2020: A Year of Food News in Review

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Megafires in Australia, a potential World War, Presidential Elections, Black Lives Matter protests and the outbreak of COVID-19 are only a few of the major headlines that have been circulating the internet this year. But with all these significant events came a lot of news, some of which was food and drink related. Join us as we recap some of the prevalent food and drink headlines of 2020 – arguably one of the worst years in history!

January

In the month that we saw Prince Harry and Meghan step back from their senior roles as royals, veganism saw a big boost due to Veganuary – a movement started in 2014 encouraging people to go vegan for a month in order to stop animals and animal-based products being consumed by humans. For Veganuary 2020, over 1200 new vegan products were launched and more than 600 businesses took part in the 31 day-long movement.

February

Global brewer AB InBev, the manufacturer of top-selling beer brand Corona, saw a drop in revenue in February as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The company reported losing £220m within the first quarter of the year, however, a surge in trade sales was witnessed at the end of March due to consumers stockpiling in preparation for a national lockdown. Corona still held on to the top spot in the Brand Finance beer list despite its business value totalling £1 billion less than the previous year.

March

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was on our screens on 23rd March 2020, ordering the nation to stay at home in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This address signified the start of lockdown within the UK, meaning Brits had to get their aprons on and cook their meals due to bars, pubs and restaurants being forced to close. Using Google Trends data, lovefood.com reported that mince beef recipe searches were up 90% worldwide, as well as pizza dough recipes and Disney-inspired treats (up 150% and 190% respectively). Searches for scone recipes increase by 500% – the most popular recipe among those in lockdown. Want to learn how to make traditional scones? Click here.

April

In April, the UK saw a shortage of baking products such as flour, duto the Coronavirus outbreak. Shoppers started stockpiling towards the end of March in preparation for a national lockdown, with brands such as Kellogg’s employing more staff in order to keep up with demand.

May

We all pulled together in May, delivering warm food to those on the frontline during the pandemic. With limited time to prepare meals for themselves or shop for food due to the need for their services, key workers would be going hungry whilst trying to control the outbreak of COVID-19. People all over the UK clubbed together to feed these amazing individuals, as well as vulnerable families struggling to eat due to nationwide job shortages.

June

Following the break out of Black Lives Matter protests around the world, June saw the second and third-biggest tea sellers in the UK joining forces to support those facing oppression. PG Tips and Yorkshire Tea took to Twitter to express their support for the movement, uniting under the hashtag #solidaritea. Many other US and UK-based brands collaborated to raise awareness of the issue, including Nike and Adidas, arguably the two biggest names in sports clothing.

July

July 4th saw the reopening of many of the UK’s pubs and restaurants, otherwise known as “Super Saturday”. However, although numbers welcomed into these establishments were limited, the streets of London were as packed as they were pre-COVID, with no social distancing in place. Illegal raves were also seen throughout July and the months prior, with gatherings of more than 20 people occurring despite police warnings.

August

The Government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme ran throughout August on every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in order to incentivise customers to visit pubs and eateries across the UK. This scheme offered people a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic beverages up to a maximum of £10 per diner. However, new research has found that this scheme was to blame for an increase in coronavirus infections, by between 8-17%.

Within the same month, Gordon Ramsey verbally destroyed the work of aspiring chefs on TikTok, using the hashtag #Ramseyreacts, minus the swearing of course! Check out Gordon’s TikTok page here!

September

In September, The Good Food Guide book for 2020 was published by Waitrose, outlining the very best places for the public to eat whilst encouraging restaurants to offer the best possible food, service and experience. L’Enclume in Cumbria bagged Restaurant of the Year – a fine dining restaurant already holding 2 Michelin stars and 5 AA Rosettes! Local to Bangor, Gwynedd, Sosban & The Old Butcher’s (Isle of Anglesey) placed 45th on the list, securing a place in the top 50 restaurants for 2020. Check out the guide for yourself: Click here.

October

Football superstar Marcus Rashford started his petition in October 2020, campaigning to prevent child hunger across the UK during the school holidays until Easter 2021. Since hitting the headlines, Rashford has landed a Pride of Britain Special Recognition award for all of his work and has inspired communities to come together to help provide food for the most vulnerable in society. Click here to read our full article on this issue, or check out this article by our News Editor, Jordan McEvoy, which focuses on a couple from South Birmingham doing everything they can to feed families in their local area: Birmingham group provides free food to families after motion to extend free school meals fails.

November

November bought some good news for food fans (like myself), with restaurants such as McDonald’s, Costa and Greggs launching their menus for the festive season. Popular items returning at eateries include Festive Cheese Melt Dippers (McDonald’s), Festive Bake (Greggs), Terry’s Chocolate Orange Hot Chocolate (Costa) and Pumpkin-Spice Latte (Starbucks). Head on over to your local eateries now check out their Christmas offerings for yourself.

December

With the year drawing to a close, the Government have announced that families are able to form a bubble with two other households for five days at Christmas, meaning Brits will be reunited with their loved ones this festive season. But in the meantime, newly introduced tier restrictions have meant that eateries in tier two can only serve alcohol with a substantial meal, forcing many pubs to remain closed despite not being in the strictest lockdown tier. With confusion mounting among the public as to what constitutes a substantial meal, the Government are yet to clarify whether a scotch egg is substantial enough. Hopefully, we get some answers soon!

Would you like to write for Seren’s Food and Drink section? Send an email to food@seren.bangor.ac.uk to get involved!

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Food & Drink Editor | 20-21

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