- Speciality Food’s New Producer Awards are underway. Here, we showcase the brands that have beaten hundreds of other entries to be shortlisted for these illustrious prizes
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BALLYLISK OF ARMAGH
When a company’s motto is ‘Begin with perfection’, you know provenance will top the agenda, and that’s certainly true of Ballylisk of Armagh and its Triple Rose single herd white mould triple cream cheese.
“The land is where our product starts,” says farmer Dean Wright, the first of five generations of Wright dairy farmers to produce cheese. “The high health status of the herd, the generations of farming expertise and the complete control over the whole process all help to make this cheese something truly special.”
With awards already racking up for this new cheesemaker and, as the only artisan cheesemaker in Northern Ireland to be using their own milk pool, it’s clear to see why Ballylisk of Armagh are in the running for a New Producer Award.
And with two further cheeses, a blue and a cider washed version, plus a butter in production, the future looks bright for this new cheesemaker.
Inspired by the craft drink revolution, Burning Barn was founded with the aim of offering the same choice to rum drinkers that’s already enjoyed by gin fans. Burning Barn currently manufactures two rums: a spiced rum (created by roasting whole spices before infusing them into rum) and a unique smoked rum (made using apple wood smoke, exploiting the apple trees already on-site).
Proud to be a disruptor in a market dominated by big brands, Burning Barn believes its products’ flavour profiles are like nothing else on the market. Managing director Katherine Jenner describes the spiced rum as the perfect product for the discerning rum drinker looking for a better offering, whilst the smoked bottle opens a multitude of exciting new cocktail options.
Burning Barn is already stocked in Harvey Nichols but Jenner has her heart set on nationwide distribution. Gifting has already been earmarked as an area for development for this young brand, and Jenner hopes to produce miniature bottles and gift sets in time for Christmas.
And, with a distiller’s licence in the application process, experimental distillation looks as though it might be just around the corner for this growing company.
HUNTER & GATHER
Amy Moring - founder of Hunter & Gather Foods - refuses to listen to anyone about what is and isn’t ‘possible’ when it comes to food. She was told that creating a mayonnaise with no sugar and no mustard couldn’t be done, but with the launch of her Classic Mayo - which contains just four ingredients: avocado oil, british free-range egg yolks, apple cider vinegar and Himalayan salt - Amy proved the naysayers wrong.
It’s little wonder she won the ‘Innovative Better For You Product Of The Year’ award at Food Matters Live within two months of launching. Since then, Amy has gone on to release two further flavours of mayonnaise (Chilli & Lime and Garlic) as well an extra virgin avocado oil made from hand-picked Kenyan Hass avocados.
Amy’s products are shipped in cardboard boxes packed with paper, meaning no plastic, and she enjoys educating consumers about a healthy lifestyle which her products can support, rather than simply selling her foods.
Stand-out packaging is just one of the things that sets Stephanie Seege’s confectionery brand apart from the crowd.
Technically not chocolate as it defies the EU’s definition of chocolate being a combination of cocoa and sugar, Stephanie has embraced the natural sweetness of dates to create a moreish treat that will satisfy even the most ardent fans of conventional chocolate.
Organic and vegan-friendly, its texture may surprise you – surprisingly creamy with a silky smooth mouthfeel – and there are currently two flavour options: Original (a blend of cocoa, cocoa butter, dates and coconut milk) and Strawberry & Vanilla, a heavenly combination of freeze-dried strawberries and Madagascan vanilla, with more in the pipeline.
Conventional chocolatiers, watch your step – there’s a new option in town.
Up until now, drinkers looking for a convenient ready-to-drink option have long had to make do with preservative and sugar-filled cans – not hugely satisfying for the more discerning imbiber. Enter Silver Swift!
This new brand – founded by Rose Unwin – has burst onto the market with three ready-blended bottles of award-winning spirits and of-the-moment taste profiles: Wild Rose Gin, a delicious floral blend of gin, sparking water, rose, raspberry and blackberry; Tipsy Iced Tea, an alcoholic iced tea made with vodka, sparkling water, elderflower, gooseberry and earl grey; and Fresh Venture, a fusion of vodka, sparkling water, strawberry and fresh peppery basil.
