Estimated at £718 million in 2017, the UK free-from market has more than doubled in size since 2012. This growth is set to continue, with Mintel predicting sales to be up to a billion in 2022. Concerns about climate change, the environment and animal welfare, along with health concerns in part fuelled by media buzz, has seen veganism and gluten avoidance becoming mainstream.

Andy Piggin and Liz England from specialist foodservice equipment marketing group Pro Foodservice Reps (PFR) break down the figures and examine the risks and opportunities for operators.


Summer Lights, a Team PFR curated collection of tabletop, buffet ware and bar supplies

As dining and drinking move outdoors, we have brought together some of our light equipment favourites to help operators and chefs to match their presentation with 2018 summer trends. This year natural materials and organic shapes are favoured, with monotone neutrals, pastels and vibrant brights. Non-alcoholic retail concepts such as Redemption Bar and Sober Parrot are emerging, with health, nature and simplicity key themes. Veganism and wild foraged ingredients are becoming more mainstream as consumers focus on achieving a balanced lifestyle.

However, often the practical aspects of serving outside in the hospitality industry mean that safety and longevity are essential, especially for larger operations. With consumer preferences moving away from disposables, robust reusable polycarbonate and resin items cater for restaurant, hotel, pub and bar operators who are keen to reduce environmental impact and financial waste. These products are also ideal for contract caterers servicing outdoor events, providing safe, green and economical  alternatives to glass and crockery.

Our light equipment brands are manufactured by some of the most respected companies in the industry, and their design teams work closely with chefs to develop new collections throughout the year which reflect the zeitgeist.

American Metalcraft water bottles

With a vast range of products, and new innovations emerging almost daily, American Metalcraft leads the way in trend setting for the hospitality industry. There are many products that fit the summer outdoor dining brief, and we feel that these unique clear polycarbonate water bottles provide the perfect solution for delivering water and juices outdoors without the risk of breakages.

Barfly by Mercer summer cocktail

Created last year by Mercer Culinary, the Barfly mixology range is for the professional with an unwavering commitment to the art of the cocktail. These barware essentials and accessories are designed to deliver optimal appearance, temperature, consistency and proportion in every glass–with masterful results.

Mealplak summer tabletop buffet

Mealplak offers innovative and functional table and buffet wares designed to withstand the rigours of the restaurant trade. Products are made from Nacryl© , an exclusive, renowned, high quality material, attractive and easy to use. Food friendly and non-porous, Mealplak products are enjoyed for their bright colours, subtle translucent appearance and silky touch.

Mercer barbecue utensils

Hell’s Tools from Mercer Culinary are a range of utensils constructed from specially formulated nylon to stand up to high-temperature applications. A large variety of styles, sizes, and colours are offered to meet all your culinary needs. Ideal for barbecue and grill use, Hell’s Tools are are stain and odour resistant, and incredibly durable.

Revol summer table top

Combining a natural organic feel with tactile surfaces, Revol Porcelaine‘s hand finished products are designed to display food with artistry. Celebrating their 250 year anniversary, Revol’s enduring appeal to globally renowned chefs is testament to the outstanding quality of their products. With a number of collections ideal for summer dining, selecting just three for this article was quite a challenge!

Arborescence channels the forest with its tactile bark finish. Available in muted grey tones as well as white, Arborescense brings nature to the plate. Natural slate has had some bad press recently due to hygiene concerns. Revol has the perfect solution with its Basalt collection; hard wearing, non-porous porcelain that looks just like slate but with all the benefits of culinary porcelain. With authentic shapes and a great colour range, Color Lab table ware is made by hand and then stamped with REVOL’s quality seal. Each porcelain tile is delicately submerged in a bath of enamel, and the natural pigments will reveal their splendor during firing.

Big changes for Pro Foodservice Reps LTD (PFR) in 2018

The beginning of 2018 has already seen some big changes at Pro Foodservice Reps, the UK’s foremost manufacturers’ representative group, with new premises, new team member and new website.

