Norfolk mint and mustard farmers have struck a cope with Unilever to maintain manufacturing of mint and mustard sauce in Norwich by securing a brand new processing manufacturing unit which is able to open early subsequent 12 months.
A consortium of farmers have agreed a 10-year provide and funding settlement with Unilever, proprietor of the Colman’s model, which is establishing a brand new manufacturing plant at Honingham Thorpe close to Norwich. It follows fears that Colman’s 200-year hyperlinks with Norwich – by way of mint and mustard – could be ended because of its determination to shut its Carrow Highway manufacturing unit within the metropolis.
Milling of mustard seed and mint processing will change to the brand new mill, with ultimate bottling to be accomplished at Unilever’s Burton-on-Trent manufacturing unit.
Simply 4 farms on the outskirts of Norwich develop your complete provide of 800 tonnes of spearmint wanted yearly to make greater than six million jars of sauce.
David Bond, a member of the Norfolk Mint Growers’ group and the consortium, Condimentum, stated: “It’s very constructive that we’ve got been in a position to collaborate to maintain this important native connection going. After harvesting, mint can go black except it’s processed shortly [by being steeped in vinegar] so an area facility is important.”
In a parallel transfer Colman’s will this week pledge to bolster the amount of UK-grown produce utilized in a few of its different key condiments over the subsequent three years, in a transfer which it says is to assist UK farmers.
Colman’s wide selection of condiments, which additionally embrace apple, cranberry, and horseradish sauces, will be discovered within the retailer cabinets of 54% of UK households. It sells about 31 million jars yearly, together with 10 million jars of the best-selling mustard and greater than 6 million of mint sauce.
Nevertheless, Colman’s admits the rise of veganism and flexitarianism – the place shoppers are lowering meat consumption – has had an influence on gross sales.
“Gross sales of mint sauce are pretty steady though there’s been a slight dip lately as a result of decline in recognition of the roast dinner, together with lamb” a spokeswoman for Colman’s stated. “We all know extra individuals are embracing flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan life, however there’s no cause why plant-based meals shouldn’t have the identical degree of flavour as meat dishes.”
In addition to mint, apple sauce can be made out of 100% British crops, and model new packaging on each now emphasises “Norfolk Grown” mint and “British Grown” apples. The corporate will this week decide to boosting the amount of UK produce in different merchandise corresponding to tartare, horseradish and seafood sauces, together with parsley and eggs. The one main exception – which can have Brexit implications – is cranberry sauce, the place the fruit is imported from North America.