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July 2019 Volume 20 Issue 6

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June 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 5


The conclusion was that purchasing your cheese online is the future – the best way to do it. Respectfully, I have to disagree.


By Michael Lane, Editor


Humans have been reading each other’s opinions and been irked by them for hundreds of years. But, in this world where we’re hard-wired to social media, plenty of people seem to be actively trying to provoke. Well, I was triggered by a guest column in a fellow retail trade magazine the other day. The names involved are not pertinent but the sentiment was troubling. The thrust of the piece was that the cheesemongers of Britain are selling badly kept cheese to their customers and not even bothering to impart any knowledge while they do so. The conclusion was that purchasing your cheese online is the future – the best way to do it. Respectfully, I have to disagree. The best rebuttal I can offer is what I’ve witnessed while putting together our first ever “International Issue” (not official branding, that). This magazine is crammed with cheese and people selling it all

over the world. Lammas, the Tokyo cheese shop featured in our ‘If I’d Known…’ section this month (page 12) is a meticulous and thoughtful operation. Despite Japan’s reputation for technology, there isn’t a whiff of taking their business online. You might say cheese is a niche product there, though. Okay, how about France, then? We’ve found an extremely progressive cheesemaker who is challenging the country’s food snobs (page 19) – not by going digital but by setting up his dairy and shop in the middle of Paris. If that doesn’t convince you of the value of bricks-and-mortar to cheese, then how about some Nordic wisdom? “Online is absolutely affecting every one of us but you can never bring a theatre or a concert to the home. You need to go to that place.” These are the words of Peter Mårtensson, owner of Möllans Ost in Malmö. Our Deli of the Month

(page 52) is a business that has been importing and selling cheese to its customers – while nurturing and supplying other delis across Sweden – for three decades. But we’re talking about Britain here, right? Tell the eight finalists of the Young Cheesemonger of the Year (see page 27) that they’re in a dead-end job that they can’t even do properly. Having judged the competition, I could guarantee you would get a better experience, and a better cheeseboard, buying from any one of them than browsing a website. They are the real future of how we’ll buy cheese in this country. I’ve got nothing against the many companies out there selling fine food online. But I’ve never heard any of them suggest before that cheesemongers are doing a bad job. Because they’re not. The internet is great for an argument but it’s not really the place for cheese.

July 2019 Volume 20 Issue 6

EDITORS’ CHOICE Chosen by Lauren Phillips, Assistant editor

Mount Mayon

Chiang Mai chilli lime pili nuts Come fly with us

... and take a global look at the business of fine food

Cover illustration by Jamie Coe

I first sampled this product long before its official launch on Mount Mayon’s stand at last year’s Speciality & Fine Food Fair (they are only now available to the trade)




Assistant editor: Lauren Phillips

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and I haven’t forgotten the flavour. They’re completely different experience to the pili nuts coated in Ecuadorian Cacao which were crowned Great Taste Supreme Champion last year. The chilli lime coating delivers heat that lingers in the back of the throat, followed by citrusy notes from lime leaves and lemongrass. It works wonders with the nuts’ outstanding creamy mouthfeel that wowed judges last year.

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Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019



July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6


That’s a wrap FFD was pleased to be partnering with the British Cheese Awards and the Academy of Cheese for this year’s Young Cheesemonger of the Year. Held in the cheese area at a packed Royal Bath & West Show at the end of May, the competition put eight cheese professionals (aged under 30) through their paces in four challenging rounds to determine the winner. This photo shows Sam Day (who came 2nd overall), of Farndon Fields Farm Shop, taking on the Cut & Wrap round. Read a full report on the day on page 27. Photograph: Michael Lane

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July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6




Prison farm shops aiming to make retailers out of offenders By Andrew Don

An increasing number of prisons in the UK are looking to develop retail careers for low-risk inmates by employing them in on-site farm shops – with some hoping to forge links to businesses on the outside. Several institutions have added fully trading farm shops, with last month’s opening at Dorset’s HMP Portland/Young Offenders Institution in partnership with charity Expia being the most recent. While many sell produce grown on site, the main aim is to help inmates turn their lives around and secure work upon release. Several supervisors told FFD they believe the inmates can be a viable alternative employment source once they complete their training and are released. Other initiatives include HMP Hewell, in the West Midlands, which has a

FSA scores likely to be ‘compulsory’ The National Audit Office (NAO) has given the thumbs up to the Food Standards Agency’s plans to make the “scores on the door” hygiene scheme mandatory in England. Officially called the Food Hygiene Regulation Scheme (FHRS), it is already compulsory for food businesses in Wales to publicly display their score, which can range from 0 to 5. The FSA’s proposal is part of its longstanding Regulating Our Future project which aims to deliver a new regulatory model for food by next year. FHRS scores are designed to give consumers confidence in the premises they buy food from. Chief executive, Jason Feeney said the FSA was “delighted” to receive the NAOs backing.

shop with a small café and butchery, and HMP Kirkham in Lancashire. Diane Clare, farm shop manager at HMP Kirkham, told FFD the prison was keen to link with family businesses to help provide inmates with jobs in farm shops on release. “I’m sure there is still prejudice but I think it’s getting a lot better,” she said. The shop sells tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, seasonal salads and winter vegetables that are grown on the prison’s own farm. “We have indoor crops and outdoor crops as well,” she added. “It’s outside the gate so the general public can just drive in and buy.” Inmates who work on prison farm shops are Category D prisoners – those judged to be trusted in an open-prison environment. They tend to be serving sentences for shorter, nonviolent offences and they are







Operations like HMP Hatfield’s Thyme Served shop are trying to train low-risk inmates as potential retail employees

considered low risk. The Ministry of Justice said the most recent research available showed that securing employment before release from prison reduced reoffending rates by up to 9%. Chris George, industries and business & community engagement manager at HMP & YOI Hatfield, in Hertfordshire, said several inmates who had worked in its farm shop, Thyme Served, had gone on to forge careers in retail and one was now a manager for Timpsons.

“Lads gain a qualification in customer care and food hygiene (we have a 5-star food rating). Working in the shop gives them the opportunity to interact with the public and this is key in integrating the men back into society as well as giving them confidence. “Many of our customers can’t believe it when they find out that they’re talking to a serving prisoner, hence this is integral in us helping to break those pre-conceived ideas people have of prisoners.”

Amazon helping online start-ups try out the high street premises Amazon has launched an initiative, small business network Enterprise Nation, to help online start-ups establish themselves on the high street. The year-long pilot programme will enable more than 100 small internet businesses, including artisan food businesses, to sell on the high street for the first time in 10 “Clicks and Mortar” pop-ups across the UK. It will also help small businesses upskill their workforces via a new £1m fund. The first shop opened on St Mary’s Gate in central Manchester last month. Others will be in Wales, Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire and across the South East. Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: “UK shoppers like to shop

both online and in high street stores, and our intention is to help small businesses succeed by combining the best elements of online and high street retail. “This new concept will provide small businesses with the space, technology and support to experience physical retail for the first time, while enabling customers to discover new brands on their local high streets.” Doug Gurr, UK country

manager at Amazon, said: “Amazon is committed to supporting the growth of small businesses - helping them boost the economy and create jobs across the UK.” Amazon said tens of thousands UK-based small businesses now sold their products through the portal. They include Lidgates, Paxton & Whitfield, Brindisa, Forman & Field and Partridges.

It wouldn’t matter to me, in principle, to take someone on that had previous convictions if they were upfront about it and regretted what they had done. Provided the honesty and personality comes across as genuine and they have a passion for food and provenance. Everyone deserves a second chance. GEORGIE MASON, DIRECTOR,





I think it’s extremely unlikely I would employ an ex-offender. It depends what their offence was. People often don’t change. It depends on their ability to settle down mentally to the challenge of going to work every day. I’d also be concerned about the effect on the rest of the team if they say they’ve just come out of prison. VICKY SKINGLEY, FOUNDER,




If they were honest about what they’d done I’d be more inclined to take them on. If they hid it, I’d be suspicious. There’s only four or five of us working here, so they’d have to fit in. That is more important for us. I’d rather have a friendly ex-offender than a grumpy 16-year-old. Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019




Waitrose ups eco ante with latest plastic-free concept By Andrew Don

Waitrose’s latest environmental store concept, featuring loose product refill stations, is a timely reminder to independents that they need to stay ahead of the green retailing game, according to analysts. Launched at the Botley Road branch in Oxford, the “Waitrose unpacked” format includes a dedicated refillable zone, frozen food ‘pick and mix’, loose fruit and vegetable lines, flowers and plants free of plastic wrap, and a borrow-a-box scheme. The chain will test the concept for 11 weeks, until 18th August, during which time it will seek feedback before progressing. Thomas Brereton, retail analyst for GlobalData, said refillable shopping could give Waitrose “a localist, friendly appeal” and an edge on nearby stores. He added that ‘sustainability’ would be one of retail’s buzzwords for the next decade, with GlobalData’s research

Waitrose Unpacked launched last month in the Oxford Botley Road branch and will be on trial until 18th August

indicating that 90% of consumers believe it is retailers’ responsibility to act sustainably. Catherine Shuttleworth, chief executive of marketing agency Savvy, told FFD: “We are seeing a resurgence in shoppers buying food locally with independents who make a virtue of less packaging and it’s a positive trend that shoppers are seeking out.

Roadchef plans to open motorway farm shop Roadchef appears to have taken inspiration from fellow services operator Westmorland, as it announced plans for a new £45m motorway service area in North Yorkshire – with a farm shop. If approved, the “new concept” would be opened on a 5.2 acre site between Junction 42 of the A1 (M) in Selby. Roadchef said it would feature a farm shop, selling produce supplied by local farmers, as well as food and beverage outlets, and a drive-


July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6

through coffee shop. “This would be the first time that Roadchef has introduced a farm shop at its motorway service areas, but it believes there is a real appetite for this type of provision,” the company said. Roadchef has 30 locations on UK motorways and trunk roads. The inclusion of a farm shop would see Roadchef following in the footsteps of rival Westmorland which has farm shops at Gloucester Services on the M5 and at Tebay Services in Orton, Penrith.

“Many independent retailers have been offering a packaging-free option for years to shoppers who have always valued sustainability.” She said it was much more difficult for the main supermarkets to deliver both operationally in store and through the supply chain. Kate Forbes, co-owner of the Trading Post Farm Shop in Somerset, has recently opened a refill room

IN BRIEF selling 180 organic lines through various dispensers. She agreed that small independents could probably do better than supermarkets. “There is always someone on hand here to go and help customers in the refill room and talk them through the products,” she told FFD. “I think that’s what people are looking for and it’s the personal service. It’s understanding how the system works and having a conversation with people about the cost saving.” Karen Deans, managing director of Field Fare, said that the 40-year-old frozen self-service specialist continued to see strong demand for its products from consumers and retailers – especially during a recent BYO container campaign. “We committedly only supply and support independent retailers, so I am pleased to see that Waitrose are leading a charge from the multiples side in trialling packaging free lines.” We are all in this together, after all.”

Rococo seeking buyer as troubled chocolatier continues to trade Rococo Chocolates’ administrator, BDO, said they were actively seeking a buyer for the stricken business – as it continued to trade when FFD went to press. The 35-year-old luxury chocolatier, which also has five central London shops, was placed into administration on 23rd May. Despite this it has traded as normal, with its shops in Covent Garden, Chelsea, Notting Hill, Marylebone and Belgravia all remaining open. Kerry Bailey, joint administrator, said: “It’s too early for us to make any assessment on what went wrong. We are simply focused on finding a buyer for the business.”

Bailey told FFD that she was confident at least one offer would be forthcoming and that the business continued to trade during the administration. There are “no plans” to close any stores, she added. Danny Dartnaill, also of BDO, said: “Difficult trading conditions negatively impacted the company’s working capital position

Bradley’s Butchers & Delicatessen has opened in London Road, Shrewsbury. It sells local meats, fish, cheeses, local ales and wines, bread, fresh hot and cold sandwiches, coffee and cakes. The government has announced changes to the frequency of business rates revaluations. The next revaluation, previously scheduled for 2022, will be brought forward to 2021. Revaluations thereafter will take place every three years instead of every five. Sainsbury’s has claimed to be the first UK supermarket to remove plastic bags for loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items from all stores, offering paper and reusable bags made from recycled materials.

and an administration was required to provide a stable financial platform to rescue the company.” FFD tried to contact founder Chantal Coady OBE but she was not available for comment. The last accounts filed for Rococo at Companies House – covering the extended period from 1 July 2016 to 31 December 2017 – show a loss of £259,985, compared with a loss of £199,390 in 2016.

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Sainsbury’s mentor scheme has recruited 120-plus small brands By Andrew Don

Sainsbury’s recruitment of distinctive small brands, through an incubator and mentorship programme, has created a line-up of more than 120 producers set to receive shelf space across its chain. The supermarket group confirmed that its incubator Future Brands initiative, first reported on in FFD a year ago, had culminated in a new phase from 23rd June, called Taste the Future. Brands will now be rotated every 12 weeks in special bays across 68 stores – with a view to securing a wider presence. Sainsbury’s said in its 2019 annual report that customers wanted distinctive products they could not find anywhere else and it now had 126 Future Brands in its stores. Independent specialist food stores are likely to

Sainsbury’s Future Brands scheme will see small start-up producers trialled across 68 stores

watch the supermarket’s scheme with a keen eye, with many openly ready to de-list items that make it to the multiples. Karen Price, owner of Ansty Farm shop in Salisbury, Wiltshire, said: “Obviously we like to deal with the small artisan producers and as soon as they get into mainstream supermarkets they’re not small artisan producers anymore. “As a smaller farm

shop, we are looking for the unique small local producer. If that is the way [these producers] want to go, and the big multiple is supporting them, good luck to them but we look for the smaller non-supermarket products.” Caroline England, manager of Manor Farm Shop in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, told FFD that she was not overly concerned about supermarket initiatives to

Top up for British wine A record three million vines have been planted in England and Wales this year to make the UK one of the world’s fastest-growing wine regions, Wine of Great Britain has reported. This equates to an extra 690 hectares of vineyards and a 24% increase in the overall land now under vine. The total is nearly double the 1.6m planted last year. Much of the planting took place in the South East – in Kent, Sussex and Hampshire – but there are also new vines in Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Devon, Somerset, Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Wales. Simon Robinson, chairman of WineGB, said: “Last year we set out our vision that in the next 20 years, at the rate of current growth, we could be producing some 40m bottles per year.”

recruit start-up brands. “Most farm shops and delicatessens offer something quite different to a supermarket,” she said. Sainsbury’s said: “Our dedicated Future Brands team works closely with small, specialist suppliers to bring these innovative and exclusive ranges to our customers.” “We have a longstanding history of working in genuine partnership with our suppliers and, over the last seven years, they have consistently ranked us first or second for supplier relationships in the industry’s largest independent supplier survey. We now have 126 Future Brands in our stores.” One of the latest incubator brands is Mighty Society, which makes a range of vegan milk alternatives made from yellow split peas. Other early participants have included Mallow and Marsh, Pip & Nut, Yaar, Lemonaid, No.1 Rosemary Water and Brain Füd.

