Friday, 29 January 2010

The Food and Drink Forum unveils 2010 training programme

One of the East Midlands' largest business support organisations for food and drink firms has unveiled its 2010 programme of training events.

The Food and Drink Forum, which has been supporting companies in the sector across the region for almost 12 years, will be delivering a series of manufacturing and food technical training courses to help businesses raise the skills of their staff, increase their knowledge and boost efficiency.

The courses focus on food safety, lean manufacturing, project management, production planning, automation, internal auditing training and effective purchasing negotiation.

“At The Forum and Drink Forum, we believe that a well-trained, skilled workforce is an asset to any organisation,” said Food and Drink Forum operations manager Briony Clarke. “Equipping employees with the right expertise can vastly improve their confidence and motivation, and enable them to work more efficiently in their role. For a business, this can mean reduced staff turnover, increased productivity and ultimately a measurable impact on the bottom line.

“The Food and Drink Forum has been delivering high quality training to the food and drink sector for well over ten years now, and we hope that our latest training courses will prove valuable to firms across the region.”

The Food and Drink Forum offers support to firms in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland.

The training programme kicks off with a one-day Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) Foundation Certificate in HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) course on February 24th, and is followed by a three-day RSPH Intermediate Award in HACCP for Food Manufacturing on April 13th, 20th and 27th. The first of the manufacturing courses Becoming Lean takes place on 22nd April.

More details are available on or by calling 0115 9758810.

All courses take place at the Business Centre, Southglade Food Park, Nottingham.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Food and Drink iNet grant helps hamper company wrap up website development

A hamper gift company celebrating 25 years in business has launched new services on its website, thanks to a grant from the Food and Drink innovation Network (iNet).

Lincolnshire-based Hay Hampers has used the Innovation Support Grant (ISG) to develop its website and introduce a system that automatically alerts customers when someone’s birthday, anniversary or special occasion is coming up.

The grant has also allowed Hay Hampers to add a personalised labelling service for its champagnes and wines at its website – marking the start of the next chapter in the family firm’s life.

The moves are designed to use the latest technology to promote the firm’s fine food and wine hamper gifts all year round, and help increase sales throughout the year.

“Christmas is very important to us, as it’s the time of year that traditionally hampers are sent,” said Rachel Marshall Roberts, who runs Hay Hampers with husband Jeremy in Corby Glen, near Grantham. “But fine food and wine make perfect gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions all year round, as well as being ideal for corporate gifts, so we have introduced additional promotion and marketing tools at

“The grant has allowed us to install a reminder service to customers, a personalised labelling system for wine and champagne gifts, and will also support the marketing and promotion of these new services. I am looking forward to dealing with companies and private individuals that have a culture of giving and rewarding…people who haven’t got time to go out shopping but want to give something really nice to people.”

Hay Hampers was launched in 1984, and initially began selling hampers to businesses in Leicestershire and the East Midlands, before gradually expanding and gaining customers worldwide. It now offers hampers for a range of occasions from just under £30 to £500.

After receiving an Innovation Support Grant of £7,600, Hay Hampers hopes to increase its penetration into the corporate market and supply hampers as part of company motivation schemes, for golf days and as gifts to employees, customers and clients.

The new reminder service is also aimed at helping customers to remember special birthdays and events, and encourage them to send a gift via Hay Hampers.

“We want to get across the message that a hamper isn’t just for Christmas,” added Rachel.

The Food and Drink iNet Lincolnshire business adviser Rachel Linstead said: “Innovation Support Grants are designed to encourage innovation in businesses, and this project at Hay Hampers fitted the bill perfectly. The firm is making use of new technology, and opening a new chapter in its life.”

The Food and Drink iNet is aiming to foster innovation in the region’s food and drink sector by encouraging businesses to turn new ideas into new business through the development of new technologies and products. It’s also hoping to stimulate new processes, services and ways of working in the industry to help boost the sector.

Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda), 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.

