Food Matters Live 2015
Food Matters Live is an annual conference held in London that focuses on the relationship between food, health and nutrition.
This episode is a snapshot of Food Matters Live 2015, which was held in the Docklands area of London between 17th and 19th November. It features short interviews with the following fourteen companies and organisations:
- Rob Ward, Grocery Accelerator
- Amirah Ashouri, Leatherhead Food Research
- Shami Radia, Grub
- Steven Taylor, GNT
- Fi Thompson, Nottingham Trent University
- Adam Ismail, GOED
- Jonathan Karpathios, Bieterbal
- Robert Copperman, Qnola
- John Stout, Osius Bone Broth
- Tola James, Nari Juice
- Anne Weyns-Papaleo, Nutricoa
- Simon Ranger, Seagreens
- Niki Baker, Eat Sheffield
- Huw Griffiths, Besmoke
Click on the player below to listen to the audio.
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You can also find the full transcript of the show at the end of this post.
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1. Grocery Accelerator: Helping Grow Tomorrow’s Food and Drink Brands Today
Scroll to 02:46 on the media player above to listen to Rob from Grocery Accelerator.
Grocery Accelerator offers cash and coaching to accelerate the growth and trajectory of young, innovative and ambitious food and drink brands.
Companies can apply for one of six places on Grocery Accelerator’s business development programme, which offers a £60,000 investment, per company, in return for a 15% stake in their business.
Successful companies are taken through a nuts and bolts support programme that includes mentoring, access to ideal service providers, help with pitching buyers and resources on legal, marketing and finance.
2. Leatherhead Food Research: Cutting Edge Research Services, From Concept to Consumer
Scroll to 09:00 on the media player to listen to Amirah from Leatherhead Food Research.
Leatherhead Food Research offers a wide range of specialist food and drink industry services, including ingredient and product development services, global regulatory services, nutrition services, back of pack compilation and advertising clearance and consultancy.
3. Grub: Home of Edible Insects, Good Food in Every Way
Scroll to 12:42 on the media player to listen to Shami from Grub.
Grub sources and sells a range of edible insects, including mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers and buffalo worms. It also makes cricket nut fudge and the soon-to-be-launched Eat Grub Bar, a snack made with cricket flour.
4. GNT: Growing Colours for Colouring Foods
Scroll to 15:58 on the media player to listen to Steven from GNT.
GNT manufactures colouring foods, colours made from vegetables, fruits and other edible plants that are used to enhance the colour of drinks, confectionery and dairy products.
5. Nottingham Trent University: MSc, Food Industry Management
Scroll to 22:53 on the media player to listen to Fi from Nottingham Trent University.
Topics addressed in the MSc in Food Industry Management include the regulatory environment for the food industry, lean manufacturing techniques and business improvement and marketing and value creation.
6. GOED: Global Organisation for EPA and DHA Omega-3s
Scroll to 28:44 on the media player to listen to Adam from GOED.
GOED is a not-for-profit trade association that promotes the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. It works with government groups, the healthcare community, and industry to set standards for the safety and quality of omega-3 fatty acid products. It also educates consumers on the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
Consumer-facing site: http://www.alwaysomega3s.com
7. Bieterbal: 100% Feel Good Food
Scroll to 35:06 on the media player to listen to Jonathan from Bieterbal.
Biterbal is a Dutch company that makes biterballen, vegetarian, beetroot-stuffed croquettes that are made with local ingredients and that are free from artificial additives. The company has secured new wholesaler listings and will soon be supplying outlets in the UK and Ireland.
Jonathan’s TED talk, ‘You are what you eat’, is here.
8. Qnola: Quinoa Based Breakfast Goods
Scroll to 39:53 on the media player to listen to Robert from Qnola.
Qnola, founded by nutritionist Danielle Copperman, makes a range of breakfast goods that are free from gluten, grains, dairy and refined sugar. Its varieties include Cacao & Cashew, Savoury Qnola and Beetroot & Pistachio.
A selection of Qnola’s products.
9. Osius: The Bone Broth Company
Scroll to 44:35 on the media player to listen to John from Osius.
Osius makes bone broth from organic roasted bones. It has two varieties: Beef Bone Broth With Seaweed and Chicken Bone Broth with Herbs.
To make its broth, Osius simmers roasted bones from pasture-fed animals and organic vegetables over a low heat for several days. Its broths are accredited by The Soil Association and Pasture for Life.
Osius bone broth can be added to soups or gravy, and can be used as the liquid to flavour cous cous and other grains. Some people like to consume Osius bone broth neat, by the spoonful.
10. Nari Juice: A Taste of Premium Africa
Scroll to 49:06 on the media player to listen to Tola from Nari Juice.
Nari Juice makes non-alcoholic drinks from sustainably-sourced coconut palm sap. It has two flavours in its current range: Coconut Palm Sap with Lemon and Ginger and Coconut Palm Sap With Apple and Mint.
Here are the two flavours in the current Nari Juice range.
11. Nutricoa: Chocolates That Love you Back
Scroll to 54:18 on the media player to listen to Anne from Nutricoa.
OCD — Obsessive Chocolate Disorder — sufferer Anne Wyens-Papaleo, founder of Nutricoa has (soft) launched a ‘chocolate as alternative to a multivitamin pill’.
Presented in a seven-day calendar pack, Nutricoa’s portion- and calorie-controlled dark chocolate bars are enriched with nutrients and aimed at people (women, in this case) who want to take care of their skin, hair and nails. There are two varieties in the Nutiocoa range: ‘Wellbeing’ and ‘Beauty’.
Anne’s chocolate-suffused blog: http://www.artisanduchocolat.com/our-world/miss-annes-blog
12. Seagreens: Feed the Foundation of Health
Scroll to 1:00:14 on the media player to listen to Simon from Seagreens.
Seagreens is Europe’s leading organic, wild seaweed food brand. It makes seaweed food supplements from sustainably sourced, living (i.e., not floating or dead) shallow-water wrack seaweed from the Scottish Outer Hebrides. Its products include Food Capsules, Food Granules, The Mineral Salt (50% Hebridean seaweed and 50% unrefined Cornish sea salt) and Iodine+ Capsules.
Here’s a fascinating conversation at Food Matters Live 2015 between Simon and an alternative health practitioner about the importance of eating clean seaweed, iodine sufficiency, seaweed as an antidote to sodium chloride, cancer nutrition needs and detoxing:
13. Sheffield Hallam University’s Sheffield Business School and Eat Sheffield
Scroll to 1:09:36 on the media player to listen to Niki from Sheffield Hallam University.
Niki Baker administers Eat Sheffield, which was set up by Sheffield Business School, a faculty of Sheffield Hallam University. Eat Sheffield promotes independent, local food and drink businesses through its website, which has a database of these local businesses as well as a calendar of local food- and drink-related events.
Eat Sheffield also runs an annual food and drink business awards ceremony to recognise outstanding local food and drink businesses.
14. Besmoke: The Art and Science of Natural Smoke
Scroll to 1:16:38 on the media player to listen to Huw from Besmoke.
Besmoke is a smokery that operates from a 7,000 square-foot facility near the South Coast of England. It smokes a wide range of ingredients, including wet products such as pastes, oils, water and botanical extracts. It also smokes dry ingredients such as salts, sugars, spices, herbs and dehydrated fruits and dehydrated vegetables.
Using molecular sieving, Besmoke has developed a new technology — PureSmoke Technology — to make the smoking of foods safer and cleaner. This will surely revolutionise the world of culinary smoking.
Links Mentioned in the Show
- Tyrrells Crisps
- Lucy Bee
- Planet Organic
- Sugar Tax
- Harvey Nichols
- Soil Association
- Pasture Fed Livestock Association
- Churchill Leadership Fellowship
- Cambridge University
- Learn to Lead
- Brand Relations
- The Bio Dynamic Association
- Penny Brohn Cancer Centre
- Seaweed Health Foundation
- Our Cow Molly
- The Sheffield Honey Company
- Venture Matrix
- Moss Valley Fine Meats
- The Original Jerk
- Dr. David Baines
Thanks for Listening
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Transcript of the Show
Catherine: Hello, and welcome to Episode 18 of the Artisan Food and Drink Business Show, the show where artisan food and drink producers tell their brand story and share the secrets of their success. I’m your host, Catherine Moran.
This is a special edition of the show where you’ll hear from a number of organisations that attended Food Matters Live 2015. Food Matters Live was a conference that took place in the Docklands area of London, between the 17th and 19th of November 2015.
The theme of the conference was the relationship between food, health, and nutrition, and their connections with the environment, population health and well-being, arguably the hottest topics in food and drink right now.