These gently sparkling cocktails are not only a refreshing change from the overly-sweet RTD stalwarts, but they stand at under 94 calories a bottle. Cheers!
When founder Daniel Watson’s hectic city life working in property started to make him feel burnt out, he turned to his diet for answers. He began by drinking hot water with lemon each morning, adding a drop of honey to help boost his health, and soon, he started experimenting by adding different health-giving herbs that he grew in his small Battersea garden.
Wanting to source even more ingredients for his health shots, he gave up his day job and, with listings quickly gained in Whole Foods Market, his wife followed suit to join the company.
Packaged in carbon neutral 90ml glass bottles with aluminium caps, BumbleZest Health Shots contain 8-9 functional ingredients per product and have no preservatives, additives, GMOs or colours. Made in Britain, the shots are also free from dairy, gluten, lactose or nuts.
Since June 2017, BumbleZest is stocked in 250+ delis, coffee shops, health food shops, farm shops, food halls and fitness centres across the UK with talks with further shops currently taking place.
‘Healthy’ and ‘unique’ were the driving philosophies behind Feel Good Ltd’s unroasted green coffee beans. Described by the four company directors as having high antioxidant properties, supporting health and wellbeing by increasing energy levels and also supporting weight control, Feel Good Coffee’s Green Bean Coffee comes in coffee bags, making preparation quick and simple.
Unlike conventional coffee, Green Bean Coffee is fruity and the range includes three flavours: Original Green Bean, Peach and Strawberry & Raspberry.
Proud to have produced a product unlike anything else on the market, the family behind Green Bean Coffee feel they have created a healthy drink that provides a natural energy boost.
If you’re old enough to remember bottle swap schemes, where consumers could return their bottles in return for getting a small deposit back and for the bottle to be washed and reused, then Growler Swap – which applies this philosophy to beer – will make a lot of sense to you.
This ecologically sound scheme was started by Bucks Star Beer, allowing you to buy a ‘growler’ full of good quality and unfiltered beer (meaning more natural goodness) and return your bottle in exchange for your deposit back. Whilst recycling is better than landfill, it still uses energy, making this the greenest way to buy products that use containers.
The drinks they sell through this scheme are unfiltered, unpasteurised and unrefined,and the company has plans to create outlets nationwide, offering the best in quality drinks whilst creating zero waste and making what they believe to be better use of tax payer’s money (which is currently pumped into an ‘unsustainable’ recycling infrastructure).
Introducing the world’s first home compostable coffee capsule! The Nespresso machine-compatible coffees are all sourced by judges of the UK Barista Championship and are: Three Mountain (Kilimanjaro, Everest and Colombia), Kopi Luwak Diamond (the rarest coffee in the world), Panamanian Geisha and Hawaiian Kona.
Before Halo, it was tricky to find good coffee in an environmentally-friendly machine capsule, butHalo has changed that. After much tinkering to get this product right, the (self-confessed) stubborn team behind Halo are proud to have a product that they hope will create a real difference to the world.
Halo are excited to have just finished production on a state-of-theart encapsulation machine that will allow the brand to 500,000 a month whilst maintaining its high levels of quality. Halo also has a new range of coffees in the pipeline from a plantation that is the world leader in sustainability.
Charity Haynes of Haynes Food has yet to find anyone else making what she produces: candied jalapeño foods. Sure, the products are both sweet and spicy, but the flavour profile of her Candied Jalapeño Relish or Candied Jalapeño BBQ Sauce are nothing like standard chilli jam or chilli sauce.
American-born Charity likes to employ old-fashioned American marketing techniques such a generous free sampling strategy as she finds that once people try her unique products, even those who thought they didn’t like jalapeños, they are soon addicted to the range.
Next year, Charity hopes to step up production to keep up with increasing demand and increase her presence at food festivals, whilst building on online sales.
Sick of the supermarket options for vegetarians and vegans being limited to Quorn and Linda McCartney Foods, and having tried and loved seitan (but unable to find it readymade anywhere), Hannah Seifert spotted a gap in the burgeoning vegan market and Kind Protein was born.
