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DELI OF THE MONTH 52 “If all the farm shops in the country were part of a single company, we’d be massive,” says Rhug’s Jon Edwards

MEXICAN FAVE 19

JAMES SWIFT 25

How Kristen Schnepp quit corporate life to make authentic Mexican cheeses – in Peckham

‘If you asked most small Italian producers how they make their salami, they wouldn’t have a clue’ March 2014 · Vol 15 Issue 2

THE SNACK PACK From popcorn to pistachios, find out what’s new in bagged savoury snacks CHEF’S SELECTION 46 French verjuice and anchovies, Scottish oatmeal and East Anglian split green peas are among Rosie Sykes’ storecupboard essentials

SOFT DRINKS 29 Lynda Searby rounds up the latest premium pops, smoothies, coolers and cordials

NEWS 4 CHEESEWIRE 17 CHARCUTERIE 25 SAVOURY SNACKS 35 PREVIEW: FARM SHOP & DELI 43 SHELF TALK 45 DELI OF THE MONTH 52


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What’s new this month:

Opinion

p4 of this issue, it seems that level of investment is unlikely to come from the current government. She believes a lack of funding for regional food and drink businesses BOB FARRAND contributed to the failure of at least 10 small food producers in the North East of England last year. It may well be a popular Peter Kendall, who is just stepping conception that several of the down after eight years as president once government-funded Regional of the National Farmers Union, claims Food Groups were more partial to the floods this winter are a wake-up squandering money on fat salaries call for a country that has “believed and posh offices than sustaining for too long that producing food local food businesses. Nevertheless, wasn’t a big issue”. they were better than nothing. Jane The rest of the country started believes food and drink is never at to appreciate how big the issue was the top of the government’s list, even the moment scriptwriters on the though it underpins the economy in radio soap The Archers switched to so many ways. a storyline featuring animals being On p25, English charcuterie rescued from flooded farms. producer James Swift reverts to his Do government ministers, or half-French even radio origins to explain listeners born This country needs we Brits into a culture long-term investment in why don’t instinctively where all food is buy homeavailable all year efficient production of every food our climate produced food. round, actually “People need care if 58% allows us to grow, and of England’s an infrastructure capable to know how to with what’s most productive of sustaining the land on cook around, with farmland which it’s nurtured what’s cheap and lies within a what’s seasonal.” floodplain? In other words, foods produced on Surely we’ll carry on importing our local farms and by local businesses. food like we’ve always done? It’s The shame of it is that farmers, probably cheaper, anyway. including those on The Archers, along Peter believes we face a difficult with a good many other concerned future, claiming climate change now souls, have been bleating on about really does challenge mankind’s ability our need for a cohesive strategy for to feed itself. If he’s right, Defra must food, farming and the environment address more than just dredging for at least a decade. Is there no one rivers. This country needs long-term in politics with any long-term vision or investment in efficient production do they really see no further than the of every food our climate allows next election? us to grow or make, alongside an infrastructure capable of sustaining the land on which it’s nurtured and Bob Farrand is publisher of Fine Food the businesses producing it. Digest and chairman of the Guild of Reading Jane Hogan’s views, on Fine Food

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EDITORIAL

GENERAL ENQUIRIES

editorial@finefoodworld.co.uk

Tel: 01747 825200 Fax: 01747 824065 info@finefoodworld.co.uk www.finefoodworld.co.uk

Editor: Mick Whitworth Assistant editor: Michael Lane News editor: Patrick McGuigan Art director: Mark Windsor Editorial production: Richard Charnley Contributors: Clare Hargreaves, Lynda Searby

ADVERTISING advertise@finefoodworld.co.uk Sales manager: Sally Coley Advertisement sales: Becky Stacey, Ruth Debnam Published by Great Taste Publications Ltd and the Guild of Fine Food Ltd Chairman/publisher: Bob Farrand Managing director/associate publisher: John Farrand Director/membership secretary: Linda Farrand Marketing & circulation manager: Tortie Farrand Administrators: Charlie Westcar, Julie Coates, Karen Price Accounts: Stephen Guppy, Denise Ballance, Vicky Missen

Guild of Fine Food, Guild House, 23b Kingsmead Business Park, Shaftesbury Road, Gillingham, Dorset SP8 5FB United Kingdom Fine Food Digest is published 11 times a year and is available on subscription for £45pa inclusive of post and packing. Printed by: Blackmore, Dorset, UK © Great Taste Publications Ltd and The Guild of Fine Food Ltd 2014. Reproduction of whole or part of this magazine without the publisher’s prior permission is prohibited. The opinions expressed in articles and advertisements are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations.

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Editor’s choice

Selected by Mick Whitworth

Easy Bean chickpea crispbread www.easybean.co.uk

I completely missed this brand extension from Easy Bean when it launched at Olympia in September. Luckily, MD and ‘queen of beans’ Christina Baskerville used her new listing with Cotswold Fayre last month to remind me that the one-pot meal maker is also now a baker, and to show me some samples. The fact these ‘crispbreads’ (actually they are quite biscuity) are gluten-free is almost incidental. The three launched so far deliver both texture and flavour, and the Moroccan Spice, speckled with sweet almonds and sunflower, flax and black sesame seeds, is particularly pretty.

For regular news updates from the industry's favourite magazine visit:

p45 www.ffdonline.co.uk Vol.15 Issue 2 · March 2014

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fine food news Regional Food Groups show patchy performance since loss of public funding in 2010

North East local food chief flags creeping effect of funding cuts By PATRICK McGUIGAN

A lack of government investment in regional food and drink threatens to undermine the sector at a time when consumer demand for local food is at an all-time high. According to Jane Hogan, who heads membership organisation TasteClub in the North East, cuts in government funding to Regional Food Groups (RFGs) are now starting to affect businesses on the ground. “The impact of not investing doesn’t hit straight away, it happens 12-24 months down the line,” she said. “I know of 10 independents that went to the wall last year. They lose a contract and don’t have time for business development, which is where RFGs could have helped. “If I had a smidgen of the budget that was previously on offer, we could represent our producers at consumer and business-to-business shows, which would make a big difference.” TasteClub evolved from Taste North East, a company that took over the membership of RFG Northumbria Larder in 2011 after government funding was stopped in 2010. It receives no support from the public purse, financing itself through membership fees, PR services and selling its members’ products online. “Demand for local food has never been greater, but it’s not easy to get it to people,” said Hogan. “Food and drink is never at the top of the government’s list even though it underpins the economy in so many ways.” The move to self-sufficiency has proved too difficult for other RFGs in England since the plug was pulled on government funding. Food NorthWest is no longer active, while Tastes of Anglia was forced to sell its distribution business to Elveden Farm in October and has closed its head office and made staff redundant. Chair Robert Gunn said he planned to rebuild the organisation this year. Norfolk pork pie producer Sarah Pettegree of Bray’s Cottage told FFD confidence was high in the region despite the closure. “It’s one less pillar, but many producers have built Sara Pettegree of Bray’s Cottage: Producers have built their own informal support networks

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March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2

England comes off poorly in public funding stakes

Government cash has dried up as demand for local food hits an all-time high Jane Hogan of TasteClub: Small firms are going to the wall due to lack of business development

their own informal networks through things like Twitter,” she said. “We’re quite comfortable representing ourselves and helping each other in our own little ways.” The South East Food Group Partnership also dramatically scaled back its activities last April and stopped all membership services. Sussex cheese and pasta producer Rob Bookham said the support was

missed. “Hampshire Fare still provides a good service and there are a few networking groups, but it’s all quite piecemeal,” he said. “The South East needs a regional food group to help with the technical stuff and things like meet-the-buyers.” Food groups that have managed to carve a future for themselves include Heart of England Fine Foods, which moved to Shrewsbury College last year and has launched its own delivery service. Taste of the West also launched a new export sales and marketing service last year, while East Midlands Fine Foods, part of the region’s Food and Drink Forum, has seen success with monthly regional and speciality markets.

Rethink for Yorkshire region’s RFG Deliciouslyorkshire has unveiled a new ‘back to basics’ strategy focusing on communication, events and networking. The new direction comes after the RFG relocated to new offices at the Regional Agricultural Centre at the Great Yorkshire Showground and announced Annual Deliciousyorkshire awards several changes to its board at the are among the projects under review end of last year. “We can’t go and get government handouts any more so we’ve kept it really simple and made sure we’re offering our members really good quality,” said Sarah Puckett, MD of Puckett’s Pickles, who recently joined the board along with Adam Palmer of Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil. The new strategy will see regular monthly networking events for members, which will be communicated through the organisation’s website, emails and newsletters. Other initiatives include a subsidised course for food producer members on upcoming changes to labelling legislation, a new-format meet-the-producer event, introducing suppliers to retailers, and changes to the organisation’s annual awards, which will be announced shortly.

While English Regional Food Groups have had varying degrees of success in becoming self-sufficient, Scottish producers are still benefiting from generous support from the devolved government. Scotland’s Food Minister Richard Lochhead announced £1.6m of funding to support Scottish food and drink exports in December. The four-year project will help build supply chains to overseas countries, but also to other parts of the UK. Last month, Scotland Food and Drink hosted a ‘new producer showcase’ in London as part of its Route to Market Programme, which has already seen producers attend a one-day workshop and two-day ‘learning journey’ on targeting the South East. Grants totalling £47m have also been awarded to 175 Scottish food and drink manufacturers since 2009 under the Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation scheme. Wales is currently consulting on an action plan for its food and drink industry that would grow sales by 30% by 2020, while Northern Ireland launched its Going for Growth plan for the agri-food sector last year, aiming to increase sales by 60% by 2020.

Richard Lochhead: £1.6m backing for Scottish food exports

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Factory tour makes online Groupon deal a winner for paté maker Patchwork By PATRICK McGUIGAN

The Patchwork Traditional Food Co is encouraging other artisan food and drink companies to consider offering Groupon deals after findng a way to profit from the online offers scheme. The Ruthin-based paté producer sold nearly 200 hampers in the runup to Christmas via a Groupon offer that guaranteed customers at least a 50% saving on the retail price. On its own this would not have been financially worthwhile, but by Adding value through factory tours offsets heavy discounting of hampers, says Patchwork

charging for a factory tour as part of the deal, which actually costs Patchwork nothing except time, the company was able to make a healthy return. The deal was also a chance to raise its profile with new customers and boost sales in its factory shop. “Groupon wants you to give a 50% discount and then they take 50% of what’s left, so it would have meant we were selling our hampers at 25% of the retail price, which is barely enough to break even,” said financial director Jenny Whitham. “But by combining it with a tour

when people come to collect their hamper, the figures added up.” For example, Patchwork was able to offer its Christmas Feast Hamper, which normally retails for £28, for £25 through Groupon because it also included a discounted tour for two people (the list price for a tour is normally £30). The tours are conducted by Patchwork founder Margaret Carter and cost nothing to put on except her time. They are a great way to introduce the brand to a new audience, said Whitham, while the company’s factory shop/café, which majors on Welsh food and drink gifts, also got a big boost. Sales were up 58% in January compared to the year before. “We reckon most people spent £20 in the shop, which is great during January when it’s often quiet,” she said. “Any established food business with a story to tell could do the same. It’s a great way of getting people to buy into what you do.”

Cotswolds’ Broadway Deli steps onto a bigger stage One of the Cotswolds’ most respected delis has relocated to much larger premises, enabling it to expand its shop, café and range of homemade foods. Broadway Deli in Worcestershire, which was set up in 2002 by Louise Hunt and Alan Frimley, was originally located in a listed building

The new Broadway Deli is three times the size of the original business

on the village green, but moved to another historic site on the high street just before Christmas. Dating back to the 17th century, the deli’s new home, called St Patrick’s, is three times the size of the previous shop, with a large wellkept garden. “The building is at the centre of the village with quite a lot of tourists coming to visit, so we’re hoping to become a destination,” said Hunt. “The extra space has given us the opportunity to go into things like homeware and flowers and we’re planning to do events in the garden.” The site has two kitchens, one of which will be used to produce homemade meals, cakes and quiches for sale through the shop, while the coffee shop will be able to seat 18 with space for more in the garden. The shop also features a gallery with pictures from wellknown artist Jeremy Houghton.

IN BRIEF l From April 5, all UK workplaces must display the updated Health & Safety Law poster. The re-designed posters feature a hologram and serial number in the bottom right corner to certify that they are genuine. They are available to buy from equipment supplier Slingsby. www.slingsby.com

l Waitrose plans to open 26 new stores in 2014 and expand selling space by 350,000 sq ft. The plans represent a significant step up in investment from 2013 when the retailer opened 13 stores. Confirmed locations for supermarkets include Teignmouth, Edenbridge, Keynsham, Locks Heath, Sherborne, Hove, Leek, Swindon, Hereford, Egham, Malmesbury and Chester. It will also open 11 ‘little Waitrose’ stores throughout the year.

l Fortnum & Mason has scrapped plans to sell foie gras at its new Dubai store, which opens this month, following a PETA campaign spearheaded by former James Bond star Sir Roger Moore. The animal activist group released an Arabic advertisement, claiming the product is not Halal because geese are under stress when they are slaughtered during the production process.

l Selfridges is in talks with Italian food hall and restaurant group Eataly to bring the concept to London, according to the Evening Standard. The company currently has 26 branches around the world, including one in New York. An Eataly spokeswoman told the newspaper that it was “looking at a possible opening in London in the 2016 time frame” but would not comment further.

l After around four years of

KNEE-LY FAMOUS: Farm shop owner Charlie Hughes celebrated winning the Farmer of the Year title at the Sussex Food and Drink Awards by successfully proposing to his girlfriend Sarah Butler. After collecting his award he got down on one knee to pop the question, with cheers filling the room at the Amex Stadium as she accepted. Hughes opened Charlie’s Farm Shop last year, specialising in raw milk produced on the farm. Other winners at the awards included Veasey and Sons Fishmonger in Forest Row, which was named Best Sussex Food Shop, while Goodwood Home Farm in Chichester won the Best Producer category.

decline, organic sales are beginning to bounce back. Bob Sexton, chief executive of certification at the Soil Association, said that annual sales of products carrying the Soil Association organic logo were growing by 5.3%. The horsemeat scandal and an EU-backed marketing campaign have helped boost sales.

l The Norwegian Seafood Council has teamed up with Harrods and Booths to promote Skrei, a premium cod, which is in season from January to April. The fish, supplied by Direct Seafoods, will be sold on both retailers’ counters and will be promoted via tastings. For regular news updates from FFD visit:

www.ffdonline.co.uk Vol.15 Issue 2 · March 2014

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! E ES IN K U OR MI ITUT EN Y A ST G EW TR UB S N PAS O

T EP CC A

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01582 590999 www.westphalia.co.uk • Family company established 1977 • BRC certified at the highest level • Over 1000 products • Specialists in quality cooked meats and continental charcuterie • Full range of British and continental cheeses also supplied • Vast selection for the deli counter and retail packs for the chilled cabinet • FREE delivery anywhere in England & Wales (Ts & Cs apply)

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March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2


fine food news Great Taste calls for more wine makers

IN BRIEF l Retail display and merchandising specialist WBC has outgrown its HQ in Brixton, South London, and has relocated to a new warehouse in Croydon and new offices in Herne Hill. The company said that customers will no longer be able to amend orders after placing them and it will not offer collection of orders from the warehouse. Apart from its address, all contact details remain the same.

l The Pantry at Potterspury has launched a home delivery service. The farm shop will deliver within a 20-mile radius free of charge on orders over £20. Customers can also pick up orders at the shop.

l Last month saw the launch of FoodSwitch, a smartphone app that enables UK consumers to make healthier food and drink choices. Consumers can scan product barcodes to reveal ‘traffic light’ nutritional information about it and as well as stats for alternative products. Users can add further information to the FoodSwitch system via their phones.

