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The ones to watch: Five budding food and drink companies we met at the Local Flavours trade show

PUBLISHED: 17:58 26 September 2018 | UPDATED: 08:31 27 September 2018

Ilja Pavlov from Berries direct farming at the Local Flavours 2018 event for local food and drink producers at the Norfolk Showground Arena.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Ilja Pavlov from Berries direct farming at the Local Flavours 2018 event for local food and drink producers at the Norfolk Showground Arena. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Some of Norfolk’s most promising food and drinks companies have shown their products for the first time at 2018’s Local Flavours event at the Norfolk Showground.

Here are five companies to watch in the next few years:

1. Archangel Distilleries

Since launching only 15 months ago, this Fakenham-based distillery have produced near five times what they expected to in their first year in business.

Seamus Clifford and Rory Clifford from Bull of the Woods brewery at the Local Flavours 2018 event for local food and drink producers at the Norfolk Showground Arena.
Picture: Nick ButcherSeamus Clifford and Rory Clifford from Bull of the Woods brewery at the Local Flavours 2018 event for local food and drink producers at the Norfolk Showground Arena. Picture: Nick Butcher

Director of Archangel Distilleries, Peter Allingham, said: “We began thanks to an angel investment which within just over a year we have already paid back, and we’re looking at our turnover being at around £200,000 this year.

“I’ve been involved in nine start ups, and this is the second-fastest I’ve ever worked on. We thought we’d sell about 3,500 bottles in the first year and we’ve sold about 15,000.”

Mr Allingham added: “We’ve got the capacity to make up to 40,000 bottles, but to get to that next level we’ll need to establish relationships with wholesalers and overseas buyers, which we have started today.”

Suzy Smith founder of Brace Foods Ltd at the Local Flavours 2018 event for local food and drink producers at the Norfolk Showground Arena.
Picture: Nick ButcherSuzy Smith founder of Brace Foods Ltd at the Local Flavours 2018 event for local food and drink producers at the Norfolk Showground Arena. Picture: Nick Butcher

2. Bace

Founder Suzy Smith’s healthy food business grew out of the need to get her family to eat more healthily.

She said: “When I was weaning my children I was making a lot of blended foods, so I’ve had the idea for about three years but only launched the company six months ago.

“There’s a definite trend around healthy eating, however I think our products have an edge because they have absolutely no sugars in the way some blended fruit drinks do.”

PeterAllingham and Jude De Souza from Archangel Distilleries at the Local Flavours 2018 event for local food and drink producers at the Norfolk Showground Arena.
Picture: Nick ButcherPeterAllingham and Jude De Souza from Archangel Distilleries at the Local Flavours 2018 event for local food and drink producers at the Norfolk Showground Arena. Picture: Nick Butcher

Ms Smith met with buyers at Morrisons, and said: “I’ve had some really great chats today, at the moment we’re still to small to supply a place like Morrisons, but it’s good to have a conversation with such a big brand.”

3. Barnies

This snack and sandwich producer started with a basket of bread which owner Tracy Leggett’s mother sold to her neighbours in Watton.

Robert Davies from Barnies Foods Lts at the Local Flavours 2018 event for local food and drink producers at the Norfolk Showground Arena.
Picture: Nick ButcherRobert Davies from Barnies Foods Lts at the Local Flavours 2018 event for local food and drink producers at the Norfolk Showground Arena. Picture: Nick Butcher

Now 29 years on, Mrs Leggett and her brother Brian Underwood have grown the business to a team of 35, supplying sandwiches and snacks across East Anglia.

Sales director Robert Davies, said: “We’re all over East Anglia, but the next step is to get into Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire. We’re having meetings today to discuss this which have gone really well.”

4. Bull of the Woods Brewing

Brothers Seamus Clifford and Rory Clifford launched their brewery business a year ago as an alternative retirement plan, Seamus said: “We currently work as tree surgeons, and realised as we were getting older we wanted something a bit safer to do.

“We brew about 800 pints a month, which isn’t a lot, but we’re looking to expand the range when we can forage some stuff ourselves - which we know a lot about!”

He added: “We really liked the American style of beers coming through, so we thought we’d start with that.”

5. Berries Direct Farming

Farm director of the Hempnall-based company, Ilja Pavlov, said: “We produce about 300 tonnes of strawberries a year, in both traditional and tunnel growing.

“Our business is growing but we are concerned about Brexit, as a large amount of our harvesting workforce are eastern European. A lot of the people in more skilled positions are from Norfolk, but not those who harvest the strawberries.

“When we try to get local people to do the job, they don’t like the weather and within a few days quit.”

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Food and drinks firms bolster Anglo-Dutch relations at trade show

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