Hampshire Fare member named as finalist in Ocado’s national competition to find the next big thing in food and drink
Hampshire Fare member, Belinda Clark from Southampton, has beaten hundreds of applicants from across the UK to be one of five shortlisted for Britain’s Next Top Supplier, a competition by online supermarket ocado.com to find the next big thing in food and drink.
Belinda Clark entered her handmade marshmallows which caught the judge’s eye with its beautiful packaging and unique, gourmet flavours, such as vanilla and coconut, and salted caramel.
On 24th April, Belinda Clark Confectionary will face the hot seat in London and deliver a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style business pitch to a panel of experts including Michelin starred chef Tom Kerridge, Ocado Chairman Lord Stuart Rose and last year’s winner, founder of Hiver Beers Hannah Rhodes. The judges will be on the lookout for unusual, exciting and quality products that are unlike anything else on the market to help them crown the winner.
The nationwide competition, now in its second year, is part of Ocado’s ongoing support of small suppliers. The competition has already given hundreds of applicants the chance to get in front of Ocado and benefit from expert guidance on how to get a foot on the supermarket ladder.
If successful, Belinda Clark Confectionery will secure a listing on ocado.com and a £20,000 marketing package to promote their product through Ocado’s website, PR and social media channels.
Belinda Clark, founder of Belinda Clark Confectionery said, “I am totally blown away to have been selected as one of the final five. We want to bring the very best gourmet marshmallows to Ocado’s lovely customers and can’t wait to see what the judges make of our MellowMallows!”
Tom Kerridge, Chef Patron of The Hand & Flowers and judge on the panel of Britain’s Next Top Supplier said, “I am really looking forward to tasting all of the shortlisted products and crowning the winner! The success for Hannah with her Hiver Beer since winning Britain’s Next Top Supplier is just a taste of what finalists could experience.”
Lord Stuart Rose, Ocado Chairman said, “All of the business plans have great potential; it will be great to meet the finalists, understand their ambitions and the journey they’ve been on so far. Britain’s Next Top Supplier allows Ocado to stock the latest and greatest innovations in the food and drinks industry.”
Hannah Rhodes, Hiver Beer said, “My business has gone from strength to strength since winning the competition; I can now sell Hiver to consumers across the UK thanks to Ocado. Winning the competition gave me the confidence and gravitas to transform Hiver into a much bigger business. I’m excited to be on the other side of the table this year and wish Belinda Clark Confectionary the best of luck.”
Tracy Nash, Commercial Manager at Hampshire Fare, commented on the news: “We are so pleased to hear about Belinda’s achievement. She has a delicious product with strong branding and we wish her all the best for the finals.”
Belinda Clark Confectionery will go up against Atom Beers brewed in Hull, Foraging Fox from Bishop’s Stortford, Meg River’s Bakery based in Shipston on Stour and Manfood from Huntingdon.
The winning product will be announced in May 2015.