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January-February 2020 Volume 21 Issue 1 gff.co.uk

Roll on 2020 Whether you’re looking for new stock or planning to spritz up your shop, we’ve got you covered

ALSO INSIDE GreenBay’s vegan success story Pickles & chutneys Rogue River Blue: America’s global sensation

Our founder knew that respecting the land was essential for cultivating the best ingredients. That’s why our organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar and Classic Pesto are made the traditional way for the finest flavour.

Filippo Berio set the standards, we live by them. For more information contact Andy Coult on: andy.coult@fberio.co.uk 2

January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1




Anecdotally, there seems to have been an immediate effect on our trade after the General Election’s very clear outcome in December.


By Michael Lane, Editor


Photo sources: Iofoto/Dreamstime.com & Isabelle Plasschaert

January-February 2020 Volume 21 Issue 1 gff.co.uk

I’m certain it’s a bit late to be saying Happy New Year to you but I’ve said it now. I’m never sure of the official cut-off date for using this phrase but it does feel strange to be saying it to you on the cusp of February. It’s even stranger to acknowledge that we’re now in a new decade. Nevertheless, it is a new 10-year stint that I feel has begun with a degree of positivity that I haven’t experienced since Brexit (there’s another phrase that we’ll all be hoping is soon past its sell-by date) was first invoked in 2016. Anecdotally, there seems to have been an immediate effect on our trade after the General Election’s very clear outcome in December. Lots of delis and farm shops told us that they had very good Christmases (page 5). Many experienced a positive post-vote boost, too. Admittedly that might be partly down to de-mob happy

consumers expressing relief with their wallets. Across all walks of life, people are saying that the political certainty – while it’s not a result that everyone is happy with – will allow everyone to get on with things and possibly cast off financial caution. Whisper it quietly but this Conservative Government has made some positive noises when it comes to helping small businesses (I would like to stress that FFD remains totally politically neutral!). I suppose they will have to offer assistance after they have backed our economy to survive and thrive without as much input from the neighbours. There is still plenty of work to be done by politicians on easing the perennial burden of rates, employment costs and the potential impact of environmental measures like recycling schemes. Thankfully there are organisations like the ACS

(see pages 9 and 54), which works closely with our publisher the Guild of Fine Food and lobbies on behalf of smaller retailers. For all the things you can control yourself, we have an issue that should help to inspire you – whether you’re hoping to physically alter your business (page 36) or pep-up your offer slightly. You don’t need me to tell you that the world is changing at pace. Vegan and/or plant-based food is becoming increasingly mainstream. The supermarkets are all over it and gaining ground (see page 6) but independents can make a success of it too – just look at our interview with London retailer GreenBay (page 10). And I’m sure no one would have expected to be reading about a World Champion cheese from the USA (page 19), either. The 2020s are definitely going to be different. Happy New Decade.

EDITOR’S CHOICE Michael Lane, editor

The Greek Kitchen Tahini & Honey Spread Roll on 2020 Whether you’re looking for new stock or planning to spritz up your shop, we’ve got you covered

ALSO INSIDE GreenBay’s vegan success story Pickles & chutneys Rogue River Blue: America’s global sensation

Cover image by Mark Windsor

When Olive Branch launched its sister brand, The Greek Kitchen, it looked like it would be on to a winner with independents and this latest range extension adds a little bit of flair to the line-up. This spread has lots going for it. The jar looks good, there’s a health angle and it’s free from the dreaded palm oil. But it delivers on taste and texture, too.




Art director: Mark Windsor

Sales director: Sally Coley

Fax: +44 (0) 1747 824065

Editor: Michael Lane

Contributors: Nick Baines, Patrick McGuigan, Lauren Phillips, Greg Pitcher, Isabelle Plasschaert, Lynda Searby, Mick Whitworth


Sales manager: Ruth Debnam

Sales executives: Becky Haskett , Sam Coleman

ADDRESS Guild House, 23b Kingsmead Business Park Shaftesbury Road, Gillingham, Dorset SP8 5FB United Kingdom

It’s firm and smooth but melts easily on the tongue (a bit like those pistachio creams that the Italians do so well) and the sweet-savoury marriage of tahni and honey is pleasantly balanced. The true acid test is whether you can eat it straight from the jar and I’ve been taking it by the spoonful. Read more on page 45

Tel: +44 (0) 1747 825200

Published by The Guild of Fine Food Ltd gff.co.uk


© The Guild of Fine Food Ltd

Printed by: Blackmore, Dorset

2020. Reproduction of whole or

Circulation: Bill Bruce, Emily Harris

publisher’s prior permission is

Fine Food Digest is published 11 times a year and is available on subscription for £50 p.a. inclusive of post and packing.

in articles and advertisements are

part of this magazine without the prohibited. The opinions expressed

not necessarily those of the editor

Turn to page 54 for news from the Guild

or publisher.

Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


Voted Best Biscuit Brand 2020 by independent retailers

Every recipe in the Peter’s Yard range is now a Great Taste award-winner 4

January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1


Indies report good Christmas despite weather, the economy and politics By Greg Pitcher

Independent food retailers have expressed relief after racking up bumper Christmas sales despite fears that an election and wet weather would dampen trade. Farm shops, delis and specialists from around the UK told Fine Food Digest that they posted an end to 2019 on par with or better than recent years. With most food specialists relying on the run-up to Christmas for a substantial proportion of their income, many were worried about the effects of political and economic uncertainty, and the weather. Many parts of the UK were flooded in November, and rain continued to lash down as the nation took to the polls on 12th December after a year of Brexit deadlock. Henry Mackley, director of the Harp Lane Deli in

Independents that FFD spoke to were all happy with their performance during the Christmas selling season

Ludlow, Shropshire, said: “The weather in November was appalling for us. If we get a few rainy Saturdays in a row at that time of year it can be hard to recover. “But people have to do their shopping eventually. Everything sells well in December: cheese is particularly big, as is smoked salmon.” Diane Brown, owner of the Provender Brown deli in Perth, central Scotland, had the opposite experience but again all ended well.

Diverse doubles warehouse with Taunton move Somerset-based distributor Diverse Fine Food has moved to bigger premises as it continues to target further growth. The firm, run by husband and wife duo Nicki Stewart and Mark Wiltshire, left its Bridgwater premises just before Christmas for a new home near Taunton. At 2,100m2, the new site represents a doubling in space for the company, which places products made by high-end independent brands into luxury stores and hotels. Stewart said the company was keeping pace with demand and hoped to expand again within five years. “It’s enormous,” she said of the latest base, which opened for new orders on 30 December. “We realised we were falling over our feet [in the previous premises] and the

warehouse was starting to work ineffectively.” Diverse will be hiring shortly to help make the most of the bigger site. “We recognise we need more warehouse staff and admin support. We are growing quickly, which is brilliant, but you have to have your wits about you.” Stewart believes a focus on customer service and product aesthetics has driven the company’s rapid growth. “We have been successful because we have put service first,” she said. “We are hard on ourselves if we let customers down on products. “People come to us [with their goods] when they’ve looked at labelling and packaging to a very high standard. We are marketing led. The way products look is critical for our sector, they need a premium look as well as taste.”

“November was better than usual even if December was slightly down,” she said. “We sold a lot of cheese, hampers, gin and chocolate. “We always have a bigger customer base at Christmas and the usual people spend more. We do 25% of our business in one month. I was worried the spending wouldn’t happen this year but it was just as normal.” Kate Forbes, co-owner at the Trading Post Farm Shop in Lopenhead, Somerset, said festive takings were up 10%


on 2018’s. “The biggest increase in sales has been from our fresh cut cheese counter and our loose chocolate counter,” she said. “It was our second Christmas with both but we were blown away by the demand.” Forbes noted a decline in demand for “novelty” food and higher-than-expected interest in gluten-free Christmas puddings. James Rutter, operations director at cheesemaker Paxton & Whitfield – which has outlets in London, Stratford upon Avon and Bath – noted double-digit growth in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the same period the prior year. “Customers want more of an experience element from their cheese, whether from a monthly subscription; a homeware gift such as a fondue set or cheese knife; or one of our biggest sellers was a Christmas cake made of cheese,” he said.

Not all multiples merry after festive figures The big supermarkets reported a mixed bag of results over Christmas. Aldi revealed that its UK sales in the four weeks to 24th December topped £1bn for the first time – an increase of 8 per cent from the same trading period the previous year. The German-headquartered supermarket said income was driven by a surge in demand for beers, wine and spirits; premium products; and fresh British meat. Aldi sold 55 million mince pies in the festive period, along with 22 million pigs in blankets and more than 2 million Christmas puddings. Waitrose’s gross non-fuel sales were around the £1bn mark for the seven weeks to 4th January. This was down 1.3% from the previous year but up marginally on a like-for-like basis. The firm reported that ham and pâté sales were strong over Christmas week, with mince pies also popular. Tesco said sales in the UK and Ireland this festive period were on par with the levels seen in 2018. while Sainsbury’s reported less than 0.5% growth in grocery sales in the 15 Aldi had a good Christmas but weeks to 4th January. not all supermarkets did





“It felt like a standard Christmas. The average customer spend triples compared to the rest of the year. We now have an empty shop, which is where I like to be in the second week of January – focused on restocking.” KATE FORBES CO-OWNER,



“For our Christmas offering we only buy one case of everything from all our suppliers – this means every delivery we get over the festive period has something new and customers keep coming back to see what we have. It makes it difficult to assess demand – but it pretty much all sold.” JAMES RUTTER OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, PAXTON &


“We have a loyal customer base and it includes future generations: we see people who once came with their grandfather as a Christmas treat now bringing along their grandchildren. On top of that we are attracting people who are placing their first order with us.”

Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020




Supermarkets embrace Veganuary with major plant-based NPD drive By Greg Pitcher

The supermarkets are flooding the market with vegan food this month as the trend for shunning meat and dairy in January continues to soar in popularity. Not-for-profit organisation Veganuary encourages people across the world to eat an exclusively plant-based diet for the first 31 days of each year. More than a quarter of a million people took the pledge last year, with more than 370,000 signed up by 10th January this year. Keen to capitalise, Waitrose announced 30 new own-label vegan products to take its total range to 120 items in January. Among the additions are No Egg Fried Rice, CrispCrumbed Fishless Goujons made from banana blossom and a No Chicken Samosa featuring soya mince. Simona Cohen-VidaWelsh, vegan developer at Waitrose & Partners, said: “Last year, we saw veganism and plant-based diets

Waitrose’s No Egg Fried Rice is one of 30 lines the retailer has added to its range of plant-based foods

making their way further into the mainstream and we see no signs of this slowing down.” Co-op launched its vegan Gro brand in 6,000 stores this month, after estimating the market for non-meat food at more than £1 billion. Gro features more than 35 meat-free products and will be stocked in 2,000 Co-op stores as well as up to 4,000 independent retailers through the brand’s wholesale operation Nisa. Products in the range include a vegan steak bake,

Whitmore & White revives its closed Chester store Delicatessen and wine merchant Whitmore & White has reopened a Chester store that closed last year in the hope that certainty over Brexit will boost fortunes. The company – which also has outlets in nearby Heswall and Frodsham – received customers again at its Godstall Lane premises from 9th January. The Chester store initially opened in June 2018 but closed less than a year later due to a lack of footfall. After a trial period in the run up to Christmas, the management team took a decision to permanently reopen this month. Initial hours are Thursday to Saturday from 10.30am to 6.30pm with a view to extending further into the week as the year 6

progresses. Co-owner Joe Whittick told FFD: “There has been a lot of uncertainty and now that has been restored it might restore consumer confidence.” Whittick said the store would also be putting more emphasis on its wine offering, with in-store tastings, external events and a small seating area, while cutting back on fresh food as it adjusts to the city centre market. “We tried to follow what we had done successfully in smaller towns but there is already a cheese shop in Chester and we don’t see as much demand for groceries.” Godstall Lane store manager Nick Thomas said the response to its preChristmas trial had been positive.