Around £250,000 in Innovation Support Grants has been allocated to around 50 food and drink firms across the East Midlands by the Food and Drink iNet since the iNet was launched in 2008. The iNet hopes to have more funding allocated as part of a new contract in 2010, said Peter Maycock, Food and Drink iNet project director.

Firms wanting more information should contact the Food and Drink iNet on 0845 521 2066 or visit

For information about support for innovation that is available in the East Midlands, visit

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Valentine gifts for coffee lovers from Cherizena

Coffee specialist Cherizena has created a range of Valentine’s gifts for the coffee lover in your life.

Perfect presents include heart-shaped cappuccino stencils to help you serve a little extra love with your coffee, and a funky cafetiere with a flavoured or premium coffee of choice.

Leicestershire-based Cherizena also has on sale a delightful chocolate cube, hand made by Louis Barnett, the UK's youngest Master Chocolatier. Each box contains a milk chocolate flavoured with coffee ganache, and is topped with a gold-coloured coffee bean. The Valentine’s gift also contains a bag of flavoured or premium coffee, and is ideal as a present for lovers of both chocolate and coffee.

“Our Valentine’s range features something for all budgets, and for both men and women who love coffee,” said Kate Jones, from Cherizena. “What’s more, coffee is something that can be shared, so it’s perfect for romance on Valentine’s Day.”

Cherizena offers single origin premium coffees and blends in stunning flavours, aromas and strengths, plus popular flavoured coffees, which are hand-produced in small batches, using high-grade Columbian beans and the finest of flavours.

Available mail order from, its special Valentine’s range includes:

• Four different heart-shaped cappuccino stencils in a heart-shaped box, featuring a range of designs, including Cupid with a bow and arrow, a heart, an ‘I love you’ and four little hearts. Price £5, plus post and packing.

• A 350ml cafetiere, plus a 125g pack of flavoured or premium coffee of choice from Cherizena’s range. Price £12, plus post and packing.

• A cube of chocolate, hand made by Louis Barnett, the UK's youngest Master Chocolatier. Each box contains a milk chocolate flavoured with coffee ganache, and is topped with a gold-coloured coffee bean, plus a 125g pack of flavoured or premium coffee of choice from Cherizena’s range. Price £5, plus post and packing.

Cherizena’s coffee is available in both regular and decaffeinated versions, and as beans or ground coffee. The family-run company is a leading UK specialist producer of coffee, and sources premium, rare and speciality coffees, as well as creating its own range of superb flavoured coffees.

Order by February 10th for Valentine’s Day on February 14th. For more information visit

Croots Farm Shop reaches the final of the Derbyshire Business Awards 2010

Croots Farm Shop & Kitchen has been named a finalist in the Derbyshire Business Awards 2010.

The farm shop at Wirksworth Road, Duffield, has been shortlisted in the final three of the Most Promising New Business category.

The awards, which are run by Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce and co-sponsored by the Derby Telegraph, are designed to reward Derbyshire’s most talented entrepreneurs and executives.

“The whole team at Croots is thrilled that Croots Farm Shop has been chosen as a finalist in the Most Promising New Business category of the Derbyshire Business Awards 2010,” said owner Steve Croot. “We have worked very hard since opening Croots in the summer of 2008 to make the farm shop and café a success, and we have been rewarded with loyal and enthusiastic customers.

“I’d like to thank our customers and staff for helping us to achieve this exciting position as a finalist in the local business awards.”

Winners of the Derbyshire Business Awards 2010 will be announced on February 26th at a ceremony at the Roundhouse, Derby.


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Rainbows Children's Hospice helped by The Orange Tree pub in Loughborough

Regulars at the Orange Tree pub in Loughborough have donated almost £1,400 to Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People.

The money was collected from two music events held at the Orange Tree last summer - Superfuzz Alfresco and Glastotree – which both showcased some of the best bands in the Leicestershire/Nottinghamshire area.

The total has also been boosted by the Bedford Square pub’s on-going loyalty card scheme which is also raising money for Rainbows. So far, the Clubcard has netted almost £400 for the charity.

The Clubcard, which entitles holders to special prices on cocktails and a range of other benefits, including food and events, as well as access to discounts and offers from local shops, costs £1, and 50p from each card is donated to the charity.