Strong growth in 2017 expedited the need for bigger premises and further investment, and at the beginning of January the PFR team moved to a brand new rural business centre close to Leicester. The newly converted stables at Rolleston Lodge Business Centre houses a sizeable office, integral warehousing, showroom and private meeting area. With its convenient central location and extensive free parking, PFR invites dealers and operators to take advantage of the meeting facilities and learn all about the brands PFR represents, including CED Fabrications, Linda Lewis Kitchens through to Unox UK.

Charlotte Deykin has been promoted to sales manager and Hayley Sumner joins the team in a sales support role. Deykin has been with PFR since 2015 and has progressed swiftly to senior management.

To celebrate this exciting progression and communicate the company’s direction, PFR has updated its branding and launched a new website . The new site brings together the brands PFR represents with added functionality and content for dealers and end users.

At Hotelympia 2018 PFR will be hosting its own stand for the first time, showcasing American MetalCraft, Baselite, Mercer Culinary and Revol, with manufacturers’ senior management teams converging from the US and France. A programme of activities is planned, along with new product launches including a very special 250th anniversary collection from Revol Porcelaine.

In addition, Induced Energy, Precision Refrigeration and Viessmann will be exhibiting in their own capacity supported by PFR personnel in what is sure to be an unmissable event.

PFR Sales Director, Ross Gibson commented “PFR has just celebrated its 3rd birthday, and we are delighted at how successful the manufacturers’ representative model is proving in the UK marketplace. Everything we are now doing and planning for 2018 and beyond is aimed at taking the business to the next level, and providing the best possible service to our partners, their dealers and operators. We would also like to wish Wayne Bennet all the best in his new role, having previously served the PFR board with his upmost professionalism.”

London Mixologist wins American Metalcraft’s national cocktail recipe competition

London based Mixologist Vitor Lourenco’s creation “Gin Lane” was voted top concoction by the team of Pro Foodservice Reps (PFR), representatives of American Metalcraft in the UK.

The competition was promoted via social media and attracted entrants from throughout the UK. Three finalists were selected by the PFR team based on originality, ingredients, flavour combination and presentation. Vitor’s Gin Lane was praised for its unique use of unusual flavours, including Perique tobacco liqueur and Kummel caraway seed, cumin and fennel liqueur. These smoky and spicy flavours were combined with stout and gin to produce a warming cocktail ideal for a chilly autumn evening.

Vitor, Bar Supervisor at the Rosewood Hotel in Covent Garden, was presented with an American Metalcraft antique copper cocktail shaker, jigger and four mini mule mugs by PFR Light Equipment Sales Manager Charlotte Deykin.

Runners up were Brandon Gatley, Middlesbrough with Black Forest Martini and Jordan Fry, Newcastle with Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


Vitor Lourenco ‘Gin Lane’
50ml East London Aged
15ml Kummel
15ml Perique Liquor
10ml Stout
5 Drops RedEye BittersGarnish: Grated Nutmeg + Smoked Juniper & Coffee BeansGlass: Goblet
Shake & Double Strain


Runners up

Brandon Gatley, Black Forest martini:
12.5ml creme de cassis
12.5ml framboise
12.5ml kahlua
12.5ml baileys
12.5ml cherry marnier
75ml milk and cream (1/2 & 1/2)
2 bar spoons raspberry conserve
Drizzle a martini or coupe glass with dark chocolate sauce or syrup.
Fill your shaker with ice and add all the ingredients listed above shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds and double strain mixture into glass.
Garnish with a raspberry skewer and a dusting of cocoa powder.


Jordan Fry, Breakfast at Tiffany’s:
50ml Wild Turkey 101
12.5ml The Dubliner Whiskey & Honeycomb
35ml lemon juice
2.5ml Aspall Cyder Vinegar
12.5ml Maple Syrup
1 whole egg
2 dash Smoked Bacon Washed, Angostura bitters
Glass: Coupe
Method: shaken
Garnish: mini Pancake & icing sugar
Everything you need for a healthy breakfast

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