Tasty potted beef goes national thanks to Growth Hub

Thanks to help from the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, a much-loved potted beef is being sold nationally, aided by a combined £30,000 in grants and intensive business advice.

Eddie Sutherland started selling his wife’s potted beef when he worked as a travelling salesman for Lyon’s tea in the Twenties. Sacked when a supervisor noticed, he and his wife Mary decided to make it a full-time business – and it became a multi-million-pound brand stocked on supermarket shelves.

In the 1980s the business was sold to a European food giant. But in 2012 William Sutherland, Eddie’s great grandson, persuaded his father Alistair to start up commercial production again, calling the business Original Recipes.

The business quickly discovered two challenges –  the limited capacity and the standard of the premises they used initially did not appeal to national clients. As a result Original Recipes had been focussed on low volume retail sales.

Advised by City Region Business Growth Specialist Darren Buxton and Access to Finance Advisor Steve Errington, they reviewed their strategy and went into the wholesale market with a fresh approach – creating a new upmarket terrine range, ‘Prochef’, and focussing on wholesale outlets.

Prochef, which took off immediately, is designed for chefs in busy pubs and restaurants: the recipes are of exceptional quality and sold in modern bespoke moulds that make life easier in a hectic professional kitchen.

With this new approach and by investing heavily in new high quality premises at the Storforth Lane trading estate in Chesterfield, the business is now winning national orders.

Alexa Greaves, Chair of the SCR Growth Hub Board, said: “I’m delighted to hear this success story and I’m very pleased that we have been able to work with the company to help it reach the right market with the right product.

“The Sheffield City Region is all about innovation and business expansion, and it’s good to see a family enterprise working with the Growth Hub to bring out new products and to take a lead in modern food production.”

The factory, which the firm designed and had built within 12 days, has been supported by a £25,000 grant via the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Business Investment Fund, plus another £5,000 support via the Growth Hub Enhancement Project, an ERDF funded project, to look at extending the shelf life of the terrines with new packaging. It’s ultra clean and has been designed to exceed even the very rigorous hygiene requirements of the British Retail Consortium.

Alistair Sutherland said: “It’s wonderful that as a family we have been able to revive my grandmother’s tasty sandwich filling – her potted beef is still our customer’s favourite of all our 30 different lines.

“It’s lovely to work with my son William, and I’m very impressed with the help and support we have had from the Sheffield City Region Business Growth Specialist Darren and Steve.

“They guided us through all the paperwork, helped us see how to target the right markets, and now we’re looking forward to beating the sales made by Eddie and Granny Mary!”

(Will and Alistair are seen above.)

Notes to Editors

  • Comprehensive assistance is provided to businesses across the Sheffield City Region from start-ups to high-growth enterprises. Help includes advice on innovation, finance, and marketing.
  • The Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Enhancement Project is receiving up to £2.7m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’ (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, business, create jobs and local community regeneration’s. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.