Posts tagged with "Food & Drink"

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Has plant-based peaked? Are we stockpiling for Brexit? What were the big food & drink trends for 2019, and what does 2020 look like?

Last week, I headed to London for CIM and Kantar’s 2019 food and drinks insights event, which brought professionals in the industry together to discuss what’s happened this year in the sector, and what’s coming up in 2020.


As always, the event gave me enough information to write a short book. However, I wanted to share a few key takeaways from the event, grouped into three core themes.  


Going… green


You can’t get away from it, I know. But for good reason. And it looks like that although most working in the sector will know that efforts are being made across the board to become more environmentally friendly, the majority of consumers just aren’t seeing it.


Kantar’s figures showed that only 16% of consumers can name a retailer that’s ‘doing a lot’ to reduce plastic and only 10% can name a brand that’s doing this. A shame, considering that behind the scenes, work is absolutely being done to fight the plastics tide. So why aren’t consumers seeing this? Do they demand too much? Are businesses not shouting loud enough? Or, does the industry simply need better PR? Either way, it needs turning around quickly.


Following the green theme, plant-based eating was a big discussion point.  Growth of plant-based meals is up 23% since 2015 and meat free meals are up 4% in the same period. Maybe surprisingly, it’s not vegans or even vegetarians that are driving this growth, in fact, it’s a lot of people making small decisions, such as eating a few plant-based meals per week, which is leading to this rise in plant-based. Older people and families were noted as key drivers of this shift.


Going… for growth


For any hungry business, growth is always the key driver. But, in an increasingly competitive environment and uncertain political landscape, how can retailers continue to thrive? Kantar offered its advice based on its growth brand footprint.  

  • More presence – adding store space is one of the more obvious drivers of growth, however, is not an option for all retailers. Home Bargains and Co-op were two of the main retailers to jump on this trend in 2019, with the former announcing a jump to 1000 stores and the latter announcing it would open 100 new stores in 2019.
  • More channels – retailers are omni-channel and have been for some time. However, the past year has seen major retailers forging partnerships in order to find new avenues for growth. From Co-op working with Deliveroo to deliver groceries, to M&S partnering with Ocado, retailers are increasingly looking for sales through new channels.
  • New (customer) targets – Iceland’s 2018 palm oil advert was the retailer’s first foray into a new customer base and we’ve seen the same this year from Co-op, which is targeting the student market with the creation of stores within student halls and in new build flats.
  • New needs – reacting to trends and new consumer needs around health, ethics etc., is becoming increasingly important to retailers when it comes to growth. Whether that’s incorporating ‘bring your plastic bottle back’ features into stores, adding more unpacked grocery options, or developing more concept stores a la M&S.



Ok, so this grouping could be classed as cheating, but there were loads more insights that I couldn’t drop into one of the above themes that I thought were too good to miss out on. Here are the last few points of interest:

  • There has been no obvious link between a general drop in consumer confidence and grocery sales 
  • Brexit hasn’t seemed to have an impact on shoppers; however, it has on manufacturers and the supply chain. On that note, Kantar found zero evidence of stockpiling for Brexit – so don’t believe everything the media says!
  • Actual grocery growth numbers for 2019 have been low – however, this was attributed to the particularly high figures witnessed in 2018 as a result of the hot summer we had, meaning ice cream and beer sales were up 
  • For one of the first times in a decade, supermarkets are no longer reliant on discounts to provide value to shoppers, with the trend on the decline over the past three years
  • Loyalty is back on the agenda for supermarkets and one worth keeping an eye on. While we’re not sure what the early uptake of Tesco’s ‘Plus Card’ looks like, it shows a clear shift back towards loyalty

So, there you go. The outlook for the F&D market in under 800 words! If you’re a food manufacturer, supplier, retailer or anything in between, looking to take advantage of the opportunities 2020 holds, get in touch to hear about the recent work we’ve done for businesses in the sector. 


Tagged with: Food & Drink, Networking Event, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR event

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Can delivery replace the microwave meal?’ Certainly not.

Today’s ‘big thought’ in Martin Bryant’s Big Revolution newsletter - which I recommend subscribing to if you haven’t already for daily insight into how technology is changing society - is Can delivery replace the microwave meal?


This stems from a statement made by the CEO of tech investor Naspers in an FT article about the rise of food delivery start-ups, and how they’re evolving, which reads: “I’m fairly convinced that 20 years from now, we will mostly not make our own food.”


Now, I’m all for embracing technology to reach new and innovative solutions that make our daily lives run more efficiently, and love shouting about exactly this on a daily basis for my clients, but to me, this statement is a tad farfetched.


For starters, the thought that in just 20 years, we will eat more food made by others than by ourselves is downright depressing. I know I don’t speak for the minority when I say I love a home cooked meal; the same goes for when I say I’m often disappointed by delivery food.


There is a real sense of reward and shared satisfaction in preparing food for others, and sitting around a table to enjoy it together is one of the only remaining constants in society that encourages genuine human interaction.


Despite attempts to lure people into thinking they’re getting value for their money by offering mass deals on heavily inflated ‘full’ prices, in most cases, preparing your own food is also much cheaper that ordering it online, and it doesn’t come with a hefty delivery charge.


What’s more, it’s significantly better for the environment, with delivery food often unethically-sourced, arriving in separate components, each with its own induvial plastic packaging, not to mention the additional emissions expended to deliver it and the tiny cut of the profits drivers get for doing so.


Bryant goes on to discuss how ‘dark kitchens’ - kitchens set up purely to serve delivery orders - are the new big thing, and how they’re a sign that investors believe there’s much more growth to come from the likes of Deliveroo and Uber Eats.


Taster has gone one step further, offering 'delivery-only’ food brands for distribution through food delivery companies, and while such businesses have proven time and time again that there is a huge market for quick and convenient food delivery which will undoubtedly continue to grow, it is important to note that the convenience of delivery food comes at a cost.


Referring back to the title of this blog and the question posed by Bryant, it might be a fair point to make that microwave meals could see further impact on sales with the rise of delivery food, but to say that this will play a larger role in our lives than food we have prepared ourselves by 2039 is absurd.


Though I will hold up my hands and admit I am probably more biased to home cooked food than the typical consumer, the day where the convenience of over-priced, unethical food in a sweaty plastic box takes priority over a home cooked meal will be a very sad one indeed.




Tagged with: Food & Drink, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Welcome to The Lakeside Hotel and Spa

Well-known for hosting business events and conferences, we began working with The Lakeside Hotel and Spa three months ago to promote the hotel to the masses.The Lakeside Hotel and Spa


Ashamedly it has taken me three months to get a weekend free to nip up with my family to experience - as a customer rather than in a business context - this gem at the very base of Lake Windermere. Just a 10 minute drive from the M6 Kendal turn off, the hotel is on the shores of the Lake, meaning it’s in a very useful location for anyone coming from the south in particular.


Starting by shThe Lakeside Hotel and Spaowing my other half the conference centre (if you or your partner is in PR you’ll understand this), we had a quick tour of the two first-class dining rooms, traditional pub, coffee area, conservatory and spa, and headed out for a walk.


The steam train had just pulled into the station next to the hotel. It looked like lots of families were heading on and off the train - so for this reason I'd recommend it as something to do while at Lakeside, although we didn't try it ourselves.


Handily, the Lake cruises stop at three points - Ambleside, Bowness and Lakeside - meaning we spent part of our day on a cruise of the Lake, eventually hopping off at Lakeside and enjoying afternoon tea on the hotel’s outdoor terrace.


 The Lakeside Hotel and Spa

Inside a wedding service had just taken place in one of the many downstairs rooms in the sprawling hotel, and just a stone’s throw away outside on the Lake a boat was getting ready to take a group out on a private charter. It really enforced what we’re here to do from a PR point of view: make sure the business community and holiday makers/day trippers alike know that whatever you want from your stay at Lakeside, it is probably possible!The Lakeside Hotel and Spa terrace










To find out more visit and for conferences and meeting venues ask for Amy.








Tagged with: Food & Drink, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, Public Relations North West, Silver Surfers

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Painting the town red with TableNow

Last month Refresh PR supported with the relaunch of’s new website and app, via media coverage in the likes of Lovin’ Manchester, North West Caterer and NW Business Insider, as well as the launch of the Professional Eater campaign.

But to celebrate a successful first month and the thousands of pounds already saved by diners across the North West, Refresh PR arranged and managed a launch party for at Manchester’s 1761.


The guest list was filled with bloggers, influencers, journalists, members and VIPs from across the North West who enjoyed canapés, fizz and a chance to play TableNow’s money grabber – think Crystal Maze!


Bloggers in attendance included What Emma Did, Elsa Eats, Be More Fashionista and Manchester Tart, as well as the team from UniLad.


Social media was buzzing with people sharing pictures of the event across Twitter and Instagram, with a total reach of nearly 100,000, and even more people signing up to the North West’s number one dining club on the evening.


Events are a fantastic way to celebrate milestones, connect with members or customers, as well as building relationships with key influencers and media. Nothing is more powerful than face-to-face engagement, and a glass of fizz always helps too. If you are looking to run an event for your brand then please contact our head of consumer, Caroline on 0161 871 1188. 

Tagged with: , Creative Agency, Food & Drink, Launch event, Lifestyle, Manchester, Networking Event, PR Manchester

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Major client wins for Refresh

We are celebrating this month after two new client wins have boosted both the consumer and B2B teams in their specialist fields.

The B2B team, has been appointed by Sentinel, a water treatment and filter expert in the plumbing and heating sector, to deliver its PR and social media services.

Sentinel offers water treatment products and services that provide the best lifetime protection for boilers and heating systems in the domestic and commercial sectors. While predominantly trade facing, it is also a specialist in the social housing sector, providing products and services to help extend the life and improve the performance of heating systems.

Having already worked closely together for several years on Refresh PR’s Heating Installer Awards, the newly established campaign with Sentinel will see Refresh PR work to launch the company’s newest product, a best-yet magnetic filter set to disrupt the industry, as well as establishing Sentinel’s presence in key trade titles.

Continuing the expansion of its hospitality credentials, Refresh PR’s consumer team has been appointed by Lakeside Hotel & Spa to manage the luxury hotel’s PR. The superior 4 star hotel, based in Newby Bridge, is working with the agency to raise the profile of its leisure and business offerings, including weddings, spa and conferences. 

Refresh PR has been tasked with driving footfall to the hotel, set on the shores of Lake Windermere, from businesses and travellers from across the North West and beyond.

Talking about the two new clients, Refresh PR’s managing director, Laura Mashiter, said: “Hospitality and construction are two industries that the team has a huge amount of experience in and passion for, so everyone is delighted to be working with Sentinel and Lakeside Hotel & Spa.

“Although the two industries are very different, our B2B and consumer teams will both pull on their previous experience to approach these accounts in a strategic and well-thought out way to achieve maximum results – whether they’re talking about spa breaks or water filters!” 

Tagged with: Creative Agency, Food & Drink, Leisure, Lifestyle, North West

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Why Did the Chicken Cross The Road? To Teach Us About Crisis Management

We all know about the recent KFC ‘Chicken Gate’ news story. Some of us will have experienced the chicken-less disappointment of an empty restaurant first hand, others will have read about it in the media, and some may have seen their social media connections in uproar about the situation.  


A chain of chicken shops running out of chicken and having to close restaurants nationwide is a pretty big crisis by all accounts, and will ultimately cost the fast-food chain millions.


But what really got people talking is KFC’s reaction to the crisis. The full page ‘FCK’ image placed in a national newspaper was genius. It didn’t make excuses, it didn’t pass blame – the company owned up in a funny, but to the point, tone of voice, and most importantly it apologised.


The image caught the attention of celebrities and marketing professionals alike, all praising the response, but the debate in the Refresh PR office is around whether this is an advert or a PR stunt.


Many people have called it a masterclass in PR crisis management, however does using paid for media space remove the PR element of the reaction?


The crisis reaction will have been designed by an advertising agency, the space in The Metro will have been bought by a media buying agency, so can this be classed as PR?


Here at Refresh PR we decided that this is an example of first class crisis communications, not necessarily PR – although that will have played a part.


The chicken shop didn’t wait for a nib in a newspaper carrying their quote apologising for the situation, or for a 30 second video of a spokesperson being interviewed outside of a restaurant. They owned the situation they were in by being bold, brave, funny and apologetic.


They understood the power of social media to spread the word and that ultimately with the right advert and the right sentiment, their customers would respond in the way they needed them to – by sharing pictures of the advert and most importantly forgiving them. 


So hats off to the Colonel and his marketing team – they nailed this situation with the perfect crisis communications response.


To learn more about crisis communications why not attend our event on 11th April 2018



Tagged with: creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, Food & Drink, food and drink PR agency, leisure PR, lifestyle pr, Manchester, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester

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Roses are red, violets are blue, which Valentine’s Day campaign would you choose?

How did you spend February 14th? Did you end up having a romantic dinner for two, or crying alone into a tub of Ben and Jerry’s? With the hype surrounding Valentines Day, it can be hard for PR campaigns to stand out from the crowd. Here at Refresh PR certain campaigns didn’t go unnoticed. Here are a few that caught our eye:                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Greggs - Greggs decided to mix things up this Valentine’s Day by becoming the antithesis of its normal self and hosting candlelit dinners for customers. A selection of its branches turned into restaurants, accompanied with dimmed lighting and classical music. Although only available at five of its branches, this story was covered far and wide, proving to be a PR success.


