Nottingham likes a bit of sauce – now these two family businesses in Nottingham are bidding to get their products onto supermarket shelves.
The sauce companies were amongst 17 of the East Midlands’ best food and drink producers invited to showcase their wares to Morrisons in the hope that they might be sold in stores across the region.
Sauce Shop began in a kitchen in West Bridgford, and The Crowe’s is a range of handmade Brazilian-influenced sauces.
More than 60 East Midlands producers applied when the supermarket launched a search for the Nation’s Local Foodmakers.
Around 150 people, including staff from Morrisons’ head office and local store and customers, had a chance to sample the goods at the showcase in Melton Mowbray.
The producers now face a two-week wait to see if they’ll be invited for a meeting at the head office.
Brazilian-born Alessandra Crowe, who now lives in Hucknall, said: “It would be brilliant. It’s a very good product, I’m not just saying that because I make it, it is unique.
“This would open doors and I could grow the business.”
The 47-year-old makes the sauces from her kitchen at home but is on the verge of moving into a production unit in Sneinton.
Helped by her husband Michael and two sons, she has created four different chilli sauces, from mild to insanely hot, all named after Brazilian dances like the samba, lambada swing bahiano and capoeira.
“The idea is that they make your taste buds dance,” said Alessandra, who launched the business after a bet with her hairdressers. If Brazil won the 2014 World Cup she would cook a dish for them but if they lost she would bring in her chilli sauce as a consolation.
“Brazil lost the World Cup and I won a business,” said Alessandra. Hair salon staff loved the fresh tasty sauces so much that they asked her to bring in more to sell to clients. Friends at work and her children’s school were also buying the products.
She currently sells the sauces at local markets and food festivals and online.
In three years, Sauce Shop has gone from selling at West Bridgford farmers’ market to supplying 200 shops in the UK as well as businesses in Sweden, Hong Kong, Germany and the Middle East.
Production has soared – from 200 bottles a week at home when they first started to 5,000 from a unit in Sneinton.
The range has increased too, to include flavoured mayonnaise as well as the popular sauces such as tomato ketchup, sriracha and lime and coriander – a total of 15 in all.
James Digva, 34, who founded Sauce Shop with his wife Pam, 33, said: “The day went well with lots of great feedback and I had a meeting with two buyers.
“The business has exceeded my expectations. When we started we didn’t know where it was going to end up but we’re really pleased with the way it’s going.”
As well as running the business, the Digvas have recently become parents for the first time after Pam gave birth to a little boy four months ago.
“It’s busy at work and busy at home,” said James.
A spokesperson for Morrisons said: “At Morrisons, we want to feed the nation with a bigger portion of food and drink that is sourced from local suppliers. That’s why we’re now starting a fresh search for a new crop of foodmakers – who we hope can grow with Morrisons and maybe even become household names in their own right.”
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