Case Studies

Lucy’s Food – SALSA Support

Lucys Food
Lucy’s Food has been operating in the Leicester area since 2006, producing and supplying a variety of food products to local delis and cafés, but more recently the firm has been concentrating on its popular tray bakes and cakes. It has also been looking at developing a range based on Leicester’s historic past and its Medieval culinary history. In order to present to larger potential customers, Lucy’s Food needed to gain a recognised accreditation and felt that SALSA – Safe and Local Supplier Approval – was the one to go for.

Through the Leicester Food Specialist project, the company was entitled to two free days of support from experts at The Food and Drink Forum. The Forum’s senior technical manager Richard Wigley provided advice and completed customer audit work with the business. The Forum was also able to pass on an opportunity to supply to Debenhams, after hearing how the national retailer was looking for a supplier of tray bakes and other cakes for cafés in its Oxford Street branch.

As a result of Richard’s advice, new working systems and changes to paperwork were put in place. Richard also provided mentoring support which enabled the firm to pass the Debenhams’ audit. This led to Debenhams placing a contract with Lucy’s Food for four lines of tray bakes and one line in afternoon tea cakes.

Now the firm is poised to put in for the SALSA accreditation which could open even more doors for the business and lead to it supplying a number of other nationally known catering operations. It has already sent samples to other chains on the back of passing the Debenhams audit.

It’s been an incredible journey forward for our business,” said Lucy Cufflin, who runs the firm. “It’s a big step because this means we can look at getting orders from much bigger customers that we haven’t been able to approach before. Richard has been someone from outside telling us how it will work on a different scale. The Debenhams order is a regular large scale order coming in which means we can employ more full-time people and look to purchase more equipment.


Alassala Olives – PR Support

Alassa Argan Oil
Leicester-based importer Azzelarab El Alaoui has become one of the first companies to bring a ‘magical’ oil - Argan oil - to the UK food and drink market, with support from The Food and Drink Forum.

Azzelarab El Alaoui, who runs Leicester-based Alassala Olives Ltd, aimed to be one of only a handful of importers currently selling Argan oil in the UK’s food sector.

He wanted to sell the oil, which is suitable for dipping, drizzling, on salads and for sweets and pastries, to delis, health stores and top restaurants.

A press release issued about Alassala Olives issued by The Food and Drink Forum achieved coverage in local media and was featured on national and international websites, helping to raise the profile of the product.

As a result, Azzelarab successfully launched Argan oil to the UK market in 2011 and began gaining small orders almost immediately.

Media coverage of his launch gave the product credibility and proved to be an excellent way of providing potential customers with more information about his company and the oil.

Dipak Foods – Recipe Development Support

Leicester-based Dipak Foods manufactures and supplies curry sauces and Indian finger foods to the catering and wholesale trade across the Midlands. Recipes for the products have been developed over the years by Raj, and were hand-written and collated in a book. The firm needed to create up-to-date internal specifications, and transfer the recipes to its computer.

Through the Leicester Food Specialist project, the company was entitled to two free days of support from experts at The Food and Drink Forum. It was deemed important for the recipes developed and used by the company to be added to the company’s computer database, and this was carried out by one of the Forum’s technical team.

Key recipes used by Dipak Foods are now part of the firm’s computerised internal specifications, and also saved elsewhere. This means that not only are they stored more safely, but they are also accessible to others if necessary.

 “Before, if I had lost my book of recipes I would have been finished,” said Raj Thanki.

Before, only I knew my writing but now everyone will know what to do because the recipes have been properly documented. The Leicester Food Specialist project has helped me to do a job that I have been meaning to do for years and didn’t have the time to do. To do everything, sometimes 24 hours a day isn’t enough. This two-day project has helped me put it right.