IN BRIEF Spar Scotland has launched a 2,000 sq ft Scottish-focused store with ranges including Brownings the Bakers, Stuarts of Buckhaven, Malcolm Allan square sausage, Castleton Fruit Farm, and Mrs Tilly’s. Lincolnshire farmers Terry and Jane Tomlinson are celebrating 20 years of business this summer producing Redhill Farm Free Range Pork. They now sell from a purposebuilt farm shop, butchery and smokehouse, as well as online and another shop in Lincoln. In its latest UK Payment Markets report, UK Finance found that cash remains the second most frequently used payment method – accounting for 28% of all payments in 2018. For nearly 40% of all transactions, debit cards were used most.


The latest from farm shops across the country

Sandra McDowell has turned a former Co-op creamery in Gleno, near Larne in Northern Ireland, into The Dairy Café, Butchers & Farm Shop. Meat is sourced from Sandra and husband

Robert’s farm. Suppliers include Larne’s Sea Sugar Sweets, Just Live a Little Granola from Portaferry, Irish Black Butter of Portrush and Bangor’s Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt,

Katie Taylor, founder of Drewton’s Farm Shop, has been rewarded with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list for services to the economy and community in Yorkshire. The East Riding shop has also recently opened a wedding & events venue called The Manor Rooms.

Portwood Farm Shop in Great Ellingham, Norfolk, made the most of the asparagus season by selling asparagus ice cream in 500ml tubs. It worked with Dann’s Farm to concoct the product using its own vegetables combined with Dann’s double cream and other local produce.

Eight years ago, tragedy struck Hinchliffe’s Farm Shop in West Yorkshire when a fire devastated the much-loved shop. The future is looking much brighter as the owners are transforming Britain’s oldest farm shop into state of the art premises with a restaurant – scheduled to open this summer to coincide with their 90th anniversary.

Trading Post Farm Shop, in Lopenhead, Somerset, has been named Best Farm Shop/Deli in Somerset by Muddy Stilettos. The business focuses on organic and local food and drink. Cobbs Farm Shop (Berkshire), Thornham Deli (Norfolk), and Johns of Instow & Appledore (Devon) were among other regional winners.

In association with

Fabulous Farm Shops

Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


SHOP TALK IF I’D KNOWN THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW... KAZUAKI TOMIYAMA co-owner, Lammas, Tokyo The cheese in Japanese grocery stores is dominated by processed varieties. Big cheese blocks are imported from Australia, New Zealand and the United States, then melted down, emulsified, and dyed. Processed cheeses are sold with pretty packaging and smiling characters trying to convince you it’s delicious. This is the cheese I grew up eating. It’s also why Japan is the largest importer of cheese in the world. However, the blandness of processed Japanese cheese is all I remember. It’s also the reason why I never thought I liked cheese as a kid. It was only once I started studying Italian cuisine that I was introduced to truly delicious cheese. Experiencing such a full range of flavours, and being blown away by the selection available outside Japan, compelled me to open a cheese shop in Tokyo. I wanted to share these same experiences with others. My wife, Maico, and I named our shop Lammas after the Finnish word for sheep. We’re in the Setagaya neighbourhood of Tokyo, a stone’s throw from bustling Shibuya. But our neighbourhood is quieter, with less footfall. This and the cost of imported cheeses have been challenges. In Japan, cheese is a luxury item. The 30% customs tax levied on all imported cheese often makes cheeses that are affordable in other countries beyond the reach of the average Japanese consumer. We try to make each purchase worth it for our customers by ensuring they get cheese at the perfect maturation. As anyone who has ever worked with cheese will tell you, this isn’t easy. There are no cheese-specific refrigerators available in Japan. Instead of importing one from Europe, we designed it ourselves and had a cheese showcase and cellar fridge specially-made. With this system, we had complete control over the state of our cheeses and a beautiful display. Now, we stock cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy in the UK and Mons Affineurs in France. We strive to carry cheeses that other shops don’t have, even importing some items from Europe ourselves. Our customers, including restaurants and other shops across Tokyo, like our selection and, to meet increased demand, we’re expanding and moving to a new location. Our August opening will give customers more space to stay a while for a cooking class, a glass of wine, or a cheese plate. I am sure the new location will come with its own challenges, but for now we are learning and growing with them. We’re excited about the future of high-quality cheeses in Japan and hope to convert even more people from processed cheese. Interview Malory Lane Photography Maico Sato


July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6

CONFESSIONS OF A DELI OWNER ANONYMOUS TALES FROM BEHIND THE COUNTER ARE THERE ENOUGH RUDE NAMES for Tripadvisor? S**tadvisor seems to be the favourite in chef circles. We started to monitor it about four years ago, probably very late to the party compared to most. As I write this I am sifting through our “Terrible” reviews. We have six. I’d like to say they are misunderstandings or isolated incidents, but most are true and they could happen again. My gut knots just reading things like: “Didn’t see any waiting staff, no greeting, sat there like spare parts for 20 minutes.” We all screw up, either by bad luck or bad judgement. For us, we are weakest when times are slow. On a quiet Tuesday in February everything takes longer – the ovens aren’t hot, the chef’s doing a stock take, only one person is waiting tables – but it hurts to read it in black and white. Then, there are the lies. Our bacon baguette is £5.50. Pricey you might say but it has three large, astonishingly good rashers of bacon and is comfortably top of our earners every week. One reviewer said: “Seven pounds for two pieces of bacon and two slices of bread does

I don’t know if it was a deliberate lie or the bloke forgot he had a coffee as well. Either way, he cost us £1,000s. not strike me as great value”. Factually incorrect and flying in the face of the longest standing customer repeat order. Unfortunately, this was the quote put up next to us in searches for months. I don’t know if it was a deliberate lie or the bloke from Oxford forgot he had a coffee as well. Either way, he cost us £1,000s. Locals don’t use Tripadvisor. They already know their local area – Tripadvisor is for

MODEL RETAILING THURSDAY, 9:30 AM Here we go. Same time, same day, same tiny piece of Wensleydale

visitors. There are 40 restaurants or cafés in our vicinity. We started at #33. The dark and mostly closed tea room across the way that only caters for elderly residents was #11, with only eight reviews across four years. The French restaurant full of china cat figurines is at number #1, with 274 reviews. We aimed to get in the top 10. So, we put our thousands of customers to work, encouraging them with notes on the tables to remind them how special we are and calls to action in our e-newsletters. We couldn’t pay them, but we’ve got enough credit. Their loyalty and love for us is an asset and we needed to make a withdrawal. Let’s be clear what Tripadvisor is really about, though. Reviewers do not care about a perfectly matured Wigmore or your Somerset Cider Brandy Butter on homemade mince pies. It’s about service. A crap chippy that gets its ocean-stripping fish-flavoured batter out in under 2 minutes will leave you for dust. So, if you want to win on Tripadvisor – and we do – greet every customer as they come through the door and smile. And be quick about it.


Mrs Jones, can I tempt you with this new Stilton we’ve got in?

No thank you, dear. I’ll just have 100g of the usual

What is the point? What a nice young man!

FFD says: When it comes to spending and product preferences, your older customers are likely to be predictable and resistant to any kind of upsell or change. It might be boring, or irritating, but customers like these are the closest thing you get to a guaranteed sale and create the base for those big-pocketed weekenders. 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.20 Issue 6 | July 2019



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July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6



news & views from the cheese counter

Last maker of 1,000-year-old Swaledale on the brink By Patrick McGuigan

The future of Swaledale cheese – which has a thousand-year history and is protected under EU law – was in the balance last month after the country’s only producer was put into liquidation. Swaledale Cheese Company was forced to make all three of its staff redundant and call in administrator FRP Advisory in April. The administrator said in a statement that the company had been hit by “financial pressures, following a downturn in production.” “Every effort was made to save the company, however its cash position unfortunately meant the only remaining option was to close the

business,” said Martyn Pullin, partner at FRP Advisory. As FFD went to press, FRP said it was in advanced negotiations with a purchaser to buy the business, but the assets were also up for auction in case these negotiations failed. Set up in 1987 by David and Mandy Reed, the Swaledale Cheese Company revived the production of the semi-hard, crumbly cheese, which can trace its history back to the 11th century – when Norman monks started making sheep’s milk cheeses in the Yorkshire Dales. The company secured two PDOs for the cheese in 1996, covering cows’ and ewes’ milk versions, but was beset by misfortune the following years.

Swaledale Cheese Company has shut down and let go its staff but administrators are seeking a buyer to save it

David Reed died suddenly in 2005, while Mandy Reed died in a tragic accident in 2012. The company was subsequently run by their two children Sam and Louise, who made around 1.75 tonnes of cheese a week, including both types of Swaledale, as well as blue and flavoured versions, and a smoked goat’s cheese. Customers included Waitrose, Selfridges, John Lewis, indie retailers and restaurants. Richard Holmes, owner of Yorkshire cheese wholesaler Cryer & Stott, said the closure had come as a shock. “To lose that sort of history can’t be taken lightly,” he said. “It leaves a big gap in the artisan side for cheese in Yorkshire. We supply a lot into restaurants, and Swaledale was always a cornerstone of a great Yorkshire cheeseboard.” At Settle-based The Courtyard Dairy, owner Andy Swinscoe said that Swaledale sheep’s milk cheese was once “as iconic as Wensleydale in Yorkshire”. “But it’s fallen out of favour over time,” he said. “Twenty years ago, there were very few sheep’s milk cheeses made in the UK, but there’s more competition now, both from small farm producers and larger dairies.”


A new app that gathers information about more than 1,800 cheeses from around the world has been launched. The ‘Le Cheese’ app provides information about the history, origin, and flavour of each cheese with users also able to add new cheeses to the database.

Brightwell Ash

Oxfordshire-based Norton & Yarrow is building on the success of Sinodun Hill with the launch of a new pebbleshaped goats’ cheese called Brightwell Ash. Like Sinodun, it is made with raw milk from Anglo Nubian goats but with different starter cultures and kid rennet instead of cardoon. Beneath the wrinkly ash-covered rind, the texture is dense and slightly crumbly with zesty notes and savoury flavours.

Ridgeview Bloomsbury This sparkling wine from Ditchling in East Sussex has a sappy acidity, which pierces the richness of the Anglo Nubian milk, but also complements the cheese’s citrus notes. The wine, which is made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, also has a touch of honey, which mellows the whole experience, while the bubbles revive the palate between each mouthful. Mango chutney Bear with us on this one. Mango chutney might sound like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but if you age Brightwell Ash a little longer, the cheese develops more savoury and spicy notes. A blob of mango chutney (try Chutnee’s Handmade) accentuates the spicy fragrance of the cheese, while the sweetness contrasts with the savoury notes.

Scottish cheesemakers have dropped their legal action against Food Standards Scotland, after it changed its guidelines on raw milk cheese production. The five producers crowdfunded over £15,000 for a judicial review into the guidelines, which they said would make raw milk cheese production “unviable”. FSS subsequently published new guidance. Cheesemonger Evert Schönhage, who works for Lindenhoff food hall near Amsterdam, won the biennial Concours Mondial du Meilleur Fromager competition in France last month. The event to find the world’s best cheesemonger consists of nine different tests, including a blind tasting and cheeseboard presentation.


The history and traditions of 10 British cheeses are to be recorded for posterity by the Academy of Cheese as part of its Level 3 course, after it secured £15,000 of funding from the Frank Parkinson Agricultural Trust. Starting with Cheshire, the Heritage Project will see the Academy work with cheesemakers and farmers to record the social history of traditional British cheeses through historic photographs, documentation and audio-visual files.

Radish There’s been a revival in heritage radish varieties in recent years, which come in a kaleidoscope of shapes and colours. A few thin slices of radish served with a wedge of Brightwell Ash bring a lovely dash of colour and refreshing crunch to the creamy cheese, plus a spicy bite that adds a different dimension. Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019



news & views from the cheese counter

H&B teams up with Beillevaire to offer new French cheese range


By Patrick McGuigan

Wholesaler Harvey & Brockless is looking to boost sales of French cheese after partnering with French producer and distributor Beillevaire to launch more than 20 new cheeses. The initial 23-strong range comprises classics including Saint Marcellin, Beaufort, 24-month-aged Comté, Langres and Roquefort, but other lesser-known seasonal cheeses will also be introduced in the coming months, said Owen Davies, Harvey & Brockless’ category manager for artisan cheese. “We’ve had a big focus on British cheese in recent years, which we will continue to champion, but we think the time is ripe for a renewed focus on French cheese,” he said. “France is still home to amazing cheesemakers, in terms of quality and price point.” He added: “Beillevaire was a good fit because, like us, they are cheesemakers in their own right, and are committed to working with small producers.”

CHEESE IN PROFILE with Rogue River Blue What’s the story? David Gremmels and Cary Bryant first developed Rogue River Blue in 2002 after buying the Rogue Creamery in the US state of Oregon


July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6

Harvey & Brockless will initially carry a 23-strong range of French classics from Beillevaire, with lesser-known seasonal cheeses to follow

Beillevaire makes raw milk cheeses at its Machecoul headquarters in the Loire Atlantique region, as well as at dairies in Normandy, PoitouCharentes and the Ardèche. It also has maturing caves in the Jura and the Pyrenees and distributes cheese from around 250 other producers. Other highlights in the new range include raw milk Epoisses, Reblochon and Munster from

fermier producers, as well as lesser-known cheeses, such as Clochette goat’s cheese from the Loire Valley and Roche Montagne blue from the Auvergne. The range was launched last month at Harvey & Brockless’s Meet the Makers event at London’s Freemasons Hall, which hosted more than 70 cheese, charcuterie and fine food producers.