January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

a Kashmiri pizza featuring cauliflower and a mozzarellastyle vegan cheese. Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said: “We have to provide fantastic products and services with strong ethics and a purposeful focus on convenience. Our new vegan range taps into the latest consumer trends.” Aldi also advertised its own raft of new plant-based items this month. These include Loma Linda Fishless Tuno; Plant Menu Vegan Sausage Roll;

and Limited Edition Eat & Go Korean BBQ Style Chick’n Sandwich. Not to be left out, M&S unveiled a new Plant Kitchen range with 50 lines, including sandwiches, quickfix suppers and a no-beef burger. Kate Forbes, owner of Somerset’s Trading Post Farm Shop, insisted the intense supermarket focus on Veganuary would not harm independents offering plant-based food. “Veganism tends to be about the ethics of where food is coming from so the perception would be that farm shops are going to know that,” she said. “I have met most of our suppliers or speak to them regularly on the phone. You don’t get that in a supermarket.” Vegan Society spokeswoman Dominika Piasecka said: “Plant-based food is not exclusively for vegans; it’s suitable for most diets and religions, and often constitutes a safe food option for all, making clear commercial sense.”

Great Taste open for entry Great Taste 2020 opened for general entry on 3rd February, with organiser the Guild of Fine Food allowing space for up to 13,000 products to be entered. In theory, producers have until the submission closing date of 17th February to fill in their online entry forms for the accreditation scheme but the portal will close earlier than this, if the entry cap is reached before then. Entries are priced at £60 (for companies with turnover of less than £1m), £92 (turnover of £1m+) and £240 (supermarket own-label products). For more details and to enter visit gff.co.uk

Blue cheese… all the way from the States The man behind the US cheese phenomenon Rogue River Blue, recently named the Best in the World, was in London last month as part of a press showcase of awardwinning cheese. Journalists and buyers from the industry gathered on 11th December at No. 42 Southwark Street – the event space run by World Cheese Awards organiser the Guild of Fine Food – to hear David Gremmels of Rogue Creamery speak about his creation and to sample the complex blue cheese, which is wrapped in grape leaves soaked in pear spirit. To read more about Gremmels (pictured centre with Guild MD John Farrand and FFD’s resident cheese journalist Patrick McGuigan) and his business in Oregon, turn to page 19.

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January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1




ACS: employment and environment costs should be on Government’s agenda ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

By Greg Pitcher

A body representing small retailers is proposing national insurance cuts, further business rates reform and exemptions from deposit return schemes as the new Government enters a critical two months of policy formulation. The Association of Convenience Stores told FFD it was focusing on three main issues to improve trading conditions for shops ahead of the Budget on 11th March. Chancellor Sajid Javid will use that event to crystalise taxation and spending plans in the wake of the Conservative party’s preChristmas election victory. Edward Woodall, head of policy affairs at trade body ACS, said: “The election result certainly provides some clarity on Brexit, which is positive. Most people probably prefer the certainty of 2020 to the uncertainty of 2019.

Small shops will hope to see a few helpful changes from the new Government, led by PM Boris Johnson

“On the domestic agenda there are three main areas of importance for us this year: business rates; employment costs and regulation; and environmental regulations.” The first clues as to the new Government’s plans for this term were given in the December Queen’s Speech. Legislative promises included changes to business rates – a perennial request of the industry – and an Environment Bill, expected to include a drinks container

deposit return scheme. Briefing notes circulated following the Queen’s Speech said the discount on business rates would be extended to 50% for occupied retail premises valued at less than £51,000. Revaluations will also occur more frequently under the reforms. Describing the increase in relief as “brilliant”, Woodall said further changes in the system were needed. “The longer term goal is the review of the future


Leicestershire’s Farndon Fields Farm Shop is trying to hunt down the owner of a gold ring returned to the store by a customer who found it in a Savoy cabbage (pictured above). The shop posted on Facebook after a shopper brought the jewellery item to their attention in December. At time of going to press the ring’s owner still hadn’t been found. farndonfields.co.uk

Orchards Farm Shop in Barnstable has recently opened a new shop within Ashford Garden Centre. The Good Stores will offer a wide range of locally produced foods including organic items and a refill service for environmentally friendly cleaning products. orchardsfarmshop.co.uk Knights Farm Shop in Ottery St Mary, Devon, has recently undergone redevelopment

Tracklements has hired Ben Hallam for the role of commercial manager, which includes identifying new market opportunities. Hallam joins the Wiltshire-based condiment specialist after 11 years at dairy firm Yeo Valley. Health food retailer Planet Organic has moved into the hot food delivery market and teamed up with high-end service Supper, which will courier a selection of to-go items and sushi from two Central London stores.

The latest from farm shops across the country and has now moved into a bigger and more bespoke premises. knightsfarmshop.co.uk

Seed Fund up for grabs

Food and drink start-up accelerator, The Seed Fund opens for entry on Saturday 1st February, with 12 spots up for grabs on its summer academy. Entries are welcome from any producer that has been trading for less than four years and an annual turnover of under £1m. Founded by The Collaborators and run in partnership with Great Taste, The Seed Fund is now in its eighth year. This year’s mentorship programme will cover branding, funding, finance, tone of voice, social media, PR and an investment day held at Piper Private Equity. theseedfund.co.uk

of the rates, which we are keen to be delivered as soon as possible. We need [the system] to better reflect changes in the economy – looking at options like online sales levies and using that revenue to offset the burden of business rates on bricks and mortar.” On the forthcoming deposit return scheme, Woodall said he was “concerned” about the logistical challenges for small independent retailers, adding that the smallest should be made exempt. “The Government needs to account for a deli or convenience store where someone brings in a big bag of bottles to be scanned, processed, stored and collected. That all has cost. We don’t think return points should be everywhere.” Woodall added that rising minimum wages would ideally need to be offset by cuts in employer national insurance contributions.

Walter Smith Fine Foods has announced the closure of three stores in the Midlands. The butcher chain revealed over Christmas that its Denby Village, West Bromwich and Coventry shops would stop trading, leaving it with 11 outlets – many of which are within garden centres.

Elveden Estate has won permission to build a garden centre, containing a farm shop. West Suffolk Council granted planning consent to for the 4,928sq m facility, as well as additional external space, within the currently uncovered walled garden on the estate in the village of Elveden. The estate’s current farm shop will to the new site. elveden.com A derelict and half-built hotel in Burford, Oxon, has recently had planning

permission approved for a development that includes a housing estate, a farm shop and bistro. The Cotswolds Outpost farm shop, will be part of the Windrush Heights estate located on the A40. A bigger farm shop with a wider range of West Country produce and a much improved, refurbished café is planned for Occombe Farm in Paignton, Devon. The Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust said the farm will also feature indoor & outdoor play areas and a new visitor attraction. countryside-trust.org.uk/ occombe-farm-plans/

In association with

Fabulous Farm Shops fabulousfarmshops.co.uk

Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


SHOP TALK IF I’D KNOWN THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW... ANDERSON CAICEDO, co-founder & managing director, GreenBay, West Kensington, London In 2015 during a trip to Austria, I went to Veganz in Vienna. Back then there was nothing like it in London so I thought it would be a good idea to open a vegan supermarket. I was working in finance at the time and happy in my job, but I was ready for a challenge. It took six months for me and my business partner Paula Alcalde to put together a business plan and raise funds, then we opened GreenBay in 2016. The following year, we launched online with a range of ambient products, but subsequently put this on hold. It had become apparent that many of the products people wanted to access were plant-based meat and cheese alternatives. We came up with a solution for chilled distribution and reopened our online shop. We chose to operate our online business from a different physical location to our store, as we were concerned that having both on the same site with limited space would be problematic. We then discovered that having a small team of five across two sites was a challenge, so have unified both stores for now. The store accounts for the majority of turnover – although online is growing more rapidly. The rise of veganism is both an opportunity and a challenge for us. The supermarkets have caught onto it and are carrying more vegan products. However, our brand, core values, exceptional customer service and extensive range are some of the key factors that make us different and retain customers. We go the extra mile for our customers and ensure their experience is always positive and exceeds their expectations. For example, if a courier loses a parcel, rather than blaming the courier, we will just send out another parcel. Last year, we launched our own range of products called Harmless Foods, which was very successful with virtually no investment in marketing. Our first product was The Harmless Steak - a realistic alternative to traditional animal steak – and we’re currently working on more additions to the range. Own label products are much more efficient financially, as the profit margins are greater, and we can also supply them to other retailers. The only category where there is a shortage of vegan options is fish alternatives; other than that we have no problem finding good products. The biggest challenge we currently have is accommodating all the lines we want to stock. To tackle the space challenge, we are moving to a bigger warehouse that will allow us to scale up all operations. The physical store layout will also be updated with a deli counter for vegan meat and cheese alternatives, fresh bread and coffee. Interview Lynda Searby Photography Isabelle Plasschaert


January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

CONFESSIONS OF A DELI OWNER ANONYMOUS TALES FROM BEHIND THE COUNTER HOW WAS YOUR CHRISTMAS? Did Santa put a little extra in your stocking? Word on the street is that our little bit of the food world bucked the trend and had a good December. I hope you were part of that. We worked our butts off. I slept right through to the Queen’s speech on the 25th. And it was all worth it. Every January – sorry Veganuary – I think about going dry, going meat-free, going somewhere, and my heart just isn’t in it. My customers come in asking if I’m on a health kick, but I never am. I’m not judgemental, though (not any more anyway, guess I’m getting old). Other people can do whatever they like (and they will) but this dog likes the bed it’s sleeping in. I gave up alcohol once – for a bet – but I didn’t last the agreed three-month course and forfeited. But is it a business opportunity? I know a lady who runs a health food shop. Well, it’s more of a café, really. Funky, all smiles, with fruit-coloured walls that hurt your eyes without sunglasses. She sells the kind of drinks spoons stand up in. They are mostly green and have names that seem to wilfully tell you


The team are knackered, the shop is exhausted, the coffee machine refuses to serve anything but depressos absolutely nothing about what’s in them. You know the type. It’s either a Schwarzenegger-style ‘The Revitaliser’ or something more urban and Hip Hop like ‘Re’Juicy J’. I really want to get down with her kale & turmeric shots, but I just can’t. Anyways, she sells naff all at Christmas. 1st January is her Christmas. Literally, it’s the busiest week of her year. That combo of hangover and New Year’s resolution creates queues of customers that I won’t see until Easter. Every year I think I can do it. I can turn the

shop around, make the café a haven of health. Me and chef look for recipes with calories in single figures and some cutting edge superfood ingredient that makes the whole dish go from gums to G-string without saying ‘hello’. But again this year I dropped the ball. The team are knackered, the shop is exhausted, and the coffee machine refuses to serve anything but depressos. And the customer that dropped £170 on a whole Stilton on 23rd December tells me that a £5 piece of Ossau Iraty looks a bit expensive on 4th Veganuary. It’s just too depressing. I’m a f******g cheese shop, for God’s sake. I’d be a hypocrite to go vegan. Time to chill the hell out, swear a bit in the kitchen and send half the team on mandatory holiday. By the time you are reading this, hopefully Veganuary will be over and I will have regained my sanity through good white burgundy and quality beef burritos. It’s another year on the High Street to come, and 12 months until Santa rings my tills again. I earned it, and it wasn’t meat-free. Happy New Year.


Is this a carrot, This is where you These micewhich are I see wanna be. the EHO me?is Oh, this is the everywhere! Andbefore greatest show!coming tomorrow! Looks like I’ll have to sort this myself.

Oi. You lot. Get out of my shop!!!

FFD says: Where there’s food, there will be pests. It’s just the nature of the business. But getting rid of them is not as easy as you might think. Deli owners do tend to be jacks of all trades but some tasks are best left to specialists. Always seek professional help with this kind of problem, or those little critters might come back to haunt you…


With kind permission of Geobra Brandstätter Stiftung & Co. KG, Germany. PLAYMOBIL is a registered trademark of Geobra Brandstätter Stiftung & Co. KG, for which also the displayed PLAYMOBIL toy figures are protected.

Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


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January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1




THE DELI DOCTOR Paul Thomas Technical and regulatory advice from the Guild’s deli helpline Q: We use domestic brands of cleaning chemicals in our retail food business. These include a surface disinfectant spray for our tables, washing up liquid for our crockery, and a household floor cleaner. Are these appropriate or should we be using something stronger? A: The type of chemical used for cleaning depends very much on the application. Detergents like washing up liquid will remove soiling, including grease. They can only remove some of the bacteria from a surface, ie. “99%”. A disinfectant, such as hypochlorite (bleach), is used to kill bacteria on surfaces which have already been effectively cleaned. This is often referred to as a two-stage cleaning process. Disinfection is necessary where raw and ready-to-eat foods will be handled using the same equipment, due to risk of crosscontamination. For this, the Food Standards Agency recommends using disinfectants, or sanitisers, which conform to one of two standards: BS EN 1276 or BS EN 13697. These standards describe tests which require a 99.9999.999% reduction in the numbers of specified


Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash


In the Sitch household, we (by that, I mean just me) like to start the New Year by reflecting on the previous one, working out how we’re going to do things a bit better and making a plan. I can hear you groaning at the back, just like my husband, but this is exactly the kind of process you need to be going through in your shops – right now! Don’t tell me that you’ve got a huge queue to attend to out there. Come on, there’s lots you can be


The type of chemical used for cleaning depends very much on the application target bacteria within five minutes. Check that the manufacturer’s product specification shows that any disinfectants (or sanitisers) that will be used to decontaminate food contact surfaces conform to one of these two standards. Some household brands do conform and state this on the label. Otherwise you may need to contact the manufacturer or your janitorial supplies company. Detergents might not conform to these standards. However, some dishwashers will reduce bacterial numbers efficiently. It should be remembered that sponges and cloths can be a source of cross-contamination so a disinfectant spray can be used on tables after cleaning. Floors are obviously not food-contact surfaces but a product which conforms to either standard would at least demonstrate that the product is effective at killing bacteria. Dairy and food safety specialist Paul Thomas runs the Guild’s e-helpline for retailers with technical or regulatory queries. It can be accessed through the Guild Members’ Hub at gff.co.uk

doing behind the scenes. January is literally the best time to be taking stock. There will be some chocolate Santas or minty snowmen left over, and perhaps the odd box of panettone, in your store room. Clear it all out and at the same time you can start planning for next Christmas by working out what you actually sold and what didn’t shift. Obviously, if there’s anything older in there, get rid of that too. I see you hiding behind that stack of Halloween 2017 plastic pumpkins? Once you’ve cleared the store room and cleaned the shop (always be cleaning!), get yourself to that desk in the office. Have a look at your numbers. What sold well? What didn’t? Where were your less profitable patches? Was that because you had too many staff on or too much stock in that month? It’s good to have this in mind because the next thing you’re going to do is draw up a marketing and events plan. It sounds daunting but don’t panic or overstretch. You probably only need to start with six events dotted throughout the year. A Valentine’s supper club here or a Saturday gin-tasting there could just be what you need to improve on last year and bolster sales. Even if you don’t do all of this, at least attempt some of it. Otherwise, it’ll be Easter before you know it, then summer, then Halloween, and then… Well, you know where I’m going. Make sure you do, too.




1 Regenerative agriculture Regenerative agriculture is the name given to farming methods that prioritise soil health, which in turn helps to capture and store carbon in the ground. But as well as working to undo the detrimental effects of the climate crisis, regenerative agriculture also helps to increase biodiversity and protect farmland for the future. Chef favourite Natoora uses growers who deploy these methods, finding a happy medium of crop cover and livestock to manage pest control and prevent tilling. Patagonia’s food arm Patagonia Provisions is also big subscriber to this philosophy. It makes jerky from wild roaming buffalo (the pronged hooves promote healthy soils) and has a beer made with a perennial grain called Kernza. At Devon’s Taw River Dairy, techniques that build soil structure and organic matter have been embraced, cows rear their own calves, and bee hives are maintained to pollinate the wild herbs and grasses. 2 Oat milk ice creams As well as trumping almond, coconut and soya, as the most sustainable dairy alternative, oat “milk” is the current favourite for non-dairy ice creams. Oatly recently launched three flavours of its ice cream in the UK to wide acclaim, as has Halo Top. Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s Van Leeuwen Ice Cream now has seven oat-based flavours including Earl Grey & cookies, chocolate cookie dough crunch, and strawberry. For forward-thinking retailers, oat ice cream could prove a strong move for the warmer months ahead. 3 ‘Extra’ cordials The humble glass of squash was taken to grown-up sophistication by the likes of Belvoir and Rocks, but recent newcomers are at it again, elevating cordials to intense, complex new highs. Urban Cordial gets a big eco-tick for utilising surplus fruit in its production, while Fiovana harnesses the flavours of superfruits like baobab, rosehips and goji berry - sweetened with stevia and apple juice concentrate.

Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


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January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1


news & views from the cheese counter

Decade begins with raft of new British cheesemakers By Patrick McGuigan

A new wave of artisan cheesemakers is focussing on issues such as sustainability, provenance and branding as British cheese evolves at the start of a new decade. Recent months have seen a number of cheesemaking operations set up in a variety of locations across the UK, with the Specialist Cheesemakers Association (SCA) helping to nurture new businesses through its Patron’s Development Award, which was set up last year to provide support in areas including technical advice, knowledge sharing and business strategy. So far 19 cheesemakers have successfully applied to the scheme, while the SCA has also seen membership grow to 218

cheesemakers, who make more than 720 cheeses in total. Sam Horton and Rachael Turner at Long Churn Cheese, which is based at the Courtyard Dairy near Settle, Yorkshire, won a bursary from the SCA last year to help in their plan to make a raw sheep’s milk Crottin-style cheese called Fen Beck. “We want to create a grass-based, low-input system by rearing sheep that can stay out year round,” said Horton. “We want to reflect the land through our cheese and be as sustainable and traditional as possible. There’s an increased focus among the public on sustainability and ethical questions.” Other new cheesemakers that have recently set up include the Mount Goat’s

Sussex-made Blue Clouds and Old Roan (a cloth-bound Wensleydale from Yorkshire) are two of several new cheeses on the British artisan scene

Cheese in Pembrokeshire, Fife-based mozzarella maker the Buffalo Farm and Pevensey Cheese in East Sussex, run by former Neal’s Yard shop manager Martin Tkalez. At the Home Farmer in Yorkshire, the Spence family has started making a clothbound Wensleydale called Old Roan using raw milk from its own 90-strong herd of cows, after receiving encouragement and advice from Wensleydale Creamery boss David Hartley. “It’s a very traditional recipe with a slow make that results in a moister cheese,” explained co-owner Ben Spence. “It’s how Wensleydale used to be made before the war.” Balcombe Dairy in Sussex was set up at the end of last year by former High Weald head cheesemaker Chris Heyes in four converted shipping containers. The new company makes a Gorgonzola-style cheese called Blue Clouds, which is wrapped in perforated laminated foil with a colourful hand-painted label. “I wanted a cheese that stood out on counters and had a point of difference,” he said. “There were more than 800 cheeses entered into the British Cheese Awards last year - the market is buoyant.”

A crowd-funding campaign has been launched for a new book celebrating British and Irish artisan cheesemakers. Mould and Culture will feature interviews and photos of 50 cheesemakers, collated by food photographer Jason Lowe and restaurateur Rebecca Rogers. Pledges start at £25. unbound.com/books/mouldculture/

In addition to their current business, the owners of Suffolk Farmhouse Cheese Katharine and Jason Salisbury have taken over the dairy on Sark, close to Guernsey. They discovered the opportunity while holidaying on the island, which has just 500 inhabitants.

Corra Linn

Made by Errington Cheese in Lanarkshire, Corra Linn is a hard, clothbound sheep’s milk cheese, which was named best Scottish Cheese at the World Cheese Awards. Made with raw milk from the farm’s flock of Lacaune sheep, it is aged for up to a year and has a grainy texture and a fruity and nutty flavour.

Wild Garlic Pesto Cheesemaker Selina Errington likes to use her cheese to make a homemade pesto by blending wild garlic (the season starts next month), roasted hazelnuts, olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor with plenty of grated Corra Linn. In fact, the cheese works well as a Parmesan alternative in lots of different dishes – try it grated over pasta or to finish risotto for an extra kick of flavour. Blackcurrant Preserve Corra Linn has a lovely roasted lamb back note that makes it mellow and moreish. A sweet and sharp condiment like Single Variety Co’s Great Taste two-star Ben Starav Blackcurrant Preserve works surprisingly well. It picks up on the caramelised notes in the cheese, while also adding a refreshing burst of tart fruitiness. Think of it as a British alternative to Manchego and membrillo.


Bournemouth restaurateur James Fowler, who runs critically acclaimed Terroir Tapas and The Larder House, has opened a cheese shop and deli in the town’s Southbourne suburb. Parlourmentary stocks both British and Continental cheeses.


Hebridean Blue, Gorwydd Caerphilly and Isle of Mull cheddar were some of the cheeses served at the London debut of Homage2Fromage, an all-you-can-eat cheese club that is well known in the North. The event at The Bull pub in Westfield, Hammersmith, saw guests blind-taste eight mystery cheeses, before their identities and back stories were revealed by the hosts. Homage2Fromage was created in 2011 by Nick Copland and Vickie Rogerson and runs clubs in Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, York and Harrogate.

Brown ale Brown and amber beers have taken a back seat to pale and sour ales in the craft beer revolution, but their sweet, nutty flavour profiles make them a great match for all sorts of cheese. Swansea brewery Tiny Rebel’s Cwtch (rhymes with ‘butch’ and means ‘cuddle’ in Welsh) is a particularity good example. Full of toffee notes and roasted flavours with a gentle bitter finish, it’s a natural partner for Corra Linn. Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020



news & views from the cheese counter

Climate change could force French makers to change protected recipes Laws protecting famous French cheeses may have to be adapted because climate change is making it increasingly difficult for cheesemakers to comply with current rules. Drought affected around half of France’s PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) cheeses last year, according to the country’s National Appellation Committee, including famous names such as Bleu d’Auvergne, Fourme d’Ambert, SaintNectaire and Epoisses. Farms struggled to grow enough grass to feed livestock, which meant cheesemakers were unable to meet legal requirements specifying the length of time animals are at pasture and what they can be fed. Several producer groups were forced to ask Inao, the body that oversees French appellations, to temporarily modify designations so that they could sourced feed from outside their regions. “Climactic conditions are increasingly variable from one

CHEESE IN PROFILE with Tomme de Savoie PGI What’s the story? Tomme de Savoie has been made in the mountains of France’s Savoie region since the 16th Century. It was a way of using up the skimmed milk produced while making butter and cream. The resulting small cheeses were an excellent source of protein during the cold winter months. Today, the cheese has PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status so 16

© J. Damase/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

By Patrick McGuigan

Cheeses from the Auvergne – like Fourme d’Ambert, St Nectaire and Bleu d’Auvergne – might have to rewrite their PDO rules

year to the next,” said Inao in statement. “Making such allowances clearly cannot become the norm as it damages the appellation system, namely the durable commitment to a product and a given geographic area combined with rigorous methods.” Matthew O’Callaghan, chair of the UK Protected Food Names Association, said he could see a time when some French PDOs would have to be permanently changed.

“If it’s going to be regular practice that cheesemakers can’t comply, some may be forced to rewrite their PDOs,” he said. “If you’re paying a premium for a product, but find that it is not being made to specification, then you would be disappointed.” He added that British protected cheeses were unlikely to be affected because most designations had been written so as not to be as prescriptive around feed and grazing.

it can only be made in the two departments of Savoie and Haute Savoie, as well parts of Ain and Isère. The genuine cheeses are stamped with a ‘SAVOIE’ mark on the outer edge of the cheese. How is it made? This hard cheese is made using raw or thermised milk from herds of Abondance, Montbéliarde and Tarentaise cows. It is an uncooked cheese, so the curds are gently heated before they are pressed into moulds and then matured until a thick grey bloomy

January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

rind develops. As it matures each cheese is turned and brushed to firm up the rind. The optimal maturing time varies from 30 days to three months. The cheeses weigh 1.5-2kg each and measure about 20cm in diameter and 7cm in height. Appearance & texture: Depending on age profile and producer, the rind ranges in colour from grey to brown and the paste

BEHIND THE COUNTER TIPS OF THE TRADE James Grant, No2 Pound Street, Aylesbury After the feast of Christmas, it can be famine for cheesemongers in January and February, but there are plenty of ways to boost sales, according to James Grant. Cheese box delivery schemes, which make great gifts in the run up to Christmas, help keep things ticking over in the months after, while in-store wine and cheese tastings bring people into the shop and encourage them to spend. “We give certain customers a Thank You card in December, which includes a 10% discount voucher that can be used any time during January,” he says. “There’s also more focus on our platters and sandwiches, which do well at this time of year. We’ve just developed the ultimate Reuben with Ogleshield and pastrami on toasted sourdough.” Grant adds that trimming the number of cheeses in the counter – focussing on bestselling products – and encouraging staff to take holiday during the period both help him run a “tight ship”.

from white to yellow. The paste is pliable, getting firmer as it matures and can feature small eyes (holes). The flavour also varies depending on the terroir and season ranging from refreshing to earthy. There are often cucumber and lactic yoghurt flavours in young cheeses while more nutty, mushroom notes come through as it matures. Variations: ‘ Petite’ versions are allowed

under the PGI, weighing 400g-900g Cheesemonger tip: Because it is made with skimmed milk, this is a good option to recommend for those customers seeking a lowfat cheese. A great source of energy for walkers taking to the hills, too. Chef’s recommendation: When served on a cheese board, pair Tomme de Savoie with white wines from the same region – such as Chasselas or Jacquère. Its mild, earthy flavours also works well on a simple platter with herby sausages and crusty bread.

