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Launch of The British Bottle Company takes drinks to the rest...

The British Bottle Company, which recently unveiled its portfolio, is the first company to specialise in the export of premium British drinks.

Founded by food and drink entrepreneur Red Johnson, the company represents a portfolio of suppliers in three categories; Craft Beer & Cider, English Sparkling Wine and Artisanal Spirits.

Red is supported by an Advisory Board that includes leading names from the drinks industry including his father, wine writer Hugh Johnson, wine industry veteran and English wine specialist Mike Paul, author and spirits expert Ian Wisniewski and beer expert and author of Three Sheets to the Wind and the annual Cask Ale Report, Pete Brown. (see attached biographies).

Together, they have assembled a portfolio of twelve of Britain’s most exciting and respected drinks brands; including ‘World Champion English Sparkling Wine’ as judged at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships, Digby Fine English; Camel Valley, produced by Sam Lindo, who was nominated for IWC Sparkling Winemaker of the Year 2014; ‘Brewer of the Year’ 2013 Otter Brewery and Double Gold Medal winner at the World Spirits Championships 2014 Warner Edwards Gin. 

As Red explains: “This is an amazing period for the British drinks industry, in all three categories. English Sparkling Wine is coming of age, the craft-brewing sector is buzzing and British premium spirits are in demand worldwide. There is so much talent and quality here and we’re committed to promoting and developing our portfolio and the industry as a whole worldwide.”

Based in Hampshire, The British Bottle Company provides a full service export facility for its suppliers including market analysis, distributor matching,marketing, logistics and administration.

Red says: “Even large producers can struggle to find the resources and expertise to manage export effectively. We essentially act as the in-house export team by managing the entire process, from strategy and sales to the nuts and bolts of export. It’s all we do and we are out there in the market representing our suppliers all the time.”

Camel Valley winemaker Sam Lindo says: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with The British Bottle Company. This unique approach is exactly what our fledgling industry needs to help us pool resources to enter new export markets. Red has a great team with a lot of experience in all aspects of export.”

The Saucy Fish Co. achieves CoolBrands status again

For the second year running, The Saucy Fish Co. has officially been named a CoolBrand, in the influential annual initiative to identify the UK’s coolest brands.

The CoolBrands list, now in its thirteenth year, follows a vote by a combination of 2,000 consumers and a panel of 37 designers, style experts, media personalities and prominent figures from the worlds of TV, fashion and music.

The brand’s bold, contemporary packaging, distinctive tone of voice and playful personality helped The Saucy Fish Co. stand out from the crowd and impress both the consumers and expert panel.

Last year The Saucy Fish Co. became the first ever fish brand to make it on to the prestigious CoolBrands list. This year it remains the only fish brand in a list dominated by premium fashion and technology brands.

To celebrate its 2015 CoolBrands status, The Saucy Fish Co. have mounted a giant CoolBrands badge onto the exterior of the Grimsby-based factory.

Simon Smith, Managing Director at The Saucy Fish Co, says: “Gaining a place on last year’s CoolBrands list won The Saucy Fish Co. nationwide attention and acclaim, so we’re delighted to remain on the list. It’s a great boost for the strength of the brand to be listed alongside such prestigious company, and is fantastic recognition for the hard-working team behind Saucy. Our ambition has always been to get more people eating more fish more often, and if an accolade like CoolBrands can contribute to keeping fish a desirable dinner, I’m all for it!”

Launched in January 2010 with the ambition of getting more people to eat fish at home The Saucy Fish Co. has grown into a £30m UK brand by providing both convenience and inspiration for mealtimes. The last year has seen the brand move into the US and Australian markets, and secure a high-profile High Court interim injunction against Aldi for their imitation Saucy Salmon Fillets.

