329 236821

We look forward to hearing from you!

British Food Fortnight

Love British Food

Held in the autumn at the same time as the harvest festival, British Food Fortnight is a two-week celebration of all British food and drink. Running from the 23rd September to 8th October, there is never a better time to eat British.

Love British Food

Why British?

There are many reasons why you should buy British products. If you purchase products within the UK it means the product has travelled a shorter distance from farm to shop. This means British food has a lower carbon footprint, so ultimately the environment benefits. It also means you are supporting our farmers and economy.

There are also other reasons to consider. Did you know British animals are reared to some of the highest standards in the world?

  • Britain’s cattle passport system means that each animal can be uniquely traced to its dam (mother) and place of birth.
  • No growth-promoting hormones are fed to sheep or beef cattle in the UK and any antibiotics are administered only under veterinary direction.
  • British chicken is the safest chicken meat in Europe as all British hens are vaccinated against salmonella.

Eating for the seasons

When you choose British products you are choosing food that is in season. Eating seasonally is good for the planet and your body. Seasonal food is fresher, so it tastes better and contains the nutrients and vitamins that our body needs. The chart below shows when we should eat certain foods and when we should avoid them. Remember, seasonal food means local food!

Taking part in British food Fortnight

It’s easy to take part in British Food Fortnight, whether in your community, online, or simply in your own home. Even the smallest change to your weekly shop can make all the difference. Below are a few ideas to get you started!

  • Shop local – butchers, fishmongers, green grocers, farmer’s markets. All of these will have fresh British products; they will also be able to tell you all about the food you are consuming.
  • Check out this website for a great list of in season products and recipes. We also feature a food that is in season on our weekly vine – read more here.
  • Explore the whole of the UK! Ok so we don’t mean go on a country wide road trip, but trying different dishes from the UK will help widen your menu choices. Why not try the dish Liverpool is famous for – scouse,  or give Haggis a go! Use this fortnight as an excuse to sample some dishes you have always wanted to try!
  • Grow your own! If you have space in your garden why not start your own veg patch? You can’t get much fresher than food straight from your garden!!
  • Attend your local harvest. The harvest festival dates back to pagan times where traditionally huge feasts were shared among family and friends. In more recent years the festival has become about sharing with those less fortunate than ourselves or raising money for charity. So why not donate some local produce and spread the word about British Food Fortnight.Have a good old fashioned British dinner party for friends or family. Nothing beats a traditional shepherd’s pie or a homemade crumble. We have selected a few recipes below.


Egg and Bacon Pie

Egg & Bacon Pie

Beer Battered Fish and Chips

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Shepherd’s Pie

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Blackberry crumble

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Are you taking part in British Food Fortnight? Send us any photos of your British dishes!

The Weekly Vine

Weekly Vine

22nd September Weekly Vine: This week find out about Girl Guides badge, Müller Rice 5 Grains, Memory Walk, British Food Fortnight, Fitness in Middle Age & lots more!

Girl Guides help beat loneliness in the elderly

The Girl Guides movement have created a new badge to help tackle loneliness in older people. Girls from guides, brownies and rainbows have been visiting homes for the elderly.


The project started with events including Brownies and Rainbows from Manchester, putting on a play at a sheltered housing complex, as well as an indoor campfire.  Former Brownie Veronica Armstrong, 67, said: “Me and my age group have the time to spend with children and we can give them a different view on life. We also have skills we can show them like sewing, learning to knit and to do gardening. Plus a lot of my friends miss their families because they don’t live near their own children – and they would really like to have that ongoing involvement with children’s projects.” The interaction between the generations will benefit both the elderly and the youngsters.

Müller Rice but with more umph!

Müller Rice is adding to its range with the launch of Müller Rice 5 Grains. This new rice pot contains white rice, barley, spelt, millet and wheat. The addition of wholegrains and the option to eat hot or cold means this new snack can meet many hunger moments throughout the day.

