Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Nottingham bread manufacturer Butt Foods launches new sub roll range after support from the Food and Drink iNet

A Nottingham bread manufacturer celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010 has launched a new range of products after receiving support from the Food and Drink iNet.

Butt Foods Ltd received support worth £3,800 from the iNet to develop five flavours in its new Big Softy sub roll range. This also enabled the firm to develop interactive marketing materials to support the sale of the Big Softy sub rolls into the food service, sandwich manufacturer, and retail markets.

The range has been such a success that the firm is poised to launch Big Softy sub rolls in sliced versions at London contemporary food trade exhibition Lunch! 2010 at the end of September.

“The Big Softy sub rolls have been a great success from day one of their launch – our sales have shown 50% quarter on quarter growth,” said Butt Foods sales and marketing director David Williams.

“As bakery innovators, we are always looking to lead the way and be up there with any trend, and there is currently a huge demand from universities, colleges, hospitals, leisure centres, caf├ęs and other similar outlets for sub rolls.

“The Food and Drink iNet support helped us to develop five flavours of the Big Softy and also gave us assistance with interactive marketing, which means we can add downloadable recipes and information to our website that will give our customers ideas about how they can use the sub rolls. The Food and Drink iNet has been a big help to us as we open the latest chapter in the life of Butt Foods, which is this year marking its 20th anniversary.”

Butt Foods, which is based in Nottingham, received £3,800 worth of Innovation, Advice and Guidance support from the iNet. The company matched this support with its own investment.

The iNet helps food and drink firms engage expertise from academia, research institutions and specialist business advice for innovation projects to develop new ideas, new products, new processes and to help companies grow. 50% of the equivalent cash value of the support must be contributed by the company.

Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Food and Drink iNet co-ordinates innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands. One of four iNets, it strives to develop an effective network to encourage the collaboration of academic expertise and knowledge, and local food and drink business innovation needs.

It aims to build on the tradition of innovation in the food and drink industry in the region by helping to create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, and to help research, develop and implement new products, markets, services and processes.

The Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by the Food & Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region.

For more information visit www.eminnovation.org.uk/food

Founded in 1990 by Mazhar Butt, Butt Foods Ltd produces a wide range of speciality bakery products for food service, retail and catering. It bakes up to 60 million products every year at its purpose-built manufacturing unit.

The business has brought a number of firsts to the table, including flat breads and bread bowls. Its latest innovation, the Big Softy, is available in plain white, plain brown, semolina topped white, honey and oats topped brown, and cheese and herb topped white. Baked in foot-long moulds or as 8 inch sub rolls, the range is available nationally through distributors.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Regional and Speciality Food and Drink Market boosts visitor numbers

Latest statistics have revealed that a monthly speciality food and drink market brings up to 10 per cent more visitors to the heart of a city.

Regional food organisation East Midlands Fine Foods has been running a regular Regional and Speciality Food and Drink Market in the Old Market Square, Nottingham, since April 2007 in conjunction with Nottingham City Council.

The market is the chance for producers and suppliers of food and drink from across the East Midlands to sell direct to the public, and has built up a loyal following of customers.

Now statistics have revealed that footfall to the Old Market Square goes up by between 7 and 10 per cent on market days, representing an extra 3,000 to 5,000 visitors to the city centre.

“The positive relationship between East Midlands Fine Foods and Nottingham City Council has helped to create a vibrant and popular monthly market which attracts visitors to the heart of the city,” said Councillor David Trimble, portfolio holder for leisure, culture and customers at Nottingham City Council.

“The Regional and Speciality Food and Drink Market has been a great asset to Nottingham, and very much welcomed by shoppers, which is reflected in our latest statistics on visitor numbers to the Old Market Square.”

As well as the Nottingham market, which takes place on the third Friday and Saturday of each month, East Midlands Fine Foods organises a number of speciality food and drink markets across the region at specific events, such as the Burghley Game and Country Fair near Stamford.

The Nottingham event features around 30 stalls from Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland selling a wide variety of produce, including meat, cheese, condiments, cakes, fruit and vegetables, ethnic snacks and other items.

“Speciality food markets continue to be very popular with shoppers,” said Briony Clarke, operations manager of business support organisation The Food and Drink Forum, which runs East Midlands Fine Foods.