Slate, which comprises two cheese shops in Aldeburgh and Southwold, invests heavily in training, but it’s money well spent, says co-owner Clare Jackson. “100% we sell more cheese because of training,” she says. “There is a direct correlation.” Staff take hygiene courses and go on the Guild of Fine Food’s Cheese Retail course, but there is also ongoing in-house training. Senior staff teach newer employees about cheese care, cutting and wrapping on the job, while there are tasting and matching sessions each month on the changing ‘Cheese of the Month’. There are also regular trips to visit suppliers, including Neal’s Yard and local cheesemakers, who also come into store for tastings. “If you make the job more interesting, people are more likely to stay,” says Jackson. Just as importantly, it helps them to sell more cheese. “Staff are more animated and enthusiastic,” she says. “It’s about having the knowledge to bring colour and life to a piece of cheese.”

from the Vella family, who had run it since 1933. They adhered to traditional artisan cheesemaking methods and took inspiration from leafwrapped cheeses made in Europe to produce this distinctive blue cheese. In 2003, it was crowned Best Blue Cheese at the World Cheese Awards.

from the blue veining. Variations: Smoked Rogue River Blue

Milk: Pasteurised cows’ milk. How is it made? The cheese is seasonal – only made in autumn when

the cows’ milk is deemed to be at its best. The cows graze on the pastures of Southern Oregon close to the Rogue River from March to November. The wheels of blue cheese are wrapped in vine leaves from the local vineyard that have been soaked in pear brandy. The leaves are secured with attractive raffia ties and the cheese is matured for 8-18 months.

Appearance & texture: This powerful blue has an intense character all of its own, with earthy, sherry and Port aromas from the vine leaves. The paste, which becomes slightly crystallized as it ages, has butterscotch and caramel flavours balanced by tang and spice

Cheesemonger tip: A cheese from the USA is a rarity and its seasonality will make it even more intriguing for customers looking for a really special cheese to serve at home. Chef’s recommendation: Rogue River Blue works as a standalone on a one-cheese board – its rich velvety texture with huge flavours pairs perfectly with a bold red wine or Port.

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 to start your journey to Master of Cheese.

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Our milk producers, cheese makers and affineurs have been producing the one true Le Gruyère AOP in Western Switzerland for over 900 years. The inimitable flavour of our product is still very tightly linked with the local, long-held traditions and terroir of the region. That’s why we like to say that each taste of Le Gruyère AOP Switzerland is a unique experience, centuries in the making.

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July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6

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From our family farm in West Limerick, we produce a range of handcrafted, artisan, award winning cheeses, including: Cahill’s Original Irish Porter Cheddar, Cahill’s Irish Whiskey Cheddar with Kilbeggan Whiskey, Cahill’s Ardagh Red Wine Cheddar, Cahill’s Blueberry and Vodka Cheddar. The cornerstone of our business is that each cheese is individually made and handcrafted thus retaining the subtlety of flavour that is invariably absent from the mass produced product., Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @cahillscheese, +353 6962365


news and views from the cheese counter

I hate rich people. I wanted the shop to be somewhere very populous.

Vive la revolution Meet the “militant” French cheesemaker who set up his dairy in Paris’s 18th Arrondissement Interview by Patrick McGuigan

There’s an impromptu street market breaking out next to La Laiterie de Paris – the French capital’s first urban cheese dairy. West African women swathed in brightly patterned dresses have set up shop, selling bric-a-brac from sheets spread on the pavement to a growing crowd. It’s busy in the dairy too, as people queue up in the tiny shop to buy raw milk cheese and yoghurt, created in the equally small cheesemaking room at the back, which can be glimpsed through steamy windows. “I hate rich people. I wanted the shop to be somewhere very populous,” says La Laiterie’s young owner Pierre Coulon as he explains why he set up the business in the working class, multicultural Goutte d’Or neighbourhood in the city’s 18th Arrondissement. “I want to be transparent and militant. The cheese, the yoghurt are all made in front of customers so people can see what we are doing. And we tell the price we pay the farmers.” Sure enough, there’s a sign showing that La Laiterie pays 80c a litre for its cows’ milk, delivered the same day from a small farm in Normandy, compared to an industry average of 33c. “Industrial cheese producers don’t pay enough for farmers to live,” he says. “They are making false things.” The miniscule dairy is only 30 sq m in size, but Coulon and his team manage to get through 2,000 litres of cows’, sheep’s and goats’ milk a week. They make 20 different products, including numerous lactic soft cheeses, some flavoured with yuzu jam or herbs, and brie-style cheeses with different fillings, from fresh truffle to pistachio

and apricot. The counter also stocks dozens of raw milk cheeses from French and European farmhouse producers, many of whom Coulon made cheese with before he opened La Laiterie in 2017. The 35-year-old originally studied psychology, but fell in love with farming and cheesemaking during a formative trip to Canada and Vermont, returning to the Loire Atlantique region to run a goat and sheep farm with his boyfriend for five years. When they split up in 2014, he moved to Paris, buying cheese and managing shops for famous French cheesemonger Androuet, before setting off on an epic cheesemaking odyssey working on farms and dairies in France and Switzerland, through Italy, Russia, Japan, and back to Canada. He even spent time at Isle of Mull Cheddar, where he got the inspiration for his own beeswax coated goat’s cheddar. “I didn’t want to learn industrial ways,” he says. “I wanted real traditions, so I stayed with grandparents and people who had learned from their grandparents in kitchens. That’s what we sell in the shop. Cheese from small, traditional farms – people who are my friends.” La Laiterie was opened on the back of a €40,000 crowdfunding campaign and the business really took off when an article appeared in the national press. “I came in the next morning and there were queues around the corner,” he says. “We’ve lived a success story ever since.” Sales have exceeded €1m in the past eight months, with profits divided equally between all four staff (including Coulon) in line with its social enterprise status. Just as importantly for the “militant” cheesemaker, news of La Laiterie’s success is spreading beyond Paris and he has had visits from other budding urban cheesemakers. “People are coming from all over to world to our little shop to see what we are doing,” he says. “We are fighting back against the industrial, and we’re winning.”



Sakura Coulon was inspired to make this lactic goat’s cheese from his time working in Japan (Sakura is Japanese for cherry blossom). The cheese is made with raw milk from a farm in Brittany, which arrives via Rungis once a week within 24 hours of the animals being milked. The farmer is paid €1.3 per litre, compared to an industry average of 78c.

2 A brined and fermented cherry leaf is added to the curd in the mould, with more curd put on top. It gives the cheese a slight bitterness and salty, cherry flavour, while providing a nice visual contrast.


3 It is aged for just a week until a delicate mould develops on the rind and the paste is dense and almost fudgey. The cheese itself is surprisingly strong in flavour – earthy, but with notes of hay and spice.

Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


Bergamo will provide the setting for an epic gathering of cheese and cheese people at the fourth edition of our thriving FORME event, during our time as a UNESCO Creative Cities candidate.

As the World Cheese Awards continues to shine a spotlight on small cheesemakers in every corner of the globe, I’m excited to be with the team as it takes its powerful event to Italy.

Francesco Maroni, president of the Progetto FORME, Italy

Cathy Strange, global cheese buyer at Whole Foods Market, USA


WCA at FORME – Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 October 2019, Bergamo, Italy The World Cheese Awards has been at the heart of the global cheese community for over three decades, bringing together cheesemakers, retailers, buyers, consumers and food commentators in a unique celebration of all things cheese. Visiting Italy for the first time in 2019, the competition will be hosted by FORME in Bergamo, joining forces with a bustling consumer cheese festival and the brand new international dairy trade show, B2Cheese. | @guildoffinefood #worldcheeseawards

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July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6


Treble triumph for the locals

Based a few miles from the Bath & West Showground, White Lake Cheese has won the Supreme Champion trophy at the British Cheese Awards for an extraordinary third year running. Discover all of this year’s winners plus coverage of the Young Cheesemonger of the Year competition in our full report.

By Michael Lane

Somerset’s White Lake Cheese has won the Supreme Champion trophy at the British Cheese Awards for an unprecedented third year in a row – with yet another different ewe’s milk cheese. Its English Pecorino, so new it is not even commercially available yet, took the top honour at the awards – staged at the annual Royal Bath & West Show just a stone’s throw from where the cheese is made. Reserve Champion was awarded to Isle of Wight Soft while Long Clawson’s Stilton won

several trophies, including Best English Cheese. Other major award winners included Connage Aged Gouda (Best Scottish), Mature Teifi (Best Welsh) and Cais Na Tire Gouda (Best Irish). Devon cheesemaker Mary Quicke was the recipient of the annual Cheese Industry award, for her work founding the Academy of Cheese and decades of service running cheddar-maker Quickes. White Lake has now won the Supreme Champion trophy with three different cheeses, made by Roger Longman, Pete Humphries and

their team at the dairy in Pylle, Somerset. In 2017, it won for mousse-like mould ripened Pavé Cobble and in 2018 it won for the semihard Sheep Rustler. This year’s award-winning cheese English Pecorino is made from thermised sheep’s milk with vegetarian rennet. It is washed in brine three times a week and is matured for around six months. This year’s British Cheese Awards attracted

Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


BRITISH CHEESE AWARDS just under 900 entries from 122 makers, with 70 judges reviewing 123 classes of cheese. Cheeses entered came from over 54 counties across the UK and Ireland. All the cheeses were scored on presentation, texture, aroma, flavour and balance. Dependent on the scores that each cheese received, gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded. When he collected the Supreme Champion trophy, Roger Longman, co-founder of White Lake Cheese, jokingly reminded the audience that he had vowed last year to keep the cup if he picked it up for a third time in a row. He later said: “I was ecstatic when our name was read out as Supreme Champion. “It was great that some of the team were at the awards dinner and were able to step up to the podium to collect the prize. It’s thanks to the whole team that this happened and that we are able to produce our award-winning cheeses.” Julius Longman, chairman of the British Cheese Awards, said: “This English Pecorino is an exceptional cheese and a worthy Supreme Champion. “It has a semi-hard texture with a wellbalanced creamy and nutty flavour. It’s the third year in a row for Pete [Humphries] and Roger and a testament to their skill in cheesemaking.” All the Winners of the British Cheese Awards 2019 were announced at the British Cheese Awards Dinner held on Wednesday 29th May. The awards and dinner, celebrating their 26th year, took place on the first day of the Royal Bath & West Show, in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. As well as Supreme Champion, the Reserve Champion, the four Country Awards and the nine Main Category Awards, there were two new awards for Best Block Cheddar and the other for Best Traditional Cheddar. This year there were also 13 Special Awards, including an award for Best Specialist Cheesemaker.

Major trophy winners Supreme Champion English Pecorino White Lake Cheese Reserve Champion Isle of Wight Soft The Isle of Wight Cheese Company Best English Cheese Whole Stilton Long Clawson Dairy Best Irish Cheese Cais na Tire Gouda Cais Na Tire Sheep Cheese Ireland 24

July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6

Best Scottish Cheese Connage aged Gouda Connage Highland Dairy Best Welsh Cheese Teifi mature Caws Teifi Cheese Best Blue Whole Stilton Long Clawson Dairy Best Dairy Product Butter Salted Greenfields Ireland Best Export Westcombe Cheddar Westcombe Dairy

Best Flavour-Added Graceburn Blackwoods Cheese Co

Best Soft White Snowdon White GRH Food Company

Best Organic Cheese Bix Nettlebed Creamery

Best Fresh Cheese Cerney Curd Cerney Cheese

Best Traditional Cheddar Pitchfork Trethowan’s Dairy

Best PDO /PGI Cheese Whole Stilton Long Clawson Dairy

Best Modern British Sharpham Washbourne Sharpham Partnership

Best Cheddar Raw milk traditional extra mature cheddar Keen’s Cheddar

Best Sheep Cheese Sheep Rustler White Lake Cheese

Best New Cheese Woodside Red Alsop & Walker Best Packaging Award Ford Farm Ashley Chase Est.

Best Cheese from a member of the SCA Raw milk traditional extra mature cheddar Keen’s Cheddar

Best Semi-Soft Lord London Alsop & Walker

Best Goat Cheese White Lake Cheese Rachel

Best Territorial White Cheshire Belton Cheese Best Show Dressed Cheese Traditional cheddar Batch Farm Cheesemakers (Goulds Cheddar)


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Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


Handmade in Cheshire SINCE 1957

ERIC’S BRINGS YOU PLANT BASED PIES Award-winning Pie Manufacturer from Yorkshire. We pride ourselves on making the highest quality pies from locally sourced ingredients. As a family run business we realised that we wanted to be able to cater for all members of the family and so to do this we’re launching a new plant based range so that everyone can experience our award winning pies. One of our Director’s and son of Tom the business owner is a long time vegan and he’s passionately curated this plant based range to create a great tasting fusion between the classic style pie we know and love and interesting new flavours all using ethically sourced ingredients.


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July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6

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Young Cheesemonger of the Year 2019 The day after main judging, eight cheesemongers were put through their paces to determine who was the country’s best under the age of 30

Following a day of rigorous challenges in the Somerset countryside, the manager of Paxton & Whitfield’s Cale Street branch, Alan Watson, was crowned 2019 Cheesemonger of the Year The competition, held on the second day of the Royal Bath & West Show on 30th May as part of the British Cheese Awards, saw eight contestants from cheese retailers across the country compete for this coveted title. Watson (pictured top right), a finalist for the second year running, was run close for the top spot, with Sam Day of Farndon Fields Farm Shop taking second place and Alexander Kiely of The Fine Cheese Co coming third. All 30-years-old and under, the finalists had their skills put to the test across four rounds (see box), in front of a judging panel that included Mary Quicke, Tim Rowcliffe, the Guild of Fine Food’s training manager Jilly Sitch and Fine Food Digest editor Michael Lane. During the final, which was held the day after main judging of the British Cheese Awards and hosted by consultant and former cheesemonger Justin Tunstall, the eight cheesemongers took

part in four rounds. Each of the eight cheesemongers was selected from a field of entrants who had to submit an entry form for the competition. A key aspect of the form was the challenge of pitching a British cheeseboard for six people, with a budget of £30. Alan Watson said: “Just taking part in the competition is a great accolade for any cheesemonger and to have been surrounded by such talented people yesterday was incredibly daunting. On top of that having such respected and experienced judges added to my slight feeling of nerves when I started the day. The feeling of hearing my name read out as the winner at the end of the day was amazing!” Mary Quicke MBE, cheesemaker and managing director of Quicke’s, said: “It was a privilege and pleasure to have spent the day with such talented young people working in cheese. They were all really passionate, knowledgeable and capable when it came to participating in the competition. We had such a great range of challenging tasks to give them and a great variety of cheesey things to do. There were so few points between all the competitors in the final marks. The winner, Alan, was well deserved. It’s great there are such motivated young people championing cheese across the country.” Tracey Colley, director of the Academy of Cheese, said: “What a fantastic line up we had for Young Cheesemonger of the Year 2019, they were certainly put through their paces but rose to all the challenges with passion, skill, patience and humour! Our eight finalists ranging in age from 21 to 29 years old are a credit to the cheese industry and we feel very proud to be helping them on their journey onwards and upwards.”

