Manufacturer Up Close: Fields & Forest Foods
Wakefield-based Field and Forest Foods launched just three months ago and it’s already taking the foodservice industry by storm.
Its products are produced in a UK-based BRC AA graded Halal certified factory, and the company has plans to expand the sales team.
In this manufacturer close up, we chat with Kevin Denyer, co-founder and managing director, and someone who is well-known throughout the foodservice industry.
What’s your background?
I’ve been in foodservice for 30 years and held varied roles ranging from working in the warehouse, driver, sales, and purchasing director at buying group Fairway Foodservice.
Throughout my career, I have built a niche and strength in purchasing for small and large wholesalers. I have great experience working with suppliers and wholesalers across the UK, Ireland, and Spain, as well as being involved with new product development (NPD) work with manufacturers for years.
Tell me more about Field and Forest Foods
Field and Forest Foods specialises in meat-free products such as sausage rolls, pasties, cottage pies, and savoury bakes. In addition to standard sizes, we offer buffet options.
We spotted an area in the market. The number of vegetarians, vegans, and flexitarians (a person who has a primarily vegetarian diet but occasionally eats meat or fish), people who choose not to eat meat every so often for a healthier option, are increasing.
What makes you different?
The common feedback we hear from people searching for products to cater to this audience is about the quality including taste and texture. Our range overcomes those hurdles.
We use a speciality mushroom base as it provides a meaty texture and is very fibrous, without an overwhelming taste of mushroom. When people taste it they can’t believe it’s not a meat product. The fact that meat eaters say they are happy to eat it, speaks volumes.
In addition, we avoid soya, which is traditionally used as an alternative protein and is 1 of the 14 allergens that must be legally declared.
The salt levels in our range have been kept low to meet school requirements.
All our products are meat free and plant-based. This is very important for us to be able to offer this type of product that can hold its own in the vegetarian, meat-free and flexitarian market.
What about new product development?
We are constantly looking for ways to develop and add to the range. For example, we are in the process of adding a mince analogue and goujons to our offering.
All our people have a great passion to create further products and a mission to always put quality and flavour at the heart of what we do.
What are your aims?
Our aspiration is to have a range of products in as many foodservice wholesalers as possible. Putting a number on it, we would like to turn over at least a pallet a week in 50 wholesalers within the next 24 months.
We’re confident we will achieve this.
We’ve been invited to a lot of sales meetings and presentation days and are looking forward to seeing the reaction on people’s faces when they try the range.
We are also working with the YMCA, donating a percentage of our profits to support the fantastic work it does across the UK and to help grow jobs for the younger generation.
How have you found using Erudus?
We are huge fans of Erudus. We were aware of the early incarnations of the software and to see where it has developed to where it is today blew us away. It’s an absolute necessity in the toolkit. Importantly, the usability is very good, which means it’s accessible to more people.
In addition, a number of the wholesalers we supply asked us if we used it, which shows how widespread it’s becoming in the industry.