Moonpig – Moonpig partnered up with NHS Blood & Transplant to encourage the public to sign up for organ donations. Pun-heavy cards were created to help raise awareness for the cause and 6,400 free cards were given to those on the organ list. Delivering a strong social message as well as creating awareness for the brand, this is a firm favourite at Refresh PR.


Uber Eats – For those who remained single this Valentine’s Day, help wasn’t too far away. Renaming the period from the 14th February to 18th February as #BFFWeekend, Uber Eats offered friends the chance to buy one get one free from a number of their restaurants. When the brand undertook research last year, it found the most popular dish ordered on Valentine’s Day was in fact a donner kebab, so this was of course included in the deal.


Refresh PR – It would be rude of us not to mention our own Valentine’s Day campaign. Here at Refresh PR we hand delivered heart shaped balloons to local businesses and sent our clients personalised cards. It was our way of spreading a little love to those we work closely with, and resulted in interaction on our social media feeds, as those who received our gifts sent us their own message using the hashtag #LoveRefresh. It goes to prove that even the most simple of ideas go a long way!


PR campaigns built around specific times of the year can be a great way to create brand awareness and encourage new business. If you believe your company could benefit from a PR campaign, get in touch with us on 0161 871 1188.




Tagged with: creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, Food & Drink, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester

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How PR can make a difference to new businesses

Since Refresh PR launched eight years ago the team has successfully impacted its clients business, helping to build awareness and drive sales. But the businesses we’ve worked with have all been completely different and all come with various challenges and opportunities.

Recently, Refresh PR has worked with a number of start-up companies and in the process has learnt more about what it takes to help kick-start their business.

From the launch of Skinny Lager less than 12 months ago, which now has listings nationwide, to introducing Calla Shoes to the media, with a piece in the Mail Online increasing website visitors by 300 per cent – we’ve had huge success with these start-up businesses.

With all of our clients, the Refresh team immerses itself into the industry or sector they’re operating in, but with a start-up this is even more crucial. Often working with smaller teams, any insight or observation the team here at Refresh shares could not only make a difference to the PR success, but also the success of the business.

When starting a business it can often be difficult to know where to spend the marketing budget to make the biggest impact and ultimately provide the biggest ROI. So as part of our job as marketing professionals we take the consultancy role very seriously. If the business objectives can be achieved in a more effective way, other than PR, then we won’t be afraid of telling our client just that. Ultimately we want our client to succeed so we can grow with them.

Often with smaller in-house teams, start-ups rely on their agencies to be an extension of their business, even more so than a more established brand. This is one of the best parts about working with a start-up, as you can begin to see the genuine impact the team is having, across the board, not just in the marketing sector.

With a number of new start-ups, the world of PR and marketing is often completely foreign to them, as a number of these entrepreneurs don’t have this type of industry background. Again, this is one of the reasons we love working with start-ups here at Refresh – the education and support we can offer to make a genuine difference to a business.

Talking about the role Refresh PR played in launching the business, Stuart Cordingley of Gourmet Meat Club, said: “We started working with Refresh early on to help improve our SEO and generate brand awareness, ahead of a new website launch. In the six months we have been working with the team they have gone over and above the coverage delivery you’d expect from a PR agency, also acting as consultants across a wide range of marketing and business issues, helping to drive the launch forward.

“They’ve understood the needs of a new business and have become an extension of our internal team here at Gourmet Meat Club.”

If you are starting a new business, or would like to kick-start your current PR activity, then call 0161 871 1188.


Tagged with: Food & Drink, Health & Beauty, Leisure, Lifestyle, North West , PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester

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Is it too late now to say sorry?

Don’t worry this isn’t the Refresh PR team admitting to be secret Justin Bieber fans (we’re more One Direction in this office), this is us looking at the number of brands apologising for causing offence with  their marketing activity.

From Greggs and its sausage roll Jesus [] to Paperchase receiving backlash for its Daily Mail promotion and many more in-between, these all have one thing in common – the apology that comes afterwards.

We are now living in a world that people can give instant feedback on anything they want – adverts, news, celebrities – and they do, in abundance. Because of this increased two way communication brands are able to know within seconds of their latest marketing campaign going live if it is going to have the desired effect.

And for many, this doesn’t always end well.  Just this year alone we have seen big brand names have their advertising approach slated across social media – look at Pepsi (Kendall Jenner), L’Oreal (Munroe Bergdorf), Dove (racist Facebook advert) and McDonalds (children’s grief advert). All household names with multimillion pound marketing budgets, that really should know better.

All of these brands have since come out to apologies about their ill-advised advertising decisions. But is an apology enough? Do they mean it? Does it really make an impact to their bottom line?

In many cases an apology is an absolute must, however sometimes (just sometimes) an apology is wasted. Look at the Protein World’s ‘Beach Body’ campaign, where social media exploded with complaints about the brand putting pressure on women to look a certain way. Protein World’s marketing team didn’t back down to the pressure and never apologised for the campaign, because realistically that campaign was never targeting the men and women who found it offensive.

I respect a brand who stands by their campaign and understands its audience enough not to back down. So sometimes it isn’t too late to say sorry, but it is unnecessary.

Tagged with: Creative Agency, Food & Drink, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester

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Flaky campaign or a roll of genius

It seems everywhere you go you can’t escape Christmas. Even our favourite pasty shop has been caught up in array of festive controversy this week! 

Greggs has received a wave of publicity following its nativity sausage roll take over, seeing baby Jesus changed into a sausage roll. 

Thousands found it a funny twist on the classic nativity scene, whereas others branded the advert a disgrace making a mockery out of the Christian religion.

Greggs has issued a formal apology, saying: "We're really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention."

The advert has fuelled a wider debate around what is and is not acceptable when it comes to the use of religious symbolism in marketing. I, for one, wasn’t offended by the advert, but can understand why it would cause upset to a large proportion of the public. 

Daniel Webster, of The Evangelical Alliance, told the BBC they were "not too outraged", but seemed to imply the mocker of the nativity has become commonplace, adding: "Every year, some company creates a Christmas controversy for commercial gain."

Funny, or a disgrace, the advert has had the whole country talking. It even received a mention on Loose Women when they conducted a poll, in which 82 per cent of voters defended Greggs’ decision. 

With #Greggs trending on social media, the campaign has also secured Greggs a lot of coverage in a variety of online publications including the BBC, The Guardian, The Sun. 

Whether it was meant to cause controversy or not, I applaud Gregg’s PR team for another wonderful campaign and I can’t wait to see what exciting ideas they bring in 2018.

Tagged with: , Christmas, Creative Agency, Food & Drink, Greggs, Lifestyle

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How to adapt campaigns to fit in with popular culture and trends

We currently live in a world where an endless amount of information is available to us at the tap of a finger. We are bombarded with news, adverts and brand messages constantly, and we have the ability to stay up to date with whatever is going on in the world, at whatever time of the day.

Because of this constant access to information, social trends and crazes are now playing a bigger part in our day-to-day lives than ever before. Therefore, as a creative communications agency we need to be aware of what’s going on around us – planning for the trends and responding quickly to the crazes.

We  know that the media will be guided by these seasonal trends and in the next few months we have two big annual events coming up – Halloween and Christmas. Although Christmas has always been a major calendar date, we are now seeing Halloween growing in popularity.

Last year retailing around the holiday reached more than £472 million. It is now the third biggest calendar event for retailers, growing 3,000 per cent since 2001, and we don’t expect this to slow down anytime soon. In response to this, we're seeing thousands of brands update their stock, strategies and social media campaigns to compete for sales and maximise Halloween’s new found popularity.

While we can plan for calendar events, social crazes aren’t something that we can predict or build into our campaigns ahead of time. But this is one of the reasons why they are so successful. Crazes respond to popular culture, mirror a mood of a nation, or simply surprise people, so they sit up and take notice. Who would have ever thought that pouring freezing cold water over yourself/loved ones would raise hundreds of millions for charity?

If businesses stay ahead of these trend,s and keep a close eye on the crazes, with the help of a PR agency, they can respond and ultimately drive sales. One of the best examples of this is Starbucks. The global coffee giant is known for its special edition Pumpkin Spiced Latte (maximising each year on the Halloween trend), and who can forget this summer’s Unicorn Frappuccino (linking to the hype around the mythical creature), which sold out in stores in just three days?

As a PR agency we are constantly looking for opportunities for our clients to join these nationwide conversations – whether it is something that we can plan into our campaigns, or simply something that we respond to quickly with social engagement and rapid media relations. If you’d like to talk to us about how we can maximise crazes and trends for your business, get in touch at

Tagged with: Creative Agency, Food & Drink, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester

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We’re celebrating #LoveLambWeek

Here at Refresh PR we love all things food. Whether that’s eating it, talking about it, making it, or working with some of our favourite foodie brands – it’s a major part of our lives.

But with Great British Bake Off and The Big Family Cooking Showdown taking over our TVs, like many PR agencies in Manchester, we are now an office full of budding chefs! And thankfully, we have the experts on our side.

To celebrate Love Lamb Week, we asked the team at to share their top tips on cooking lamb, and they’re so good we couldn’t keep them to ourselves.

Select the best cut: For a lean cut, opt for a leg of lamb. This cut is best served pink and juicy in the middle yet crisp on the outside. For a slightly fattier cut, opt for a lamb shoulder, which is full of rich, traditional flavours. This cut is perfect for slow roasting, which gives a beautifully tender result

The warm up: Before cooking, allow the lamb to come to room temperature by removing it from the fridge an hour earlier, this will help the meat cook more evenly

Enhance with flavour: To add simple flavour to lamb, start by rubbing the top of the cut with a small amount of salt and pepper. Then make serval small incisions to the meat using a sharp knife and place a small sprig of rosemary and garlic clove into each incision – this will give the lamb a fresh and fragrant flavour as it cooks

The cooking: Always preheat the oven fully before cooking the meat. To guarantee the cooking time is correct, use the following guide:

Ø  Leg (whole, half, boneless) cook at 180C/Gas Mark 4: Pink – 25 minutes per 500g, plus 25 minutes: Well done – 30 minutes per 500g, plus 30 minutes

Ø  Shoulder (whole, half, boneless) cook at 170C/Gas Mark 3: 40 minutes per 500g, plus 40 minutes

Ø  Rack – Seal the meat in a pan then cook at 190C/Gas Mark 5: - Medium – 15 minutes; Well done – 20 minutes

Baste whilst cooking: Whilst cooking remove the lamb from the oven once or twice and drizzle the cooking juices over the top using a spoon or a turkey baster, to ensure the meat stays tender and doesn’t dry out

Knowing when the lamb is cooked: If cooking a slow roasted joint such as a lamb shoulder, you will know the meat is cooked through when the lamb is falling apart. If cooking a lamb cut that can be served pink or well done, use a meat thermometer to gauge the internal temperature – medium should be 60C and well done should be 70C

Allow the lamb to rest: Once cooked, remove the lamb shoulder, rack or leg from the oven and allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving. This gives the juices chance to settle back into the meat, which will make the meat juicier and easier to carve

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Lifestyle

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Take a bite out of PR this Christmas

Believe it or not, as a creative agency we are already well underway with our Christmas PR strategies for clients. Christmas is a crucial time for food and drink clients, as it can be one of their most profitable times of year. With any Christmas specific food offerings this is an even more important time of the year to increase sales and avoid being left with stock once the season is over; after all, no one really wants a turkey crown in January!

So how can brands ensure food and drink journalists are taking notice of their product this season? The four largest multiples (and many others) have already presented their Christmas offering at shows in July, though this isn’t always possible for all brands, it doesn’t mean you have missed out.

Here, we offer our top PR tips to food and drinks brands that want to be heard through the noise this festive period.

Get out there

Talking to journalists face to face is crucial. Being able to talk someone through your Christmas offering, with the products in front of them, is invaluable. After August events can be tricky as journalist workloads ramp up, so make a meeting convenient for them. Go to their offices and be flexible with timings, if the morning works better for a journalist, then ensure that is when you’re available. This will give you more time to ‘sell’ your products and a less rushed meeting.

Taste is key

As a food and drink brand, telling someone what you offering is delicious will often fall on deaf ears. Make sure you are generous with samples and offer your best products to key journalists. Can you deliver samples to their offices or bring breakfast or lunch to the meeting? If a journalist is able to taste your product and understand the quality themselves, then they are more likely to push this out to their readers.

Be inventive

To be heard over the noise, it’s important to offer something unique and innovative. A simple meat product isn’t always overly exciting, however a modern twist such as Waitrose’s Sloe Gin-Cured Ham, will provide an additional talking point. It’s common for brands to release a limited number of unique products, to raise the brand profile, create a talking point and drive footfall in stores or online. In a market spoilt for choice, ask yourself, what makes you different to your competitors?

Look around

Being aware of what your competitors are offering will give you a competitive edge. What are they offering that you’re not? What can you do to beat the competition? Look at who your competition is talking to, is this an audience you are currently engaged with? Social media is also a great way to stay up to date with your competitors, what’s working for them, what’s getting their customers excited and is this something you could adapt for your own channels?

Help the customer

Christmas is an incredibly busy time of year for people, and can be stressful, especially for those less confident in the kitchen! Helpful advice and top tips are always great to make your customers life a bit easier and also position your brand as a helpful expert. If your customer is searching for tips on cooking a turkey, make sure you can be the one to provide the answers, this way the customer can purchase the product and get the best advice all in the one place!