The results Winner Alan Watson Paxton & Whitfield, London 2nd Sam Day Farndon Fields Farm Shop, Leicestershire 3rd Alexander Kiely The Fine Cheese Co, Bath 4th Daniel Ozeri Neal’s Yard Dairy, London Finalists Izaak Edge – The Cheeseworks, Cheltenham Alexandra Griffin – La Cave à Fromage, Hove Michael Paradise – La Fromagerie, London Mica-Jade Rowswell – Macknade Fine Foods, Faversham, Kent The prize for the winner is a place judging at the World Cheese Awards in October and a free Academy of Cheese Level 2 course – courtesy of FFD publisher, the Guild of Fine Food. All finalists were given a reduced rate by the Academy for its eLearning fast track course for Level 1.

HOW THE COMPETITION WORKS Round 1: Cheeseboard Proposal & Discussion Each finalist will discuss the cheeseboard selection from their application form. Round 2: Cut & Wrap Contestants will have to cut and wrap different weights of cheese from whole cheeses by sight with no use of weighing scales. Round 3 – Identification Finalists will have to taste and identify a number of unmarked cheeses. Round 4 – Quiz A Mastermind-style series of questions asked about British cheese. Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


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July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6


the secrets of smarter foodservice

The coffee cup debate – how far should you go? Takeaway coffee can be a very lucrative source of income for deli-cafés but, with the sustainability of cups under scrutiny, how should retailers tackle the problem? By Lauren Phillips

The takeaway coffee cup has been at the centre of the war on plastic waste and, although Starbucks and Costa have taken the lion’s share of flak, even indies need to up their game on sustainability. But it can be difficult to know how far you should go to tackle the problems posed by single-use cups. Nowadays, there are a number of companies offering compostable alternatives [see box]. Ed Bevin, owner of the The Fleetville Larder in St Albans, buys compostable cups from Vegware. “Compostable cups are fairly easy to source now,” he says. “They may be a slightly more expensive purchase but it’s better than singleuse plastic.” It wasn’t a major adjustment because the shop has been using

these cups since it opened two-anda-half years ago. Bevin sells reusable coffee cups and encourages the sale of those by offering a free coffee to customers who purchase one. He also offers a 20p discount on coffee to customers who bring in a reusable cup. But Parker & Vine in nearby Harpenden has recently gone one step further and last month stopped selling single-use coffee cups


Charcuterie Tortilla

altogether. The deli has followed the lead of the coffee chain Boston Tea Party which stopped issuing single-use cups last year – taking a wellpublicised £250k sales hit in the process. Now when a customer wants to buy a hot drink from Parker & Vine they must either bring their own reusable cup, buy a reusable cup in store for its £5 cost price, or borrow one on a loan scheme where they can return a £5 cup for a full refund. Co-owner Jane Parker, who runs the shop with business partner Sue Vine, said they adopted this scheme because recyclable coffee cups were not a good enough solution – they can only be processed at a commercial plant rather than a green kerbside recycling bin. While many environmentallyconscious consumers have accepted the deli’s new scheme, there are still some that are not on board with it. “We’ve had customers who say ‘no thanks’ and walk out without buying a coffee when we explain what we’re doing,” says Parker. This has had a knock-on effect on sales, with the business down 50% on its takings three weeks after implementing the scheme.

SUPPLIERS OF: Compostable cups Biopack offers commercially compostable cups made from sustainably sourced paper and lined with plant-based bioplastic at £68.47 per case of 1,000. Decent Packaging produces clear single wall compostable cups and lids made from plant-based PLA, costing £45.90 upwards per 1,000 depending on size. Reusable cups KeepCups are one of the biggest names of reusable coffee cup suppliers using glass, cork, silicone and bamboo to create the durable reusable vessel. Ecoffee Cup uses natural fibre, corn starch and resin in its reusable range which come in a variety of contemporary patterns and colours.

Simple recipes to boost your margins. Sponsored by Tracklements This is great way to use up leftover veg. You can even use peelings from butternut squash, potatoes and carrots – they all work well. Just bulk up with the potatoes and don’t forget the onion because it adds such a lovely caramelised flavour. Cold charcuterie and cheese make excellent accompaniments too. Prep time: 30mins Cook time: 35mins Makes: 1 tortilla serving 6 Ingredients: 8 eggs 150ml olive oil 2 onions, sliced finely 400g waxy potatoes, cubed, plus a handful of potato, butternut or carrot skins charcuterie, to serve cheese, to serve

Sean Callitz

But Parker hopes this will improve in the long term as more customers get used to the move and she has ensured staff are well-briefed so they can justify the decision. For now, they are happy to play the long game.

stir in the potatoes, and any vegetable skins. • Cook over a medium-to-low heat for about 15-20mins, you’ll want the onions to have caramelised and the potatoes to be slightly crispy and falling apart. • Drain off about 100ml of the olive oil (and keep for future use). • Stir in the eggs and cook for 5 minutes on the stove top, then pop under the grill for another 5 minutes. • Serve the tortilla topped with fresh leaves, cheese slices or shavings and parma ham (or similar). Recipe by Fine Food Digest

Transforming simple into scrumptiousness

Method • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. • Heat a heavy saucepan to a medium heat and add the oil and onion. • Cook for a few minutes, then Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019



Form an orderly queue Here are the latest options for your deli counter, from cut-to-order pates through to the latest smoked and cured creations Compiled by Lynda Searby

the deli counter

Cider provides a fruity backdrop to aromatic pink peppercorns

Pink peppercorn & cider salami and Dorset Aberdeen Angus bresaola are two new charcuterie introductions from The Real Cure in Dorset. Available whole (800g) and in 200g sliced catering packs, the pink peppercorn & cider salami combines Gloucester Old Spot pork with Purbeck cider for a fruity background. The bresaola is cured by hand in a mix of crushed bay leaves, red wine and rosemary and is supplied whole (2kg).

Peckish SmokedKitchen mackerelhas andrebranded itsbeech-smoked rhubarb jam to become from anchovies Yorkshire rhubarb custard Conservas Nardin&are two ofjam, the using rhubarb grown within latestlocal additions to Brindisa’s the rhubarbThe triangle of West portfolio. mackerel is brined, Yorkshire. It issalted, also launching a rather than and then cold new Raspberry gin jam, smoked wholeCollins over beechwood made raspberries steeped in beforewith being filleted, trimmed Divine Gin. and preserved in olive oil. 30

July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6

The Artisan Olive Oil Company is now importing several Berber-inspired organic antipasti lines from Tunisian producer Moulins Mahjoub. Òviollette artichoke leaves and hearts in extra virgin olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, sweet grilled peppers and Tunisian Shakshuka (a traditional tomato and pepper-based accompaniment for eggs, chicken, fish or bread) are all available to the trade in cases of six.

In a logical progression from its core smoked fish, meat and cheese offering, Black Mountains Smokery has launched a range of four fish pâtés. The smoked salmon, kiln roasted salmon, smoked mackerel and smoked sea bass pâtés are all made at the Carthew family’s Brecon Beacons smokery. Trade price is £4.40; RRP is £5.95 for 150200g.

Best known for its wild venison salami, Highlands producer Great Glen Charcuterie has now developed a Scottish pork salami that is available whole to slice on the counter (trade price £14/ kg). Targeting a lower price point than the company’s flagship venison charcuterie, the salami is pitched as a “great alternative to any Milano salami”.

With its new smoked honey & mustard glazed ham, Cornwall’s Deli Farm Charcuterie is hoping to stir up memories of “how hams used to be”. Available in sliced 120g packs (RRP £3.20) or unsliced at £16.75/kg, it is described as having a delicate smoked flavour with the sweetness of the glaze permeating throughout the “handsomely” cured ham.

After reaching its first year of Spicy melting chorizo, ‘Arrotolata’ business, Hungry Squirrel herb-rolled pancetta, rosemary & has added maple pecan to itsand thyme cooked ham, air-dried flavoured nut butters. Madeand with beech-smoked duck breast pecans, almonds, maple spicy chipotle boudin noirsyrup (French and a pudding) hint of mixed spices, black are the five the latest smooth butter hascreated a tradebyprice of charcuterie lines £3.95 per 150g jar (RRP £5-6). Trealy Farm to showcase free range British meat.

Womersley Foods is now Northern Ireland based Ke sellingBiltong its fruityhas jams in a newly Nako branched designed giftcore box.biltong The balance out from its and of herbs andwith chillithe in the three jams droewors introduction – raspberry chilli,makes blackcurrant of a bresaola& that use of & rosemary, andthe strawberry & the fillets from organically mint – is saidcull to intensify reared dairy cattle thatthe flavour ofthe thebeef fruit. provide for its biltong.


How we stock it…

The Patchwork Food Company says its new ‘light’ pâtés have been born out of customer demand for a low-calorie pâté with all the characteristics and textures of its original recipes. The five new ‘light’ pâtés are: classic chicken liver, chicken liver with mushrooms & garlic, smoked salmon with horseradish, spicy lentil & walnut and Thai chicken liver. All are high in protein and gluten-free.

Sussex Cured is a new range of pre-packed cured meats from Southover Foods. Aimed at the deli and specialist retail market, the meats are cured in Sussex in a BRC A grade certified facility. There are five lines – New York style pastrami, honeyroast farmhouse ham, farmhouse plain ham, cooked topside of beef and cooked back bacon – all available in boxes of five or ten 200g packs.

Abby Janaway, co-owner, Newlyns Farm Shop, Hook, Hampshire Until very recently, the deli counter was a part of the business Newlyns’ owners were struggling with. “We were keeping our range small to minimise waste but this timid approach wasn’t really working,” says Janaway. Four years ago, the Janaways decided to go “bigger and braver”, extending and overhauling the deli counter. As a result, takings have doubled in the last three years. “We now have 24ft of deli counter, filled with

items from our kitchen. We do a large range of cooked meats, and make our own frittatas, slicing quiches, sausage rolls, scotch eggs, pork pies and so on. We also have ten different salads on sale at any one time, which adds colour and interest.” Cheese has been moved out of the deli counter and is now housed in a dedicated temperaturecontrolled cheese room, which has more than doubled dairy sales.

Chunk of Devon’s new Spicy Jack pasty combines jackfruit with a curry recipe that features sweet potato, squash, red and green peppers and coconut milk, all wrapped in hand crimped, wholewheat pastry spiced with turmeric and topped with fennel seeds. The pie- and pasty-maker says the fruit – which is growing in popularity as a vegan meat substitute – has a fleshy texture that makes this vegetarian pasty a “perfect alternative to meat”. The pasties are available either ‘baked and naked’, wrapped or frozen unbaked in two sizes: medium (252g / £2.70 each / boxes of six) and large (324g / £3.00 each / boxes of four).

A rich, authentic French paté de campagne

Devon’s Pyman Patés has launched a five-strong organic range of pâtés in new livery. Like the rest of the West Country producer’s line up, the organic pâtés are freerange and gluten-free and have a 12-month chilled shelf life. Varieties include chicken liver with chestnut mushrooms, wild pheasant with organic calvados and chestnut mushroom. RRP £3.85-4.95 for 110g.

Campsie Glen Smokehouse is hoping to “shake up” the hot smoked salmon category with a ‘skinless’ sweetcure hot smoked salmon. The skin is removed before curing and hot smoking to achieve a golden smoke bark all around the fish.

Greek food specialist Olive Branch has added feta-stuffed sweet cherry peppers to its loose antipasti offering. The mildly spicy baby sweet peppers are stuffed with feta and myzithra (a Cretan soft cheese). They are available to the trade in 1kg packs (trade price £8.95), which the company says is an ideal size for maintaining fresh rotation.

Findlater’s 15-strong range is now available in serveover-friendly formats. The pâtés come in 600g trays with toppings and the producer provides the branded ceramic outer display dishes, point of sale material and stand. Wholesale prices start at £9.75 per 600g (RRP £26.66 per kg).

Newcomer Sophie Ashworth has taken inspiration from the French and launched a natural, ‘filler-free’ pâté de campagne made from free-range pork born and bred in the Basque region. The pâté is also mixed in the region by an artisan butcher, according to a recipe developed by Ashworth in Dorset. Branded Maison Elhoria, it comes in a 180g glass jar with a three-year shelf life and an RRP of £7.