At Food Matters Live, you could hear some 400 speakers taking part in 17 live debates. There were 80 seminars on a diverse range of topics, including:
- nutrition for digestive and heart health
- nutrition for cognitive health and performance
- strategies to reduce consumption of salt and fat
- how packaging can be designed to influence healthy food and drink choices
- content marketing for food and drink brands
- the role of neuromarketing in food and drink choices
The exhibition featured hundreds of stands offering expertise from ingredient suppliers, manufacturers, food service providers, and world-class research and academic bodies. In fact, I’m barely scratching the surface of all that was on offer at Food Matters Live 2015. To get the full picture, go to the website foodmatterslive.com and there’s plenty for you to catch up on there.
Lets now get on with the show. Coming up, you’ll hear short interviews with 14 people who exhibited at the conference, including food and drink producers, an ingredient manufacturer, academic institutions who have post-graduate courses for people in the food and drink industry, a not-for-profit trade association that promotes the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, a high-tech smoker of food and drink, a business accelerator for early stage innovative food and drink businesses, and a food and drink research organisation.
We’ll now hear from Rob Ward, who is a co-founder of Grocery Accelerator. As the name implies, an accelerator is an early stage investment platform that provides an intensive — that’s the key there — it’s an intensive business programme aimed to help small, early-stage companies grow faster than if they had chosen to strike out on their own.
According to Dow Jones VentureSource, in the US, food and drink start-ups raised almost 550 million dollars in the first nine months of 2015 compared to about 375 million in the whole of 2014, and about five times the level seen in 2011. There’s incredible interest from investors in the food and drink space right now. That’s clearly growing. Notice how Rob, in the clip that’s just coming up, says that there are now many ways for food and drink businesses to connect with consumers. Here’s Rob.
Catherine: I’m here with Rob Ward, who is the co-founder of Grocery Accelerator. Hello, Rob. What is it all about?
Rob: Hi, Catherine. This is the first in the world of what we call an accelerator for food and drink companies. What that means is that we invite people to apply to us through our various different avenues of communications to then try and win investment. With that investment comes a unique, ground-breaking business accelerator programme. In that programme, we now have a 12-month support package. That support package covers everything you need to do in a food and drink company to get you to a place where you really could be. We combine investment with a business accelerating support package over a 12-month programme.
Catherine: Not just money, but real, actual practical help as well?
Rob: Yeah. Money is the least of it, really. The key thing is that we support groups of people. We typically will put together six businesses from a competitive application process. Then, we cluster those businesses together. They won’t be competing with each other, and they support each other through a peer group. And then we introduce them to amazing speakers that have been there, done that, including ourselves. We all built our own businesses and sold our own businesses. It’s all about real business. It’s not about some academic piece of work. It’s all about real people and real business.
We have a series of workshops we do. We do mentoring. We do, also, crucially, introduce people to service suppliers. We make sure that they get the best deal possible, with the most trusted supplier possible. It’s so hard to find the right person, for branding, for instance, or for any form of marketing. It could be contract manufacturing. It could be distribution. It could be finance. It could be legal. We have a whole library of people that we can help … Very ambitious, exciting, new food and drink brands that want to really grow fast.
Catherine: You, of course, have a background in food, yourself. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
Rob: I did food marketing at university, and while at university, opened a farm shop. This is in 1990, which feels like light years ago, now. It probably is, almost. I was doing … I was working in the farm shop in 1990, before it really got going. Boy, it was great fun, but it was a lot of work. How exciting is the marketplace now. And what the really exciting part, we’re finding, is it’s now possible to get out to consumers in so many different ways. The days of either selling it yourself or through a supermarket have changed. Now we’ve got so many different ways that we can connect to consumers through all the different online sites and all the other new people coming along.
So, it really is. Now is the time to be to this sector. It’s a very exciting area. There’s so much interest in it from investors. There’s a lot of money made available for great ideas. What we do is make sure that that business is ready for investment and then work with them and make sure that that investment works really hard. It’s all about making sure that the money is spent wisely and we help entrepreneurs on that journey.
Catherine: Where can people find you online?
Rob: In the next couple of weeks we’re going to launch our next investment campaign. If you go to groceryaccelerator.co.uk, you can register there. Just put your email there and we’ll let you know when it launches. We’ll let you know about it. There’s an application process online, and then we’ll go through an interview and a selection process after that. We’re looking for people with a great idea, particularly interested in innovation in this sector that you’re in, now, talking about …
Something different. I don’t want another popcorn, okay? We don’t another coconut water. We want things that are different that are going to … People will go, “Wow, what is that? That’s interesting. It’s exciting.” We want interesting, innovative things, but more importantly, it’s about people. We’re looking for really interesting people that are able to deal with the challenges that will create this business. Our job is to make sure that you will really fulfil your potential.
Catherine: You’re not just looking for people who want to get into supermarkets?
Rob: No. We see it as a holistic approach. Food service is a key area too. The marketplace is fragmenting and massively. So five years ago, 85% of the food and drink retail market was within five companies. By 2020, that will be 50%. There’s a dramatic shift from the major supermarkets. I don’t think it might be what’s forecast. It might not be that dramatic. The problem is it’s about doing the right thing for your business. It could be the work with one of the specialty supermarkets, it might not be. What is the right thing to do? If you look at the examples… What are some examples? Tyrrell’s Crisps didn’t sell a single packet in a supermarket and turned over 12 million pounds.
There’s a lot of business to be had outside the supermarkets. If it is the right thing to get in the supermarkets, then fine. What we need to do is do the right thing for your business. That’s part of what we do. You work with us, you work with entrepreneurs that have created businesses and let’s look at that business and see what the right thing is. Then we’ll help you get them.
Catherine: Sounds absolutely wonderful, Rob. Thank you very much for your time.
Rob: It’s a pleasure. Look forward to seeing you again. No problem.
Catherine: Thank you, Rob.
Leatherhead Food Research
Catherine: Another organisation that can get you from concept to consumer is Leatherhead Food Research. Leatherhead Food Research works with, not only multinationals, but with start-ups too, and offers expertise on scaling up, checking nutrition claims, back of pack product labelling, shelf-life testing, nutrition services that will help you to substantiate health claims for your product and a whole lot more. It also has a very good blog with many useful free articles about key topics in the food and drink industry. Let’s now listen to Amirah Ashouri from Leatherhead Food Research.
Catherine: I’m here with Amirah from Leatherhead Food Research. Amirah is going to tell us a little bit about the services offered by your organisation for food and drink companies. Hi, Amirah.
Amirah: Hi. Thanks for asking me about our services. We’re a company based just near London, and we work with food companies in the UK and across the world. We help right from concept all the way through to consumer. We do things like product development. We’ve got a really Innovations’ Team. They have a pilot plant. They can help you scale up products. We’ve got a Nutrition Team. They can do things like check claims, check if your products are really delivering what they say on pack. Our Regulatory Team can actually check your packaging, make sure that it’s legal in the country you’re selling to, can advise you in what ingredients you can and can’t use, what processes you should be looking at.
We’ve also got our Sensory and Consumer Research Team. What they do is actually take your products and test it with consumers, find out what they like and what they don’t. We can help you tweak it, really help you optimise your product, especially if you’ve got a really great idea and you just need a bit of help. Also, we’ve got our Food Safety Team. They look at the microbiology side, s0 check shelf-life, make sure it’s compliant, can advise on the right type of packaging to extend that. We’re really able to help you throughout the whole process.
Catherine: Do you work with both big and small food and drink manufacturers?
Amirah: Yeah. We work with the really large international companies, but we also like to work with the small- to medium-sized businesses, some start-ups as well. If you’ve got a really great idea, we’re able to help you make it happen.
Catherine: Have you noticed any difference in terms of the number of start-ups that are happening over the last couple of years?
Amirah: I think it’s really increasing. I think people see now, that if you have a really great idea, you can actually make it reality. I think with marketing now, you can use things like Instagram, Facebook, and you can be quite a small company, but a lot of people can hear about you. If your product is high quality and you have a really strong message behind it, you can actually meet the right people and reach the consumers.
Catherine: The social media is much more enabling, isn’t it? It’s enabling companies to get out there, irrespective of their size. They don’t have to have a huge marketing budget all of a sudden.
Amirah: Absolutely. Yeah. I think it’s amazing now, what social media has done. If you look at some of the recent product launches, things like the Lucy Bee coconut oil and things. With Instagram and Facebook, it’s completely grown as a company. I don’t think that would have been possible a few years ago.
Catherine: Where can people find out more about your services? Where, online, are you?
Amirah: Yeah. We have our website, which is leatherheadfood.com. If you just go onto the website, there’s lots of information about our services. There’ll be contact email addresses on there as well. You can always give us a call.
Catherine: Fantastic, Amirah. Thank you very much for your time.
Amirah: Thank you very much.