“The Clubcard is a great way to reward The Orange Tree’s loyal customers and also to help a very deserving local charity at the same time,” said managing director Ben Hings. “The Orange Tree’s cocktails are very popular, and we hope our customers will continue to support our Clubcard scheme so that we can keep adding to the amount we’ve raised so far for Rainbows Hospice.”

The pub is a regular supporter of Rainbows, which cares for children and young people across the East Midlands, and has raised hundreds of pounds for the charity in the past.

The Orange Tree is also planning to support Rainbows this summer with a new open air mini-festival and a new 2010 line-up for Glastotree.

Rainbows, which is based in Lark Rise, Loughborough, offers respite symptom control and end of life care to children and young people, as well as support for the whole family. Care is provided by a dedicated and caring team of professional nurses, carers and therapists in a ‘home from home’ environment.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Croots Farm Shop launches new sausage for Farmhouse Breakfast Week

Derbyshire farm shop Croots will be celebrating Farmhouse Breakfast Week this month by launching a new sausage.

Croots Breakfast Banger has been designed by the Duffield farm shop’s in-house butchers, and features pork, smoked bacon, black pudding, tomato, mushroom and egg.

The farm shop has become renowned for its sausages and now has a range of around 30, including the award-winning black pudding sausage which won a gold star in the Great Taste Awards 2009.

“Farmhouse Breakfast Week is now in its 11th year, and is a great way of promoting the wide range of breakfast products available from Derbyshire, the region and beyond,” said Steve Croot, owner of Croots Farm Shop, in Wirksworth Road, Duffield.

“It’s also a great time to launch our new Croots Breakfast Banger, which features many of the ingredients of a traditional English breakfast, and which we hope will be a real hit with our customers.”

Croots Farm Shop & Kitchen will be staging all-day breakfasts and special promotions on its sausages, bacon, eggs and some other breakfast items to mark Farmhouse Breakfast Week, which runs from January 24th to 30th.

“Breakfast is widely regarded as being the most important meal of the day, and there’s a really wide range of options available, like eggs, sausages and bacon, cereals, fruit and yoghurt,” said Steve. “We’re renowned for our breakfasts at Croots, as well as our sausages, but during Farmhouse Breakfast Week we’ll be selling breakfasts all day, and we’ll also have special offers in the shop on breakfast ingredients.”

Farmhouse Breakfast Week is a national campaign that aims to highlight the importance of eating a healthy breakfast. Farmers, producers, retailers and consumers across the UK are all getting involved to promote the value of starting each day with a good breakfast, and emphasising the wealth of regional products on offer.

Farmhouse Breakfast Week at Croots will have a Derbyshire flavour, with many of the items served up coming from the county. Taking centre stage will be Croots sausages, which are made using free range Packington pork by the in-house butchers at Croots. A selection from the 30-strong sausage range is on sale at any one time.

During Farmhouse Breakfast Week Croots Farm Shop will be serving up all-day breakfasts to mark the event and will also be offering a 10% discount on many breakfast items, such as sausages, bacon and eggs.

Croots is open Sundays from 10am to 4pm (café until 3.45pm), and from Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm (café until 4.30pm). It is closed on Mondays.

For more information visit

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Festive fund raising for Derbyshire children's charity by Croots Farm Shop customers

Generous customers at Derbyshire farm shop Croots raised £175 for local children’s charity Treats during festive fund raising.

The farm shop at Farnah House Farm, Wirksworth Road, Duffield, picked Treats Children’s Charity as its chosen charity for 2010, alongside the Shire Horse Society, which it has supported since opening in June 2008.

Croots kicked off its support with a £500 donation to Treats in December. Now customers have raised an additional £175 by buying 2010 Croots calendars and taking part in a draw for a chocolate Santa, which was won by 13-year-old Amelia Hand, from Allestree.

“I am delighted that Croots’ customers have generously supported Derbyshire Children’s Charity Treats, and that we raised such a tidy sum over Christmas,” said Croots owner Steve Croot.