Whether you have a professional or personal interest in cheese, the Academy of Cheese is a not-for-profit organisation, providing a comprehensive industry recognised certification. Level One courses are available across the UK. Visit academyofcheese.org to start your journey to Master of Cheese.

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January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

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news and views from the cheese counter

When I developed the cheese in 2002, I wanted to create something that incorporated the DNA of the region

Knowing its place The creator of Rogue River Blue explains how the World Champion cheese is very much a product of its home in Oregon, USA Interview by Patrick McGuigan

David Gremmels was “bucking” hay in the early morning darkness on his farm in when the message came through from Italy that Rogue River Blue had won at the World Cheese Awards. “I was wearing a headlamp and loading hay racks to feed the cows,” says the president of Rogue Creamery in southern Oregon. “The next thing, I’m being face-timed by Jason Hinds from Neal’s Yard Dairy, but I still didn’t really understand. I asked him if I’d won a category and he said, ‘No, the whole thing!’ I was completely awestruck.” It’s fitting that Gremmels was down among the haystacks and cows when he received the news because Rogue River Blue is rooted in the soil of Oregon. Made with milk from the company’s 120-strong herd of Holstein and Brown Swiss cows and named after a local river, the seasonal organic blue is wrapped in Syrah vine leaves from a nearby biodynamic vineyard, which have been macerated in pear spirit – another local speciality. “When I developed the cheese in 2002, I wanted to create something that incorporated the DNA of the region and this area is known for its pears, wine and dairy,” he tells FFD. Back then, Gremmels had just bought the company with partner Cary Bryant from cheesemaker Ig Vella, whose family had owned the company since the 1930s. Mentored by Vella, Gremmels, who had previously worked in design and branding, expanded the product range with innovative new cheeses, such as Rogue River, Caveman Blue and Smokey Blue, which is smoked over smouldering hazelnut shells. Bryant left the business in 2017 with

Gremmels continuing to focus on growing sales with indie retailers and restaurants. Customers include Whole Foods Market, Murrays and Michelin-starred Restaurant Daniel in New York. In 2018, the creamery was making around 100 tonnes of cheese a year across 11 different products, but Gremmels wanted to take the business to the next level – a tricky proposition with strict limits on bank lending in the US. “I was rich in buildings and land, but to grow you need capital,” he says. The solution was a deal with French multinational Savencia, which Gremmels describes as a “partnership” rather than a takeover (the exact terms of the arrangement have not been disclosed). “My strategy was to partner with a company that aligned with our values and supported our mission to grow strategically and sustainably,” he says. “Per capita consumption of cheese in the US is half of what it is in Europe. There’s so much opportunity because people are really embracing artisan cheese.” The deal has enabled Rogue to increase its workforce from 50 to 70 employees and double production to around 200 tonnes a year. This was good news for retailers keen to stock the newly crowned Best Cheese in the World. A couple of pallets even made it to the UK where the cheese was on the counters of Neal’s Yard Dairy and Paxton & Whitfield. Larger shipments are scheduled to be made later this year through Savencia and Neal’s Yard, adds Gremmels, who says the big win is changing perceptions. “America is known for commodity and industrial cheeses, but our artisan and farmstead cheeses are often overlooked. The award means light is shining brightly on Rogue Creamery, but it’s also beaming on the American artisan cheese movement as a whole.” The secret is out. There’s more to US cheese than plastic orange slices. roguecreamery.com



Rogue River Blue 1

Rogue River Blue is only made for a few months each year when the cows produce particularly rich and delicious milk. Production starts on the Autumnal Equinox in September and lasts until the cows are housed for winter – no later than the Winter Solstice in December.


2 The texture is moist and fudgey with crunchy calcium lactate crystals. The taste walks a tightrope of intense and complex flavours, from fruity and peppery notes near the centre to milk chocolate and sweet berry aromas under the rind. Gremmels recommends eating the leaf for the full experience.

The cheese is made with raw and pasteurised milk. (Gremmels had earmarked a raw milk version for the World Cheese Awards, but his staff sent a pasteurised cheese by mistake.) It is then lightly pierced and matured for around a year, initially for 6-8 months without the leaf wrapping, so a natural rind develops. It is then wrapped in syrah leaves, which have been macerated in pear spirit for a year, and matured for another 4-6 months.

Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


Sunday 8 March 10-4 Monday 9 March 9-5 Hall 2, YEC, Harrogate REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE TICKET

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www.bottlebrushferments.com Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


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January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

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making more of British & Continental charcuterie

When you lay out a sheet of charcuterie, you can almost hear the gasps of the customer at how great it looks

Every product is hand-sliced and offered for tasting before it’s sold at Compton McRae, making it “a joy to retail,” for owner Sam Rosen-Nash.

The slice is right Prepacks have their place – but not in Sam Rosen-Nash’s new Wiltshire deli, where taste and customer interaction come first. By Mick Whitworth

AT COMPTON McRAE, a Wiltshire deli opened last summer by former Fortnum’s buyer Sam Rosen-Nash, it’s not just the scale of the charcuterie offer that’s striking. Of more than 50 lines on the stocklist, just two – a biltong and a droëwers – are pre-sliced. Here, old-fashioned slicing-to-order rules the roost. Rosen-Nash spent more than a decade with Fortnum & Mason then worked at Olives Et Al and ran her own food consultancy before launching Compton McRae with business partner Bill Dowling last June. Her entire career, she says, has been built around taste, and she believes prepacking – particularly in tight vac-packs – has an unavoidable impact on the product. “I completely get vac-packing,” she says. “What it has done for British charcuterie is immense. Suddenly it’s catapulted it out there it’s easy, it’s available and it’s commercially viable. So hats off to the vac-packing guys for that. “But when you vac-pack – especially the heavier vacs – it does pull the fat out of the meat fibre, and I think it effects both the texture

and the taste. A lot of products that taste beautiful when they’re hanging and maturing are completely different once they’re vac-packed.” Slicing to order from a whole muscle or salami is also part of that essential customer interaction that helps shoppers choose indies over the supermarkets – and part of the pleasure of being a deli owner. “When you lay out a beautiful sheet of charcuterie, all interleaved, you can almost hear the gasps of the customer at how great it looks. For goodness sake, it’s a piece of pork! But it looks and tastes gorgeous, and that’s what our customers come back for time and time again.” It’s an approach that mirrors how Compton McRae handles cheese. The business invested heavily in a walk-in cheese room, temperatureand humidity-controlled, so products can be on display, unwrapped, for most of the day. Customers are invited to taste before they buy, and it’s exactly the same with charcuterie, which is held in a modified dry-aged meat cabinet so it’s maturing, not drying out. “Even if they love King Peter’s Ham [the British air-dried ham from flagship supplier Tempus Foods] I always make sure they taste it,” says Rosen-Nash, “because, like cheese, every one will be slightly different.” The “theatre” element of slicing often leads to a group of customers gathering around the shop’s workhorse Bizerba slicer, hoping for a

taster. “We might suggest a small glass of sherry to match,” says Rosen-Nash, “or a white port, which goes beautifully with the salty sweetness of charcuterie, and we tell the stories behind the the producers and what we’re selling.” Since opening last summer, Rosen-Nash has split her charcuterie offer roughly 50:50 between Brits and Continentals. Among the British, she’s a huge fan of Tempus Foods, run by chefs Dhruv Baker and Tom Whitaker, but also buys from Dorset’s own Capreolus, Somerset’s Westcombe (for its “absolutely stunning” saucisson) and, for lamb products, Close Leece Farm on the Isle of Man. Brindisa supplies Spanish chorizo and hams, including the premium 100% Sinorio de Montanera Iberico, with Vallebona used for Parma and San Daniele (Rosen-Nash’s preferred Italian ham) as well as salamis. She aims to offer a UK equivalent to each Continental speciality, and increasingly customers are opting for the Brits. “I think they’re beginning to trust us,” she says. “If they’ve always asked for French saucisson and we suggest they try Westcombe’s, after a few visits they’ll move across to it.” What happened with the British movement is now being echoed in charcuterie, she says, adding: “I’ve yet to find a direct replacement for San Daniele – but it’s coming.” comptonmcrae.com


Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


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January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

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SWEDE & SHALLOT SUPER-GREENS TART Packing as much caramelized roasted veg and super delicious spring greens into this tart makes it a hero of vegetarian dishes. Prep time: 30mins Cook time: 1hr 20mins Makes: 1 tart, serves 6 Ingredients: ½ swede, peeled, chopped into sticks 5 shallots, halved 2 cloves garlic, peeled 150g frozen spinach, defrosted

4 sheets filo pastry 30g butter, melted 3 eggs plus 2 egg yolks 200ml cream 2tbsp pumpkin seeds ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg Method: • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Toss together the swede pieces and shallots on a baking tray with a good drizzle of olive oil and place in the oven. • Roast for 35-40mins, until charred and cooked

through. Add the garlic cloves for the last 15mins. Remove the veg and set aside to cool. • Brush the filo pastry sheets with melted butter and line a shallow 26cm tart tin, or a deep 23cm, using about 3-4 layers of filo. • For the filling: In a small bowl, blitz the defrosted spinach until smooth. Beat the eggs with the cream and stir in the roasted vegetables, blended

spinach, seeds and nutmeg. Season well with salt and pepper. • Bake the filo bases for 5mins until just cooked through. Remove and spoon in the filling, return to the oven and bake for 30-35mins. • Remove the tart and allow to cool before serving warm or room temperature with a salad. Recipe by Jules Mercer for Fine Food Digest

STAUB has a range of cast iron products that can stand up to the rigours of professional kitchens but also doubleup as serving solutions for the table. Among the options available to cafés and foodservice operations are the 20cm cast iron round casserole in grey and the 10cm cast iron mini Cocotte in black (pictured above). Trade enquiries should be made to: p.bough@zwilling.co.uk

Food safety consultancy NT Assure and compliance audit company Serve Legal have teamed up to launch the Customer Experience Allergen Audit for food businesses and retailers that offer food-to-go. All of the allergen auditors are 18-25 years old and present as mystery diners to determine how well businesses deal with customers with allergies and dietary conditions. servelegal.co.uk/ services/

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Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


Charlotte Brown’s Handmade

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January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1


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pickles & chutneys

New year, new lines The savoury preserves category shows no sign of slowing down, and you’ll find a broad spectrum of new launches – spanning fermented pickles, chilli condiments and more traditional chutneys – in our first product round-up of 2020. This is followed by a look at the newest biscuits (p31) on the market. Compiled by Lynda Searby

>> Currently a one-woman outfit, Annie’s Delights is one to watch. From her home kitchen in Portglenone, Northern Ireland, Ann Marie Collins is making jams and chutneys using local produce and supplying local artisan markets. The range, which includes chutney combos such as pear, apple & apricot and blackberry, apple & cinnamon, has just been treated to new labels. RRP £3.50. facebook.com/pg/ anniesdelights1