There are two lines to Hannah’s seitan business – ready-to-cook bites and sweetened protein snack bars. The ready-to-cook format comes in two flavours: Beef Style (which is flavoured with tomato, smoked paprika, mustard and onion) and Chicken Style (which is seasoned with lemongrass, turmeric, Thai spice and peanuts). The on-the-go superfoods bar format also comes in two flavours: Banana & Chia Seeds and Apple, Cinnamon & Macca.
Whilst other seitans exist, Hannah is confident that no one else sells it in the format of easy-to-cook ‘bites’. With plans to change the packaging to 100% biodegradable and with new flavours also on the horizon, 2019 is set to be a busy year for Hannah and Kind Protein.
Sticking with the vegan theme, Kinda Co makes artisan dairyfree cheese in a range of different flavours, from an almond feta, marinated in oil, garlic and herbs, to a faux lox and dill cream cheese, which uses carrots that are salt-baked and marinated to create fake salmon pieces. The company also makes a nacho dip, a Cheddar spread and a truffle Brie.
Using traditional cheesemaking methods, from making their own culturing agent, to fermenting the cheese prior to forming and then leaving it to age, Kinda Co are able to recreate cheesy flavours even when using nuts as the main ingredient. The Guardian’s Grace Dent called the Farmhouse Spread her “favourite cheesy spread”.
Kinda Co was born out of a desire to eat great cheese without consuming dairy and that passionate consumer background that drives the business today. And Kinda Co are on a mission to create a substitute for every kind of cheese that would normally be found in the dairy aisle. Watch this space!
When founder Daniel Pawson stumbled across the idea for Sea Chips while working in restaurants, he couldn’t have known quite how many boxes his new invention would tick for today’s consumer. In an attempt to avoid food waste by repurposing unwanted salmon skins, he and his colleagues would fry them until crispy to garnish dishes. The invention proved so popular that the decision was made to bag them and make them available to the wider British consumer – and so Sea Chips was born.
But the box-ticking doesn’t end there. As well as producing a delicious and anti-waste product, Daniel has pledged to donate a portion of the business’s profits to ocean charities. A moreish snack which is good for the environment?
THE WHITE RABBIT PIZZA CO.
For too long good pizza has been unattainable for vegans and coeliacs, with cardboard-like bases and poor quality ‘cheese’ simply not hitting the satisfying heights of a really great slice of Italy’s best-loved export. But they will suffer no more, as White Rabbit Pizza are here to make delicious pizza edible for all.
As well as a plain base, the brand provides pizza lovers with five great-tasting topped options – all gluten-free, and two vegan. Co-founded by Nick, Josh and Matteo (a passionately foodie Italian), the brand is passionate about not scrimping on flavour or quality in the pursuit of free-from, so that whether you’re vegan or coeliac or not, you’ll get maximum enjoyment from their pizzas.
Inclusivity is the name of the game, and The White Rabbit Pizza Co. are winning.
BIRD & WILD COFFEE
In September 2017, the RSPB created its first official coffee, Bird & Wild where 6% of all sales are donated to the conservation charity. There are two coffee blends in the range (Medium Roast and Espresso Roast) that come in both whole bean and ground varieties. The RSPB think this may the be the UK’s most environmentally certified brew, because as well as supporting the wildlife organisation, it is also organic, Fairtrade, Smithsonian Institute Shade Friendly and Smithsonian Institute Bird Friendly.
Well priced and already enjoying Ocado listings, this environmentally-driven coffee is set to enjoy big successes in 2019.
FORTY HALL VINEYARD
Introducing not only the first commercial-scale vineyard in London since Medieval times but the only wine on the market produced from London-grown grapes! Forty Hall is also a not-for-profit social enterprise offering mental health and wellbeing support, plus benefits to the local community.
There are two white wines in the current range (2017 Ortega and 2017 Bacchus) and one sparkling (2015 Vintage London Sparkling Brut) and each bottle is Soil Association-certified organic and suitable for vegans.
What started as an ambitious vision and just an acre of hand-planted vines, has developed into an inclusive social enterprise, delivering health and wellbeing benefits to local people and making seriously good organic wine. The 10-acre vineyard is nestled in the historic grounds of Forty Hall Estate in north London.
And the enterprise doesn’t just benefit the volunteers on the project. The vines are planted over two south-facing fields buzzing with wildlife, where recycled London green waste is used to fertilise the vines and the company also employs Forest Stewardship Council-approved wine packaging and lightweight bottles. Plus, the winery that is used is solar-powered and the aim is to eventually replace most of the tractor work with horsepower, meaning green credentials abound for this fledgling vineyard.
