Name: Louise Jones
Business: Dan Hull Prepared Foods
Role: Chief Executive Officer
“Sharing my passion for the best quality food is my absolute reason for going to work.”
Dan Hull Prepared Foods near Chelmsford in Essex sells premium fresh and frozen handmade food using quality ingredients from local suppliers. Established in 2013 by Louise Jones and business partner Dan Hull, the company provides retailers with a range of quality local handmade products, from deli and cold meats to pâtés and luxury pies.
Louise and Dan began the business after being introduced by a mutual friend following Louise’s return to work after having her family. Using her previous experience in the food industry, working as a senior buyer for a major UK food retailer, Louise saw a business opportunity to help artisan food producers secure important relationships with retailers.
She explains: “Dan happened to be the first artisan I worked with. We just matched and shared the same core values of what we wanted to buy and make. We were, and still are, both really passionate about getting high quality food onto the shelves.
“There was a gap on supermarket shelves for locally produced food that tastes as it should. I believed if this was important to us, then it would be important to others as well.”
This first meeting led to the creation of Dan Hull Prepared Foods.
Louise’s passion for handmade quality food stems from her childhood when she would watch her grandmother’s enjoyment as she cooked homemade food for their family to enjoy. It is these memories, combined with the satisfaction in receiving great customer feedback, that Louise believes are her main inspirations to do the job she loves.
She says: “Turning my computer on each day and seeing that our customers have taken the time out of their busy lives to contact us to say how they much they enjoyed our food, or tell us that our products tasted like the food they used to enjoy when they were younger, is just fantastic.
“Our customers constantly tell us they want to be informed about where their food comes from and it is this that gets me out of bed in the morning, as these consumers genuinely appreciate the efforts we go to. Sharing my passion for the best quality food is my absolute reason for going to work.”
As well as being the catalyst for her lifelong interest in quality food, Louise’s close family has also provided a strong foundation for the success and development of Dan Hull Prepared Foods – with her parents helping with childcare for Louise’s children Fin, 10, and Mac, 12.
Over just four years the business has grown and evolved, and recently relocated to a new 5,000 square feet purpose premises in March 2017 to accommodate its young team of 11.
Louise says: “We started in a small kitchen at the back of Dan’s family farm shop in Burnham-on-Crouch. Year on year we have experienced a substantial growth in production and currently produce between approximately 5,000 and 6,000 products a week.”
To other women who are thinking of embarking on a career in the food and agricultural industry Louise strongly encourages them to do so.
“My job is very flexible and still allows me to attend my boys’ sports matches and parents’ evenings. I would definitely recommend it to anyone as there are massive opportunities in this industry.
“Looking to the future I want to continue to give customers locally sourced food as I think this is becoming increasingly important to them. With industry scares and fake claims on packaging in recent years, customers more than ever want quality and confidence in what they are buying and that is what we provide.”
For more information about Dan Hull Prepared Foods visit www.danhullpreparedfoods.co.uk.