Brakes is looking to reduce the impact of next year's VAT rise to its foodservice customers by encouraging them to use cheaper ingredients and smaller plates.

Suggestions include using better-value cuts of meat, non free-range options and own-label instead of branded products. "While the temptation is to respond by cutting prices or portion sizes, customers will still be looking for quality as well as value," said a spokeswoman.

Brakes suggests caterers put chips in an individual container. "This will result in using less product per portion, but it will appear more."