Catherine: Entomophagy, what’s that? It’s the practice of eating insects. It’s estimated that there are some 1,462 species of recorded edible insects, including arachnids. Most likely, there are hundreds, if not thousands more that simply haven’t been sampled, or perhaps not even discovered yet. Insects generally contain more protein and are lower in fat than traditional meats. On top of that, they have about 20 times higher food conversion efficiency than traditional meats. That simply means that they have a better feed to meat ratio than beef, pork, lamb, or chicken. There are lots of reasons to eat insects, and I elect Shami Radia, founder of Grub, tell you more.
Catherine: I am here with Shami Radia, from Grub. Hello, Shami. Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to talk to me. What does Grub make, then?
Shami: To simply put it, we’re the edible insect innovators. We focus on bringing insects as food. It’s called entomophagy … to the UK and to the West. Insects are eaten all around the world because they’re tasty, nutritious and sustainable. There’s so many reasons on why we should be eating insects, and all the reasons on why so many people around the world are.
What we’re doing is we’re doing several products now to introduce people into the world of eating insects. We’ve got freeze dried range which people can cook with. We’ve got roasted cricket snack range, which is an on the go snack. We’ve just released a Kickstarter for our Eat Grub Bar which is a protein packed cricket flour bar, which is just on Kickstarter now.
Catherine: I see a lovely the photo of it up here on your banner. It’s 25% protein cricket flour. It’s gluten free. Have you got two flavours? Is it dark chocolate and mango?
Shami: Yeah. The first one will be dark chocolate and mango. As well as that it’s got coconut, pumpkin seeds, and honey. Hopefully, once we launched with this one, then we’ll be launching with more to follow after that.
Catherine: It’s an endless range. The sky’s the limit in terms of the assortment of flavours that you could make.
Shami: Absolutely. I think with cricket flour, we use it instead of whey protein. For us, it’s got the nutritional qualities. As well as the high protein, it’s got iron, calcium, omega-3, omega-6. They also taste better. Crickets are naturally quite nutty. When you’re talking about a fruit and nut energy bar, they lend themselves really well to the taste.
Catherine: Fabulous. Where can people buy your products?
Shami: You can go online. We are eatgrub.co.uk. You can also get some of our products in Planet Organic stores and Whole Foods as well.
Catherine: Which is in London?
Shami: Planet Organic stores are London based. Whole Foods, they’re national, but they’re only in selective stores. The best thing to do is visit the website eatgrub.co.uk.
Catherine: Certainly. Fantastic. Best of luck with your venture.
Shami: Cheers. Thanks very much for having me.
Catherine: It’s a pleasure. Thank you.
Catherine: Eating insects might well be an emotive issue for people in the West. I have no doubt that that’s set to change and that insects will become mainstream in our diet here in Europe.
Sticking with the subject of emotions, let’s now consider the emotion of colour. I’m talking here about colouring foods. Colouring foods are food ingredients used precisely for their colouring properties. Companies who are striving to have a clean label … Companies, in other words, who want to add colour to their products, but who don’t want to resort to additive colours, would use colouring foods in their products. Colouring foods are concentrates produced from fruits, vegetables, and edible plants, using physical processes and no synthetic additives or organic solvents. I spoke to Steven Taylor from GNT, the leading manufacturer, globally, of colouring foods, who explained more about them.
Catherine: I am now with Steven Taylor, who is with GNT. Hello, Steven. What is GNT all about?
Steven: Good morning, Catherine. Thank you very much for visiting our stand today. GNT, we’re all about colouring great products naturally. Instead of using additive colours, you’re using colours made from fruits and vegetables. At GNT, we grow our own fruits and vegetables, and we make a super-concentrated … We boil them down and cook them. That is a natural alternative to additive colours. You see claims in the marketplace like, “No added colours”, “No additive colours.” We at GNT believe that we should go a step further and make claims like, “Coloured with fruits and vegetables.”
Catherine: Okay. I see. It’s an entirely natural product, what you’ve got … or series of products?
Steven: Your audience won’t see this, but we have a basket of fruits and vegetables in front of us, and they are normal fruits and vegetables. They are well-known ones like pumpkins and orange carrots and elderberries. There are some other ones like aronia berries and black carrots that are still slightly stranger, but still normal fruits and vegetables. You can eat them.
On our product, you take a carrot and you really mash it down, and you make a super-concentrated version of it, but it’s edible through the whole time. We don’t use any solvents. We don’t extract any of our colours. We look for the pigments, but we don’t extract them, we just concentrate down. It is all 100% natural. It is edible at any time. You can taste it and drink it. It is a fruit and vegetable, ultimately.
Catherine: Are you looking for any health-giving properties from the colours or the pigments in these foods or is it just the visual aspect that you’re looking for?
Steven: For us, it’s all about the emotion of colour. It is all about a visual. There are some properties there that still remain because we’re not changing the product. Ultimately, the amount you add to the product is quite small, so the carry over would be limited. It is all about … for us, it’s just about taking good products and making them exciting and bright. Instead of … Generally, colours would have a negative connotation. They would look at nasties, e-numbers. For us, it’s just concentrative carrot. We believe if you want to colour your drink or you want to colour your food … Of course, if you don’t colour it, it would be a very boring world. We believe that if you do colour it, you should colour it with a fruit and vegetable.
Catherine: With a natural product?
Catherine: You’ve got a few of your products here. Could we have a very quick look?
Steven: What we’ve done at this show is we’ve done a consumer journey. We have a display of, currently, what would be in the marketplace. There’s claims like, “No artificial colors”, “Completely natural ingredients, “Free from artificial colours,” at one time, the consumer, that was good enough. That was fine. They understood that, but now the logical question is, “If it’s not artificial, what is it?” It’s a negative claim. If it’s free from artificial colours and flavours … It looks red. What is the colouring purpose? Particularly, in the research we’ve carried out the word “natural” … every marketeer and every brand are starting trying to put natural claims on their packaging. The consumer’s saying, “What is natural?”, particularly in something like a chewy sweet, which is not a natural product in itself. Yet it’s coloured red and yellow and it’s saying, “From all natural ingredients.” It’s not naturally a “natural” product, so the consumers are now starting to become very sceptical of the word natural, and saying, “What is natural?”
We have, with our journey, we then take it through where our product comes from. It is fully traceable. We are fully vertically integrated. We grow all our own fruits and vegetables. We can go out and see the black carrots growing. We can see the pumpkins growing. It gives great reassurance. We can take any product … Our consumer can take any product up and we can trace that right back to farm-to-fork, really.
Catherine: You’re in complete control of your raw materials, basically.
Steven: We are truly vertically integrated. I think it’s a word that a lot of people use, but vertically integrated can mean that they’re buying something from some one else and don’t have full control. We have full control. We have our own agricultural engineers who work with our farmers to grow our fruits and vegetables. Our fruits and vegetables are only grown for colour. There is no GM. They are naturally irrigated and things like that. They got very little pesticides used. They’re not cosmetic fruits and vegetables. You will not see them on the shelves, because they’re not grown for how pretty they look. They are grown for colour and colour quantity alone. So we know exactly when to harvest them to get maximum amount of colour and to retain the colour as much as possible.
We are thinking about colouring foods as it should be the future. A lot of the questions we’re asked is, “What’s the future of colouring?” The future of colouring, in our belief is, colouring foods. The consumer really resonates with it’s coloured with fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t need any more explanation. It’s a very simple explanation. It does what it says on the tin.
Catherine: Absolutely wonderful. Where can we find out a bit more about you on the web?
Steven: On the web, we have our website, http://www.gnt-group.com. If you Google the word colouring foods, GNT are the number one. We are the leader in the world. We are globally. We’re also the biggest grower of black carrot in the world.
Catherine: Where are you based?
Steven: We are a Dutch company. We have two processing factories, one just one side of the German border and the other one on the Dutch side of the border. We source 85% of our raw materials from the local farmers in the area.
Catherine: Okay. Thank you so much for your time.
Steven: Brilliant, Catherine. Thank you very much.
Nottingham Trent University
Catherine: Next, we’ll hear from Fi Thompson, who’s the Industry Liaison Manager at Nottingham Trent University, which is based in the East Midlands in England. Fi describes the two-year MSc in food industry management offered by Nottingham Trent University, a course aimed at people already working in the food or drink industry. The masters is split between food-specific modules and business modules, and covers subjects such as lean manufacture, strategy and marketing. Here’s Fi.
Catherine: I am here now with Fi Thompson, who is from Nottingham Trent University. Fi, you’re going to tell us a little bit about the MSC in food industry management that your University offers.
Fi: Hi, yes. We have developed a course, which starts every January. It’s a two-year course and it’s a combination of food specific modules and business modules. It’s quite different from most masters in that most masters specialize in one area. This combines two sets of academic teams so they can deliver a really good combined course. Our food modules are contemporary issues in the food industry, which covers … Basically, it’s a lovely module that can cover anything that’s current. For example, we’re planning to look at the sugar tax. Come June, we’ll look at environmental issues. We look at the power of the major supermarkets, because so many manufacturers are under pressure from people like Wal-Mart, Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys. We look at their dominance.