Treats Children’s Charity was launched more than 22 years ago by a group of professional businesswomen in Derbyshire to raise money for the children of Derbyshire and the surrounding region. Over the years, it has donated thousands of pounds to needy causes.


Thursday, 7 January 2010

Bunny HIll Riding Centre celebrates its 55th birthday

A family-run equestrian centre is celebrating its 55th anniversary during 2010 with an exciting programme of events.

Bunny Hill Riding Centre is also launching a search for some of the many thousands of people who have learnt to ride at the stables since it opened in 1955 so that they can be invited to a reunion in June.

The riding centre, which is on the Nottinghamshire/Leicestershire border near Costock, was founded by the late Bob Humphrey and his wife Freda. It’s now run by their son Sam and his wife Lou, who offer riding lessons to people of all ages and at all stages.

“We’re proud to be celebrating our 55th birthday and have organised several different events over the year which we hope will appeal to horse riders,” said Sam. “We’re hoping to hear from lots of our ex-pupils who perhaps learnt to ride here many years ago, and are looking forward to seeing some familiar faces at our reunion in June and at the other events we’ve got planned.”

Among those who have learnt to ride at Bunny Hill Riding Centre have been mayors and sheriffs of Nottingham who needed to be able to ride a horse for official parades, Nottinghamshire-born actress Sherrie Hewson, who played Maureen in Coronation Street and currently appears on ITV’s Loose Women, and several Nottingham Forest football players.

The centre’s horses have been used in many films, such as Gladiator, Lady Jane Grey, and First Night, which starred Richard Gere. They’ve also featured in TV programmes as diverse as Boon and Rosie & Jim, and have appeared in several adverts for Carling Black Label and Mars, amongst others.

The riding school has also taught many people who have gone on to professional careers in the horse world, including Sam’s daughter Emma Humphrey who is a professional international eventer.

The riding centre became known as the National School of Equitation in the 1960s after becoming one of the first riding stables in the UK to have an indoor riding school, until recently reverting back to its original name.

The Humphrey family is well-known in many equestrian disciplines. Bob Humphrey was a successful jockey. Sam Humphrey was a successful jockey and team chaser, winning the novice championship with his team. He hunts regularly in England and Ireland with wife Lou Humphrey, who has trained a successful racehorse and is currently a British Dressage judge and an NVQ assessor. Their daughter Emma Humphrey is an advanced event rider. Son Mark is a farrier with a special interest in remedial farriery, and partly owns the Knights of Nottingham jousters, which is based at Bunny Hill Riding Centre.

The celebratory programme of events launches with a social event on Saturday February 13th when skiffle band Kick n Rush will play in the bar at Bunny Hill Riding Centre. Tickets are £5.

A jousting tournament in the indoor school is planned for March 27th, with tickets priced £10 for adults and free for children.

Other events will include demonstrations and the reunion in June.

The riding centre will be raising money for the International League for the Protection of Horses during its 55th birthday celebrations.

Bunny Hill Riding Centre is appealing for any former pupils who’d like to attend the reunion and garden party in June, or any other events, to get in touch by emailing or calling 01509 852366 so that they can be added to the mailing list for information.

More information can be found on the riding centre’s website or on the riding centre’s Facebook page.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Anila's makes its debut at FARMA trade show

Anila’s Authentic Sauces will be making its debut at the National Farmers’ Retail and Markets Association trade show in January 2010.

The Surrey-based firm run by Anila Vaghela is exhibiting at the FARMA show for the first time, which this year takes place at Telford International Centre on January 27th 2010.

“I have supplied farm shops and independent stores for many years, and traded at farmers’ markets for more than a decade, and I feel this is the perfect opportunity to introduce Anila’s curry sauces and accompaniments to a wider trade audience,” said Anila, who is based in Walton-on-Thames and has a unit in Hounslow.

“We believe that our products give farm shop customers the chance to re-create a quality dine-in experience to match that of restaurants with our range of award winning curry sauces. With pickles and chutneys which are ideal on the side of a curry or as an accompaniment with Indian snacks and side dishes, there will be something to tickle all tastebuds from our large range. The accompaniments are a delight with cheese and in sandwiches too.”