Ballylisk of Armagh has created a smoked version of its triple cream cheese Triple Rose. The cheese is also produced with milk from Ballylisk’s own pedigree Friesian herd and is smoked slowly over beechwood. Available via Rowcliffe, Carron Lodge and Michael Lee. Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


The Guild of Fine Food’s training arm, the School of Fine Food, sees over 1,000 delegates a year learn everything from the basics of cheese and deli products to the detail of running an independent retail business. BUSINESS Our Retail Ready two-day training programme is designed to equip managers or owners of prospective, new or developing delis & farm shops with the business essentials of fine food & drink retailing CHEESE RETAIL Our one-day course is designed to help independent retailers capitalise on customer interaction, ensure they have the correct range and guarantees that you and your team talk intelligently about cheese to your customers ACADEMY OF CHEESE The Guild is a founding patron and training provider of the Academy. It’s trusted and structured learning provides an academic pathway for anyone in the business, and equally cheese-loving consumers. It does for cheese what the Wine & Spirits Education Trust does for wine

For more details of all School of Fine Food programmes, courses, fees and dates, visit or contact, +44 (0)1747 825200

PROGRAMME 2019 ACADEMY LEVEL 1: £195 inc VAT Day course 18 September (London) 6 November (London) RETAIL CHEESE: MEMBERS £100 + VAT NON-MEMBERS £195 + VAT 16 July (London) 10 September (London) 17 September (London) 1 October (Gillingham, Dorset) | 32

July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6


8 October (London) 29 October (London) 12 November (London) DELI COURSE: MEMBERS £100 + VAT NON-MEMBERS £195 + VAT 28 October (London) RETAIL READY: Contact Jilly Sitch for further information and course fees. 24-25 September (London)


The Garlic Farm

Garlic for good SPECIALITY FOOD RETAILING depends on delivering quality. The farmers, producers and brand-owners that flourish in the sector are, by nature, striving for the best. A recent conference hosted by Cotswold Fayre titled ‘Towards a Greener Future’ helped some of us recognise that ‘best’ is a bigger word than it used to be. There’s no denying that flavour is what fine food is all about. Presentation of high quality produce plays a pivotal part in relationships with consumers and story-telling has become more powerful - partly enabled by digital media. The bar of branding has been raised and there is a new depth emerging among the promises that producers are making. There is a new definition of what ‘best’ means and whilst this still starts with flavour, it doesn’t end there. Food starts in fields. Yes, this is changing, but that’s a separate article! A sensitive and respectful approach leads to successful livestock and arable farming. Food production follows the same rules, especially in the fine food sector. The hands-on approach of these livelihoods connects those involved directly to the product; from cradle to grave and if done well, back to cradle again. Looking after the

land; good welfare and a happy team makes the difference between profit and loss. This is not a new concept. What is interesting is that bigger and often less tangibly productionbased companies are beginning to tune into the impact that good management of people and the planet’s resources can have on their profits. It is this deepening of responsibility that is important. Fine food brands will still survive by producing an excellent quality product but to thrive in the longer term, there is a strong argument to suggest that ‘best in category’ will have more criteria. The question, beyond product and packaging, that consumers ask of fine food brands, either consciously or subconsciously, might become: How does this brand protect the planet and the people it employs? One answer might be that by committing, formally, to ‘planet’ and ‘people’ the brand focusses on generating profit for this purpose. This was the urgent focus of the conference and, happily, there’s a good vehicle to support those businesses willing to make the effort of delivering this ‘triple bottom line’. Becoming a ‘Certified B Corporation’ will guide businesses

of any size along a journey of verified social and environmental performance and transparency. The hope is, as this builds, consumers in speciality retail outlets will recognise a brand’s ‘declaration of interdependence’ from the B-Corp pledge. Here at the farm, like some others in this sector, we’ve been on this journey for generations. We have taken the stewardship of land and livestock to the highest possible standards long before B-Corp was founded. Our business is built for people; those working in it as well as the customers enjoying what we do. But what B-Corp delivers is an empirical way for this intent to be guided and measured. We’re not yet certified, but hope to be soon. Our bigger hope is that, with the help of Cotswold Fayre, a growing number of people recognise that the word best starts with a ‘B’! | 01983 865 378 Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019



Delivering the goods Whether you’re seeking food from Asia, Europe or closer to home our annual directory is here to help independents weigh up their wholesale options

Harvey & Brockless Minimum order value: £80 inside Central London, £100 all other areas Delivers to: UK

PW Fine Foods Minimum order value: £180 Delivers to: UK

Taste by BoroughBox Minimum order value: £250 Delivers to: UK

As well as wholesaling for specialist importers, PW Fine Foods is now the exclusive distributor for a number of brands including Walkers Shortbread and its long-running house brand Epicure. The supplier offers over 6,000 lines across its extensive portfolio including signature names like Doves Farm, Tiptree, Tyrrells and Olives et Al.

Formed as part of a merger between Taste Distribution and BoroughBox, Taste by BoroughBox aims to deliver a supply chain solution for challenger brands. The wholesaler focuses on smaller producers and sells a variety of ambient product lines with a focus on Great Taste award winners. It is the exclusive distributor in the UK for last year’s Supreme Champion, Mount Mayon Pili Nuts.

Delicioso UK Minimum order value: None Delivers to: UK

Buckley & Beale Minimum order value: £500 Delivers to: UK

Spanish food specialist Delicioso says it sources ambient, charcuterie and cheese lines from every region of Spain. These include signature brands Azada Organic, Torre de Nunez, La Cuna, Rioja Vega and its own-brand of traditional handmade tortas biscuits in colourful packaging.

Buckley & Beale imports many speciality world foods to the UK but has a particular focus and knowledge on American brands, including signature names like Michiganbased gourmet nut and chocolate producer Koeze, and Vermont maple sugar company Butternut Mountain Farm. It also specialises in foodservice, offering bulk pouches from The Jackfruit Company.

The Fine Food Forager Minimum order value: £100 (Greater London area) Delivers to: UK

Boasting a large range of artisan cheeses that includes its own exclusive Cheese Cellar Dairy farmhouse goats’ cheeses, H&B also sources products like air-dried ham and truffle honey. It is the exclusive distributor of Dell’ami Mediterranean Deli products, including 30 olive mixes, olive oils, balsamic vinegars and vegetable antipasti.

Compiled by Lauren Phillips and Michael Lane

KEY Importer Ambient Chilled Charcuterie Vegan / Free-from / Wholefoods Cheese Foodservice


July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6

As well as distributing British food & drink to independents, The Fine Food Forager sources and imports products from France, Spain and Canada. Brands exclusive to the company include premium non-alcoholic sparkling drinks Pomaceo, premium fruit spreads Maison Francis Miot, organic maple syrup escuminac and organic herbal tea Le Benefique.


Nikki Castley, Buyer Cress Co / Route 2 Despite continuing to expand its reach ever southwards, The Cress Co’s most recent project has been launching a separate company with a very different, producer-led model. Route 2 was developed to provide an option to small-medium producers who want to extend their reach beyond selling direct to retailers but are not quite ready to work with a wholesaler. “It was about finding a middle ground which would not be a traditional wholesale model and would allow them a bit of control over their brand,” The Cress Co’s buyer Nikki Castley tells FFD. There is no major vetting process to get listed, producers are in charge of how many lines Route 2 will carry for them as well as their own stock control and even setting their own prices. Orders are sent to retailers using the current Cress delivery network, which is serviced by the main warehouse in Dunfermline, as well as depots in Wetherby, in North Yorkshire, and Milton Keynes. Castley adds that there are also benefits for retailers using the new service. “Route 2 gives retailers more access to producers that would not feature in the Cress catalogue. It’s a marketplace for producers and retailers.” In theory, a deli or farm

shop could order from 10 different producers, who would usually only deal direct, but Route 2 will deliver them all in one order with one invoice. And because the model sees Route 2 take a percentage of the invoice value, rather than adding its own margins, it’s all the more viable for smaller producers that might not have developed their product and pricing structure to the right level to work with a distributor. Currently Route 2 has more than 100 producers of ambient lines listed on its website (there’s no catalogue which boosts the company’s flexibility further), and the total is growing week by week. In fact, Castley says retailers should see Route 2 as a solution for that small producer they discover at a trade show but can’t quite justify working directly with. “Hopefully retailers will start channelling the producers they meet to us.”

The Cress Co Minimum order value: £125 Delivers to: UK The Cress Co distributes ambient and chilled speciality food & drink from small artisan producers and larger established brands nationally to delis, cafés, bars, farm shops, butchers, fishmongers and hotels. Signature brands retailers can find with the distributor includes Luscious organic Madagascan vanilla custard, Rora Dairy natural bio-live yoghurt pots, and Walter Gregor Scottish tonic water.

Seggiano Minimum order value: £250 Delivers to: UK

Paxton & Whitfield Minimum order value: £250 Delivers to: UK

For over 20 years, Seggiano has imported Italian goods from regions such as Tuscany, Sicily, Modena, Puglia and Calabria. It is well-known for its Lunaio olive oils and Seggiano balsamic vinegars but also carries products in other categories including pestos, tapenades, patés, organic durum wheat pasta, Lingue flatbreads and organic chocolate hazelnut spreads.

One of Britain’s oldest cheesemongers, Paxton & Whitfield is a wholesaler of British and Continental artisan cheeses, fine foods, alcohol and cheese-related homewares. As well as offering hampers and gift ranges, it also has a number of own-branded lines including its own cheese biscuits, savoury chutneys, sweet preserves, real ales and wines.

Route 2 Plus Minimum order quantity: Six cases Delivers to: UK

Dolfin UK Delivers to: UK

Route 2 is an online marketplace where new products are listed weekly by producers and include craft beers, spirits, sparkling soft drinks, sweet & savoury preserves, olives, oils, dressings, chocolates and snacks. Delivered by The Cress Company, retailers can enjoy the convenience of one order, one delivery and one invoice.

Dolfin UK began in 2014 as an importer and distributor of food products from Turkey. As well as its own free-from snack brand Full Of Beans, it also carries Turkish confectionery brands Sarelle and Tadelle and the Got Milk snacks? brand which was born out of the influential American advertising campaign.

Empire Bespoke Foods Minimum order value: London £150, Mainland UK £400, Scottish Highlands £700, Ireland & IOW £1,000 Delivers to: UK Empire Bespoke Foods has an extensive portfolio of national and international products including chocolate & confectionery, savoury snacks and condiments. Thai Taste, Mrs Elswood, Nem Viet and No-No flatbreads are its own-brands, while signature brands include Charles Basset tuna, USA cereal brand Malt-O-Meal and Tootsie Roll confectionery.

Greencity Wholefoods Minimum order value: £100-£200 Delivers to: Scotland and North of England Glasgow-based wholesaler Greencity Wholefoods specialises in sourcing Scottish products and delicacies. It only sells goods that are suitable for vegetarians offering dietary specific products like dairyand gluten-free foods. As well as its own range of wholefoods, it carries Mungoswell flour, Clever Kombucha, Ola oils, Uber bars, John Mellis honey and Paisley Drinks.

Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


IMPORTERS & DISTRIBUTORS GUIDE 2019 “The speciality food industry experiences peaks and troughs throughout the year,” he says. “It was always tricky for us in terms of space. We’d have a big warehouse to accommodate Paul Hargreaves Chief executive Christmas stock during that busy Cotswold Fayre trading period but Cotswold Fayre has always then a lot of this strived to run a business space went unused for the that is profitable yet rest of the year.” environmentally friendly. It But using a third is already a B Corporation; party to manage its supply a certification which chain isn’t unfamiliar to recognises businesses the wholesaler, who had tackling social and already been working with environmental problems. another logistics company But the wholesaler for the past three years has now gone one step which Hargreaves says was further, partnering with a success. transport and logistics “We have always had experts GEODIS to manage high order fulfilment, the warehousing and but since using an expert distribution of its portfolio logistical company we to independent retailers have been able to give our – allowing it to become customers better service,” he the first carbon neutral says. “We now run 96-97% wholesaler in the UK. fulfilment on orders.” Under this new partnership, GEODIS will provide a complete supplier to retailer logistics service, collecting products from listed suppliers, warehousing, stock managing, picking and delivering orders direct to retailers. In practice this means Cotswold Fayre GEODIS’ Euro 6 compliant fleet will deliver goods Minimum order value: £250 directly from its warehouse for ambient, £100 for chilled in High Wycombe, Delivers to: UK and Ireland removing the trunking of Starting as a distribution goods through regional hub for a few small hubs and, in turn, reducing producers in the Cotswolds, Cotswold Fayre’s carbon Cotswold Fayre is now footprint by 46%. one of the UK’s leading However retailers won’t wholesalers representing see any physical difference over 350 suppliers of when the new partnership ambient, chilled and comes into effect from seasonal products. It has a August (goods will still be strong selection of exclusive distributed by Cotswold brands including Bath Pig cured meats, Eat Your Hat Fayre’s branded vans). chocolate, and Olly’s Olives “This new partnership is as well as its own signature about the flexibility of space brand The Ministers of and people,” explains chief Taste. exec Paul Hargreaves, adding that Cotswold Fayre will now be able to deliver more frequently to retailers in London and the surrounding areas. 36

July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6

Artisan Food Club Minimum order value: From £100 Delivers to: UK The Artisan Food Club works with start-up brands to allow retailers to source local producers from across the UK through central invoicing and introduction orders, making its drop shipping model very easy to use. A wholesaler who carries no stock, orders are direct from the producer giving retailers access to their whole range.

Maltby & Greek Minimum order value: None Delivers to: UK & Ireland Maltby & Greek is a supplier and distributor of premium Greek products, sourcing items like jams, marmalades, preserves, honeys, herbs, wines and fish from across Greece and working directly with a network of small artisan producers.


Holleys Fine Foods Minimum order value: £100 Delivers to: UK

Tenuta Marmorelle Minimum order value: £250 Delivers to: UK

Established in 1970, Holleys Fine Foods covers a whole range of ambient products including bakery items, snacks, confectionery, world foods and preserves. Signature brands it carries include cheese straws from West Country Legends, Barney Jack’s confectionery, La Mole Breadsticks, coffee iced biscuits from Van Delft Café Noir and novelty candy from Look O Look.

Tenuta Marmorelle sources fresh and ambient products exclusively from Italy, with brands including Casanova balsamic vinegar, Borsari Panettone, Amore Italiano Antipasti and Cantine Vedova Prosecco. The importer has this year collaborated with Viander a supplier of premium foodservice items from Italy, as it looks to supply restaurants and cafés.

Cheese+ Minimum order value: None Delivers to: Cambridgeshire, Oxford and London.

The Oil Merchant Minimum order value: £300 outside of London. £85 for inside London. Delivers to: UK

Cheese+ is a specialist cheesemonger and wholesaler based in Cambridge, supplying artisan cheese, charcuterie and other lines to the independent market. Signature brands that can be found with the business include The Duke and Duchess cheese, Tempus Foods Charcuterie and Chapel & Swan smoked salmon.