Spanish importer Delicioso is now carrying caramelised Piquillo pepper marmalade from Can Bech. Made in Girona, this condiment uses Piquillo [“little beak”] peppers, which are sweet and have very little heat, making it a “flavourful and lightly acidic” partner for cold meats and mature cheeses. RRP £3.45-3.95 for a 135g jar; trade price £22.25 for a case of 12. delicioso.co.uk

Windmill Organics is capitalising on the current appetite for fermented veg, adding two flavoured sauerkrauts under its Biona Organic label. A range extension of its original sauerkraut, golden turmeric sauerkraut and ruby beetroot sauerkraut have an RRP of £1.99 (trade price £8.96 for a case of 6 x 350g glass jars). windmillorganics.com

The Cultured Collective is claiming a market first with its new white kimchi – a traditional variety of Korean kimchi made without chilli flakes. Described as “wonderfully fragrant with a mild, clean and refreshing flavour”, it combines Chinese leaf cabbage, daikon radish, carrot and spring onion with an aromatic spice blend. RRP £5.55 for 250g. theculturedcollective. co.uk

Having decided its range lacked a “mustardy offering”, What A Pickle has introduced fig & mustard sauce. The Ludlow producer says it can be paired with cheeses, roast meats and sausages. RRP £3.65 for 180g. what-a-pickle.com

The Wooden Spoon has released two new chutneys: Eve’s Temptation fig & apple and Dragon’s Breath onion, garlic & chilli. The Kent producer has also moved to a smaller 190g jar size (RRP £2.95) and introduced a new label. thewoodenspoon.co.uk

Delicate heat, with notes of ginger, apple and pea

The latest newcomer to the rapidly expanding kimchi and krauts space is Yumchi, a Surrey startup led by JapaneseKorean chef Lily Hirasawa. The company’s organic napa kimchi and radish kimchi, which are packaged in pouches rather than jars, have already caught the attention of buyers at Planet Organic, Selfridges and Whole Foods. RRP £6.99 (trade price £5.54) for a 300g pouch or £1.99 (trade price £1.49) for a 40g pouch. yumchi.co

Originally created for the restaurant sector, Shaws’ smoky chilli jelly has now been added to its retail range. This intense, medium heat jelly promises to deliver a taste of Mexican street food to any dish. £8.10 for a 6 x 220g trade case. shaws1889.com

Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


pickles & chutneys


Simon WIld / Photopia

How we stock it…

Ian Evans, co-owner Broad Bean Delicatessen, Ludlow Ian Evans, co-owner of this Shopshire deli, admits he finds pickles and chutneys one of the trickiest categories to nail. “Striking the right balance between quality and price point is difficult in pickles and chutneys. We’ve spoken to other deli owners who also find this,” says Evans. “We are in quite a rural area, so a lot of people will make their own and will refuse to pay, say £3.50 for a jar of shop-bought chutney,” he explains. As a result, the deli’s main pickle and chutney customers are tourists, for whom local provenance is a priority. “We have tried national brands, such as as Thursday Cottage and Tiptree, but local brands, like Three Fruity Ladies, tend to sell better,” says Evans. broad-bean.com

After 25 years, Anju Narayanan has turned her chuntey passion into a commercial project. All of Chutree’s Indianinspired recipes use natural, fresh and authentic ingredients. For example, its flagship mango chutney is sweetened with jaggery (sugar cane) rather than refined sugar. Other chutneys in the nine-strong line-up include spicy lemon, date & tamarind and mint & coriander. RRP £4.50. chutree.com 28

January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

This unassuming chutney has shot to fine food fame after collecting three stars and earning Matthew’s Preserves the accolade of Great Taste Startisan of the Year in 2019. Spicy pineapple chutney fuses Caribbean flavours with Indian spicing and is listed in Partridges and Delilah Fine Foods. RRP £4.95; trade price £3 (410g). matthews-preserves.co.uk

Lakes producer Hawkshead Relish has added beetroot & horseradish chutney and roasted vegetable relish to its line-up. Beetroot & horseradish chutney is a rich, dark partner for oily fish or roast beef, whilst subtly sweet and smoky roasted vegetable relish complements cold meats, fish and cheese. RRP £3.90; trade price £16.78 for six jars. hawksheadrelish.com

Pear, orange & ginger chutney, the latest creation from Rosebud Preserves, is pitched as “classic old school chutney with a light, modern freshness”. A good match for cold roast pork and Wensleydale cheese, it marries the sweetness of Conference pears, sultanas and citrus with stem ginger heat. RRP £3.95 for 198g; trade price £2.25. rosebudpreserves.co.uk

Mamellada has translated an iconic Greek flavour combination into chutney format. Featuring orange and cumin, Mamellada orange chutney mirrors the flavour profile of the Messinian country sausage, making for an accompaniment that is aromatic, sweet and tart. The chutney is available direct from Mamellada at a wholesale price of £2.55 for a 250g jar. mamellada.gr

For 2020, Cottage Delight is pitching its chutneys as “more than just partners for cheese”. Its latest introductions are all backed by recipe suggestions, such as spinach & ricotta pasta bake (with juicy tomato chutney) and apple pulled pork (with tangy apple & balsamic chutney). cottagedelight.co.uk

New to the Drivers Pickles deli range are diced beetroot & red onion in white wine vinegar (550g) and cucumber relish infused with gin (350g). Both products retail at £3.50 and are available to buy direct or via one of the producer’s distribution partners. pickle-lovers.co.uk

Naturally fermented, bio-live vegetable pickles

Tickles Pickles claims to be the only company selling versions of peppery Persian pickle torshi and mellow Russian pickle soleniya outside the specialist ethnic grocery channel. A London-based producer, Tickles offers a turnip torshi and a carrot & dill soleniya it describes as a “mild, easy-eating pickle” and well-suited for newcomers to fermented food. Both have an RRP of £3.79 and are available from Wholegood for £2.84 per unit. ticklespickles.co.uk

Karimix has teamed up with fellow Faversham business Shepherd Neameto to create a bespoke Kentish chutney with locally sourced tomatoes for serving with burgers. The chutney will be rolled out across Shepherd Neame’s 70-strong managed pub estate. karimix.com


From our best selling Red Onion Marmalade and Hot Chilli Jam to the latest addition Fig and Mustard sauce there has never been a better time to stock What A Pickle! We love working with stockists to form strong and successful partnerships. All our products are gluten free

We send out sampling jars with all first orders as standard

sales@what-a-pickle.com | Tel 01584 876694


HAWKSHEADRELISH.COM Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


Award winning biscuits throughout our range

Sweet & savoury biscuits in both traditional recipes and those unique to McKenzie’s Biscuits baked to the highest standards. Now available throughout the UK and selected overseas markets Traditional butter biscuits and oatcakes. Our own recipe herb flavoured savoury biscuits in various flavours including thyme, rosemary and basil Stem Ginger Biscuits


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Hand-made Great Taste Award-winning oatcakes & biscuits contact kenmorebakery@hotmail.com or call 01887 830556 Also available from Ochil Foods www.ochilfoods.co.uk

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Baked with extra mature cheddar for an intense cheese flavour, our savoury bites are perfect to enjoy with a glass of wine.

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January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

Tel: 01851 702733 sales@stagbakeries.co.uk www.stagbakeries.co.uk

pickles & chutneys

biscuits Haynes Gourmet has rolled out new livery across its candied jalapeno collection. There are now five products in the line-up, following the launch of candied jalapeno hot relish – a sweet and spicy addition to toasties, sausages, burgers or omelettes. RRP £4.99. haynesgourmet.com


Gato & Co’s new Cookies N Cream range is a vegan twist on classic cookie sandwiches. The plantbased cookies are high in fibre, free from gluten, dairy and palm oil and said to contain 50% less sugar than comparable snacks, There are four varieties: choc vanilla, choc peanut butter, choc hazelnut butter and salted caramel. RRP £1.59 for a 42g pack of two biscuits. gatoandco.com

Having bought the Peek Frean brand from United Biscuits, Harry Davies is hoping to relaunch some of the brand’s most famous creations in a luxury format. After a fruitless search for a partner to produce premium custard and bourbon creams, the business is now baking the biscuits in-house in a giant format for selling loose. RRP £1.30. peekfrean.uk

Livia’s has unveiled new packaging for its DUNX cookies ’n’ dip range, along with a new Maple Peanut Drizzle flavour. Like the existing Caramel Almond Swirl and Choco Hazel Twist flavours, this new variety combines three vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free oat cookies with a nut butter dip. RRP £1.79. livias.co.uk

Border Biscuits has translated its dark chocolate ginger biscuits recipe into bar format. The bars launched this month in Scotland after the producer identified a gap in the market for a premium chocolate biscuit bar. They are initially available in a sixpack (RRP £1.65), with plans for a convenience pack later this year. borderbiscuits.co.uk

Brindisa is now offering Tortas de Aceite (Spanish olive oil biscuits) from Seville producer Andrés Gaviño in four different flavours: traditional, almond, orange and rosemary. This Spanish torta is an unleavened handmade biscuit made with 27% extra virgin olive oil, sweet, crisp and flaky, with a mild taste of anise. RRP £2.95 for a 180g pack of five tortas. brindisa.com

January marks the start of a new era for Farmhouse Biscuits’ Black & White biscuits – originally launched in 1962. As well as featuring two new varieties (chocolate chunk & orange biscuits and half coated dark chocolate coconut fingers), the range is now packaged in a recyclable card tray with a refreshed design. RRP £1.70. farmhouse-biscuits.co.uk

Nairn’s has expanded its sweet biscuit portfolio with glutenfree Oaties, which it describes as a “healthier everyday biscuit”. Oaties are high in fibre, provide 48 calories per biscuit and are promoted as containing 45% less sugar than the average sweet gluten-free biscuit. RRP £1.29 for 160g. nairns-oatcakes.com

Lottie Shaw’s has introduced its first savoury baked treat – seeded oatmeal biscuits. High in fibre, low in sugar, palm free and vegan, the biscuits make a nutritious snack or can be loaded with cheese. RRP £2.95 for a pack of ten biscuits. lottieshaws.co.uk

Sementinas – organic seeded cookies – are the latest creation to come out of Atelier da Bolacha’s Portuguese kitchen. This producer eschews refined sugar, colourings, preservatives and hydrogenated fats. Other cookie varieties include oatmeal, cranberry and ginger. RRP £5.10; trade price £3.90. atelierdabolacha.pt

Slightly hotter than a vindaloo with a more refined flavour

Following the success of its Naga Raja pickle, created due to an oversupply of Dorset naga chillies, Prices Spices has introduced Naga Raja special reserve, which uses slightly hotter chillies and has a more “refined” flavour. Made by hand from chillies grown on the producer’s farm in Stratford-upon-Avon, this Burmese style pickle has an RRP of £7.50; wholesale price £3.79. pricesspices.com

Green tomato chutney is the current seasonal line from Youngs Provisions. Made from organic green tomatoes from Forty Hall Farm on the outskirts of London, this is a sweet chutney with a hint of chilli, recommended as a foil to full flavoured cheeses. RRP £4. youngsprovisions.com

Fermented vegetable brand Vadasz has relaunched its range in 400g resealable tubs (previously glass jars) and added a fourth SKU to the line-up. Red onion pickles with black peppercorns, fennel & coriander seeds (RRP £4.50) join garlic & dill pickles, kimchi and garlic & dill sauerkraut. vadaszdeli.co.uk

Cotswold producer Kitchen Garden has teamed up with Gloucestershire-based Dunkerton’s Cider to launch a cider jelly with Calvados. The conserve can be paired with baked camembert, a cheeseboard, or cold meat. RRP £3.70 kitchengardenfoods.co.uk

Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


This is no ordinary box of biscuits!

