Lucy Cufflin

Leicester food producer Lucy’s Food has won a contract to supply tray bakes to a flagship Oxford Street store after taking part in a project run by The Food and Drink Forum.

The Leicester Food Specialist project provides two days of free support to eligible food and drink manufacturers in specific parts of the city in a bid to help the food and drink sector develop and grow.

Cake maker Lucy’s Food turned to business support organisation The Food and Drink Forum for advice and mentoring about how the firm could gain a recognised industry accreditation which would open doors with much bigger customers.

It led to the company winning an order to supply a range of cakes to two cafés in the Debenhams Oxford Street branch.

It is the company’s first national order and the firm’s biggest order to date.

Lucy Cufflin, who runs the business, said: “It’s been an incredible journey forward for our business. It’s a big step because this means we can look at getting orders from much bigger customers that we haven’t been able to approach before. Richard Wigley, the senior technical manager at The Food and Drink Forum, has been someone from outside telling us how it will work on a different scale.

“The Leicester Food Specialist project has been a great opportunity to realise what The Food and Drink Forum can do for us in an on-going relationship. Rather than trying to invent it ourselves all the time we can go to them for help.

“The Debenhams order is a regular large scale order coming in which means we can employ more full-time people and look to purchase more equipment.”

The £94,500 Leicester Food Specialist project is being funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which is providing more than 60% of the cost of the scheme, The Food and Drink Forum, and Leicester City Council through the Working Neighbourhood Fund.

The service, which runs until December 2014, is offering two free days of support to start-ups, micro businesses and small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises in the food and drink sector in the city centre area.

This could cover a range of support from technical advice and packaging services to marketing, help with new routes to market or accreditation.

The two days of support is for a maximum of 25 companies and there are eligibility criteria for those taking part.

Lucy’s Food has been operating in the Leicester area since 2006, producing and supplying a variety of food products to local delis and cafés, but more recently the firm, which has premises in Putney Road West, has been concentrating on its popular tray bakes and cakes.

It is currently supplying Sam’s rocky road brownies, Leicestershire honey flapjack and orange, almond and mascarpone cake to Debenhams.

Trained chef Lucy Cufflin is the author of the cookbook, Lucy’s Food.

Her firm is one of 15 companies that have already got involved in the Leicester Food Specialist project.

“We are very pleased to hear that Lucy’s Food has won this deal with Debenhams after taking part in the Leicester Food Specialist project and being given advice and support by The Food and Drink Forum’s team of experts,” said Forum general manager Fay Davies.

“Our role is to support food and drink businesses across the region and beyond with their development. The Leicester Food Specialist project is just one area that we are working in at the moment, and it’s great to see that the project is already achieving results.”

The next event being held for eligible firms focuses on labelling and branding and takes place on Thursday 17th October at Leicester College between 8am and 9.30am. It is also open to Food and Drink Forum members.

For more details about the Leicester Food Specialist project, eligibility and the next event, email or call 01159 758810.

Press release issued by Nottingham PR company Perfect 10 PR