Tagged with: Food & Drink, PR, Public Relations

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From fake farms to hepatitis C: how can our supermarkets avoid a naming and shaming dilemma

This week it was widely reported that an unnamed British retailer was found to have sausages on its shelves containing hepatitis C. This follows another recent story, claiming Morrisons, alongside other supermarkets, had previously been stocking produce from ‘fake farms’, and as a result would now only be stocking British products.

With Britain’s largest and most loved retailers continually facing scrutiny, how they can manage a situation when it does flare up? As a PR agency, we understand the importance of communicating in a timely and effective manner when it comes to a crisis.

Though no two crises are the same, brands can keep a few key points front of mind when it comes to how to handle these effectively. So listen up Tesco, Morrisons and the many more to come, these points may come in handy!

1.    Be honest

Don’t add fuel to the fire by not being honest, so we would always recommend coming clean about a situation. Often if you don’t, it can whip up an unnecessary media storm, leading to ongoing speculation and make the brand look evasive. Being straight up about your position shows you have nothing to hide, are addressing the situation and are being transparent with your customers.

2.    Be direct

Release a statement as soon as it is requires, and be clear in what you say. Don’t use industry terminology or complicated language; ensure the statement is something your everyday customer will be able to understand and the media won’t be able to misinterpret.

3.    Pick a spokesperson

When someone delivers a statement to the media, it’s important the person is close enough to the situation to understand its gravitas. Often brands will send marketing or PR professionals to speak due to media training, however if product issue arises – send a product developer, financial – send a senior member of the finance team or staffing, let it be HR. It is however important to ensure anyone speaking on behalf of the company is media trained and confident in the subject matter. Or if in doubt send the MD or CEO to show how seriously the company is taking the incident.

4.    Give solutions

The public will want to know what your brand is doing to rectify the situation at hand. Will it be recalling the product, ending a relationship with a third party supplier or putting a policy in place to prevent the situation occurring again? If so, tell the customer!

5.    Make change happen

If you want to be seen as a trusted brand, it’s important not to make mistakes twice. Learn from them and put strict policies in place to ensure change happens. Revaluate policies and their impact every six months: ultimately have they worked or do they need looking at again? Trust can be rebuilt, but if change doesn’t happen, in a market spoilt for choice, consumers can easily shop elsewhere.

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Feed your appetite for blogger engagement

The blogosphere has grown exponentially: bloggers now influence consumers and their purchasing habits, while creating social awareness for brands and their campaigns. Using both traditional PR and utilising bloggers is a great way to gain maximum exposure for brands, as they both reach out to different audiences, reflecting the way they consume the media to ensure an impactful campaign.


Here at Refresh PR we work with bloggers, influencers and micro influencers in order to engage with a wider, more targeted audience for our clients.


Where to start?


Before selecting bloggers or influencers to work with it’s essential to research and understand your audience and decide who will work best for the brand. These influencers, in whatever format, will become advocates for your brand, so it’s vital they are portraying the brand messages and tone of voice back to their audiences correctly.


It is crucial you decide who will be the best fit for your brand whether that be a blogger, influencers, or micro influencer and establish how they can reach your customers via their audience.


Micro and Macro influencers – what’s the difference?


Micro influencers typically have around 10-90k followers on social media, whereas macro influencers tend to have a following of more than 100k, however it is micro influencers who get higher engagement rates on posts.


A smaller following means your brand will be reaching less consumers, but it will reach more of your target audience, as their followers will be more specific towards your sector. Micro influencers also tend to demand smaller budgets, so if you’re looking for a cost effective way to promote your brand to a new audience, micro-influencers could be the perfect approach.


Why should we use bloggers and influencers?


Using bloggers and influencers helps to create a specific brand message, while growing a strong and loyal social following to build brand awareness within your target audience.


Using bloggers is an effective way to create engaging content for your brand whilst relaying the brand message across numerous channels. Bloggers also help to improve SEO and drive sales, if done correctly.


One of the benefits of using bloggers is they create a trusted brand message. Data from influencer marketing platform MuseFind shows that 92 per cent of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement – so if you’re not utilising these channels, then why not?


Future Predictions


The blogosphere is always expanding, with a new wave of bloggers and influencers set to storm the internet. A study showed that nearly 85 per cent of marketing and communications professionals worldwide expected to launch at least one campaign involving an influencer in the next 12 months, so if it’s not in your plans, why not?


If you think your PR strategy could benefit from blogger outreach, get in touch to see how Refresh PR can help at




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Will GDPR take a bite out of your business?

The EU General Data Protection Regulation, otherwise known as GDPR is about to start making waves within companies across the UK.


The new law will be coming into place on 25th May 2018, in order to protect consumers’ data on the web, preventing people being signed up to mailing lists they may not want to be on. By this date, companies will be required to contact all those on their mailing lists to ensure they do still want to receive information from them. If they choose not to, or if they don’t reply at all, companies will be obliged by law to remove them from the list.


Food and drink companies will often send out e-newsletters to communicate to their database, sending regular information on offers, deals or company news. All these send outs will have to be in line with the GDPR guidelines, and if a company fails to do so, it could risk a €20M fine.


As a creative agency, we understand the importance of cutting through the noise and communicating directly with the customer. The introduction of GDPR will mean brands have to get creative between now and May to keep their databases opting in to receive the email information.


So how will food and drink brands stand out from the crowd come May? Putting in place a creative content strategy now is the first step for any business, and here are our three top tips to start to prepare.


Keep it topical


Food and drink, much like fashion, has trends, so it’s important to stay on top of these. Ensure your content is matching what your audience wants, and what they are searching for online. React quickly to news, for instance the egg cloud was a huge trend in 2017, but only for a matter of days – jump on the news quickly and bring the information to your customers before anyone else does! There are tools that can help with these trend predictions, so make sure they are utilised to give you a full insight into what your customers are searching for online.


Keep it audience specific

When it comes to email marketing, the content must be of interest to those who receive the information. If a shopper uses your company to buy a particular product, ensure they are targeted with news that is relevant for them. Vegan customers will have no interest in deals on meat, families will have little interest in meals for one and students no interest in family recipes. Ensure the message you send out resonates with the customer for maximum impact. This can be done via data capture at the payment stage, or via an incentivised survey on the website. But start now so your database can start seeing the benefit of targeted messaging well ahead of the GDPR deadline.


Treat your customers


It’s important your customers feel wanted by you, so whether its discount codes, offers or the odd complimentary drink,  get generous before May. If customers see a value in being signed up to your emails, they will stay signed up. Food and drinks companies now have nine months prove to customers that by staying connected to their business, they will benefit.



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Top tips on how to blag your steak knowledge!

Since adding Gourmet Meat Club to our roaster of food and drink PR clients, we have all become fascinated by the tips, tricks and hacks from its experts. Like most creative agencies in Manchester, we all eat out a lot, so having a few extra nuggets of foodie knowledge to impress others with is always welcome. Here, Gourmet Meat Club shares its top tips on how to really sound like you know your stuff when it comes to all things steak!


Food and drink PR

1. When it comes to steak – order medium-rare

Surprisingly nearly 30 per cent of the population choose steak cooked well done when dining out, however, this can kill the flavour and leave the meat tough and dry. Medium-rare is recommended with most cuts and will ensure the meat is still tender and flavourful when it arrives on your plate. However, for thin cuts such as feather blade, rare is recommended to avoid to meat toughening.


2. Go for cut, not price

In a recent survey we conducted for more than 1 in 10 (11 per cent) Brits choose the second cheapest cut of meat on the menu due to lack of understanding. But try not to get too hung up on price; instead choose a cut you will enjoy. A bavette steak is fast becoming the foodie’s choice, packing a full flavour with all the tenderness of a sirloin, yet this is one of the best value cuts of meat. A feather blade steak is another cut rising in popularity, with restaurants now specialising in it, however this steak is also a great value cut and boasts a sweet flavour.


3. Know exactly what your ordering

When choosing between a rump, minute or sirloin, it’s important to actually know the difference in cuts. For instance, a minute steak is small and thin, so perfect for a steak sandwich – not so perfect for an evening meal. Sirloin is a common choice in restaurants and though full of flavour it can be fatty. If you want to stick to a full flavoured cut, try a rump steak, it’s incredibly tender and has very little fat.


4. Different sauces for different cuts

Many restaurant goers fall into the same trap; peppercorn sauce. Though peppercorn sauce can be a great option with steak, if you are expanding your horizons then try switching it up for something different. A simple garlic butter can work well with a high quality cut, or for the more adventurous, a Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce that is perfect with meat.


5. Order drinks to complement

A recent survey from revealed nearly 40 per cent (37.35 per cent) of the UK opt for red wine with a steak, but do we know what wine complements what cut of meat? The fatter the cut, the bolder the wine should be. For instance a rib-eye steak is typically marbled and so pairs perfectly with a bold Cabernet Sauvignon, where as a fillet, which typically has a lower fat content pairs well with a lighter red wine, such as a Pinot Noir. 


So with these handy top tips in mind, maybe it’s time to put them to the test, after all, our survey also revealed that one in five of the UK population opt for steak when trying to impress a date! Let us know how you get on!



Tagged with: creative agency in Manchester, Food & Drink, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR firms in Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Refresh shortlisted for two Manchester PR Agency Awards

2016 was packed with award shortlists and wins and 2017 is looking to be just as busy. We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for two of the MPA’s Inspiration Awards 2017. Our ‘Food Porn Awards’ campaign for STM Photography has been shortlisted for Best PR Agency Campaign (one of just four shortlisted campaigns), and we’ve also been shortlisted in the Small PR Agency of the Year category.


At Refresh, we pride ourselves on providing innovative and creative ideas that help our clients achieve their business objectives, whether they are in the B2B or consumer sectors. Our campaigns have won awards since the inception of Refresh PR and we are very proud that we have been recognised for this once again. The team at Refresh is incredibly passionate about our clients, their campaigns and the PR and communications industry itself, and this is reflected in the results achieved.


Celebrating the best agencies and campaigns within the creative, media, publishing and digital industries, the MPA Inspiration Awards champions creatively minded people, which is clear from the agencies shortlisted this year.


Good luck to all those shortlisted and we’ll see you at the awards ceremony in October!


Meanwhile, view the whole shortlist on the MPA website here 




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Refresh PR makes the cut for Gourmet Meat Club

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        has appointed Refresh PR to lead a new campaign to raise awareness of its membership based meat delivery service.


Here at Refresh, we have been tasked with increasing awareness of the e-commerce brand, while also building its SEO, via a hard-working back link campaign, using in-depth consumer research and targeted media relations.


Using an in-depth survey of the UK’s meat eating habits, we will explore a number of different themes to generate media coverage in a range of online and print titles. The research will allow us to develop relevant content for a number of different titles, ultimately driving customers back to the Gourmet Meat Club website and raise awareness of the brand.


We will be continuing our commitment to collaboration by working alongside Manchester based creative agency, Modern English, to enhance the brand’s digital offering, ensuring the new website, which launches in June, offers users a seamless customer journey.


We are delighted Gourmet Meat Club has given us the opportunity to work alongside Modern English in order to raise brand awareness and improve the customers’ online shopping experiences.



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Food Porn Winners Announced


On the second day of NRB, the Refresh PR team joined headline sponsor Stephensons, STM Photography, White Noise Media and this year’s compere, Virgin Radio presenter Tim Cocker, to make the highly anticipated winners announcement in front of the 2017 finalists and other leading industry professionals.


After months of searching the north for the most delicious looking food, plus holding four cook-offs and one judging day, the finalists were excited to finally hear the judges’ decision.


Our esteemed judging panel had the task of pouring over the final images from STM Photography, determining a winner for each of the Alternative Eats, Fine Dining, Casual Dining and Boutique Pubs categories, as well as the overall winner for the North West and Yorkshire.


This year saw entries from some of the north’s most prestigious eateries including Manchester hot spot Tattu, Iberica in Leeds and the Grand Hotel and Spa in York.


The Gilpin Hotel and Lake House took the title for the North West, for its Laksa with Barbary Duck, while Black Swan was crowned victorious for Yorkshire, for its Pan Fried Snapper.


Category winners: 



             Fine Dining – The Grand Hotel and Spa, York – Autumn Vegetables

             Boutique Pubs – The Star Inn, Harome – Fridlington Beetroot Terrine

             Alternative Eats – Shoot The Bull, Hull – My Version of A Smore

             Casual Dining – Black Swan, Leeds – Pan Fried Snapper


North West


             Fine Dining – The Flixton, Urmston – Prosecco and Gin Cheesecake

             Boutique Pubs – My Thomas’s Chop House, Manchester – Corned Beef Hash

             Alternative Eats – Menagerie, Manchester – Cloud Affogato

             Casual Dining – The Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Windermere – Laksa with Barbary Duck


After another fantastic year of the Food Porn Awards, we will be opening entries for the 2018 competition in June, and for the third consecutive year will be encouraging restaurants from across the north to submit their most mouth-watering dishes. For regular updates on next year’s competition, follow the awards on Facebook (Food Porn Awards), on Twitter (@Foodpornawards) and on Instagram (FoodPAwards).





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It’s the final countdown!

In our last newsletter, we were riding high on our success at the 2016 Construction Marketing Awards, which saw The Heating Installer Awards claim first prize in the Best Use of Press and Public Relations category.