Available from 25th September, you will be able to buy Müller Rice 5 Grains across shops in the UK. The  180g pots will be available in single flavours and 4 packs of Original and Blueberry – perfect for breakfast. The ever-growing demand for filling, low-fat tasty snacks means people are looking for more variety.  This new offering from Müller is perfect any time of the day, for when hunger strikes!

United we walk

On the 17th September, Collective Purchasings very own Wendy and Paul, along with thousands of others, took part in the Southampton Memory Walk; a sponsored walk for all ages and abilities to unite together to raise money to defeat dementia. The Southampton walk is amongst many that are taking apart across the UK.


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More than 1,700 people walked 6.5 kilometers around Southampton Common to highlight the  impact of the disease. People were raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society, which is the UK’s leading dementia support and research charity. The Alzheimer’s society is there for anyone affected by any form of dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This year over 110,000 people nationally have walked united against dementia with the aim to raise over £9 million. Well done Wendy and Paul!

British Food Fortnight

This week sees the start of British Food Fortnight. Held in the autumn at the same time as the harvest festival, British Food Fortnight is a two-week celebration of all British food and drink.

Love British Food

Running from the 23rd September to 8th October, there is never a better time to eat British. It’s easy to take part in British Food Fortnight, whether in your community, online, or simply in your own home. Even the smallest change to your weekly shop can make all the difference. Find out more here and keep an eye out for our blog next Tuesday on why you should eat British!

Being active in your 50s is good for you later on

Playing regular rounds of golf or joining a cricket team could help men in their 40s and 50s stay healthy into old age, research has found.

Men who played sport in middle age were up to five times more likely to keep fit and active into their late 70s than those who avoided sports

Researchers at University College London suggested that early and continued participation in sports might help people to stay active as they reach retirement. For the study, researchers tracked the behaviour of nearly 3,500 men for up to 20 years. The study began back between 1978 and 1980, recruiting participants that were aged between 40 and 59. They all completed a questionnaire on their medical history and lifestyle; including answering questions on the amount and type of physical activity they did. This included walking, sports and exercise and recreational activities like doing DIY, gardening and chores. They were then followed up after 12, 16 and 20 years. The results found that those who were active in midlife were nearly three times more likely to be physically active 20 years later. So being active is good for you now, and encourages you to stay active!



Eat Seasonably

Eat the Seasons


Kale is a very handy ingredient for seasonal eaters as it is one of the few green vegetables that is more abundant and flavourful during the coldest months of the year. It can be substituted for cabbage or spinach and makes a fine side dish when blanched and sautéed with garlic (a little soy and a sprinkling of chopped, roasted nuts is a lovely addition). Why not give this Portuguese Caldo Verde a try as the colder evenings approach.


Other News:

Care professionals hope to raise thousands on Care Workers Charity bike ride

Smartphone sales boom with over-55s

Dementia files help find missing patients

‘Revolutionary’ app that can provide a dementia-friendly home makeover

Price spectrum:


↑ Chicken

↓ Maize

F&E Promo Corner:

Robot Coupe Blixer 3

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The Robot Coupe Blixer® 3 is renowned for being exceptionally quick, efficient, simple to use and robust. Unlike other food preparation machines, the Blixer® range is specifically designed to emulsify foods. It ensures that whilst the food is processed, the food fibres are not totally shredded; thus ensuring the dish recipient receives all intended nutrients and stays fuller for longer. The Blixer® 3 is therefore ideally suited for modified meals within nursing homes, hospitals, schools and crèches. Specially designed to process medium quantities, the Robot Coupe Blixer 3 is guaranteed to offer excellent results and performance you can rely on. Read more on puree foods here.


Your vision matters

National Eye Health Week

90% of people say sight is the sense they fear losing the most! Yet many of us don’t know how to look after our eyes properly. National Eye Health Week aims to change that!

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This year’s National Eye Health Week is from 18th to 24th September. The awareness event is aiming to promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests.

Why are eye tests so important?