NO CONCESSIONS: (l-r) butcher George Taylor, Country Harvest MD Mike Clark and bakery manager Angela Danskin

Country Harvest takes butcher and baker in-house By PATRICK McGUIGAN

l The UK’s eating out sector is forecast to grow 3% in value over the next 12 months to £82.5bn, the highest level of growth since the recession began, according to a survey by Allegra Foodservice. However, the majority of respondents believed a full economic recovery will not take hold until the second half of 2015. For regular news updates from FFD visit:

www.ffdonline.co.uk

Dales deli and café Country Harvest has acquired a local bakery and brought its butchery counter inhouse to improve self-sufficiency – a move that MD Mike Clark predicts is likely to be replicated by others in the future. The company had previously run its meat counter on a concession basis, but has now employed young butcher George Taylor to run the department on the shop’s behalf. At the same time it has acquired supplier Oakroyd Bakery and its shop in Bentham after the owner retired. “Acquiring our own butcher

If I'd known then what I know now...

and the bakery ensures our selfsufficiency and creates a wealth of development potential,” said Clark. “Margin is obviously important, but now we are able to provide an improved range of products for our customers. Ultimately you will improve sales if you are selling a better quality product at a much better price. We’ll absolutely see other delis and farm shops doing this in the future.” Country Harvest celebrated its 20th anniversary last year by redeveloping its foodhall, adding new customer toilets and upgrading its 65-seater coffee shop.

after year four or five. We were aware of it before, but it was only when the volumes started increasing that it became important. When you’re making and selling 70 pies a day it adds up over a week. We now IAN JAMES MELROSE AND MORGAN, LONDON have a simple Excel spreadsheet where you type in a recipe and it works out the costing for you. beginning. It was all delicious, but in We opened the first shop in As you grow, the business terms of margins, costings, recipes Primrose Hill in 2004 and a second becomes more demanding. When and whether products would be in Hampstead in 2010. We’ve also we started we thought it was a staying with us for any length of started supplying Selfridges. Last lifestyle change, but it’s become time, we needed to be clearer on year we made all their own-brand quite big business. We’re looking at what we wanted them to make. Christmas puddings in our kitchen. a turnover of nearly £2m this year We’re much tighter with That was a big job – we’re talking and we employ 35 people. margins now. We know how much thousands of puddings. In our first shop we had an open each dish costs down to the last Around 60% of what we sell in kitchen and customers could have penny, including any packaging, the the shops we make ourselves. That that immediate connection with label that goes on it and the time it was what we always wanted. I’d the food. As the economies of scale takes to make. The penny dropped worked in the restaurant business kicked in, we had and Nick Selby, my partner, had a to find a production background in photography but had We know how much each dish kitchen, which is just also worked in kitchens. That was costs down to the last penny, around the corner, what the customers really went for. including any packaging, and the but customers think We gave our chefs a huge time it takes to make you’ve stopped amount of free rein in the

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Great Taste is seeking smaller wine makers to enter this year’s awards, with a view to introducing their wines to delis and farm shops across the UK. Alistair Morrell, director at The Wine Fusion, is backing the initiative and said it is “a timely opportunity” for producers who have seen their independent customer base shrink in recent years. “It’s a fact that the independent wine retailer is becoming as scarce as hen’s teeth on the high street,” he said, “So what we can do is to take the world of wine into other independent retailers who understand Great Taste and its ethics. “Wine needs to get more involved and benefit from the opportunities Great Taste offers”. Entries into Great Taste will be accepted until March 21. www.finefoodworld.co.uk

Alistair Morrell wants to see more wines entered into Great Taste 2014

making your own food. You’ve got to re-engage with them and explain that your food is still “made in Chalk Farm”. Finding a great designer and going on a journey with them has also been invaluable. In terms of creativity they really help, and for us it is very much about brand building. Our first book is being published in the autumn. We’d been approached before and had always said no, but in terms of using it as a brand building tool we should have got in there earlier and got our brand out as wide and as far as we could. The same is true of the Great Taste awards. We entered last year and came away with four awards from six products and it’s been brilliant because customers recognise it. We should have got our products into the awards six years ago. Interview by PATRICK McGUIGAN

Vol.15 Issue 2 · March 2014

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fine food news new openings

Opening or expanding a shop? Email details to editorial@finefoodworld.co.uk

Deli and wine bar joins South London food boom

At a glance l Owner Simon Lyons ran a florist on Bermondsey Street called Igloo for many years, which he converted into B Street Deli. There are still three other branches of Igloo at The Shard, Clapham and Liverpool Street station. He is also setting up a diner in the area.

l The shop stocks cheeses from the Fine Cheese Co in Bath, charcuterie from Bellota and Eridge Park Farm and smoked salmon from the Weald Smokery. Wines come from small boutique producers, while spirits include Bermondsey gin and a range of fine cognacs including Voyer, Delamain and Louis Royer. Other suppliers include Bread Ahead, Konditor & Cook (cakes) and the Ham and Cheese Co (cheese). B Street is on Bermondsey Street, near Borough and Maltby Street markets

l The shop also caters for A new deli on Bermondsey Street in South London is making the most of the area’s burgeoning foodie reputation by operating as a wine bar in the evening. Critically acclaimed restaurants such as Pizarro, Zucca and CasseCroute have opened on the street in recent years, while the construction of The Shard at nearby London Bridge and the popularity of Borough and Maltby Street markets have helped turn what was a rundown area into a foodie destination.

The Cheese Yard

The Quality Chop House Clerkenwell, London

Knutsford, Cheshire

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such a foodie street that people are travelling from all over to visit,” said Lyons. “We’re blurring the boundaries so we can cater to local people who want to buy bread and cheese during the day, but can also serve wine and plates of charcuterie to people who visit the area in the evening after being at Borough and Maltby Street.” The way the deli has been designed, with it reclaimed wood and quirky interior features, means the space works just as well at night as during the day, he added.

B Street Deli, which has been set up by local entrepreneur Simon Lyons, is taking full advantage of the street’s transformation. During the day, the shop sells a full range of deli products, such as cheese, charcuterie and artisan bread. It also serves small-batch coffee and cakes at the 16-cover counter that runs the length of the shop. In the evening, the space acts as a wine bar, with locals and visitors tucking into deli platters. “In the past three to five years, Bermondsey Street has become

By PATRICK McGUIGAN

This restaurant has expanded its premises on Farringdon Road by opening a food shop and butcher’s. The store stocks meat from the same suppliers used by head chef Shaun Searley in the restaurant, as well as everyday essentials, such as milk, eggs and bread, plus takeaway

sandwiches and ready meals. It also sells pickles, preserves, cordials and infusions made in the kitchen and plans to host regular butchery, baking and wine-tasting masterclasses. Oliver Seabright, previously of The Ginger Pig and Barbecoa, is head butcher.

meetings, parties and events and delivers within a 10 minute walking radius. Lyons plans to set up a central catering kitchen nearby to produce more products in house.

“We turn the lights down, change the music and it looks really warm and cosy from the outside. It’s packed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, so it’s definitely worth paying the extra staff costs to stay open longer.” www.bstreetdeli.co.uk

Claremont Farm The Wirral

The Cheese Yard is the brainchild of former Co-op cheese buyer Sarah Peak, whose career in the food industry also includes working for a bakery and Dairy Gold in Dublin. The shop houses a large cheese room and tasting café where customers can order platters, cheese and wine samplers and sandwiches. It also stocks local chutneys and preserves, breads, oils, chocolate, gourmet pies and sausage rolls. “I’ve worked in buying and marketing for many years and by far my most enjoyable time was when I was a cheese buyer,” said Peak.

Claremont plans to open the country’s first drivethru farm shop in May. It is building a new shop and café, which is three times the size of its current retail area, and a key part of the project will be a facility to allow customers to drive up to the building and collect online orders. If successful, this could be expanded to include the kind of microphone ordering system traditionally seen in drive-thru fast food restaurants. “People are under such time constraints that they don’t always have the time to come to the shop,” said owner Andrew Pimbley (pictured).

www.cheeseyard.co.uk

www.claremontfarm.co.uk

March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2

www.thequalitychophouse.com


HALL

1& 2 ENTRAN CE VIA H ALL 2

YORKSH EVENT C IRE EN HARROG TRE ATE HG2 8PW

BAGS OF INSPIRATION BE INSPIRED AT THE HARROGATE SPECIALITY FOOD SHOW: • Great Taste judging – come and see how our judging process works •D  eliciouslyorkshire @ Harrogate Speciality Food Show – a meet the producer event • Source new specialities to refresh your range • Taste rival brands and compare prices • Meet producers face to face and learn more about the products you stock • Benefit from exclusive show offers • Gain expert business advice and support • Take part in seminars and tutored tastings in the Fine Food Live theatre • Watch suppliers pitch to big-name food buyers in our live Feed The Dragon sessions • Benefit from easy access and free parking at the Yorkshire Event Centre

‘‘I enjoyed meeting so many great producers and the show was very useful for me - I made several fantastic contacts. Thanks for letting me join the fun.’’ John David Harmon, Speciality Coordinator, Whole Foods Market

CRACKING CHRISTMAS

Getting it right in December can save your year. Come and learn how you can crack Christmas trading from two retailers who have over 20 years between them. Monday 23 June 10.30 – 2pm Hall 2 £45 + VAT Book your place TODAY 01747 825200

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Delis, Farmshop, Foodhalls, Garden Centres, Pubs & restaurants, Hotels, Cafes & coffee shops, Butchers, Bakers, High-end grocers, Heritage & gift shops

This is a trade show. Students by prior arrangement only.

REGISTER NOW FOR YOUR FREE VISITOR PASS AT

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fine food news FSA plans to limit raw milk sales to farm gate By MICHAEL LANE

It looks unlikely that Selfridges will be reinstating the raw milk vending machine in its London food hall anytime soon after the Food Standards Agency outlined plans to limit future sales to the farm gate. Dairy farmers would be allowed to continue selling unpasteurised milk directly to consumers but not through other retailers, under the FSA’s preferred proposal in a document published in late January. The FSA said it was in favour of farmers selling raw milk and cream via the internet or from vending machines in farm shops but wanted third-party sales to remain illegal. Other proposals contained in the document – which is the result of an extensive review and is now subject to public consultation – include lifting all current sales restrictions or a blanket ban on the products. Any changes to the law would

The FSA is considering several options for the sale of raw milk

only apply to England, Wales and Northern Ireland as the sale of raw milk is already banned in Scotland. While the FSA was carrying out its review, Selfridges and Sussex farmer Stephen Hook were both charged in January 2013 with breaching food hygiene laws after selling milk from a vending machine in the retailer’s London store. As a result, the vending machine was removed and all charges were

subsequently dropped. FSA head of policy Steve Wearne said: “The FSA’s view remains that pasteurisation is the best way to address the risk from raw milk because this will destroy any germs that might cause illness. “However, we acknowledge there is a market for raw milk and strong support for consumers to be allowed to make informed choices. Our preferred approach therefore seeks to strike the right balance between allowing consumer choice and protecting public health.” As part of the consultation process on the raw milk regulations, the FSA plans to hold a public meeting where interested parties will be invited to discuss their views. The proposals are subject to a full public consultation and the FSA is asking for responses to be submitted by April 30 2014. www.food.gov.uk

Highlands & Islands awards open for entry Organisers of the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards are already accepting entries for 2014 in 12 categories – an earlier start to the process than in previous years. The awards will be supported once again by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and sponsored by wine and whisky wholesaler Gordon & MacPhail. Stephen Rankin (pictured), the company’s director of UK sales, said: “The awards really help to put the Highlands & Islands on the map as a region renowned for quality produce.” Entries can be submitted until Wednesday April 23. The shortlisted finalists will be announced in late June, and the awards dinner will be held on Friday October 24 at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness. To enter and for more information visit: www.hifoodanddrinkawards.com

Ludlow deli to open with new name and look It has taken nearly a year to find new owners but Ludlow’s well-known Deli on the Square is to open under a new name – Harp Lane. Henry Mackley (pictured), formerly the cheesemonger at Ludlow Food Centre, has bought the premises together with his wife Hannah and business partner Lydia Underhill. After longtime owner Maggie Wright handed over the keys in February, the business closed for refurbishment and will open in the spring. While Harp Lane will remain a deli, the new team is adding a small casual dining room on the building’s second floor and installing an on-site kitchen.

Delilah seeks new deputy

www.harplane.com

TALKING SHOP: The recently opened Cranstons Food Hall at Orton Grange played host to Chancellor George Osborne during a brief visit to Carlisle last month. He sampled a selection of Cumbrian products – including Herdwick lamb, Appleby Creamery’s Eden Chieftan cheese and Saunders chocolates – but was particularly enthralled by Cranstons’ Traditional Cumberland Sausage. Manager Peter Potts (pictured with Osborne) said: “He was amazed at the amount of sausage we sell in a week and seemed to find it amusing that we Cumbrians buy our Cumberland in large quantities.”

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Nottingham deli Delilah Fine Foods is looking for a someone to take up the role of assistant manager to help oversee the running of its 70-cover café and food bar. The retailer wants to see applications from people with previous retail or foodservice experience and a good knowledge of food and wine. As well as having strong IT skills and understanding of health and safety procedures, candidates should also be comfortable with managing a team and training those working under their supervision. Those interested should apply, with CV, to general manager Nik Tooley on food@delilahfinefoods. co.uk www.delilahfinefoods.co.uk

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Visit the Bizerba stand (Hall 20, F280) for an open exchange of ideas about the up-to-the-minute challenges and innovations in the retail sector. Our four main focuses, which together sum up what really matters in today's world of retail: Open Technology, Shopper Experience, Energy Efficiency and Process Improvement. Vol.15 Issue 2 · March 2014

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fine food news New food park would include units for artisan producers, building on Loaf bakery model

Brewer awaits go-ahead for 13-acre food park By LYNDA SEARBY

Leicestershire brewer and property owner Everards hopes to unveil detailed plans this summer for a multi-million pound food and drink destination at Soar Valley Park, on the outskirts of Leicester, that would include a number of start-up units for artisan food producers. As well as relocating its own brewery to the 13-acre food park in Enderby, the family-owned, independent brewer aims to attract “like-minded” food and drink businesses to take space on the site. “We want to create a new craft brewery and work with other food and drink businesses to build a thriving hub that enhances the region’s food and drink credentials,” said Everards MD Stephen Gould. Outline planning permission for the scheme was granted in July 2013, but Everards is still awaiting full approval. If it goes ahead, it will be the latest chapter in a business strategy that has already seen Everards working with microbrewers to transform ailing pubs into thriving real ale-focused pubs. Since 2007, it has helped 29 small breweries in Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Birmingham and Leicestershire open their own pubs.

The planned site at Soar Valley Park would include a craft brewery and artisan food units

Everards purchases a suitable property, works with the partner to make it fit for purpose and then allows the tenants to run the refreshed building as their own property whilst offering business support. “When the formula is right it pays off for both parties,” said Gould. Everards says it is also keen to extend this model to food and drink producers, and has one success story – craft bakery Loaf – under its belt to provide a template. Loaf was founded in 2009 by 30-year-old NHS nutritionist Tom Baker, who set up a cookery school and bread-making business in the kitchen of his two-up, two-

Cains scheme to link Liverpool’s producers with consumers By LYNDA SEARBY

In Liverpool’s Baltic quarter, the £150m development of Cains Brewery Village includes provision for a large open-plan retail hall for artisan businesses to make and sell produce on site. The scheme, which will see the restoration of the Grade II listed brewery building to its former glory, received planning approval in November 2013 and is expected to be complete by summer 2016. Talking about the plans for the retail hall, Sudargahara Dusanj, director of Cains BrewCains Brewery Village will include ery Village, said: “There will be craft brewing on-site artisan food on site, and this could be complemented by production chocolatiers, cheese-makers, coffee roasters and other artisan food businesses. It’s all about taking ingredients and creating great products on site, helping consumers make the link between product and producer.” He added: “The next stage is to talk to artisan operators. The Baltic quarter is an up-and-coming creative area and the retail hall has many architectural features like 100ft high ceilings and carved iron girders. It will be a cool place to be.” www.breweryvillage.com

down home near Stirchley, south Birmingham. His home-based business quickly grew to capacity, and, with his ovens creaking under the strain of baking 50-60 loaves every Friday, Baker realised Loaf needed to move to the high street. Everards heard about Loaf through the Real Bread Campaign, and made contact with Tom Baker. “Stephen Gould called and told me he wanted to buy a property, co-develop it with me and then give me the keys so I could run Loaf from it,” he said. A little suspicious and on the verge of signing a lease elsewhere, Baker initially said no, then, after thinking it through, decided to meet up with Stephen Gould. Everards bought the property that was to become Loaf HQ in November 2011 and developed it in partnership with Tom Baker. Today, Loaf’s cookery courses are fully booked, fresh bread sales are going well and the business has

posted a profit for its first year on the high street. Baker has no regrets about choosing this route to growing his business: “Working with Everards has given us a platform to do something much bigger than we otherwise would have done. Without Everards we would have had to raise the money ourselves, and we would have ended up with a much smaller space.” Asked whether he has felt ‘restricted’ by the relationship with Everards, Baker said that, on the contrary, the arrangement had given him lots of freedom. “It’s a traditional landlord and tenant relationship but with the advantage that the landlord has an interest in food and drink and not just collecting rent. “I think it’s fairly unique for a big business to choose to invest their money in property in this way and support smaller businesses but it’s a brilliant idea and I don’t know why no one else has thought of it.” www.everards.co.uk

Loaf bakery, a partnership between Everards and Matt Baker (centre), could provide a model for other small producers Vol.15 Issue 2 · March 2014

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March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2

The Grumpy Mule coffee range includes ground coffee, coffees beans and gift tins for both retail and wet coffee sales. With Fairtrade, organic and unique coffees available, this is the coffee of choice for today’s coffee lover. The Roastery, Bent Ley Industrial Estate, Holmfirth, HD9 4EP.

