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24th January 2018 - Cafe Life Association Management Committee Meeting Minutes

Minutes of Management Committee Meeting held at Bunzl/Lockhart Showroom, Berners St, London.


Henry Ayres, The Gentlemen Baristas Frank Boltman, Trade
Peter Dore-Smith, Kaffeine Marshall Kingston, Tetley
Alan Mearing, Dawn Foods

Jim Winship, Café Life Association


Marco Arrigo, Illy/Bar Termini


Marcus Denison-Smith, Caffé Nero
Sarah Hill, Coffee #1
Jeremy Torz, Union Hand Roasted Coffee
Jonathan Baumber, Dunelm Mill
Simon Remmer, Rombouts

Brexit and Labour Concerns

Jim Winship reported that the Association is continuing to press the Government on concerns about labour shortages post Brexit. However, activity has eased off currently as the Association is waiting to see the outcome from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) Report, which is due for publication shortly (although there are rumours it may be delayed until the Summer). In the meantime, the Association is continuing to meet with a few MPs - it is meeting James Heappey MP (Conservative - Somerset) this month and has been asked by Vince Cable for a meeting, although no date has yet been set.

The meeting discussed the Association proposal for introducing a business-linked VISA for short-term low skilled workers, which formed part of its submission to the MAC Review. The Association is also working with other groups around this issue.


The Association has been in discussions with Government over introducing apprenticeships for the industry as training has been a key point raised by politicians during Brexit talks. It is felt that the apprenticeships currently available do not really fit the industry and the meeting agreed that the Association should seek to develop an industry focused set of standards. To achieve this, the Secretariat to explore the process necessary for this and to set up a sub-committee to map out what sector standards should cover.

The Association will link with other organizations on this.

Frank Boltman suggested that the Association should look at McDonalds training for guidance on modules for apprenticeships.


Jim Winship outlined background to the current Government focus on reducing waste that has become a major issue with Government and the media since the Chancellor raised the prospect of a tax on disposable packaging in the Budget. This was followed by the Mayor of London announcing action to tackle waste from coffee cups and sandwich packs by 2022 and then by Environment Minister Michael Gove demanding that operators must take action in December. In all cases the main focus has been to place the responsibility firmly on the shoulders of retailers, although much of the problem lies with consumers and the waste recycling industry.

Although there are recycling facilities across the UK capable of handling much of this waste, one of the key problems is that these facilities are scattered and individual waste companies do not necessarily have the right facilities in the right locations to handle these items. Currently it is estimated that some 60% of coffee cups could be recycled if they were disposed off in the right place - but reality is that a fraction of this capacity is being used.

While the Association recognizes that the industry generally has a responsibility to reduce non-recyclable waste it is unlikely to be able to achieve real change unless the collection and recycling systems operate in a more structured way.

It was agreed that the Association should issue a press statement calling for:

  • A national strategy for waste collection, with all local authorities operating the same approach in terms of the collection and recycling of waste. Currently local authorities follow autonomously with the consequence that neighbouring authorities can have completely different bin systems.
  • A national colour coding system for bins that would help consumers to understand where to dispose of different types of waste and which would allow packaging companies/retailers to colour code cups and packs according to where they should be disposed of. It is felt that this approach would also help to drive change in materials across the industry.
  • An industry managed levy system that would allow funds to be channeled into improving the infrastructure for waste management and where funds could be ring-fenced for this purpose.
  • Better advice from the waste industry on the recyclability of the different materials.

While supporting a structured levy being applied across the entire packaging industry, the Association is opposed to a stringent 'cup tax' that has been touted by the media and some politicians. While this may make headlines, it is felt this will not resolve the problems.

Public Health

Jim Winship reported that the Association held a conference call with Public Health England (PHE) just before Christmas to discuss its forthcoming proposals on obesity. These proposals are expected to focus mainly on calories and portion sizes, although there are also plans for the Government to review salt and fat targets in 2018/19.

There is a suggestion that the Government may seek to set percentage targets for food businesses to reduce calories and portions, although PHE is talking about consumer targets of 400-600-600 calories. There is a view among food technologists that reductions in calories can only be achieved by reducing quantities of key ingredients or reducing portions. However, reductions in portions are likely to lead to negative consumer reactions, particularly as such reductions rarely reduce costs.

PHE is planning to publish a consultation document shortly and will gather views before the final proposals are produced for the Government in the Summer.

In the meantime, the Scottish Government has published it's own consultation for improving health entitled 'A Healthier Future'. In it, it proposes restricting price promotions and two for one offers; banning advertising for food and drinks high in salt, fat and sugar before 9pm; and capping portions sizes and calories. It also plans to include sugary drinks with less than 95% milk (e.g. milkshakes) in the drink levy and to increase its commitment to educating schoolchildren about food and health.

The Association will respond to these consultations.

Café Life Awards

Jim Winship reported that following the demise of the Roof Gardens at Kensington it has had to put the Awards on hold. Although a new venue - Skylon - has been found, the Secretariat needs to obtain some sponsorship support before it can proceed.

Coffee Expo

Jim Winship reported that the Association has agreed to support this show in May and is helping them to put together seminars etc.

Caffe Culture

Jim Winship reported that he had heard nothing further about this exhibition since he met the organisers in November. No other Committee members present had heard further about it.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will take place in London at 2.30pm on 9th May, 2018. Jim Winship to approach Bunzl/Lockhart about re-using their venue.