Quirky pickles, preserves and chutney producer The Pickled Village won an order to supply to Waitrose after exhibiting under the East Midlands Fine Foods banner at a specialist fine food trade show.
The company, based at Bulwick, near Corby, caught the eye of buyers from the retail group at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair in London, having joined the stand run by East Midlands Fine Foods.
Weeks later, a number of products from The Pickled Village range were on the shelves of four branches of Waitrose in Oadby, Lutterworth, Stamford and Peterborough – with plans to roll out further products in stores regionally and nationally.
The order was the company’s first with a major multiple, and came less than a year after The Pickled Village founder Camille Ortega McLean expanded by taking on people to help her with production.
“Small companies just could not afford to go to shows like Speciality & Fine Food Fair on their own, and that’s where the major buyers go, so we were very grateful for the opportunity to showcase The Pickled Village on the East Midlands Fine Foods stand,” said Camille.
As a result of the order, the firm is considering increasing capacity by introducing a second shift.
“We produce 400 jars a day now, but we can increase to 900 a day by going in two shifts,” explained Camille.
Briony Clarke, operations manager at business support organisation The Food and Drink Forum, which runs East Midlands Fine Foods, said: “The aim of East Midlands Fine Foods is to support speciality food and drink producers, and we are delighted to hear about the order won by The Pickled Village after the firm exhibited under our banner at such an important trade fair.
“Our expertise can help producers to make the most of exhibiting at trade and consumer events.”  
The Pickled Village, which now employs six people, specialises in producing quirkily-named takes on traditional pickles, preserves, chutneys, relishes and marmalades.
Among the products listed by Waitrose are The Red Rapscallion (red onion marmalade with redcurrants and chillis), The Earth and Fire (a beetroot chutney with horseradish and chillis), The Traditional Piccalilli (chunky and crunchy), The Indulgent One (Strawberry preserve), The Bourbon Blues (a blueberry conserve with a splash of Bourbon) and The Undecided Breakfast (three different flavours of marmalade layered in one jar – for those who cannot make up their minds).
“We have many local customers and they are just as important as Waitrose, but this order is good news for the company,” said Camille.
“East Midlands Fine Foods was the key to us gaining it, as without their help we probably wouldn’t have been at the trade show and the Waitrose buyers wouldn’t have spotted us.”