The Oil Merchant specialises in estate-bottled extra virgin olive oil from Europe and further afield, including South Africa. Over the years, the importer and distributor has expanded its offering, adding vinegars, a Sicilian sea salt, and Italian pastes and sauces to its range. Among the brands the business imports exclusively are Frescobaldi, Colonna, Ravida, and La Vecchia Dispensa.

• • • • •

Largest range with over 6,000 products Exclusive famous brands and artisan products Exciting monthly promotions Low minimum order value. Only £180 Personal service

Vol.20 Issue 5 | June 2019


Servicing the Art of Gastronomy CIBOSANO Limited / Unit 4 / I.O. Centre / Lea Road / Waltham Abbey / Hertfordshire / EN9 1AS e: / e: t: 01992 763076 / w: / w:

Charcuterie ~ Cheeses ~ Fresh Pasta ~ Antipasti ~ Seafood ~ Cakes ~ Oils ~ Vinegars


Mark Wiltshire, Director Diverse Fine Food With 59 new brands added to Diverse Fine Food’s 2019 catalogue and 44 added to its Christmas 2019 catalogue, it’s safe to say the company has identified some emerging trends. Vegan food and healthfocused products are as dominant as ever, but the conversation around plastic waste has meant that many new brands are emerging specifically to offer an environmentally friendly alternative particularly in the confectionery and snacking categories. “Chewing gum has gone fairly under the radar in the plastic-waste debate,” says director Mark Wiltshire, adding that Diverse has introduced a plastic-free chewing gum by new brand True Gum. The Somerset-based wholesaler has also started working with a new popcorn brand, Dreamers, whose packaging is recyclable. “We are seeing new brands emerging that offer compostable or plastic-free packaging from the start, which makes going plasticfree easier for them.” It’s more difficult for the larger established brands to switch to plastic-free packaging, says Wiltshire. Although there is a willingness to change, the costs don’t make it easy. “Hopefully as more brands source compostable or plastic-free materials for their packaging, the demand will drive pricing down,” he adds. NPD and demand for non- and low-alcoholic drinks also shows no sign of disappearing, with Wiltshire highlighting that

adult soft drinks are becoming more popular. The wholesaler stocks the non-alcoholic spirit range from Seedlip and has added the brand’s new sub brand of non-alcoholic highend aperitifs called Aecorn Apéritifs. “Even younger consumers are looking for lowerin-alcohol alternatives which are still full-flavoured and high quality,” he says. When it comes to the Christmas trading period, there is still a space for traditional chocolate Santas and snowmen-clad biscuit tins. But Wiltshire says Diverse is also looking at more modern gifting lines for retailers, too. “While there is still a place for the traditional Christmas cakes and puddings, we’re also including everyday items, like chocolates truffles, in a gifting format.”

Diverse Fine Food Minimum order value: £150 Local, £295 National Delivers to: UK Somerset-based Diverse Fine Food aims to be a modern wholesaler, sourcing new innovative brands and bringing them to market. The company focuses on ambient food products, carrying a number of new brands exclusively including Dreamers Popcorn and True Gum, two brands making an environmental difference.

Blakemore Fine Foods finefoods Minimum order value: £250 Delivers to: Central England Blakemore Fine Foods’ represents 210 producers, stocking more than 1,100 chilled and ambient lines including Border Biscuits, Cawston Press, Cheshire Cheese, Rubies in the Rubble, Shropshire Spice, Village Dairy and Wessex Mill. The distributor says it is also unique in the benefits it offers customers – from point-of-sale material to recycling facilities.

R.H. Amar & Co Minimum order value: £500 Delivers to: UK Importer and distributor RH Amar supplies fine food brands, covering over a dozen categories including beverages, ethnic cuisine, free-from, home baking and sundries. The company owns the Mary Berry brand of sauces, dressings and chutneys. Other signature brands distributed to the speciality trade include Cooks & Co, Ella’s Kitchen and Kikkoman.

Infinity Foods infinityfoodswholesale. coop Minimum order value: Starting at £150, rising dependent on postcode Delivers to: UK Infinity Foods sources ambient products from across the globe but specialises in organic brands such as olive company Lesbian Donkey, Mr Organic, and Rude Health cereals. It also produces its own-branded range of goods, including categories like cereal grains, beans, pulses, and sweet snacks & confectionery.

Glencarse Foods Minimum order value: UK mainland £150, Northern Ireland £250, Southern Ireland & Orkney £350 Delivers to: UK & Ireland Glencarse Foods is one of the oldest fine food & drink distributors in Scotland offering national distribution to farm shops, delicatessens, food halls and cafés. The company has a strong portfolio of exclusive and signature brands including Highland Croft fudge and tablet, Queen’s Delight Travel Sweets and rub, sauce & seasoning producer Not Just BBQ.


Organico Realfoods Delivers to: UK Organico Realfoods specialises in organic lines from around the world but mainly Europe. Signature brands include sustainable canned fish brand Fish4Ever, organic, glutenfree and paleo snacks WildThing, and its ownbrand Organico which has just unveiled its new Vegan Hemp Patés. Italian brand Vanini Organic Chocolate is the latest product range to join the distributor.

Top Op Foods Minimum order value: £200 Delivers to: UK Sourcing from Europe, Asia and India, Top Op specialises in Indian food, carrying signature brands like Niharti, Purvi, Gits and MDH Spices. Its ownbranded range is one of the oldest world food brands in the UK, offering Asian/ Indian food lines like pulses, whole & ground spices and cooking pastes.

Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


Ceri Llwyd


Deiniol ap Dafydd, Managing director Blas ar Fwyd While not always enjoying top billing nationally, premium Welsh food is thriving among the mountainous landscapes and green green grass of home, according to Blas ar Fwyd’s managing director Deiniol ap Dafydd. “Speciality food in Wales has grown with us over the last 30 years,” says Dafydd speaking to FFD. “With the exception of the recession in 2008, we’ve seen growth every year since we began.” He adds this may be in part to the forced development of the Welsh food industry, where traditional milk and beef farmers have had to diversify into other products, such as cheese, to survive economic pressure. “Today there is such a spectrum of Welsh food, from charcuterie to marshmallows. But we don’t just list products because they are made in Wales, it’s also about quality.” Blas ar Fwyd has three different strands to its business, running a deli & wine shop in Llanwrst and offering a catering service. But its wholesale side accounts for 90% of the business’s profit, with the company now supplying between 1,500 and 1,800 businesses in Wales and listing around 140 Welsh food & drink producers. Blas ar Fwyd also supplies areas in England such as the border counties, Yorkshire and London, where stockists include Fortnum & Mason. It has an extensive list of ambient and chilled items, from biscuits to its own40

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brand coleslaw, and carries over 100 Welsh and European wines. Product variety is key, given the likelihood of Blas ar Fwyd delivering to indie retailers that are near each other. “We find ourselves delivering to multiple shops based in one small Welsh town,” says Dafydd. “We have to offer 1,000 lines, so each shop is different and unique.” Demand for Welsh food comes just as much from residents as it does from the tourists who visit. Dafydd cites research from Kantar which revealed that consumers in Wales are the most loyal to food and drink produced in their area, compared to anywhere else in the UK. Who says the local food trend is dead?

Blas ar Fwyd Delivers to: Wales, UK Blas ar Fwyd is a retailer, caterer and wholesaler. As well as running its deli & wine shop in Llanwrst, Conwy, it produces a range of products under its own-brand range and delivers thousands of Welsh artisan food & drink to farm shops, delicatessens, pubs, restaurants and hotels throughout Wales and the UK.

Rowcliffe Minimum order value: £50 Delivers to: UK Rowcliffe is a British importer and wholesaler of artisan food and Continental and British artisan cheeses. Brands exclusive to it include cheese company Clemency Hall, Le Cret Gruyére, Delicious oils & vinegars and charcuterie from Negroni. It is also the exclusive stockist of DOP cheeses from Ambrosi, which bought the Rowcliffe business at the beginning of the year.

The Gorgeous Food Company gorgeousfoodcompany. Minimum order value: None Delivers to: UK The Gorgeous Food Company’s catalogue spans an extensive range of ambient categories, including confectionery, crisps & snacks, cold drinks, bakery, grocery, tea & coffee, and world foods. Brands retailers can discover with the distributor include Cotswold Meringues, Scarlett & Mustard, Womersley Vinegar, Mrs Picklepot, Truffle Hunter, Real Coffee Bags, Halen Mon, and Kernow Chocolate.

Hider food Imports Minimum order value: £250-500 subject to location Delivers to: UK Hider offers an extensive range of ambient, speciality foods across an extensive range of 320 brands. Well-known names the wholesaler carries include Border Biscuits, Fentimans, Pipers Crisps and Hazer Baba, but Hider also offers several British artisan brands like Lottie Shaw’s, Buttermilk and Botham’s. It is the exclusive distributor of the jams & preserves brand Butler’s Grove.


Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli Products Delivers to: UK Raphael’s Mediterranean Deli Products specialises in sourcing extra virgin olive oil from Crete, Greece and from Cordoba in Spain. The importer-distributor began after owners Zoi and Milton’s 25 year stint in the hospitality trade, which they say have influenced their perspective on food. Signature brands include Creta Verde, Ambrosio De Cordoba and its own-brand Raphael’s.

Brindisa Spanish Foods Minimum order value: £60 Delivers to: UK

Best of Hungary Minimum order value: None Delivers to: UK

Established more than 30 years ago, Brindisa imports Spanish products for retail and foodservice. Aside from fresh ingredients and artisan Spanish cheeses, the importer specialises in hams, chorizo, canned fish, olives, oils and other store cupboard essentials. This year, the business appointed two regional account managers dedicated to expanding Brindisa’s presence in the North of England and Scotland.

Best of Hungary carries artisan food from Hungarian producers, many of which are SMEs and social co-operatives. The company is the exclusive supplier of 17 brands including Great Taste award-winning producers such as Donum Terrae, Borecet Kft, Danubius Caviar and Hungarian Heritage black truffle products. The importer also supplies Hungarian paprika and honey in bulk for foodservice.

integrity • provenance • quality For nearly a quarter of a century the SEGGIANO & LUNAIO brands have been recognised as the finest selection of artisan Italian food. Available in the UK's leading delis, farmshops & food halls, strong in the US & now found in several key stores around the globe.

+44 (0)20 7272 5588

Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


Since 2014 we have been awarded 24 Stars in the Great Taste Awards for our outstanding products

Our range of unique products Include: Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars Gluten Free, Fresh and Dried Pastas Pasta Sauces Antipasti and Charcuterie Prosecco Artisan Craft Beers Limoncello Confectionery NEW Italian Calloni NEW Lobster Tail cakes NEW Ambient Salamis For more Information on our full range; or call: 01189 29 84 80

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July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6


Totuccio Castiglione, Managing director Cibosano A wider distribution network and expanded product range are the major difference retailers can expect after importer and distributor Cibosano acquired fellow Italian food specialist Fratelli Camisa, says managing director Totuccio Castiglione. Wholesaler and online deli Fratelli Camisa – a well-established speciality food brand since 1929 – sold the assets to Cibosano in April this year, allowing the brand to continue within the fine food sector. But the buyout will also increase Cibosano’s geographic coverage and its customer base. “Originally, we concentrated on delicatessens and fine food shops in London,” he says. “Now we can reach more retailers like cheesemongers and farm shops.” Cibosano, known for its extensive range of chilled and frozen products, will also be able to increase its ambient offering by taking on Camisa’s lines, like its antipasti and vinegars. It has also acquired Fratelli Camisa’s wellknown own-brand fresh filled pasta, with the importer planning to introduce new lines and charcuterie to complement the existing range. The acquisition also marries Cibosano’s importing expertise with Camisa’s focus on finding unique artisan producers, meaning that the catalogue will feature more products imported exclusively from Italian businesses. “We’re looking to

franchise the brand and develop our speciality trade,” says Castiglione. “It’s about selling Fratelli Camisa to the trade and giving our trade customers access to 2,000 products.” Cibosano will operate both businesses from its warehouse in Waltham Abbey, on the northern outskirts of London, which is undergoing a major refurbishment. Among the additions are new fridgefreezer rooms, a brand-new development kitchen, and a prep area for charcuterie and cheese slicing for retail and hospitality customers. “We will also be improving both our and Fratelli Camisa’s websites,” says Castiglione. “Cibosano’s website will offer e-commerce to trade customers allowing retailers to open an online account with us.”

The Fine Cheese Co. Minimum order value: UK Mainland £150.00 Delivers to: UK As well as being a retailer, The Fine Cheese Co is a wholesaler, distributor and importer that specialises in British and European cheese and charcuterie. It also carries a range of premium imported dry goods from Europe and the USA alongside its own The Fine Cheese Co brand of crackers and accompaniments.

Cibosano / camisa. Minimum order value: £150 Delivers to: UK

Tresors De Grece Minimum order value: one (mixed) Europallet Delivers to: UK

From fresh products – like charcuterie and cheese – through to pasta, antipasti and confectionery, Cibosano imports the full gamut of Italian products into the UK. Its catalogue includes charcuterie from Leoncini, cheese from Montanari & Gruzza balsamic from Aceto del Duca, biscuits from Biscottificio Mulino and Fratelli Camisa Fresh Pasta.

Tresors De Grece specialises in exporting traditional Greek delicacies, under its own brand name. Its catalogue includes extra virgin olive oil in a variety of formats, as well as jarred organic olives and olive paté, honey, tahini, spoon sweets, sun-dried tomatoes and Cretan breadcrackers.

Vinegar Shed Minimum order value: £100 for free inner London shipping, £250 for free UK & mainland shipping Delivers to: UK Vinegar Shed specialises in rare, small-batch artisan vinegars but it also imports oils, spices, herbs, beans, pulses, seafood and much more from Italy, Greece, Spain and France. Signature products include Trea Greek oils, olives and honey, Pellas organic drops infused olive oils, Epices de Cru spices, spice blends, peppers & chillies, and Safra del Montsec organic saffron.

Iberica Minimum order value: £90 Delivers to: UK Iberica offers a wide range of authentic and traditional Spanish products, many of which are protected under DOP, ETG, and IGP certification from the EU. It carries charcuterie, such as chorizo and Iberico ham, and cheeses, as well as olive oil and store cupboard ingredients.