Fast forward four months and hundreds of entries later, we have now announced the regional winners of the 2017 campaign.

Representatives from the awards’ sponsors, Continental Underfloor, Danfoss, Graham the Plumbers’ Merchant, LG, Pegler Yorkshire, Sentinel, Vaillant UK and Installer Magazine attended the judging day in March, whittling down hundreds of entries down to a top ten. The panel was also joined by Dennis Hollingworth, winner of the inaugural Heating Installer Awards in 2016, to help select the finalists.

The judges considered each entry against four criteria: technicality, professionalism, expert service and happy customers. Those selected each demonstrated a desire to go above and beyond in order to deliver incredible levels of service for their customers, using innovative solutions that improve the quality of life of families and businesses across the UK.

After much anticipation, we announced the regional winners via Twitter. This showed us just how powerful the community of installers is on social media. Every day we’re inundated with messages asking us how to get involved, encouraging family, friends and followers to vote and showing us what a typical day in the life of an installer entails. Be sure to follow us on @HIAwards to keep up with the action.

But now the heat is on as we’re on the final countdown to find out who will be named the UK’s Best Heating Installer 2017. Following the online public vote, the winner will be announced at Installer2017 in May.

Votes closed at 9pm on 30th April 2017.



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Three things we loved at NRB



On Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March Refresh PR joined thousands of other passionate foodies from across the North at the annual Northern Restaurant and Bar Show 2017.


The NRB brings together industry professionals, food and drink lovers, as well as suppliers from across the North for an action packed two days, with 300 exhibitors, 65 live demonstrations and over 7,500 trade professionals.


The event was a highly anticipated one in the industry calendar and here are our top three highlights.


1.       The Food Porn Awards

Of course NRB is particularly special to Refresh PR as we joined our client and creator of the Food Porn Awards, STM Photography to announce the Yorkshire and North West winners of this year’s coveted prize.

The announcement took place on the second day of NRB in The Hub. This highly anticipated announcement came after months of trawling the region to find the most mouthwatering and food porn-worthy dishes, all of which were be available to view on the day.


Huge congratulations to Black Swan for taking the Yorkshire title and The Gilpin Hotel and Lake House for scooping the North West coveted prize, as well as all the other deserving category winners.

The winners’ announcement also gave us an opportunity to showcase products from another client, SkinnyBrands. All those who attended were treated to Skinny Lager and Cocktails – which went down a storm.


2.       Manchester Three Rivers Gin

Due to its geographic origins this is a gin that has been on my radar for some time now and as a gin lover – it’s one I was excited to know more about. So when I heard they would be exhibiting this year, I was delighted.

The Manchester Three River Gin is actually based in Green Quarter, an unusual spot for a boutique gin distillery, but recently I’ve seen this brand pop up behind the bars of several Manchester haunts. And after tasting the drink at NRB and learning more about the brand, I can safely say I will be changing my drink habits and supporting Manchester’s gin economy more often!


3.       Getting up close and personal

Northern Restaurant and Bar Show was a hub of activity across the two days and it gave us a fantastic opportunity to network with some of the North’s most prolific food and drink professionals.

Since moving to Manchester seven years ago, there has been an unprecedented number of openings including bars, restaurants and eating concepts. It’s really what I love so much about this city – the amount of variety on our door steps, which leaves us spoilt for choice.

NRB gave me the opportunity to see the faces behind a lot of the establishments I find myself in far too often, meet some of the most successful restauranteurs in the North, as well as introducing me to some new brands I am now keen to try.


We’re already excited for next year!



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Is smart technology taking over your world, without you even realising?

Here at Refresh PR we specialise in communications within the food and drink, construction and lifestyle industries. Over time we’ve seen the internet gradually make its presence in every one of these sectors, from smart thermostats to hairbrushes. We’re sure that soon enough we’ll be able to control most things remotely, at just a touch of a button (or should I say a 3D facial recognition scanner).


Smart technology is no longer marketed solely at the young, successful and tech savvy among us. Take the recent launch of L’Oreal’s smart hairbrush; created with sensors to assess hair quality, fully equipped with a microphone that records the sound of breaking hair and an app that recommends products, it is clear that even the beauty industry, which sees customers range in age from 12 to 90, has taken a step up in the world of smart technology.


Our client Arbonne was one of the first to embrace cutting edge technology, with the launch of the Intelligence Genius Ultra Device, an ultrasound device that makes products work not only faster but smarter. It works by utilising a combination of gentle ultrasound waves and a warmed applicator to smooth products onto the skin for maximum results. Find out more here.


Beauty brands are increasingly investing in innovation, and it seems that soon the average hair brush just won’t cut it. Will using your fingertips to apply cosmetics go out of the window completely?


On the subject of windows, one of the leading sectors in smart innovation is home interest. Reports claim that using affordable smart home technology is already playing a significant role in reducing energy costs, due to it allowing companies and households to use energy more efficiently, reducing the need to build more power stations.


Not only does smart technology affect what’s in the home, but also the wider house building industry. Manufacturing and construction jobs both feature in the top five sectors that may be vulnerable to automation according to recent data released by jobs search engine Adzuna. So do the positives, increased production and a reduction in costs, outweigh these potential negative implications?


Revolutionary internet-based software has also made its way into the food and drink industry. Recently, a coffee shop in London used 3D printing to match people together by having the face of the person they admire lasered onto the froth of a coffee. This is personalization a step too far for me, but not everyone will feel the same.


Finally, cutting edge technology is not only changing how we use products, but also how we purchase them. Amazon is used to leading the way, however its new automated retail prototype has caused quite the controversy. It has already made shockwaves with pioneering the use of drones to deliver packages instead of humans, and has now revealed plans to launch a two-storey, automated grocery store; manned by just three humans, it is mostly run by robots.


I think that smart technology is great and I would invest in anti-ageing tools in the future, however 3D printing of food and drink seems a little too futuristic for me!


Are you embracing smart technology or do you appreciate the human touch? Let us know in the comments below.




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Things are heating up at the Food Porn Awards



Last week, the Refresh team had the best job in PR – managing the Food Porn Awards regional cook-offs. And yes, we got samples!


Alongside Shoot the Moon and STM Photography, we witnessed some of the best chefs across the North West, Cumbria and Yorkshire work their magic to create some serious Food Porn.


From freakshakes to Michelin star masterpieces, last week proved that Food Porn takes many forms – all a feast for the eyes in their own individual way.


Following an incredible 2016, the 2017 campaign launched in September, attracting entries from some of the best pubs, restaurants and cafes. Since then, the team of expert judges have had the tough job of whittling down the finalists to attend this week’s cook-offs.


At the four-day event the chefs got to cook up their dishes, before seeing them captured by STM Photography, with a little help from food stylists, making already Food Porn worthy dishes even more tantalising.


The next stage will see all of the dishes showcased in all their Food Porn glory for the judges to select their regional and category favourites, which will be announced at the National Restaurant and Bar (NRB) show in March – so watch this space for more updates on the regions tastiest looking treats!








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Refresh PR brews up a storm for SkinnyBrands' launch


This month we started working with exciting new brand, SkinnyBrands, to launch its new range of low calorie alcohol drinks.


The first product we will be working on is Skinny Lager – a full strength and full flavour lager that contains just 89 calories per 330ml.


We’ve initially been tasked with launching the unique new brand to consumers via targeted media relations throughout the key January period.


We will continue to support SkinnyBrands with creative campaigns throughout 2017 as it creates the perfect portfolio of lower calorie alternative products, including ready-to-drink cocktails, Skinny Wines, including Sauvignon, Merlot and Frizzante, as well as ciders, speciality beers and spirits.


For the launch, we will once again be collaborating with Shoot the Moon, which is responsible for creating a social media strategy that defines and aligns with how SkinnyBrands’ consumers behave.


We’re excited to create a real buzz in the food and drink market!




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Triple triumph for Refresh PR at industry awards

Refresh PR has scooped three prestigious PR and marketing industry awards, including northern small agency of the year at the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s (CIM) Northern Awards.

The CIM Awards, which are judged by a panel of leading industry experts, including several chartered marketers, were announced at the Crowne Plaza in Newcastle to celebrate outstanding marketing campaigns and talent from across the North of England.

We also took the top prize in the CIM’s best northern region campaign category for our work on the Food Porn Awards. Launched to restaurants across the North West, our team delivered an all-encompassing communications campaign that swept the region and made a genuine business impact for our client, STM Photography.

On the same night, we also picked up silver for the Food Porn Awards in the corporate and business communications campaign category at the North West CIPR PRide Awards, which recognise the leading campaigns and agencies in the region.

Laura Mashiter, managing director at Refresh PR, said: “The CIM Northern Awards celebrate the best marketing talent across the north of England so to take home the award for best agency is testament to our talented team and the results that we deliver for our clients. Winning two awards in one night for our Food Porn Awards campaign cements our agency’s reputation for food and drink communications.”

Diane Earles, network manager for CIM, said: “Congratulations to Refresh PR, which won the Northern Region campaign and Small Agency of the Year categories.”

Paul Say, owner and director at Say-DE Consulting Ltd, who judged the Region Campaign category, said: “It was low cost, but had high impact tactics showing how a small budget can be well utilised with a big idea at the heart of the strategy.”

Charlie Nettle, chair of CIM North East, who judged the small agency category, said: “The strategic focus, implementation of company values and business processes alongside a commitment to training and development suggest this business is mature beyond its years from the perspective of business excellence.”




Tagged with: B2B, Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered Institute of Public Relations, CIM, CIPR , communications, Food & Drink, Food Porn Awards, Manchester, Marketing, northern, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, PRide Awards, PRidenw, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Enter the Food Porn Awards and get a bite of the action!

September saw us launch the 2017 Food Porn Awards with STM Photography. We’re calling on eateries from across the North West, Yorkshire and Cumbria to get snapping their most mouth-watering dishes!

Following a hugely successful 2016 launch, the Food Porn Awards have returned, with a mission to find the most tantalising dishes in the North West, Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Restaurants, bars, pubs and eateries should enter images of their best-looking food in order to win the coveted 2017 award.

The Refresh PR team has been leading press office activity for the campaign, engaging key media and influencers in the target regions to encourage entries, and will be supporting at all four cook-off events in Leeds and Manchester in January.

We have also approached leading industry figures to join our judging panel, which this year includes Maria Bracken, editor of leading industry publication, Eat Out, Professor Stewart Morell from Manchester Metropolitan University, and Maria Whitehead, event director of Taste Cumbria.

The shortlisted dishes will be showcased at the Food Porn Awards exhibition at the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show on 21st and 22nd March 2017, where the ultimate winner will be announced.

Entries have already been pouring in from both sides of the Pennines, with 2017 hopefuls including Neighbourhood in Manchester, Iberica in Leeds and Marco Pierre White’s renowned Marco’s New York Italian in Sheffield. If you know a Food Porn-worthy hidden gem in the North, encourage them to get involved and enter online by Sunday 13th November.



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Shortlist success for B2B Marketing Awards’ tastiest entry

Our work on food and drink campaign, the Food Porn Awards, has been shortlisted for a prestigious B2B Marketing Award! After successfully launching the awards to the North West’s eateries last year, our team of foodies has been rewarded with a nomination in the Best Public Relations Campaign category.


The innovative integrated communications campaign saw more than 250 eateries enter, with impressive results for our client, STM Photography.


The B2B Marketing Awards is an annual awards event, celebrating outstanding work in the B2B marketing industry. The Food Porn Awards’ nomination comes just a few weeks after it was shortlisted as one of the best creative campaigns at the CIPR PRide Awards 2016, with the winners due to be announced in November.


Laura Mashiter, managing director at Refresh PR, said: “Being nominated for such a prestigious industry award is a fantastic achievement for the team and again demonstrates our ability to create powerful campaigns that generate tangible business results. This year, the awards will be bigger and better. As well as expanding to the Yorkshire region, we’re inviting leading food and drink brands to get involved with the campaign and become sponsors. So, if you’d like to get a taste of what we have to offer, get in touch with me or my team.”


For more information on becoming a sponsor, email laura.holden at, or give us a call on 0161 871 1188.


Tagged with: B2B Marketing Award, Best Public Relations Campaign, Food & Drink, Food Porn Awards, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Refresh PR cooks up a storm with the Food Porn Awards

Refresh PR is definitely a team of foodies, so you can imagine our excitement when, in 2015, STM Photography tasked us with launching the inaugural Food Porn Awards in the North West.

Over a six-month period, we delivered a successful communications strategy that swept the region and encouraged the North West’s best chefs to enter the 2016 competition. Achieving 47 pieces of media coverage and 4,632 unique visitors to the Food Porn Awards’ website, our work helped generate more than 350 quality business leads for STM Photography, with eight new clients signed up to date. The Food Porn Awards not only celebrates the North West’s thriving food and drink scene, but also showcases the value of professional food and drink photography.

Developing relationships with key food influencers, we devised and implemented a successful PR campaign that generated entries from over 250 bars and restaurants, all aiming to be crowned the region’s best. Our judges, which included All About Food’s Robert Gong and Manchester Evening News journalist Emily Heward, had the tough task of shortlisting the entries across four categories: Alternative Eats, Casual Dining, Fine Dining and Boutique Pubs.