Co-ordinated by The Centre for Brand Analysis, the prestigious CoolBrands list was drawn from over thousands of independently identified brands and whittled down into a shortlist. The panel of 37 influencers then scored each brand, bearing in mind factors such as style, innovation, originality, authenticity, desirability and uniqueness, before 2,000 members of the British public gave their ratings. Helping rate coolness this year were the likes of musicians Labrinth, Laura Mvula and Reverend and The Makers, Digital Entrepreneur & Founder of SB.TV, Jamal Edwards, and models Jodie Kidd and Sophie Dahl. The Saucy Fish Co. beat tough competition to take its place in the influential list.

Stephen Cheliotis, Chairman of the CoolBrands Expert Council, says: "For The Saucy Fish Co. to be viewed so positively by both influencers and consumers is a great achievement and recognition of the brand’s desirability. Achieving CoolBrands status illustrates that The Saucy Fish Co. is among an eclectic but small group of brands that are providing an authentic, innovative and unique proposition to consumers.

"This brand clearly resonates and The Saucy Fish Co. strong performance in the survey is something the entire business can be proud of. Hopefully the competitive advantage a strong reputation provided in the marketplace can give The Saucy Fish Co. the platform to continue advancing further.”

The CoolBrands survey has been compiled annually since 2001. The results are published every September.

Cafepod partners with Warner Brothers for Friends’ 20th anniversary

British coffee capsules brand CaféPod has partnered with Warner Brothers to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the iconic 90s TV show Friends.

CaféPod creates high quality Nespresso-compatible capsules using responsibly sourced coffee which perfectly recreates coffee shop quality coffee at home.

Since Friends first hit TV screens on 22nd September 1994, the six New Yorkers’ lives and their memorable quotes have become intertwined with their favourite haunt, Central Perk and its legendary orange sofa, which truly brought coffee culture over to the UK.

To mark Friends officially hitting the big 2-0, CaféPod are embarking on a UK tour with the iconic Central Perk sofa, so fans of the show will be able to make like their favourite characters, lean back with a steaming cup of CaféPod and snap a selfie of themselves with a piece of televisual history.

Fans can shout about their Friends experience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #Friends20th. The sofa is already making waves, having made its way around Latitude Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Leeds Festival and it will be heading to Westfield Stratford Shopping Centre (22nd – 29th September), Tesco Kensington (11th October) and Waitrose Canary Wharf (23rd October) in the upcoming weeks.

CaféPod’s core range is also getting the Big Apple makeover, with the New York skyline adorning all five varieties, announcing the chance to win a fantastic trip to the home city of Friends - New York. This trip of a lifetime not only includes flights from London and three night hotel stay for two, it also comprises of a guided tour of Friends’ filming locations, including the iconic apartments lived in by Rachel, Monica, Joey and Chandler. Entry to the competition is via: cafepod.com/friends until 31st January 15.

Each variety of the CaféPod core range has also been assigned to the six cast members:

• The CaféPod Ristretto Espresso, with its full-bodied intensity and spicy finish is first choice of everyone’s favourite stormy couple, Ross and Rachel.

• CaféPod Intense Espresso naturally suits Chandler to a tee, the phrase “could I be more intense?” springs to mind.

• CaféPod Smooth Espresso has Joey written all over it “How you doin’?” The epitome of Smooth!

• Full of character, CaféPod Arabica Lungo Espresso is perfectly teamed with Monica’s light and lively nature.

• Phoebe is best kept on the CaféPod Decaffeinated Espresso, a fittingly sweet and mellow coffee that packs a real punch.

Warner Brothers are also releasing a special edition Friends 20th Anniversary Box Set available for retail from 22nd September. CaféPod are part of the occasion with 400,000 DVD inserts promoting its fantastic competition and offering a special 50p off packs of any CaféPod blend from Tesco, Waitrose or Whole Foods until the 31st March 2015.

Kara launches innovative 50:50 sliced loaf for foodservice sector

A Half & Half bread, combining wholegrain and white flours has been launched to the Out Of Home market by Kara, the foodservice brand of Fletchers Group of Bakeries.

The launch of the healthier half-white, half-brown bread provides the foodservice industry with its first major branded 50:50 bread which has the taste and texture of a white sliced loaf, but carries the nutritional benefits of whole wheat.