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It’s easy to neglect your eyes because they rarely hurt when there’s a problem. Having an eye test is so much more than seeing if you need glasses or contact lenses, it’s also an examination of your eye health and can pick up on a number of common eye conditions. If these are found early enough, they can often be treated quickly and successfully.

Routine eye tests can also highlight any other underlying health conditions that you may not be aware of, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Poets say the eyes are the window to the soul.  Optometrists say the eyes are the window to the body!

In order to understand more about eye health, I spoke with a friend who is an optometrist. He once saved someone’s life by spotting that she was in kidney failure through an eye test, even though she had had no symptoms. She was sent straight to A&E, and a week later her mother came in to thank him.

That’s why eye tests are so important and why people of all ages, even young children, should have their eyes checked regularly, at least once every two years. This page gives all the information you need for sight tests – from how often you need one, to help finding you the right optician.

Can carrots really help?

“Eat your carrots, they’ll help you see in the dark”, is a classic dinner table negotiation technique often used to get kids to eat their veggies! This often used phrase came from propaganda in World War 2. The British government encouraged the public to eat more carrots in order to improve their nighttime vision during the blackout. It was claimed British pilots were consuming more carrots in order to be able to see more clearly in the night and defeat their enemies. It turns out that this propaganda was being used by the government to keep some sophisticated radar technology hidden from the enemy. So there you have it, whilst they don’t exactly help you see in the dark, they are very important for eye health! See below for details on how carrots and some other foods can help protect your eyes.

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Cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help protect against dry eyes, macular degeneration and even cataracts. If you don’t eat seafood, you can get a good supply of omega-3s by using fish oil supplements or taking vegetarian supplements that contain black currant seed oil or flaxseed oil.

Colourful fruit and veg

Foods such as carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, pumpkin, corn and cantaloupe melon are all excellent sources of vitamins A and C. Carotenoids, the compounds that give these fruits and vegetables their yellow, orange and red pigments, are thought to help decrease the risk of many eye diseases.

Leafy greens

Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are full of lutein and zeaxanthin, plant pigments that can help stem the development of macular degeneration and cataracts. Broccoli, peas and avocados are also good sources of this powerful antioxidant duo.


Pistachios, walnuts, almonds — whichever type tickles your fancy — are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E that boost your eye health.

What else can I do to look after my eyes?

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Give up smoking

Smokers are much more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration and cataracts compared with non-smokers.

Get moving

While it might seem odd that exercise can help the eyes, it can be important. Research shows that exercise may reduce the risk of sight loss, which can occur as a result of high blood pressure, diabetes, and narrowing or hardening of the arteries.

Drink within the recommended limits

Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of early age-related macular degeneration.

Protect your eyes from the sun

Never look at the sun directly, even when something exciting is happening, such as an eclipse. Doing so can cause irreversible damage to your eyesight and even lead to blindness. Several studies also suggest sunlight exposure is a risk factor for cataracts.

Stay hydrated

The eyes start to get into trouble when there aren’t enough tears to keep them moist and happy. When the body is dehydrated, it directs water to the areas that need it most. Although important for washing away dirt, safeguarding against infections, and really enjoying a good drama, tears are one of the things to go. Follow these tips to ensure you stay well hydrated!

Find out your family eye health history

Talk to your relatives about your family eye health history. Some eye conditions have genetic links which increase your risk of developing them. Share this information with your optometrist or eye health professional.

Who is entitled to a free NHS sight test or optical voucher?

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Some people may be entitled to a free eye test on the NHS. You’re entitled to a free NHS sight test or optical voucher if you’re:

  • aged 60 or over
  • registered blind or partially sighted
  • diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
  • aged 40 or over and have a close relative (parent, sibling or child) with a history of glaucoma
  • at risk of glaucoma and your ophthalmologist has confirmed this
  • aged under 16, or under 19 and in full-time education
  • a prisoner on leave from prison
  • receiving low-income benefits

Remember your eyes are an important part of your health. Looking after them and having regular eye tests can help them stay healthy way into your golden years! Throughout National Eye Health week many opticians are carrying out free eye tests. Keep an eye out for ones local to you!