One of the other modules is called the Regulatory Environment. That’s a module for dealing with the major legislation that effects the food industry, because obviously it’s the most heavily legislated, because it’s probably one of the few industries where you can kill people if you don’t do things right. We also look at lean manufacture, because, again, a lot of food manufacturers are interested in how they can make their production more effective.
Then, our business modules include a Strategy Module. Once you’ve found out more about your industry, you can try and figure out what to do with it. Then, also a Marketing Module. We tested different course options with industry and we asked them what they wanted. They were the modules that proved most popular.
Instead of a traditional dissertation, the students do what we call a work-based project, because this course is aimed at people who are already in work. They choose something in work that relates to their study and then, hopefully, can incorporate that end project into their day job.
Catherine: That sounds really comprehensive. I like the way that you split it between the food production side of things and then the business side of things, including management and all that. It’s a very comprehensive thing. You said it lasts for two years?
Catherine: Where are people coming from, your typical students? Is this a fairly new offering, the MSc?
Fi: It had its first year last year, so we’re about to start our second year, which will start in January. We have a wide range of students. We have students … A guy who’s come from a small business, where there’s four employees … All the way up to … We have a factory manager from Muller and one of the line managers from Nestle. We have a really diverse cohort. What’s great is, they all network and learn things. The big boys, so to speak, Muller and Nestle are learning so much from the smaller guys, because they didn’t realise the pressures that they were under as a business, or some of the ways they do things. They’re able to network and swap things over. That works really well.
Each module is taught in a twelve-week block. They only come to us for three days. They’re really intensive crazy days. They come to us from nine in the morning until 7:00 at night on the Thursday and a Friday. Then, nine in the morning until 4:00pm. We let them off for good behaviour on the Saturday. That’s how each module is taught. That gives them time to incorporate it into their working life and their home life. Again, most people these days have jobs and families as well as wanting to develop their career. We found it’s a really good alternative for people who want to do postgraduate study or an MBA, but actually, maybe an MBA is too business focused or it doesn’t give them what they need. It’s proving popular and we hope it will grow.
Catherine: Are you actually part of the faculty? Are you teaching this?
Fi: I’m not one of the teachers. I’m the Industry Liaison Manager. My job is to go out and work with the companies that are either sponsoring their students through the course. I help in that way. I act as an account manager because the companies are used to that. They want to have their experience managed. We’re the same as any other business in a way. We need to provide customer service and value for money to the employers who are sending their employees on this course, as well as the students need to have a great learning experience.
Catherine: Absolutely. Fi, where can we find out more about the MSc in Food Industry Management online?
Fi: We have a website. That is http://www.ntu.ac.uk/mdmfim. That’s our direct link to the course.
Catherine: Absolutely fabulous. Thank you so much for your time.
Fi: No problem. Have a good day.
Catherine: You too.
Catherine: We’re now going to hear from Adam Ismail, who is the executive director of an organisation called GOED. GOED refers to the Global Organization for EPA and DHA 0mega-3’s. GOED educates consumers about two important types of dietary Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats, so they are healthy fats. They promote heart, brain, and eye health. As well as being consumer facing, GOED also sets quality standards for industry to ensure that consumers can get high quality omega-3-containing foodstuffs. In the interview, you’ll hear Adam mention that GOED serves consumers as well as industry.
GOED has a funky quiz on its website that can tell you if you’re getting enough omega-3’s in your diet. Have a look at the Are You Getting Enough Omega 3’s quiz on the website http://www.alwaysomega3s.com. You simply answer four short questions about how much white fish, seafood, oily fish, and omega-3 supplements you consume each week. The website then calculates your approximate intake of omega-3’s and compares that with the daily intake recommended by the World Health Organization. It will take you about five seconds to complete. Although I’m a seafood and fish lover, I was surprised, code for disappointed, and shocked at my score. I’m most definitely going to eat more seafood and fish from now on. Here’s Adam.
Catherine: I’m here with Adam Ismail, who is the executive director of GOED. Hi, Adam. Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
Adam: Yeah. I run GOED, which is a group that’s really focused on educating consumers around the world about the importance of getting EPA and DHA omega-3’s in their diet, as well as setting quality standards for the industry to follow to make sure that the consumer can get high quality products. We work to help get health claims and recommended intakes established to allow education mechanisms for public policy to also increase intakes to sufficient levels around the world. We’re an industry funded group, but we really have a scientific focus and a mandate.
Catherine: You said omega-3 and also EHA. Can you just spell out what EHA is because I think, mostly, people will know what Omega-3 is, but EHA might be a little bit more obscure.
Adam: Omega-3’s are a family of fatty acids. There are two basic groups of those types of fatty acids, short chain omega-3’s, which are the types you tend to find in grains like flax and canola and rape seed. Then there are the long chain omega-3s, which are the types that you tend to find in the marine environment coming from seafood and algae out of the ocean. And EPA and DHA got to be the two most important long chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Catherine: So they’re basically like a subset or a type of omega-3 EHA and DHA?
Adam: Exactly. And importantly they’re also critical components of how our cells are built. In fact in our brain, around 30% of the fat in our brain is DHA. If you think about the way your cell is constructed, it’s a cell surrounded by a membrane and that membrane is basically a series of fatty acids and different proteins. EPA and DHA are incorporated into the membranes of all of our cells and they allow your cells to basically function properly. They allow them to produce the right compounds, express genes properly. If you replace those with pro-inflammatory fats, then the cells have a harder time functioning and those are things like saturated fatty acids.
Catherine: Less good for us?
Catherine: Are the long chain omega-3 better for us than the short chains or are they just different?
Adam: They’re really just different. Both are needed in the diet, they serve different roles. There are no short chain omega-3s that are predominant in the brain, for instance. But if you don’t get enough ALA in your diet you tend to have some skin problems. Things like that. In addition to that there’s lots of the short chain sources like grains, provide fibre and lignans and other compounds that are really important, and the same is true for seafood.
Seafood is definitely the best way to get your omega-3s in your diet because you’re getting a very healthy protein as well. You’re not eating red meat that can be atherogenic [tending to promote the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries] or lead to cardiovascular disease. Ideally you want to get the dietary sources of these fatty acids but, we know that especially in the Western world, there’s a lot of people that don’t get enough of these types of food in their diet and they ultimately have to turn to supplements to get these healthy fats and it’s still very important, if you’re not eating seafood, to get these healthy fats in your diet.
Catherine: Supplements are okay but the natural products are better?
Adam: Yeah, absolutely. In fact there’s lots… thousands of studies that have shown that when you consume these fats they’re well absorbed into your body, they get into the cell membranes. There’s even research that shows that DHA consumption gets to the brain which is a very difficult thing to measure. There’s now a growing body of evidence that shows how readily these are absorbed and taken up by the body.
Catherine: Thank you very much for your time. Can you tell us where we can find you online… your organisation online?
Adam: We have two websites. The first is our main website which is http://www.goedomega3.com. The second is a consumer website which has some basic information around what Omega-3s do in the body and that can be found at http://www.alwaysomega3s.com.
Catherine: Wonderful, Adam. Thank you very much indeed.
Adam: Thank you very much, I appreciate the opportunity.
Catherine: Let’s move on to food production now. We’re going to hear the story of Bieterbal, a delicious beetroot stuffed dreamed up Jonathan Karpathios. Dutch chef, TedX speaker, TV chef, and cookery book author, Jonathan is making the case for using more vegetarian food. Jonathon very kindly game a sample of a Bieterbal, at the conference, and it was delicious. You can see a photo of my half-scoffed Bieterbal on this show’s website which is myartsandbusiness.com. Here’s Johnathan.
Catherine: I am here now with Jonathan Karpathios from Bieterbal. That’s correct, that’s your company?
Catherine: So, Jonathan, what is Bieterbal?
Jonathan: The Bieterbal is a vegetarian snack. I created it. I have a restaurant in Holland and I’m a chef that does a lot of television about vegetarian food because we have to eat more vegetarian food in the future. Because of the meat scandals, the meat problems, we know now that meat eating is not good for your health, especially not for the environment so we have to change our food system.
How are we going to do that? I’m a chef, I write cooking books, I do a lot of television and I talk about vegetarian food. It’s not that I say we cannot eat meat, no. It’s much nicer to make more food with vegetables because you have so many more different varieties of vegetables than you got meat and fish together. It’s incredible. We created a snack because of the vegetarian market they don’t have a lot of good vegetarian snacks on the market.
Why? Because most of them are produced based on soya and you really have to think if you want to eat the soya. If you really look into it, how do they produce it? I don’t think it’s a good idea to eat a lot of these things.
Catherine: It’s not very sustainable, you are saying, soya?