Kara’s Half & Half bread provides a great new concept for the foodservice industry and responds to a 20 per cent increase in retail market demand for 50:50 style bread by young adults - and 30 per cent growth in demand by young families over the last twelve months according to Tesco data by Dunnhumby.

Fletchers Group head of foodservice, Chris Haddy, says: “This is an innovative product for the foodservice sector and taps into an established trend towards healthier breads, which still carry a white bread flavour.

“Our Half & Half bread has been extensively researched prior to manufacture to deliver a product which matches consumer likes. This includes reduced bitterness, increased sweetness and the texture of a white bread, but it also contains no hydrogenated fats or preservatives.”

Kara brand products are frozen at the point of baking, which offers significant benefits to OOH caterers such as increased shelf-life and sealed in freshness – enabling the product to be defrosted and used immediately to regain the freshly baked quality.

Chris adds: “Kara’s Half & Half combines a delicious taste with important nutritional benefits and complements our existing bloomers & sliced bread range. It is ideal for families, health conscious individuals, adults, teenagers, children and those not willing to compromise on bread’s taste.

“This places the bread to perform well across the consumer board, but also makes it ideal for the educational market.”

Dunnhumby’s data from Tesco indicates that as well as increases in uptake of 50:50 breads by young adults and young families, there is a 24% rise in demand among older families, a 14% rise among older adults and an 11% rise among pensioners.

The new Half & Half bread is a thick-sliced 18 plus two sliced loaf configuration and contains all the natural nutritional benefits of whole wheat, manufactured from 50 percent wholegrain flour and 50 per cent white flour.

Half & Half is available in 110mm x 115mm slices and each loaf weighs 750 grams.

Foodservice is a fast growing sector for Fletchers Group of Bakeries, due to continued NPD and Kara’s focus on customer service.

Food & Drink Export Month launched

The Food and Drink Federation has announced the start of a month of food and drink activity with online export community Open to Export, designed to help small and medium-sized food and drink companies grow their exports business.

A joint initiative between Open to Export, Government and industry, the Food and Drink Export Month will run from 15 September – 10 October and include free-of-charge live webinars, latest exports statistics and case studies, as well as the 2014 update of a free downloadable guide ’10 Steps to Export Success’.

The first live webinar on 18 September will feature presentations from successful exporters Kallo Foods, Eat Natural and Queens Award winner Broker Gin, who will give details of their export journey and provide top tips for other businesses looking to begin exporting or expanding into new markets.

Further webinars include a webinar on food labelling and the implications of the new EU regulations on 25th September; ‘How to export dairy’ on 2nd October and ‘How to export beer’ on 9th October.

This activity in 2014 follows the successful launch of the Food & Drink Export Week last year, as part of FDF’s commitment to help exporters overcome the barriers they face when trading overseas and promote the benefits of export to inspire food and drink businesses to start exporting or export more.

Steve Barnes, Director of Economics and Commercial Services at the Food and Drink Federation, says: “The inaugural Food & Drink Focus Week was such a success that we’ve decided to scale it up to a whole month and introduce a raft of new content for 2014. Food & drink exports are a long-term opportunity for growth for companies of all sizes. For those wanting to take a more proactive approach to exports and expand into new markets, the free materials and expert advice on Open to Export throughout the coming weeks should be a valuable resource.”

David Lowe, Director of Operations for Open to Export, says: “Last year’s feature saw thousands of companies make use of the free online resources on Open to Export, with over 200 questions answered on our forum, and 77% of webinar attendees saying they were more likely to consider exporting as a result. We hope that this year’s expanded feature will reach even more companies and get them thinking about the international opportunities for their products.”

DC Thomson consumer products cooks up expansion for Maw Broon’s Kitchen

DC Thomson Consumer Products has announced exciting new developments for its food brand, Maw Broon’s Kitchen.

As part of its plan for the brand, DC Thomson Consumer Products has unveiled significant developments in the expansion of Maw Broon’s Kitchen into new markets, demographics and products.