Elite Imports Minimum order value: n/a Delivers to: UK and Ireland

Artisan Food Services Minimum order value: n/a Delivers to: UK

Based in Clapham, south London, Elite is a specialist importer of cheese – and the exclusive UK agent for German cheese company Käserei Champignon. Among the cheeses it carries from the Bavarian producer are Cambozola, Rougette BonFire, and the multi-awardwinning blue Montagnolo Affiné.

This manufacturer and importer is focused solely on Sri Lankan food. For more than 30 years, it has been striving to supply both expats and those curious about the island’s cuisine across the globe. Its products include a host of chutneys and snack foods, sold under the Ruci brand.

Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


DINE WITH THE GASTRONOMIC GREATS GREAT TASTE GOLDEN FORK AWARDS DINNER SUNDAY 1 SEPTEMBER 2019 THE INTERCONTINENTAL LONDON PARK LANE, ONE HAMILTON PLACE, LONDON The evening kicks off with a drinks reception and the chance to meet a host of producers who will serve up their award-winning products.


A four-course 3-star dinner, curated by Executive Chef Ashley Wells, will be served in the glittering setting of the Ballroom. The evening will unfold, revealing the Great Taste Golden Fork winners from each region, before the climax and announcement of the 2019 Supreme Champion.


Drinks and Reception


Four-course Dinner with wine


Cheese boards & dancing

Guild of Fine Food Members Non-members

£145 + vat £175 + vat

Dress: Jackets Tickets are limited & sold on a first come first serve basis.

After dinner you can enjoy live music and dancing, a pay-bar and a giant cheese-board curated from the World Cheese Awards.

Tables of 10 or 12 are available on request. To avoid disappointment, please book early. Contact: Joanne Myram +44 (0)1747 825200 or email

To reserve tickets or a table, please contact



availability | | @guildoffinefood #greattasteawards #ISpyGreatTaste

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Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


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July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6

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SHELF TALK My magic ingredient

WHAT’S NEW Somerset-based Grown Up Marshmallows is now packaging its confectionery in 100% recyclable, biodegradable, compostable material. The producer said the box material is produced via a carbon neutral process. Trade price £3.15 (RRP £5.99).

Oliveology Wild Thyme Honey KARYN NOBLE Food & travel journalist

Flower & White has added Meringue Bites to its range. These bite-sized Swiss-baked meringues, covered in Belgian chocolate and textured toppings, are available in two flavours: raspberry and salted caramel. The bites are gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians and come in 100% paper recyclable, plastic-free and compostable packaging. RRP £2.50, 75g. MOMO Kombucha is the UK’s first kombucha brewed in glass in 8L batches. The fermented drink is made of organic loose leaf tea, filtered water, organic raw cane sugar and SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) along with slow pressed organic juice to create three flavours: ginger & lemon, turmeric, and tropical. Trade price £1.95, 330ml (RRP £4.30).

Ever since my first trip to Greece, I’ve been obsessed with authentic Greek honey and I was so excited to discover Oliveology in Borough Market. I’m a big fan of their Wild Thyme honey. I have it drizzled on Greek yoghurt for breakfast with walnuts, or over porridge in winter. If I ever have a sore throat I have a teaspoon of it first thing in the morning and it makes everything better – even if it’s just the aromatic memory of picking herbs among wild goats in Crete. It’s particularly good on a cheeseboard with brie or Camembert and I regularly pair it with Fen Farm Dairy’s bloomy-rind cheese, Baron Bigod. I’ll also mix things up as the seasons change and go with Oliveology’s equally good Chestnut Honey in autumn and Orange Blossom in winter, but the Wild Thyme was my first encounter with their honeys and no one forgets their first, do they?

A teaspoon of it first thing in the morning makes everything better

Karyn bought hers at Oliveology in London’s Borough Market.

New seasoning blend is worth its (low in) salt for retailers By Lauren Phillips

A producer of low-salt seasonings has developed a new variety to add to its portfolio. The Flavour Files, which launched in May last year, has developed Seasoning 2 to join its initial product Seasoning 1. Seasoning 2 is a blend of dried porcini mushrooms, sumac, arrowroot, garlic powder & black pepper and comes in 150g (RRP £9) and 50g packs. The Woking-based producer says the 50g packs sell better for retailers, with a wholesale price of £50 for a case of 20 x 50g packs which are available directly from the company. Both seasonings are suitable for those pursuing a low sodium diet, with Seasoning 2 containing 0.012g of salt per 10g serving. But lower sodium has

meant that the producer has had to play around with other taste categories to offer the satisfaction of salt without the consumer feeling they are missing out. “The idea is if you can up the savoury notes then you can trick your brain into thinking it’s not missing

anything,” said co-founder Rachel Clinton,who first started producing the seasonings after a friend’s family member developed high cholesterol. “Using dried porcini mushrooms means that you are getting deep savoury notes and citrusy flavours from the sumac so you’re creating that Umami savoury flavour,” she added. Seasoning 1 uses the Turkish spice Urfa Biber which is still fairly uncommon in the UK and is said to add a “deep warmth” to its smoky, sweet flavour profile. “We all have too much salt in our diet, so it’s about retraining our taste buds to get accustomed to less salt,” said Clinton.

North East dairy producer Acorn Dairy has launched a new milk product aimed at the highend barista trade. The company has worked with two well-known coffee brands – Flat Caps Coffee and Rounton Coffee Roasters – to produce the new milk which is said to have an optimised fat and protein ratio for “silky-smooth and longlasting micro foam”. Champion barista at Flat Caps Coffee Joe Meagher said: “I wanted a milk that would optimise the coffee presentation with great latte art and micro foam while also allowing for the delicious coffee flavours to work well with the milk, rather than be masked by it.” Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019



We are a Fine Food Wholesaler, distributing to farm shops, garden centres, delis and independent retailers. We pack a large range of pre-packs, support local, national and international brands.

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SHELF TALK World’s first soup in heatable bottles aims to disrupt food-to-go category By Lauren Phillips

A range of soups in heatable bottles has launched to market with the aim of reinventing the on-the-go soup category. Re:Nourish has a four-strong range of health-focused soups, which are packaged in a ready-to-go custom-moulded transparent bottle and can be heated and drunk straight from it. Said to be entirely plant-based – as well as gluten-, sugar- and dairy-free – the four varieties are named after their health benefits and functions: Digest (roasted carrot & ginger), Immunity (kale, spinach & turmeric), Power & Love (spicy lentil, red pepper & maca), and Calm (tomato, basil & passion flower). The recommended retail price of all four flavours is £2.80 for a 500g bottle. Founder Nicci Clark, who was mentored by co-founder of New Covent Garden Soup Co, John Stapleton, said she sees soups as “the new


juices”. “Until now, soups haven’t been the most convenient food as they have to be heated and then decanted,” she said. “Our revolutionary patented packaging changes the status quo as soups can now be heated and either enjoyed straight away or resealed and transported to eat on the go.”

1 Latin American foods The UK’s foodies are continuing their march south through the Americas, unearthing a wealth of Ecuadorian and Peruvian dishes. Encebollado, an acidic fish stew along with a variety of rustic ‘sopas’ traditionally served with rice and sliced potato. Elephant & Castle’s El Costeñito is said to knock out the finest encebollado in London, while The Peruvian in Edinburgh has won admirers for a spicy chicken stew known as aji de gallina. 2 Accessible English wine According the Guardian’s Fiona Beckett, English wine is finally hitting its stride. 2018 is said to be a remarkable vintage across the UK, and with innovative winemakers like Battersea’s Black Book, and trendy orange wines being put out by Ancre Well, the sector is in a position of strength. This comes at a time when WineGB report that three million vines are due to be planted in the UK this year, double the amount of 2018. English wine is growing exponentially in both volume and quality, making it more accessible and an industry to support.

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3 Cold brew G&T The complex flavour of cold brew coffee mixed with the fragrant botanicals of gin appears to be this 1 16/08/2016 10:37 summer’s winning combination. Partnered with the bitterness of tonic water, the cold brew G&T hits a refreshing high point and is gaining serious traction across social media. Sandows floats its cold brew into the top of a classic G&T, while at festivals and events you can find Conker Spirit combining its Dorset Dry Gin and cold brew coffee liqueur, with tonic and a slice of fresh orange.

WHAT’S NEW Hobros has introduced a four-strong range of Himalayan salts to its collection of premium food products. A combination of Himalayan pink salt with dried herbs and spices, the varieties include: lemony herb (RRP £3.90, 20g) and Umami porcini (RRP £4.20, 16g), and the latest additions beetroot orange and smokey Spanish. Premium cocktail mixer brand Tipplesworth has launched a passionfruit martini mixer which can be served with vodka for a twist on the Pornstar Martini. Available directly from the producer, the drink combines passionfruit, guava, pineapple, and lime with vanilla and marshmallow. RRP £6.99, 500ml. The Artful Baker is a new biscuit sub-brand from the Great British Biscotti Company which offers two sweet and savoury varieties: nibbles and thins. The Nibbles include flavours like wild garlic & chives and sweet chilli & lime while the Thins offer flavours such as salted caramel, raspberries & white chocolate and Belgian dark chocolate & hazelnuts. RRP £1.99, 100g. Swell is the new range of plant-based wellness products from spice and tea producer Steenbergs. Consisting of organic spices and health-focused powders, the range includes raw carob powder, cacao & turmeric latte, turmeric latte and cacao chocolate which are blends of sugar and spices. Cacao & turmeric and golden turmeric are also available as sugar-free options. Pack sizes are 250g with RRPs ranging from £6.50 up to £14.45.


Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


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DELI OF THE MONTH Sweden has its fair share of stereotypes – especially when it comes to cuisine. But you won’t encounter them at Möllans Ost in Malmö. Set up more than 30 years ago, this is a cheese-led business that has embraced food from around the world. Interview by Michael Lane

Took a chance on cheese THERE’S BARELY A SILENT moment on the streets when I visit Malmö – Sweden’s thirdlargest and most southerly city. Giant trucks, loaded with booming sound systems and screaming teenagers in white sailor hats, seem to come barrelling through the streets every few minutes. Apparently, I’ve arrived during the week that students graduate from high school and these revelries are very much a normal Swedish custom. It’s a slightly unexpected sight, given that I landed here with a list of cultural preconceptions to check off. But when I arrive at my destination, it feels familiar rather than clichéd. The first thing you notice are long serveovers and chillers filled with Continental cheese, bowls of olives sit alongside charcuterie like Parma ham, and the shelves are dressed with crackers, chutneys and oils. Staff exchange pleasantries in fluent English. I’m even

informed that, at Christmas, customers will queue around the corner for an hour to get their hands on a piece of Colton Bassett Stilton. There’s not a smörgåsbord, meatball or rotten herring in sight. This is Möllans Ost, a cheesemonger and deli that sits at the heart of the city’s Möllvången neighbourhood – an area renowned for food thanks to its daily produce market. The shop is also at the core of a €6m operation which includes a nationwide import and wholesale business, as well as a second retail unit in Malmö’s trendy Saluhall food market. It hasn’t always been such a serene beacon of food retailing, though. Owner Peter Mårtensson – who some readers may recognise from recent Supreme judging panels at the World Cheese Awards – set his heart on opening a shop seling “ost” (Swedish for “cheese”) after a wine-filled evening while


Location: Möllans Ost, Bergsgatan 32, 214 22 Malmö, Sweden Turnover: €6m (overall), €1.1m (retail) No. of shops: 2 Average basket: €20-€25 Average margin: 50% No of cheeses: 400 (warehouse), 150 (in the counter) Retail staff: 22 (3 full-time) 52

July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6

Peter Mårtensson

travelling in Spain during the mid-80s. He realised this dream in 1988 in a tiny 43sq m unit around the corner from the current premises. “The first customer I ever had was an old lady,” he says. “She looked around and said ‘Do you maybe have some old pieces of cheese to sell to me cheap?’ “I thought ‘Oh, this is how my life’s going to be.’” Mårtensson stuck with it, though. And he quickly decided to seek his own suppliers abroad to differentiate his shop from the supermarkets that were all buying cheese from larger wholesalers. At the exact moment he was unwrapping his first ever pallet from a small Parisian exporter loaded with €1,000 of small French goats’ cheeses – and telling himself he was going to go bankrupt – a curious food journalist happened to walk in and Möllans Ost had the exposure it needed.

As he gained more of a following, Mårtensson began building relationships with smaller exporters in Italy and Spain, too. The unique cheeses he was bringing in attracted the attention of some restaurants and fellow shop owners also put in orders to squeeze onto the pallets he was already bringing in. “All of a sudden I had a wholesale business,” he says. “All the others were just aiming for the supermarkets but I found a ‘black hole’ with deli shops. No one was looking after them and still not many do in Sweden.” When Swedish supermarkets decided to shut their deli counters across their stores 15 years ago, there was a huge opportunity for independent retailers to start up across the country, especially outside of big cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg. “And I was on that train collecting them as customers,” says Mårtensson. In order to serve growing wholesale and retail customer bases, Möllans Ost has grown physically too. It switched to another retail unit in the same block after 12 years and spent 5 years there, before that premises became its wholesale office in 2005, and the shop moved to the 150 sq m corner unit next door that it currently occupies. There is a 400 sq m warehouse, which serves both the wholesale and retail parts of the business, in an industrial building five minutes’ walk away. This set-up benefits every part of the business. While the shop can re-stock quickly at short notice, it also effectively has access to 400 cheeses even when there’s only 150 on the counter. “It’s good because when people ask for something, I can say we’ve got it in the warehouse,” says retail manager Malin Dahl, who has worked at Möllans Ost for 12 years. “We don’t do it all the time but I can get it for them in

20 minutes.” This flexibility proves useful given the broadness of the shop’s customer base. When I visit on a Tuesday morning, there is a steady trickle of retired women picking up a few bits but Dahl says there is a group of big-spending men in their 60s who frequent the other shop in the Saluhall on a Friday, spending €70 at a time. There are younger customers, too, but I get a blank look from both Mårtensson and Dahl when I mention the dreaded Millennial. The term might be lost in translation but they both laugh knowingly when I ask whether they have trendier “hipster” customers. “We’ve got something for everybody here,” says Dahl. “There’s a group of hipsters in Malmö moving around to all the new food places but they come back here when they are looking for something they can’t get at the others. We can always say ‘I haven’t got it now. Give me two weeks.’” Mårtensson says that taking the time to encourage younger visitors to spend a little in the shop, “even if their wallets are not so thick”, will result in them becoming regular customers. He adds that generally the clientele is interested in food “but maybe not in such an Instagram way”. Lots of them come in looking to track down something they have encountered on their travels across Europe. Again, the wholesale business comes into play because Möllans Ost’s connections across Europe mean they can add an extra case of something to a pallet that’s already coming from another country. Additionally, the shop is a great testing ground for products and Mårtensson and his wholesale team can speak from experience about how to merchandise items and what to upsell alongside them.