Jonathan: Exactly. It’s not sustainable but also the GMO and how do they produce it with pesticides and all this kind of things. You don’t want to eat poison and this is what they throw on it. I said “We have to change this.” We created this vegetarian snack, it’s based on bio-dynamic soil so the beets that we put in to the ball are bio-dynamic. It’s 80% beets. Some onion, some garlic, a little bit of orange and some cheese inside. We put a batter around it and some breadcrumbs and we fry it. And then we got the Bieterbal so it’s a snack based on beetroots, fermented, and it’s really good. We’re now 2 months on the market in Holland. I got nominated already for two prizes. Belgium… we also got a distributor yesterday. They called “Can we get it in Belgium too?” Of course they can get in. Now we’re in London.
Catherine: Was this is just from yesterday, you got a distributor who will bring –
Jonathan: Yeah, in Belgium too, and already in two months we got Holland and Belgium. The market of vegetarian food is small and there are not a lot of novelties and this is one that we see that people ask for it. Because 25% of people eat more vegetarian than last year. The vegetarians are getting stronger and it’s getting more people … getting conscious. I don’t want to eat meat everyday, I want to eat some vegetables sometime. Because it’s good for me, for my body, and for the environment.
Catherine: Absolutely, you’ve got some gorgeous graphics here of the Bieterbal, and it’s basically, essentially it’s a croquette stuffed with beetroot… what we call beetroot?
Jonathan: Yeah, exactly. It’s nothing more than that. We serve with yoghurt because it’s really nice with yoghurt, and horseradish or let’s take orange. You can combine it with so many things and this is the new snack, the new vegetarian snack, the Bieterbal.
Catherine: Wonderful, wonderful. You’re setting a trend here. So you’re moving out of the restaurant setting with this … it’s now a product rather than just a dish? You’re going to be available in retail outlets, is that right?
Jonathan: Yeah, this is what we’re here for. I had to look for the distribution in England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Catherine: How exciting.
Jonathan: Yeah, because everywhere the market of vegetarian is growing.
Catherine: Well, Jonathan, where can people find out online more about you and your products.
Catherine: Wonderful Jonathan, thank you so much for your time.
Jonathan: Thank you, thank you too. Have a nice day.
Catherine: You too, bye bye.
Catherine: Staying with the vegetarian theme we’re next going to hear about quinoa breakfast goods made by Qnola, a company set up by Danielle Copperman. A granola made from quinoa, Qnola is grain-free, gluten-free, and free of refined sugar. One of the Qnola varieties is an eye-catching beetroot and pistachio. At Food Matters Live I spoke to Danielle’s father Robert. Here’s Robert.
Catherine: I’m here with Robert Copperman who is with Qnola. Hi Robert, I hope I didn’t mess up the pronunciation of that too much but maybe you could tell me how to pronounce the name of your daughter’s company properly.
Robert: Sure, yes. It’s Qnola and Danielle, when she moved to London, she was modelling, she couldn’t find any healthy foods to eat, particularly that she liked, so she heard about quinoa, she started making her own breakfast cereals. Her friends liked this and from that very early start a couple of years ago its blossomed into the first breakfast cereal, quinoa-based and it’s sugar-free, wheat-free, gluten-free. It’s natural ingredients.
We’ve got 5 flavours now. Obviously selling in Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and various other retailers and obviously through the website. And we found so much interest in gluten and sugar free products. It just seems to be growing and growing, so we’ve expanded production and we’re looking for wholesalers to get this out into the wider world really where we know there’s a real market for it.
Catherine: So you’re saying you’d like to go global, go international with your product?
Robert: Yeah, we’ve had a lot of interest overseas in Europe and South America, North America and even in the Middle East and Macau, where we’ve managed to ship. There’s a huge interest worldwide about these products and I think people are so interested in reducing obesity and understand that sugar based products and what is included in so called healthy breakfasts, how much sugar there is. It is a global phenomenon now and we’re trying to keep up with demand.
Catherine: And you’ve got some extremely impressive high profile outlets in a very short period of time, like Selfridges. Did you mention Harrods or Harvey Nicks –
Robert: Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and in London we’ve got quite a few stocks and we sell through Marigold as well who ship to various other wholesalers and retailers but we started off in Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, particularly.
Catherine: We’ve actually got a selection of your products here. Could you say what different flavours you’ve got.
Robert: Certainly, there’s almond and vanilla. There is ginger and goji berry. There’s cacao and cashew, and beetroot flavour which sounds rather odd for a breakfast cereal but that is one of our best selling, and a savoury flavour as well for people that are looking for something midday, a sort of snack.
Catherine: Not just restricted to breakfast time then?
Catherine: Wonderful. So where can people find out a little bit more about you online?
Robert: The website is http://www.qnola.co.uk. If you search “Danielle Copperman” you’ll be able to find about her. She also has a blog, she writes about healthy eating because that’s really what started this. It was very close to her heart.
Catherine: Somebody was telling me she was quite big on Instagram?
Robert: On Instagram, yeah. It’s an amazing thing for someone who’s a little bit older, how these new marketing platforms … how they work. It is fantastic so she uses that a lot. She finds that really interesting. Not only to get her message out but also find out what’s going on around the country in the healthy food market.
Catherine: Absolutely wonderful, Robert, Danielle’s dad. Thank you so much for your time.
Robert: My pleasure.
Osius Bone Broth
Catherine: Moving away from vegetarian food now, we’re going to hear about bone broth from a company called Osius Bone Broth. To my mind this is a very clever product because what the company has done is taken an age old cooking technique and an age old recipe and commercialised it in a sensitive way.
I spoke to John Stout, a director of Osius Bone Broth and as you’ll hear, the origin of the company is pure serendipity. Here’s John.
I am here with John Stout who is a director of Osius Bone Broth. Hello John, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. What is Osius Bone Broth?
John: It’s what it says on the tin, really. It’s broth that is made from bones but more specifically, very, very high quality bones so this is a 100% organic product. It is Soil Association-accredited and the beef product is also credited by the Pasture Fed Livestock Association, which denotes that the cattle, the bones of which we’ve used, have only ever eaten grass in their life. No grain, not finished off on fattening nuts. So the ingredients are a key element of the whole product.
Catherine: I see behind you on one of the banners on your stand, you’ve got the Soil Association organic logo, which is pretty important and impressive.
John: Yeah, I think it’s important, it gives it a stamp of credibility. There are a number of organic accrediting organisations, but for us both domestically and potentially internationally where we think we’ve got a market for this, the Soil Association market is the one that counts the most.
Catherine: What are you, or I should say, what are consumers doing with your bone broth?
John: We can only go by what we’re being told and our core business is frozen ready meals and we were introduced to bone broth by a nutritionist who was treating an 8-year old boy with a chronic gut ailment. His parents were vegetarian and the nutritionist thought the boy should take bone broth as medication for the gut problem.
She came to us and asked us whether or not we would be prepared to produce this for her. And we knew nothing about it at that stage so we do what mostly people do these days so we Googled it and just fell on this mine of extraordinary information, Claims about the restorative benefits of bone broth. And it’s not new. Our grannies were making pots of stock years ago and their grannies before them. What we’ve done is taken an age old practice and just done it on a bigger scale to move it in to commercial production.
But the biggest benefit we’re told by the nutritionist is having taken really high quality bones, and slow simmered them for 48 hours, the nutrients that we’re able to extract from the bones include collagen and collagen is a natural healer of the gut wall, So those people who are suffering from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis are being advised by their nutritionist, having potentially taken a lot of medicinal drugs over the years, to go back to a good old fashioned remedy and that’s the bone broth.
Catherine: All natural as well?
John: Completely natural. With the ingredients of our beef bone broth are beef bones, onions, celery, carrots and tomatoes and a bit of organic apple cider vinegar. And seaweed. But as you say, completely natural ingredients.
Catherine: Where is your bone broth available for sale?
John: At the moment it’s available in Wholefoods Markets in about 7 of their 9 stores. It’s going on to Ocado in the next few weeks and it’s available on a few websites operated by the people supplying into the paleo and primal markets. And also it’s available from our own website. We sell online from http://www.osiusbonebroth.co.uk.
Catherine: Thank you so much for your time.
John: It’s a pleasure. Nice to meet you.
Nari Palm Juice
Catherine: Our next interviewee is Tola James, founder of drinks’ company Nari Palm Juice. Which makes drinks from the sap of coconut palm trees in West Africa and South Asia. Ethical sourcing and sustainable production are very much the key messages here. Notice, too, how Tola refers to the concept of “premium Africa” and interesting and hopefully fruitful market positioning strategy for Nari Palm Juice. Here’s Tola.
I’m with Tola James who is the founder of Nari Palm Juice. Tola, thank you very much for having a quick word with us. Can you tell us about your company please?