DC Thomson Consumer Products has entered an exclusive partnership that sees the food sales, marketing and distribution specialist, Food and Drink Hub Scotland, form a new business (Maw Broon’s Retail Management Ltd) to become the sales and distribution arm of Maw Broon’s Kitchen products. Food and Drink Hub Scotland will be responsible for supporting the licensor and its partners as they expand the Maw Broon’s Kitchen brand at retail starting this Christmas. Offering a retail ‘one-stop shop’ for all licensees and key buyers, Food and Drink Hub Scotland will roll-out the now extensive product line of Maw Broon’s Kitchen cakes, bakery, confectionery and gifting items into grocers, garden centres, delis and farm shops across the UK.

Food and Drink Hub Scotland will also work closely with DC Thomson Consumer Products and its partners to develop innovative new products and brand extensions in order to grow the commercial potential of this food brand.

The impressive activity surrounding the brand also sees the first ever Maw Broon’s Kitchen pop-up café launch at the Eat Drink Discover Scotland food festival this weekend. The festival celebrates the best of food and drink in Scotland and welcomes a variety of exhibitors, enthusiasts and notable chefs. The Maw Broon’s Kitchen pop-up café will serve a traditional home-style menu featuring Scottish favourites Stovies, Mince Rolls & Afternoon Tea for 2. The pop-up will be a chance for DC Thomson and its partner to test the concept of a permanent café in key cities.

Tim Collins, Head of Brands, DC Thomson Consumer Products says, “We launched the first Maw Broons products late in 2012 and are now accelerating plans because of consumer and trade demand. We are delighted to welcome Food and Drink Hub Scotland as a partner. They bring really detailed expertise to reach new audiences and open the door to greater commercial opportunities for the brand. We look forward to celebrating the brand this weekend with our very first Maw Broon’s Kitchen inspired pop-up café at the Eat Drink Discover Scotland food festival as well - the perfect chance to showcase the best of Maw Broon’s to all visitors and partners.”

Inspired by the matriarch of Scotland's favourite family -The Broons - the classic weekly comic strip from The Sunday Post newspaper, Maw Broon’s Kitchen is now established as a prominent yet fictional ‘celebrity chef’ whose homespun wisdom and hearty recipes have spawned a best-selling cookery book series and licensing programme which features 15 partners that cover every day and gift food lines in addition to kitchen and home ware accessories.

Paul Anderson Managing Director of Food and Drink Hub Scotland Ltd and the new Maw Broon’s Retail Management Business says, “We are delighted to be involved in supporting DC Thomson and its food and drink brand licensees develop and grow the Maw Broon’s Kitchen Brand through collaborating and working in partnership with all stakeholders. We believe that through our unique Hub model and working in partnership with DC Thomson, licensees and retailers alike we can further increase the opportunities for the brand.”

DC Thomson Consumer Products is investing to establish Maw Broon’s Kitchen as a standalone food brand in the food, drink and gifting sector, firstly in the heartland of Scotland but with ambitions to expand across the UK and overseas. It sees a great opportunity to capitalize on the momentum built up by overwhelming consumer demand for Maw Broon’s Kitchen products, by working with Scottish partners on commercial projects that share the brand’s emphasis on home cooking, tradition, family values and quality.

Pidy launch lighter pastry for festive treats

Pidy a world leading family owned pastry manufacturer are excited to announce the launch of a brand new sweet and neutral short pastry range just in time for Christmas.

Pidy have been creating a wide variety of pastry products for over 63 years and their latest range of ready to fill pastries is perfect for the busy festive period.

The latest pastry range named hard fonçage is Pidy’s own alternative short, crisp and delicately thin pastry and is available in two varieties; sweet and neutral. This new revolutionary pastry forms the start of a new era in Pidy’s range to provide regular shapes which have a lighter appeal and provide a higher filling to pastry ratio allowing chefs more room for delicious fillings.

