Dream team cuisine as food firms merge

From: UK Countrylife Ltd
Published: Fri Feb 11 2005

Award-winning Nottinghamshire food hub UK Countrylife Ltd has strengthened its operation by merging an established food production unit into its business portfolio.

It means the Screveton-based company is now creating more of its regional dishes in Nottinghamshire – allowing it to devise a wider range and making it more cost effective in the market place.

UK Countrylife Ltd has been linked with Soufflé Plus in Newark for the past four years. The two worked together to create some of UK Countrylife’s most popular dishes, including its Lincolnshire wild rabbit pie and its Lincolnshire wild pigeon pie.

Now Soufflé Plus has been merged into UK Countrylife Ltd’s business portfolio, which also includes Farmshop Home Delivery, and its range of prepared dishes known as Farmshop Specials or FarmFresh Meal Solutions.

"Gaining a food production unit is a natural progression for a growing business, such as UK Countrylife Ltd, and Soufflé Plus will be a great asset to us," explains UK Countrylife Ltd Managing Director David Rose. "Instead of out-sourcing the production of our prepared meals, we can now create them ourselves in Newark."

UK Countrylife Ltd, the current IGD Outstanding Small Business of the Year, and the NFU Countryside Small Business of the Year 2003, had previously out-sourced some of its meal production to Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire. Now it will be together under one roof at premises in Jessops Way, Newark.

Soufflé Plus, launched about five years ago by chef Anton Indans and his wife Alison, is being renamed UK Countrylife Ltd. The couple remain involved.

UK Countrylife Ltd, set up by third-generation farmer David Rose and based at Shackerdale Farm on the A46 between Bingham and Newark, currently produces more than 100,000 prepared meals a year for pubs, farmshops, caterers, and its Farmshop Home Delivery customers. Some of the dishes are now sold nationwide via the Fairway and Holdsworth food distribution groups, and are also available in outlets such as Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, and Downtown, near Grantham.

The merger will allow UK Countrylife to add to its range of dishes, which already include items such as Trent Valley beef braised in Melton Red Ale, Shackerdale chicken breast with Stilton and apricots, and Sherwood Forest pork in honey and ginger. New dishes are likely to include liver, bacon and onion pie, black pudding stack and a range of ‘posh’ sausages.

"The merger has taken a margin out of our costs, which is making us more cost effective and allowing us to expand the range of dishes we can offer," adds David Rose, who will be looking for more staff at the food production unit.

UK Countrylife Ltd aims to promote regional food, to re-connect farmers to consumers and to encourage responsible food production. As well as using mainly regional ingredients to create its prepared meals, UKC delivers regional food and drink to Farmshop Home Delivery customers, supplies local fruit and vegetables to 40 Nottinghamshire schools, and also has its own FarmShop open on Fridays from 10am-6pm and Saturdays from 9am-3pm at Shackerdale Farm.

Company: UK Countrylife Ltd
Contact Name: David Rose
Contact Email: david.rose@farmshop.net
Contact Phone: 01949 829006