January’s hugely anticipated ‘cook-off’ event at Manchester Metropolitan University saw the finalists given just two hours to complete their cooking session, while the team at STM Photography captured their culinary creations on camera. Our judging panel then selected the winners from a shortlist that included Burger and Lobster, The Botanist and Don Giovanni.

And so, following a hard fought competition, the overall winner was announced at March’s NRB Show at Manchester Central. With an attentive audience watching on, Jeff Green of Earle by Simon Rimmer was awarded the title for having the most visually appealing food, the “ultimate WOW factor”.

Refresh has once again been tasked with leading PR for the 2017 Food Porn Awards. We can’t wait to get our teeth into the project and celebrate more mouth-watering meals from across the North!


Tagged with: Food & Drink, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, PRide Awards, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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The new health-conscious hybrid set to conquer the caffeine craze

Over the past few years, food and drink hybrids have proven extremely popular with consumers who are chomping at the bit to try new flavours, and retailers that are consistently looking to drive innovation to stay ahead of the competition.


We’ve seen products such as the Cronut (croissant and doughnut), the Flagel (flatbread and bagel) and the Brookie (brownie and cookie) try their luck as serious food mashup contenders but nothing has quite hit the spot like beverage hybrids.


Variations in tea and coffee are nothing new, with brew lovers spoilt for choice in terms of blend, flavour and even temperature (extra hot skinny mocha with an iced frappe on the side anyone?!). Brands certainly haven’t been shy when it comes to fusion innovation and the newest kid on the block is no different…


Joffee, a Fairtrade coffee mixed with fruit juices, is new for 2016 and is aiming to bridge the gap between coffee lovers and haters. Created in the heart of Texas, the new coffee/juice blend is fast gaining momentum in America, with health conscious consumers opting for a Joffee instead of an energy or fizzy drink due to its lower sugar and caffeine content.   


As an office of coffee fans (or caffeine fans), we’re not overly enthused by the idea of sharing our coffee with anything other than milk and two sugars, but we are looking to get fitter in 2016 so Joffee could be the answer! Feedback to follow…


Refresh PR has extensive experience in working with a wide range of food and drink brands – spanning both trade and consumer campaigns. If you’re looking to speak to an agency about your company’s communication plan for 2016, why not give us a call on 0161 871 1180.




Tagged with: Coffee, Food & Drink, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations

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A taste of success for Chip Strips!

When a new snacking product like nothing we'd ever seen before landed on our desks, we jumped at the chance to represent the brand. After all, who doesn't love a good snack; particularly one that's obviously going to fly off the shelves?


With its unique proposition Chip Strips is a new snacking product from Mr Cookes Kitchen, a fellow Manchester-based company which has innovation and a focus on good quality food at its core.  


The company has boldly gone where no brand has gone before, launching with no less than 10 (yes, that's 10) different flavours to deliver taste twists for Britain's snack lovers, meaning there is something to suit everyone's potato penchant. And the brand is set to take over the shelves of a supermarket, or corner shop, near to you soon.

Chip Strips and Refresh PR

As experts in food and drink PR, the Refresh PR team was well aware of the potential for the brand: media outlets across the UK would go mad for Chip Strips and its flavours, which range from sour cream and onion, cheese and onion, sea salt and vinegar and sea salt to wasabi, bacon and onion, sweet paprika, tangy ketchup, chilli and paprika and smokey bbq.


So there was only one thing for it! We packed a few rather large suitcases full of product, booked our trains and headed to London for the biggest press trip to date. With no less than four representatives hitting the streets of London, we met with dozens of journalists and tasted more Chip Strips than we thought we'd ever be able to eat!


Meetings were held with the trade magazines, national newspapers, supplements, glossy magazines, bloggers, reviewers, vloggers and so many more!


As expected the journalists loved the brand, seeing and tasting how the potato snack is completely different to anything else on the market. With such positive feedback and the ball rolling with impressive coverage, Refresh PR successfully converted some of the UK's top food journalists to Chip Strips.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a pack at local One Stop shops and selected Tesco stores from 23rd November!



Tagged with: Food & Drink, Good product placement examples, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Refresh PR rounds up Manchester’s top working lunches

Absolutely Fabulous’ Edina describes PR as a roll call of ‘endless bloomin’ lunches and launches’ – and just like the rest of the show, this is way off the mark when it comes to reality, sweetie darling. Often for those working in PR, just like most of the UK’s office workers, lunches are rarely endless and often involve the same, reliable homemade sarnie or £3 meal deal from a supermarket. In fact, a recent survey found that a whopping third of us eat exactly the same thing each day when at work. Furthermore, this is usually a cheese sandwich or jacket potato – hardly an inspiring choice for a midday meal.


In order to break away from this dissatisfying culinary trend and bring life back to lunch, Refresh PR has sampled the best working lunches in the city – a task we attacked with much relish. Check out our top five below:


1.      A particular favourite with the team is Barburrito, which offers a super quick custom service when it comes to all things Mexican. Ideal for when you don’t have time for a long break but need something substantial, the Burrito Bowls come highly recommended. Operating across the city, we favour the Piccadilly Gardens branch which offers the al-fresco dining opportunities should you be able to take a longer lunch in the sun

2.      Set in the heart of the Northern Quarter, Home Sweet Home provides a freshly made hit of culinary naughtiness. Perfect for those days when carb-loading is high on the agenda, the café’s cakes are just as tempting as its savoury snacks. All dishes can be eaten in or taken away

3.      Bakerie offers a range of platters and dishes, each of which is complimented with one of the establishment’s homemade breads. Worth a visit for the freshly baked scent alone, Bakerie has a wide variety of options including hearty stews and childhood favourites such as fish finger sandwiches, so there’s something for all palettes

4.      Philpots is our go-to café for a healthy yet satisfying lunch to take back to our desks. The made to order salads featuring fresh ingredients are yummy during sunnier weather, while the carvery-based sandwiches offer much-needed warmth once the colder months arrive

5.      Several Refreshers are known for their sweet tooth and there is often only one place to satisfy this - Teacup. A Thomas Street institution, Teacup has a massive selection of hot beverages and never fails to deliver a door-wedge-sized slab of cake. Queues can be large, so consider taking away to enjoy your treat


But what if you haven’t got time to pop out for a sit-down lunch but need a dish from a favourite restaurant to satisfy a craving? Don’t panic; simply look no further than the latest takeaway service to hit the city! Deliveroo provides food from some of Manchester’s best known eateries straight to your desk – so grabbing lunch at the Gaucho or a snack from Solita is not out of the question even if time is tight.


Have any top tips for spicing up a working lunch? We’d love to hear them – tweet us @RefreshPR or simply comment below.

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Lifestyle, Manchester, Manchester food and drink, Manchester PR, Manchester Public Relations, North West , North West PR, North West public relations

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Instagram Masterclass Success

Last Thursday Refresh PR teamed up with CIM Manchester and The Talk of Manchester to deliver an event for our client, STM Photography.Refresh PR Manchester

Dubbed ‘The Art of Photography and its role within the Marketing Mix’, over 60 marketers from across the city headed over to STM Photography’s food and drink studio on Naval Street in Ancoats to glean insights from the experts.   

With mouth-watering food being served from the kitchen every five minutes, there were plenty of opportunities for delegates to snap away. Several STM Photography team members were on hand to provide tips and pointers, which meant the standard of photography got better anRefresh PR Manchesterd better throughout the evening culminating in a winner being presented with a prize for their efforts.

As the first CIM Manchester event of 2015, it looks set to be an exciting year for the organisation.

Why not visit Instagram and Twitter and search #STMmasterclass to take a look at just some of the photos from the evening.






Tagged with: Food & Drink, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter

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Food Photography Masterclass with STM Photography

Manchester’s STM Photography, which specialises in food and drink photography, will be sharing the team’s skills at a food photography masterclass early in the New Year.


The masterclass will be held on 22nd January at STM’s studio in Ancoats, Manchester, and open exclusively to CIM members and those in the The Talk of Manchester network.


Refresh PR will also be playing its part by hosting a 20 minute session on Instagram before guests have a chance to use the app to take their own photos of piping hot, freshly prepared food straight from the STM Photography kitchen.  We’ve ‘cooked up’ a brilliant challenge for everyone, which will test the skills learned at the event.


The event will be of specific interest to those in the food and drink sector, plus those who wish to understand more about photography and Instagram.  To sign up for the free event, register here  We look forward to seeing everyone on the night!



Tagged with: Food & Drink, Manchester, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Ten Cracking Mancunian Restaurants to try this Christmas

Blog by Emilie.

Manchester is a fascinating place to spend Christmas. The festive spirit is present on every street corner, and with the Christmas Markets and Spinningfields Ice Rink in full swing, there’s nowhere else we’d rather be.

Along with the seasonal sights, there are hundreds of restaurants offering some delicious Christmas treats, so we’ve handpicked some of our favourites to help you decide where to go this year.

1. El Capo on Tariff Street is offering a Christmas dinner with a difference. From Christmas-themed tacos to a bespoke South-American Christmas three-course meal, there is something to suit everybody. Plus it’s right up our street – literally

2. The Oast House in Spinningfields is an absolute must-visit for anybody looking for something different. Set in a rustic-style building, with outside seating, the special hanging kebabs are not to be missed, and the burgers are served in cute little crates. Plus its tee pee, with the huge log fire and fairy lights, provides a real retreat from the busy Manchester streets

3. This Christmas, The Hilton on Deansgate is hosting a festive-themed Afternoon Tea. High up in the sky on Cloud 23, you’ll be able to gaze out over the Christmas lights of Manchester   

4. If you’ve tired yourself out with a day of shopping at the markets, followed by skating at Spinningfields, then grab a bite to eat at the Bar Huttes just next door. Miniature swiss chalets serving light snacks, drinks and the option of karaoke, it’s a great place to hang out with friends after a long day

5. Michael Caine at Abode serves gorgeous cocktails, delicious pudding and a variety of unique Christmas dishes. If it is booked up, try the welcoming Café Bar and Grill upstairs, which you can pop to for a coffee, lunch, afternoon tea or a cheeky cocktail on the way to the station

6. We can’t forget about the Christmas markets, which hold delights from all over Europe. You can choose from German Bratwursts, Dutch Waffles, French Crepes and a Swiss Hog Roast. So whatever your taste, you’re bound to find something to satisfy the palate    

7. If you’re the type who is never satisfied by just one type of cuisine, head to the top of Deansgate to Red Hot World Buffet. A huge restaurant, you can take your tastebuds on a trip around the world, with cuisines ranging from Japanese to Italian

8. If afternoon tea is what you’re after, check out Teacup on Thomas Street. With a variety of teas to choose to accompany a whole list of homemade sandwiches and cakes, it’s perfect for a quiet bite

9. We absolutely love Smoak at Malmaison, serving delicious steaks and a variety of locally inspired dishes. Even with so much to choose from, we’d recommend the gorgeous MalBurger

10. Avalanche is one of Manchester’s best Italians, and with 2-4-1 cocktails all day Monday to Friday, we don’t think you can really go wrong

We’re sorry if we’ve missed any great restaurants off our list, but if you’d like to recommend any, we’d love to go any try them out!

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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The Artful Dodger of Refresh PR

In line with Laura's confessional blog, I too have a confession to make. While account manager, and fellow Below the Line-r, Gemma Cannon was out of the office yesterday, I stole a packet of crisps from her desk.

I’m going to put this 'Artful Dodger' type behaviour down to a state of cup a soup related delirium because I wouldn't normally touch a packet of salt and vinegar crisps with a barge pole (I'm much more of a cheese and onion man). However, to be frank, I would've eaten anything within grabbing distance, so long as it wasn't powdered or pasta.

It just goes to show that when you have no budget to buy whatever you fancy, you'll gladly eat just about anything by any means necessary.

This week has demonstrated that when living on £5, choices become limited – I've basically spent five days eating toast or pasta and drinking water alongside a daily cup a soup. The lack of variety and absence of anything with nutritional content is startling.

I'm not going to lie; I cannot wait for the end of the challenge and to resume normal eating. I do however think this challenge will alter the way in which I shop. Sourcing bargains, thinking twice before throwing money away on unnecessary sweet snacks and hunting through the 'reduced to clear' aisle are habits I'll definitely be adopting from now on.

Because despite the jokes we’ve made this week and our whinging about a lack of coffee/sugar/alcohol etc, there is a very serious point to the challenge. Millions in the UK live below the poverty line and cannot afford to splash out on foods that many of us barely consider to be a treat at all.

I for one won't be looking the same way at my weekly shop again.

Final point: apologies to Gemma, I owe you a packet of Walker's next week.


Tagged with: Below the Line Challenge, Food & Drink, Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations North West

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Far from wild in the aisles...

Although I've made it to day three of the Below the Line challenge (with some serious caffeine withdrawals), I think to fully appreciate the impact of this challenge you need to start at the beginning...


I'm not your average supermarket shopper, as I quite enjoy pottering from aisle to aisle each week and don't find it the chore that many people do. However, I underestimated how much extra time I would need to stop on each aisle and work out the cost of each item I was popping into my trolley. I also felt, dare I say it, quite silly stood there totting everything up whilst people around me carelessly threw their favourite branded chocolate and wine into their baskets. I'd never taken much notice of the 'value' range before, yet on this particular trip I found myself actively seeking it out. Not only is the budget restraint harsh, you also have to overlook all the other tasty, higher priced options on offer. I found that quite demoralising and frustrating if I'm honest.