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A promotional feature on behalf of Food & Drink Wales

Rich and Diverse – Welsh Food and Drink Visit the Food & Drink Wales stands in Birmingham and Manchester

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ales is a country with a rich and diverse range of food and drink producers. They are a key part of the Welsh economy and their produce tastes great! You have a chance to try some of these fabulous products at trade shows this spring. You will find Welsh food producers at Food & Drink Expo and Northern Restaurant and Bar. Wales has a population of 3 million; 170,000 are employed in the food and drink supply chain, the single largest employer in Wales. £17.8 billion of sales revenue is generated by this dynamic sector. Welsh producers include; traditional

family businesses of all sizes – and new innovative food businesses, spanning across all sectors, keep emerging - to join these long standing enterprises.

Wales stands at Food & Drink Expo in Birmingham, with a smaller stand representing a cross-section of the food culture of Wales at Northern Restaurant and Bar. The stands come with the added addition of support from the Welsh Government Food Division - the team can discuss your specific interests and point you in the direction of individual producers that have the product that your business needs. There will be something for retailers, chefs and caterers. The Welsh Government Food Division is continually matching needs of customers to skills of producers. Food is a priority for the Welsh Government and the industry is being supported to develop and move in positive new directions - embracing new technology and advancements in research and development to place Wales at the forefront of the food and drink industry. www.wales.com/business

Established, new and quite simply innovative There will be around 35 businesses from Wales on the Food & Drink Visit Food & Drink Wales at Food & Drink Expo (stands L160, L161, M178 and M180) and at Northern Restaurant and Bar (stand F22).

WE INVITE YOU TO THE FOOd & drINk WalEs sTaNds aT: • Northern Restaurant and Bar 2014 Manchester Central on 18-19 March | Stand F22 • Food & Drink Expo 2014, located at entrance to Hall 6, NEC Birmingham, 24-26 March | Stands L160, L161 & M180 CONTaCT Us aT: business.wales.gov.uk | 03000 622 513 | RA-MDU@wales.gsi.gov.uk

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cheesewire Unsung heroes Hidden gems from British producers

news & views from the cheese counter

German bergkäse inspires Dumfriesshire start-up By PATRICK McGUIGAN

Lincolnshire Red In a nutshell: Lincolnshire Poacher, made by FW Read & Sons in Alford, is a modern British classic, but the company developed a Red Leicester-style cheese four years ago. It was prompted by requests at farmers’ markets from customers who wanted a cheese that was not as strong as Lincolnshire Poacher. Made with raw milk and vegetarian rennet, it is matured for around six months in 9kg half wheels. Flavour and texture: It has a moist creamy texture with a delicate, buttery flavour and a clean finish that lingers on your palate. History: Brothers Simon and Tim Jones are fourth generation farmers with around 230 Holstein cows, which graze the lush pastures on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Cheese-making was started by Simon in 1992 after he returned home from agricultural college, and Tim joined in 2000. The head cheese-maker is Richard Tagg. Cheese care: Once cut, the cheese should be stored at below 8°C and has a shelf life of 2-3 weeks. Why should I stock it? It’s a good cheese to compare and contrast with other farmhouse Red Leicesters, such as Sparkenhoe and Westcombe Red. It would also sell well alongside Lincolnshire Poacher. Perfect partners? Tim Jones likes his with a dollop of farmhouse chutney and glass of Sauternes. Where to buy? Carron Lodge and direct from the farm: www. lincolnshirepoachercheese.com FFD features a different ‘unsung hero’ from Specialist Cheesemakers’ Association members each month. To get involved, contact: patrick.mcguigan@finefoodworld.co.uk

A Dumfriesshire dairy farmer plans to make a hard Alpine-style cheese using raw milk from his own herd of Brown Swiss cows after being inspired by visits to German cheesemakers. Gavin Lochhead of Beyond the Burn in Mouswald visited Germany on trips organised by cheese equipment and ingredient supplier Jongia and was so impressed with the country’s hard mountain cheeses, known as bergkäse, that he decided to make his own version. The cheese will be made in 5kg rounds using raw milk from the farm’s own herd of 150 pedigree Brown Swiss cows, which are tended by Lochhead’s son Jonathan. The breed, which originates from Switzerland, has long been a favourite with cheese-makers on the Continent because it produces milk that is high in protein. “We decided to make a bergkäse because it fitted with the cows and I really liked the cheese when I went on the Jongia trips,” said Lochhead. “We plan to sell to farm shops where there is big demand for local and Scottish products. There are plenty of

Gavin Lochead (left) is planning to make a hard Alpine-style cheese using milk from a Brown Swiss herd tended by his son Jonathan (right)

Scottish cheeses out there, but not many people making Continentalstyle cheeses, so hopefully there is a gap in the market.” Production of the new cheese, which is called Kedar after the herd’s pedigree name, will begin in April following the construction of a new cheese-making facility at the farm, which is being part-funded by a grant from the Scotland Rural Development Programme. The company has invested around £45,000 in equipment from

New Reading outlet to champion beer with cheese By PATRICK McGUIGAN

The owners of a new shop in Reading are encouraging cheese enthusiasts to put down their wine glasses and pick up a pint instead after opening a specialist ale and cheese store. The Grumpy Goat, which has been set up by Charlie Beatty and Anne-Marie Whitehouse, stocks around 40 ales, including a large range from local brewers such as Two Cocks and Siren. These are matched with British cheeses from producers including Two Hoots and Village Maid.

“Being lovers of both cheese and ale, we wanted to celebrate the pairing of the two as we believe it rivals the matching of cheese and wine,” said Whitehouse. “There is a big ale-loving contingent in Reading and the CAMRA Reading Beer Festival in the spring attracts over 14,000 people. There are no other cheese or specialist ale shops in Reading and we wanted to fill that gap.” Beatty previously worked in property project management and Whitehouse is a former teacher. www.thegrumpygoat.co.uk

The Grumpy Goat carries around 40 ales alongside a selection of cheeses

Jongia, including a 1,500-litre ASTA cheese vat, a curd mill, pre-pressing vat and movable cheese press. As well as the semi-hard cheese, which will be matured for at least three months, Lochhead plans to make mozzarella by hand and a cheddar-style cheese. The facilities will also be used by another local cheese-maker to make halloumi and Greek yoghurt, trial batches of which have already been well received by local restaurants and pubs.

World beating Spanish cheese debuts in UK A Spanish ewes’ milk cheese that was recently named one of the best in the world has been launched in the UK. Torta Hacienda Zorita is made by the Haciendas Company with raw milk from the rare Churra breed of sheep on a 300ha estate in the Duero Valley, close to Salamanca. The cheese won a Supergold award at the 2013 World Cheese Awards – one of only 58 cheeses to receive the accolade out of more than 2,700 entries. It is now available in the UK through the company’s restaurant Zorita’s Kitchen in London and wholesale to retailers. The cheese is made using cardoon (wild thistle) flowers instead of rennet and is matured for two months. It has a clean lactic flavour with sweet hints of cereal and a smooth texture, according to the company. www.the-haciendas.com

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Speciality Food Charity Ball

Hosted by Paul Hargreaves Founder & MD of Cotswold Fayre

FRIDAY 4TH JULY 2014 We would like to invite you to join us in raising funds to support two very worthy causes, Bala Children’s Centre in Kenya and local Berkshire charity Daisy’s Dream. This event is a superb networking opportunity for anyone in the speciality food world. If you would like details of available sponsorship packages or to reserve tickets please contact ashton@cotswold-fayre.co.uk

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cheesewire

Queso de Peckham Interview

When she saw a market for authentic Mexican cheese, Kristen Schnepp quit her corporate job and set up a dairy in a railway arch in South London. She talks to PATRICK McGUIGAN about her new life.

Kristen Schnepp makes three cheeses at her Gringa Dairy including the fresh cows’ milk Queso Fresco

K

risten Schnepp swapped smart suits for cheese-makers’ whites just under a year ago when she left corporate life to set up Gringa Dairy – a Mexican cheese business that operates under a railway arch in Peckham, South London. Despite feeling like “a fashion nightmare” from time to time, Schnepp has no regrets about changing career. “I was in very well-paid corporate life and now I’m messy and poor,” she says. “I was 44 and woke up and thought, ‘Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you like it’. I had done what I was supposed to and it finally got to that point where it was time for me to do what I wanted.” The daughter of a gourmet food broker, Schnepp grew up in the central valley of California, surrounded by culture and food brought by Mexican migrant workers who have long gone to the area to work in agriculture. Her career in the financial services sector, dealing with corporate strategy and business development, took her to San Francisco, before a move to the UK in 2008 where she spotted a growing interest in authentic Mexican food. “Over the past five years not only has the quantity of Mexican food increased, quality has also dramatically increased,” she says. “It made sense that, while chefs could

supplying restaurants, but it means get dried and canned goods [from planning production can be tricky, Mexico], they were never going to be so Schnepp has worked to build the able to import dairy. So I thought this retail side of the business. is an opportunity. Chefs are going to “Retail is much smoother growth. start looking towards cheese.” You bring on a restaurant and you She started out making Queso have to meet their needs straight Fresco, a fresh cows’ milk cheese a bit away,” she explains. like halloumi that has a salty kick and Customers include Bambuni is used for crumbling over enchiladas and the General Store in Peckham, and huevos rancheros. Two other while sales through online retailer short shelf life cheeses have been Cool Chile are also added since then. Queso Chihuahua You can’t just import growing. Retail now is a melting cheese techniques from Mexico accounts for around of sales and that is thought because some of them 20% there are deals to to have inspired are illegal here supply Whole Foods Monterey Jack in and Selfridges in the US and Queso the pipeline, which will boost the Oaxaca is a raw milk string cheese, percentage even higher. much like mozzarella. Gringa also Peckham is not overly blessed makes a spread called Queso Luchito with cows, so milk comes from the by mixing cream cheese with Gran Commonwork Organic Farm in Kent. Luchito chilli paste. Schnepp has to rise at 4am to arrive The Capital’s Mexican restaurants, at the farm just after milking. “My life such as Lupita, Peyote and Casa is so glamorous,” she says, ironically. Morita, make up the backbone of The average batch size is around 500 sales. Last year, the company also litres and the company makes three worked with street food chain days a week. Wahaca, which was set up by There are plenty of recipes out MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers. there for making Mexican cheese, “We supplied them with Queso says Schnepp, but she has had to Fresco for a limited edition dish adapt them beyond recognition to (cheese & chive empanadas) and it account for the challenges of working nearly killed us. We suddenly had to in the UK. make 120kg a week,” says Schnepp. “You can’t just import techniques These kinds of sudden jumps from Mexico because some of them in orders come with the territory of

are illegal here or, at least, frowned upon. Leaving milk out to acidify overnight is not technically illegal, but to all intents and purposes it is. My EHO would have kittens!” she says. “The milk is also totally different. Even though the cows are more or less the same, the diet in Mexico is very dry and primarily maize. We have a wet diet with lots of grass, so the milk tastes different. You have to change starters and change techniques. It tastes authentic even though it’s not made in the same way.” Confirmation that Gringa’s cheeses are the real deal came when Mexican cheese expert and World Cheese Awards judge Carlos Yescas visited Schnepp last year. “He said our cheese tasted right, which made me feel more confident. He’s been enormously supportive,” she says. That kind of encouragement makes all the difference, says Schnepp, especially when the hard graft of making cheese doesn’t quite live up to the glamour of her former corporate life. “Occasionally I’ll get a text from an old friend saying ‘We’re at a drunken business lunch’, and I kind of want to punch them in the face, because I’m here scrubbing the floor, but I’m learning so much about myself and the cheeses. I’m living on my own terms.” www.gringadairy.com

Vol.15 Issue 2 · March 2014

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cheesewire

Kit yourself out Looking to pep up the shopfloor with a new display? Here are some ideas for boosting those accessories and improving your decor. Paxton & Whitfield has boosted its armoury with a set of Laguiole cheese knives produced for the retailer and wholesaler by French craftsman Claude Dorzome. Each taperground stainless steel blade is branded with Paxton’s name and there are eight different colours of handle to choose from: white, blue, red, green, orange, grey, purple and pink. Each knife has an RRP of £18 and they are sold to the trade in cases of six units for £57.90. Individual knives can be ordered wholesale for £10.50 each. Paxton’s has also added a set of four individual cheeseboards (RRP £18.00 each, cases of six sets for £51, individual wholesale cost £9.75), made from acacia wood sourced sustainably from Thailand.

Every board sold by The Old School Carpentry Company is hand crafted in Pembrokeshire and guarantees the end-user true provenance. Each is labelled to explain the type of wood used and where the wood was grown and felled. The “naturally ergonomic” handles are carved and shaped to easily fit hands, making these boards more comfortable to work with. Boards are available in oak, cherry or beech with prices starting at £20. www.oldschoolcarpentrycompany.co.uk

www.paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk

Northumberland craftsman Tony Armstrong is seeking retailers to stock his Oliver’s handmade wooden boards. The company’s repertoire includes the rustic cheese platter, which is available in various sizes with RRPs starting at £39.45. The platters feature cast iron handles and can also be used as chopping or bread boards. Oliver’s makes a range of serving boards from woods such as oak, ash, elm, beech and walnut. Due to the character of the wood’s grain each board is unique. www.olivers.biz

Retailers looking to pep up their interiors might be interested in these vintage Swiss cheese posters from Antikbar. Its ‘Fromage de la Suisse’ poster (42x59.5cm) is £225 but is a Herbert Leupin original from 1967. Another Leupin creation, ‘Switzerland...le vrai fromage Suisse’ (£275, 69.5x50cm) is described as being in ‘good’ condition despite being placed in circulation by the Swiss Union of Cheese Makers nearly 50 years ago. Those wanting to delve further in the past may like ‘Rigi Cheese is the Best Trainer!’ (£90, 40.5x30cm) from 1930, featuring scenes of skiing, rowing, mountain climbing and football. www.antikbar.co.uk

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Cuisipro has three graters available featuring its Surface Glide Technology. The repeated groove pattern, which is spread evenly across the grating surface, reduces resistance and creates a larger cutting surface for more gratings per stroke. Its box grater (RRP £29.95) has five grating surfaces: fine, coarse, ultra course, slicer and a ginger grater in the base, while the deluxe dual grater (RRP £14.95) combines two surfaces (coarse and fine) in one unit. The rotary duo grater (RRP £18.95) has a wide hopper to handle large chunks and comes with two interchangeable blades – coarse and parmesan. Cuisipro tools are distributed in the UK by Paul Hargreaves Associates. www.phassocs.co.uk


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Vol.15 Issue 2 · March 2014

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A promotional feature on behalf of Le Gruyère AOP

Me and my cheese counter We talk to Toby Archer of The Cheese Plate.