The sweet and neutral flavours of pastry also enable eateries to create a wide variety of dessert and savoury canapés.

Robert Whittle General Manager at Pidy UK says: “Research over the last few years has led us to believe that our customers are seeking new ways in which to present their pastry offering with lighter shape, composition and texture alternatives. Our new sweet and neutral fonçage pastries are our lightest yet, the light pastry makes the canapés crisper and they also allow more room for sweet and savoury fillings. Our fonçage pastries are in demand with chefs and caterers as the need for thin and healthy pastry continues to grow.”

The neutral range taste delicious with festive fillings such as roast turkey and cranberry sauce or why not add sage and onion stuffing and bake for five minutes to make a tasty meat free savoury canapé.

The sweet range also works incredibly well with festive dessert fillings such as chocolate fondant or mincemeat topped with meringue to create a tasty mince meringue pie. The sweet pastry range will hold its crispness even when filled with hot desserts like crème brulee. Other serving and filling suggestions include mini cheesecakes, crème anglaise, fruity and zesty lemon tarts, the possibilities really are endless.

Paul Eason Business Development Chef at Pidy explains: "Both product ranges save time whilst ensuring quality is maintained especially around the hectic Christmas period. Even with thinner pastry the new range still remains moisture resistant allowing caterers to prepare the canapés well in advance, perfect for any busy kitchen. We always look at various food trends and listen to customer feedback when it comes to developing our products or expanding our range. Improving the filling to pastry ratio of our products was one of the key changes our customers wanted to see. Now we are excited to launch our newest short pastry range just in time for the festive season. According to the National Restaurant Association, miniature and bite size products were on the top trends list for 2014 and our latest range is ideal for creating some delicious bite sized seasonal canapés.” satisfying

Pidy’s range also includes a number of sweet and savoury tarts, a selection of mini cups in a spicy, veggie and fruity range as well as savoury vol au vents and a new gluten free range all perfect for creating a tasty variety of appetisers, canapés and seasonal desserts. Pidy prides themselves on how versatile their pastries are particularly during the demanding festive period.

Arla Foods Ingredients reboots smoothies with new Greek-style yoghurt concept

Arla Foods Ingredients has launched a new ingredient concept that makes it easy to produce delicious, healthy, convenient and environmentally friendly Greek-style yoghurt smoothies that are rich in both protein and real fruit.

Nutrilac YO-8075 is a natural whey protein, derived from cow’s milk. It gives manufacturers the ability to use their existing equipment to formulate a fat-free smoothie that is 50% Greek yoghurt, 50% fruit and which has a protein content as high as 7.5%.

Greek yoghurt continues to captivate consumers for its combination of great taste, texture and high protein content. Per capita consumption has doubled in the past decade according to NPD Group data, and US sales are set to hit $9.3 billion by 2017, up from $7.3 billion in 2012 (Packaged Facts) – demonstrating that this is a trend that is here to stay. Fruit also continues to enjoy enduring popularity as an ingredient that adds a ‘health halo’ to a product, making it the perfect partner to protein.

Using the new Nutrilac protein to make Greek-style yoghurt smoothies is very cost-effective and ‘green’ because the process generates high yields and zero acid whey, which is the controversial waste product associated with traditional Greek yogurt making.

The protein is supplied by Arla Foods Ingredients ready to produce a Greek-style yoghurt base that can be combined with a wide range of fruit ingredients – or even vegetables – in one straightforward step.

Torben Jensen, Category Manager for Functional Dairy Proteins at Arla Foods Ingredients, says: “Dairy and fruit smoothies are really popular with busy consumers because they’re tasty, filling and healthy. "However, the products on the market today typically offer a protein content of about 1%, which is too low for the growing number of people who are keen to add more protein to their diet for health reasons. This means there is a significant opportunity in the marketplace to offer next-generation smoothies that are also very high in protein. The launch of this new Nutrilac protein means companies can now create 7.5%-protein Greek-style yoghurt smoothies that taste great and are easy to drink on the go – tapping into the trends that really make modern-day consumers tick.”