Delicious, handmade, award-winning shortbread in unique shapes and collectable tins. Each tin has a beautifully illustrated scene on the front and all the biscuits inside are characters in the story. Unusual, imaginative and mouthwateringly good, these are perfect for all ages and designed to make you smile! Phone: 07764 859260 Email: hello@shortbreadshapes.co.uk www.shortbreadshapes.co.uk


January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

Organic Indulgence from the Hebrides www.islandbakery.co.uk


Stuart Key

How we stock it…

Dean’s has branched out beyond its core shortbread offering, launching a range of extra mature Cheddar bites. Baked with Scottish oats and extra mature cheddar, the “intensely flavoured” nibbles are pitched as an accompaniment to a glass of wine. Choose from caramelised onion, cracked black pepper, chilli and traditional cheese varieties. RRP £1.99 (90g). deans.co.uk

Island Bakery has combined roasted crushed coffee beans and cinnamon in a light all-butter biscuit and half-dipped it in organic Belgian white chocolate to create its take on the coffee biscuit – Blonde Chocaccinos. The Isle of Mull bakery has also dispensed with inner plastic trays and changed its pack weights from 150g to 125g, lowering unit price. islandbakery.scot

Authentic Italian pastries are now available to delis, cafés and farm shops in the UK via Tenuta Marmorelle. A new line for the importer, the cream filled cannoli and sfogliatine pastries are hand-made in Naples. They come in 200g retail packs (RRP £3.60/trade price £2.10) or 1.5kg catering packs to sell individually from counters (£14.75). tenutamarmorelle.com

Snap crackers, or Knekkebrød, are a traditional staple of Scandinavian cuisine, and MØR Hjerte Bakeri has captured the essence of this snack in retail format, available to the UK trade via The Fine Cheese Co. With the emphasis on natural ingredients and authentic recipes, MØR Hjerte’s snap crackers come in three varieties: rye & butter milk, cornmeal & poppy seed and wholemeal spelt & sour dough. RRP £2.35. finecheese.co.uk

West Sussex producer Horsham Gingerbread has treated its biscuits boxes to a new design, in a bid to improve visibility on shelf. The new look has been rolled out across the entire range, which includes gluten-free Sussex Thins, Sussex Honey Alberts and Sussex Lemon Puddle Thins. horshamgingerbread.co.uk

Take the Biscuit is launching a garden themed tin called The Joys of Spring and another called Beside the Seaside. Each tin contains 24 shortbread shapes. RRP £11.99; trade price from £7.70. shortbreadshapes.co.uk

Debbie Jones, co-owner Forest Deli, Coleford, Gloucestershire With the cheese counter at the heart of this business, savoury crackers are the focus in terms of biscuits. “It’s all about what makes a great cheeseboard,” says Forest Deli’s Debbie Jones, adding that “the other side is catering for people with food intolerances”. The deli’s ‘go to’ supplier is The Fine Cheese Co, not least because being able to buy several ranges from one wholesaler makes ordering easier, but also because of the packaging. “Packaging is a big deal in crackers. The Fine Cheese Co’s crackers look pretty on shelf,” says Jones. She recommends Miller’s Elements as a “family group” and Fine English gluten-free water crackers as a plain biscuit that also ticks free-from boxes. In addition, the deli has recently listed the Easy Bean cracker range, and stocks Peter’s Yard as an extension of its sourdough bread offering. forest-deli.co.uk

A Swiss start-up is hoping to break into the UK market with a range of American style cookies that are organic, gluten-free and vegan and do not contain any soy or palm oil. Freely Handustry says its cookies have a chewy texture, unlike most gluten-free cookies, which tend to be hard and crumbly. The cookies are packed and sold individually, and come in chocolate chip, almond & pecan, raspberry, lemon & poppy seed and salted caramel varieties. RRP £1.99 for 65g. freelyhandustry.com

Pairing tradition with a healthy twist

Pulsetta, a Scottish producer of free-from wholesome biscuits, has introduced a range of gluten-free and vegan Scottish shortbreads with a nutritious twist. The shortbreads use flour from pulses such as peas for enhanced nutritional profile that includes vegetable proteins and natural sweetness. They come in three varieties – traditional, lemon and orange – and have an RRP of £2.59 for 150g. pulsetta.com

Dutch bakery Van Strien has refreshed its packaging and launched two new products for the UK market: a new caramelised palmier plus a triple-pack cookie gift box featuring lemon cookies, chocolate spritz and almond romeo. van-strien.nl

Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


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January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

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www.tenutamarmorelle.com | 01635 744600 Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020



business refurbishment and renewal – retail

On the upgrade

It’s important to reassess your equipment to see what is and isn’t working for you every now and then. We first opened Delilah 15 years ago on a budget, and so could only afford basic equipment. When we moved stores, we migrated our old equipment over from the smaller shop and replaced it as we’ve grown into this bigger one. We’re now about to have our fridges resprayed because they get chipped over time through wear and tear and they need a bit of freshening up. It’s those little things which make the big difference. Over time you can start to look shabby and, if you look shabby, people won’t want to shop with you.



Whether you’re a retailer or a producer, the New Year is a great time to start thinking about improving your business. The next few pages offer some inspiration and advice for making positive changes. By Lauren Phillips

Sustainability Reducing plastic waste has been one of the biggest retail shake ups of 2019, with bigger retailers like Planet Organic, Waitrose and Eat17 launching their own refillable stations [pictured]. Expect to see that continue in 2020 through sustainable design with greener materials, longer lasting fixtures and furniture, and technologies being rolled out on shop floors.


Shopping with all five senses “Multi-sensory retailing” is a phrase you might start hearing more of in 2020. According to Forbes, retailers are overlooking the most powerful tool at their disposal against e-commerce – the ability to engage with shoppers through their five senses. An interesting concept for fine food retailing to explore.


 ringing the B outdoors in In the same vein as sustainable design, using your shop floor to connect with nature is a growing trend in retail. This doesn’t

mean just bringing in a few pot plants either but incorporating natural materials, like wood and stone, on the shop floor and relying less on fluorescent bulbs by installing skylights and larger windows to let in more natural light. Immersive and interactive The ‘Instagrammable’ shopping experience is so 2019. In 2020, the concept of offering a retail experience is going further to offer customers a fully immersive shopping experience instead. Think interactive features and more elaborate in-store


theatre. Fortnum & Mason has shown this in their new chocolate department [see opposite]. Home away from home ‘Resimercial’ design – creating a home-like atmosphere in a public space – has been around for some time. Many modern offices have incorporated it into their workplace but now retailers are seeing the appeal, adding comfortable seating in the café and soft ambient lighting on the shop floor in the hope customers will feel more relaxed to spend more time (and money) in store.



January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

Isabelle Plasschaert


>> Fortnum & Mason’s photography: Andrew Meredith

INSIDE FORTNUM’S CHOCOLATE BOX DEPARTMENT Mark Durrant, senior designer at CADA Design consultancy speaks to FFD about the theory behind Fortnum & Mason’s new chocolate & confectionery department and how immersive retailing has created a world class chocolate destination. WHEN CADA DESIGN was tasked with the major redesign and relaunch of Fortnum & Mason’s chocolate & confectionery department in its Piccadilly flagship, attention to detail was crucial. Bronze handmade squirrels hoarding truffles behind the counter and bespoke pendant light fittings shaped like cocoa pods are just two of the quirky details in the £1.14m refurbishment project which was unveiled last September. These small touches were also part of a broader brief for the brand and retail design consultancy to reignite Fortnum’s 160-year-old love affair with chocolate and turn it into a world class confectionery destination housing more than 500 chocolate varieties and launching its five singleorigin hot chocolate flavours. “The aim was to marry experience with people’s expectations of visiting Fortnum’s,” CADA associate

design director Mark Durrant tells FFD. “How do we get customers excited to try these new ranges? How do we update the interior and retail estate to be enticing?” This has been achieved, in part, by adding interactive features like aroma jars, a live chocolatier station, loose chocolate silos, and even a hot chocolate tap to create a sensory, playful and immersive retail shopping experience. The overall colour palate has also been lightened to allow the chocolates to stand out,

while a bespoke lighting scheme (in partnership with light specialists Speirs & Major) makes sure every source of light targets a specific area or product. Bands of LED light also surround the perimeter of the department to avoid dark, unlit corners. Products that were previously tucked away among dark mahogany furniture now take centre stage. One example Durrant gives is the “Chocolate Bar Library Wall”, inspired by Fortnum’s ‘book-like’ chocolate bar packaging. “We created specific devices that sit in the new

fixture and enable the product to be seen from the front and the spine, so it looks like bookshelf,” he says. The largest new feature in the department is the four-tiered semi-circle sweeping “amphitheatre” counter. “Any kind of square counter creates corners, or dead spots, and when customers try and navigate the space it can cause traffic jams at busy times,” says Durrant. “The semi-circle shape allows product to be seen no matter where you stand. And from a customer flow perspective, people are more likely to follow the shape of the counter around in one fluid motion, rather than getting to a dead end and turning back.” Behind the counter, video content highlighting the story and provenance of Fortnum’s chocolate is projected onto a marblefinished back wall. “It’s a much softer way of integrating technology into the department while still

being sympathetic to the environment,” says Durrant. Retail frills and features aside, the new department still had to be a working retail environment and Durrant said CADA spoke to the shop floor team about how the new design needed to function for them. Sliders have now been placed underneath trays in the four-tier chocolate counter so staff can easily retrieve products on display. While hidden storage has been built at the base of display units on the shop floor so staff can quickly replenish stock during peak shopping times. “You’ve got to make these environments easy to operate in,” says Durrant. “These little touches are really important because, at a high-end retailer like Fortnum’s, customers don’t want to see the day-to-day running of the shop floor, they just want to the see the magic.” fortnumandmason.com cada.co.uk

Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


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business refurbishment and renewal – producers


By Beth Gregg, co-founder, Heyday Maté I STARTED HEYDAY MATÉ (pronounced mah-tay) with my partner, Janus, in August 2019. We make a lightly carbonated soda using maté; a South American herbal tea made from the caffeine-rich Yerba Maté plant. We discovered maté sodas during our travels in California and Berlin and saw a gap in the market for a UK-born brand with no artificial ingredients, and a fun but minimalist design. We took a leap of faith, quit our London office jobs and Heyday Maté was born. Developing our recipe took months of trial and error. Like tea and coffee, maté can vary depending on where and how it’s grown. The leaves are often roasted over an open flame which gives it a slight smoky note, too. We now source two different matés from

independent farmers in Southern Brazil. We then blend the maté with a small amount of sugar to offset the natural astringency and bring out the earthy flavour. Having pinned down the recipe and sourced ingredients, we then had to decide how we were going to produce it. Canned sodas are not something you can easily make in your kitchen. A brewery was a logical step for us because it offered

We pride ourselves on hand-making our products. However, once our products have been made, our aim is to get them into jars in the most efficient way – and that is where machinery comes into its own. When we first started manufacturing, we filled the jars with a spoon and put lids on by hand but automating the filling line has enabled us to make it safer and more efficient. We’re always seeking ways to improve and are happy to invest in machines that enable our process without affecting the quality of our products.


us a micro-canning line, large tanks and carbonation equipment. Cans were a practical choice for us, too. They’re recyclable, light to transport and offer a large canvas for branding and design. Until recently, only major brands were going into 330ml cans, but the craft beer movement in recent years has made canning more widely available for small businesses like ourselves. We didn’t have any marketing spiel when we first launched, we just loaded the cans into our car, drove to an independent café in Bristol and said: “We made this soft drink, would you like to stock it?”. To our joy, they said yes and today we have 50 stockists around the South West and Wales, including in Bath, Bristol and Cardiff. Two months after launch, we began stocking Sourced Market in London. We’ve just started launching elsewhere across the Capital,

GET THE PICTURE FFD speaks to photographer and creative director of Pocket Creatives, Steven Mayatt about what product photography can do for your food business. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a product picture is worth a whole marketing campaign for a food business. Your photography will appear on your website, social media and in wholesaler catalogues – so it is important, says Mayatt. “Product photography is sometimes regarded by


and in Manchester. Deliveries are a bit of a nightmare and we’ve spent whole days in the car trying to deliver three or four boxes in London traffic. We’re now working with two distributors and hope this will help us grow to become the UK’s number one maté brand. Educating consumers and stockists is a big part of our sales pitch as not many people have heard of maté – something we slightly producers as another tick box but it can really convey the personality, ethos and ideology of the brand.” Simple pack shots taken on a white background might not blow minds, but they are necessary for trade press, promotions and online sales. Whereas lifestyle images offer the freedom to do more with props, colour and movement. “We’ve been known to throw handfuls of peppercorns backwards and forwards and bounce items in liquid,” says Mayatt. “It’s not just about the product but the surrounding feel and vibe.” This is even more important in the social

underestimated when we started. People are receptive, though, and the growing craft soda market shows consumers are turning away from traditional soft drinks in search of unique flavours. We have big plans for the business. We’re currently working on two new flavours to launch in the next couple of months, we’re hoping to be organic certified later this year and we’re working on exporting to Australia, too. heydaymate.com media age, where brands vie for consumers’ short attention spans. Most small business owners will more than likely seek out a professional to take photos. But to make sure producers are getting value for money out of their photoshoot, Mayatt suggests taking time to work out exactly what they want the imagery to do for their brand and have a long-term plan for their usage. Understandably, small start-ups might not have the budget for a professional photoshoot but even photography novices can get the basics right. “Think about your lighting, framing and post-production,” says Mayatt. “Lighting is the most important thing full stop, but I’ve seen photographs where the label is not on quite straight or there is something in the background that shouldn’t be there. “Don’t ever just point the camera and hope for the best. That won’t ever really get you the result that you want.” pocketcreatives.co.uk

Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


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January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

SHOW PREVIEW thesourcetradeshow.co.uk

The largest food & drink trade show in the West is back at Exeter’s Westpoint Exhibition Centre on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th February 2020. Here’s why you should attend:

Five reasons to visit… The Source




Right place, right time

Plenty to see

Discover it first

Visiting is The Source is free, access to the Westpoint is easy and the show is early enough in the year that it can make difference to your business’s progress through all of 2020’s major selling seasons.