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oby Archer’s cheese epiphany came early one morning while walking his dog. Six months previously he’d stepped away from a career in plastics with no firm idea about his future other than a need for a life change. Suddenly it was clear, he’d open a cheese shop. With no qualification other than a love of cheese, the learning curve was steep. But as he says, “it’s like being a football fan, you want to know as much as possible about the team you support. My team is cheese.” He attended a Guild cheese training day, took a lease on a former furniture shop in Buntingford High Street, Hertfordshire and undertook the complete refurbishment himself. “I wanted a different kind of shop – one without high serve-over counters so I installed three 1.2m drop-in air deck chilled units. They make for better inter-action with customers.” The Cheese Plate opened a month before Christmas 2011 and two years down the line, Toby has no regrets. “We were 30% up last Christmas,” he says, “and I was in the shop until 2.00am on the Monday before the holiday. I loved every minute of it” He stocks around 100 cheeses

although you’ll find some 350 programmed into his scales. He carries three different Roqueforts, including Le Vieux Berger and two from Papillon, three Manchegos, one pasteurised, two unpasteurized and three Brie de Meaux including the 2007 World Champion from Dongé. The latter is often his best seller, 4 to 5 wheels go during a good week. Two other top sellers are a 30-month matured Le Gruyère AOP from Fromi and a Gorgonzola Dolce which he spoons out tasters of to anyone who asks. “I also enjoy the

seasonal changes in good cheddar. The Isle of Mull cheddar we had in December was beautifully farm-yardy, not everyone’s taste but I loved it.” During his first Christmas he stocked Colston Bassett’s baby Stiltons and sold over 50. “Last December,” he recalls, I ordered 10 whole Stiltons but ended up reordering and sold 25.” Toby works hard at spreading the word about his shop. “I do regular cheese tasting nights for local WI’s, “ he says. “It’s effective promotion. You could send out a thousand leaflets and most end up in the bin but if 30 people have ‘a good night with that cheese bloke’ they tell all their friends who end up visiting my shop as well.” He also runs cheese and wine evenings in store. “When we set up the three flat air deck chillers I ordered three large black slates to sit over the top forming a table large enough for 18 people. We hold at least one evening a month and they’re fully booked until June. We’ve even had private bookings for cheese parties, one was for a party of 10-year-olds – they loved it.”

In store he has two tables for sit-down customers and serves platters of 6 cheeses with different accompaniments. “I often serve 6 different sweet wines – all my personal taste. I’ve even got a cracking sweet wine from Thailand – it’s gorgeous.” Close to the counter he merchandises sweet wines, and a few other good reds and whites and Isle of Lewis biscuits (“the three star Great Taste seaweed is a stunner”) alongside Peter’s Yard biscuits and a range of fine Spanish tortas. “I do cheese knives from Culinary Concepts,” he says, “and also from Laguiole, although I have to buy them through Canada for the best price.” He also stocks several preserves from the Hawkshead range and “I have this lady who lives locally who makes the most incredible Spice Crab Apple Jelly. I’m not telling you her name although I think she ought to enter Great Taste.” Toby refreshes the selection each month – sometimes ‘Googling’ award winning cheeses just to see what crops up. “Sometimes, a cheese that sells well for months just drops off – customers perhaps get tired of it. I sold stacks of Lord of the Hundreds during our first year but it tailed off, I dropped it and not a single customer asked me for it.” His enthusiasm is infectious, as is his passion for cheese. “I just love giving customers a bit more knowledge about my cheese,” he says. By all accounts Toby’s customers share that love.

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Celebrating the best of British produce Food & Drink Expo incorporating Farm Shop & Deli Show returns to the NEC on 24-26 March to once again provide the number one route to the UK food and drink speciality market. The shows brings together thousands of suppliers and brands across the whole industry – more than 100 suppliers of which are appearing for the first time – showcasing hundreds of new products all under one roof. Regional produce on display

Dragons’ Pantry

Food & Drink Expo is working closely with regional food groups including Heart of England Fine Foods, Wales The True Taste and Deliciously Yorkshire, to ensure some of the most exciting and up-and-coming brands in the UK’s larder will be exhibited within this regional showcase.

Inviting the most daring entrepreneurs to present their newest product launches to a panel of industry experts. With dragons including the likes of Owen Gower, buyer at Aramark, Simon Hurrell, buyer at Swithenbank (3663), Jody Scheckter, owner of Laverstoke Park Farm, Nigel Barden, BBC 2 gastronome and Steve Quinn, MD at Cucina.

Feeding hungry minds Masterclasses in Farm Shop & Deli Live help visitors get to grips with the art of selling specific products including:

Charles Carey, founder of The Oil Merchant will focus on selecting olive oils that will appeal to consumers.

Booths buyer John Gill who talks on selecting and sourcing suppliers, meet the buyer days and relationship building with smaller suppliers.

Hear practical advice on improving profit by leveraging social media channels from Susanne Currid at The Loop Digital Communications.

Juliet Harbutt, cheese expert and chairman of the British Cheese Awards, on selecting cheese that marry well with other product ranges and there will also be sessions on wine and charcuterie.

Farm Shop & Deli Awards

Award-winning writer, cook book author and TV chef presenter Richard Fox matches beer and food to demonstrate how retailers can boost sales by offering advice on complementary products.

Great British Bake Off star Brendan Lynch holds a session on creating a range of baked goods that reflects current bakery trends.

co-located with

In association with

Overall ‘Retailer of the Year’ will be announced at an awards ceremony on Monday 24 March.

REGISTER ONLINE FREE AT:

farmshopanddelishow.co.uk/ffd 24

@FarmShop_Deli #FSD2014

March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2

This is a trade event. No under 16s will be admitted including babes in arms.


cut & dried

making more of british & continental charcuterie

James Swift spent part of his childhood on his French mother’s family farm, where ‘food was always on the agenda’

Monmouthshire rebel Interview

Trealy Farm’s James Swift helped pioneer British air-dried meats but his uncompromising business ethos reflects the several pints of French blood in his veins, as MICK WHITWORTH discovers

T

here’s a revealing eight minutes of footage on YouTube showing James Swift at Abergavenny Food Festival back in 2010, at the height of the recession. Appearing on the Rude Health Rants stage, where leading foodies get to mouth off about the issues of the day, the co-founder of Trealy Farm Charcuterie first rails against restaurants that are failing to support small-scale British producers of highwelfare pigs. With farmers at home facing crippling rises in feed costs, he complains, some chefs are refusing to even discuss a price increase, even though the only alternative is to use cheap imports of dubious origin. Then he gets to his main gripe: celebrity chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi (of whom he admits to being a fan) promoting exotic recipes with long lists of obscure, imported ingredients – “a particular kind of lemon from Azerbaijan, or something” – instead

of encouraging us to focus on the basics of cooking with down-toearth local produce. In a recession, Swift says, “we want to go back to Delia Smith, and very little else”. “People need to know how to cook with what’s around, with what’s cheap, with what’s seasonal, with what’s going for next to nothing because it’s being sold off at the local market”. It might not make sexy TV, he says, but simple home cooking is “a good way to save money, enjoy yourself, enjoy a bit of community and family time”. His message might sound a little naive in a land where most people worship TV chefs while simultaneously gorging on readymeals. But Swift is half French and spent most childhood holidays over the Channel, on his mother’s family’s farm near Calais, where “food was always on the agenda”. Even when at home in Sussex, his family was

cured meats have been championed by some of the biggest names in fine dining and TV cookery. Both Mark Hix and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have declared Trealy to be Britain’s best charcuterie maker, and Swift counts serious chefs such as local stars Stephen Terry (The Hardwick, Abergavenny) and Matt Tebbutt (The On the Continent, people think Foxhunter, near the British are bonkers slaughtering Usk) among his pigs at 60kg when they don’t have clients. But he says these chefs were any flavour. Ours go up to 200kg. not looking for something exclusive or super-expensive, just something that a good understanding of real different, and British (or Welsh). food is in any way middle class “They belong to a generation of or ‘posh’. “It’s bread-and-butter chefs my own age – mid-40s – who to my family in France that you’d said, ‘Let’s do something new, use one kind of potato for one something distinctive’.” dish but another for a different It’s 10 years since Swift started dish,” he says. “And you can’t say experimenting with Continental-style that’s abstruse or ‘posh’ – it’s the charcuterie, borrowing production opposite.” premises in the Forest of Dean and Having said that, Trealy Farm’s virtually self-sufficient – except, ironically, for meat. It’s evident how his upbringing has coloured the ethos at Trealy Farm, which supports a network of other small farmers, refuses to engage with price-driven supermarkets and rejects the idea

Vol.15 Issue 2 · March 2014

25


cut & dried crosses with “semi-commercial” selling to the public on Usk farmers’ breeds such as Durocs or Large market in Monmouthshire. At Whites, “as long as you still have 2005’s Abergavenny Food Festival the marbling in the meat”. What it he met Graham Waddington, won’t use is any of the fast-growing, and the two set up Trealy Farm ultra-lean industrial “superpigs” Charcuterie at Swift’s farm at that Swift says are “bred to look Mitchel Troy near Monmouth. They like Arnold Schwartzenegger and worked in partnership for four years are slaughtered at three to four before Waddington left to start months”. Gloucestershire-based charcutier “On the Continent, people think Native Breeds. the British are bonkers slaughtering In 2009 Trealy Farm was named pigs at 60kg when they don’t have Food Producer of the Year in the any flavour,” he says. “Ours go up BBC Food & Farming Awards, and to 200kg. But generally in the UK it’s became a Waitrose Made In Britain all about turnover: rear them quickly award winner – despite never selling and get your money back as soon as to the supermarket. In 2010 it won possible.” Food Producer of the Year in the All Trealy’s lamb and beef Observer Food Monthly awards, and products are from traditional breeds in 2012 its lamb carpaccio was listed too, including beef from Ruth Tudor’s in the Great Taste Top 50 Foods. family farm in north Its long Wales. product list now There are a few Until recently, includes airartisan businesses the company used dried salamis, selling to supermarkets the relatively local semi-dried cured Ensor’s abattoir sausages (cooking here in the UK, but chorizo), pancetta, usually it’s a transition in Cinderford, Gloucestershire. venison and beef to selling out But this family carpaccio, lomobusiness went into style air-dried pork administration last year, and its plant loin and Monmouthshire air-dried was bought out by Ireland’s Foyle ham. Foods, an industrial-scale operation Since Waddington’s departure, that is only interested in high-volume Swift has been supported by a beef operations. team including veteran butcher businesses – Aspall’s, perhaps – that so it’s more of a Continental style. The loss of this facility is a John Standerwick, who oversees have managed to stay true to their Rather than doing a leg of pork we’ll minor tragedy for small meat production, and technical manager roots here. That’s one of the big get four different muscles, and then businesses in the area. “There’s a Caroline Davies, formerly of Loseley differences in Continental Europe: different kinds of fat too. little slaughterhouse in Raglan [14 Park ice cream. About four years ago there’s so much more infrastructure “British butchery is very much miles from Goytre], but they are they shifted charcuterie production in the middle ground. regulated by what products have completely overwhelmed with work to a purpose-built unit on Park “There are a few artisan been demanded for the past 50-60 since Ensor’s went,” says Swift. “So Farm, Goytre, a few miles north of businesses selling to supermarkets years, so it’s oriented towards boning we now use the Bristol Veterinary Newport. Swift’s home base at Trealy here, but usually it’s a transition to joints from fresh meat, and all the School’s abattoir in north Somerset. Farm now hosts courses for foodies selling out. It’s like [premium sausage rest goes into sausages. We don’t We’ve trained someone up to do and smallholders, while its original brand] Debbie & Andrew – they sold have a history of doing other stuff the initial butchery for us there – it’s meat production unit is available for to one of the biggest pig processors with meat.” much better for it to be done at the hire by other small producers. The in Europe. Bath Pig have outsourced The loss of Ensor’s is abattoir – and then we do the fine 135-acre farm is run day-to-day by [mini chorizo] production to Spain symptomatic of a market dominated butchery here.” Swift’s wife, Ruth Tudor, who also now, and that’s inevitable.” by the pursuit of scale, says Swift. Butchery for charcuteriemanages her own family’s 1,800 acre He adds: “I can’t help seeing it It’s hard to grow at a modest rate. making is “quite a distinctive style” farm in Snowdownia. from the farmers’ perspective, and Beyond the local, everything is compared with traditional British In its start-up phase, Trealy Farm as a farmer if you ever try to sell to geared to serving supermarkets. methods, he points out. “We tend Charcuterie made use of its own supermarkets you know that you’re “There are very few bigger to butcher by muscle, not joint, traditional-breed pigs, but as volumes grew, it had to re-think this approach. “Trealy is a sheep farm really,” says Swift, “and it’s on heavy clay, so it’s like the Somme when it’s wet. their own specific and narrow range of ingredients and Just as the UK’s artisan cheese producers are putting “We kept up with demand for a products, it’s almost certainly not transferable. more time into understanding the science of cheesecouple of years, but then we realised “If you went to Italy and asked most of the small making, so charcuterie firms need get more technically there are a lot of other small family producers how they make their salami, they wouldn’t skilled, James Swift tells FFD. farms doing pigs in Wales – there’s a have a clue. It’s fascinating to go and see them, and Slavishly copying the techniques of Italian or great organisation called the Wales & they are lovely guys, but actually there are a whole lot Spanish producers will never work in the the UK’s Borders Pig Society – and I thought, of micro-conditions that will very different environment – ‘Why are we killing ourselves here? be totally different here: the and will hamper new product If you went to Italy and They’re doing a great job. They could temperature, the humidity… development. asked most of the small sell their meat to us’. So we set up “That’s what you need to “If you look at how artisan producers how they make a sort of co-op, where we offer 50p nail down, and then you can cheese has blossomed in this per kilo above the market rate, we start having some fun.” country, it’s not just about their salami, they wouldn’t tell them months ahead what we One advantage for UK copying other people, it’s about have a clue are going to need, and we take the producers is that there is no really knowing your sh*t – whole animal.” history of charcuterie making, so getting the milk tested, knowing Trealy uses traditional breeds there’s no cultural barrier to trying new recipes. “You’re how it varies at different times of year.” – mainly Saddleback or Gloucester free to do what you want in this country, but a lot of This is what artisan food has always been about, Old Spot, plus some Oxford Sandy producers are starting to realise you need to know the he says. But while long-established family firms may & Blacks and Tamworths and a rules before you start breaking them.” know by instinct what works in their environment with few wooly-coated Mangalitsas – or

Romance is fine, but science matters more

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March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2


making more of british & continental charcuterie

It’s a man thing: salami, beer and pork scratchings By MICK WHITWORTH

While 90% of Trealy’s sales are whole-muscle pieces, salamis and sausages, pre-sliced packs are available to delis, including bespoke mixed packs

going to get shafted.” Since winning the Waitrose award in 2009, Swift says Trealy has had a “standing offer” to get a listing there. “But the finance of it seems impossibly difficult. We’d have to slice and pack for them, there are no guaranteed volumes and they can reduce the price [for promotions] twice a year. It’s the sort of thing that ties a small business in knots.” Slicing and packing is a bone of contention for Swift. Since startup, 90% of Trealy’s salamis and cured muscle meat have been sold as whole pieces, and while he does offer a separate price list for presliced products, and will happily assemble bespoke mixed packs of sliced meats, it’s not something he goes out of his way to promote. “All things being equal, I would always say ‘slice everything fresh’. It would be so much better, but I also know that there are shoppers who are intimidated by the atmosphere of a deli, or are in a terrible hurry, or don’t know how much ‘three slices of bresaola’ weighs or who just like to see a nice pack that tells a story.” Almost without exception, he says, his best deli customers are those that are offering lunchtime charcuterie boards, perhaps with a glass of wine, or do deli platters for corporate lunches or dinner parties – all means of minimizing waste while adding value to the product. “So, in a way, ready-to-go packs are what some people will buy, but if you are in an area where that’s the culture then you are already

in problems as a deli. You want to cultivate an atmosphere where people will slow down, relax – and pay 40p for a fresh cut slice.” He cites Buckinghamshire wine shop and deli No 2 Pound Street, in Wendover, as the ideal set-up. “They have very few products – a selection of British cheeses, smoked fish, a few dry goods, and a fantastic wine range. You can get a deli platter, wine of the day, a bit of salad and some fresh bread for around £10, and they also do dinner party platters. They are getting no waste, and they are selling sh*tloads of the stuff. It’s a really attractive model.” So Trealy’s priorities have always been to sell, first, direct to the consumer, then to restaurants, and “not principally to shops”. “Most shops want sliced packs, and if we were doing it big-time we’d need a lot more space, and our people would be doing a lot more boring work!” Rather than churning out prepacks, Swift prefers to spend his time developing new lines – like the smoked air-dried goose that was a big success over Christmas. He’s also working on a pheasant, rabbit & pork salami, and even a possible bison & elk salami. Neither is likely to appear in Waitrose very soon. “If you ever see us selling to supermarkets,” he says, “it will be because some private finance company has taken over the business and it’s a prelude to a sale!” www.trealyfarm.com www.meatcourse.co.uk

