It’s hard to believe we are already in 2018 and celebrating a fantastic 25 years of Cost Sector Catering magazine, congratulations to all involved. Last year was certainly an exciting year at Anglia Crown. We researched, developed and put into production more new products than ever before and as a Registered Dietitian, I continued in my role to steer the new product development team with nutritional guidance.
In April we launched a finger food range to better support patients who struggle to eat with cutlery. This affects several patient groups including people with dementia, upper limb injuries, IV cannulas in situ, those who have suffered a stroke, children and many more. In October we extended the range from our multi-portion Crown Choice range to include our individual meal range, Crown Advantage in order to offer greater flexibility for hospital caterers. We also launched eight new vegan meals, two reduced-sugar desserts and over 20 entirely new dishes throughout the year.
As my role in the British Dietetic Association’s (BDA) Food Services Specialist Group, I played an active part in the recently launched second edition of the Nutrition and Hydration Digest. The significantly revised and updated document builds on the success of the first Digest, and will replace it as one of the five key documents forming national hospital food standards in England. It was a challenging project but it’s great to see the finished product with a stronger focus on special diets and a new chapter on health and wellbeing for staff and visitors.
With a new managing director in place, we at Anglia Crown also took the first steps in a new direction. We started the development of a premium prepared meal range suitable for broader markets outside of our core work in patient dining. Responding to a need within our current facility management contracts, our new premium meal range, Crown Premier, will launch later this year and is aimed at private hospitals, first-class travel and leisure companies offering a 24/7 menu.
There were many new challenges for us as a business in creating a range outside of our traditional NHS remit. For the first time, we had to produce outer pack labeling and present our product in consumer packaging, including a traffic light nutritional labeling system. We are delighted to have gone on to produce a range for which two-thirds are green or amber in total fats and salt, and three-quarters are green in saturated fats. To help achieve this, we used cuts of meat with a higher VL to reduce the saturated fat content and introduced almost forty new ingredients into the factory.
Throughout the development, we worked closely with The Vegan Society, and of the twelve dishes available, a quarter have been registered with the Vegan Society, including a vegan suitable butternut squash curry, Moroccan vegetable tagine and pasta peperonata.
Following the success of our Crown Advantage SmartPack technology, Crown Premier will be presented in the same award winning packaging. Enabling each meal to be prepared entirely the right way up and beautifully presented directly onto a hot plate through the removable base. Crown Premier will be available shortly and we look forward to sharing this new development.