“Our members and associated stall holders produce some of the finest regional and speciality food and drink from across the East Midlands, and we’re delighted to see that this monthly event in Nottingham city centre is such a draw for the public.

“As one of the largest food and drink organisations in the region, we have links to a wide variety of food and drink producers, so between us and the council we’ve been able to run a successful regular event.”

East Midlands Fine Foods provides a range of focused support and assistance to small and medium-sized speciality food and drink producers in the region, including regular exhibiting and selling opportunities. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham.


Friday, 20 August 2010

New business advisors join the Food and Drink iNet to support companies in the sector in the East Midlands

Jo Murphy
Catherine Wright
Three new business advisors have been appointed to help food and drink firms in the East Midlands to develop.

The Food and Drink iNet advisors will support companies to implement new ideas, new products and new processes with the aim of helping them to grow their business through innovation.

The Food and Drink iNet has been supporting the sector across the region for more than two years with a team of advisors. But now, for the first time and following the launch of phase two of the Food and Drink iNet, there is a dedicated advisor for each large county in the East Midlands.

“This expansion of the Food and Drink iNet advisory team means that we can build on the advice and support that we offer to businesses working in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands,” said Food and Drink iNet director Andrew Butterwick. “In the current climate, innovation is essential to ensure that the regional food and drink industry continues to develop and remain competitive.

“The support provided by the iNet during the first two years of the project was welcomed by food and drink manufacturers in the region as an original way of supporting and encouraging innovation in the sector in the East Midlands. We intend to build on this in the future via a number of different channels, and are delighted to welcome additional advisors to our team.”

Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Food and Drink iNet co-ordinates innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands. One of four iNets, it strives to develop an effective network to encourage the collaboration of academic expertise and knowledge, and local food and drink business innovation needs.

It aims to build on the tradition of innovation in the food and drink industry in the region by helping to create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, and to help research, develop and implement new products, markets, services and processes.

The new Food and Drink iNet advisors are Jo Murphy, who is covering Northamptonshire, Stevie Jackson, who is supporting businesses in Leicestershire and Rutland, and Catherine Wright, who is covering Nottinghamshire. All have experience of business support and the food and drink sector.

They join iNet advisors Paul Sheppard, who is responsible for support in Derbyshire, and Rachel Linstead, who covers Lincolnshire. Susan Tate, who previously covered Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, has moved to become contract and project manager at the Food and Drink iNet.

The Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by the Food & Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region.

Contact an advisor by visiting www.eminnovation.org.uk/food or calling 0845 521 2066.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Anila's Authentic Sauces gains first distribution order to Switzerland

Anila’s Authentic Sauces will be warming up meals in snowy Switzerland after the firm received its first export order from the country.

Earlier this year the award-winning curry sauce and accompaniments producer won an export order to Germany after exhibiting at the world’s most important food and drink sector trade fair, Anuga.

Anila’s travelled with UK Trade & Investment to exhibit as part of the British Pavilion at Anuga in Cologne in October 2009.

Now the company run by Anila Vaghela has secured a second order as a result of contacts made at the trade fair and has started exporting to Switzerland for the first time.

A Swiss distributor has ordered more than 1,100 jars of curry sauces, chutneys and pickles from the firm, which is based in Walton-on-Thames with a unit in Hounslow, and is run by Anila and her husband Dan.

“This is great news for Anila’s Authentic Sauces,” said Anila Vaghela. “Exhibiting at Anuga marked the start of our push into exporting to Continental Europe, and I am delighted that this is now bearing fruit for us.”

The distributor has taken the whole of Anila’s range, which features eight premium curry sauces, handmade in small batches, and 16 chutneys, pickles and dips made with single fruits and vegetables.

Anila’s now exports to Germany, Ireland, Dubai and Switzerland, and hopes to continue expanding to other countries.

The news of the Switzerland order comes as Anila’s celebrates scooping a two ** Gold Great Taste Award for its popular Goan Green Curry Sauce.

The accolade marked the 11th Great Taste Award presented to Anila’s range of premium curry sauces, chutneys, pickles and dips by The Guild of Fine Food.

