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Manufacturer Up Close: Tilda

Tilda rice are currently celebrating their 50th anniversary year (which began in 2020) with the brand building momentum with the launch of ready to heat in foodservice and new flavours in mainstream stores, they have found themselves more recognisable than ever to consumers.

As part of the Erudus Community, we couldn’t be happier to join them in celebrating their half-century and continued success. So we decided to get the view from inside, and spoke to the brand about allergens, exciting new flavours and the importance of corporate social responsibility initiatives.

These are the 10 things everyone should know about Tilda...

The brand name is a mash up of Tila & Daksha - a nod to Tilda’s heritage

Tilda says: “Our name ‘Tilda’ is the amalgamation of the names Tila and Daksha, the 2 daughters of our founders - who were the first people to bring Pure Basmati Rice to the UK, 50 whole years ago. The popularity of this grain grew over the years and in 1994, we introduced Easy Cook Basmati to foodservice. We were (and still are!) passionate about chefs serving quality rice.”

They’re giving back to their customers

Tilda says: “We’ve hosted a whole array of competitions for students and professionals, partnered with the Craft Guild of Chefs, and supported our favourite charities and events. We hit a major milestone of 50 years of Tilda in 2020, and after a year like no other we wanted to thank the people who have made 50 years possible. We owe the deep dish of our history to the home-chefs and the professionals that use Tilda Rice to elevate their plates every day.”

Variety is key to Tilda, and the new products just keep coming...

Tilda says: “In the 26 years that followed [our] launch into foodservice, we developed new and exciting ways for all sectors to produce extraordinary rice. Our foodservice range – which is endorsed by the Craft Guild of Chefs - includes a whole host of rice varieties to enhance meals from all over the world. Starting with our signature grain – Original Pure Basmati, we ventured into our Easy Cook Basmati & Wild; Arborio; Fragrant Jasmine; Easy Cook Basmati and Easy Cook Long Grain rice.

Finally, our nutritional Brown Basmati; Wholegrain and Brown & White Rice which have been a hit with schools! Brown & White contains the recommended 50:50 mix of fluffy wholegrain and visually appealing white rice.

We’ve spent many years working closely with chefs and professionals in the industry and developed a hub that is bursting with recipe inspiration, a blog full of chef recognition and advice for hospitality. This includes our exploration of The Art of Rice which delves deep into the business benefits of using the right rice on your menu, and our Tilda Toolkit which was specifically developed to help all sectors navigate ‘the new normal’ and adapt their individual offerings. With health, safety and well-being taking precedence, healthier food options will be at the top of the food chain, along with contactless and limited touch service.”

They make the perfect rice for foodservice

Tilda says: “Our foodservice signature rice is Easy Cook Basmati, with its wonderful aroma, delicious taste and elegant, natural appeal. As an easy-cook rice, it has the added benefit of being pre-steamed to ensure the grains never stick and the rice has a wonderful fluffy appearance. With chefs becoming increasingly more creative with their menus, our speciality range ensures that there’s a different rice for every dish. To make it even easier for chefs to serve perfect rice every time, we have a selection of individually portioned frozen rice, and have recently launched our Steamed Rice Range into foodservice. The range combines the familiar favourite Original Pure Basmati, as well as naturally infused Coconut Rice, and Peri-Peri Rice to spice it up! The different rice varieties are sourced from various rice growing countries around the world and are milled, flavoured and packed in the UK.”

Global food trends influence their product development

Tilda says: “Our rice is so versatile and with the speciality range, chefs have endless opportunities to explore global cuisines, familiar favourites and experiment with the sweet and savoury. Over our 50 years, we’ve seen some elaborate and creative uses of rice. One of our favourites was the Rhubarb Rice Pudding created by Tilda Chef Team of the Year 2020 winners, which combines the fresh flavours of rhubarb and caramelised orange peel with our Tilda Fragrant Jasmine Rice.
To provide the best rice flavours, we look at market trends, global food trends, flavour forecasts, and speak to professionals, taking inspiration from the most exciting operators around. Most importantly though, we have to love the flavours and ensure that they are 100% natural.”

They understand the growing importance of allergies

Tilda says: “In today’s landscape, navigating different food allergens can be quite a challenge. However, we are proud to provide chefs and caterers with gluten-free and allergen-free rice, so their dishes can be safe from the start. It’s important that our rice is accessible to everybody.”

Tilda rice prides itself on feeding those in need

Tilda says: “Through supplying many schools, colleges and universities, providing children with nutritious grains has always been a passion of ours, which is why we partnered with Mary’s Meals. Since 2019, we have proudly supported the work that they do and for every bag of wholegrain rice we sell, we donate a meal to a child in need. We’re so proud to have reached a whopping 198k meals so far and look forward to seeing this number continue to rise with the help of our fellow chefs and caterers.”

The brand has key sustainability initiatives in place

Tilda says: “Tilda is committed to safeguarding the long-term sustainability of Basmati rice farming and so to ensure the continued support for farmers in India and Pakistan where Basmati rice is grown, Tilda established initiatives such as the Farmer’s Advisory Cell (FACE) and the Foster Farm. Tilda is also part of the Sustainable Rice Platform which is run by multiple stakeholders and promotes resource efficiency and sustainability in trade flows, production and consumption operations, and supply chains in the global rice sector. You can find out more here.”

They plan on continuing to support the industry post-COVID-19

Tilda says: “Emerging from a year like no other, we aim to continue to be the rice partner for chefs and support them in their road to recovery with advice, inspirations and rice they can rely on. We are so proud and grateful to have reached such a major milestone in our journey, we could never have reached 50 years without our friends at home and in foodservice who have made it all possible. We also have great respect for the work that Mary’s Meals do and are proud to support them.”

Using Erudus has helped Tilda save tons of time

Tilda says: “Erudus has been a great support to Tilda as it ensures that we are consistent in our messages to all suppliers that use it, and allows us to share all of our product information in an accurate, straightforward format. It has saved us a lot of time as a team as we can put all the information in one place for wholesalers to access and use on their platforms – thank you Erudus!”