MUST-STOCKS Von Mühlenen – Gruyère Onetik- Coeur de Basque Emmi – Kaltbach Creamy Käserei Champignon- Montagnolo Affiné Almnäs Bruk – Almnäs Tegel Ford Farm- Farmhouse cheddar Lincet – Delice de Bourgogne Fine Cheese Co Toast for Cheese Skånemejerier – Sandwich cheeses Corsica Gastronomia marmalades Colston Basset- Stilton Boni – Pamiggiano Reggiano DOP Queserias del Tietar– Monte Enebro Dongé – Brie de Meaux Central Formaggi – Moliterno Truffle Pecorino


Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


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July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6

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He adds that while some things will perform poorly in his shop, they will sell very well in another shop in a different part of the country, especially rural locations that are still catching up. “I was actually one of the first in Sweden selling sun-dried tomatoes in oil. It’s a little bit old-fashioned today but we sell a lot of it. That was 25 years ago but you still have places in Sweden where it’s kind of new.” Even after 30 years in business, Mårtensson says he is still very much a “hunter” for new products both at home and abroad. His use of such an active word is spot on, with a good example being his pursuit of the much-hyped Taste #5 Umami paste a few years ago. “Some food critic had written an article in one of the big newspapers that said ‘When I made food with this thing, my kids licked the plates like small Labrador puppies’. I thought ‘God, I need this.’” He received several rebuffs from the brand’s British HQ but eventually got the import deal and ended up shifting 25,000 units in Sweden before the craze fizzled out. On the back of his success with the umami paste, he caught the attention of The Fine Cheese Co and has formed a very strong relationship with the Bath-based business – including being the sole agent in Sweden for its iconic Toast For Cheese and other crackers. Mårtensson and his customers are just as enthusiastic about British cheese. Aside from the seasonal Stilton, Ford Farm’s cave aged farmhouse cheddar is very popular with customers thanks to sweeter flavour notes that appeal. So too, is Applewood Smoked. Selling volume of these cheeses allows Möllans Ost to add more obscure items to UK deliveries. Most recently, it has been showcasing cheeses from Charles Martell, of Stinking Bishop fame,

and even staged a tasting event where they were pairing these with British beer and cider. The line-up also included Cropwell Bishop’s Beauvale, Neal’s Yard Creamery’s Dorstone and Village Maid’s Maida Vale. While Mårtensson is effusive about cheese being made in Denmark – given Copenhagen’s proximity to Malmö (25 minutes on the train) these are effectively local cheeses – he and his team are also champions of their homeland’s output. Swedes do semi-hard and hard sandwich cheeses, such as Präsost, very well and there is also a tradition of semi-hard goat’s “bricks” but Möllans Ost also carries a number of artisan varieties. You may have heard of the Alpine-style Almnäs Tegel, with a footprint branded onto the rind, that came fourth overall in last year’s World Cheese Awards. But there are several more cheesemakers Mårtensson hopes will enter this year – and they could cause a surprise or two. However, there is one catch. “When people compare it with small producers from France or Spain, then the price of the Swedish cheese is double,” he says, adding that sometimes pricing is “horrific” despite it being closer geographically. It is understandable, given that Swedish artisan cheese is relatively in its infancy, but lots of “local” cheesemakers still approach Möllans Ost without factoring in the extra margin that will have to be put on their farm gate prices. “They just don’t understand the business. If they have a small farmhouse shop, they can sell this cheese for €50/kg. That’s not a problem. People will come out to them.” That said, Möllans Ost will not be looking to squeeze any supplier. Swedes in general are less price sensitive and don’t tend to benchmark

independents against the supermarkets. Average spend peaks at €25 during weekends and margins are broadly set at 50%, which is smaller than the 75% you might encounter in Stockholm. The context for these is a 32% labour tax that has to be paid by employers on all wages but consumers aren’t thinking about that. What they expect is a certain level of service. Dahl tells all of her staff that each customer should be treated as though it was their very first visit. She adds: “It doesn’t matter if they’re not going spend that much money, they should get the same experience as everyone else.” Experience is a buzzword that I hear from Dahl and Mårtensson a lot, like I would with lots of retailers back home. Since taking on the space at Saluhall Market, they are able to offer an upgraded version of the original shop. Setting up in the trendy former railway maintenance shed was an uneasy departure for Mårtensson – in fact it’s pretty unique for Sweden. But Dahl’s foodservice experience and determination to get a license to serve wine alongside cheeseboards (not easy when a government-owned retailer has a monopoly on off-sales), convinced him to try it. The move appears to be paying off, and while there won’t be a third branch of Möllans Ost any time soon (“Malin could talk me into it once, but not twice!”), they are planning to start a pop-up service. Having trialled it already, Möllans Ost will soon be taking a mobile counter on the road to large offices to sell cheese to staff during their lunch breaks. “If the customers haven’t got the time to come to us, then we’ll go to them.” By then, you'd hope the streets will be slightly quieter.

When people compare it with small producers from France or Spain, the price of Swedish cheese is double

Malin Dahl Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


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View from HQ

Having invested in the trade’s foremost journos to write this piece on packaging, why should FFD arrive at your desk wrapped in plastic?

By John Farrand managing director


news from the guild of fine food

WE HAVE OFFICIALLY joined the packaging debate. Last month’s excellent piece in FFD has stimulated complaints and conversation, in attempting to unravel the food industry’s confusion. Any retailer who is a packaging-denier is, quite frankly, talking rubbish. Literally. Or not? I can’t work out my own wordplay there. Michael Lane, FFD’s editor, is certainly not a denier. One of

the recycling-related emails that popped into his inbox asked an incredibly fair question. “Having invested in the trade’s foremost journos to write this intelligent, well-informed packaging piece for the mag, why should FFD then arrive on your desk wrapped in plastic?” Even Sir David A himself would chuckle at the irony. Michael bashed his fist on my desk in that way that editors do - at least, they way they do in films. “Why do we wrap it in plastic?”, he boomed. We’d done this research five or six years ago. The stock answer to the why-not-use-turtle-friendlymaterials question is that it costs so bloody much. I’m Mr. Nature with the best of them, but some of the eco-materials cost 10 times as much and I reckon I’d get many more phone calls about the increased price of magazine subs and advertising to reflect that cost. But I was prepared to look again, and put a call into our trusted mailing house. I

asked the being-more-green question; he sighed. I could go for biodegradables or oxobiodegradable. Both more expensive than our current solution. But hold on, I’d opened another can of recyclable frizzle shaped like worms. Both these formats are single-use and there is some concern (not scientifically backed up yet) that they contain chemicals that may well leech into the soil and be naughty. And by its nature this material degrades, so you buy little and often (you can’t store it for any length of time) to wrap your beloved publication, which means more deliveries, which equals more trucks and therefore more diesel. Bugger. And about our current polywrap material? I got a positive response: we use 30-micron polythene, which is fully recyclable and therefore not a single-use plastic. You can pop it in your recycling bin along with any unwanted newspapers or magazines. But hopefully not FFD.


HAPPY TALK A shop’s atmosphere comes mainly from the people behind the counter, and starts with its owners – like a very smiley Clare Jackson of Slate in Suffolk, pictured here. Laughter’s infectious – but so is glumness. If your staff tend to look more harried than happy, ask yourself why.


Want to be a Shop of the Year winner? Feedback from our expert judges reveals those retail details where crucial points are won and lost


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





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

CULL THE DULL Avoid ‘safe’. Stand back and look at your shop and see how you can introduce some ‘wow’, whether that means breaking open a whole gorgonzola for scooping, or mixing unusual non-food gifts or kitchenware in with your food displays. In the warmer months, try cooking a big paella outside on a gas burner ahead of lunchtime to add a summery ‘street food’ vibe.

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

Sales executive: Becky Haskett Sam Coleman Operations manager: Karen Price Operations assistants: Claire Powell, Emily Harris, Janet Baxter, Ellie Jones

PROP IT UP Punchy displays don’t have to cost a fortune. Look around your own home for props that will help create a themed feature or scour secondhand shops for cheap bits of old kitchenware, boxes and baskets. And don’t be afraid to ask suppliers if they have suitable accessories to give your merchandising a lift. We’re smitten by this giant teacup, used as the centrepiece for a tea and biscuits feature at our local Udder Farm Shop.

• Compiled from feedback by retail experts and Insight6 mystery shoppers on visits to shortlisted stores in the Guild of Fine Food’s Shop of the Year competition. Visit for details.

Training & events manager: Jilly Sitch Events manager: Stephanie HareWinton Events assistant: Sophie Brentnall Financial controller: Stephen Guppy

Accounts manager: Denise Ballance Accounts assistant: Julie Coates Chairman: Bob Farrand Director: Linda Farrand

Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


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news from the guild of fine food

The word on

Westminster By Edward Woodall ACS WHOEVER WINS the Conservative leadership election will face three fundamental challenges: delivering Brexit, rebuilding a credible domestic policy agenda and facing down Jeremy Corbyn and Nigel Farage. Delivering Brexit will of course be the priority but there is also the future domestic policy agenda to set out. With the Conservative Party trying to reach beyond its traditional base and display its ‘One Nation’ credentials, we think action on low pay and better working environments will be a central theme. So it is worth watching what the leadership candidates commit to in terms of

wage rates and ensuring workers’ rights are upheld in an increasingly flexible workplace. But candidates need to be mindful of the commitment they make with small retailers’ staff budgets. They also need to be cautious about regulatory reforms to tackle working practices in the gig economy, which might disproportionately impact responsible employers. The objectives of increasing wages and ensuring quality employment are supported and delivered by most

Tory leadership candidates need to be mindful of the commitment they make with small retailers’ staffing budgets small-format retailers. But the real challenges facing our sector from higher operating costs, changing consumer shopping habits and online competition must be factored into policy makers' thinking. This is why we think the role of the Low Pay Commission is really important – an objective body taking evidence from workers, employers and

microbiological data – but under Regulation (EU) 1169/2001 it must provide certain mandatory food information for you to pass on to shoppers. There are slightly different rules depending on the way cheeses are packed. Where a retailer is cutting cheeses at the counter or prepacking them for sale in the shop, they must be able to provide details of the 14 main allergens – gluten, nuts, etc –  although the name “cheese” can be taken to indicate Paul Thomas the presence of milk. Other mandatory information Technical and regulatory must be given by the supplier either advice from the Guild’s in the commercial documents it deli helpline sends with the delivery or, in the case of pre-packs, on the product Q: What info do I need from label itself. cheesemakers to comply with the This includes the names of the Food Information for Consumers cheese and the name and address regulation? One supplier outside the of the supplier; a net weight, a UK tells me it’s not legally obliged to use-by date and any special storage provide a ‘product specification sheet’. requirements. The country or place of origin A: The producer might not be may be required if the cheese’s required under domestic law to give name is otherwise likely to mislead a full ‘product specification sheet’ the consumer – for example, if it – which could include things like implies an origin that is not the

The deli doctor

economists on what increases in wage rates the labour market can sustain. But the debate on low pay is moving at pace. Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer (for now at least), wants an ‘ambitious’ approach to tackling low pay. This means increasing the target for future rates, currently set to reach 60% of median earning (£8.67) by 2020. The new target being considered is 66% of median earnings, which depending on the timeframe means rates could reach beyond £10 by the end of the current parliament. The Conservative leadership candidates would do well to tread cautiously with their campaign commitments or it could come back to bite them. The question they should be asking themselves is: how far can we continue to increase wage rates before it starts to impact on job opportunities? We have continued to see businesses reducing paid staff hours, taking on more hours themselves, reducing profitability and delaying investment. Let us know what you think about the debate on low pay and how your business has been affected by increasing wage rates.

Edward Woodall is head of policy & public affairs at small shops group ACS

source of its main ingredient. There is no need for an ingredients list if the cheese contains only milk, starter cultures, rennet and salt, but you should be given details of any other ingredients – and the quantity of these in the cheese if they appear in its name (eg “truffle cheese”). On pre-packs, allergens can be highlighted in bold in the ingredients list. Otherwise the supplier must give you an allergens declaration. Nutritional declarations are required for everything but certain artisan foods produced in small quantities for local sale, and should list energy (kj and kcal) fat, saturates, carbohydrate, protein and salt. You might also want details not required legally by the regulations – like the breed of milking animal, type of rennet used, suitability for vegetarians and organic status – to share with customers. 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

How “real-time local inventory” data could drive shoppers back to the High Street By Mick Whitworth FOOTFALL could be driven back into the High Street by new technology that shows consumers where branded products they want are available there and then from local shops A report by tech start-up NearSt and trends forecaster The Future Laboratory, High Street Futures, predicts a £9 billion boost to the UK’s 200,000 high street stores by Real-Time Local Inventory (RTLI), an emerging technology that can tell shoppers where products are available in real time. London-based NearSt is currently working with Google on a system using RTLI to point shoppers towards local stockists first when they search online for specific products. The Guild was one of several trade associations given a presentation on NearSt and RTLI at a meeting of the Independent Retail Confederation, whose members range from the Booksellers Association to the Craft Bakers Association and National Federation of Retail Newsagents. According to High Street Futures, RTLI data could deliver a “better experience for both shoppers and shops” by giving direct feedback to stores on which products are being sought by customers in their locality at any time. RTLI currently relies on barcoded products with an industry-standard code, and it is not clear how or whether it could be applied to fresh deli foods. But if only a small proportion of a shop’s bigger selling brands are within the system, it could help drive footfall and encourage impulse purchases in-store. The High Street Futures authors also point to research by web developer Marketing Signals suggesting “85% of UK consumers still prefer to physically purchase products in-store, and 78% like to see and feel products in person before buying online”. Vol.20 Issue 6 | July 2019


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July 2019 | Vol.20 Issue 6


Profile for Guild of Fine Food

FFD July 2019  

FFD July 2019