RPC Bites #9

29 May 2020. Published by Ciara Cullen, Partner and Ben Mark, Partner

Welcome to RPC Bites. Our aim in the next 2 minutes is to provide you with a flavour of some key legal, regulatory and commercial developments in the Food & Drink sector over the last fortnight… with the occasional bit of industry gossip thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!

Access the full edition of RPC Bites here

Deliveroo and Trip pairing marks the platform's first specialist CBD listing 

CBD (or Cannabidiol, to give it its full name) has been one of the biggest food and drink trends in recent years. An array of products including drinks, oils, infusions, baked goods and confectionary are now available on high streets across the UK. With claims that CBD produce can reduce stress and anxiety, aid sleep and provide pain relief, the popularity is understandable, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more

A busy month for the Carlsberg Group

On 22 May 2020, UK pub group Marston's and Carlsberg's UK arm announced a £780M merger, which will see their respective brewing arms combine to create the new Carlsberg Marston's Brewing Company. As part of the deal, Carlsberg will have the right to supply Marston's 1,600 pubs and Marston's will gain a much needed £273M cash injection. Reactions to the news have been mixed, with some viewing the move as a smart, cost-saving exercise and others concerned that it could limit consumer choice. The deal follows the acquisition of Fuller's' brewing business by Asahi in January 2019 and Greene King's sale of its pub portfolio and brewing arm to CKA, for £2.7B, last summer.

The future of the UK high street

On 25 May 2020, the UK Government announced that "contingent on progress in the fight against coronavirus" and subject to compliance with social distancing and prescribed hygiene standards, all non-essential retailers will be allowed to reopen in England from 15 June 2020. Whilst some businesses were hoping to resume trading from 1 June, the news will nevertheless provide much-needed light at the end of what, for many, will feel like a very long tunnel.

Plant based egg alternative to hit stores in June

Relative newcomer, Alternative Foods, made its debut selling vegan cakes under its "Oggs" brand and has been shortlisted for a number of the Grocer's Gold Awards 2020.

Restaurant chain Black Sheep's Covid-19 Playbook an international success 

With many restrictions imposed on restaurants in Hong Kong, but no mandatory closures, restaurant chain Black Sheep launched a best-practice manual for remaining open during the Covid-19 outbreak. The playbook sets out measures and practices that the restaurant and hospitality industry should implement, in order to protect both staff and customers whilst remaining open. There are 12 core values for restaurants to adopt, including leadership and consistency. Some of the measures are obvious, such as mandating frequent hand washing and other hygiene measures. Others include team organisation, by eliminating travel by team members between restaurants and implementing a split-team schedule. With many countries starting to relax restrictions and others hoping to do so soon, restaurants in particular will need to adapt to a new normal that includes social distancing and greater awareness of issues of hygiene from consumers. Following publication on its website, Black Sheep's Playbook has been used around the world, not only in restaurants but across hotels, fashion, retail and the aviation industry, and is looking to set the standard going forward. Read more

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