I usually leave the supermarket feeling satisfied that I've stocked up on tasty meals for the week ahead, yet on this occasion I was left feeling a bit nervous about portioning out my sparse selection for the week ahead. I quickly realised that I often take my supermarket spending for granted and for some of the shoppers around me, this was a feeling they had to endure most weeks.


So if you're reading this over your morning brew or nutritious lunch, take a moment to fully savour how lucky you are! Lunch for me today consisted of a ham sandwich - well, bread and ham, no salad or butter - and was washed down with a nice glass of water. I'm counting down the minutes...


Thankfully for me, this will end on Friday, but I'll definitely be a lot more appreciative on my next supermarket sweep.

Tagged with: Below the Line, Food & Drink, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations

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I will happily sell my soul for Haribo

It's day two of the Below the Line Challenge, and safe to say I’m not finding it nearly as easy as I thought I would.  The £5 budget may have bought me just about enough food to sustain me throughout the week, although my meal plan is an unvaried selection of carbs and cup a soups, it doesn’t however allow me to buy the things I love most – snacks.

In the average working week I can easily consume three Yorkies and two bags of Haribo in snacks, alongside rounds of coffee and the occasional can of coke. Three Yorkies alone, even when on offer at Sainsbury’s at three for £1.20, cost more than a healthy proportion of a £5 allowance. I quickly realised while doing my weekly shop, that this challenge meant curbing my snacking habit. Needless to say I spend a lot of time fantasising about confectionary at the moment.

My second quick realisation was how extravagant I am with my food shopping. The spending habits of a World Cup WAG do truly pale in comparison to the money I throw away on sugary snacks. Looking back at my usual eating habits, it didn’t take a mathematician to realise that I spend more than the challenge’s budget on sweet treats on a regular basis.

This is where the guilt set in. After just 24 hours I was moaning that I’d sell my soul for a bag of Haribo, meanwhile others, for whom a £5 budget isn’t a challenge but in fact their reality, do without all the time. Or rather they don’t go without because there is no going with. The Below the Line experience has taught me very quickly how fortunate I am that I can buy food without a second thought.

Therefore I am going to try (but not promise) to not complain about the food I’m eating this week. Five days of instant soups for lunch and pasta for dinner doesn’t seem like that much of a big deal when you consider that there are many in the UK for whom the challenge never ends.


Tagged with: Below the Line Challenge, Food & Drink, Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Refresh PR launches Weight Watchers® Instant Hot Chocolate flavours to the nation

What a fantastic start to the year.  The experienced food and drink team at Refresh PR has been briefed to launch three new flavours of Weight Watchers® Instant Hot Chocolate, themed around a selection of the nation’s favourite cakes, to the consumer markWeight Watchers Instant Hot Chocolate and Refresh PRet.


We'll be will be working with long standing client, Aimia Foods, to exclusively preview the new range of Weight Watchers Instant Hot Chocolate to the press. New flavours include Chocolate Cherry Brownie Hot Chocolate, Jaffa Cake Hot Chocolate and Cappuccino Cream Cake Hot Chocolate, all of which will be available across selected UK supermarket chains and selected high street and independent stores from February.


Launch activity will include a press trip to meet key food and drink journalists from target publications in the women’s interest and lifestyle sectors, combined with sampling, blogger relations and ongoing press office activity.


The product launch is timed specifically to coincide with both the arrival of winter and the nation’s ‘new year, new you’ fixation that comes to the fore every January.


Refresh PR can be contacted via or on 0161 8711 188. Alternatively get in touch via Twitter @RefreshPR.



Tagged with: Food & Drink, Manchester, North West , PR, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Wellbeing

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The Elliott Review

Back in June this year, Professor Chris Elliott was commissioned to conduct a review into the integrity and assurance of food supply networks across the UK’s food system.

In the wake of the horsemeat scandal, Elliott was asked by the Secretary of State for Health and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to consider issues which impact upon consumer confidence in the authenticity of food products.

Elliott has today published an interim report on his findings, in which he calls for action to be taken to gather intelligence of the fraudulent activities that are going undetected in the UK’s food system, which is estimated to be worth over £188bn.

Since the publication of the review, at 9.30am this morning, many industry bodies including the British Retail Consortium and the Food Standards Agency have welcomed Elliott’s findings.

You will find a summary of Elliott’s approach below, with the final report planned for release in spring 2014.

Consumers First - Industry, government and enforcement agencies should, as a precautionary principle, always put the needs of consumers above all other considerations, and this means giving food safety and food crime prevention – i.e. the deterrence of dishonest behaviour – absolute priority over other objectives to ensure consumer confidence.

Zero Tolerance - In sectors where margins are tight and the potential for fraud is high, even minor dishonesties must be discouraged and the response to major dishonesties deliberately punitive.

Intelligence Gathering - There needs to be shared investment between government and industry in intelligence gathering and sharing, although to ensure its effectiveness all organisations must have regard to the sensitivities of the market.

Laboratory Services - Those involved with audit, inspection and enforcement must have access to resilient, sustainable laboratory services that use standardised, validated methodologies.

Audit - Industry and regulators must highlight audit and assurance regimes, to allow credit where it is due and to minimise duplication where possible. Audits of food supplies by producers, storage facilities, processors and retailers must be undertaken both routinely and randomly.

Government Support - Government support for the integrity and assurance of food supply networks should be kept specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART).

Leadership - There is clear leadership and coordination of investigations and prosecutions; the public interest needs to be recognised in active enforcement and major penalties for significant food crimes.

Crisis Management - When a serious incident occurs the necessary mechanisms should be in place so that regulators and industry can deal with it effectively.

It is hoped that these measures, combined with the establishment of a European Union food fraud unit will act to protect consumers from fraud along the whole food chain.

If you want to discuss how Refresh PR can help boost consumer confidence in your brand, why not get in touch here.


Tagged with: British Retail Consortium, Consumer Confidence, Defra, Food & Drink, Food and Drink PR, Food Standards Agency, horsemeat scandal, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Professor Chris Elliott, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, The Elliott Review

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Refresh PR rises to the Caketober challenge

Refresh PR raised some serious dough for Forever Manchester last week, hosting a #Caketober bake sale as part of the charity’s month long celebration of cake and fancy dress.Caketober 1

Team Refresh whipped up a storm of ‘refreshing’ delicacies, selling flapjacks, cupcakes and ‘Refreshing Rocky Road’ to our Tariff Street neighbours, raising a total of £81.91 for Caketober.

A month-long initiative, Caketober events across the city are raising money for Forever Manchester, a charity for people with a passion for Greater Manchester. In the last three years Forever Manchester has supported nearly 2,500 community projects and more than 484,000 people have directly benefitted from services or projects made possible by the charity’s support and funding.

To find out more about Forever Manchester, visit

And if you want to show your support for Caketober, it’s not too late! Visit to find out more and register details of your own event!

Tagged with: , #Caketober, bake sale, Caketober, Charity, Food & Drink, Forever Manchester, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Keep calm and eat up your rations

While some food associated with wartime rationing makes the modern stomach shudder – there was an awful lot of corned beef eaten during the blitz – research by nutritional therapists and a brand new cook book of historical military recipes suggests that the meals of the era could be the key to finding hearty, healthy and economical recipes for families today.

Jackie Lynch, an expert in nutrition says the rationed dishes eaten during the two World Wars had high levels of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals – all of which provide quality sustenance to power a human through the day, which is the prime purpose of any meal after all. One meal alone, dubbed the Woolton Pie after a wartime minister for food, contains four of the recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables.

Lynch even says the high fat dishes of the day are better than some modern day equivalents.

Although the homemade sausage recipe of WW2 contains 27 grams of fat per serving, these fats are in fact beneficial to us. The poly and monounsaturated fats in the recipe promote hormone balance, increase brain function and help to keep skin and hair healthy.

The unattractively named ‘baby’s head pudding’ – a wartime alternative to the good old northern steak and kidney pie – contains double the amount of protein found in many commercial ‘bodybuilding’ shakes. Sweet rationing meant carrots were used to sweeten fudge instead of sugar, a much healthier option for a child with a sweet tooth. So far, so healthy.

But how can these recipes help us as 21st century consumers?

As food prices rise they could be one way of cooking food that is high in nutritional value but low in price. A cottage pie made using ration style ingredients could feed a family of four for £6.20 in today’s money.

Research published in The Telegraph indicates families are cooking smaller portions to combat food pricing. This could be the perfect way of filling up without splashing out.

Could cooking in a style still well-remembered by many people today (sweet rationing lasted until 1957, my Dad still remembers the joy felt by children everywhere when toffee was allowed once again) be the best way to keep both our pockets and our bodies healthy? Lynch, writing in the Daily Mail, certainly thinks so.

It’s a great idea and something I’m sure could work for many families – the budget element of the recipes is especially tempting, as is this the thought of hearty meals like Lancashire hotpot. However, I do think children are unlikely to be impressed when presented with carrot fudge.

Could you be tempted into trying a rationed recipe? If so, click here to try your hand at Woolton Pie and other wartime favourites.

Tagged with: , Food & Drink, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations North West, rationing, rations, recipes, wartime, WW2

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Refresh PR announces support for #Caketober

Love cake? Love Manchester? Then, like us, Forever Manchester’s Caketober event is for you!

Caketober is a month long celebration of cakes and fancy dress where companies, organisations and groups of friends are invited to put on bake sales in their home or office.

Caketober raises money for Forever Manchester, the Community Foundation for Greater Manchester.

In the last three years Forever Manchester has supported nearly 2,500 community projects and more than 484,000 people have directly benefitted from services or projects made possible by Forever Manchester's support and funding.

The team at Refresh PR is delighted to be supporting the event and we will be hosting a bake sale in our new Northern Quarter offices on Thursday 10th October at 11.30am.

Whilst we can’t promise that our cakes would pass the critique of Mary Berry, we will do our best to avoid any ‘soggy bottoms’!

If you fancy a slice of cake or (don’t want to risk our home baking and…) simply want to make a donation to Forever Manchester, visit our offices at 3e Tariff Street, Manchester at 11.30am on Thursday 10th October.

For more information about Caketober or to sign up and register your own event, visit

Tagged with: bake sale, Caketober, Charity, Food & Drink, Forever Manchester, Manchester, Mary Berry, North West , Northern Quarter, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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‘Feed Me Better’ v ‘The School Food Plan’

Whether it’s picturing the face of the notoriously evil dinner lady, recognising the musty smell of cabbage from the school dinner hall or simply remembering being excited when cornflake tart and custard came on the menu, we can all recall something that was great, or not so great, about school dinners.

Despite the school menu evolving in recent years to become much healthier, the negative perception of school meals held by parents appears to have stayed the same. The percentage of children eating within the school canteen has fallen from over 70 per cent in the early 1970s to just 43 per cent today, with some schools “lagging behind, serving food that is much too bland, boring and beige,” according to Dimbleby and Vincent’s School Food Plan.

With good nutrition attributed to better performance in the classroom, it is no surprise that campaigns and initiatives, such as the School Food Plan, have been introduced over recent years. However, up until now, none have been successful – including Jamie Oliver’s 2005 Feed Me Better campaign.

Whilst Oliver’s campaign, backed with heavyweight PR support, led to the formation of the Children’s Food Trust, the introduction of basic nutritional standards to school meals and the widespread ban of junk food within the school environment and the shock tactics he employed as part of his campaign, had adverse effects.

Such was the panicked response of parents to Channel 4’s documentary series Jamie’s School Dinners, which recorded an audience of over five million in February 2005, that the uptake of school meals fell to an all-time low of 37 per cent, much to the dismay of school caterers. 

In contrast, Dimbleby and Vincent have taken a more strategic approach to instrumenting change, as outlined in the rather hefty 149 page document that is the School Food Plan.

With the support of the Secretary of State for Education already secured, Dimbleby and Vincent’s challenge is somewhat easier. The government has already agreed to provide funding for specialist organisations to go into 5,000 schools that are struggling with their lunch service and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has also agreed to create flagship ‘food boroughs’ in the capital.

In addition, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced yesterday that five to seven year olds in England will receive free school meals from September 2014, a move that has been welcomed by schools and parents alike.

However this doesn’t quite meet Dimbelby and Vincent’s original recommendation, as it will not apply to those pupils aged over seven. Acknowledging this recommendation, Nick Clegg stated:

"My ambition is that every primary school pupil should be able to sit down to a hot, healthy lunch with their classmates every day.

"We will start with infant school pupils because teaching healthy habits young, and boosting attainment early, will bring the biggest benefits.”

In order to avoid us having to address the same problem again in another ten years’ time, Dimbleby and Vincent’s solution is to educate today’s children with the skills they need to feed themselves – and, in time, their own families.

When asked to give his opinion on the School Food Plan, Jamie Oliver too felt that educating children would go a long way to improving school food:

“Getting cooking on the curriculum until the age of 14 and encouraging kids to eat school food are big steps, and we really need to get behind school cooks and head teachers to improve school food. I know how much energy and passion has gone into this plan. Now it has to deliver on its promises and make sure no schools are left behind – and that responsibility sits with this Government.”


Whilst Dimbleby and Vincent’s School Food Plan appears to have all the answers, my concern is that they will fail to get the support of parents, which they will come to rely on if the Government fails to meet its promise of providing free school meals.