This year, visitors can meet over 200 exhibitors and suppliers covering a broad spectrum, including the latest food & drink, catering equipment, furnishings and EPoS systems. There will also be a number of members from Taste of the West, which works in partnership with the organiser Hale Events.

Those buyers who are after the region’s newest producers should visit the everpopular Newcomers area, for companies that are completely new to exhibiting at trade shows. This year, the area will host Bee Wrap UK, Gasm Drinks, Devon Coast Distillery and many more.



Delicious demos

Tap into tourism

Opening times:

The Innovation Kitchen will allow visitors to see both chefs (including South West Chef of the Year winners) and artisan producers in action, with demos compered by Jim Fisher of Exeter Cookery School. This is the place to discover the trends for 2020.

The Westcountry Tourism Conference will be running alongside the main show, with two half-day events. Organised by Services4tourism, the conference brings together leading tourism businesses and industry experts. More info at

Wednesday 5th Feb 10:00am - 6:00pm Thursday 6th Feb 10:00am - 5:00pm


Register to visit for free at


Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


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Insect company rebrands as it looks to normalise eating critters By Lauren Phillips

A UK-based edible insect company hopes to normalise the concept of eating bugs and appeal to mainstream palates following a major rebrand and the launch of 11 new lines as it targets retail listings for the first time. Crunchy Critters unveiled its new 35g grab-n-go snack packs (RRP £2.49) in refreshed ‘shelf-ready’ branding last month with the aim of removing the stigma around eating insects and encouraging more consumers to try the products. The snack pack range includes worms paired with fava beans and peas in familiar flavours like sea salt & cider vinegar, smoked paprika and sea salt & black pepper. “With an increased focus on the environment, a booming market in healthy snacking and consumer openness to alternative proteins, it felt like the right time to reconsider our offer and create a brand and product range that delivers true innovation to retail buyers,” said founding director, Nick Cooper.

Empire Bespoke Foods launches loyalty club for e-commerce By Lauren Phillips

Empire Bespoke Foods is introducing a new E-commerce loyalty club which will give retail buyers the chance to trial new products for free. The loyalty scheme, called the World Food Club, will offer retailers 12 opportunities to trial new products for free through the importer and distributor’s E-commerce channel throughout the year. The company said it hoped the new scheme would take the risk out of trialling new and authentic international products in store, while also rewarding customers who shop with them. “We really wanted to launch a loyalty scheme for our customers that highlights our world-wide sourcing ethos,” said sales & marketing director Nick Thomas. “We take pride in bringing UK consumer the finest quality and most authentic food and drink brands from around the globe and now our customers can trial new products each

The brand has been selling insects online since 2011, but is now targeting the retail sector with the new lines as part of its mission to reach a wider market. Despite the increasing conversation around alternative protein sources, Cooper said that it’s a big leap for consumers to go from not eating insects to eating products made entirely from them. He said: “By pairing insects with more mainstream ingredients, and using flavours that we know consumers buy into, we hope more people will try this protein source.” The company worked with retail design consultancy Sherlock Studio to create the new branding which has a simple, clear design and straight-talking product names to communicate its USP and message more directly with consumers. The smaller “snacking” portion pack sizes were also a conscious decision by the producer to keep the product price point down in the market. “Insects are still an expensive commodity even at wholesale prices,” said Cooper, “By selling these at a smaller portion size and price point, it encourages customers to give them a try.” The snack packs are available for wholesale directly through Crunchy Critters’ website, and the brand is currently in discussions with wholesalers. crunchycritters.com

WHAT’S NEW Soft drink specialist Dalston’s has entered the no- or low-alcohol category with a new range of gin-free G&T sparkling drinks. The drinks come in two flavours – classic and rhubarb – that both feature a blend of juniper, coriander and lemon balm. Launching this month, the range will be available to independents and on-trade stockists nationwide. RRP £1.99-2.99, 250ml.


The Spice Pioneer, sister company of Seasoned Pioneers, has developed five spice mixes called Power Pods. Each spice blend is designed for a certain classic dish such as chilli con carne, fajitas or Katsu curry and is accompanied with a recipe and cooking method. spicepioneer.com Apple & rhubarb is the latest variety of juice from Eva’s Organics, based at Low Luckens Farm in Cumbria. 100% organic and not-from-concentrate, the juice is the third variety in the range and is made from British seasonal apples such as Red Windsor and Russet. It is available in 250ml and 750ml bottles. evasorganics.co.uk

month.” New or existing retailers who place orders through the distributors’ website at least once a month will be automatically enrolled into the World Food Club and will receive an additional free case of products with their order. As well as samples from international brands, the scheme will also match key dates such as Valentine’s Day to help in-store promotions. empirebespokefoods.com

Tahini & honey and tahini, honey & cocoa are two new breakfast spreads from The Greek Kitchen. Made with no added sugar and no palm oil, the spreads come in 300g glass jars and have a trade price of £3.49 per unit (6 jars per case). They are available to retailers from The Gorgeous Food Company and the business’s sister brand, My Olive Branch. The new tahini-based spreads join a roster of Greek products, which includes hand-rolled vine leaves (Dolmades), traditional baked giant beans (Gigantes) and Kalamata olives. the-greek-kitchen.com Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020



Trade fair for fine food retailers and delicatessens

15-16-17 March 2020

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January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

SHELF TALK My magic ingredient

WHAT’S NEW Devon preserve-maker Waterhouse Fayre has created a range of low-in-sugar preserves under the Fruitiful brand. Sweetened with English honey and Zùsto (a water-soluble sugar substitute), the four-strong range includes strawberry, raspberry, whortleberry and Seville. The 220g jars (55% fruit per 100g) have an RRP of £4. fruitiful.co.uk Sipling is the new adult-soft drinks challenger which has entered the category with a range of ready-to-drink alcohol-free cocktails, including Bellini, G&T, Mojito and Moscow Mule. The drinks, packaged in 250ml glass bottles with signature copper caps, are being rolled out to independent retailers and the on-trade. sipling.com Gluten- and wheatfree bakery Oast to Host has now launched two glutenfree flours for retail. Made from corn, rice and potato, The Pastry Flour and Cake Flour varieties come in 195g (RRP £2.33) and 450g (RRP £4) paper-based recyclable packs. oasttohost.com

La Chinata Sweet Smoked Paprika JANE PARKINSON Wine expert and writer After several trials and many errors and I can confidently testify this sweet smoked paprika is the very best around. It has a warmth, smokiness and depth of flavour that is just unparalleled so I use it often and liberally in my kitchen; it’s integral to giving romesco sauce a little added kick, a teaspoonful on top of roasted potatoes is heavenly and that brick-coloured dusting makes them look all the more ‘authentic’ for the kids. Even so, it’s most frequently used for my homemade beans: a mirepoix base topped with cannellini and butter beans together with garlic, tinned tomatoes and fresh thyme, all of which totally rely on this brilliant paprika to give the final dish its hallmark smokiness. And when testing a dish for Saturday Kitchen Live recently, I discovered Marcus Wareing uses paprika in his lentils with baked haddock recipe. It was an inspired and delicious addition. Not that I should have been surprised, paprika really is a spice rack must-have. Jane bought hers in Bayley & Sage, Northcote Road, London.

Salmon producer rebrands to shake up “old-fashioned” smoked fish category By Lauren Phillips

A traditional smoked salmon brand in North Yorkshire hopes that it can appeal to younger consumers in an “old-fashioned” smoked fish category with a new brand identity partly inspired by the craft beer scene. Bleiker’s Smokehouse, which has been smoking and curing fish for more than 25 years, launched the new look at the end of January following what it says was “significant investment in market research and category analysis during 2019”. It hopes to meet the demands of younger food lovers who value provenance and healthy, sustainable proteins. “Our focus groups showed that younger consumers are frequently buying smoked salmon despite its presentation rather than because of it,” said managing director, Charlie Andrew. “Consumers told us that they enjoy smoked salmon and value its role as a healthy protein, but the current category offering feels old fashioned and lacking relevance to their lifestyles.” The new branding – which features bright pastel colours and contemporary

design – is inspired by brands in other categories pitching themselves at younger consumers including the craft beer scene and flexitarianism. The new design will extend across Bleiker’s core range of six smoked fish products including its smoked salmon, gravadlax, smoked trout and roast smoked salmon flakes. “We know that our products compare favourable in tastings,” said Andrew, “and as one of the more traditional brands in the marketplace we saw this insight as a huge opportunity to shake up the category by repositioning our brand to appeal to the age demographic that is driving category growth.” bleikerssmokehouse.co.uk

It has a warmth, smokiness and depth of flavour that is just unparalleled

The producer behind award-winning juice brand Cotchel has launched a new spirit brand inspired by the Chinese alcohol spirit, Baijiu. Thompson’s Baijiu was launched by Pete Thompson last month. It is the first Baijiu to be made in the UK and is in partnership with the English Spirit Distillery. At 50% ABV, the spirit is made from an ancient grain called sorghum and described as having “unique malty and umami flavour” (RRP £45, 500ml). This is the second spirit brand from Thompson, who created Reliquum Spirits in 2018 after beginning Cotchel in 2017. britishbaijiu. uk

Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


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Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


DELI OF THE MONTH It’s perched on the edge of Dartmoor – a place famous for changeable weather – but this Devon deli is just as susceptible to the precarious conditions on the high street. Nevertheless, Canadian ex-pat Jeremy Clevett has guided Wildmoor through the good and the bad times. Interview by Michael Lane

A fine food balance YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD of an American in Paris, or perhaps the Englishman in New York, but how about a Canadian in Bovey Tracey? Jeremy Clevett has lived and worked in a lot of places all over the world – including New Zealand, France and his native Alberta – but he has settled in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor. And you would have to say he’s taken to his current environment much better than the aforementioned clichés. Clevett has run Wildmoor in the centre of Bovey Tracey for the best part of five years and he is very much the seasoned small town deli owner – as preoccupied with local parking and traffic problems as he is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about cheese and wine. He is also battling against the dwindling footfall that so many shops face on the UK’s high streets.