Tola: Thank you for having me. Thank you to Food Matters Live. Nari Palm Juice is a great new concept. We are very new, just launched this week. It’s been in the making for 3 years, it’s my idea to infuse coconut palm sap with natural fruit juice ingredients, apple and mint and lemon and ginger, to give the consumers something different and unique that’s inspired by Africa. Our packaging clearly represents the theme of premium Africa and we are ethical, we source our palm juice ethically. We don’t cut the palm tree, we support reforestation and not deforestation.
We’ve just been listed, we have numerous wholesalers that are interested to take our product. I myself was featured in the Financial Times three weeks ago. It’s been a great platform so far and we look forward to it, to grow.
Catherine: How exciting to get into the Financial Times, that’s absolutely wonderful.
Tola: Thank you. I’m part of the Churchill Leadership Fellowship. It’s a new leadership fellowship programmer with Cambridge University and Learn to Lead. I was selected to be a part of this Financial Times article and video and so it was really great to have Nari featured as well. It’s a phenomenal experience, we’ve received so much traction and great feedback today. We hope to really grow this and also export in the near future.
Catherine: You have got currently two different flavours, is that right?
Tola: Correct, yes. Coconut palm sap with lemon and ginger and with apple and mint.
Catherine: I did try the lemon and ginger, it’s really lovely.
Tola: Thank you.
Catherine: Just very quickly. What is coconut palm sap?
Tola: Coconut palm sap is the sap that’s extracted from the coconut palm trees. We have plantations that suppliers get it from in South Asia as well as West Africa. It’s a new concept and we believe it’s about to create some noise in the market and we’ve had some really interesting people who have worked with the likes of the Indonesian government and the Kenyan government to basically grow the agriculture and the agri business in these countries by utilising coconut palm sap and growing the palm trees to reach certain maturity levels to insure they can extract the sap and do different things with it. The beauty of the coconut palm tree is that you can create so much by-products from it and that’s where the interest is growing. It’s really interesting stuff.
Catherine: How long does it take a coconut palm tree to grow to maturity?
Tola: About 15 years.
Catherine: Quite quick, actually.
Tola: Yeah, and with the sap you are able to receive the sap slowly but surely and you’ll be able to tap it during harvest season and allow it to settle. The good thing about it is you don’t kill the tree. The unethical way is cutting the palm tree, which is obviously unethical. If you climb up the tree and extract it using the tubes that’s been indigenous with African people as well as South Asians for years, thousands of years, you actually preserve the tree and allow it to flourish.
Catherine: So it’s a sustainable production technique.
Tola: It is a sustainable production technique. As we’re young we want to stick to our true values, which is to ethically produce. You got big companies out there that their demand is increasing ever so much that they’ve lost their values and they are unethically sourcing palm juice so we want to stick to our values, as we grow and as we develop.
Catherine: Where can people find out more about your company online?
Tola: If you visit http://www.narijuice.co.uk, you’ll find more information. Just to let you know, we’re having a makeover on our website so you’ll find a holding page but you can still contact us via our email address so firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find us on Twitter, you can find us on Instagram, and you can find us on Facebook.
For sales and inquiries, you can contact Brand Relations. They’re based in Hammersmith, their number is 0208 222 8829.
Catherine: What’s your Twitter handle?
Catherine: Wonderful, thank you so much Tola.
Tola: Thank you, been a pleasure.
Catherine: Our next interviewee describes herself as having OCD — obsessive chocolate disorder — Anne Weyns Papaleo is the founder of Nutricoa, a chocolate company that makes high cocoa content chocolate with Colombian cocoa beans. The point of difference with Nutricoa is that it positions itself as a delicious alternative to supplement pill for beautiful skin, hair, and nails.
It’s packaged pretty much like a pharmaceutical calendar pack although the Nutricoa packaging is far more sumptuous. With seven 12-gram bars, one for each day of the week, the chocolate is therefor portion controlled and equally calorie controlled. This chocolate, one variety for well being and one variety for beauty is squarely aimed at women. But don’t worry guys, Nutricoa chocolate for men is in development. Here’s Ann.
Now I’m talking to Anne and you are the founder of Nutricoa, is that correct?
Ann: Yes, that’s correct.
Catherine: Can you tell us a little bit about your company and what you make and what you sell?
Ann: Yeah, sure. The company was started about 6 months ago but I have a long background in chocolate. So I’ve been in a chocolate business for about 15 years. Personally, I’m at the age where I really should start looking after my skin and take multivitamins but I just don’t like swallowing pills. I don’t find it pleasant.
Catherine: So are you saying you’ve got a good alternative to pill swallowing in chocolate?
Ann: Yes, so basically one of the good thing about chocolate is it’s very strong in taste naturally so it will cover a lot of the taste of the things that are good for you but not necessarily nice to eat. So we did some development trying to basically reproduce a supplement or a multivitamin for different applications but deliver it in a chocolate bar that’s portion controlled and calorie controlled. It’s 12 grams a day, 70 calories a day and it has the equivalent to, let’s say for beauty, a supplement with collagen, hyaluronic acid [a naturally-occurring substance in the human body; it acts as a cushion and lubricant in the joints and other tissues], biotin [a water-soluble B-vitamin], vitamin A and C. So instead of swallowing a pill a day you can just eat one bar of chocolate a day.
Catherine: And you’ve got lots of these samples of our chocolate here as well the packaging. I’m just going to reach over and grab one of your boxes. You’ve got two different colour codings, is there a difference between this slightly reddish colour and the slightly yellow green colour. Could you take us through the two packagings?
Ann: The gold one is really for hair, skin and nails. It’s really for beauty so it has collagen, hyaluronic acid. It’s for maintaining the elasticity of your skin, for strong hair and strong nails as well as teeth. The rose gold one, or the more coppery one is for general female wellbeing so it will tackle things like hormonal activity, healthy bones, tiredness, immune system, release of energy, thinking. It’s a blend of multivitamins plus things like iodine, selenium, zinc, iron, calcium. It’s different applications depending on what you feel like you need.
Catherine: At the time. What are the ingredients in your two different offerings?
Ann: The basic ingredients are always cocoa beans, cocoa butter and it’s sweetened with honey. As well as soy lecithin as an emulsifier. And then the blends are different depending on what the application is as you’d find for vitamins or supplements. There’s a couple of elements which are common because we thought they are just good for you, such as turmeric, beetroots, iodine, which comes from seaweeds, anthocyanins [water-soluble pigments that occur in all tissues of higher plants including leaves, stems, roots and flowers] and beetroot. So, all of these are common between the two packs but then the specific blend of vitamins and minerals and nutrients are targeted to each application, from them they start differing depending on what you want to supplement.
Catherine: And in your packaging, which I have never seen anything like this before… It’s almost like a self-…I’ll let you describe it but we’ve got seven bars of chocolate…
Ann: Yes, it’s a weekly pack so each bar of 12 grams is 70 calories, it’s packed in its own little packaging so you can put it in your bag, you don’t want have to take the whole big pack. But at the same time, the bars are marked Monday to Sunday. There are two reasons for that. One is to make you remember to take it. So if it’s Wednesday and you still have the Tuesday bar it means you’ve skipped one. I see a lot of problems with vitamins and minerals in that people take it for a while but then they stop.
Obviously, having it made in chocolate, we hope that people will enjoy taking it so will take it more often. But also to avoid overeating, because you really should not … if you overstock on vitamins and minerals you will flush them out anyway, so it’s not necessarily good. So it’s to basically make sure that people eat it regularly. One a day and don’t overeat or don’t under eat it.
Catherine: Where are your products available?
Ann: They’re not available yet because we just doing a soft launch here, just to get people’s reaction and also to test the reaction to the chocolate itself. The whole point is it has to taste good and there’s a lot of actives, there’s about 15% of actives in each bar so we really have to make sure that people still view it as a pleasurable product, otherwise they will not stick with it more than they stick with pills. So the idea is we will launch in January online and also with a selected few retailers that we are in discussion with.
Catherine: Where can we find you online?
Ann: The best thing is to look at the Nutricoa website which is http://www.nutricoa.com. ‘Nutri’ as in nutrition and ‘co’ as in cocoa.
Catherine: So, Nutricoa, not ‘Nutri-co-aa’, as I was saying earlier. Thank you so much for your time, Anne.
Ann: Thank you, you’re welcome.
Catherine: It’s time to move off the land and into the sea. I was born and bred near the west coast of Ireland about 19 miles from the sea, so seaweed is close to my heart. There is always a quantity of carrageen moss in our house when I was growing up. Our next interviewee, Simon Ranger, founder of Seagreens would approve.
Simon founded Seagreens 16 years ago on an island of the Trondheim coast in Norway. His mission is to make it easy for people to consume seaweed everyday. Rather than try to persuade Western consumers to change their eating habits by, for example, adding seaweed in the same way you’d add land vegetables like carrots or broccoli to meals, Simon came up with the idea of producing seaweed capsules, granules for condiments and a whole lot more. Seagreens is currently producing in the Outer Hebrides, off the coast of Scotland.