Cotswolds-based paté and terrine maker Ross & Ross launched a range of British beer and snack gift boxes for men, using products from the region, ahead of the Six Nations Rugby tournament. There are three variants, all in ‘picnic box’ cartons, selling at between £20 and £35. The standard Man Box (£20) includes 75g of salami or chorizo from Cirencester’s Cotswold Curer, a pack of Mr Trotter’s British Crackling, a 115g jar of smoked apple chutney and a bottle of Torp beer from Compass Brewery in Oxfordshire. The Spicy Man Box includes the jalapeno version of Mr Trotter’s crackling, and there is an XL box (£35), with more of everything, including charcuterie from Castellano’s of Bristol. The Man Box Collection, which was first shown at the BBC Good Food Show last November, was developed after a request from a

deli owner for “more masculine gifts”. It has now gone on sale through Ross & Ross’s new online shop as well as in local independent stores. Co-founder Ross Bearman said prices might need to adjustment to cover delivery to delis outside the area. “But I’m sure it could work elsewhere.” Bearman said the contents were currently all ambient, at the request of local retailers, so while the chutneys are made by Ross & Ross, its patés are not included. “We’re working on making our own beer for later this year, and possibly our own charcuterie,” he said. “One thing at a time.” The Ross & Ross chutneys have not yet been formally launched to the trade but are designed to go with its preserved meats. “So the piccalilli would go with our ham hock, smoked apple with our pork terrines, and so on.” www.rossandrossfood.co.uk

Ross & Ross’s XL Man Box includes salami from Castellano’s in Bristol

BORDERS’ BEST: An organic, air-dried prosciutto-style ham from Peelham Farm Produce in Berwickshire topped the chilled & frozen category in the Best Product Awards at Scotland’s Speciality Food Show in Glasgow. A pork & chorizo pie from Mr C’s Hand Crafted Pies was runner-up. Peelham Farm Produce butchers its own free-range Tamworth pigs to produce its hams, curing the pork in sea-salt and air-drying it naturally in a stone byre for up to 18 months. www.peelham.co.uk Vol.15 Issue 2 · March 2014

27


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March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2


product update

soft drinks

Hitting the soft spot Raw smoothies, floral flavours and a cucumber drink are among the soft drink innovations tracked by LYNDA SEARBY Elderflower is everywhere and the latest producer to release a take on this classic is Breckland Orchard, with a new elderflower ‘posh pop’. Also new from the Cambridge producer is a “tart and zingy” rhubarb and ginger sparkler, launched on the back of the success of its ‘posh squash’ of the same flavour. Both are available exclusively to the independent trade from Cotswold Fayre and Hider Foods in cases of 12 x 275ml bottles with updated labels. RRP is £1.40-1.60. www.brecklandorchard.co.uk

Suffolk apple juice producer Maynard House Orchards has teamed up with a Valencian citrus fruit grower to create an orange and clementine juice. The 50:50 juice blend will be launched at the end of April in a wide-necked 200ml glass bottle. www. applejuice. uk.com

CHI claims to have created the first ever dairy-free chocolate coconut milk. It is pitching the coconut cream and cocoa drink as a guiltfree alternative to a chocolate milkshake or hot chocolate. In another diversification beyond its core coconut water offering, CHI has introduced an espresso milk. Made with coffee, coconut cream and coconut milk, CHI Espresso provides 44 calories and 3% fat per serving. Each 330ml bottle has an RRP of £1.79. www.chidrinks.co

Combining coconut water with a caffeine shot seems to have proved a lucrative direction for Vita Coco. The coconut water brand is following the introduction last year of Coco Cafe original with a new iced mocha drink. Coco Cafe mocha blends coconut water, coffee, cocoa and milk. It is already listed in Waitrose, Whole Foods, Planet Organic, Selfridges and Amazon, where it retails at around £1.99 for a 330ml carton. Vita Coco is also looking to muscle in on the breakfast juice category, with an orange-flavoured coconut water that is pitched as a more hydrating, lower sugar and lower calorie alternative to traditional juices. Three carton sizes – 330ml, 500ml and 1l, with respective RRPs of £1.49, £2.49 and £3.49 – are available from Marigold Health Foods. www.vitacoco.co.uk

FFD’s soft drinks product update last March reported on So Smoothies, a fledgling smoothie business started by young entrepreneur Ben Nichols. Twelve months down the line, Nichols is still a teenager (just!) but is now running his own factory in Nottingham, employing four members of staff and supplying 30 independents across the UK. The range has been extended to include a pear, kiwi & wheatgrass smoothie, which, like the other three variants, is made from natural yoghurt and fruit. Nichols attributes his recent success to Cotswold Fayre’s Paul Hargreaves, who has mentored him since So Smoothies won the distributor’s Cotswold Collaborates funding scheme for young entrepreneurs last year. www.sosmoothies.co.uk

l In May, Blossoms Syrup is adding mango to its collection of French-style fruit syrups, which can be used as cordials or cocktail ingredients and are available to the trade in 500ml and 100ml glass bottles. www.blossomssyrup.co.uk

l Frobishers is branching out into more unusual flavours with the introduction of a cherry juice. The not-from-concentrate, no-addedsugar juice is targeting the on-trade in 250ml and 275ml servings. www.frobishers.com

l Both the Cawston Press has made two new additions to its Kids’ Blends range of 200ml juice cartons. Apple & blackcurrant and apple & summer berries each contain 60% fruit, blended with water for a colouring-, sweetener- and preservative-free option that meets School Approved standards. The drinks, which have an RRP of £1.79 for a three-pack, are already stocked in Booths, Whole Foods and Planet Organic. Distribution is via Hider Foods and Cotswold Fayre. www.cawstonpress.com

Working the fashion for floral flavours is Fever-Tree, with an elderflower tonic that “epitomises the taste of British summertime”. Its “light and subtle” flavour renders it suitable as either a G&T mixer or a stand-alone soft drink. It is on sale in Waitrose nationwide and selected Sainsbury’s stores, with an RRP of £1.69 but is also available to deli-cafés in a 200ml bottle (RRP £1.50). www.fever-tree.com

According to Pago, the UK is lagging behind the rest of Europe in terms of offering juices in PET bottles.“We’re looking to develop the 330ml PET format within the UK market because currently the premium offering in this convenient format is limited,” says Marvin Henshaw, UK country manager for the Eckes Granini-owned brand. RRP is £1.90 per 330ml bottle. www.pagofruitjuice.co.uk

Lite and Original variants of Scheckter’s organic energy drink are now available in a four-pack. www.schecktersorganic.com

l As of late March, Gococo’s coconut water will be available in a smaller single-serve 330ml carton. www.gococodrinks.com

l In April, Eager Drinks is adding a mango juice drink to its range of ambient juices. www.eagerdrinks.com

l Wenlock Spring is now available in a 750ml sports cap bottle, providing a “convenient and generous” single-serve with a resealable closure. www.wenlockspring. co.uk

Vol.15 Issue 2 March 2014

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product update

soft drinks Top sellers…

Cucumber cooler Cucumber is emerging on the bar scene as a fashionable cocktail ingredient, and now a new soft drinks brand is bringing the refreshing qualities of this understated vegetable to retailers.

Qcumber, a blend of cucumber essence and sparkling spring water, is described as a ‘crisp, cleansing’ drink and has already caught the attention of both Harrods and, more recently Tesco, which is now a nationwide stockist. “Cucumbers are known to be both cool and refreshing so using them in a soft drink seemed an obvious opportunity,” says founder Graham Carr-Smith. “Qcumber

This season sees two more original flavour combinations from Five Valleys Cordials. Peach & lychee and cherry & beetroot cordials join the Cotswold producer’s existing line-up of lemon & mint, pomegranate & rose, sloe & raspberry, apricot & ginger and coconut & kaffir lime. RRP is £3.19 for 375ml. www.fivevalleyscordials.co.uk

Granny’s Secret has added two new organic varieties – wild blueberry and wild apple – to its collection of 100% fruit juices. The Serbian food importer has also expanded its ‘all natural’ (no added sugar) range, with red grape, aronia berry, wild apple and wild cranberry juices. The drinks are available in 200ml and 700ml glass bottles. www.grannyssecret.co.uk

Top sellers…

Food Hall ...at Suffolk

ia plum rdials Victor Hedgerow Co cordial e juice Kenton appl Moat Farm nds ess Kids’ Ble Cawston Pr se pressé rflower & ro Belvoir elde fusion drinks Impressions

March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2

monades, La Reine Des Li e Mor tuacienn monades, La Reine Des Li e Mandarine Mor tuacienn Bundaberg

Bundaberg

Importer Melia Foods is bringing two new superfruit shot drinks to the UK. Marketed under the Proganic brand and produced by Elite Naturel, the sour cherry and cranberry shots contain only pure, organic juice and no added sugar. Sour cherry (250ml) has a trade price of £1.24 and an RRP of £2.49, while cranberry (125ml) has a trade price of £0.96 and an RRP of £1.49.

Owlet’s new range of juices features a combination of English apples with three exotic Colombian fruits: lulo, mora and maracuya. The lulo is similar to a kiwi fruit in shape and taste with notes of rhubarb while the mora (aka Andean blackberry) is a deep red and has a tartness similar to a cranberry. The “intensely aromatic” and tangy maracuya is a golden passion fruit grown on vines in the high Andes. Owlet buys all three of these fruits from a Colombian fruit processing company that sources from small farming operations and co-operatives. www.owletfruitjuice.co.uk

Historically, light or diet beverages have been a feature of mainstream soft drinks rather than speciality brands but, in a move that could signal the shape of things to come, Belvoir Fruit Farms has introduced a lighter version of its elderflower pressé. Rather than adding artificial sweeteners, the Lincolnshire producer has lowered the calorie count by reducing the sugar content by 30%, resulting in a “more delicate taste”. The 75cl product has been available since January with an RRP of £2.90.

Bundaberg

root beer

ginger beer

& bitters lemon, lime

www.q-cumber.co.uk

www.meliafoods.com

www.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk

30

is made from 100% natural ingredients and contains around a quarter of a cucumber per 750ml bottle.” The drink is available in 750ml (RRP £2.60) and 330ml (RRP £1.60) from distributors Queenswood, Tree of Life and Heart Distribution.

Belfast ...at Sawers,

Go! Kombucha tea, the fermented tea with probiotic acids, digestive enzymes and antioxidants, has been rebranded and is now available in four Chinese tea varieties: China White, Superior Golden Yunnan, Red Pu-erh and Green Sencha. The drinks are mainly sold in health food outlets but GO! Kombucha is keen to expand into speciality food retailers. RRP is £4.99 for 750ml and £2.19 for 250ml, and respective trade prices are £2.61 and £1.14. www.gokombucha.co.uk

New to soft drinks... 18 months ago, Anne Walsh started making fruit cordials from locally sourced produce in her home kitchen, aka The Fruit Kitchen. The Northumberland startup is now a regular at farmers’ markets and food festivals as well as supplying a few local businesses, including Alnwick Castle and Bamburgh Castle. Its cordial range includes three core varieties – raspberry, lime and lemon – as well as seasonal editions such as elderflower, cranberry & orange and strawberry. Trade price is £2.80 for a 250ml bottle. RRP is £3.75. www.thefruitkitchen.co.uk


March is for Mothers, An independent family Madness (if you’re a hare) owned business and Mangos. (Oh, and Daffodils too…)

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Vol.15 Issue 2 · March 2014

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Owlet’s Exciting New Range...

Lovely, light, natural & new

LULO • MORA • MARACUYA

Exotic

Made with lashings of fresh and naturally delicious ingredients, but with 30% less sugar than our original recipe, our brand new Belvoir Pressé Light is proof that you can have it all…

Columbian fruits

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32

March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2

BE6907_Fine Food_Ad_Pressé_Light_Design_PR02_A.indd 1

19/02/2014 17:07


product update

soft drinks

Folkington’s has developed a new apple juice blend for 2014 following two contrasting harvests. The late, hot summer of 2013 was, by comparison to the persistently cold summer of 2012, a good year for the Sussex and Kent Egremont Russet apples that Folkington’s uses for its English apple juice. Though harvested later than usual, they were big, sweet and juicy but, being so late, were not as plentiful. To meet demand, Folkington’s has blended the Russets with Jonagored apples from an orchard in Herefordshire. Paul Bendit of Folkington’s says: “You still get that autumnal sweet nuttiness from the Russets but the Jonagoreds add a little extra acidity to give a perfect balance to the apple juice.” www.folkingtons.com

Gran Stead’s latest creation, blackcurrant with zing (RRP £2.25 for 750ml), is described as combining “fruity blackcurrant juice with just enough ginger to bestow an added depth”. www.gransteadsginger.co.uk

Lime & peppermint and ginger are the two newest organic cordials from London producer Morgan House. They are available to the trade via Marigold Health Foods (RRP £5.99). www. morganhousefoods. com

Acacia blossom sparkling pressé and blackcurrant & coffee cordial are among the creations that have come out of the Bottlegreen stable in recent months. Bottlegreen says it has used the same traditional winemaking techniques and cold filtration process it employs for its flagship elderflower cordial and pressé to produce the acacia blossom variant. The tree’s lilac blossom, which has a sweet, delicate and plum-like flavour, is steeped and then the extract is blended with sparkling water. Stockists of the sparkler, which has an RRP of £2.39 for 750ml and £1.29 for 275ml, include Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Believed to be the first caffeine-based cordial in the UK, the blackcurrant & coffee cordial (RRP £3.15 for 500ml) will be supplied exclusively to Waitrose until autumn when it will be made available to other retailers.

New to soft drinks...

www.bottlegreendrinks.com

www.vivadrinks.com

Inspired by a drink they tasted whilst relaxing on holiday in California, investment bankers Harmi Ahluwalia and Sarb Bhangle have jacked in their city jobs to launch ViVa, a new soft drinks brand. The pair believe the brand plugs a gap in the market for drinks that are healthy, natural and functional. “Each drink has key active ingredients which deliver unique health benefits, and unlike smoothies and fruit juices, the drinks start from 43 calories and still provide one of your five a day,” says Harmi. The four-strong range comprises: ‘Mind’ for sustainable energy with green tea, gingko and vitamins; ‘Detox’ with agave inulin, milk thistle and prickly pear; ‘Calm’ with botanical extracts and chamomile; and ‘Defence’ with hibiscus, grapeseed, zinc and magnesium for an immune boost. The drinks launched during February in six independent outlets in the south of England. They are available to the trade in cases of 6 x 330ml cartons at a cost of £4.50 + VAT. RRP is £1.50.

