Five Yorkshire family businesses have made the list of the UK’s 50 most promising food and drink entrepreneurs to be recognised as Food Stars in a new government initiative.
Yorkshire’s Food Stars, carefully selected from hundreds of award-winning businesses are Three Little Pigs, Heck food, Wold Top Brewery, Yorvale Ice Cream and Yorkshire Provender.
The revival of UK food and drink has seen a new generation of entrepreneurs emerge in Yorkshire, whose innovative ideas and can-do attitude are creating jobs in local communities and contributing to the record £103 billion generated by the UK food chain last year.
Leading figures in retail and food—including Justin King, former CEO of Sainsbury’s, and Dame Fiona Kendrick, CEO of Nestle UK and Ireland—launched the Food Stars scheme to help the winners grow their businesses and get more of their produce on supermarket shelves and dinner tables in the UK and across the world.
The first initiative of its kind, Food Stars is part of a wider government drive to inspire entrepreneurial activity across the UK as part of our long-term economic plan.
Ahead of the launch of the Food Stars network, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said:
“Yorkshire has always been a place where sparky entrepreneurs have created great innovations in food and drink, people with the ambition to grow and take on the world.
“Now is the time to celebrate that success, which is helping to grow our economy – that is why we’ve created Food Stars to recognise the bright innovators of today and support them to become the major players of tomorrow.
“From ice-cream to beer, ready meals to sausages, Yorkshire’s Food Stars truly represent the best of British and demonstrate the creativity and determination in this country. Our Food Stars show if you want to see a vision for Britain’s bright economic future, look no further than the UK’s food and drink industry.”
Charlotte Clarkson, co-founder of Three Little Pigs, which makes chorizo right here in Yorkshire, said:
“Being one of the Food Stars is great news for us. It comes at a time when we are expanding so we’re looking forward to the package of support that comes with the status. Above all though, it’s an honour to be chosen.”
And Yorkshire sausage-makers HECK foods, founded just two years ago, said:
“We’ve had an amazing two years since we set up HECK and feel very proud to be selected as a Food Star. Being part of the scheme will open up lots of new doors and give us the opportunity to share experiences and take our business to the next level. We love our job and with so much happening including new products, the new factory and growing our team to cope with increased production, it’s going to be an exciting year for us all.”
Kate Balchin at Wold Top brewery added “We are so pleased to be part of the Food Stars network. It’s a great opportunity for our business to meet like-minded companies and individuals from all over the UK and gain from their experience and knowledge”.
Food and farming remains the biggest manufacturing sector in Britain, employing 1 in 8 people. In 2013 entrepreneurs set up 30,000 new food and drink businesses generating thousands of jobs in the sector.
Lesley Buxton director of Yorvale Ltd said; “It is a great accolade that DEFRA considers our contribution to the UK economy important enough to make Yorvale Ice Cream a FOOD STAR, it makes all the hard work worthwhile, we are all very proud of a product that is manufactured on our small family farm in the Heart of Yorkshire”.
The industry’s continual innovation is bringing 16,000 new products to the market each year—more than France and Germany combined. Our 50 Food Stars are helping to grow this sector even further.
Exports of UK food and drink are also booming with almost £19 billion worth shipped to more than 150 countries in 2013. Since 2010 the UK government has opened more than 600 new international markets supporting more businesses to sell their produce abroad.
Following the launch, where 50 of the Food Stars attended master classes on topics from exporting through to social media, they will receive a package of continued support from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and Cranfield University over the next year. This includes a tailored information service and access to a range of events and development opportunities in agriculture and food, the environment, management and leadership.
Lucy Jordan sales and marketing exec at Yorkshire Provender said; ” I am thrilled to have been selected as one of Britain’s rising food stars and it is so refreshing to have access to those within the industry that have such inspiring and insightful messages to share with myself and fellow independent producers. I have been reassured that Yorkshire Provender is on the right track and we will continue getting to know our consumers and communicating our story and brand personality whilst doing what we do best … producing absolutely delicious soup that tastes as good as homemade. The support that we are due to receive over the course of the next year really will be invaluable to our continued success”.