Today, social media is one of the most powerful campaign tools available, and it must be utilised by campaigns such as the School Food Plan. Imagine if Jamie’s School Dinners was broadcast on our televisions today. Hashtags such as #JamiesSchoolDinners would be trending on Twitter, angry parents would be tweeting their child’s school and Facebook would be awash with statuses appalled at the contents of a Turkey Twizzler.


In August the School Food Plan had just 1,692 followers on Twitter, demonstrating its inability to really engage with the public. Despite yesterday’s free school meals announcement, the account has gained just 229 followers, which is disappointing considering that Twitter has been awash positive comments about the School Food Plan in the past 24 hours.


Whilst it is great to see the industry responding and engaging with the issue on social media, those behind the School Food Plan need to identify this as a creative opportunity to build momentum around the campaign.

Tagged with: , Channel 4, Dimbleby and Vincent, Feed Me Better, Food & Drink, Jamie Oliver, Lifestyle, Manchester, Nick Clegg, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, School Caterers, School Dinners, School Food Plan, Twitter

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Manchester Bierkeller, How Refreshing

The Bierkeller On Thursday evening a few members of Refresh’s food and drink PR team took a trip to the opening of The Printworks’ new bar, The Bierkeller Manchester.

With business for The Bierkeller booming in neighbouring cities Liverpool and Leeds, it was only a matter of time before the chain opened a venue here in Manchester, occupying the former Pure nightclub site in Withy Grove.

On arrival we were met with a complimentary cocktail and left to our own devices to explore the enormous complex, which combines four different bars in one venue.

First stop was the Around the World in 80 Beers Bar where apparently you can get over 100 different beers from over 80 different countries – complete with a live ukulele band!

Having grabbed another free drink at the bar, we went in search of Shooters Sports Bar. Opening just in time for the start of the Premier League Season, the bar has over 20 HDTVs and claims to be the largest sports bar in Manchester.

It was here that we got to sample Rekorderlig cider’s new passionfruit blend, which is delicious but I wouldn’t recommend it if you haven’t got a sweet tooth!

The venue will also be serving a selection of food from across the globe, ranging from Kangaroo Burgers to Quesidillas, with more traditional German dishes available in the Bavarian Bierkeller. Sadly we didn’t get to sample any of the fayre, but I’m sure it would go down nicely with a Stein!

It will be interesting to see how busy The Bierkeller is on its opening weekend, with Live Oompah Band shows on Saturday and Sunday.

Manchester’s food and drink scene is thriving at the moment, with newcomers popping up all over the city. Not that the Refresh PR team is complaining – we love a complimentary Bellini.

For more information about The Bierkeller, visit the website:





Tagged with: , Around the World in 80 Days Bar, beer, cider, Food & Drink, Leeds, Leisure, Lifestyle, Liverpool, Manchester, North West , Oompah Band, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Pure, Rekorderlig, Shooters Sports Bar, Stein, The Bierkeller, The Printworks

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Refresh PR attends STYLEetc Spring Party

Refresh PR attends STYLEetc Spring Party


Manchester has long been established as a hub for the creative industries, with music playing a huge part in capturing the vibrancy and true spirit of the city in recent decades. 

With the Hacienda transformed into apartments, Oasis separated by feuding brothers and The Smiths long defunct, it appears that Manchester-born fashion is the next big thing!

With that in mind, the Refresh PR team went along to the STYLEetc Spring Party at Harvey Nichols this week, welcoming the magazine’s new editor Gemma Latham with a glass of champagne, whilst also taking a peek at the latest edition of the free quarterly glossy.

The magazine is a fantastic opportunity for Manchester-based designers and boutiques to get in the spotlight, and I would urge you to pick up a free copy of the magazine or visit the website to check it out for yourself!

In attendance were Manchester Evening News’ Diary Editor Dianne Bourne, stylist Matthew Moxham and TV presenter Michelle Eagleton.

I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t a Coronation Street cast member in sight, nor was there an appearance from Manchester designer Nadine Merabi.

Despite Manchester Fashion Week being postponed for the foreseeable future, it still remains an exciting time for Manchester fashion and it’s great that it is finally starting to gain the recognition it deserves.

If you have a fashion or lifestyle brand that you would like to see grow, why not get in touch with the award winning Refresh PR Team here.


Tagged with: , Celebrity, Coronation Street, Dianne Bourne, Fashion, Food & Drink, Gemma Latham, Harvey Nichols, Lifestyle, Manchester, Manchester Evening News, Manchester Fashion Week, Matthew Moxham, Michelle Eagleton, Nadine Merabi, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Retail, STYLEetc

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The average Brit now spends £1300 a year on takeaways and buys 12 takeaways a month

Research published in the Daily Mail reveals the average person in the UK eats 12 takeaway meals a month and spends £1320 a year on fast food.

Even scarier is the revelation that people in my age bracket spend double the national average; that’s a whopping £2600 a year on fatty food.

Thankfully I think I fall below this average – at the moment at least – the post-Christmas healthy eating plan has lasted considerably longer than usual. However while at university I could easily match this statistic; the cycle of a takeaway after a night out and maybe one the next day because you were too lazy to cook anything happened far too often.

Then there were the ‘let’s be sensible and not go out – we’ll have a night in front of the telly with a takeaway’ evenings, that accompanied our X Factor viewing sessions. Thankfully, this cycle has been broken by graduate full time employment, something both my wallet and my waistline are very grateful for. The purveyors of fast food in Sheffield probably miss me very much though.

Another statistic the newspaper announced was that a Chinese takeaway is now our number one choice, followed by an Indian in second and fish and chips in third. Surely nothing beats the Great British fish and chips?

Tagged with: , average spend, Daily Mail, fast food, fish and chips, Food & Drink, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West, takeaways

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The Dog Bowl Launch Party

Refresh PR began the bank holiday weekend by attending the launch of Manchester’s newest bar.

The Dog Bowl is a new bar and restaurant complete with a bowling alley on Whitworth Street fronted by I’m A Celebrity star Helen Flanagan.

Decorated with dark wood and featuring the brand’s dog Bruce the Patterdale Terrier at every turn – on the toilet signs, menus and even in the bowling ball dispensers - the Dog Bowl is more stylish than your average bowling alley.

Food wise the Dog Bowl offers a Mexican inspired menu featuring everything from nachos to barbecue wings (which smelt amazing).

Adding to the Mexican flavour that evening were the mariachi band from the Doritos advert. Their Latin flavoured rendition of Don’t You Want Me Baby went down very well (especially after a few mojitos) and the band had several encores.

The members of the team who enjoy a celebrity spot (ie. all of us) were not disappointed. Coronation Street cast members past and present including Tina O’Brien, Jack P Shepherd and Paula Lane were in attendance along with Helen Flanagan who opted for an eye-catching hot pink ensemble.

Refresh PR even managed to snag a quick chat with John Miccie (aka Corrie arsonist Karl) and he happily posed for a snap.

Best bowler of the night goes to Gemma Cannon. A less impressive performance came from Kimberley Bull (pictured top) – she blames the free cocktails.

Tonight the bar officially opens to the public – it’s the perfect mix of food, drink and fun.

Tagged with: Black Dog Ballroom, Coronation Street, Dog Bowl, Doritos, Food & Drink, Helen Flanagan, Jack P Shepherd, John Miccie, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West

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Leave Pippa Middleton alone- she's perfect for Waitrose

Waitrose has faced a lot of criticism in the last few weeks in its decision to replace the ‘godmother’ of British cookery, Delia Smith, with Pippa Middleton. Food writers and journalists are up in arms that the legendary chef (who taught millions how to beat eggs ) is to be replaced with the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister.

But it seems to me that Pippa is the perfect fit for Waitrose; she’s pretty, posh and thanks to her sister, practically a princess. Isn’t that Waitrose’s dream customer?

And she has a vested interested in cooking and entertaining – she publishes her own online party magazine and debuted her guide to entertaining before Christmas 2012.

True, the book was badly received; the tips were mocked for being too obvious and launched a parody Twitter account called ‘Pippa’s Tips’ which posts such advice as “If your guests are thirsty – give them a drink” and “As it’s Christmas, why not serve turkey?”.

Although it’s easy to mock Pippa’s writing, as a brand she is in step with Waitrose. Many a young Waitrose customer no doubt dreams of having Pippa’s glamorous life, glossy hair and perfect derriere. It makes absolute sense for her to be a part of what is perceived as a ‘posh’ supermarket.

I’d like to wish Pippa good luck with her column - apparently the first one is an Asian themed supper for friends (my friends aren’t especially fond of Thai curries etc though, so I’ll be giving that one a miss. Sorry Pips).

And Delia has no need to worry about losing her crown. She’ll always be Queen of the Kitchen so long as my mum keeps making her fruit cake and sticky toffee pudding.

Tagged with: Delia Smith, Duchess of Cambridge, Food & Drink, Kate Middleton, Party Pieces, Pippa Middleton, Pippa's Tips, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations North West, Twitter, Waitrose

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Jaffa Cakes are MP’s favourite biscuits. Here’s what they’re missing out on

A report in the Daily Mail reveals that Jaffa Cakes are the favourite snack for our MPs and their staff. They love the chocolaty treat so much they’ve spent £13,000 of their own money on them in the last five years.

Other biscuits to make the top ten were Crawford’s mini packs of bourbons and custard creams. Oreos also made the top ten. In five years MPs have parted with £112,698 to satisfy their craving for a biccie.

But what’s even more alarming are the biscuits that haven’t made the top ten. Our members of parliament are missing out on some seriously delicious biscuits it seems.

Where were the Hob-Nobs? As we all know, these are the ultimate biscuit for dunking in a cup of tea.

How could they not put a crunch cream (especially a ginger crunch cream) on the list? Or the naughtiest and most calorific biscuit of all (in my opinion) a chocolate and caramel digestive?

The absence of party rings is almost comforting - it’s good to know our parliament enjoys a slightly more mature biscuit, although we like the idea of the cabinet chewing over the economy with a pink iced biscuit in hand.

Here at Refresh we’re very fond of biscuits. The appearance of this news story promoted quite a debate over what biscuits better the MP’s choices (Kimberley strongly advocated that a Fox’s biscuit of any variety is the best in British biscuit).

What’s your favourite biscuit and what would you like to see those in power munching on?

Tagged with: biscuits, Daily Mail, Food & Drink, Jaffa Cakes, Manchester, MPs, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations North West

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Cheesecake in the City

Last night Refresh PR had the pleasure of attending an event structured around cheesecake. And if there’s anything Refresh PR likes, it’s an event structured around a dessert.


‘Cheesecake in the City’ took place at the Bali Health Lounge in Manchester’s China Town, just a stone’s throw from our office in Piccadilly.


On offer was a massive range of desserts, each one reflecting a different country to fit the international theme of the event. For example, France offered up a crème brulee take on cheesecake while Jamaica’s dish featured spiced potato and coconut.


Surprising favourites among the Refreshers included the Moroccan rosewater cheesecake with spiced plums and the Indian mango and lime creation.


We’re not going to lie, not every combination was for us - using Tofu to create a vegan cheesecake isn’t something we’ll be attempting at home anytime soon. 


The spread was provided by two Manchester-based bakers, Teatime Collective and Manchester Cheesecake Company, both of whom love to try out new flavour combinations. They even created special recipes just for the event (for which we, but probably not our waistlines, are very grateful).


As always, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, and we ate far too much of the cake on offer. If you’re bored of your average vanilla cheesecake, check out these bakers for something new.


Or, if you’re a company looking to boost awareness of your baked beauties, why not give us a call? We may be interested in a contra deal. J

Tagged with: , Bali Health Lounge, cheesecake, Cheesecake Collective, Food & Drink, Lifestyle, Manchester Cheesecake Company, Networking Event, PR, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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US doctor says sugar is to blame for the obesity epidemic

My name is Corey. And I’m a sugar addict.

I get through a frightening amount of the stuff. There’s my Haribo binges, my cups of tea (milk, three sugars) and daily cans of full fat Coca-Cola - and that’s just the start of it. I shudder to think how much sugar I get through on the average week. I ought to buy shares in Tate & Lyle.

And all this sugar consumption is doing my health no good by all accounts.

Dr Robert Lustig, a leading US doctor, compares sugar to hard drugs like cocaine and heroin, because sugar is just as addictive. "We need to wean ourselves off. We need to de-sweeten our lives. We need to make sugar a treat, not a diet staple," he said.

"The food industry has made it into a diet staple because they know when they do you buy more. This is their hook. If some unscrupulous cereal manufacturer went out and laced your breakfast cereal with morphine to get you to buy more, what would you think of that? They do it with sugar instead."

Sugary foods can lead to heart and liver disease and are apparently the easiest way to add fat around the tummy (my biggest bit as it happens).

I’m inclined to agree with Doctor Lustig, and think it might be time to cut back on the sugar. Slowly.

Just the thought of it makes me want a Twix and a can of coke.

Tagged with: coca-cola, fat, Food & Drink, haribo, Health & Beauty, Manchester, obesity, obesity epidemic, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West, sugar

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Healthy meals champion Jamie Oliver adds hotdogs to his £150m empire

Jamie Oliver already has a huge list of ventures; there’s his restaurants, crockery line, range of sauces, magazines, advertising deals, cookbooks, worldwide TV shows and cookery school. With all this going on it isn’t surprising that Jamie tops the list of The Times richest chefs with a whopping £150m fortune.