To win such a high rating, up to 20 judges unanimously agreed that the Goan Green Curry Sauce had achieved ‘absolute perfection’.

“The Goan Green Curry Sauce is one of our most popular sauces, and we are thoroughly delighted that the judges of the Great Taste Awards 2010 agree that it’s something very special,” said Anila, who founded Anila’s Authentic Sauces in 1997.

The Great Taste Awards are the national benchmark in speciality food and drink, and have been running since 1993.

Made with mint, coriander, spinach and coconut, Anila’s Goan Green Curry Sauce is sold in a range of speciality retailers, delis and farm shops.

Anila’s cooking has always been popular with friends and family, and in the early 1990s she began selling jars of curry sauce on a very small scale in her local community in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. She sold all 80 jars at her first fair at Weybridge in 1992. Phone calls from very satisfied customers followed, and Anila began fulfilling small orders.

In 1997 she was made redundant from a job as a PA and decided to seize the opportunity to form her own company to develop Anila’s Authentic Sauces.

She carried out extensive research, took expert business advice, and felt there was a gap in the market for high-quality, premium curry sauces. She soon gained a listing in the food hall of her local department store, and before long Anila’s curry sauces were on the shelves of a range of health stores, delicatessens and independent specialist shops.

Anila outgrew her kitchen at home and moved to a catering kitchen in Surbiton in 2002. A year later the business needed larger premises once more, and Anila’s re-located to a 1400 sq ft unit in Hounslow. In 2006, husband Dan also joined the team.

Anila’s products are now sold at John Lewis Oxford Street and John Lewis Bluewater, and top quality gourmet stores, such as Harrods, Wholefoods and Planet Organic, plus hundreds of other outlets that include health food stores, garden centres and gift shops, as well as smaller independent stores such as Budgens at Ascot, Shepperton and Crouch End. Anila’s also sells direct to the public at 28 farmers’ markets across Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, including Guildford, Walton, Windsor, Maidenhead, Ascot, Cobham, Beaconsfield and Farnham, and online via http://www.anilassauces.com/

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

New lower fat snack Crips 99Cals to be launched to independent retailers and cafes at Speciality & Fine Food Fair

Crunchy new lower fat snack Crips 99Cals is being launched to independent delis, farm shops and other specialist retailers at Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2010.

The oven-baked wheat and potato snack created by East Midlands snack producer Crips has 70% less fat than traditional fried potato crisps and only 99 calories per pack.

The product offers a tasty, deliciously different snack to health-conscious crisp lovers with an appetite for something special.

Created by a team based at Ingleby near Derby, the Crips 99Cals range is available in three different flavours – Thai Sweet Chilli, Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar and Mature Cheddar Cheese & Spring Onion.

Crips have been voted number one in independent tests…beating five leading-brand healthy option snacks on taste, texture and appearance.

“We are delighted to unveil our new Crips 99Cals range at Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2010,” said Crips managing director Gareth Smith.

“The new packs are designed to offer something low in calories and fat, but without sacrificing the crunch, taste and eating experience of more traditional snacks.”

Crips 99Cals have no GM ingredients, no monosodium glutamate, are trans-fat free, have no artificial colours or preservatives, contain heaps of natural flavour, and are suitable for vegetarians.

Packaged in eye-catching bags that stand out on the shelf, Crips 99Cals are available in 22.5g packs in an optional shelf ready branded case.

Visit the Crips team at stand 254 at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair, Olympia, London, from 5th to 7th September.


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Vintage car day and beer festival at Croots Farm Shop in Derbyshire on bank holiday Saturday

Derbyshire farm shop Croots will be staging its first vintage car day and beer festival on Saturday 28th August 2010.

The free event is being held at the Duffield farm shop as part of bank holiday weekend celebrations.

West Hallam-based Nutbrook Brewery, which produces Croots’ farmyard range of beers, will be running the beer tent. A number of Croots’ beers will be available on tap, including the award-winning Cow Juice ale which recently scooped a one star gold award in the 2010 Great Taste Awards.

Around 25 vintage cars are expected to be on display at the event, which starts at 11am and runs throughout the day.