What happens when a passion for one’s Indian heritage, chai tea and helping others come together? A range of great-tasting products with heart, that’s what. Pranav Chopra, founder of Nemi Tea has created a business which not only supplies discerning tea drinkers with products that taste delicious – and look fantastic on-shelf – but supports refugees coming into the UK by providing work experience, financial stability and an outlet to strengthen their English language skills.
There are 13 different teas in the Nemi range – available in loose and biodegradable teabag format, as well as a versatile (and tasty) chai syrup.
If this is the future for tea brands in the UK, we’re looking forward to it.
THE ETHICAL DAIRY
It’s not often that one comes across a dairy which is open about its ethical credentials, which is just one of the reasons why we’re so impressed by The Ethical Dairy.
On a mission to prove that dairy farming can be kind, the team boasts the only cow with calf dairy farm as well as a great-tasting range of unpasteurised cheeses – and has impressed both dairy consumers and vegans alike with its considered approach to dairy farming.
Delicious cheeses, great animal welfare and positive environmental benefits? We’re in.
As soon as Toast Ale burst onto the scene, we – and the industry as a whole – were impressed. Thanks to Toast, we all learned about the huge volumes of bread the UK wastes every year, and collectively cheered as the brand transformed this unwanted food into genuinely tasty beer.
With director Rob Wilson at its helm, the business has not only provided beer lovers with a new range of products to tuck into but directly benefited charitable causes – all profits go to food waste charities as past of a mission to end food waste worldwide. Cheers to that!
CHAMPION & REEVES
When Champion & Reeves was founded, it was done so with a dream of creating an old fashioned confectionery company that was committed to creating quality products using natural ingredients all beautifully packaged. And Champion & Reeves delivers just that.
Specialising in dessert nougat, butterscotch, toffee and dark chocolate and sea salted nuts, Champion & Reeves’ products may be encased in old-fashioned packaging, but its commitment to inclusivity through its choice of gluten-, gelatin-, palm oil- and shellac-free ingredients is very much of our time.
Since being opened by HRH The Duke of York, KG back in March 2017, Champion & Reeves has gone from success to success winning awards and selling directly to the House of Lords.
Kecia McDougal, founder of Never.25, set out to create a simple but delicious product which celebrated the produce of her local area, and boy did she succeed. A far cry from the sugar-laden fruit-flavoured spirits seen across the drinks sector, this range of berry-infused spirits – and seasonal variations including a spirit flavoured with local windblown apples – is made by hand by a mother and daughter team.
Locally-grown barley and wheat are collected first to produce the base spirit, using whisky techniques, before fruit from the nearby area is added to create this modern Scottish take on Eau De Vie.
THE CORNISH DISTILLERY
One of only a handful of rum producers in the UK, and the only one in Cornwall creating the spirit from scratch, The Cornish Distillery is on course to position itself at the forefront of the British rum industry.
Its range of three flavours has already garnered adoration at the Great Taste Awards, and it’s easy to see why with a menu like this: Kalkar, a blend of scratch distilled rum and single origin cold drip coffee; Morvenna Spiced Rum, Cornish rum blended with natural spices with notes of lemongrass, apricot and saffron; and Morvenna White Rum, a smooth and sophisticated option with thoroughly Cornish heritage.
THE GREAT BRITISH PORRIDGE CO.
Too often, instant porridge is filled with sugar and non-natural nasties, with flavour winning out over quality ingredients and health credentials. This is where The Great British Porridge Co. stands out from the crowd.
Available in three flavours: Strawberry & Banana, Strawberry & Peanut Butter and Goji Berry & Pumpkin Seed – each product in the range is made with entirely natural ingredients and is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, high in fibre and contains absolutely no added sugar. This is a modern take on a traditional British favourite, and we’re well and truly fans.
W FORBES SWEET DELIGHTS
If you’re looking for a thoroughly British product, W Forbes is your brand.
At the time of going to print W Forbes’ catalogue consisted of Fresh Fruit Cake and Mature Fruit Cake, with more launches in the pipeline for 2018. Made to old British recipes using all-British suppliers and made with British hands, their range of fruit cakes is created with a passion for making the most of the UK’s resources by employing local skilled workers.