Raw smoothies Smoothie producers are taking advantage of a pioneering technique called high pressure processing (HPP) that gives a long shelf life and preserves the appearance, aroma, taste and nutritional content of fruit and vegetables Chilled juice brand Coldpress has just unveiled a new four-strong range of ‘raw’ smoothies that it hopes will put heat-treated rivals, such as Innocent, in the shade. Coldpress founder Andrew Gibb says: “We’ve always baulked at the very notion of pasteurising,

not simply from the perspective that sweaty, subdued fruit makes us feel queasy, but because it allows some competitors to employ second-division fruit knowing that this outmoded 1950s heat process is responsible for so many flavour notes and nutrients being cooked off.” The apple, pear & raspberry, mango & passion fruit, pineapple, banana & coconut and strawberry & banana smoothies have an RRP of £2.89 for 750ml and a 120-day shelf life. Another company that has gone down the HPP route is SaVse, a vegetable smoothie brand that uses ingredients such as broccoli, beetroot, kale, spinach and avocado to enable people to incorporate these ‘super

vegetables’ into their diets. “We came across a new way of creating a good tasting smoothie and preserving the benefits of fresh vegetables,” says founder Guka Tavberidze, “by applying cold pressure instead of the traditional heat used by so many other brands.” There are five SaVse variants, the newest being Super Blue (blueberry, kale, beetroot, spinach, blackberry and apple). RRP is £1.99-2.49 and stockists include Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Partridges. www.coldpress.co.uk www.savsesmoothies. com

Top sellers…

ghton rm Shop, Bri Fa s d el fi h us R ... apple juice Wobblegate s lemonade Gran Stead’ orange juice Folkington’s d pink old fashione Folkington’s lemonade ice ess apple ju Cawston Pr

Vol.15 Issue 2 ·March 2014

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The very best premium baked nibbles‌ discover more at www.nibnibs.com

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March 2014 ¡ Vol.15 Issue 2


product update

savoury snacks

What’s your bag? MICHAEL LANE chomps his way through the latest NPD and news in the bagged snack sector Essex-based Fairfields Farm Crisps has launched a chorizo & sunblushed tomato flavour. Despite these apparently Continental flavours, the crisps are still in keeping with the producer’s ethos of East Anglian provenance as the chorizo used to season them is supplied by Suffolk Salami. Each 40g bag has an RRP of 85p. www.fairfieldsfarmcrisps.co.uk

The latest savoury addition to Joe & Seph’s long line-up of gourmet popcorn varieties is Irish cheddar & smoked paprika. It comes in 32g (RRP £1.65) and 80g pouches (RRP £2.99). www. joeandsephs. co.uk

Scottish crisp brand Mackie’s has launched a range of crisps for sharing as well as a variety aimed at health conscious consumers. The Ridge Cut range is available in four flavours – caramelised red onion, prawn cocktail, roast ham and sea salt & mixed peppercorns – in 150g sharing packs. Mackie’s has teamed up with Lo Salt to produce crisps, seasoned with the reduced sodium salt, in 40g packs. www.mackiescrisps.co.uk

The creators of the Salty Dog and Darling Spuds hand-cooked crisp brands have moved away from potatoes for their latest idea, Darling Corn. Judy and Dave Willis were inspired by a beach bar snack they encountered in Ibiza and decided that seasoned, toasted corn kernels could be a hit in the UK. The salt, barbecue, smoked and jalapeno & chilli varieties all come in 30g snacking bags and larger 150g sharing bags. www.darlingspuds.co.uk The Real Smoked Nut Company has upgraded the packaging for its hickory-smoked range. Hickory smoked almonds & cashews come in 180g and 100g packs (RRP £3.99 and £2.49) while it offers smoked almonds on their own and smoked cashews with black pepper in 100g packs (both RRP £2.49). All lines are available through Hider Foods. www.smokednuts.co.uk

Just Crisps’ jalapeno flavour was already available in 40g bags but now the producer, which fries all of its crisps in its sister firm Just Oil’s rapeseed oil, is releasing them in 150g share bags. The company says the move was down to demand from consumers at food shows. The larger size bags have an RRP of £1.85 and come in cases of 12 units (£12.64+VAT). www.justcrisps. co.uk

Hampshire’s Laverstoke Park Farm is famed for its buffalo products but it has also created a range of dried beef snacking lines. Both its classic and its peppered beef jerky is made on the farm in a dedicated factory using a traditional American marinade mix and smoked over apple wood. It also produces beef biltong bites and biltong fire sticks. All four of these ambient products now come in 50g pre-packs while the jerky is also available in 30g bags. The farm is currently working on new biltongs, including beetroot, hot chilli, tandoori, teriyaki and pork biltong. www.laverstokepark.co.uk

Tyrrells has extended its range of vegetable crisps with sweet potato & smoked chipotle chilli crisps in 40g and 150g packs (RRP £1.29 and £2.99 respectively). www.tyrrellscrisps.co.uk

Eighteen months since it gained a listing with Booths, Fiddler’s Lancashire Crisps has doubled that tally to six lines, stocked across the North West. The three flavours – sweet chilli, black pudding & mustard and sea salt & black pepper – were launched in 2013. All of its eight flavours are available in boxes of 24x40g and 12x150g bags which the company says offer retailers a 3040% margin. Following its recent launch, Simply Spuds, Fiddler’s is developing further flavours for later this year. www.fiddlerslancashirecrisps. co.uk

Pipers Crisps founder Alex Albone is adamant that his company won’t go in for fashionable or seasonal flavours. It hasn’t launched a flavour since late 2012 but says the Yorkshire Chorizo variety, flavoured with chorizo from Kirkby Malham farmer and butcher Chris Wildman, has proved popular. Rather than constant NPD, Albone is concentrating on customer service and, having set up two depots serving Greater London and the East Midlands, is set to open a third depot in Oxfordshire to supply more trade customers direct. www.piperscrisps.com

Burts Chips has improved the shelf life of its entire range by six weeks to 26 weeks thanks to the installation of gas flushing technology during a £2m update of its factory near Plymouth. The company has also installed fryers which have increased production capacity by 25% and will allow it to develop other snacks. www.burtschips.com

Greek producer Gaea now offers its 100% natural, sun ripened and hand-picked olives in liquidfree snacking pouches, designed to make eating on the move convenient and mess-free. Varieties, including pitted green olives with lemon & oregano, come in 65g re-sealable pouches with an RRP of £1.19. Gaea olives are available from RH Amar in the UK. www.rhamar.com

Leighton Brown’s latest artisan crisps are crafted from selected red and golden beetroots and then handseasoned with a hot horseradish and dill, for an “extra tangy flavour hit”. Despite only launching in November, the producer says these crisps have already gained popularity in its native London. Retailers can order them direct in cases of 35x40g bags.

Pistachio Provenance’s nuts are all grown in the orchards of Molos on the east coast of Greece by a small co-operative of independent farmers and roasted to a traditional Greek recipe. Based in Bradfordon-Avon, the company supplies the pistachios in two sizes of handtied bags: The Diddy (120g, trade £2.25) and The Deli (230g, £3.85).

www.leightonbrown.co.uk

www.pistachioprovenance.com

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BEST SNACK BRAND 2012-2013 2013-2014

Voted for by the readers of Fine Food Digest

Winners of 20 Gold Great Taste Awards since 2007

www.piperscrisps.com 36

March 2014 路 Vol.15 Issue 2

171 Pipers Crisps Fine Food Digest ART.indd 1

@Piperscrisps

Piperscrisps


At Pipers, we strive to make the best-tasting crisps, with flavours sourced from people who care about quality as much as we do. A big thank you to everyone who voted for us in the recent survey of Fine Food Digest readers. We are thrilled to have again been awarded Best Snack Brand. This award shows how hard we work and our passion for taste, quality and the fantastic service we give our customers.

Telephone: 01652 686960 Vol.15 Issue 2 路 March 2014

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07/02/2014 12:58


hickory smoked almonds and cashews

hickory smoked cashews with black pepper

hickory smoked almonds

most smoked nuts have flavour added ours are real - real nuts, real smoke, real taste visit cheshiresmokehouse.co.uk for more information exclusively distributed by Hider Foods. tel: 01482 504333

•L

G

an Cr T RE c ac • 1- as A & as ke Se st t T e En h d a S a i g re Bl al r: li B a t sh l ck & a M ck Pe u P pp st u e ar d r d din g

New range available now

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March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2

www.hiderfoods.co.uk


A promotional feature for the Guild of Fine Food

MARCH’S MONEY MAKING PROMOTIONS CHOCOCO Dorset-based chocolatier Chococo has created a range of 175g boxed Easter eggs, studded inside with various edible treats including mini chocolate dinosaurs, crunchy honeycombe (handmade with Dorset honey), popping candy and crystallised ginger. It also has 150g marbled chocolate Easter hens with speckled chocolate eggs and 150g sets of six foiled chocolate eggs filled with assorted sweet treats in real egg boxes. All are made by hand in-house with 43% origin milk chocolate from Venezuela, Dominican Republic white chocolate or 70% origin dark chocolate from Grenada. THE DEAL: Order a minimum of 8 mixed cases and receive 15% discount & free sample bag on first order AVAILABILITY: Mainland UK CONTACT: Chris Foot on 01929 557 880 or chris@chococo.co.uk

FRENCH FLAVOUR The French food and drink specialist supplies smoked garlic from France in boxes of 50 heads. The company says that the smoking process takes the edge off the garlic, creating a slightly milder, sweeter product which is especially suited to roasting. Each head has a shelf life of around 8 months from the summer harvest and has an RRP of 80-90p. During the summer season French Flavour also offers violet, pink and white french garlic in both single heads and strings. THE DEAL: 20% off first order of smoked garlic (minimum order one box of 50 garlic heads) AVAILABILITY: UK. Free for first delivery. CONTACT: Ian Rowley on 01978 356835 or info@frenchflavour.co.uk

AUSSIEMITE

DELI-CIOUS Deli-cious offers three different starter kits for its ‘OnTap’ oil & vinegar retail system. These complete kits feature either 9, 12 or 16 amphoras, a bespoke metal display stand, several cases of refillable bottles in different sizes and POS merchandise, as well as the oil and vinegar to launch the fixture fully-stocked. The company supplies pure and flavoured olive oils, nut and seed oils, British rapeseed oils and balsamic and speciality vinegars, all of which are made by artisan producers using only natural ingredients. THE DEAL: 20% off the standard list price of any of the three OnTap oil & vinegar starter kits. AVAILABILITY: Nationwide. Free delivery. CONTACT: Craig Riches on 0203 397 4701 or sales@deliciousontap.co.uk

AussieMite is gourmet savoury spread made, from premium non-GM Australian corn, to a signature recipe that delivers “a smooth velvet texture and rich mellow taste”. It can be enjoyed on toasted bread, with cheeses, or used to enrich a variety of home-cooked dishes, such as stocks, dips, sauces, soups, glazes, casseroles and gravies. The spread is gluten-free, suitable for vegans and rich in essential vitamins, including B12 and folic acid. THE DEAL: Purchase 5 cases, get the 6th free. Complimentary tasting kit with every opening order. AVAILABILITY: Nationwide. UK mainland only. CONTACT: sales@aussiemite.co.uk

BREAD DU JOUR Bread du Jour supplies artisanstyle bake-off breads with a minimum 14-day ambient shelf life nationwide. The bread doesn’t need to be frozen, saving space and cost and reducing wastage. A winner at the first World Bread Awards in 2013, this range of hand-crafted breads is made using traditional bakery methods and an original aged wild yeast sourdough. Retailers can order online or through Bread du Jour’s partner distributors. THE DEAL: 20% off first orders (min. order 12 loaves) AVAILABILITY: Nationwide, P&P £6.95 per 20kg CONTACT: Kevin Bennett on 0844 463 2524 or sales@breaddujour.co.uk

SPANISH PASSION FOODS Spanish Passion Foods & Wines sources a comprehensive range from producers across Spain including soups, sauces, preserves, chutneys, olives, pickles, bottled fruits and a new Tapas Temptation Range. Its Deli Pots range of pickles and olives are packaged ready-to-serve and can be stored and displayed in normal ambient conditions. All products come in cases of 6 units. THE DEAL: Buy 8 cases from the Deli Pot range and get 2 cases of your choice free AVAILABILITY: Nationwide. Free Delivery. CONTACT: Dianne Raisbeck on 01925 767584 or info@spanishpassionfoods.co.uk

UNCLE ROY’S Uncle Roy describes his Finest Preserves as “a bit different”. The half pound jars are well-suited to the smaller modern household but they can also be given as gifts. This collection of jams, marmalades, curds and jellies has picked up several Great Taste awards and now there is a new addition – Elderflower Jelly. THE DEAL: Buy any 10 varieties (as part of a £150 carriage-paid order), get a case of the new Elderflower Jelly free. AVAILABILITY: Any UK carriage-paid order CONTACT: Uncle Roy on 01683 221076 or uncleroy@uncleroys.co.uk

YOG Yog bio live frozen yogurt hand-made in a churn from fresh British milk produced on the Yog farm in Kent and with only the most natural ingredients. It is available in cases of 6x500ml and 12x172ml sizes (172ml with own spoon in lid), and comes in eight flavours: lemon, vanilla bean & honey, passion fruit, pomegranate, summer berries, natural, coconut and dark chocolate. Yog is gluten-free, Vegetarian Society-approved and free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. THE DEAL: Buy 1 case of Yog, get 1 free (cheapest free) AVAILABILITY: UK (terms & conditions apply, incl minimum delivery charge) CONTACT: Stratford Fine Foods on 01789 740 094 or sales@stratfordfinefoods.com

GUILD RETAIL PROMOTION SUMMARY (Available to Guild members only) COMPANY AUSSIEMITE

DEAL

TEL

Purchase 5 cases, get the 6th free

EMAIL sales@aussiemite.co.uk

BREAD DU JOUR

20% off first orders

0844 463 2524 sales@breaddujour.co.uk

CHOCOCO

15% discount & free sample bag on first order

01929 557 880 chris@chococo.co.uk

DELI-CIOUS

20% off the standard list price of OnTap oil & vinegar starter kits

0203 397 4701 sales@deliciousontap.co.uk

FRENCH FLAVOUR

20% off first order of smoked garlic

01978 356835 info@frenchflavour.co.uk

SPANISH PASSION FOODS Buy 8 cases from the Deli Pot range & get 2 cases free 01925 767584 info@spanishpassionfoods.co.uk UNCLE ROY’S

Buy any 10 varieties, get a free case of the new Elderflower Jelly

01683 221076 uncleroy@uncleroys.co.uk

YOG

Buy 1 case of Yog, get 1 free

01789 740 094 sales@stratfordfinefoods.com

RETAIL MEMBERS – To sign up to the retail promotion scheme contact: tortie.farrand@finefoodworld.co.uk or ring her on 01747 825200 to ensure you receive your shelf-barkers to help promote these discounts instore. SUPPLIER MEMBERS – want to take part? Contact sally.coley@finefoodworld.co.uk for more information.

Vol.15 Issue 2 · March 2014

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“The ladies’ swim team put their success down to large snacks between meals”. NEW! Proudly Plain and Smashingly Cinnamony Apple Crisps www.tyrrellscrisps.co.uk T: 01568 720244

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March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2

100% British, Just Crisps from Staffordshire are made from our home grown potatoes, cooked in our award winning Just Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil in 40g and 150g bags and are available in a range of delicious flavours.

Fa rm Vi s at Sh it u 24 th op s a -2 e N & t t 6 D h on Mar EC eli e f S c r E1 stan h 2 om how 66 d 01 4

NEW

Just Crisps with Jalapeno and Just Crisps Dippers with Sea Salt in our popular 150g sharing bags.

www.justcrisps.co.uk feedback@justcrisps.co.uk 01543 493081


C

R R 0 TE NT ,00 EN Y: E T 10 A A D ED TO APP

IES

James Strachan & Katherine Manning of Marybelle Dairy Great Taste Supreme Champion 2013

You don’t need to be a Great Taste Champion to get noticed. Great Taste is not just about the big winners. Putting your food to the test with our panel of over 400 experts is a quick way to get honest, straightforward and impartial feedback from chefs, buyers, food writers and retailers. A one-, two- or three-star accreditation means your food will stand out on the overcrowded retail shelves. Coupled with the extensive consumer and trade promotion by the Guild of Fine Food it will lead to increased sales and brand awareness. Quite simply Great Taste encourages greater confidence and commercial success in small businesses in the UK, Ireland and beyond. OPEN FOR ENTRY: Monday February 24 CLOSING DATE: Strictly Friday March 21 NEW FOR 2014 Great Taste is open for entry to small wine producers who currently supply or are keen to supply independent wine shops, delicatessens and farm shops. This category is open to producers, importers, distributors, merchants and retailers who would like to put their wine to the test.

Buyers and consumers look for and trust this logo. Great Taste is the recognised benchmark for speciality food & drink in the UK, Ireland and beyond. It confirms to buyers that they are selecting a great product. The logo helps discerning shoppers decide which product they should choose from an over-crowded shelf. It is quite simply the badge every great-tasting product should be wearing in 2014.