Erlenbacher launches premium apple pie

Ready for this autumn, erlenbacher is placing one of its best-selling apple products on the shelves - the Premium Apple Pie.

The apple is one of the UK’s oldest and most trusted fruity friends and, indeed, erlenbacher’s story started over 40 years ago with an apple cake. Today, they offer around 200 variations of premium frozen cakes and desserts and, last year, their apple cakes proved as popular as ever, with over 4 million portions being sold.

The Premium Apple Pie is created with a short crust pastry base and a juicy apple filling. It is filled with 70% fruit content, made with fresh Cripps Pink Apples for the ultimate sweet and tangy taste. Roasted almond flakes are lightly sprinkled on the top, highlighting the homemade look of the pie. It has become one of erlenbacher’s best-selling products over the last few years and is set to continue into the future as a firm favourite with consumers.

Launched in the UK in 2012, the Premium Apple Pie can be attractively arranged on the counter as individual slices or as whole cakes. While it is as flexible and simple to handle as cake slices, its traditional and homemade appearance is aesthetically tempting and makes it an absolute eye-catcher on the counter.

As always, the recipes at erlenbacher use only natural ingredients, meaning there are no hydrogenated fats and oils, no added preservatives, no artificial colourants and no artificial flavourings have been included in their desserts.

This delicious Premium Apple Pie is a great part erlenbacher’s varied and exciting range of bakery products and other flavours in the range. The cake is offered ready to serve, pre-cut into 12 portions that can be removed as individual slices.

BrewDog declares an ‘end to lager lout culture’ with launch of...

Scotland’s largest independent brewery, BrewDog has set its sights on obliterating the ‘insidious culture around lager drinking’ cultivated by decades of mass marketing by launching a beer that takes the lager style back to its roots.

Launching tomorrow, This. Is. Lager. will be a 4.7% ABV pilsner designed to offer lager drinkers a craft beer alternative to the mass-produced lagers that still dominate the UK market.

This. Is. Lager. is brewed with 100% malt and ten times the hops of most industrial lagers. To demonstrate the difference to those still unfamiliar or resistant to the craft beer revolution, BrewDog is offering free 1/3 pint tasters of This. Is. Lager. at all of its UK bars from 12 noon – 12 midnight on Wednesday 3rd September.

Craft beer is the star ascendant in the drinks market, with BrewDog named the fastest growing drinks brand in the UK within a context of declining beer sales for mainstream, mass-production breweries.

The artisan brewer is immediately making This. Is. Lager. part of its headliners range to ‘convert’ those still unfamiliar with craft beer as it plots destroying the binge drink culture that has long overshadowed the industry

James Watt, cofounder at BrewDog says: “This. Is. Lager. redefines a beer style that has for so long been defined by shallow, listless beers undeserving of the name.”

“For years, global breweries have spent millions convincing the British public that lager is a beer style best served as fizzy, tasteless liquid cardboard propped up by snappy straplines, glamorous advertising or counterfeit stories of foreign provenance. We hope to perpetuate a movement of craft breweries blazing a new trail for lager, proving it’s a misunderstood, neglected beer style.”

“Lager is often demonised or derided as the choice drink of chavs and louts, which is the result of laddish marketing that diverts attention away from taste and enjoyment and undermines the potential of lager as a creative and artisanal beer style.”

“If we can redefine lager in the UK, we will redefine our relationship with alcohol. We can actually start to reverse binge-drinking trends currently being tackled by toothless and misguided legislative proposals unlikely to ever see the light of day anyway. With the volume-driven industry leaders trying to pull the wool over drinkers’ eyes and the government trying to legislate their way out of a media-disaster cul-de-sac, it’s time we treated drinkers like adults and gave them an alternative to stack ‘em high sell ‘em cheap beers with no soul or taste.”

“Gone are the days of lager being synonymous with extra-cold taps, lads on tour, fake Aussie accents, Burberry baseball caps and pot bellies. That is not lager. This. Is. Lager.”

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