In founder Tracy Woolery- Forbes’ products, time-honoured recipes and simple tools come together to create a truly Union Jack-worthy range.
ARTISAN OLIVE OIL COMPANY
When Yacine Amor noticed a lack of southern Mediterranean foods gracing the shelves of fine food shops across the UK, despite a proven track record across the rest of Europe and in the States, Les Moulins Mahjoub was born. The range, which includes handmade and organic Tunisian sauces, shakes shuka, harissa and m’hamsa (hand rolled whole wheat couscous that’s proving popular with Michelin chefs thanks to its delicious nutty flavour), is produced using traditional farming methods free from artificial ingredients and processes.
Quality is at the heart of these products. Ingredients are harvested at their peak before being cooked in kitchens just hours later using the finest of Tunisian spices. No corners are cut – no added water is used and olive oil is always used over vegetable. Having launched the range only in September 2017, the brand is already receiving positive feedback from customers excited to be able to create authentic in vogue North African dishes from the comfort of their own kitchens.
Chosan Drinks was established in 2015 by Eliza Jones who wanted to recreate the delicious and natural fruit drinks of her childhood in The Gambia. The range, inspired by exotic African flavours includes a line of organic all natural hibiscus drinks plus fresh fruit sorbets infused with hibiscus, and Eliza’s aim to help empower consumers to try new flavours whilst improving the quality of life for The Gambia’s food producers.
The products all use simple authentic ingredients that are ethically sourced from suppliers with recognised accreditations and certifications, as well as small local businesses. Chosan also supports a group of female entrepreneurs that are sharing their food processing skills with other local women to help add value to the produce they’re already growing.
Despite these lofty values, what Chosan is most proud of is its uniqueness. And as one of the few African-inspired products on the market, Chosan offers consumers the chance to enjoy something truly different.
MAHBIR PREMIUM INDIAN SAFFRON
Across the UK, consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about international cuisines and spices are more popular than ever – but how many shoppers really know the story behind what they’re buying? Enter Mahbir Premium Indian Saffron.
Passionate about educating consumers about the provenance of the spices they’re using, as well as supporting the suppliers in Kashmir, India, by opening up a new customer base in Europe, founder Mahbir Thukral has created a range of products – including chocolate and award-winning saffron-infused fruit jams – designed to improve the consumer understanding and widen the usage of great quality saffron in the UK.
Not only that, but Mahbir can trace the saffron he supplies back to the very farmer who grew it – how’s that for spice with a story?
You can’t get much more traditionally British than fruit jams, right? Well, Botswana-based Maungo Craft have turned this quintessential teatime treat on its head with their range of innovative and truly Africa-inspired range of jams.
Trust us, you’ve never seen jams like this before: Nana, a morula, banana and coconut shavings jam; Mara Mara, made with morula, ginger and chilli jam; Kwii, a blend of onion and baobab; Khalahari Sands, a marmalade created with demerara and muscovado sugar, baobab, morula, grapefruit, earl grey tea and edible gold; and Child of the Moon, a combination of wild berries from Botswana (locally known as ‘montsentsela’, navel oranges, sugar, licorice and ginger.
Truly innovative, surprisingly versatile and full of flavour, we’re excited to see this company bring authentic African flavours to Britain.
THE RUSSIAN FOOD COMPANY
French, Italian, Indian, Chinese… When it comes to the international cuisines we Brits have adopted, there’s not much missing from the list. But, have you ever tried Russian food? The Russian Food Company plan to fill that gap in foodies’ knowledge by bringing to market one of the country’s most popular foods: piroshki.
Described as a cross between a gourmet sandwich and artisan pie (sounds good to us) made with a brioche-like pastry (even better), the business is bringing a range of flavours into the UK market – including Seabass & Cod, Chicken & Chorizo and Spring Onion & Egg, all of which have proven immensely popular if the multiple awards are anything to go by.
If you’re looking for a luxurious and exciting lunch option to add to your shelves, look no further.
Pete Thompson’s family has been growing fruit and vegetables for local restaurants, markets and greengrocers since 1948 but in November 2017, Pete had had enough. He’d seen so much food go to waste because it was either too big, too small or too ugly, and decided to do something about it.