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March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2


show preview

Returning to the Expo William Reed’s fourth Farm Shop & Deli Show will take up its usual slot at the biennial Food & Drink Expo

Need to know Where and when? National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham; March 24-26 How do I get there? The NEC is accessible via the M1, M5, M6, M6 Toll, M40 and M42. It is signposted on motorways and major roads. Visitors can travel directly by train to the NEC by alighting at Birmingham International station, which can be reached via Birmingham New Street. Birmingham International Airport (BHX) is located close to the NEC and is served by a free Air-Rail Link. How do I register? Registration for this tradeonly event is free on the show’s website: www. farmshopanddelishow.co.uk

N

ow in its fourth year, Farm Shop & Deli Show returns to the NEC on March 24-26 to showcase a range of artisan produce from the UK and beyond. Co-located with Food & Drink Expo 2014, the show will play host to many speciality brands and products as well as a number of seminars providing business advice and retailing tips. Among the suppliers on show will be specialist cheese wholesaler Anthony Rowcliffe (stand F179), whose new lines include Kilree goats’ cheeses, and home-baking kit producer Bake at Home (165). Yorkshire company SLOEmotion (A183) will be exhibiting its range of gins and other spirits while condiment-maker Karimix will have its full range of chutneys, pickles, curry pastes and chilli sauces on stand H189. There will also be a number of specialty brands exhibiting in the larger Food Expo area. Burts Chips (stand K260d) will be presenting

its range of hand-cooked chips including the new Guinness Rich Beef Chilli flavour, while Munchy Seeds (E228) will be sampling its dry roasted and flavoured seeds, produced in a nut-free factory. The Handmade Cake Company (H228) will be asking visitors to taste the difference in its individually wrapped gluten-free range and Taywell Ice Cream will have a range of premium

ice creams on show including its NOSH (no added sugar) range. Newcomers include pizza base producer Dough It Yourself (E203) and Kingdom Chocolate (M226), a brand from the creators of Montezuma’s chocolate. The Farm Shop & Deli Live stage will once again offer a programme of talks including a guide to selecting olive oils from

Get a taste of Wales at Food Expo Food & Drink Wales will be showcasing around 35 businesses on its stands at Food & Drink Expo plus the newly launched Drink Wales initiative. There will be well-established brands such as Halen Môn, Snowdonia Cheese and Radnor Hills as well as several new launches, including a new cheese – Abergoch – from Bodnant Welsh Food, a range of syrups from The Preservation Society, ‘grab and go’ snack biscuits from Cradocs and creative desserts and sauces from Môn ar Lwy. Visitors will be able to talk directly to the producers and to the Food & Drink Wales team. As ever these Welsh stands will be easy to spot. Look out for a strong splash of red and black on stands L160, M160 and M180 as you enter the NEC’s Hall 6 entrance. www.walesthetruetaste.co.uk

The Oil Merchant founder Charles Carey as well as sessions on cheese, charcuterie and wine. Former rugby international and foodie Phil Vickery will be offering his thoughts on responsible farming methods and animal welfare standards, while Great British Bake Off contestant Brendan Lynch will give a baking demonstration and TV chef Richard Fox will be giving advice on matching beer with food. The theatre will also hold sessions of Dragons’ Pantry, similar in format to the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, with panellists including Laverstoke Park Farm owner Jody Scheckter and Steve Quinn, MD of catering firm Cucina. Exhibitors will also be able to enter their products and services into the Great New Idea competition, which is decided by votes from visitors. Every entry is marked with purple stickers to highlight entrants to attendees as they walk around the show. One voter will be drawn at random to receive £250 while the winning company will be crowned at a live event during the show. Those looking for more buying opportunities outside the speciality food and drink sector will also be able to peruse the exhibitors of Food & Drink Expo as well as the other co-located shows National Convenience Show and Foodex, which focuses on processing, packaging and logistics. www.farmshopanddelishow.co.uk

Vol.15 Issue 2 · March 2014

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March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2


shelf talk

products, promotions & people

Borough Wines to roll out barrels to indies nationwide

Government stand to show off Welsh talent By MICHAEL LANE

By MICHAEL LANE

Borough Wines is hoping as many as 50 independent retailers will take on its wine dispensing system after making it available nationally for the first time. The wine merchant has run Straight from the Barrel units in its London shops for the past decade and now wants to roll them out under the Borough Wines Corner concept, which would also include a display of bottled wines and beers. The vending system, which allows consumers to fill stoppered 75cl glass bottles from one of two refrigerated barrels, has been trialed in several retailers over the last two years, including Brindisa, Hackney’s The Deli Downstairs and Wright’s Food Emporium in Carmarthenshire. Founder Muriel Chatel told FFD that Borough Wines was now in a position to offer the service after ensuring that it could secure the volume of wine from suppliers. “It’s one thing to be able to supply three shops but another to do 50 Borough Wine Corners,” she said. The systems and wine can be delivered anywhere in the UK but Chatel said that Borough

The London wine merchant wants to install its dual barrel wine dispensers in independents across the UK

would meet any interested retailers to make sure that the potential partners are on the same wavelength. Once a partnership has been

set up, the retailer pays a £750 deposit for the dispensing unit, and the supplied wines – sourced from producers in Chatel’s native France, Portugal, Italy, Spain and Hungary – change every four to six weeks. Retailers pay £1.50+VAT each for the refillable bottles and £47£55+VAT for 10-litre refills of wine. After their initial outlay on a bottle, consumers pay £5.50-£6.50 per refill. Chatel said that a retailer would have to sell at least 300 litres of wine a month for the concept to work properly and was keen to stress that the method of delivery did not mean the wine was cheap or of poor quality. “The overheads are less when there’s no cork, labeling or bottling going on,” she said. “The challenge is about sourcing great, affordable wine. Buying expensive wine is the easiest thing in the world. We like a challenge.” Chatel said she plans to do regional focuses throughout the course of the year and would also explore the possibility of having the producers themselves give tastings at certain Borough Corners. www.boroughwines.co.uk

Cotswold Fayre carries Easy Bean’s crispbreads into fine food sector By MICK WHITWORTH

Cotswold Fayre has become the first fine food distributor to list a range of chickpea-based crispbreads launched last autumn by Somersetbased Easy Bean, which pioneered the market for one-pot ready-meals made with beans and pulses. Three varieties of the naturally gluten-free crackers – mung bean & chive (110g), Moroccan spice (110g) and seeds & black pepper (120g) – were shown at September’s Speciality & Fine Food Fair, initially picking up listings in health food stores. But since January they have gone on-shelf in Daylesford Organic and Holland & Barrett stores and been taken on by Cotswold Fayre, which is pricing them at £17.15 for a case of eight cartons, RRP £2,14. “That takes us to eight distributors, of which four are national,” Easy Bean founder and MD Christina Baskerville told FFD, “but most of them are targeting health food stores. Cotswold Fayre is the first one that is more mainstream.” The crispbreads are being baked

in a newly created unit at Easy Bean’s rural HQ near Yeovil. They are made with chickpea flour (also known as gram flour) which is used in Indian cuisine to make pakoras and poppadoms, along with local butter and buttermilk. Additional flavour and texture comes from ingredients including sunflower, sesame and nigella seeds, roasted mung beans and toasted almonds. Baskerville said they offered independents an artisan alternative to mainstream gluten-free crackers or crispbreads. “When we started trying everything on the market, we found a lot of gluten-free crackers tasted like cardboard,” she said. “Dr

Gluten-free beer, charcoal salt and blackberry syrup are just some of the new products being launched by producers under the Food & Drink Wales banner at this month’s Food Expo trade show. Monty’s Brewery will be showcasing Masquerade, a 4.6% bottle-conditioned gluten-free golden ale, which comes in cases of 12 x 500ml bottles (RRP £2.50 each). Certified by Coeliac UK, the beer is made with Citra hops, which lend tropical fruit flavours to the brew. The latest combination from the Anglesey Sea Salt Co is a distinctive blend of its Halen Môn PDO sea salt with Welsh charcoal, which comes in 100g pouches or in a clamp top jar with spoon (15g). The RRPs are £5.50 and £6.50 respectively.

Karg’s would be the best known brand, imported from Germany, but it’s an industrial, extruded product and it’s very hard, whereas ours is hand-crafted. We hand-apply all the seeds, and we’ve worked hard to get a crumbly, moreish texture.” This is the first brand extension in Easy Bean’s six year history. Baskerville told FFD: “When I launched Easy Bean, I always had it in mind that beans and pulses came in all sorts of formats, like flour, not just whole beans. Within three to five years I would hope to have a small family of healthy, convenient foods that champion the bean.” www.easybean.co.uk

The new crispbreads could form part of a ‘small family of foods that champion the bean’

The Anglesey firm will also be sampling salted caramels in 100g cellophane bags (RRP £2.50) and wooden boxes (RRP £6.95). Meanwhile, Chocolate Fusion has also gone down the salted caramel route as part of its new range of truffles and pralines. As well as sea-salt caramel & hazelnut truffles the line-up includes coconut & lime truffles and a sesame crunch praline. All of these new flavours are available in 24- and 12-chocolate luxury collection boxes (RRP £17.95 and £8.95 respectively). Other products making their debut are Blissfully Blackcurrant, Ravishingly Raspberry and Blackberry Bramble sirops from The Preservation Society, cracker snack packs from Cradoc’s and 125ml individual ice cream pots from Môn ar Lwy. www.montysbrewery.co.uk www.halenmon.co.uk www.chocolate-fusion.com www.the-preservation-society.co.uk www.cradocs.co.uk www.monarlwy.co.uk

Vol.15 Issue 2 ·March 2014

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Top chefs tell CLARE HARGREAVES their deli essentials

More shapes and sizes for Merangz By MICHAEL LANE

Shropshire bakery The Little Round Cake Co has expanded its Merangz line-up with ranges of meringue bites and nests to complement its “mountainous” originals. The bite-sized Merangz come in three collections – classic, fruit and chocolate & nut – and each box (RRP £4.50) features six bites in flavours including strawberry, Belgian chocolate, white chocolate & raspberry, passion fruit, pecan and mocha. The Merangz nests are presented in hand-tied bags of luxury flavours and also in a box of four (RRP £3.00 and £3.75 respectively). Available in Madagascan vanilla, hazelnut praline, Belgian chocolate, strawberry and lemon, the nests can be filled with cream and berries to create desserts at home. “The giant Merangz have created a stir when displayed on

Munchy Seeds tweaks packaging By MICHAEL LANE

Munchy Seeds has made a number of a subtle changes to the packaging of several lines including improvements to its snack bags. Its 25g sachets have been altered so they can be displayed vertically and the shelfready box has also been slimmed down to accommodate this. Four of the seed specialist’s lines – honey seeds, omega sprinkles, pumpkin power and chilli bites – are available in this stand-up format.

CHEF’S SELECTION Rosie Sykes Chef at Fitzbillies, Cambridge www.fitzbillies.com

counters but we also wanted to be able to offer a packaged product for the shelves – and we now have this,” said the company’s founder Brian Crowther. “We have many more flavours and our intention is to keep innovating in this area, for different seasons and special occasions.” All of the company’s meringues are made with natural flavourings and free range eggs and slow-baked to a traditional Swiss recipe, which ensures a crisp shell and a mallowy centre. Merangz can be bought direct from The Little Round Cake Co or through Heart Distribution, Hider Foods and Creed Foodservice. www.thelittleroundcakecompany. co.uk

The Suffolk-based company has also upgraded the colour of its 50g bags of choccy apricot seeds – a blend of sunflower and pumpkin seeds with dried apricots coasted in Belgian milk and dark chocolate – from silver to a “more eye-catching” green. All of these seeds, which are roasted and naturally flavoured, are a source of zinc, protein, iron, omega 3 essential fatty acids and vitamins A and E. They are also suitable for vegetarians and gluten-free diets. www.munchyseeds.co.uk

Patricia Niven

shelf talk

Looking for suppliers accredited by the Guild of Fine Food? Follow the logo

Hodmedod’s split green peas www.hodmedods.co.uk

Hodmedod’s are a small Norfolkbased company who grow and dry their own legumes in East Anglia. Their skinned split peas are fantastic – really tasty, fresh, not at all musty like some pulses can be. They have a vibrant colour and a good amount of starch, which is very important. We make a delicious split pea and mint soup with them and also a pea and ham soup. But my favourite at the moment is making pease pudding with lots of onion, leek, rosemary and mint. Once it’s cold I cut it, then fry it and serve with lamb chops.

Lode Mill pinhead oatmeal www.nationaltrust.org.uk/anglesey-abbey

This oatmeal, ground in the recently restored mill at Anglesey Abbey, has a lovely bite to it. I use it to make oatcakes. It also gives good flavour when used in pancakes, which I serve with smoked salmon and eel. Oatmeal is great for coating oily fish, such as mackerel, too. And it’s fantastic in a Scottish-style skirlie to accompany game; I fry the oatmeal in fat then add stock to make a thick sauce that works like a traditional bread sauce.

Roque Collioure anchovies www.anchois-roque.com

Roque is one of the last two families salting anchovies in the Catalan fishing port of Collioure. We buy the anchovies in 500g tubs from Fine France. At £13, they are not cheap, but you don’t need much as they’re pure, buttery and rich. They will lift any dish. I use them in salads such as my blood orange, fennel and almond salad, which I dress with a blend of anchovy, orange zest and juice, garlic and toasted fennel seeds. Because the anchovies are so good you can simply put them on toast; I sometimes offer this as a starter, with soft-boiled duck egg. I also use Collioure anchovies in Janssen’s Temptation (with potatoes and cream), which I serve with lamb.

Centaur foods hazelnut oil www.centaurfoods.com

I buy this in 500ml bottles through our vegetable supplier. It’s much sweeter than walnut oil, and more versatile. I love it for mayonnaise, dressings and marinades. It’s great, for instance, in a romesco or agresto sauce to accompany chicken or fish. I never heat it except when blending it into our granola. The only downside of hazelnut oil is that it has a short shelf life so needs to be used quickly.

Oh! Legumes Oublies Perigord verjuice www.ohlegumesoublies.com/eng

FANCIER BREW: Taylors of Harrogate has teamed up with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew to create a range of fruit and herbal infusions. All of the ingredients have been “carefully sourced” by Taylors and certified by botanical experts at the gardens. Peppermint, lemongrass & ginger, chamomile & vanilla, spiced apple, sweet rhubarb & blackberry and elderflower all come in boxes of 20 teabags (RRP £2.99). www.bettysandtaylors.co.uk

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March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2

This verjuice is from Perigord in France, and is produced by a small artisan farmer who specialises in growing heritage vegetables using organic methods. It has a lovely flavour, which is acid yet floral at the same time. I use it in braises alongside wine, or it gives another dimension to dressings, sauces and marinades. In the autumn, I did a braised chicken with verjuice and grapes which was lovely. I buy verjuice in 750ml bottles through Fine France.


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Vol.15 Issue 2 路 March 2014

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March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2

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shelf talk

products, promotions & people

Stone cold facts In the wake of 2013’s horsemeat saga, frozen food has faltered in the multiples but things are looking up for independents. MICHAEL LANE looks at the statistics and talks to some of the key suppliers in the category. in 2013), Deans says Field Fare’s lineup of prepared potato products has seen notable growth, whether it’s the high-end potato gratin imported from Europe or the spicy potato wedges. While some of these lines are 800 similar in style to supermarket offerings, Deans says the USP for Field Fare, and its stockists, is selfservice. “You can buy as little or as much as you like. You might be a young 600 professional and only have to buy half a dozen or a mum with six kids,” she says. This kind of differentiation, says Cook’s Perry, is vital. “For heaven’s sake, don’t stock 400 what the supermarkets stock,” he says, adding that this is particularly important for retailers looking to carry frozen food but low on space. Luckily, the sector is brimming 200 with innovation, says Nita Barker, a director at distributor Stratford Fine Foods. She cites brands like Somerset-based sweet and savoury crumble producer Yumble and ice cream-stuffed fruits from Divinio 0 as some of the more exciting Ice cream Vegetables Potato Ready developments in the last year. Products Meals She adds that many of the latest 2012 2012 2013 trendy foods, such as salted caramel ice cream and Japanese edamame peas, appear in The horsemeat scandal was frozen format. independents. “There’s the obvious advantage of no shelf life issues Last year’s açai good for us because people compared to chilled. And it’s space berries may trust us. They were moving efficient. You have a lot of value in have been away from conventional quite a small space.” replaced by brands. Edward Perry While Perry says he has never frozen shots encountered prejudice against frozen of wheatgrass food, there is still a large portion juice but Barker says that retailers 2012, 51% of male shoppers and of the British public that consider it interested in frozen food don’t have 42% of female shoppers thought inferior to chilled, according to Field to stray too far outside the normal. fresh vegetables were more nutritious Fare MD Karen Deans. “There is demand for special than frozen, even though there is “The irony is that, certainly in the dietary needs like low-fat and scientific evidence to the contrary. boom days, shoppers were buying vegetarian,” she says, adding that ice Despite this, Deans says Field Fare chilled ready-meals and putting them creams and sorbets are still Stratford’s has seen good growth across all of in the freezer,” she tells FFD. biggest sellers, contributing to an its lines, which also include bake“It’s seen that chilled is best but 8.9% increase in the distributor’s off croissants and ready-meals. In a actually it isn’t,” she adds. “From an sales in 2013. It’s also still growing similar vein to the Kantar Worldpanel economical point of view, frozen lasts in multiples, so there’s no reason supermarket data (sales value up 10% longer, it’s there when you need it and why the warmer months couldn’t be it doesn’t go off.” good for independents too. Deans says that attitudes to Even if we’re still waiting for the frozen food are changing but it is arrival of good weather, Barker has slow. And there is clearly still work to seen a change in the trading climate be done when it comes to fruit and for frozen food after some tricky vegetables, which Field Fare supplies times. loose to farm “I think there’s a positive feel out there,” she says. “If people have It’s seen that chilled is best shops for selfservice. been holding back and waiting, they but actually it isn’t. Frozen According will definitely take the plunge.” The nutritional properties of frozen lasts longer, it’s there when to research www.cookfood.net vegetables, like the ones supplied you need it and it doesn’t go from Mintel www.field-fare.com by Field Fare, are still unknown to off. Karen Deans conducted in many consumers www.stratfordfinefoods.com 1000

