Latest News | Cognosco
Thu, 04/16/2020
April 2020 - Approaching the UK 'peak'.A quick update about how we are handling business at the moment and the general measures we are taking...
Fri, 08/02/2019
In the UK, Foodservice is following the trend towards having vegan sections on menu but how can you make this commercially exciting too?...
Mon, 06/11/2018
Cognosco's Janet Peters has worked with the development team at Stonegate to create a dessert that uses Lee's Macaringues. Macaringues are...

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April 2020 - Approaching the UK 'peak'.

A quick update about how we are handling business at the moment and the general measures we are taking.

Firstly, as usual,  we will continue to make the most of available opportunities whilst ensuring that within the bounds of possibility, that we keep customers, employees and clients as safe as possible.

Secondly, we accept that this will undoubtedly mean changes in what we do and how we do it.

Thirdly, we realise that this virus is likely to have its major effect over a period of weeks and months and is not the end of the world for ever. We will come through it. We work months in advance on listings so are already planning for a post virus business environment. Even if it’s 3-4 months, that still allows the bulk of the summer holidays to reinvigorate the foodservice sector so we need to be ready! In the meantime, we can adapt and change emphasis to channels that are still open.

In the meantime, we accept that keeping people safe is about keeping others safe and by behaving responsibly ourselves. We will follow UK government guidelines about the way we limit contact with others and particular with those more vulnerable than us, in order to reduce the speed of spread of the virus. Principally, this means self isolation in case of symptoms, even more enhanced focus on handwashing in office,  work, and at home as well as with customers, and limiting contact with others.

Cognosco staff are all able to work and communicate from home by use of phone, FaceTime and Microsoft Teams as well as email, WhatsApp, Whypay Conference Calls, texts and post. Reporting is via Zoho CRM. 

The business development job is much more than face to face selling and travelling with 80% of time spent planning, on the phone, emailing and reporting. Time saved by limiting sales meetings is basically limited to a proportion of travelling time. This gives opportunities for more time to be spent on calling, planning and reporting.

The foodservice sector is likely to be hit in some channels over the next few months whilst there may be more opportunities in grocery and local shop retail channels if consumers are staying closer to home and avoiding crowds. This means that channels such as grocers, convenience stores, forecourts, speciality shops such as traditional butchers and delis may do relatively well. We are adapted the priorities of these channels for each client and have specific tailored plans.

So, as ever, it’s a case of planning and implementing, reporting, reviewing and planning again. Not so different after all!

Keep safe!

In the UK, Foodservice is following the trend towards having vegan sections on menu but how can you make this commercially exciting too?

According to Mintel September 2018, there are only 2% of the adult population who would describe themselves as vegans - someone who not only eats no meat (including poultry or fish) but will not eat or use any products made by or from animals, birds or fish. 

However, there are 34% of the population who do eat meat who have reduced or limited their intake over the last year and a further 21% who are interested in doing so - presumably if the right alternative is offered. This makes 55% of the adult population interested in eating less meat.

So, it makes sense to ensure that your vegan food appeals to this much larger consumer group rather than just to the 2% of established vegans or even the 15-20% who are vegetarian. 

Top tips include 

  • Showing all menu items on the main menu not on special menus
  • Understanding that calling menu items 'vegan' can sometimes lead to consumers who aren't vegan perceiving them as only for vegan
  • Use symbols like Image result for symbol for vegetarian (vegetarian) rather than descriptors like 'vegan'
  • If a description is helpful, use 'plant based' rather than 'vegan'
  • Use 'food tech' to describe products that successfully imitate meat and to differentiate from veggie burgers
  • Use 'food tech' to attract more customers - take advantage of site locators on supplier websites
  • Don't be afraid to position 'food tech'products like the Moving Mountains Hot Dog as premium on menu


Cognosco's Janet Peters has worked with the development team at Stonegate to create a dessert that uses Lee's Macaringues. Macaringues are particularly useful to foodservice because whilst they taste of almond, they are actually meringue with a nut free flavouring and as well as not having the nut allergen, they are also very good value!

Cognosco client Moving Mountains Foods makes plant based burgers that have a taste and texture hard to tell apart from beef. The idea is to encourage meat eaters to eat less meat (to become flexitarian) and reduce the need for farm animals globally. Plant protein uses a fraction of the resources required and the green house gases that are emitted compared to protein from animals.