It has a range of consumer products and it also sells seaweed ingredients to food manufactures. Seagreens is a trust and in our interview, Simon talks about the Seaweed Health Foundation, an entity he founded. Links to all of these are in the show notes for this episode which are available at the show’s website. http://www.myartsandbusiness.com.
Just before our conversation Simon was having a fascinating discussion about seaweed with an alternative health practitioner. With Simon’s permission, I captured some of that discussion and in the interest of brevity I’ve put that on the show’s website instead of this podcast episode. If you’d like to listen to that just go to www.myartisanbusiness.com. Here now is Simon Ranger.
Hello Simon. Simon Ranger from Seagreens, we have just been eavesdropping, but with your permission on a fascinating discussion you had with a consumer who has a big interest in iodine and seaweed. Would you say a few words about Seagreens, your company and what you do?
Simon: Yes, Seagreens was founded 16 years ago when I happen to be working with Swedish man in Norway on a little island off the Trondheim coast and we had fish and seaweed. We were thinking what are we going to do with all this seaweed so first of all it went into horticulture. And then we learned so much about the nutritional value and particularly its micronutrients and realised that this is actually what we’re missing in our Western diets.
This is what we need to put back into foods. How can we make this so that people can easily use it everyday and put it into food, not like the Japanese or the traditional users of seaweed who use it as a vegetable on a plate. Because changing people’s eating habits is another matter altogether. But to include it in our everyday food in easy ways … so we started Seagreens. And then we did a joint venture in Scotland and since 2009 we’ve been producing on the Outer Hebrides, some beautiful pristine waters out on the Western Isles … and we have a small range of consumer products, which are extensively used by practitioners, and the ingredients that we sell to all kinds of food manufactures.
Catherine: And the practitioners you’re referring to… I noticed in your conversation with that woman, you mentioned a cancer specialist in Scotland. So, presumably you were referring to not only alternative practitioners but conventional medicine practitioners as well?
Simon: Yes indeed, sure. Funnily enough it’s in America where we’ve been most successful with orthodox medicine and doctors because they’re much freer than they are under the NHS [and Western Europe. We worked extensively with the Penny Brohn Cancer Centre in Bristol which is very well established and that’s the kind of place where people … not only get support but they also get a lot of nutritional and food advice and there’s a lot of creative use of food down there.
Catherine: Am I remembering correctly, is it the Bristol diet… is there such a thing as the Bristol diet?
Simon: Yes, that’s right. Some years ago, they were the first to create this kind of concept of a ‘cancer management diet’, yeah, that’s right
Catherine: I’m very taken, I see on the banner beside you, behind your stall, you’ve got a wonderful logo Seagreens and you’ve got that magical registered trademark. So you’ve actually managed to trademark the words Seagreens. That’s phenomenal, don’t you think?
Simon: Yeah, I think we were very lucky and it’s a registered trademark all around the world now, in the United States and Europe and several other countries like Australia and New Zealand. Seagreens is actually set up as a trust so that there are … the ability to license other people to help them produce seaweed and we’re working, I hope, more with small producers to help them reach a standard. And we’ve been working with the Bio-Dynamic Association during the last 3 years. We’ve created a Nutritious Food Seaweed Standard, which we are just implementing now for the first time where we hope to bring a really high food quality to the seaweed that’s produced and it will help particularly the small producers to enter a market with a world-class quality product that they can sell anywhere.
Because there are serious issues with … seaweed has to be kept at a certain moisture content so that it doesn’t have bacteria. It has to be free of heavy metals and all these other things. Four years ago I founded the Seaweed Health Foundation and hopefully we’ll be able to provide some kind of cooperative analytical services and things like that so that they don’t have to meet the very high costs so they would have to individually, and through cooperation we can help a lot of different seaweed producers reach a world market.
Catherine: People are really switching on to the benefits of including seaweed in their diet. I remember you saying a few minutes ago that you need as little as … what was it, a half teaspoon or something like that, per day, in your diet?
Simon: Yeah, it’s something that ever since we started this, it is really amazed me that how little will make a huge difference to people, and it shows particularly how important the minerals are because it is particularly a mineral-rich food. And when you get no more than a gram or two into the diet which is less than half a teaspoon, people come back, even a year later and they will say “I just stopped using my seaweed everyday and I really noticed a difference. My energy level has gone down, not enormously, but noticeably.” It makes a noticeable difference to people and in their immunity, too.
Catherine: We’ve got lots of planes now, flying overhead, which are interfering with the sound here.
Simon: Is that what it is?
Catherine: Yeah. It’s City Airport, of course. Just down the way.
Simon: We’re right next to City Airport? I didn’t know that.
Catherine: Yeah. It’s a real happening place, isn’t it? So, where can people read more about your company and your products online?
Simon: We have a website at http://www.seagreens.co.uk and then there is the Seaweed Health Foundation which is http://www.seaweedhealthfoundation.org.uk and that is a good link to other producers of seaweed and the many companies who are now incorporating seaweed into all kinds of products and that’s why we have a trademark because at least 60 to 70% of our customers who incorporate it into their products whether it’s bread or pasta sauces or nutritional supplements, they will have Seagreens on the label to show that it’s a really good quality seaweed.
Catherine: It’s a standard isn’t it?
Simon: Yeah, so people can look in the stores and they can see quite a range of products. Health food stores particularly with seaweed in there.
Catherine: Is it possible to buy any of your consumer products, from your website?
Simon: No, we don’t sell direct but we sell through our retailers and all the major retailers both here and in Ireland and some of the European countries and definitely in America now sell our products.
Catherine: All under the Seagreens mark?
Simon: Seagreens name, yeah.
Catherine: Thank you so much for your time.
Simon: Thanks to you, it’s a pleasure. Bless you.
Catherine: Thank you.
Eat Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University
Catherine: We next hear from Niki Baker from the Sheffield Business School, a faculty at Sheffield Hallam University, which is based in Sheffield in the North East of England. Niki has a regional engagement role. She acts as an interface between academia and the local food and hospitality sector. Nicky delivers the city’s annual food festival and Eat Sheffield, which provides support and promotion for local independent food and drink businesses. Here’s Niki.
I am here now with Niki Baker who is from Sheffield Hallam University. Niki, you’re going to tell us a little bit about Eat Sheffield.
Nicky: Hello, I work in the Sheffield Business School, which is one of the faculties at the University and I deliver a regional engagement role which is part of the university civic and corporate responsibility. Although I work within the Food and Hospitality department, I deliver several projects for the city, one of them being the city’s annual food festival. I also deliver a project called Eat Sheffield, which is a support and promotion for local independent food businesses. So, a lot of micro-, sole-traders, micro-traders, a few SMEs as well join us.
And basically we provide promotion and support for them on a FOC basis but it means we are engaging with them for mutual benefit. We can give them some great promotion, we deliver an award, an annual award, which has a whole raft of categories in it. It used to be primarily restaurants but now we do lots of our smaller food producers as well.
We’ve got Our Cow Molly who’s an independent dairy farmer, The Sheffield Honey Company, a local independent. Lots and lots of preserves … jams, chutney companies, meat manufactures, processors, all small artisan businesses and we have a website which is essentially a database for them, but we have quite an extensive use of social media as well with large followings. We do lot of promotion on that and of course we deliver the award.
It helps our students as well because we have a lot of food students. Because we are engaging with these local businesses, If there’s projects or research that wants to be done, they know they can come and ask us. It doesn’t mean we can always help but we have a really good relationships and lots of people come back and forth and ask us … but in turn, when it’s helping the small businesses, it then also gives our students real life projects to work on which obviously, it greatly enhances their employability. So it’s a whole evolving mutually beneficial role that we deliver there and it’s good to work so closely with a local industry.
Catherine: You’ve got one foot in academia and the other foot in business, in industry?
Nicky: We’re like an interface between the local food and hospitality sector and yes, and academia, so we can bring the two together which is a really rewarding role and there are two pinnacles that we deliver each year. There is the food festival, which really we try to … as much as we can, have local Yorkshire, North East Derbyshire, South Yorkshire -based producers at the food festival. It really helps the local food economy that way. Gives it a real good boost and we have an annual awards ceremony run by Eat Sheffield which brings really good promotion in general for the businesses. It gets a lot of social media; we’re generally trending around the awards time, which is good for building profiles, particularly if they are sole-traders or micro-traders. It’s quite important for them.
Catherine: You mentioned your food students. So you got people at your university who are studying food in some form or other. What courses do you offer?