Anila’s, which was launched in 1997, produces a range of eight curry sauces, based on traditional Indian recipes. They have won ten Great Taste Awards, and in 2009 Anila’s Spicy Korma Curry Sauce scooped a Free From Food Award.

Anila’s curry sauces are suitable for vegetarians and vegans, as well as being sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free. They also don’t contain onions or garlic, and are perfect for anyone with specific allergies or intolerances.

The firm also produces 16 different mouth-watering ‘handmade’ chutneys, pickles and dips, made with single fruits and vegetables.

Anila regularly attends key consumer and trade shows as part of her sales and marketing activity. Her products are available at 28 farmers’ markets across the south, as well as in many stores such as John Lewis Oxford Street, John Lewis Bluewater, Harrods and Selfridges. They are also available from

“The Farm & More Trade Show is part of a three-day event run by FARMA, which also includes a conference, awards dinner, and best-practice visits. I’m hoping it proves to be an excellent opportunity to meet potential new retail customer for Anila’s products,” said Anila.

The Farm & More Trade Show is the largest ever organised by FARMA, with more than 100 exhibitors.

For more information visit

Monday, 4 January 2010

Students discover the ingredients for a career in the food and drink sector at Food and Drink iNet events

Almost 100 students have so far discovered the recipe for a career in the food and drink industry as part of a programme of events organised by The Food and Drink iNet.

Undergraduates and postgraduates at the universities of Nottingham, Loughborough and Northampton have attended workshops designed to give students an insight into the breadth of career opportunities in the UK’s food and drink industry.

The next session is due to take place at the University of Derby on February 5th between 1pm and 3pm in room T204.

Experts from leading food and drink companies have been involved in the free workshops to give advice about careers in the sector. So far, 94 students have taken part.

“The continued success of the food and drink sector in the East Midlands and beyond depends upon talented individuals joining the industry,” said Peter Maycock, Food and Drink iNet project director. “The food and drink sector is a very varied and dynamic sector in which to work, and we hope that these workshops are encouraging undergraduates and postgraduates to look at taking careers in the food and drink sector when they leave university.”

The Food and Drink iNet aims to foster innovation in the region’s food and drink sector by encouraging businesses to turn new ideas into new business through the development of new technologies and products. It also hopes to stimulate new processes, services and ways of working in the industry to help boost the sector.

Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda), the Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by The Food and Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, The University of Lincoln, and The University of Nottingham.

For more information about the Food and Drink iNet visit

Legal helpline launch for Food & Drink Forum members

Food and drink firms across the East Midlands are being offered free legal advice after the launch of a new helpline.

One of the region’s largest food business organisations The Food and Drink Forum has teamed up with Nottingham-based lawyers Roythornes to offer the service to its members.

The legal helpline will provide immediate access during office hours to specialist lawyers with experience of the food sector. It will offer half an hour’s advice free to Forum members, and guide them on the next steps.

Food and Drink Forum Operations Manager Briony Clarke said: “Some of the most common problems our members face are related to the law, whether it's about employing staff, chasing bad debts or contract negotiations.

“Having an experienced legal team on board, with specialised food sector knowledge will prove to be a great help. This is a great addition to our membership benefits."

Speaking about the launch, Roythornes Partner Peter Bennett said: "We're delighted to be joining with The Food and Drink Forum to offer the helpline.

“Roythornes has been involved with food businesses for over 75 years and has a wealth of experience which we can apply to help Forum members. I think people would be surprised at just how much of the food we eat has been grown, packed or processed in the region and the number of businesses that are involved in the sector. It is already a large part of our business and we hope that by helping Forum members we can further grow our presence."

The Food and Drink Forum has members in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland, who work across the food and drink supply chain.

Roythornes is one of the largest law firms in the East of England, with offices in Nottingham, Spalding, Newmarket and Peterborough.

For more information about membership of the Forum to be eligible for the free legal advice call 0115 9758810, or visit