Location: 43 Fore Street, Bovey Tracey, Devon Turnover: £300,000 Average basket spend: £7.50 Average margin: 38% No. of staff: 6 50

January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

“You can’t rest on your laurels on any high street in this country,” Clevett tells FFD. And he is speaking from experience. When he took over what was then known as Mann & Son – a shop with nearly 150 years of history as a food outlet under one family’s ownership – in March 2015, it was a very good proposition in a town with a steady flow of customers who wanted to use their local shops. “Our biggest setbacks since being here were the loss of every bank in Bovey Tracey and the opening of a Co-op with a parking lot down the road,” he says. “Those challenges happened quite early in our rebuilding and rebranding of the business.” Not long before the first bank was closed, Clevett had remodelled the interior of the shop, painted the walls a shade of heather as a nod to

Dartmoor and renamed the business Wildmoor (another option, Edgemoor, was already taken). He says the rebranding makes the possibility of eventually expanding to other locations a little easier. The changes were more than cosmetic. He had been stripping back the range from previous “treasure trove” levels to allow a bit more space for the many ambient lines he did keep stocking, some indoor seating and, most importantly of all, putting cheese and wine centre stage. It has been a bit of a balancing act. Clevett candidly admits that a few locals stopped shopping at the deli when he took it over – purely because they didn’t like the change. But he has managed to retain a great deal of that long-serving customer base by continuing to stock the whole foods and cooking ingredients

that the deli has always been well-known for. Local food is a vital part of the product mix at Wildmoor, too. “We’re a Devon, edge-of-the-moors deli and our locals really want West Country products, whereas a deli in Exeter could get away with the ‘best of fine food around the country’,” he says, adding that his roster is just as appealing to the numerous tourists visiting the area. He might be slightly bound by geography but Clevett is effusive about how fortunate the region is in terms of scope and quality – citing a producer like Claire’s Preserves which he has virtually on his doorstep – and he very rarely needs to source anything east of Dorset or North of Somerset. The flipside of this is Clevett’s approach to his cheese counter. “As a Canadian, I get asked so often ‘Why’d you come here?’ And there’s a lot of reasons behind it but from a food point of view, it’s cheese. I think a lot of British people take for granted how lucky they are to have the plethora of cheese – not only in the UK but also from Europe.” Spurred on by this, he supplements a comprehensive local selection with a couple of guest cheeses from wherever takes his fancy. Although some fail to shift, several have ended up being regular fixtures. These include Harrogate Blue from Shepherds Purse and Isle of Mull cheddar, which happily sits alongside other local cheddars. Wine is the other big passion of Wildmoor’s owner. He has worked in wineries in both Canada and Australia and his knowledge and understanding are borne out in a selection that swells to nearly 120 different lines at times, even though it seems like a low-key corner display. All of them are sourced from suppliers who deal mainly with restaurants, so none of his bottles are available in supermarkets. All manner of countries are represented but

highlights include a Roche de Bellane Carignan (that he once couldn’t get hold of because No.10 Downing Street had bought the wholesaler’s entire supply) and a sparkling Shiraz that Clevett recommends religiously to customers for having with Christmas dinner. Coming from a country where alcohol is only sold from specialist shops, Clevett is frustrated by the influence that supermarkets have on British consumers’ attitudes to wine and its pricing but he is adamant that more delis should be embracing selling it. It is, after all, a key part of his successful strategy for counteracting the difficulties of the British high street. “Where we might have far less footfall than five years ago, our average spend is miles up,” he says. “And that was always my business model. Let’s get people coming to us for specialist stuff. We know footfall is going to drop off. We used to have clientele that would pop in and buy a pie for lunch, whilst they wait at the bank. They don’t have that to go to any more so they’re not going to come in.” The average spend at Wildmoor is a curious thing. Even though Clevett has more than doubled the figure (£3) from when he first took the reins, £7.50 seems a touch low for a deli. “It’s because we have a lot of older people who will come in and use us as a convenience,” says Clevett. “They’ll buy one slice of ham, so that’s 45p.” Compare that to the local foodie customer FFD witnessed buying £12-worth of items from the deli counter or a holiday-maker that spends £50+ stocking up on cheese and wine on the way to their holiday cottage on Dartmoor. While Wildmoor remains predominantly a retail operation (it accounts for 80% of turnover), the tourist element has also proved to be useful to the café side of the business that Clevett introduced.

MUST-STOCKS Il Tauro – Salice Salentino Riserva (red wine) Roche de Bellane – Carignan (red wine) Peter’s Yard Crackers Lynher Dairies – Cornish Kern Käserei Champignon – Montagnolo Affiné Claire’s Preserves (full range) Miller’s Damsel crackers Midfields wheat-free granola Olives Et Al – Classic loose olive mix Find & Foster cider Papillon Gin Queenswood whole foods range Barnaby’s Brewhouse organic pilsner Vicky’s Bread sourdough


Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


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January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

“I thought I could open a café because we were going to be ‘different’ from every other café but then realised there are a lot of cafés on our high street and people, for better or worse, say ‘I go to this place because I always have so I’ll stick to that’.” “So, rather than everybody just coming in to see us, we’ve had to get new people and tourists.” Wildmoor serves coffee and sandwiches during the day and does decent trade on Friday evenings, with customers able to order deli boards and wine to have in a covered courtyard next to the shop. Regardless, Clevett acknowledges that footfall in Bovey Tracey is declining. It’s not just down to the those absent banks and the presence of a Co-op (after all there is a Spar across the road and a Tesco Express just up from him). The two-way traffic and overzealous onstreet parking restrictions have also taken their toll on the town. After years of the local businesses (including Wildmoor) lobbying the council to introduce a

one-way system, a trial is finally imminent but it won’t necessarily prove to be a panacea for encouraging more people to visit. “You have to be a jack of all trades now. That’s where garden centres and farm shops can step up because they have the footprint to do interesting things.” “Even my wife goes to the local garden centre because they put a soft play area in it. Brilliant move!” With the high street situation out of his control, Clevett has directed some of his efforts into getting his brand out there. He has an online shop, which he says is a learning curve, and it does offer up the odd surprise. Occasionally he strikes an SEO jackpot and receives large orders from far and wide for cheeses that people can’t seem to get hold of that easily, like Cambozola Grand Noir (Google it if you’re in doubt). Similarly he manages to sell some of his unique wine range by the case from the website. The website has grown organically and Clevett is happy with that while he concentrates

on developing a calendar of off-site events. “In the world we live in now, people are tightening their belts in different ways but they still seem to like throwing money at experiences,” he says. “So we find when we do events and tastings they’re very well received. In the shop, people will get a phone out and look at every bottle of wine and say ‘Well, you can get that for £6.65’ but they won’t think twice about dropping £30 on a tasting ticket.” Having had success with cheese matching sessions at the Dartmoor Whisky Distillery nearby and with a gin tasting at a local property development’s open house event, among other things, Clevett feels this is the way to go – both in terms of marketing and adding to his turnover. They certainly breed them durable in Canada, and Clevett’s five years on the UK high street are testament to this, but it is his resourcefulness that will hopefully stand him and Wildmoor in good stead for the years to come. wildmoor-deli.co.uk

In the world we live in now, people are tightening their belts but they still seem to like throwing money at experiences

Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020



View from HQ

By John Farrand managing director

I STILL STRUGGLE in metropolitan super-cool coffee houses with the pronunciation of latte. I recently ordered a “laarrtey” and the hipster behind the counter in a slightly passive-aggressive way repeated my order as: “So, that’s one ‘lat-Ay’”. Perhaps I should have ordered a flat white. Confused. I was further confused when I offered a £5 note for my milky, white coffee.

news from the guild of fine food “We don’t take cash anymore” was the very slightly snarled response. So, I duly presented my debit card. For a man who likes to do an element of budgeting through cash, this was a minor crisis. But January is Cashflow Crisis month. While the rest of the nation is talking Veganuary or Dry January (just when your local pub needs you, ironically), I would rather back a small-businesssurvival month instead. It’s the hardest time of the year here at the Guild and we’re acutely aware that it is for all food and drink businesses. January felt like the longest month I’d ever experienced in business. And it doesn’t have to be like this. The biggest beef I hear when it comes to being fiscally challenged are payment terms. It was during a conversation about the merits of hanging out commercially with Amazon that it dawned on me that if we weren’t all waiting 90 days to be paid from those higher up the food-chain

The Word on Westminster By Edward Woodall ACS

WITH SUCH A BIG MAJORITY and all Conservative MPs signed up to Boris’ Withdrawal Agreement, we can be certain that the UK will be leaving the EU on 31st January. Such clear outcomes are welcome after the low ebb of certainty in 2019, but many questions remain about the delivery of a comprehensive free trade deal by the end of 2020. There are early indications from the Chancellor that getting the best out of exiting the EU means diverging from EU regulations, even if it will result in some losers in the UK economy. Undoubtedly, this will be a worry for many fine food retailers because of limited control and ownership of supply chains. The Food & Drink Federation has been quick and

right to raise concerns, but this new Government has a confidence and focus that looks unshakeable and the message from the Chancellor to business is simply “get ready”. Nevertheless, the Government wants to shake off the Brexit shackles and focus more on delivering for first-time Conservative voters in ‘red wall’ communities. From the Conservative Party Manifesto, we have an idea of the direction of travel but no details how they will be delivered. All eyes are on the 11th March Budget to see how quickly the Chancellor is willing to loosen the purse strings and invest in struggling or underfunded public services like the NHS. We are also hoping to see some concessions to help business cope with the 6.2% increase in the National Living Wage and the ambitious path to £10.50 by 2024. For many food retailers this will be a

there’d be no Cashflow Crisis month. They are Amazon’s terms and I suspect many food producers wait as long from the multiples, the smart food halls and perhaps even your local deli? Would it

Would it help if everyone had to pay everyone else within 30 days? help grease the wheels of UK PLC if everyone had to pay everyone else within 30 days? You could even stretch it to 45, but not 90. We must pay HMRC when they tell us, why shouldn’t we pay each other on time? There. Solved it. I shall suggest it to Boris and then, perhaps, I will be able to afford that coffee – however I bloody ask for it. real concern and that is why we are calling on the Chancellor to offer support. The ACS is not looking for handouts but policies that demonstrate a genuine partnership with business and recognise the challenge of increasing operating costs. We would like to see the Chancellor deliver on the promise of an increased Employment Allowance. We also want to see a meaningful review of the business rates system that modernises the tax to incentivise investment, acknowledges changes in the economy, and reduces the overall burden of one of the highest property taxes in Europe. We will be watching closely for these policies. Let us know what you would like to see from the next Budget.. Edward Woodall is head of policy & public affairs at small shops group ACS

Forthcoming dates for Guild courses Academy of Cheese Level 1 Monday 10th February - Bath Saturday 22nd February – London Retail cheese training Tuesday 18th February – London Wednesday 11th March – Harrogate For more date and information or to book, email jillysitch@gff.co.uk

2020 GT markets kick off in Belfast The first Great Taste Market of the year will take place on 23rd-26th March as part of the IFEX 2020 trade show at Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre. Stands are still available to Great Taste winning producers, as are pitches at a host of forthcoming markets later in the summer and November. These include the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show (11th-14th June), the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show (22nd-26th July), Spirit of Christmas (2nd-8th November) and Taste of Dublin Festive Edition (26th29th November). For a full calendar of events visit: gff.co.uk/shows/great-tastemarkets/


The Guild of Fine Food represents fine food shops and specialist suppliers. Want to join them? GENERAL ENQUIRIES

Guild of Fine Food Guild House, 23b Kingsmead Business Park, Shaftesbury Road, Gillingham, Dorset SP8 5FB UK Tel: +44 (0) 1747 825200 Fax: +44 (0) 1747 824065 info@gff.co.uk gff.co.uk


January-February 2020 | Vol.21 Issue 1

THE GUILD TEAM: Managing director: John Farrand Marketing director: Tortie Farrand Sales director: Sally Coley Operations director: Christabel Cairns Sales manager: Ruth Debnam

Sales executives: Becky Haskett Sam Coleman Operations manager: Karen Price Operations assistants: Claire Powell, Emily Harris, Janet Baxter, Meredith White, Sarah Kirby, Hugo Morisetti

Training & events manager: Jilly Sitch Events manager: Stephanie HareWinton Events assistant: Sophie Brentnall Business development: Edward Spicer

gff.co.uk Financial controller: Stephen Guppy Accounts manager: Denise Ballance Accounts assistant: Julie Coates Chairman: Bob Farrand Director: Linda Farrand

Viper: The Gin With A Bite A family smokehouse in the Scottish highlands for over 70 years

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Our small batch coffees are dragon-roasted by the sea, and freshly made to order.


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Vist viperspirit.co.uk or email Carl at info@viperspirit.co.uk


Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020 Welsh_Coffee_Advert_100mmx141mm_Portrait_April_2017.indd 1

16/08/2017 11:33:04



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www.fish4ever.co.uk 0118 9238767 Vol.21 Issue 1 | January-February 2020


Profile for Guild of Fine Food

FFD Jan-Feb 2020  

FFD Jan-Feb 2020