Nicky: We have THE, which is Tourism, Hospitality and Events, so obviously the food festivals covers all of those aspects, but we also have food and public health nutrition courses as well. That’s just on the practical delivery side, we also do food engineering as well, which is a brand … it’s not brand new, but it’s only in its second year, this degree, and that’s actually for large companies, perhaps in processing and engineering. But then there’s lots of bits and pieces we do. We have something called Venture Matrix, we’re really strong on packaging, so all of those type of areas the university delivers. That’s quite a wide range of food topics that we actually cover.
Catherine: A lot of expertise there. Are these smaller producers the micro- and the nano-producers able to tap into that expertise?
Nicky: Yes, we’ve had a number of them come to us. The students really enjoy working on live projects. Certainly, we actually ran a barista competition recently which was a really interesting and really fun.
Catherine: What’s really big in your area, is it like dairy or is it beef?
Nicky: Because it’s Sheffield, we are on the Peak District, so there’s a lot of farm and agriculture. We have got a local dairy farmer who has recently done an awful lot of expansion and that’s been helped by some work with the university but also we have … somebody who we do a lot of work with is somebody called Moss Valley Fine Meats. They’re a pig farmer, they’re constantly winning awards through their sausages and products but they all welcome the students if they’re looking for any research.
Even going away from food, for the food festival, we’ve had a number of our journalism students go out and film little clips of some of the traders that were going to be involved with the festival which we can also use for promotional purposes for them. And it gives the students something real to do, so there’s lots and lots of ways that the university is engaging with local businesses and with the students which is a really exciting place to be at the moment.
Catherine: Absolutely. Where can we find you online and Sheffield Hallam University online and also Eat Sheffield?
Catherine: Fantastic, Niki, thank you so much for your time.
Nicky: Thank you.
Catherine: Our final speaker is Huw Griffiths who’s Managing Director of Besmoke, a natural smoke flavour company that specialises in smoking food ingredients such as herbs, spices, sugars, salts, pastes, oils, and water.
Based on the south coast of England, Besmoke has been working on ways of making smoke safer. To this end, and in collaboration with the chemist Dr. David Baines, an expert in flavour chemistry, Besmoke has developed a filtration system called PureSmoke Technology that makes smoked foods safer for consumers.
The tagline for the smoke is “the art and science of pure smoke” and for sure, there is a lot of high tech stuff going on at Besmoke but just to refer back to the ‘art’ and their tagline for a moment, If you go along to the website, you’ll see this great page where they refer to the five smoke chambers they use in their smoking. They bring these chambers to life by naming them after five famous smokers including Amy Winehouse and Ernest Hemingway. Check out the Besmoke website to see who the other smokers are. They’re all graphically illustrated. I thought that was a very imaginative touch and also the copy on the smoke website is engaging. Anyway, let’s now hear from Huw.
I’m here now with Hugh Griffiths who is the MD of Besmoke. Hello Huw. Thank you very much for having a word with me this morning. What is Besmoke? What do you do?
Hugh: We are a natural smoke flavour company, so we take in ingredients, we smoke them in our natural draft smoke chambers in Sussex and we supply those ingredients out to the food industry who want to create clean label, natural barbecue and smoke flavoured food products.
Catherine: Because that’s quite an issue now, the whole natural side of smoke, isn’t it?
Hugh: It is entirely. Every retailer wants a natural flavour in their product. Consumers are becoming much more aware these days of the need for natural flavour. But more importantly than that, there’s been a bit of a change in legislation recently along with the lines of The Smoke Directive, which means that in the past you could apply into the food something called a liquid smoke condensate. These are still available and still widely used, although these days, under the new EU legislation, they are controlled. They are now declared an “artificial” so going back to the consumer and retailer’s demand for “natural”, we are able to supply the smoke flavour which is a clean declaration and natural.
Catherine: Do companies come to you with their products or do you source products and then send them out?
Hugh: We work in two ways. We contract smoke for various companies, so any company that wants to supply us with their individual ingredients, we process those under a contract but some companies come to us asking us to do a full service, which means we can smoke any ingredient we can get a hold of that they require and we sell them the full service.
Catherine: What sort of things do you smoke?
Hugh: It’s such a wide range. First of all, we don’t smoke any meat or fish. What we do specialise in doing is food ingredients. We’ve done some wild and wacky ingredients over the years but predominately we smoke a lot of herbs and spices, we do sugars and salts, pastes, oils, and we’ve now started to smoke a lot of water –
Catherine: I was going to ask you about smoked water.
Hugh: So, it’s really gained traction in the last 12 months. Certainly since the new Smoke Directive came into force. If you think about it, smoking water is a way of very easily and cheaply introducing smoke flavour into such a wide range of products. The meat industry has really taken it upon themselves to push forward with smoked water. For brining various meats it does deliver a fantastic flavour. If you think about it, it’s very similar to natural smoking. You’re just using the medium of water to deliver that smoke under controlled situations rather than using air as the delivery method for the smoke. It’s quite weird but it’s interesting and it’s gaining traction.
Catherine: And it’s working. There’s a gorgeous contraption, for a want of a better word, here on your stand. Would you mind very quickly describing what that is?
Hugh: This is a one-off unique barbecue that we’ve had manufactured by our friends at the Original Jerk. We don’t use this level of equipment in Besmoke. This is something to put on the stand to show off the Besmoke logo. However, this piece of kit here — we’re looking at a stainless steel rig — this is the new PureSmoke Technology. We’ve been working for the last four years on ways of making smoke safer. The reason the Smoke Directive came into force is because smoke contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These are the carcinogenic elements found in any type of smoke: cigarette smoke, same as wood smoke.
This contraption has allowed us to develop a filtration system, which reduces the PAHs in smoke such as benzopyrene down by over 95%. This is being launched at the show. This is being commercialised as of early 2016 and this will give anybody wishing to use PureSmoke technology the ability to present their ingredients and their foods as being aware of the dangers of smoke, and the ingredients will contain below the levels of detection in PAHs. It’s the biggest revolution in smoke flavour in a long, long time. We envision a time in the future when everybody is going to use a naturally-smoked ingredient with PureSmoke technology to make sure it’s safer.
Catherine: It’s a very nice piece of kit. It’s actually very compact, isn’t it?
Hugh: This is our lab scale development so we’re now in the process of integrating our technology into our mass produced factory, so this is the lab scale, as you can see, it’s about a meter long. It’s a filter of about 30 centimeters long and about 15 centimeters in diameter. That is the lab scale.
On a bigger scale we’re integrating this technology, and in the future this technology will be adapted further to create new plants or machinery that people in the food industry would be able to buy and use in house to create their own smoke flavours. We are also going to be able to develop it further to retrofit onto existing traditional smoke houses. We foresee a future whereby any mass produced smoked food will benefit from the technology of PureSmoke to reduce the risk to consumers.
Catherine: Sounds very interesting. A very bright future for you I would say.
Hugh: We hope so. The developer behind this, the brains behind this, was a guy called Dr. David Baines. From an altruistic viewpoint, he embarked on this project with me. It’s a joint venture and he envisions a time when he will be able to take out benzopyrene from the food chain on the whole and that, for him, is his main goal.
Of course, from a commercial aspect, we’re a business, we’re here to make sure that this is commercially viable. And that’s why we’re looking and seeking for partners in the food industry to join us to develop this process and technology into the future.
Catherine: Thank you very much for your time, Huw. Before we sign off, could you tell us where we can find you online?
Hugh: We are http://www.besmoke.com
Catherine: Wonderful, thank you again.
Hugh: Thank you very much.
Well that’s all for this episode. Thanks to Food Matters Live 2015 for putting on such a stupendously well organised event. You can download any of the presentations that were given at Food Matters Live 2015 at www.foodmatterslive.com/whats-on/2015-schedule.
I’d like to thank the people who generously gave their time to talks to me for this episode. So, thank you to Rob Ward from Grocery Accelerator, Amirah Ashouri from Leatherhead Food Research, Shami Radia from Grub, Steven Taylor from GNT, Fi Thompson from Nottingham Trent University, Adam Ismail from GOED, Jonathan Karpathios from Bieterbal, Robert Copperman from Qnola, John Stout from Osius Bone Broth, Tola James from Nari Palm Juice, Anne Weyns Papaleo from Nutricoa, Simon Ranger from Seagreens, Niki Baker from Eat Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, and to Huw Griffiths from Besmoke.
If you’d like to get a free transcript of this episode, just go to www.myartisanbusiness.com. You’ll also find the show notes for this episode there as well as website links to all of the organisations featured in this episode.
To get in touch with me you can use the contact form on www.myartisanbusiness.com. If you’d like to hear when I publish new episodes of the show simply sign up to my weekly newsletter at www.myartisanbusiness.com. You can also find me on Twitter as @FoodDrinkShow.
I’m Catherine Moran from the Artisan Food and Drink Business Show. Until next time, happy cooking, happy fermenting, happy brewing, happy smoking and thanks for listening.