Cotchel juices are made using all the apples and pears Pete’s business can’t sell on and they’re pressed and bottled on site on the Thompson farm. There are currently four very special juices in the range: Topaz & Evelina, Braeburn, Opal and Conference & Braeburn.
The Thompson family pride themselves on being expert growers. They strive to innovate farming methods and believe they create some of the tastiest fruit grown in the region, making their juices of the highest quality.
Having already received praise from Michel Roux Jnr who described Cotchel as, “A fantastic producer – beautiful juice, each variety distinct, delicious, unique”, and with plans to expand to national distribution whilst finding a use for the discarded pulp, Cotchel appear to be on an exciting path.
HIVE URBAN FARMS
Once the founders of Hive Urban Farms Ltd. learnt about the environmental and sociological impacts of the industrial food system that occurs in cities; where food is imported from thousands of miles away, they decided enough was enough.
Feeling that city dwellers were too disconnected from their food and how it’s produced, Hive Urban Farms set about creating farms in urban locations with the aim of improving quality and freshness of city food by reducing food miles, and to provide work for those who are the furthest away from the labour market.
Hive Urban Farms specialises in growing gourmet pink, grey, and yellow oyster mushrooms but also dabble in growing shiitake mushrooms. Each crop is delivered to its clients within one hour of harvest in order to ensure the freshest and tastiest mushrooms possible.
With produce never travelling further than five miles and always reaching the kitchen less than 60 minutes after picking, Hive Urban Farms consider themselves pioneers of the urban farming world. And their clients agree. “We love working with Hive Urban Farms because they provide us with amazing produce, grown just a couple of miles away from us,” says Mary-Ellen McTague of Chorlton Creameries, Manchester. “The mushrooms have incredible flavour and are a brilliant addition to our menu, but they also help us achieve our goal of buying food in a much more sustainable way.”
Founders Dien Curtis and Gareth Williams are on a mission to prove that urban farming is a viable business and want to prove that this industry will not only survive, but thrive. And, in a bid to change the thinking of the public, their new site will host open days and tours for school children, university students and anyone with an interest in urban farming.
With a mission to produce the very best artisan cheese in the country, it would be easy to think that the team at Nettlebed Creamery were reaching for the stars. In fact, in just three short years, their cheeses have become global cheese superstars – how’s that for inspiration?
Named Best Soft White White at the British Cheese Awards and Supergold winner at the 2017 World Cheese Awards respectively, Bix and St Bartholomew have wowed the industry since they were first created – and that’s just in flavour terms.
When it comes to philosophies, Nettlebed Creamery have it covered – with a mission to produce cheese which is as synchronised with the environment as possible, and which has an uninterrupted field-to-fork provenance, they’re a revelation through and through.
Bui Smoothies was started when owners Haddy and Isatou were both still living with their parents. Haddy was in university and Isatou was working in her first job since graduating, but with the encouragement of both friends and family, they decided to take the plunge to launch what they believe is the first baobab smoothie company in the UK.
Whilst their peers were enjoying holidays and nights out, Haddy and Isatou spent their spare time (and student finance) product testing and conducting market research. They also enrolled in London Met Boot Camp for startup businesses where they learnt about everything from pricing to packaging, where they describe the experience as ‘intense and tough’.
However, the experience can’t have been fruitless as the products now in production (although yet to be listed) are beautifully presented, well thought out and nutritionally beneficial thanks for their production method of cold pressing and healthy ingredients. Haddy and Isatou look forward to securing regular listings soon.
Max Scotford has always been passionate about food, and developed his obsession with chocolate during his time studying at catering college. After reading about the food’s rich history and beginning to make it at home, he realised very few people in the UK were making chocolate from scratch in an artisanal fashion. And so he created Bullion Chocolate.
Crafting chocolate from bean to bar, Bullion Chocolate uses the finest cacao sourced from smallholder farmers, striving to showcase the beans’ unique flavours in its award-winning single origin bars.
Max wants people to appreciate chocolate in the same way people discover and savour wine. “As a nation, the chocolate we’ve come to expect is so far from what it could be,” he says. “For years, the true flavour of cacao has been masked in order to create a product which is a consistent sweet fix for the masses.” Instead, Max has strived to create a product that focuses on the beans’ origins and the distinct flavour nuances those geographical regions offer up.