What is surprising however is the chef, who has very publically campaigned for healthy school meals, is adding a hotdog and burger bar to his portfolio of restaurants.


The Dog House and Diner is set to open on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue later this year. Hotdogs and a range of burgers and steaks will make up the American themed menu.


Although a spokesperson for Jamie says that the menu will feature healthy options and will not be what is traditionally known as fast food, it does seem an unusual venture for a chef who has taken such a staunch view against the serving of fatty food.


Perhaps, in the words of Jessie J, it’s all about the money, money, money?


Jamie has already been criticised for the amount of calories and levels of salt in his (highly-profitable) line of ready meals.


I’ve no problem with calories or salt (a fish and chip supper makes me quite the happy chappy), however if you are going to harp on about nutritious food a la Jamie, then marketing fast food probably isn’t the best idea.


Stop preaching to me Jamie; I know it’s bad for me, I just want the occasional kebab. Stop whinging and I might even be persuaded to try your hot dog.  


Tagged with: Celebrity, empire, fast food, Food & Drink, healthy eating campaign, hotdogs, income, Jamie Oliver, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West, ready meal range, wealth

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American children can finally have a surprise, Kinder style

After a 70 year ban in the USA, a Kinder surprise style chocolate has been launched in America.


Although the British style Kinder is still banned, a new product has managed to sidestep a ban that was imposed in 1938. The ban stopped the selling of any food product containing inedible toys.


New Jersey confectioner, Kevin Gass, got around the problem by creating a thick plastic ridge that breaks and more clearly defines the difference between the two chocolate halves and the toy. This ridge has satisfied American regulators, who are happy that a sufficient warning has been given to parents and children.


As a further safety precaution, the toys are also chunkier than their counterparts across the world.


It is however still illegal to import Kinder Surprises into the US, and those caught with one at customs can face large fines.


I’m glad US children can finally enjoy a Kinder egg. I’ve spent many a shopping trip harassing my Mum into buying me one (not recently of course, I’m 22, if I want a Kinder, I can just get one – yay).


It seems America will be overjoyed at the launch of Candy Treasure. Petitions, both physical and online, have campaigned for the return of Kinder to the shelves of America, and have managed to gather over 3,000 signatures. The petition signs off with “Help us bring joy to millions of children in America.”


Candy Treasure will no doubt be a massive success. What child doesn’t love something that combines toys and chocolate?

Tagged with: Candy Treasure, Chocolate, Food & Drink, Kinder Egg, Kinder Surprise, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West

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Award nominated Manchester agency Refresh PR, has won the contract to deliver the PR offering for independent national contract caterers, Catering Academy.


On target to reach a turnover of £30 million this year, Catering Academy has grown to be one of the most successful contract caterers in the UK; with over 100 national education, B&I and healthcare contracts and 1,000 team members.


Catering Academy has appointed Refresh PR to undertake its trade PR, with an additional focus on team initiatives to communicate both internally and to the press. This activity will be supported by awards, events and the introduction of a new managing director of client services.


Catering Academy Founder Director, Louise Wymer said: “Team Academy has grown rapidly over the last eight years. We felt we needed a PR company which understood our ethos and key aims to tackle our communication infrastructure, both internally and externally. The team at Refresh PR demonstrated a passion for what they do and their experience across the food and drink sector only further highlights their capabilities.”


Refresh PR’s founder, Laura Mashiter said: “Our approach to PR centres on delivering results our clients are happy with. Catering Academy came to us with a clear objective to support internal communication initiatives and reach out to the trade with a high impact communication campaign. We are confident we can deliver and are delighted to be working with such a forward thinking, successful company.”


New client wins have enabled Refresh PR to grow its team, with three new team members joining ‘team Refresh’ within the last six months.


Visit for more information or call 0161 212 1695Follow us on Twitter; @RefreshPR





Tagged with: Food & Drink, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Love is in the Air at Refresh ahead of Valentine’s Day

We’ve spent the past few weeks spreading the word about the Valentine’s Day Gifts being sold online by our fab client – in fact we’ve spent so much time cultivating Look Sheets and speaking to journalists up and down the country that we thought it was about time we summarised our favourite Valentine’s Gifts for those of you reading the Refresh PR blog too...and whether you love or loath the day, there’s going to be something in here to make you smile, I bet!!



These unique, made-to-order 400 piece map jigsaws centre on your place of choice – where you first met, got engaged, or tied the knot. The result is an intriguing street or Victorian puzzle that will draw on your local knowledge and map-reading skills. The box lid can also be personalised.


Love Rug SLANKET – rrp £24.99

There’s one massive Slanket fan in the Manchester office, and she’s enviously looking at these latest designs that are being sent out to journalists next week...hands off!!  They do look mighty comfy though...and at the last look were on sale too.



Hide a Valentine’s Day message inside this brushed steel arrow, which comes with five spare scrolls in case you don’t get your love note right first time round… or if you’re given to changing your mind!


Personalised Bottle of Champagne – rrp £34.99

These Personalised Bottles of Champagne are fantastic. A sophisticated present that stands the test of time, allows you to personalise the bottle with a name and message on the label, and a name on the smart presentation box it arrives in.



There’s a massive selection online which can be personalised for your Valentine.  We are fans and love the different designs.



Cooking for two on Valentine’s Day? Use this heart shaped pasta to get a few extra brownie points!  It’s currently being tested by a famous Mum’s website and they love it!



With a choice of Heavenly Honeycomb or Crunchy Munchy the pizzas come in three sizes (7, 10 and 12 inch). Each pizza comes with a personalised card with up to 50 characters – we are big fans...



These 400 piece jigsaw puzzles feature the front page of either the London or The New York Times newspapers on a date of your choice. These fascinating jigsaws are individually created using high quality mono reproductions taken from original front pages dating as far back as archive editions from 1888.



Brighten up rainy days with this funky umbrella, a must-have for any romantic. When it’s closed, it looks like a normal stylish brolly, but once opened it takes the shape of a huge heart. Choose between a red, hot pink and candy pink umbrella too



Heart shaped pancakes anyone?  Well, it’s going to make your partner smile if nothing else, and the beauty is it can be used time and time again.


Want to have a look for some more?  Just visit and browse to your heart’s content!!



Tagged with: Food & Drink, Gifts, Home Interest, Manchester, PR, Public Relations, Valentine's Day Gifts

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Let’s hear it for the Fish

The #fishfight being aired across our TVs at the moment really is raising a lot of interest and rightly so!  Since it launched,  Refresh PR has been monitoring the impact that social media is having on the campaign - twitter has been going crazy as the great British public pledges its support for the campaign; Facebook already has over 167,000 fans and has generated over 500,000 supporters.  Everyone is talking about the campaign and rallying behind Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsey to encourage the industry, our supermarkets, policy makers and the like to make fundamental changes to the current EU fishing quota and landing laws.


It’s reported that half of all the fish caught in the North Sea are being thrown back overboard which is a huge waste of perfectly good fish.  They could instead be sold or even donated to needy charities instead of simply being left to drop to the bottom of the ocean – and that’s just one way to avoid this awful waste. 


In less than a week we’ve had our eyes opened to some pretty shocking revelations, mixed messages and misleading claims which, had these high profile chefs not championed the cause, we’d still be unwise to. First it was Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall uncovering the plight of the poor chickens, then Janet Street Porter reporting on the shocking findings of beef, Jamie doing his bit with the turkey twizzlers and school meals, and now our well-loved TV chefs are uncovering the shocking truths of our fishing industry. It’s these chefs who are passionate about sustainability, quality and freshness, and who can capitalise on their high profiles, who are helping to make a difference.  Sad that it takes this, though.


Having witnessed the truth about the UK’s mass fishing industry, , we’ll certainly be buying fresh fish from our local fishmonger on the infamous Northcote Road in SW London and avoid the temptation to buy ‘FRESH’ fish from the supermarket counters unless they can guarantee that it is indeed what is says it is – FRESH. As a business, Refresh PR will continue to monitor this campaign closely and will be keeping our eyes on the social media activity which is already proving to be  a powerful influence alongside the TV, digital and print coverage for the campaign.  What a great example of an integrated PR campaign – we hope it gets the outcome it deserves. 


Tagged with: Celebrity, Food & Drink, Marketing, PR, Public Relations

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Refresh PR gets in touch with the current state of the UK Food and Drink Market

Refresh PR gets in touch with the current state of the UK Food and Drink Market


Last night’s Chartered Institute of Marketing’s (CIM) event at New Zealand House, central London, threw up some pretty interesting facts and figures about consumer’s supermarket shopping habits and behaviour in the UK, and being the food and drink lovers we are, we thought Refresh PR should share these with you


As we love our stats, here’s a few for you.  Did you know...

·         Only 11 per cent of the population never goes in to Tesco – so 89 per cent of us do, whether it’s a Tesco Express, store or Tesco Extra!

·         Ten per cent of the grocery market is home delivery – and more and more people are using sites like to gather their weekly shopping basket, then on completion compare the supermarkets to see where they can buy it (and get it delivered) the cheapest....massive implications for brand loyalty here!

·         At Asda, 14 per cent of sales are of products that cost £1 – exactly £1!!

·         And finally, 40 per cent of Sainsbury’s shoppers also shop at Morrisons


One point that I found pretty surprising was that branded goods were growing faster than own-label and that premium own-label ranges like Finest from Tesco were experiencing a growth rate. Asda’s premium own label is also on the up and so I hear myself question “what recession?” (but don’t) – after all, since we started tightening our belts and saving some coppers over the past few years, surely we deserve a little bit of luxury in our lives still?


The Organic market also appeared to be under more pressure than before and I had to agree with our charming speaker Ed Garner that the term organic should in fact take a supporting role when marketing these products to us consumers.  Surely we buy into the proposition, the quality and the benefits of the produce which just happens to be organic too?


So what will be watching out for in the next few months?

·         the Cooperative’s challenge – having purchased Somerfield, how many of these (traditionally older) customers will be happy to pop into their local Coop – will they stick with the store out of convenience or go further afield and brand swap?

·         the impact that the VAT increase has on food and drink shopping habits, and the massive offers (buy one, get two free) that will no doubt follow to entice people in after the Christmas binge

·         how the market evolves – will sites such as grow in popularity as ‘convenience’ gets even more convenient?  Being able to order a loaf of bread and a pint of milk, and have it delivered to your door the very next morning?  A dream when it’s minus 2 outside!


What I will be most interested in following over the coming months though is how (and if) Morrisons emerges into the online shopping market and what effect this will have on its competitors.   Personally I think that Morrisons has done a fantastic job in revamping itself into the store where you can buy good quality fresh produce for less and, if there is one not a million miles from where I live, I might switch from my regular Ocado delivery and give them a try.   The Refresh PR offices may be starting an account with sooner than we thought too!


Tagged with: Food & Drink, PR, Public Relations

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The Wine Show 2010

Saturday turned out to be a really great day.  A good contact of Refresh PR invited Niki to join him at this year’s Wine Show at Olympia ( and sample some of the fabulous wines .  It was being held alongside MasterChef Live too, meaning there was so much going on in the halls to keep visitors completely entertained for quite some time.  Here is Niki’s take on the show...


The team at Refresh PR loves wine, so what a better way to spend your Saturday afternoon.  I left my house having put the F1 qualie in Abu Dhabi and the England vs Australia rugby game on record and off I went ready to get stuck in and enjoy my tour around the wine regions of the world!


It was great to bump into good contacts at the show too – editors of key magazines, Dave - one of the best show photographers I know, an old favourite of mine – Oz Clarke, and the great (and extremely down to earth) Cyrus Todiwala of Café Spice Namaste, London. 


The show was really busy and getting to sample the wines was proving quite a challenge the later it got in the day.  I did, however, manage to jump the queues quite well and got to taste some of the most fantastic organic wines on the market.  My favourite was the Rosé Frizzante which was really good value too!  At just over £10, this wine was causing quite a stir at the DrinkItaly stand and proving extremely popular with the ladies.  At most points of the day, this stand was at least five deep with visitors super keen to try these quality wines.


One thing I did notice was that people, despite the recession, are still looking for quality over a bargain.  Yes, we’d all like to save a few coppers here and there, but when it comes to tucking in and treating our taste buds and bellies, compromise is not an option.


This great food and drink show was an enjoyable day out and has proven that we’re still happy to part with our well-earned cash - and the Refresh PR offices are certainly well stocked as a result too.

Tagged with: Food & Drink, PR, Public Relations

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The Restaurant Show 2010

The Restaurant Show 2010 got underway today at Earls Court 2 and the Refresh PR team was there to run the press office and PR activity for the show.  Albert Roux opened the show at 10am - it was a huge honour to meet him - and as the industry's press gathered throughout the day we just kept hearing lots of fantastic comments about the show.

So much so, when we went on our break, we had a quick wander round to have a gander for ourselves.  And it didn't disappoint.  From the Young National Chef of the Year competition - which was won by Mark Stinchcombe from the Lucknam Park Hotel - to the World Chocolate Masters series, there was so much to take in.  We are grateful we are there for all three days!  Some of the pics from today are here to give you a taste (!!) of the show if you can't make it yourself, but if you can we'd definitely recommend it.

Refresh PR and The Restaurant Show 2010


Refresh PR and The Restaurant Show 2010


Refresh PR and The Restaurant Show 2010


Refresh PR and The Restaurant Show 2010


Tagged with: Food & Drink, Lifestyle, PR, Public Relations, Wellbeing