The Taste of Suffolk
With demand for barbecue products hotting up during the first lockdown due to warm weather and more people than ever eating at home, The Taste of Suffolk decided to launch a new range of burgers for customers to enjoy.
A third-generation family business based in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, The Taste of Suffolk has been producing quality sausages, bacon and a selection of cooked meats for more than 40 years, including its well-known Butchers Sausages and renowned Craskes. With 35 employees, all living in the local community and many of whom have been with the business for more than 30 years, the company combines three generations of experience, traditional recipes using quality ingredients from long-standing suppliers and a passion for making food for moments that matter.
When the coronavirus crisis struck, it triggered a shift in The Taste of Suffolk’s business model; there was a sudden, large increase in demand from retail customers while food service customers closed, requiring the company to be flexible and adaptable while maintaining staffing and production levels.
“When the crisis hit last year and demand trebled overnight due to the lockdown, the whole team put in a fantastic effort, working long hours to meet all the extra orders from The East of England Co-op,” recalls Chris Simons, Managing Director. “Following initial deliveries, drivers were returning to the factory to reload their vans with the help of their office colleagues and then returning to the stores to ensure that The East of England Co-op had 100 per cent availability. There was a real sense of camaraderie from the team, all working and supporting each other to ensure that all the extra orders were met.”
The company worked closely with its local suppliers to ensure it had sufficient meat and ingredients to fulfil the surge in orders. It also decided to introduce four new burger lines, condensing the usual timescales for product launches and working with its local printers to design and print labels at break-neck speed. The new lines included a traditional British Beef Burger, a Chilli Beef Burger, a Pork & Apple Burger, and a selection pack of both burgers and sausages.
“Working closely with the East of England Co-op, we successfully launched the full range during the first lockdown when demand for BBQ products was high due to the warm weather and more people than ever eating at home.”
Commenting on being a finalist, Chris says: “It is a great honour to be shortlisted for the Sourced Locally Awards – it really ties in with our ethos and values of ‘community’ and ‘local’. If we won, it would be a great recognition of all the work, effort and commitment shown by our dedicated colleagues who have gone that extra mile during the pandemic.”