2018 has been a whirlwind for Max. Having just completed his first year trading, Bullion Chocolate is already stocked in independents, Harvey Nichols and Fenwick. And plans for 2019 are already afoot, with aspirations of moving to a larger premises and this award could be the perfect moving in present. “Having an accolade like Speciality Food’s Young Producer of the Year on the door would be a huge boost to our business,” Max says.
CLOTTON HALL DAIRY
Ever heard of Cheshire clotted cream? 24-year-old Henry Cooke and his family of dairy farmers hadn’t either, so in October 2017 Henry took the leap into the world of dairy production - namely, creating a luxurious clotted cream with aspirations to become the number one brand for the North of England.
Within just nine months Clotton Hall Dairy’s Clotted Cream has been listed in almost every farm shop in the county and a national supermarket has taken the brand on as part of its local producer scheme. A lot of time and effort has been spent by Henry tweaking the product to get the taste just right, and he has big expansion plans for the future.
MADE FOR DRINK
As deliciously addictive as crisps and popcorn are, when a genuinely different snacking option enters the market you can’t help but take notice.
Daniel Featherstone’s brand Made for Drink made waves as soon as it emerged on the scene, with renowned chefs such as Heston Blumenthal quickly expressing their support and excitement about the products. Borne from a desire to shake the snacking market up a bit, the range includes Duck Fritons, Chorizo Bites and brand new launch Mangalitza Salami Bites – a modern take on a traditional Hungarian salami.
It’s also important for the team that each item in the range complements beverages, especially beer, making the brand a sure-fire hit for both the snacking and drinks aisles.
RAW BAKE STATION
At 21, Evie Waxman had an idea for a business. At 22, the business became a reality. And with its founder aged just 24, Raw Bake Station is seriously challenging the status quo of the healthy snack market.
While most healthy sweet snacks are date-heavy, translating into high sugar content, Raw Bake Station’s range of five products are vegan, refined sugar, gluten, dairy and wheat-free – making them a genuinely healthier option for consumers watching their waistline. Innovative, full of ideas and with stand-out packaging to boot – this brand is one to watch out for.
WESTER SPIRIT COMPANY
It’s safe to say that Scotland has a pretty established reputation when it comes to distilling. The country’s whisky is renowned worldwide, its traditions and quality revered, but Wester Spirit represents the new guard of spirit-makers.
Focused on rum, Zander Macgregor’s business is already garnering swathes of fans in Glasgow, and with plans to open a distillery in the city’s West End this growth shows no sign of waning. Who could be surprised – with tasting notes of spice, citrus and vanilla in its scratch-distilled rum, this is a full-bodied and complex spirit just waiting to be enjoyed by discerning drinkers across the UK.
What happens when you combine two imaginative food entrepreneurs and three of Britain’s most popular beverages? Noveltea – a truly innovative blend of tea, gin and rum. Its launch was intended to open up a new sector in the drinks category, and it’s certainly succeeded in its mission. An alcoholic tea (think Long Island Iced Tea) suitable for vegans and coeliacs while maintaining the full flavour of the tea? Sign us up.
The brand was instantly successful; it smashed its crowdfunding target in just one day and sold 1,000 bottles in its first three months – setting founder Lucaz and Vincent up for entrepreneurial success in just a few short weeks.
Next up, the pair plan to conquer the on-trade as well as off-trade. Somehow, we think they’ll smash it.
ONE PLANET PIZZA
The world of retail is awash with poor quality ready-made pizzas, often made using low grade ingredients and unsuitable for vegans, which is why One Planet Pizza are here.
With a portion of the company owned by members of the public through Seedrs, founders Tanya, Mike and Joe make sure that their finger is always on the pulse when it comes to what their customer base wants. The brand’s crowdfunding target was met in less than 24 hours – demonstrating that the desire for a thoroughly vegan frozen pizza, made by vegans for vegans, is widespread.
The One Planet Pizza team is also environmentally-conscious – the packaging it uses is compostable and recycled, meaning that not only do these products satisfy the consumers who have gone without until now, but they help promote an environmentally-friendly message, too.