Quattro faces the changes and challenges ahead
School’s back, summer’s a fading memory and we’re embarking on the ‘new term’ at Quattro Foods. Being ‘post pandemic’ is cause for celebration, but the increase of costs and the impact it’s having on the sector (and on everyone) is hard to ignore. And so, hot on the heels of Covid, we find ourselves bracing for the next struggle. We know we’re not alone. Everyone is in the same boat and we’ve learned from the pandemic that supporting each other is the best way to survive a crisis. Down here in Portsmouth, we’re trusting the positive Quattro spirit and we’re working to support our staff and customers personally and professionally in any way we can.
The impact on the food and hospitality sectors
Economic events nationwide mean our costs are soaring. Cardboard, oil, tomatoes, meat, dairy and plastic have increased vastly in price, as have gas, electric, transport and generator diesel.
Industry-wide, mounting costs and supply problems are hitting hard, and food prices are set to keep rising. The hospitality sector is also facing shortages of key food and drink items, which means they have to reduce product lines and increase menu prices, and there’s no light on the horizon, it looks bleaker with each passing day.
Labour costs have increased too, and with the growing cost-of-living crisis for consumers, 2022 is looking tough for the sector.
There’s another issue at play, and it’s a worrying problem. The British agriculture industry is suffering mass food waste due to labour shortages. A new survey from the National Farmers Union revealed that £22 million worth of fruit and vegetables has been wasted directly because of workforce shortages in the first half of this year. It’s heart-breaking that quality, nutritious food is being wasted at a time when families across the country are already struggling to make ends meet.
Dry weather and record temperatures as well as the lack of seasonal labour, especially from Ukraine and due to Brexit travel and work restrictions, have not helped. Every piece of fruit and veg is valuable and we can’t afford to leave it unpicked.
Systemic changes are needed to ensure that more of the food pound reaches the farmers and workers, and we must see urgent changes in the Seasonal Workers Scheme.
And perhaps chefs will start using more seasonal produce as we move through this crisis and shape our menus for the future. Less miles, more local usage. That has to be a winner!
It’s not all doom and gloom in our neck of the woods. We can’t change the weather or the war or the economy, but we can do small things to make life easier for our teams. At Quattro we’ve recruited 10 new staff and we’re still advertising for more. The canteen has had a glow-up – it’s looking fantastic, and we’re putting in additional new toilets to accommodate our growing team. We’re also planning various incentives to show the team how much they’re appreciated and to help them navigate their way through this latest crisis.
Together we will weather this storm.