According to Kantar Worldpanel’s latest data on frozen food, sales values were up in most categories in 2013

£ ,000s

Even a cursory glance at the data available on the frozen category’s performance in supermarkets during 2013 shows that frozen is not in as bad a place as you might think, despite the well-documented horsemeat scandal. What’s more, when you compare this data to what suppliers to delis and farm shops are saying, it seems frozen food is performing in a similarly positive way in independents. Even the headline figures are not too dispiriting, although ‘horsegate’ did have an effect on sales during 2013. The discovery of horse DNA in lasagnes and other ready-meals led to an 8% drop, year on year, in both value and volume of frozen readymeals sold in supermarkets (according to Kantar Worldpanel). This was enough to cause a slight fall (-0.1%) in the overall volume of frozen food sold during the year but total sales value still increased 2.5%. FFD spoke to some of the leading frozen suppliers to the independents – distributor Stratford Fine Foods, loose produce and bakery specialist Field Fare and ready-meal producer Cook – and found they had all experienced growth in 2013. Of the three, Cook is the one that most would expect to have capitalised on the failings of Tesco, Findus and co. MD Edward Perry describes the last 12 months as “exceptional”, not just for Cook’s own stores (of which there are more than 70 across the UK) but also for its independent-only wholesale operation. At the end of its last financial year in March 2013, Cook was selling £8m worth of ready-meals to delis and farm shops and Perry says there were a few percentage point increases in sales as a result of adulterated burgers and lasagnes. “It was good for us because people trust us and the brand,” he says. “People were moving away from the conventional brands.” In fact, Cook’s 2013 sales into farm shops alone grew by 20%. This was both existing customers increasing their freezer space and more than 80 new accounts. This clearly demonstrates potential the growth of frozen food and Perry says it is a “huge” opportunity for

Vol.15 Issue 2 ·March 2014

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   

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March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2


shelf talk

Looking for producers accredited by the Guild of Fine Food? Follow the logo

Fudge Kitchen unveils plans for 2014 By MICHAEL LANE

Fudge Kitchen has unveiled a number of new products it plans to launch over the course of 2014. The newcomers include a new line-up of fudge frappés and additions to its drinking fudge and dipped fudge ranges. This year will see the Kent-based producer launch a range of drinking fudge frappés in a variety of flavours including sea salted caramel, chocolate & raspberry and hazelnut. These products come in the same format as hot drinking fudge but can be mixed into chilled milk to make a cold drink. They will be available in selection boxes with an RRP £8 from May. The first lines to hit shelves, in February, were three new chilli chocolate flavoured hot drinking fudges – in mild, moderate and hot strengths – dubbed The Three Amigos. Triple packs have an RRP of £8. Fudge Kitchen has also developed duo packs (45g, RRP £2.65) for four flavours of its dipped fudge sticks: sea salted caramel dipped in dark chocolate, peanut

butter dipped in milk chocolate, rich chocolate dipped in white chocolate and chocolate chilli dipped in orange chocolate. The company has already planned for Christmas 2014 with two festive-themed dipped fudge sticks – mince pie fudge dipped in brandy-flavoured white chocolate and Continental ginger dipped in

Branded cakes

KINGS ROAD GOURMET POPCORN

www.originalcake.co.uk

DIPNATION

www.dipnation.co.uk

DipNation’s latest offering consists of three Mexicaninspired tomato-based salsas in various chilli heat strengths. Smokey bean & chipotle, sweet chilli and classic hot have been in development for the last 12 months. All three

www.hodmedods.co.uk

Branding overhaul

THE ORIGINAL CAKE COMPANY

Mexican dips

www.fudgekitchen.co.uk

are packed in cases of 8x200g (RRP £1.39 per pack) and with a wholesale price of £8.34.

what's new

The private label supplier has launched its first branded range, consisting of seven fruit cake logs. The Lincolnbased bakery offers four everyday styles, as well as two seasonal products. Sticky date & walnut, fruit & nut, cherry & almond and nutty topped fruit cake can all be cut into as many as 15 individual slices. The two seasonal lines are an iced fruit cake log and a gift pack, which includes three portions of cake.

dark chocolate – as well as a 150g box of chocolate covered fudge baubles (RRP £14.90). The 12 Flavours of Christmas, which features varieties such as Christmas pudding, cranberry & orange and cherry brandy, will be available to retailers from September.

IT’S BEAN COMING: Following the launch of its British-grown dried peas and beans last year, Norfolk’s Hodmedod’s has launched three varieties of prepared tinned beans including its own recipe baked beans (RRP £1.19). The range also includes British fava beans (RRP 99p) for adding to casseroles and British vaal dhal (£1.65), which is also made with fava beans. All three can be cooked straight from the can in under three minutes.

www.kingsroadgourmetpopcorn. co.uk

come in shelf-ready cases of 6x185g jars (RRP £1.99 each). The range is available direct from the producer or through distributor The Cress Company.

Black pepper oatcake NAIRN’S

www.nairns-oatcakes.com

Nairn’s has extended its range of oatcakes with the launch of a limited edition cracked black pepper oatcake. The new flavour, which the producer says lends “an extra bite” to cheese, is the first in a new series of limited edition flavours. The oatcakes are now available through distributors including Suma, Tree of Life, Infinity Foods Essential and The Health Store. They

The brand formerly known as Toasted Gourmet Popcorn has a new look and a new name. Trading up from its old brown paper bags, Kings Road Gourmet Popcorn is now available in newly branded 100g bags, designed by B & B Studios. Under the previous branding, the producer’s sweet & salty popcorn won two stars in Great Taste 2013.

Banoffee coffee CHERIZENA

www.cherizena.co.uk

Cherizena’s latest flavoured creation, banoffee pie coffee, is described as “sweet and creamy, just like the pud, but without the calories”. It comes in whole bean or ground formats and can also be supplied decaffeinated if required. Like all of the company’s coffees, the new flavour contains no syrups or coatings and can be personalised and branded or sold under the Cherizena

brand. It is available in a variety of pack sizes up to 1kg and can also be supplied in “snip and pour” packs for filter machines.

Range re-brand FLAVOURMAGIC

www.flavourmagic.com

The rock salt infusion and spice blending company has rebranded its entire range. The salts – smoked,
rosemary,
Thai,
lemon & dill,
chilli
and curry – can be used both in cooking or for finishing dishes while the spice blends cover a range of world cuisines. As well as fajita, piri piri and harissa, there is a Tunisian Berbere mix and the seven spice Japanese Togarishi. All have an RRP of £3 each and come in boxes of six units. Salts are priced at £9 per box while spices cost £7.20.

Vol.15 Issue 2 March 2014

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shelf talk

Rhug Estate’s open secret Since the 12,000-acre Rhug Estate in north Wales opened a new £1.5m shop and bistro in 2011, retail MD Jon Edwards has been holding open house for other farm-based retailers. ‘There’s not an awful lot we won’t share,’ the one-time M&S store manager tells FFD.

Deli of the Month INTERVIEW BY mick whitworth

F

ew farm shop bosses have spent the rump of their career in retailing. Most will have started as farmers, and many still are. Jon Edwards, by contrast, already had 15 years’ supermarket experience, including a decade in store management at Marks & Spencer, before he joined Lord Newborough’s organic Rhug Estate (it’s pronounced “Reeg”) in North Wales 10 years ago to develop its retail offer. And it shows, both in the look and feel of the handsome, eco-friendly farm shop, which opened in its current form in 2011, and in Edwards’ atypical approach to the business.

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March 2014 · Vol.15 Issue 2

The 3,200 sq ft shop – part of a £1.5m 6,000 sq ft new-build, including a 2,000 sq ft café-bistro – is in no way supermarkety. Yet, with its clear lines of sight from front to back, strong lighting, clever use of promotional hot spots and creative merchandising ideas, it bears all the hallmarks of a retail pro. There are also the management systems that underpin it – the LCCS Epos system, for example, which is used to its maximum to manage margins, analyse sales performance and decide which products should stay or go. And then there is Edwards’ enthusiasm for sharing ideas with the rest of the farm shop sector too – a cultural bridge too far, perhaps, for some wary farmers, but meat and drink to an ex-supermarket man. “At M&S, if someone on the south coast had a good idea, by the following week they’d be trying it out

It sometimes feels like every new farm shop has to reinvent the wheel Jon Edwards

in Scotland,” Edwards tells me when we meet in Rhug’s smart Bison Grill bistro on an early February morning, “and I was quite frustrated when I started here to find that doesn’t happen. “It sometimes feels like every new farm shop has to reinvent the wheel, when there are so many people out there with information and short cuts they could share.” For 15 years or more, the major multiples and their biggest suppliers have been comparing notes and ideas through forums such as the Institute of Grocery Distribution. Their aim has been to grow the market for the whole supermarket sector, while stopping just short of anything that might be considered anti-competitive. Whatever you think of this, they wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work. Edwards tells me: “If all the farm shops in the country were part of a single company, we’d be massive, and


products, promotions & people more doors need to open for farm shops to say, ‘Here are the lessons we have learned…’.” In that spirit, he has welcomed visits from the likes of Hollies Farm Shop (which has two sites in Cheshire), Battlefield 1403 farm shop on the Albrighton estate in Shropshire and the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s Fodder store in Harrogate. In the week of our interview, Rhug had hosted Bodnant farm shop near Conwy – just 45 minutes away, and similarly placed on the north Wales tourist trail. Edwards has few issues, it seems, about talking with potential competitors. “There’s not an awful lot we won’t share with them, apart from how much profit we make. We’ll share everything else: what we turn over,” – currently around £2.2 million a year – “what margins we work on. And quite often, you find you get something back. “With Fodder, who are similar to us in terms of space, we shared the way we set up our loyalty card. We talked about our best-selling products. And we talked about staffing, and what our management costs are.” Getting the systems and staffing right were key parts of the brief when Edwards joined Rhug Estate as part of a wide-ranging programme of change begun by Lord Newborough in 2002, four years after he inherited the baronetcy from his father. Last year, Lord Newborough was named Diversification Farmer of the Year by Farmers Weekly, for transforming a conventional farm at Rhug into one of the UK’s most successful organic businesses. While that diversification now takes in everything from solar energy to storing caravans in redundant barns, it began with the opening of an organic burger van at the Rhug Estate farm, next to the A5 near Corwen. The farm shop grew out of this, initially operating from a prefab unit, with all the limitations that entails. “The prefab had been here a couple of years before I got here,” says Edwards. “It was a toe in the water, and it very quickly became busy. People had to queue up single-file to fit in, and we desperately needed facilities like a deli counter.” The new shop and bistro were due to open soon after Edwards’ arrival, but plans were shelved for a while as Rhug Estate focused on developing its wholesale operations. It now sells organic meat to clients ranging from Waitrose and Michelin-starred chefs to airlines and export markets as far away as Singapore, as well as having a stall at London’s Borough Market. Lord Newborough owns three estates in Wales and the Borders, of which Rhug, at 12,000 acres, is the biggest. Around 2,500 acres is farmed by its owner and more is in the hands of tenant farmers. (There is also the 700-acre Glynllifon estate on the Llyn

latter is supplied by OCKS E’S MUST-ST Nantwich-based RHUG ESTAT merchant Rodney honey Rhug Estate Densem, and nge eggs Local free ra displayed on visually woolly hats striking, purpose-built Pachamama d shower shelving that fills the etics bath an Bomb Cosm shop’s gable wall and products helps draw people loose olives Olives Et Al through the shop. “Our se beers wine sales have grown Purple Moo Bacon Jam 300% over two or three i years, because we’ve got Juliette Avr f du Pape eu un ea at three price points: entry Ch ternina level, mid-range and topFederico Pa ran range,” says Edwards. ‘Accolado’ G ja io R Broadly, the shop va er es R aims to support local, y sea salt se le ng organic and Fairtrade Halen Môn/A products first, and it has crispbreads Peter’s Yard around 60 local suppliers ff organic oice bake-o Country Ch – a number of them bloomers micro-businesses. Honey e rolls rmet sausag comes from a beekeeper Coopers Gou eese on the estate, while free d Perl Las ch Perl Wen an range hens’ and ducks’ erphilly Gorwydd Ca eggs are supplied locally by sett Stilton a former Rhug employee. Colston Bas cheddar But understanding the e cave-aged e Wookey Hol eak & ale pi customer’s view of ‘local’ or Co family st od Fo o ar Tanz ‘Welsh’ has been challenging. “For example, Pwllheli is a lot further away than Chester, but products from Pwllheli will That means mining Epos data sell more. The perception is that if it’s produced by the shop’s LCCS system. Welsh, it’s local. We had a one beer “There are places like Bodnant and from south Cheshire and one from Chatsworth that really use that system Cardiff, which is 150 miles away, but to the full,” says Edwards, “but most it was the south Cheshire one that places don’t. gathered dust.” “I was with M&S and my With more than 2,000 products operations manager has a more in the shop overall, it is sales analytical background, so we are big performance that ultimately decides on analysis. We know exactly what what stays and what goes. “There each shelf returns per square foot, are some products, like eggs, that will and that enables us to make decisions always fly. Others, like pesto, are there on fact, not gut feel.” as range enhancers. And then there Analysis also enables Edwards are others that will only fly if you get and his team to play with individual them in the right position. So one product margins to maximise sales challenge is to identify those little stars while not letting overall profitability that will fly.” slip. “We aim for 38% in the shop, 72% in the bistro and 64% in the takeaway. But if I gave you a detailed report, you’d see all sorts of different margins, and that’s where the LCCS system works really well. “Generally a [shop] product will start at 38%. If we think we can get a bit more out of it, we’ll push it higher. If it won’t make 38% we’ll either get rid of it or drop the price if we think we can make it up on something else. There are some great products out there that can only make 20-25%, but we have others that are such big hitters that it give us flexibility.” A prime example is the Pachamama range of woolly hats, discovered at 2012’s Autumn Fair at the NEC in 2012. Appealing to winter tourists, they deliver a 50% margin, and have turned over more than £35,000 since October 2013. “If I could find a summer equivalent to that,” says Edwards, “I’d Creative merchandising draws attention to key lines, from Bomb be ecstatic.“

peninsula in Gwynedd, source of Rhug’s salt marsh lamb, and then the family seat at Peplow in Shropshire.) Rhug uses a slaughterhouse only a mile or so from the farm and has its own on-farm cutting and packing operation on site. So meat was always going to be central to the new shop and to the adjoining Bison Grill, which majors on beef, lamb, chicken and, yes, bison from the estate. Deciding on the rest of the range was tougher, particularly as there is such reliance on passing trade. In some ways, the shop is in a lucky position, says Edwards. The A5 is the main route between the Midlands and Snowdonia, and the shop is close to the junction for the A494, which connects Corwen to Chester and the north of England. But in the immediate vicinity there are “very few chimney pots”. Although Rhug does court locals through loyalty schemes, events and offers, he says: “Our target is the transient population – the tourists, the day-trippers – and we try to pitch it to have something for everyone at all price points.” While main meals in the Bison Grill range from organic rib-eye burgers at £12.50 to 21-day-aged 6oz organic fillet at £28, there is still an outdoor takeaway where shoppers can get a quick bite for £3.50. Overall best-sellers at Rhug include TrayBakes cakes from Penrith, Cumbria, which it was ordering by the pallet-load last summer, and Bomb Cosmetics’ bodycare products from Bournemouth – neither of them very Welsh, but both hitting modest price points that appeal strongly to tourists. Meat, says Edwards, is the only area in which the Rhug won't try to offer a cheaper option. Big successes have been local beers – Edwards says he can sell 400-500 bottles over a weekend if suppliers give him discounted stock for promotions – and wine. The

Cosmetics soaps to local free range eggs

www.rhug.co.uk

Vol.15 Issue 2 · March 2014

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