“We’ve got such a lot of space here that we thought it would be a great idea to run an event over the bank holiday weekend,” said Steve Croot, who runs Croots Farm Shop & Kitchen at Farnah House Farm, Wirksworth Road, Duffield. “It’s already generated quite a bit of interest. It’s a great opportunity to try our Croots beers on tap and also to see a few local vintage cars from the area.”

The vintage car day and beer festival will also feature a BBQ serving up some of Croots award-winning sausages and other meat.

The farm shop has recently opened a play area which has a real tractor as its centrepiece.


Monday, 16 August 2010

Derbyshire firm gains contracts after achieving British Retail Consortium accreditation with help from The Food & Drink Forum

A Derbyshire fruit and vegetable supplier and distributor has demonstrated the benefit to businesses of gaining top industry-recognised accreditation by expanding after winning a hat-trick of new contracts.

East Midlands business support organisation The Food and Drink Forum helped John Palin Ltd to gain the British Retail Consortium accreditation.

Now the firm has won three new contracts to supply fruit and vegetables to hundreds of schools in Derbyshire, Derby, and Staffordshire, as well as to the Chatsworth Estate.

It means John Palin Ltd can take on four new staff and invest in four extra vehicles, and illustrates one way that firms can help themselves to expand and flourish in difficult economic times by taking expert, sector-specific advice.

“The value of gaining BRC accreditation to industry-recognised standards can be immense for a business, and I’m delighted to hear that the work The Food and Drink Forum carried out with John Palin Ltd towards accreditation has helped the company to gain new contracts and expand,” said Food and Drink Forum technical manager Richard Wigley.

“Increasingly, large organisations will only do business with firms that have accreditations, so it makes good sense to put the correct systems in place to gain them, just as John Palin has done.

“Their experience illustrates how the Food and Drink Forum can help businesses in the sector to move into new markets, gain new customers, win additional business, and develop, even during challenging economic times.”

John Palin finance manager Ann Newton, who is one of the owners of the company along with her husband David, and Neil and Karina Norman, said: “BRC accreditation was something that we needed to do. All our competitors had BRC accreditation so we knew it was the way forward. Richard Wigley’s knowledge and expertise was invaluable. We are so pleased that we have won new contracts on the back of gaining BRC and that we have been able to take on new staff.”

The firm, based at Tansley near Matlock, has been supplying fruit and vegetables in Derbyshire and beyond for more than 150 years. It supplies to semi-wholesalers, shops, caterers, pubs and restaurants, sandwich manufacturers, prisons and schools within a 150-mile radius, going into counties such as Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Cheshire.

David and Neil had worked for Palins for more than 25 years before a management buy-out in 2004.

The company won the Chatsworth contract last year, to supply the estate and the farm shop. Earlier this year the firm won a contract to supply fresh fruit and vegetables, prepared vegetables and eggs to around 90 Staffordshire schools in the Tamworth and Burton-on-Trent areas.

Now John Palin has learnt that it has been successful in tendering to supply to 235 schools and social care units in Derbyshire and about 100 in Derby city. The firm previously supplied some Derbyshire schools but the new contract marks a significant increase in numbers.

The contracts for the schools and social care units alone will represent approximately £600,000 increase in turnover a year for the company.

“We are delighted to have won three major contracts since achieving our BRC in 2009. It has really opened doors for us, and we are very grateful for the support and expertise provided by The Food and Drink Forum. It’s been invaluable,” said Ann.

The firm has also won a place on the NHS Framework, which means it can bid for NHS contracts in the future.

John Palin employs more than 45 people at its Brookfield Industrial Estate headquarters. The firm achieved BRC certification in food storage and distribution to the highest level after receiving a range of specialist support from Richard.

He helped John Palin to complete a quality and HACCP manual, audited the company before the BRC audit to ensure the firm was compliant, dealt with technical questions from the auditor on the day of the audit, and carried out some HACCP training at the firm.

Richard has continued to support the firm and carries out a regular external audit to ensure that John Palin remains compliant.

The Food and Drink Forum is a membership-led business support organisation which works across the East Midlands and beyond. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Gala Way, Nottingham, and has members across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Rutland and Northamptonshire.

Firms wanting more information should contact Richard Wigley at The Forum on 0115 9758810 or richard.wigley@foodanddrinkforum.co.uk.