Left to right, Food and Drink iNet advisor for Leicestershire Stevie Jackson and Ximena Shelton, from Shelton Imports, look at the new menus

Coffee specialist Shelton Imports has won an order from prestigious store Harrods and begun selling to a whole new market after receiving support from the Food and Drink iNet.

The Leicestershire-based company supplies flavoured Colombian coffee cubes in individual wraps direct to customers via its website and to retailers like delicatessens and farm shops.

But now the firm has also moved into the food service sector and begun selling to coffee shops and restaurants after receiving support worth £400 through the Food and Drink iNet for the design of a stylish coffee menu.

The menu and other promotional materials have also caught the eye of buyers at Harrods, who are putting Shelton’s products on their shelves in October.

“The iNet’s support has been fantastic because it’s helping to open up possibilities in completely different markets for us,” said Ximena Shelton, who runs Shelton Imports with husband Steven.

“The menu is a great showcase for what we sell. It’s helped us gain new customers in food service, and was instrumental in us winning a contract to supply to Harrods. It’s also helping me to give a better service to delis and farm shops because I have also been able to create new point of sale material.”

Launched in 2009 and based in Kibworth, Shelton Imports sells a range of seven different flavoured coffee cubes, as well as roasted coffee beans covered in chocolate and traditional coffee. It specialises in individually wrapped cubes of coffee that can be instantly prepared using hot water to create a fresh cup of coffee.

The firm now has 46 stockists across the UK, from Kent to Scotland, including seven coffee shops and restaurants.

Shelton Imports received £400 worth of Innovation, Advice and Guidance support from the iNet. The company matched this support with its own investment.

The iNet helps food and drink firms engage expertise from academia, research institutions and specialist business advice for innovation projects to develop new ideas, new products, new processes and to help companies grow. 50% of the equivalent cash value of the support must be contributed by the company.

Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Food and Drink iNet co-ordinates innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands. One of four iNets, it strives to develop an effective network to encourage the collaboration of academic expertise and knowledge, and local food and drink business innovation needs.

It aims to build on the tradition of innovation in the food and drink industry in the region by helping to create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, and to help research, develop and implement new products, markets, services and processes.

The Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by the Food & Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region.

For more information visit www.eminnovation.org.uk/food