The flagship lounge Virgin Upper Class and their contract caterer Sodexo, have now made the Moving Mountains Burger their standard burger - and customers have to ask for beef by exception. The airside Sodexo unit is supplied by their wholesaler, Leathams. The move is likely to reduce beef consumption by 2.5 tonnes annually.

Concious that many food businesses need better information about foodservice prospects, Cognosco Marketing have launched a mentoring service: The mentoring service is typically but not exclusively used by smaller businesses that want to develop their own expertise within foodservice channels.

An initial six month programme at an affordable monthly rate delivers

  • product and packaging advice
  • matches products to consumers
  • prioritises prospective customers which sell to those consumers
  • named prospective customers and best initial contacts
  • identifies distributors and contacts
  • helps develop the 'sales approach' and plan for foodservice sales meetings
  • gives feedback based on experience

Andrew Coulson, director at Cognosco Marketing said "Many smaller businesses need to have direct interaction with prospects and customers prior to taking on a sales team. But the ever changing world of foodservice has hundreds more contacts than in retail and navigating and prioritising is best done with a helping hand." 

For more details, email Andrew via 

For the fourth succesive year, Andy and Dan have enjoyed helping out at the popular Dragons Pantry event held at the NEC as part of the Farm Shop & Deli section of the Food & Drink Expo 2017.

Dragons Pantry gives free feedback and commercial advice to both start up and established companies and often the panel are able introduce entrants to new opportunities, further sources of advice, distributors even financiers. Packaging, competition and product propositions are considered.

Typically, things that the panel judges like to see include focus on the Farm Shop & Deli market, good understanding of the needs of the channel, and innovation. A clear, upbeat presentation with tasty samples often helps. The judges tend to have to 'give advice' if entrants don't allow for the cost of distribution or wholesaler margin or if the same product is sold to major grocery retailers!

The event is held over three days and the overall winner this year was the Great British Biscotti Company.

With nearly 30 years of experience working with speciality wholesalers serving the world of delicatessens, farm shops and garden centres, Mark Speller has joined the Cognosco Marketing team from Mrs Crimbles. Mark will be using his extensive contacts on behalf of Cognosco clients seeking to offer their products to the discerning consumer. Mark said "The trick is to know which wholesaler is right for which sort of product". Mark will also help Cognosco clients who have stands at the forthcoming Farm Shop & Deli show at the NEC.

A well known foodservice account manager has joined the Cognosco team: Michael Feacey will be looking after Brakes head office and key foodservice wholesalers across the south east. He will also be looking after significant end user accounts - hotel chains, garden centres, ferry lines, hospitals, contract caterers and universities. He'll be working with the Cognosco team to ensure our clients' products have pull through via the wholesalers.

Michaels extensive experience includes work for Tetley Tea, Cadburys (Mondelez) and Typhoo.

Tasman Bay Foods Group of New Zealand have appointed Cognosco Marketing Directors, Dan Shaw and Andrew Coulson to sit on the board of Tasman Bay Foods Europe. Dan and Andy are to oversee the set up of distribution partnerships and sales of the award winning pure fruit ice lolly 'Juicies'.

Dan commented "it's a tough market out there with massive competitors dominating freezers. 'Juicies' manage to offer better taste and quality by being pure juice with no added sugar AND they are competitive on price. Existing, similar juice based products are all much more expensive so Tasman Bay has a good chance of success."

Representing Tasman Bay Foods Group, Chris Chiles said "We've got a really great product but we need UK foodservice expertise and on the spot management to develop our business. The Cognosco team can do this."

Juicies are available via the TBFE UK Sales office and are focusing on the UK foodservice and impulse markets - For more info or to become a distributor, email or 01428 654741


Marcel James is the latest addition to be welcomed to the highly experienced Cognosco Marketing foodservice team.

With 20 years experience working for manufacturers supplying foodservice products (he's a bit of a cake expert) and wholesalers, Marcel brings contacts, relationships and a 'just get on with it' sales approach.

The rest of the team were particularly impressed as Marcel mastered the new Cognosco iPads, Cognosco client intranet and latest CRM reporting system with ease and has started to help them already!